As if things couldn’t get any worse

I stood around my now vacant land at Koyro, or what was once my land and now had reverted back to the coffers of the Linden Research, Inc., and wondered where to go. My original plan had been to log in, sit on my porch swing and IM some friends to see how they were. Now, I didn’t have a porch swing anymore. Nor a porch, for that matter. Out of spite I tried to rez a block on the land in hopes that at least the build function had been left enabled, but nothing happened except for the rattlesnake shake of a denial.

As I stood there, a window briefly flashed on my screen. It informed me that Lyndon Heart had logged in. Lyndon was always one of the pillars of the live music scene, and had been one of the members of the Music Monkeys House Band that backed me when I performed live at the SLCC in Chicago. I thought a conversation with him about the live music scene would get my mind off of the depression I was feeling. Boy, was I wrong.

After his surprise at finding me in-world (“haven’t seen you in … seems like years”) he answered a few of my questions about the live music scene. He’s been performing in-world for seven years and has seen a lot of fans and venues come and go. I asked him how things were now compared to then, and he remarked that there were a lot of start up venues but they often failed. And that the live music scene, never greatly unified despite various attempts to bring order to chaos, was heavily fractioned with artists and venues here one month then gone the next. We talked about some of the venues that were still around, places I might consider starting out at. Then I happened to remark that I needed to get ahold of Circe Broom, the godmother of the live music scene in Second Life. I knew that she’d give me a stage to perform upon at least.

There was a pause in his response. If you are using instant messaging in Second Life it tells you when the other person is typing so that you don’t type over each other’s words. The interface will say something like Lyndon Heart is typing… and then you wait and when he hits return, you can read what he wrote.

This time, however, it showed he was typing. Then nothing was sent. Then it showed he was typing again. Then nothing. Either he was writing a novel or he kept erasing what he was writing. Finally he posted his response to me:

Circe passed away about a month ago 😦

Circe Broom had died.

I first met Circe a few months into my Second Life. One of the first gigs I played at was on open mic at the Hummingbird Cafe and I likely met her there since she was often in attendance. Not soon after that, I was doing shows at her Egypt based Luxor sim. I even had the rare pleasure of visiting a completely empty sim with her, completely prim free. She had just gotten it to do some expansion and I can still remember her rezzing a train to drive through it, absolutely lag free.

Circe, along with Slim Warrior (Menorca) and Flameheart Sol (House Circe Broomof Flames), constituted the Muses of the live music scene. All three ran successful venues and had slightly different views of how to succeed as a live music venue. Cross any one of them and like the three Moirai of Greek mythology, they would snap the thread of your virtual music career. All three were outspoken proponents of live music, and the very existence of the virtual world live music scene depended in large measure upon their venues. While other places existed, theirs were the three that mattered. And of the three, Circe’s was by far the heart.

Most people didn’t know that in real life Circe’s health wasn’t good. Wheelchair bound, dependent upon an external oxygen source (I remember once when it was rumored that she was logging into Second Life from an oxygen tent), from time to time her health took a dive. She had a cackle when she laughed, probably from smoking way too many cigarettes when she was younger.

Back in October of 2008 I did a brief interview with Circe as part of my “why did you chose that last name” inquiry I did of my friends. Her response was quite interesting: because she was once a witch.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Interview with Circe Broom: The Queen of Live Music

[19:57] Niko Donburi: Why did you chose Broom to be your last name in SL?

[19:58] Circe Broom: I’m a witch

[19:58] Circe Broom: and thought it funny

[19:58] Niko Donburi: were you a witch in RL before or in SL?

[19:58] Circe Broom: in RL before

[19:59] Niko Donburi: a wiccan?

[19:59] Circe Broom: yes, but my own kind.. just as with any religion, I dislike extremes

[20:00] Niko Donburi: not with a coven then?

[20:00] Circe Broom: I was solitary for years, then found folks up here in of like mind

[20:00] Circe Broom: and yes, but three of them moved away

[20:01] Circe Broom: and some of the spirit was lost..

[20:02] Circe Broom: we’ve done really fine stuff, I think.. and I think maybe I am alive right now because of our power…

[20:02] Circe Broom: and we have been a positive force in our neighborhood… are well regarded

[20:03] Niko Donburi: good

[20:03] Niko Donburi: mind if I quote you for the interview?

[20:04] Niko Donburi: I’ll need a jpg or the one you just sent and any links you want your name linked to

[20:05] Circe Broom: ooh let me get a better one! My hair’s a MESS LOL

[20:05] Circe Broom: LINKS ooh baby

[20:05] Niko Donburi: lol

[20:05] Niko Donburi: nothing but the best here..!

[20:06] Niko Donburi: so, is that a yes?

[20:06] Circe Broom: YES

Circe Broom in Real Life

RIP: Circe Broom/Rose Ragan

Learning of the death of Circe truly saddened me. It wasn’t that we were very close any more, other than a passing “hello IM” when I’d see her online I hadn’t had a true conversation with her in a couple of years. But it was more what she represented, the early years of live music. When streaming was new and we were all cutting edge. She was a helpful guide to us fumbling musicians, trying to play guitar, sing, stream and interact with fans all at the same time. She likely pumped thousands of dollars into Second Life and its musicians. Her venues served as a beacon for the live music community, a place where we all once came from and to which we could always return.

After my conversation with Lyndon, I turned off my computer and went upstairs to get ready for bed. I’d had enough of Second Life for one night. What had originally started off as a good idea, returning to Second Life, had quickly become sad and depressing. Perhaps this wasn’t such a great idea after all.