As you know, it is my intention to start performing live music once again in Second Life. In fact, that’s the very reason I decided to log back in after my time away. Second Life provides me with an incredible opportunity to perform my original music to a worldwide audience, whom are presumably appreciative (or at least polite) given that they stick around to listen to it. In addition, a performance in Second Life (unlike, say, over Google Talk or Skype) also bring with it the added benefit that the listeners and I can interact in a myriad of ways. Through chat and IM we can communicate. I can watch their avatars engage in various activities and comment upon them. They can provide me or the venue with tips. We can provide them with gift items, mp3s and notecards of the lyrics. All of these things are possible in Second Life, which is why I love performing there.
Getting a venue to perform in is not particularly difficult. In fact, I’ve already had a few requests from those venues with whom I’ve been in contact. It would be easy for me to simply turn on my mixing equipment, load up my streaming software and start doing gigs in Second Life. I have the knowledge, technical capability and experience to do one almost immediately if I truly desired. Moreover, I already have about an hour’s worth of songs about Second Life and another couple of hours of other originals. It would be as simple as tune up, plug in and log on.
Which then raises the question: why aren’t I?
It’s a good question and I’ve been trying to answer that question for myself for the past couple of days. The best that I can come up with echos those lines in Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again:
You can’t go back home to your family, back home to your childhood … back home to a young man’s dreams of glory and of fame … back home to places in the country, back home to the old forms and systems of things which once seemed everlasting but which are changing all the time – back home to the escapes of Time and Memory. (Ellipses in original.)
Logging into Second Life and just resuming the playing of songs I last played years ago would be like trying to go back home. That Second Life is gone, long gone. The venues have disappeared, fans have vanished and the problems I sang about (such as that infamous grey goo) are not even a bad memory to the vast majority of today’s residents. If you have ever returned to somewhere that you used to live, perhaps while in college or the years subsequently thereafter, I think you’ll understand what I am talking about. Even if everything had remained entirely the same at the location, the fact is that you have changed. I have changed. And, presumably, Niko has changed.
It is this change in Niko and his world which has intrigued me the most upon my return. How has he handled the past few years away from performances? Did he miss it? Does he still? What did he do during that period of time? How has Second Life changed and how has he coped with it? And, of perhaps prime interest to those of you reading this, how can this information be explained and discussed in an interesting and, hopefully, entertaining manner? How can these admittedly somewhat philosophical ideas be discussed in a way that captivates the imagination of you, the reader, as well as myself, the author. And, most importantly, how can this discussion serve as a basis for more songs about Second Life?
I’ve been chatting with various people in-world and one or two in the actual world who don’t think I am entirely goofy (or who might but are just too kind to say anything), and have hopefully come up with a method of doing this. It is experimental–as all good things are–but hopefully I can muddle my way through and something worth reading and/or listening to will be the final result. Your comments, thoughts and suggestions will be of much value so please do not hesitate to provide them either in the comment section or in-world. The whole thing may ultimately crash and burn, but at least we can have some fun along the way and, at a minimum, roast some marshmallows together in the resulting fire.