In the UK, there are two meanings of the word “perishing”. The formal one is the one Randall Jeffers uses in his glorious poem, “Shine, Perishing Republic” – where the word is used to mean to “be destroyed or die, esp in an untimely way”. It can also mean to rot as in “leather perishes if exposed to bad weather”.
But it can also be used as an intensifier, qualifying something in a negative, but almost humorous way as in “it’s a perishing nuisance” or “it’s those perishing kids again!” Indeed, the later phrase was at the root of a very popular comic strip series in the UK known as The Perishers. It owed a lot to Peanuts, but there were decidedly English.
This dichotomy – between the drama of the destruction and the dying, and the intense irritation – seems to me to reflect something about Second Life; much loved and frequently infuriating, its demise is also frequently signposted … but is it always what it seems?
Recently, the news came out that the number of Main Grid regions has dropped below 28, 000. Oh noes! As recently as April 2012 they were above 30,000. Surely this slow decline marks the approaching demise of Second Life?
Well, up to a point, Lord Copper. Numbers of Main Grid regions are dropping – but they have been significantly lower before (and not just before the late 2006 boom). They were below 28,000 from the beginning of 2009 until late June 2009, when they began to grow again, despite the real world economic downturn (and post the Open Space debacle). Maybe this is “The Beginning of the End”(TM), or maybe it is a start of year blip.
The New Year is bringing in many changes, and some departures. But it is also bringing in new opportunities and new ventures which can be rather exciting.
For example, Alchemy Immortalis will be closing their open regions – news that has saddened many of their fans. However, that sadness is tempered with the fact that freeing Alchemy and Immortalis from managing bed and breakfasts will allow them more time to concentrate on creating new and exciting products for the store and other projects.
Oh, and the patisserie remains the Ultimate Place in Second Life for lunch with discerning girlfriends – and you can pick up amazing recipes there too that you can cook in real life!
Sadly, Armada Breakway, that fantastic region of floating pirate ships and improbable airships all lashed together, will be closing shortly, but I understand that the active pirates there will be heading off for a new home in the Blake Sea. I look forward (with some trepidation) to learning what they will be getting up to there.
In other news, Gabrielle Riel, the well-known owner of Radio Riel, is ending her ownership of the New Toulouse estate.
For the past four years, Gabi has been the owner of New Toulouse, an area with the look and feel of New Orleans back at the turn of the century. Now she feels that it is time to move on … but she hasn’t finished with community management; she is just ready for a new theme! The estate of New Toulouse has been sold (as it was once before – to Gabi!) and will continue, supplying a home and a commercial location for all those who like the Louisana feel and music.
And Gabi will develop her mysterious – and very beautiful new community, around the regions of Witchport, Witchwoods and Cairntaigh.
Similarly, the ground level of Cerridwen’s Cauldron – surely one of the most beautful regions in Second Life – will shortly be closing, something that will make a lot of its fans very sad.
But that sadness is mitigated by the news that Elicio Ember, the Cauldron’s owner and creator, is closing it so that he can undertake a complete rebuild of the ground level – something that many people are excited to see.
And if you do suffer withdrawal symptoms from missing the ground level of the Cauldron (which hasn’t closed yet, so do go and see it!), there is still the temple level to explore.
And there’s the glorious Calas Galadhon estate. Closed for the whole of January – I had some very worried emails about that! – but, hap[pily, just for a complete overhaul and redesign - which the owners are very excited about. We're planning to show that on Designing Worlds in the near future.
But there are problems. Some are projects coming to an end – the closure of the Swedish Embassy, for example.
And there was the threatened closure of Arcachon – a lovely Francophone region which I wrote about the other day. The good news is that the word about it got out – people went and donated, and raised enough money to give the region another month of life. But whether that can be extended is a moot point.
So go and enjoy the beauties of Second Life that are going … and look forward to those that are to come. Shine, perishing Second Life.