Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Guys' Guise

Lately I've been making an effort to attend live music performances in Second Life. SL has a fairly busy live music scene, typically with several shows happening somewhere in-world every hour…and that's not counting innumerable live DJs at clubs or other events. (No musician-v-DJ snobbery intended.)

As one might expect, the quality of inworld musicianship varies widely. Some performers are earnest amateurs essentially performing karaoke with canned music tracks: most sing, but a few play instruments along. Others are serious amateurs and semi-pros who can put on a good show, and a handful of performers are honest-to-goodness professionals (or good enough to pass for same). Some perform solo, while others play or sing along to pre-recorded music tracks; many of the pros and semi-pros play to backing tracks they've created themselves, rather than relying on canned material. Genres are all over the map: I've attended shows featuring everything from funk to acoustic country to pub songs to spacey synth-driven trip-hop to shred metal to singer-songwriters to progressive jazz…and, truly, I've only started to sample some of what SL's music scene has to offer. Eventually, I'll probably try to write up some of my favorite performers, because there are performers in Second Life who are very much worth hearing.

But one aspect of my experience in Second Life's live music scene seems oddly consistent: boys just randomly IM me. It's almost as bad as hanging around an infohub. I don't know if it's unusual for female avatars to turn up at music shows unescorted or what, but at almost every show I attend a male avatar will send me an unprovoked instant message—sometimes several. Believe me, I've done my time in live music venues in real life, and I do not get chatted up in real life—even alone and unescorted—to anywhere near the degree I get hit on in SL. Some of these are quite innocuous (perhaps the performer's manager or a venue owner is asking if I'd like to join a group) and some are purely procedural—folks who arrived after me sometimes ask if I know where a tip jar is, or whether there's a problem with the audio stream. A few even (gasp!) talk about the music! All of which is absolutely fine, and I'm proud to count some of the people I've met this way as my SL friends.

But some are just creepy. I default to being polite to everybody in SL, but lately I've been trying to shut down conversations before they wander off into super-creepy territory.

At a music event where a griefer attacked the performer and several members of the audience (thus, the reason I was desperate for a seat):

RandomGuy1: careful on that wall
Lou Netizen: had to find somewhere to sit ;)
RandomGuy1: i wouldn't want that pretty face on the cement below
Lou Netizen: 'preciate the concern - but I've fallen from 2,000m today
Lou Netizen: hardly left a mark :)
RandomGuy1: perhaps you need to be checked by a doctor
RandomGuy1: head injuries may go un detected
Lou Netizen: or might be indistinguishable from pre-existing conditions ;)
RandomGuy1: true
RandomGuy1: which ones do you know about?
Lou Netizen: well, there's the tendency to talk to strangers
Lou Netizen: and the useles information that spills out at inopportune moments
Lou Netizen: and that I'm apparently a griefer magnet
RandomGuy1: did you break someones heart?
Lou Netizen: not so far as I know :0
RandomGuy1: oh there are a lot of things you don't do in sl i see
Lou Netizen: one or two :)
RandomGuy1: such a list on your profile
RandomGuy1: might even stop a guy from trying to catch your attention
Lou Netizen: really?

These are more typical: for some reason people think if your avatar isn't dancing, there's something wrong. Sadly, these represent my more typical responses these days: blunt, to the point of rude:

RandomGuy2: How cum you aren't dancin?
Lou Netizen: Lou doesn't dance
RandomGuy2: why is that
Lou Netizen: it always ends in heartache
RandomGuy2: it doens't have to
RandomGuy2: dont sit by yourself
Lou Netizen: you're right. sometimes it ends with a trip to the police station
RandomGuy2: o_0

RandomGuy3: lou why u not happy?
Lou Netizen: Well, there's the lag. But who says I'm not happy?
RandomGuy3: you look sad
Lou Netizen: I'm not sad, the poseball just makes me look that way
RandomGuy3: so why sit there
Lou Netizen: did I mention the lag?
RandomGuy3: you should be happy
RandomGuy3: we could go somewhere else
Lou Netizen: technically that is true
Lou Netizen: but then I wouldn't be able to write in my blog about you

Others are immediately creepy:

RandomGuy4: hi baby
RandomGuy4: where are you from baby b
Lou Netizen laughs
Lou Netizen: I'm from here.
RandomGuy4: yes riht
RandomGuy4: lets go somewhere we can talk baby
Lou Netizen: We're not talking now?
RandomGuy4: somewhere nicer
Lou Netizen looks around
Lou Netizen: this place seems nice
RandomGuy4: you know what I mean
Lou Netizen: likely. but do you know what *I* mean?

And others are just a little odd:

RandomGuy5: you have a lovely face
RandomGuy5: well done
RandomGuy5: smiles
Lou Netizen: I don't deserve credit tho- I didn't make the skin
RandomGuy5: oh
RandomGuy5: nice
RandomGuy5: wonders
RandomGuy5: as a man would
RandomGuy5: the skin is about as lovely as I have seen
RandomGuy5: but also you seem to be a particular type of person
Lou Netizen: two legged? female? smartassed? ;)
RandomGuy5: sophisticated
RandomGuy5: haha
RandomGuy5: some body who has something to say
Lou Netizen: I mentioned smartass, right? :)

I'm starting to understand that people don't go to live music shows just for music: they also go to people-watch. But I can't imagine the attention the amazon barbies get if even little innocuous Lou is getting hit up all the time.


  1. The lag at some of the live events is so bad I wish they had a no-dancing no-hair no-ao's rule :)

  2. I've been at a few well-attended shows with bad lag...and one so well-attended that I couldn't TP back in after a relog because the sim was full. But the worst lagging incidents have been caused by (yup) griefers. I followed one griefer to three different music events, reporting him at every one as he dropped vulgar particle spammers, etc. I'd like to think I contributed to the Lindens shutting down his account in only a few minutes.

  3. They have some shows that require no prims or they will boot you. Someone was telling me she went with her hair on and they made her take it off. heheh

    And i love live music in sl, one of my favorite things, but I am definetly a people watcher at those events also. And I never really respond to random IM's especially if they seem creepy.

  4. Never been somewhere that required everyone be prim-free—closest would be the Buccaneer Bowl, which rewards people for low ARCs. If I popping into a concert and got told I had to remove attachments, I think my polite response would be a no-thank-you and a departure. Although if I really wanted to hear the show, I'd snag the music stream URL before I left, maybe listen via iTunes or something.


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