“Our dreams are a second life.” ~Gerard de Nerval
By Cat Boccaccio.
Here’s a fun thing to try: Pretend you have never even heard of Second Life, let alone toddled along wasting (or not wasting) hours of your time there, and listen to the first episode of the Drax Files Radio Hour podcast, with hosts Draxtor Despres and Jo Yardley. I think the initial response would be similar to that McDonald’s commercial with the incredulous office workers. “Whu?” …”Whuu?” …”Whuuu??”
I loved it.
The podcast, that is. There was something delicious about being familiar with this world and its jargon, and knowing even a little about the ToS uproar, Oculus Rift, the NSA “invasion”, the viewers, the politics, the sims, the avatars, bitcoin, and mesh. It’s like being part of a wonderful secret society. The “whuu?” moments for non-SL persons come near the end of this episode, when Drax interviews several fashion creators for a piece on fitted, or fluid mesh. It’s fascinating to listen to even though I understand possibly every sixth word only, because they are so creative, so technically adept, so enthusiastic, so earnest. But if you know nothing of Second Life, that particular segment would be akin to day one of Hungarian language lessons. (Still, I think an uninitiated listener would gain some understanding of the complexity of Second Life and better understand SL as a forum for fascinating and varied pursuits.)
Episode Two of the Radio Hour focused on the legacy of Osprey Therian; and I just finished listening to Episode Three which, along with an interview with (griefer? bully? comic genius?) Estoban Winsmore, included commentary on topics such as cutting edge augmented reality, Linden Lab’s HTTP Project, and Loki Eliot’s entertaining video documentary about the recent history of virtual reality.
The podcast, commercial-free of course, is well-paced and packs a lot into its one-hour time frame, yet somehow manages to avoid a shallow skimming of the issues. Short in length does not mean lack of depth, thanks to Drax’s very able and professional editing. Jo Yardley, mistress of 1920’s Berlin, is eloquent and knowledgable, and the show buzzes along, smoothly drifting from one topic to the next.
You don’t need to be a highly technical person to enjoy Radio Hour (I’m certainly not), since there are lots of discussions about SL daily life, joys, and annoyances. Because the Radio Hour blog includes links to related videos and articles, you can while away an afternoon or evening learning about various aspects of Second Life and virtual world technology. One suggestion: Some podcasts provide a table of contents of sorts. A list of topics with their approximate time in the broadcast would be very helpful so listeners can skip the stuff they aren’t keen on or have no time for; though I find the hour flies by, and personally wouldn’t want to miss any of it.
Drax Files Radio Hour is aired every Friday, and I highly recommend subscribing to the series via the Apple- and Android- compatible app Stitcher.
Drax also invites the Second Life community to participate by sharing ideas for the podcast, sending original music, commenting, smashing or bashing. Politely, of course!