Monday, 31 March 2008

Richard Hawley on Mute

Although I had read about Richard Hawley having a place in Second Life, not being an avid fan, I hadn't actually bothered to seek it out. But as it happens, Fate seems to have decided that I would pay a visit, as I bumbled into it by my usual method of random rambling.

Richard Hawley, for those who need a nudge or otherwise, is a former member of The Longpigs and Pulp, and is now a highly acclaimed singer/songwriter and all-round-muso. He can also lay claim to membership of that coveted club of Illustrious Yorkshiremen, being a proud son of the Former Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire: Sheffield. For reasons that escape me, Mr Hawley is inordinately popular with both critics and fellow musicians. Personally, I can take him or leave him... and really I'd prefer to do the latter. But I'm happy to accept that this is some bizarre aberration on my part.

But where's the sim? It is actually the (roughly) guitar-shaped island: Mute. It gets its name from Mr Hawley's record label, which it should not surprise you to learn, is also called Mute. Incidentally, while browsing the Mute website, I found it is also home to one of my all-time favourite bands of all-time: Can. [ OK, more accurately, Spoon is their home label - but there is some kind of tie-in ]

The main feature of the sim, as I mentioned, is a guitar-shaped island. The body of the guitar provides the bulk of the action on the sim. Aside from a general littering of Guinness cans, which I take to be a fave tipple of Mr H, and a small beach stage, the only building of any size is a mid-terrace house, numbered "21". I'm afraid I can't place the reference - but if you are a fan, then you probably recognise it. Inside the house you can sit in the nicely-rendered living room and watch a small snippet on TV or - more interestingly - you can explore the jukebox, or the book/DVD shelves. The jukebox has a playable selection of Mr H's musical influences, while the book/DVD shelves give you a view into his reading and viewing tastes. Clicking on them brings up a webpage, which in turn links you to online shopping. There's a kitchen and upstairs, some bedrooms, but not really much else to see. Outside, you can grab a freebie T-shirt from the washing line.

If you want a guitar like Mr H's, proceed to the headstock (the other end of the guitar!) and stump of 1000 L$. Though this price is slashed to a mere 500 L$ if you join the group.

The island has been put together by (or on behalf of?) design company, CoPop, who also have a small office space here. I'm not really too sure what to make of the place. There really isn't that much to keep you engaged and coming back - but if you like his music, then you may get more from the experience. Here's my pics of the site:
UPDATE 01-04-08:
Taken from Comments...
The house numbered '21' is modelled on Mr H's real-life abode in Sheffield (though his real house has a full compliment of walls). There's a few features I missed like the hidden dungeon where you can recreate the cover of 'Lady's Bridge' with your avatar in place of Richard, or the radio which plays Richard's favourite audio streams, or the sink where you can do his washing up, or the Sheffield Wednesday trike which will take you on a hair raising ride to the beach. The guitar too comes with Richard's motion captured hand movements so you play the guitar just like Richard (should you want to of course).

But the sim isn't just about the permanent features. Sometimes Richard plays an impromptu gig on the beach (live audio streaming), again with motion captured movements, and during his recent tour [they] hid 20 golden tickets around the island so that you could go and see him for real.

In the near future they will be giving visitors the chance to download a Second Life only mp3 release, so its worth a return visit. Oh and just for the record it was developed BY Corporation Pop (CoPop) not ON BEHALF of them.

(Thanks for the corrections and updates, Dom)

4 comments:

Vidal Tripsa said...

Hahah, hahah! "Sheffax."

I too fail to be especially enthused by Mr. Hawley's music, but from the many interviews I've seen and heard (I like Jools Holland and live off Radio 2), he seems a very decent fellow. I read your post with an unreserved smile, as it looks pretty nifty. With this and Regina Spektor's attic before it, I'm getting a little bit chuffed at what some musicians are doing. It's nice.

Aleister Kronos said...

Hi Vidal

The texturing and stuff is very good, and there is a deft (and distinctly British) humour about the place. I didn't mention the Tesco bags and other detritus.

I agree, from interviews etc, he seems a jolly decent cove - but I still don't like his music much.

dom said...

Hi Aleister - thanks for the crit. The house numbered '21' is modelled on his real-life abode in Sheffield (though his real house has a full compliment of walls). There's a few features it sounds like you missed like the hidden dungeon where you can recreate the cover of 'Lady's Bridge' with your avatar in place of Richard, or the radio which plays Richard's favourite audio streams, or the sink where you can do his washing up, or the Sheffield Wednesday trike which will take you on a hair raising ride to the beach. The guitar too comes with Richard's motion captured hand movements so you play the guitar just like Richard (should you want to of course). But the sim isn't just about the permanent features. Sometimes Richard plays an impromptu gig on the beach (live audio streaming), again with motion captured movements, and during his recent tour we hid 20 golden tickets around the island so that you could go and see him for real.In the near future we'll be giving visitors the chance to download a Second Life only mp3 release, so its worth a return visit. Oh and just for the record it was developed BY Corporation Pop (CoPop) not ON BEHALF of them. Cheers!

Aleister Kronos said...

Dom

Thanks indeed for the update - and the additional info. In fact, it's so handy, I will grab it and post it as an Update to the original post (as I don't like to see useful stuff languishing in "Comments", where it may never get read).