Monday, November 17, 2008

Josie's goodbye

JB Barnstormer left us. A day of sadness for those who knew this wonderful, soft and caring lady and thought her presence an enrichment for the Pearl. Things change, however and after having convinced lady Hagar that chains were out of the question, a party was held in her honour to wave her goodbye. She presented this letter to everyone

Thank you for coming here today to wish me well. I had considered this move for several months. Second Life, like Real Life, generates priorities, relationships, duties and desires for change. Recent events in my second life have only sharpened my desire to explore in other directions in SL.
Shortly after arriving in second Life, I applied to Club Pearl, and in particular to Chel Crimson and Vlad Opus for a job as an Escort.
At the time, there here two jobs, Hostess and Escort in Pearl. Recently, I looked at the picture of me as a newbie in SL. And as I appeared to Chel.
Frightening. But I got a new skin, a shape, some hair, some clothing.
And of course, at the time, being an Escort at Pearl meant you received a cute red, black, blue or green dress – mini length, with petticoats. I miss that outfit – I know that we are more authentic now. The clothing each of us buys is truly beautiful, but there was a certain freedom of spirit that the original Pearl outfits gave us.
While I served in Pearl, I began to make friends, and that is what I treasure most about Pearl Club. When I returned to SL after a year’s absence, I met Agile Innis, a funny, sexy woman who had been a fine friend in the original Pearl. There are many other women who have given intelligence and energy to Pearl, but I want only to mention a few who have made Pearl what it is: the club owners and the madames, past and present.
Bella is a warm and funny woman who always is ready to offer help, support and a great laugh – a wicked an playful sense of humour.
SuzeeQ Cazelet has been my BFF since I rejoined Pearl in February. Not only quick-witted and entertaining, she has been a pillar of support for me in my various romantic escapades – and then points out to me what a silly goose I have been. I love her like a sister.
Anske Beattie, who is famous for her high spirited romp through the garden, has become the heart and soul of Pearl. Always friendly, Anske is one of those persons who spreads happiness, laughter and good cheer wherever she goes. Where most people greet you with a “Hi” or “Hello”, Anske always shouts “Hiiieeeeee!!!!! Josie!!!!! Schatje – how are youuuu!!!!!!” Were it not for the exclamation mark key on the computer, Anske might be rendered almost entirely speechless.
Lady Hagar Qinan, with Bella, an owner of Pearl, is a scientist who also possesses a quality that I deem essential to in all worthy humans – she laughs at my jokes. Her dedication to the success of Pearl is without equal. Hagar manipulates and controls SL and its many odd features with ease.
One of the most beautiful women in SL, Hagar’s business-like demeanour may occasionally conceal the warm, passionate woman who is able to leave me laughing so hard I can barely type. Hagar is also one to whom you can turn in time of need. One night quite late, I found Hagar online at about 3:30 am Holland time. Most of the Euro crew had long before departed for the night, but there was Hagar, hanging in to be present at an important event for one of her friends. Hagar has won my personal gratitude and friendship for the kindness to me and understanding whe has shown me.
Other men and women of have also become good and true friends. These persons have been unfailing in their kindness, sense of humour, cultural interests and dedication to the principle of a gloriously sensual life within a decorous shell of culture, manners and formal appreciation of the human condition.
JP, who set a record bidding in a mock slave auction, is also a reliable movie critic and nice guy. AP not only appreciates the women of Pearl, he possesses a keen love of poetry and the arts. SB, so kind and courteous, so often entertained me with stories of life in the world of networking and information technology infrastructure. An animal lover, his heart has recently been captured by a Labrador Retriever. If only he would scratch me behind the ears with the same dedication. FB long helped provide stability to Pearl Club. He is the last person in the world to grab the spotlight, yet he provides kindness and thoughtful appreciation to the club and its activities. CS I never grew to know very well – except that he always seemed to win the sailing race with Lady Hagar. You may have heard my muttering about a Low Countries cabal, but the truth is the he always supports the club and its activities – so of course he becomes an expert sailor. Finally, Chiron Winkler – he never joined Pearl, but he has offered his consulting services on several occasions and also became a really good friend.
My point int this ramble? Pearl has given me friendships I wold otherwise have missed out on completely. I will miss Pearl greatly, but it is time to move on.
Thank you to all of you for your goodness, kindness and affection – each one of you holds a special place in my heart.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Great Land Crunch

Many of you must have heard by now : Linden labs increased its purchase and maintenance fees (tier) on OpenSpace (OS) sims by a hefty 60%. If buying land was far from your mind thus far : OS sims offered the space of a full sim and 3750 building units (prims) instead of the full 15.000 for a very interesting price; tier fees were 75 US$ a month which made it an interesting product for several purposes : themed simgroups, like Antiquity or the famous sailing sims of Nantucket used them to create a large estate for a bearable cost. Land barons used them to rent out private islands. With the Pearl having been through 2 unanounced estate sales and Bella and I becoming nervous as the sims of the new estate remained eerily empty, unrented and thus unprofitable for the new owners, the propect of having an OS sim became very attractive indeed.
Praise the Lord we didn't succumb to the temptation.
while the old OS fees would have meant an increase in monthly tier, it would have been feasable; the new fees are simply impossible to cough up. Unfortunately, this is not only the case for us, a lot of estate owners are now taking a daily asprin dose against the headaches of trying to cope with the enormous maintenance cost. Selling surplus sims is tempting, but not exactly easy, as just about everybody is trying to do the same thing. It is possible to convert 4 OS sims to a single standard one, if one has enough OS sims. If all else fails, abandoning the sim is the only option. In short : the grid is becoming smaller. Very fast.
As we are based on a standard sim, we are not directly endangered by such actions. As the renting malaise in standard sims is largely caused by OS sims seemingly being a better deal, we might even hope that the land crunch will bring renters back to standard rentals.
Antiquity seems to be hit severely. After the initial shock ebbed away, a plan was devised to save the estate from finantial ruin. If the plan is executed as portrayed, the present 30+ sims will slink to around 20, maybe less. I am not well informed about what is going on elsewhere, but this article in the Herald makes an estimate (and I pledge a tear on the loss of the Paris 1900 sims, which are featured in my picks and holds some special memories) .
Many have questioned the motives, or even the good sense of the Lindens in making this decision. While questioning some other person's brain capacity is a favourite passtime of mine, I must grudgingly admit that this article , also in the Herald is one of the few that gave me the impression that I understood some of the rationales.
In the mean time we all hope that our sim will not be "rationalized" and we kicked out unceremoniously as I am not sure how the rents will evolve over the folowing months.

Hide and Seek

The Australians amongst us were complaining since time memorial that, with most events being aimed at Europe and the US, they had to be put on a coffee diet in order to attend one. The remark is justified of course, but I then returned the sally by explaining that Lady Bella and I weren't going to be caffeinated either , in order to organize an event in another timeslot. For a long time this ended in an unproductive stalemate and nothing happened.
But finally, with the arrival of more ladies akin to the Aussie timezone, boldness increased and a suggestion was made for an event. I was pleased to see that it was an original idea and not a "second session" of an event that already took place in the Atlantic timeslot. Not that that would have been a bad thing, but it is always best not to worry whether things are done "the right way".
And so the ladies Shashasha and Tania, with the staunch support and guidance of our maid Kington, embarked on a terra incognita, and found two gentlemen more than eager to join them.
The rules were simple : the ladies would hide on the premises of the Pearl and the gentlemen would strain themselves to find them. Once found, the lady had to shed a piece of her dress.
After that : rinse and repeat.
Because of its repetitive nature, I was a bit concerned that the partaking gentlemen would get bored, especially with Victorian dress code in the way of nature's glories. This did not turn out to be so, as evidenced by the substratum of cloth I discovered when I came in later that day. Learning that the entire exfoliation took place in less than an hour, until there was nothing more to shed, I had to conclude that both gentlemen -one hampered by a rubber duck , it seems- were enthusiasts indeed. In a moment of vicious glee I wanted to jumble up the wardrobe items and watch the ladies milling about, but it appeared that such a thing was unnecessary; the company had set up a nice illustration of the Erlang distribution (maybe Chi Square, didn't check too thoroughly). I don't know how the ladies managed, but the clothes were effectively reclaimed soon afterwards.
Judging from the empy bottles and broken glassware, the event was also sufficiently lubricated. it was a miracle, but none of the shards had the distinct red coloration that would suggest an unfortunate mishap, so i guess it is true that there is a special (and very sober) angel for the inebriated. I understood that Lady Pearl had the ladies lined up for questioning, as could be expected after a possible breach of the behaviour code, but a wisper in her ear set things soon to right.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Holland's Leager

The previous entry, though written from the top of my mind gave me a taste of history, so I decided to try my hand at it again, and at a similar subject. We are a brothel (yes, ok, a Gentlemen's Club AND brothel) , so why not write something about great Houses from the past ?
No such dissertation would be complete without "Holland's Leager". The House was acquired around 1600 by a woman calling herself "Donna Britannica Hollandia" (but also Dame Elizabeth Holland) , presumably because she wanted to advertise the fact that she was a Flemish Madame, i.e skilled at running a brothel. The lady was said to have been a beauty herself, and in possession of a "strong and imperious character". She was very protective of her girls and would not tolerate unruly behaviour.
The House, situated at the southern banks of London, was more than a mansion; it was nothing less than a fortified island, with ditches, a moat, a drawbridge , a portcullis and who knows what else. The woodcut shown supposedly is very near to the real thing. The house also seems to have boasted nice gardens, on the other hand, so once in, it must have been nice. Any visitors had to pass "Cerberus", the drawbridge guard, and pay an entry fee. If they misbehaved after entering the premises, they were summarily thrown into the ditch. Aside from that, visitors seem to have been treated with respect for their person and wishes.
Around 1631 the lease on the house seems to have been acquired by other persons, who subsequently tried to drive her out by manipulating a yearly event, basically a riot by the apprentices, hoping that the druken, unruly lot would destroy the house. Some damage was suffered, but the house still stood afterwards. After that they blackened the name of the establishment , resulting in the authorities sending in armed troops to arrest Dame Holland. It didn't end well for them. They were halfway the drawbridge, when Holland ordered its collapse, landing the hapless soldiers into the stinking moat, after which the girls pelted them with everything that came to hand, including chamberpots. The soldiers, watched from a distance by the gleeful southwark mob, subsequently tried several times to enter the house, but to no avail.
Eventually, the formidable lady had to submit to better organized assaults. Holland's fame was immortalized in song, as can be found at this spot (very nice music, by the way), where a soldier spends his possesions in his dallying with the girls. Another song's lyrics can be found here (where I also found the woodcut).

most of the information presented here is from
J.L. Simon's "A place for Pleasure",
J .A Browner's article in Essays in History vol 36, "Wrong Side of the River: London's disreputable South Bank in the sixteenth and seventeenth century" , see
"The borough of Southwark manors " , see

Sunday, November 9, 2008


I have been cajoled for several weeks now by an unnamed gentleman, who seems bent on proving that women, heaven forbid, have feelings beyond the generally accepted romantic ones. His main concern seems to be that Lady Hagar's decision to take a vacation from escorting will be a lasting one. His argument being that the lady loves the work too much and wil return to normal soon enough.
It is not up to me to go into Lady Hagar's private life and her reasons for such a decision. Likewise, I wil not endeavor to sojourn into the dangerous waters of the lady's apetites and make predictions. It does make sense to ponder on the hart of the matter though. Do women in the Young Queen's days like the procreative act ?
Often, the opinion that they don't is illustrated with a quote, ostensibly from a lady that gave this as advice to her freshly married and frightened daughter : "lay back and think of England". Unfortunately, there is no diary, letter, book or article that can be named as source for this quote and the earliest evidence suggests general use -in mockery or earnest- after Victoria's reign. In addition, as can be evidenced from Hagar's republication of the original 1879 Pearl Magazine, it seems that at least some men accepted and expected women to favour the carnal activities.
Also, sexual morals were different from person to person and also throughout the century. The outspoken freedom of the regency period probably triggered a period of reticence afterwards, but the 19th century also had its roaring 60'ies, and the 90'ies were a period with conflicting ideas. The great discussions seemed to have revolved on masturbation (as eagerly described in all details as it was denounced, as it was supposed to cause a wide range of ills) and prostitution, which changed from acceptance as a fact of life to open persecution from the 1840's onwards. By the 1870'ies, the Social Purity movement succeeded in banning indecent theatrical displays, which says more about what went on before as the largest tract on the subject. In all this disease was the central argument, as intercourse itself seems to have been regarded as natural, as evidenced from diaries of the period.
Recently, some data was published (in Dutch, I'm afraid) on behaviour of women inside virtual worlds. 1093 women that frequented virtual worlds were questioned. 54% had flirted at least once, even though they had a steady RL relationship and most of them (64%) consider a virtual escapade as infidelity. Women often (50%) prefer to keep their affairs secret for their partner and apparently most men do not bother to check, as it is the women that delve into the histories of their partner's cell phones and browsers.

The Halloween Ball

It seems that I am cursed. I already get the more awkward visitors to entertain, a consequence of being one of the owners I guess. All the while the sane ones engage in other pursuits, obviously thinking I have too odd tastes. The punishement for my sins is also extended to inappropriate internet problems , however, leaving me high and dry at moments I least want it. This made me miss the start of our Halloween ball and, as I wasn't there to nag, this resulted in the Grand March being broomed quietly onder the grass carpet. By the time I finally made my entrance, visitors were too drunk by far to get them into a queue, so I made no further attempt to promote some Victorian culture. Alas, but not to worry. I will terrorize the participants of another ball.

Our lady Anske had prepared well, sprinkling otherwordly oddities all over the garden (and in the ballroom of the house as well) to promote the right ambience. I was glad the two conical house spirits were duly banned shortly after being let loose though, as they pestered me to no end in the days that preceded the event. Fortunately they put each visitor on a par, including the owner of the wretches, who subsequently sent them back to purgatory.

The gents I noticed came as vampire, inappropriate diver and mad scientist. The girls picked some variation of the Gothic girl , except for Anske , who opted for the demonic, fire wings and all. Myself, I picked the evil witch look, with scary wolf eyes, but later querying amongst the male portion of merrymakers revealed that this detail passed their notice , their eyes dwelling more in the depths of my neckline.
One of these gentlemen was thus engrossed in the subject, that he mumbled something about the beauty of my blue eyes when prompted to shift his weight of my foot, so I decided to reward his fish-eyeing with a more appropriate shape shift.

Lord H gracefully braved my dangerous mood afterwards and passed considerable time dancing with me (It was I who stepped on his foot). Lord S , as ever, showered his graces by dancing with as much girls as he could lay his hands on, hereby hampered by the costumes he had chosen. I assume that the brain we found afterwards was his (well, not his, but his property, I mean).

Lady Anske, in the mean time, had a meeting with Death, who turned out to like her too, fueling the jealousy of the other women present, who already think her charms are way too effective as they are, without her getting gifts from Death as well. It was suspected that the untimely disappearance of Lady Bella had been the original pursuit of Death, but the lady appeared later in full health and the subsequent deshabillement of the merrymakers proved that Death had too much live flesh to be the real thing.