Category Archives: Uncategorized

The Importance of being Earnest – Weds 26th June 2013 – 1230 SLT| 2130 Italian time

Reading together: Wednesday 26th June 2013
2130-2215 Italian time | 2030-2115 UK time | 1230-1315 SL time|
Italian Mood, Second Life (IM me for a TP if you get lost!)

You are invited to join us to continue a play-reading of ‘The Importance of being Earnest’ by Oscar Wilde.  We will start from the middle of Act I.

– When you arrive, click on the box for a text which has been divided into ‘sections’, or use the google doc link.
– Feel free to take part or to listen.
– If speaking, ideally use an integrated headset/microphone to avoid echo, and switch off your microphone when not involved.
– Period costumes optional.

Karelia Costume 1890


Imagine – Musica in Classe – Tuesday 9th April 2013

Musica in Classe: Tuesday 9th April 2013
2130-2200 Italian time | 2030-2100 UK time | 1230-1300 SL time|
Italian Mood, Second Life (IM me for a TP if you get lost!)

I visited the memorial for John Lennon in Strawberry Fields last week in New York, so let’s sing his haunting song ‘Imagine’on Tuesday. Peace clothing / flowers / gestures welcome but not compulsory.

The Partisan – Musica in Classe – Tuesday 26th February 2013

the partisan_002

Musica in Classe: Tuesday 26th February 2013
2130-2200 Italian time | 2030-2100 UK time | 1230-1300 SL time|
Italian Mood, Second Life (IM me for a TP if you get lost!)

Time for a change from sentimental love songs to something with a bit more ‘substance’. This week: The Partisan, as sung by Leonard Cohen in 1969 on French TV (the year the former member of the French resistance and co-writer of the text, d’Astier died). Partisan clothing optional! (I have bought my first rifle for the occasion!)

We’ll concentrate on the English translation of the verses, but we’ll have a go at the French as well! Thanks as ever to Loris for selecting this song and translating the words so faithfully. But before we get to the words, here are a few links to set the song in context:

Information about Emmanuel d’Astier de La Vigerie (9 January 1900 – 12 June 1969), French journalist, politician and member of the Resistance on Wikipedia.

The original French text of the song La Complainte du partisan

A version of the song with ‘Noir Désir 16 Horsepower’ (thanks to Calliope for this link)

Joan Baez’ version with a great set of pictures

….. and last, but not least, here are the words:

The Partisan
Leonard Cohen

When they poured across the border
I was cautioned to surrender,
this I could not do;
I took my gun and vanished.
Quando attraversarono a frotte il confine
mi dissero di arrendermi,
non potevo farlo;
presi la pistola e mi dileguai.

I have changed my name so often,
Yes, I’ve lost my wife and children
but I have many friends,
and some of them are with me. With me out there now.
Ho cambiato nome così spesso,
si, ho perso moglie e figli
ma ho molti amici,
e alcuni di loro sono con me. Con me là fuori ora.

An old woman gave us shelter,
kept us hidden in the garret,
then the soldiers came;
she died without a whisper.
Una vecchia ci offrì rifugio,
ci tenne nascosti nella soffitta,
poi i soldati arrivarono;
morì senza un sussurro.

There were three of us this morning
I’m the only one this evening
but I must go on;
these frontiers are my prison.
Eravamo in tre questa mattina
sono l’unico rimasto questa sera
ma devo andare avanti;
queste frontiere sono la mia prigione.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows. I mean these shadows.
Oh, il vento, il vento soffia,
tra le tombe il vento soffia,
presto arriverà la libertà;
allora usciremo dall’ombra. Dall’ombra

Les Allemands étaient chez moi,
on m’a dit “résigne-toi”,
mais je n’ai pas pu;
j’ai repris mon arme.
I tedeschi erano da noi,
mi dissero, “Arrenditi”,
ma non potei;
ripresi la mia arma.

J’ai changé cent fois de nom,
j’ai perdu femme et enfant
mais j’ai tant d’amis;
j’ai la France entière.
Ho cambiato nome cento volte
ho perso la donna e i figli
ma ho tanti amici;
ho la Francia intera.

Un vieil homme dans un grenier
pour la nuit nous a cachés,
les Allemands l’ont pris;
il est mort sans surprise.
Un vecchio, in soffitta
per la notte ci ha nascosto,
i tedeschi l’hanno preso;
è morto senza sorpresa.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows. Oh, these shadows.
Oh, il vento, il vento soffia,
tra le tombe il vento soffia,
presto arriverà la libertà,
allora usciremo dall’ombra. Oh dall’ombra.

Oh, the wind, the wind is blowing,
through the graves the wind is blowing,
freedom soon will come;
then we’ll come from the shadows. I mean these shadows.
Oh, il vento, il vento soffia,
tra le tombe il vento soffia,
presto arriverà la libertà,
allora usciremo dall’ombra. Dall’ombra.

Tears in Heaven, Eric Clapton – Musica in Classe, Tuesday 3rd July 2012

I love this song by Eric Clapton and look forward to singing it. I cannot possibly do justice to the acoustic guitar accompaniment, but will try my best to play the chords!

Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven?
Would it be the same If I saw you in heaven?
I must be strong and carry on
 ‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven
Would you hold my hand If I saw you in heaven?
Would you help me stand If I saw you in heaven?
 I’ll find my way through night and day
‘Cause I know I just can’t stay here in heaven
Time can bring you down, time can bend your knees
Time can break your heart, have you begging please, begging please
Beyond the door there’s peace I’m sure
And I know there’ll be no more tears in heaven
Would you know my name If I saw you in heaven?
Would you feel the same If I saw you in heaven?
 I must be strong and carry on
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven
‘Cause I know I don’t belong here in heaven

Machinevo 2012




In 2012, a small group of language teachers, (all of whom I already knew through the lively SLexperiments group*) organised a project with the aim of learning how to make videos in Second Life which could be used for language learning.  Heike Philp / Gwen Gwasi was our enthusiastic and lively overall coordinator! Over 5 weeks, various sessions were arranged when we could meet up to build up knowledge, skills and experience.

*wiki here: *ning page within Avalon here:


I had already had some experience of Machinimas which had awakened my interest in making films and their application to language learning.

(1) 2 years ago, the ‘Italianiamo’ group led by the wonderful, imaginative, talented and creative Anna Begonia made the film ‘Il marito della Parucchiere’. ‘The hairdresser’s husband’ [see link below] Her guiding principle was to make the experience as collaborative and  immersive as possible

  • Anna set us the task of thinking up the characters, the storyline
  • As learners, we were guided to produce a storyline .. as we spoke possible lines,  Anna wrote the script in perfect Italian and passed us the script in the form of ‘notecards’
  •  Learners practised the scripts, sometimes in small groups, sometimes together
  • Anna filmed the scenes and later edited them
  • Anna organised a film ‘début’ .. the actors and their guests experienced the red carpet treatment of a beautiful outside cinema and received Oscars!

Part 1:

Part 2:

A second film which we tried to put together did not reach its conclusion.  Possible reasons: (a) unreliability of participants (difficulty of continuity if the actors do not attend session regularly) (b) difficulty in agreeing on a storyline .. the desire to include everyone’s ideas led to a very complicated plot!

(2) I had tried out Fraps . . I filmed a short interview with Marisolde and was delighted to discover that it was possible to capture all elements of SL: images, voice, music and text.  I then edited them through Windows Movie Maker and added overlay text.

(3) I went to a machinima workshop held by SEGfL (Spouth East Grid for Learning) with my pupils.  The tutor took time to show people how to use the camera controls and how to frame pictures.  (3 techniques: having points of interest on the intersection of ‘thirds’; stressing the ’diagonal’ or having an unusual angle).  We used Fraps and started to write a storyboard.  Our intention is to make a film to which we can then add subtitles and soundtracks in various languages.

(4) I watched the beautiful machinimas created by Natasha Randt for Arcachon (link below) and joined a Skype group call to read aloud a script recorded by Cyber which was later added to the video made by Natasha.

Natasha’s film: Arcachon virtual French institute:

Film introducing Arcachon – go to end [1:12] to see the role play in the bakery:

(5) I had used video editing software e.g., Windows Movie Maker for a film bringing in stills, video and audio as illustrated in this film where I enthuse about using SL for  language learning:


The process benefits I would outline of the project are:

(1) Training

Working within a time-limited project gave us the impetus to give SL training a priority in our schedules . I would not have got around to doing this had it not been for the project)

The collaborative experience developed knowledge and skills of working together online.  We used a range of technology for communication (email, wiki, SL, dropbox, google docs) and I volunteered myself as group leader!  It really helped that I already knew the people I was working with … in fact, I had met Dev, Claire, DeeSnow and Cheminot already in ‘real life’ and felt I knew Amandina Patch and Marius very well through SL.  The technical requirements developed knowledge and skills of software and processes (e..g Fraps, Roxio VideoWave, Windows movie maker)

I made contacts with ‘experts’ in the field to whom I feel I can go in future with questions.  I would particualrly commend Carol Rainbow (Carolrb Roux in SL) who gave us all many hours of her expert advice and patience.  You are a star Carol!

I have made a note of all my ‘learning points’ in another document entitled ‘the process of making a video in SL’.  It is  a  also a google doc.  I have uploaded it here.

(2)  Linguistic

The project gave an authentic context for working with people who speak different languages.   I got to know native speakers in Arcachon even better as a result of the work; they were able to correct the transcripts to make them even more accurate and authentic

(3) Social

The process was fun – we laughed a great deal in the training and filming sessions, and the whole experience sealed our friendships!


Here is a link to the play list which includes the four videos (and Rosavioletta’s Italian film at the end!)

I am aware that the resulting ‘product’ is not perfect.  The product is ‘OK’ and I have shown it in class …but could be greatly improved .. the sound is uneven .. some of the movements are ‘jerky’ .. the background music is perhaps a little too loud HOWEVER showing it to my students has given them a model and the incentive to do better!  I look forward to wrting a post about their work soon!

Season’s Greetings 2011!

Karelia Greetings 1

Decisions, decisions.  Do I write the blog, or do I engage in Second Life?  As you can see by the long gaps between posts, I usually decide to go and talk/do rather than stay and write!  However, I aim to write just a bit more next year!

Karelia Greetings 2011 (2)

So, just time now to say ‘SEASON’S GREETINGS’ and a big THANK YOU to everyone for making SL such an enjoyable, fun place to be and to post a link to the images I inserted into my first proper Greetings Card!  Very self-indulgent pictures .. but it was fun to do!  You click on the card, it opens, and pink particles stream out!  (If somehow I have missed you out and you want one, please let me know!!)

Karelia Xmas 2011 (3)

And I cannot resist saying an extra special thank you to SL friends I met in RL last week in Paris… une journée/soirée/matinee inoubliable!!!!

La Galerie Tournicoton


Aerial view of the Tournicoton Gallery

Tournicoton Gallery

 2 Flickr sets for the Tournicoton Gallery:

The Gallery;Fleurs de Vie

I don’t know how I have missed out on seeing the work of Mariaka Nishi and Anathaniel Gausman while in Second Life. I am so pleased that last December my dear Arcachon friends alerted me to a tour.

A Blog summarising Mariaka’s work is here:
I had the privilege of spending a couple of hours being led through a gallery featuring their work by the artists themselves. Pictures uploaded to my Flickr account are here
The slurl for the gallery is here

Angel's ladder

The highlight of the tour was being led ‘heavenwards’ up a spiral ladder  (builder: Frao Ra)  punctuated by Mariaka’s writings and pictures, then finally walking out on to la jetée de rêves (Builder: Anathaniel Gausman) from which we saw a final ‘film’ telling the story of how 2 artists who had worked closely together in SL met finally in RL.

A blog gives a beautiful account here
And the slurl is here.

Fleurs de Vie


Thanks so much to Mariaka for sending me an invitation to a special walk-through of her exhibit ‘Fleurs de Vie’ [Flowers of Life] (Builders:  Cherry Manga, Naastik Rau & Frao Ra) which was filmed in order to be shown as a series of three films at Mérignac multimedia library on 4th March.  See the blog entry here.

As people arrived at the welcome area here we greeted each other and chatted, and I accepted a synchronised ‘dance’ from Medora Chevalier with several others which delighted me! Thanks also to Josina Burgess .. a very talented designer . who generously gave me an outfit after spotting that I was a little out of place in jeans and engineering boots!

It was again a real privilege to hear Mariaka describe her work . I just love listening to her French! I have uploaded lots of photos to the photostream. Apologies that they are rather Karelia-centred .. that’s the down-side of dancing and emitting coloured bubbles. . I was sometimes rather too immersed!

The work is simply AMAZING .. a .multi-layered mixture of sketches .. photos .. words . .. all housed in an attractive 3D space which was largely pink (my favourite, naturally!).

It was lovely to meet Mariaka’s friends and associates .. I so enjoyed the after-show ‘banter’. Anathaniel posed for a photo next to his RL photo ..[I visited his exhibition last month .. stunning … Flickr set here …]]  and YannMinh’s diving suit [scaphandre] was incredible… click on it (if you have Viewer 2) and you see his webcam! As a result of taking to Coulaut Menges, I have now discovered the innovative work of OperaBis, and look forward to attending my first ever inworld opera next month. Deserving of a separate blog entry, but I cannot resist drawing attention here to the special project which allowed a teenager in a sterile hospital ward to be able to feel part of an opera audience through SL projected onto the wall in his ward.

Mariaka Nishi, l'artiste

So .. all in all, a great evening enjoying art and friendship .. essential elements of ‘fleurs de vie’.