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Friday, August 31, 2012

Interview with Ocean Radio’s Pippa Emmons. In Memory of Epi Emmons: Memorial Cruise September 1, 2012 11:30am slt

Second Life is an amazing place where your imagination is really the key to an amazing adventure. The things you do and the people you meet become a part of your virtual reality, sometimes even becoming part of your real life. I often meet interesting people from around the world that leave a lasting impression on me and Pippa Emmons is one of them.

I contacted her via IM because I saw notice in the Fruit Islands group about a memorial cruise. I wanted to learn more about it. We got to talking and she shared a story with me.

Pippa met Epi Emmons in Second Life and married him in real life. In March , 2011 he surcombed to brain cancer. Today she has made it her mission to keep his memory alive and help the fight against cancer.

On Saturday September 1, guests of the voyage will set sail in honor of Pippa’s beloved husband, Epi. It is a celebrate life of life for him and others being remembered and is only part of a day’s activities.

Interview with Pippa Emmons

Hi Pippa, it is a pleasure to meet you. What part of the world are you from and what brought you to Second Life?

Hello Lanai, I live in the south east of England, in the Hampshire countryside, about 40 miles from London. I'm an accredited journalist and originally came to Second Life to write an article for a news journal I was doing monthly articles for at the time. When I got involved with various groups and people on Second Life I never did find the time to do that particular article and by then it was probably too personal to my own life for me to wish to share it. Due to my personal circumstances a year later I was no longer able to continue with writing on a regular basis.

Do you see SL as an extension of your real life or a place to escape from the real world?

I have always closely associated with my SL persona. I don't feel you can escape from the real world but you can escape from elements of it. For example, one of the things I treasure about SL is the permanent sunshine which is sadly missing for much of the year in the UK. I also choose to live in a tropical environment which is I suppose where I would like to live in real life if I could. Other than that I think Pippa is very much me and vice versa. I defy anyone to truly escape their personality. For me SL is a kind of social network site with activity which is very hard to define but it's very much more satisfying than for example something such as Facebook. The first time I 'danced' on SL I was hooked. I remember thinking 'wow this is cool'. These days I rarely dance but I do sail and there is something incredibly satisfying about learning to do that and it's not easy believe me, especially if you have never sailed in real life. I have a rich real life, though it's a lot less wonderful without the real life person behind the SL Epi. SL is somewhere I go to meet up with friends and socialise and fund raise for RFL, though I do contribute to other charities in the UK in real life too. I suppose also SL holds certain memories of when I met and first fell in love with Epi, which was the early days of our real life relationship and it's nice to have friends there who remember him and talk to me about him. Some of them had known him longer than me and so there is a part of his history on SL that only they can share with me. Funnily enough not all that long ago I came across a link that Marktwain White and Nber Medici shared of a programme that used to be on SL TV, which they produced, called Sail On. There they are commentating on a yacht race and Epi is taking part in it as well as commentating, I think this was in 2007. I got a huge lump in my throat when I heard it, or rather heard him. That was well before I had ever met him.

What is your role in Second Life?

I'm not sure that I have one particular role. I suppose I consider a lot of what I do in SL to be organisational which is one of my real life strengths. For example this year I was part of the Special Events team for Relay for Life and was lead on Kick Off. It drains me at times because it's emotionally and physically demanding but I lost my father to cancer in 2005 and up until last year I relayed for him. One of the things I do now is work with Marktwain White and Nber Medici who own the Hollywood Estate on SL and who are both incredibly nice people as well as having worked tirelessly for the sailing community on SL. I assist them with the Hollywood Estate and specifically at Starboards Yacht Club and my main role there is event management both sailing and social. Though I defer to others for expertise on the sailing side of things and consider my role purely ideas and organisation.

Tell me a little bit about Ocean Radio and what type of music genre do you play?

Well, Ocean Radio came about when I decided I wanted to have a decent stream of music for the yacht club and found over the years that most of the shout cast streams tend to be one particular genre. Now I don't listen to just one genre in my real life and I felt I could do better. Out of that came Ocean Radio. I just one day got the idea that this was a wonderful way, potentially, to communicate across our community about our events and in general what was going on. I have had amazing feedback from people so I think I must be doing something right. Since I don't do things by half measures I decided to licence the radio for broadcast on the internet so that this was not just some in world stream. It's grown out of all proportion to what I thought and it's a great pleasure to do it though expensive and time consuming. A playlist can take anything from 1-2 days intensively working on it to conform to the legal requirements of my licences. I suppose if I had to nail it down to any one particular genre underlying it all, I would say chill out, both acoustic and electronic, as well as alternative, soft rock, pop and R&B!! No, I'm not sure you can pin me down to a genre and I had to fill that in on Shoutcast and when I did I picked 'mixed'. I've always enjoyed live music on SL and in July I had the pleasure of having the amazing band The Follow come to the Hollywood Bowl and do a gig for Ocean Radio and then we did an interview, both of which went to air throughout August. Ocean Radio broadcasts to the Hollywood Estate, Mango Yacht Club and theatre, Eden Yacht Club and theatre, Helvellyn and the East River Community and the London, Uk sims as well as other private sims and lands. I've only been broadcasting since May but it's spreading slowly but surely.

What is the link for streaming?

The website is and the website immediately opens a flash player so you can listen there any time whether you are in world or not. There is also a shoutcast app for mobile phones which I talk about on the website. As for the ULR for land on SL that is

Are you hiring?

Ocean Radio doesn't have DJs and we wouldn't be able to do request DJ events anyway due to license restrictions but I do have a DJ colleague who is about to do recorded sessions for the radio. So I suppose the answer is no I do the playlists myself with the help of my real life daughter who is also responsible for the website and technical elements of that. Well, let's just say not at the moment but I would be interested in hearing from anyone who wanted to do sessions from time to time but they would have to be able to record them to a high standard. I do have a cloud DJ system now with the ability to schedule but that's not been necessary yet.

The Memorial Cruise is a brilliant idea to get the community involved in such a celebration of Epi’s life. Can you share with me more about this event, who Epi was and what he did for the SL community?

Well first things first; Epi was Epicurus Emmons the SL persona of an incredible human being that I met in early 2009 when I moved to the Sailors Cove Estate and bumped into Fanci Beebe one of the owners of the estate. We got on very well and she suggested to Epi that he contact me as I wanted to do some RFL events for her. He was then the Commodore of the Fishers Island Yacht club which was central to the Sailors Cove Estate. It was only a few days after that we met and I really can't remember the moment between not knowing him and being in love with him because that's sort of blurred for me but we did something neither one of us would ever have thought of and partnered on SL within a few weeks of meeting because our relationship was so intense and real. We used to talk on the phone and on Skype all the time. Ultimately I moved to the Netherlands and we married in real life. Unfortunately, despite my best efforts to help him and with several surgeries and other treatments, he fought very bravely but he had a glioblastoma multiform, which is a grade 4 brain tumour.

 I watched a highly intelligent, published author lose his ability to read and write but he coped really well despite all of that and we had the most amazing life together for almost 2 years and he only really deteriorated beyond help in the last week or so of his life. He died on 10th March 2011 holding my hand. When I eventually returned to SL it was because Fanci had told me that she wanted to organise a memorial service for him and that it wouldn't have been the same without me so I agreed and returned and it was amazing and I realise how much he was loved. Out of that I suppose I felt that maybe in his name I could do something worthwhile, such as RFL but in general I feel one of the things that mattered to him was people working together. I suppose that is my mission too now and I use my radio station as a vehicle for that. We had an Epi Emmons Memorial sail last year around his real life birthday, and crashed the sim because it was so popular or rather because he was so popular! I decided to run that as an annual event so that we can come together, remember our lost friends and celebrate our strong community. Just recently we lost Francois Jacques who was the owner and one of the Commodores of Nantucket Yacht Club, so we will be remembering her too this year. That's the point of this now, last year it was my personal grief and the feeling that others wanted to join with me and remember him and celebrate all that he did for SL sailing and the kind of special man he was. This year and subsequent years it will be in his name remembering all who we lose and have lost. We all have different memories of people we've lost on SL or even in RL, and when we come together there is a wonderful feeling of love and support. I normally cry to be honest that's the power of such an occasion for me.

 We will sail around the Fastnet Memorial at Crow's Nest on the Blake Sea. I'm sure you either know of or can Google for the details about the RL Fastnet Race tragedy in 1979. We have that commemorated on the Blake Sea with the names of those lost but we also have the names of those we have lost in our sailing community. Epi is one of those names.

The Real Fastnet rock and the SL one with me sailing the Trudeau Epicurus, named after my late husband by Jacqueline Trudeau, who is one of the leading boat builders on SL.

Can you tell me about your involvement with Relay for Life and the Hollywood Bowl?

Two separate things. I've done RFL as part of the Sail 4 Life team with Epi since 2009. I decided that if I was staying in SL after I lost Epi in RL I would use my time to raise money in his name and the first event I organised was out of season last December which was a rock concert and auction which raised over 130,000 L$, The Epi Emmons Christmas Rock Concert. This year I heard a request for volunteers to help with the committee so I stepped up and ended up leading the team on Kick Off, I also did the caregiver speech which was of course about my real life with Epi, and the dreadful sense of loss I feel every day. I also wrote a poem called Until which was set to music and sung by Tamra Hayden and was sold to raise funds in world for RFL, oh and she sang it at Kick Off.

The Hollywood Bowl is part of the Hollywood Estate and is located up behind Starboards Yacht Club. It's an amazing event arena and we've had a few events there such as the recording of The Follow's gig in July. I am keen to use it more and we'll get round to that in due course. It has in the past been used for sailing event prize givings and for presentations by Marktwain and Nber as they do a lot of audiovisual recordings on SL and that is a fantastic venue for such film shows. They will be showing their recording of the RFL relay weekend on Saturday 1st at 1 pm.

Who will be performing at the Cutting Edge?

Cutting Edge Concerts are a professionally led tribute concert production company in SL. I know the owner and some of the team quite well. I've been to quite a few of their concerts too and it's beyond anything you can imagine. They don't just stick some avatars on a stage and play the CD .. I would have to defer to RayO for an explanation of what he puts into those productions let alone the staging and lighting of them but you should come along and see for yourself; they say you feel their concerts not just hear them and I think they're right! I believe Ray told me once that when they did a Pink Floyd concert some years ago, Roger Waters actually came in world to watch and hear it and was very impressed. Ray's a professional in the music industry in real life and it shows. They had to relocate a few months ago and Mark and Nber offered them a home in our Hollywood 'family' and this is their first concert in their new location with us. The concert is one of Elton John's.

Do you have a group that people can join for updates about your events?

I have quite a few for the different elements that I am involved with
The Epi Emmons Memorial Group is the main one for anything I do in his name
I am the events director of Starboards Yacht Club/ the Hollywood sim and there is a group for that; Starboards Yacht Club - which covers anything sailing or social we do there
Events in the sailing community the main one is the SLSA, Second Life Sailing Association
of course for the radio station its Ocean Radio and we are on Facebook too. I have portals around the grid, and the main one is at the Angels Gate Lighthouse next to Starboards Yacht club and the Hollywood Airport. There you can get an Ocean Radio stream changer and 'on the go' player which launches the website and means you can still listen even if you move around on SL.

Cutting Edge Concerts have their own group too.
If anyone wants to check those groups out or join them they are all listed in my groups so they need only look up Pippa Rexen in world.

Where can our readers make donations?
The team I raise funds for on SL for RFL is Sail 4 Life. At the moment I am unsure whether we will be having any out of season vendors for donations but since RFL has just finished the vendors for RFL 2012 have I think or are about to disappear. Like everything, we all need a bit of a break and to recharge our batteries between one RFL year and another.

Event Information
Location: Epi Emmons Memorial Cruise [yacht, motorboat or plane] + Hollywood Big Day

This is just one event of the Hollywood Big Day which runs from 11.30 am -3 pm on September 1st.

The EE Memorial cruise starts at 11.30 am on the Snug Harbor sim on Blake Sea, and we should arrive at Starboards Yacht Club around 12.15/12.30 pm

On the dock at Starboards will be the SL Cheerleaders from 12-1pm

The RFL relay weekend film show will be up behind Starboards Yacht Club in the Hollywood Bowl from 1-2 pm and the Cutting Edge Concert is between Starboards and the Hollywood Bowl.


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