Chrome Underwood is one of those rare men who are impossible to refuse. Maybe it’s his potent mixture of charisma combined with bona fide artistic talent, or perhaps his innate ability to tap into the art zeitgeist of virtual worlds. Whatever it is, Chrome and I have been friends for over a year now and in the daily, tidal wave of instant messages, his are always welcomed. No matter what I am doing within my second existence, when Chrome speaks – I listen. So it made perfect sense for me to join the able, jolly crew of ‘Chrome Never Sleeps’ as a blog contributor, where I will be accompanying Chrome, et al. on their journey to discover the best and most intriguing virtual works of art in the metaverse.
Who am I? Well, obviously Chrome knows all about me, but by way of introducing myself to the readers of this blog, he suggested I write a brief but revealing biography of myself for these very pages. Fact and fantasy have been merged. Consider this biography to be the perfect hybrid between real and second life and you will be on the right track to knowing more about both the flesh and blood and pixelated Persia Bravin. One thing is for sure. I am not a character lifted from the pages of Chrome’s graphic novel. I am in fact, very, very real….
“My virtual birth is shrouded in secrecy. The result of a passionate yet illicit tryst between my Mother, an elite courtesan from GOR and my Father, a senior member of the Linden Lab board of Directors, I entered this world at a nomadic encampment on the night of the thirteenth moon. Named in honor of the arid region where I took my first breath, I was smuggled out of the desert at only five days old by a caravan of kindly spice merchants to avoid the inevitable shame upon my Father, and was sent to be brought up by a succession of loveless matrons at a girl’s boarding school in deepest, dampest England.
As the years passed, I sought solace in the schools oak paneled library, immersing myself in great works of English literature whilst dreaming of adventure and my eventual escape from the suffocating confines of my education. To distract myself throughout those endless grey, rain soaked days, I developed a fascination with art in all its forms and vowed to one day travel the world in search of great, contemporary artistic talent. Feeling evermore frustrated at my circumstances, I found an outlet for my inner turmoil by becoming a crack shot with my antique Purdey rifle and by refining my skills as a dancer of ‘Raqs Sharqi’- the ancient dance of eastern women- in tribute to the Mother I have never known.
My teenage years were spent under the tutelage of a wise and jovial old English teacher, who in his youth had been a newspaper Editor in the glory days of Fleet Street, London. His love of the written word was infectious, and his accounts of his raffish escapades, all in the name of journalism, were intoxicating to my young ears. With his guidance, I set upon the path to my own career in reporting and moved through the ranks from cub to established journalist, writing stories from the frontline of fashion, music and cultural events that have helped shape the dawn of this new century.”
But….something was missing. Haunted by my origins, and desperate to find the Mother who had given me up as an infant to protect the reputation of the man she had sworn to love until her dying day – I was compelled to return to the place of my birth. As I walked into the desert encampment for the first time in thirty years, I saw a lone figure sitting under a palm tree, his handsome profile silhouetted against the setting sun, the dying rays glinting off the polished metal of a gleaming motorbike parked nearby. Offering up a flask of water, he welcomed me to sit with him and to tell him my story. After listening intently to my tale, the stranger introduced himself. “Hi, I’m Chrome,” he said with a devilish grin. “And I am looking for writers to help me explain the aesthetic wonders of the Metaverse to people who don’t yet realize the wonders of the land we live in – would you care to join me on this quest?” How could I resist the charms of this man who I have since learned is just as accomplished in the real world as he is in the land of pixel dust? I’m just grateful he never sleeps.
Artist’s Note: The image above is a mashup of two different worlds; Chrome and Persia were shot in Second Life and then dropped into a scene rendered by the brilliant game artist, Peter Gikandi. Check out more of his work at I Nomad.