Villi Asgeirsson

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HUNGER CITY – 2. We Are The Dead

Two days ago, I published the first part of a new series. Hunger City takes place in the dystopian world David Bowie created after being denied the rights to create a musical based on George Orwell’s 1984.

Hunger City part 2Part two is named We Are The Dead. It is muttered by one of the characters. It is a song from the Diamond Dogs album and Bowie lifted it from a conversation in Orwell’s novel. I hope I’ll be able to do the two creative geniuses justice in the series. You tell me.

As readers of the first part may have noticed, part two was supposed to come out on 18 March. That has changed. It’s available now. I realised that I uploaded part one exactly two months after Bowie’s last birthday. Today is exactly two months since he left us. That must be honoured and remembered.

The schedule will continue as planned after this. One chapter each week. Part three will appear on 18 March, part four on 25 March, etc.

Get Part 1. Poachers Hill
Get Part 2. We Are The Dead

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HUNGER CITY – New Series

As many may know, I was about to finish my second novel at the beginning of this year. I sent the manuscript to six readers and gave them a deadline on 9 January to turn in their findings. I would then go about ironing out typos and inconsistencies, creating the final draft. Blood and Rain would be published somewhere in spring 2016. Nothing could change that.

Hunger City part 1Or so I thought. David Bowie has been a huge part of my life for more than 30 years. I studied his music as a teenager, immersed myself in his world. I was fascinated by his sounds, words and looks. He was different, somehow above the rest.

David Bowie died on 10 January this year. One day after the deadline and two days after his 69th birthday and the release of his latest (and last, we now know) album, Blackstar. I was devastated. It affected me more than I thought it could. A huge part of my life was gone. It was, literally, like losing a close relative.

January passed and I had no desire to revisit Blood and Rain. February passed and things were still not getting any better. I would look at the written pages and try to get into the world of Barcelona in 1937, but it felt distant. One day I will finish it, but first this…

We went to Venice on a mini holiday at the end of February. The masks were fascinating, the city beautiful. Something happened in my head. I remembered a line from a Bowie song.

The Diamond Dogs are poachers and they hide behind trees
Hunt you to the ground they will, mannequins with kill appeal

And this.

But there’s a shop on the corner that’s selling papier mache
Making bullet-proof faces, Charlie Manson, Cassius Clay

The Diamond Dogs wore white masks and went hunting for mutants. A story begun to form in my head. The story of a girl that is forced to leave her home on Poachers Hill and go back into Hunger City to find Halloween Jack. The story is writing itself. I sit here and I type, but almost feel like it’s being channeled through me. I don’t want to sit here alone and work on this in solidarity. I want to share it with the world now. One chapter at a time. Get your feedback as we get through the story. Discover the mysteries of Hunger City together.

This is not the story as written by Bowie himself. It is not a copy of his storyboard. This is a story about a girl that lives in the world of Hunger City. And yes, Halloween Jack will make an appearance later in the series.

Enjoy. Here is the link to CHAPTER ONE. A new chapter will be published every week until the story has been told.

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David Bowie’s 100 Favourite Books

As the fallout from Bowie’s death settles, we collect our thoughts and try to make sense of his life and legacy. As I mentioned in my previous post, I fell in love with him in my teens. He was larger than life and he sang about feelings of isolation and anxiety. Something I was only too familiar with after the death of my father.

David Bowie ReadingI believe what turned me onto him wasn’t just the music, the costumes and whatever doomsday thoughts he dabbled in. I have always been curious about life, the universe and everything. Bowie was extremely well read and seemed to share this curiosity. In fact, I think his curiosity far exceeded mine. His ability to express his findings in art certainly did. He opened up strange doors that would never close again. My life was richer because of him.

Having been a fan for more than 30 years, I know his music inside and out. All periods, also the incredible and overlooked 1990s. I could go upon a stage and give an unprepared lecture about his life and influences. I have all his records and a few books on him and his art. While the world scrambles to get to know him – Blackstar is no 1 in 69 countries and his album sales rose 5000% in the week after his passing – I can sit back and enjoy what I already am familiar with.

Bowie BooksSo how can I get to know him better without reading another biography? How can I get into his mind and tap into that universe of his? The answer is, get to know his influences. As mentioned above, Bowie was extremely well read. There are countless photos of him reading through the decades. He posted his top 100 books on his Facebook page in 2013. I have read a couple of them, but most are a mystery. Many I have never heard of.

So here is how I’ll commemorate David Bowie in the coming year and beyond. Read the books he loved. Let him continue to expand my mind and horizon. His music may just take on a whole new meaning.

Only question is, where to start?

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David Bowie 1947-2016

I wasn’t going to write about this. I was going to lie down with headphones on like I did in my teens. The way I heard “Heroes” for the first time. Listen to the album he released last Friday. The album that was a part of his death. But I can’t. I can’t put it on. Not just yet.

It all seems so clear now. He looked old and frail in the videos to Blackstar and Lazarus. Unlike the videos he made three years ago. Subconsciously, I wondered how it could be. Consciously, I ignored it. Avoided the subject.

David BowieIt’s a wonder, really. Even his death was art. He had been ill for a year and a half. He went into the studio, knowing what was to come. He created a masterpiece, a record that surpasses everything he’s done since the 1970s. Yes, it’s better than Scary Monsters. He released the album on his birthday, giving it no chance to be a “dead man – huge hit” thing. It was a regular release on Friday. A baffling album that so painfully, makes perfect sense now. Two days later, he goes. Last single he released was Lazarus. Look up here, I’m in heaven. I have scars that can’t be seen. What did we know?

David Bowie was in control. He even designed our experience of his death.

My first real encounter with David Bowie was in 1983. I’m a Let’s dance kid. I heard the singles on the radio because they were the biggest thing around. My uncle borrowed the album and the Best of Bowie (the original 1980 K-Tel release) as he was learning the guitar. I don’t know if he ever played them, but I was hooked. Played Let’s Dance until it was engraved in my being. Then the Best of… realised his earlier stuff was way more interesting. The rest is history. I was a fan for life.

Me finding Bowie coincided with the passing of my father. I have always believed that it had something to do with it. He filled the void. Became so much more than just a rock idol. I felt like I understood him. I was relieved when he released Tin Machine. I remember listening to it, thinking “yes, you did it”! I followed his experimentations throughout the 1990s. Saw him numerous times live in the 1996-2004 period. Every album reinforced his genius, or our connection. I recognised passages from my 2013 novel in one of the songs on his new album. Did he read it, or had he influenced me to such an extent that I was thinking and writing like him? It’s bollock, obviously. I don’t believe he never knew I existed, but we spoke the same language. We were on the same page. He was always a step ahead, but I felt like I caught up with his thinking. I always understood him, or so I thought.

But this isn’t about me. This is about a legend. The man who fell to earth and sprinkled us earthlings with stardust. He is gone now. He will never surprise me again with his wit and he will never infect me again with his sense of wonder for the world and the odd things in it. Except when I go through his awesome catalogue and rediscover the gems he left behind.

A legend is gone, but he will live forever.

Everything has changed.

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State of Things

The blog is quiet on the surface, but don’t be fooled. Here is what’s up.

My second novel, Blood and Rain, is as good as complete. A few minor tweaks, then a bit of photography, cover design, trailer and a Twitter storm.

keep-calm-and-open-minded-3The site went offline in September 2015, as my hosting account was shut down. This was detailed in an earlier post. A quick summary, FatCow proved to have a horrible support department. They led me on for weeks before deleting my database. They kept saying it would be solved, or at least didn’t say it wouldn’t. Whatever, if you’re looking for a hosting solution, don’t look at FatCow.

Old posts I salvaged via WayBackMachine are being recreated and put up again. All comments are gone. I couldn’t get those. But most of the posts will be up in the coming days. All but the very last one from late summer 2015. They are gone forever. It’s a tedious affair, but I want my blog back.

So, see you very soon. I am looking forward to leaving the past behind and looking towards the future. A reader of my new novel described it as “beautiful”, so I’m itching to get it out there.

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Mad World

The day so far.

1. Men are free to rape women in Iceland.

2. Icelandic working class can’t get a payrise because it’ll cause inflation. Politicians will get a 9.4% hike though. Because they’re so useful, I guess.

3. Most of the Paris attackers are either dead or arrested. The rest are known. France has decided to bomb thousands of civilians in Syria though. Tit for tat, because that’ll solve everything and not create more jihadists.

4. American presidential candidates are insane. And fascists.

5. An old man released a new music video. Nobody has a clue what it’s about, but it has been watched 650.000 times in the last 24 hours. I may be responsible for half that, so who is the other fool?

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David Bowie – Blackstar

David Bowie ★

What can I say? Just watched this for the first time. I have no idea what to think. Bowie has a way of doing that. He creates something completely unexpected. Sure, he is a very talented artist, but the unpredictability and the willingness to take risks is probably why I regard him as the best rock star of all time. No competition. There are lots of great musicians, great stars, but Bowie is the man. Nobody else has managed to stay interesting (not always really good, but always interesting) for 50 years.

So, what do I think? No idea. Last time I had this WTF feeling after hearing a new Bowie song was in 1995 when he released 1.Outside. That was weird, difficult, unaccessible, but after listening to it a few times, it became a favourite.

As for this. ★ It seems to be about religion. Jesus is a scarecrow, Ahmen, a solitary candle at the centre of it all, the book with the ★, the women kneeling on the day of execusion. It definitely seems to be about religion, but it doesn’t glorify it. It makes it scary. People seem to have lost all individuality. They are spastic in their prayer. On the day he died.

Musically, it reminds me a bit of David Byrne and St. Vincent.

But what do I know? Except that this song is a real achievement. Bowie could easily be churning out China Girl like songs into eternity, basking in the glory of his past. But that would be boring. He doesn’t do boring. That’s why he’s the man.

Now, I’m off to watch this again. See if I can make sense of it.

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The name of security guard that stopped one of the killers from entering the stadium in Paris is Zouheir. He is a Muslim and this is somehow a big deal. I don’t see why.

Being somehow surprised, relieved or extra happy that the hero is a Muslim seems to indicate some kind of a belief that a Muslim would react differently from a person of another faith. That he would have let the killer in or that he would have had any kind of understanding or sympathy for the killer’s motives.

This is ridiculous. A decent human being will try to stop a murderer and Muslims are just as likely to be decent human beings as people of other faiths.

His name should be remembered and celebrated, but his faith is of no relevance, except to prove to idiots that Muslims are not the problem. Idiots are.

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Facebook’s Fear of Death?

Yesterday was the day I discovered Tsü. I’d heard of it, but as I have a mild phobia of signing up to every and any new social media fad, I never paid attention to it. A couple of Facebook friends were posting about this platform and it looked kind of interesting. But it was Facebook itself that sparked my real interest.

Facebook has decided to block all links to Tsü. This is two things. Censorship, and I hate censorship more than anything. And fear. If Facebook is afraid of Tsü, then it must be worth a look.

Facebook playing unfair

Facebook playing unfair

I signed up. Connected my youTube and Twitter accounts and tried to connect Facebook, but that didn’t go so well. Facebook won’t let anyone post a link to Tsü on their network and they won’t let anyone connect the profiles.

The fact that Tsü promises to be less intrusive is a great thing. They also say they’ll share 90% of the advertising revenue with content creators. That would be the users. Image the content you’ve created for Facebook in the 5-6 years you’ve been there. The photos, posts, links, clicks, likes. It’s enormous. Now, imagine they would share their profits with you, or a charity you choose?

A social network is nothing without users, so here’s hoping that Tsü manage to grow and that they stay true to their vision.

If you want to follow or befriend me on Tsü, go here:

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What Have You Done, WordPress?

Twitter followers will be well aware that I’ve had some issues with FatCow hosting. They wouldn’t restore my data, they stalled at every opportunity until “the system” deleted the files.

But there was hope.’s WayBackMachine did have my site on file and I managed to copy my scribblings into a word processor. It’ll be quite a bit of work to get it all back onto the site in correct order, but it’s a challenge that I have no choice but to accept.

WordPress app before disaster

WordPress app before disaster

I did have much of my posts in the WordPress iPhone app. I realised that today. I jumped for joy! I could probably use the app to restore much of my posts. I signed into the app with my new login and password… and promptly watched as all my posts disappeared. They were all gone, except for the two posts already on the restored site. Other pages, such as the one with information on my novel disappeared too. It was all gone.

Now, I understand that it may make sense that the website has priority over the app. The app replicates the site. Sure. But would it not be an idea to have the app prompt you if deleting posts is actually what you want to do? If the app had asked if I wanted all the posts gone, I could have pressed the button saying NO. And then looked for a way to get the posts onto the site.

As it is, the website dominated and all my posts, bar the two, were deleted. It was like watching a hacker delete everything from a server in a movie. It was horrible.

So, WordPress team, a suggestion for a future update. Let the app prompt you if you want posts stored in the app – but not on the site – deleted. Let the app give some options. Delete, keep unchanged, move to drafts, publish. Something like that.

Because, after all, our data is what it’s all about and a company that does everything to preserve that data is king.

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