TRIVIA and FACTS|
1. Web search
"When searching on the net I'm always stunned to see that my name is spread into different names: Virtual Alien (MAIN), Virtualalien (in one word), Old Nick (3 albums of dark, baroque, classical music and A capella, Nick Peterson (as a director), Alien Virtual (the worst name) and there is one as a writer but not yet revealed."
2. About E/S/T. The Game Show.
Short Synopsis "E.S.T" or the "Kelvin Game Show". The contestants will become patients and will be psychoanalyzed in the dark and are locked in a house for one month. The project is a journey into the brain of six contestants. Their state of mind is measured by 2 thermometers, one filtering the Kelvin degree and the other the EST degree, a mental state. The winner of this experiment is the contestant who will survive this ordeal.
3. Virtual Alien music defined...electronically.
"I can be any genre within my own. Despite popular misconceptions I'm not a Goth".
4. The Story of War of Love.
When Virtual Alien was fifteen years old and recorded a demo initially entitled: 'War' it failed to entice the recording executives of the time. It took several producers and arrangers, amongst them Philip Adamir, Derek Garble, John Malkovich and Rick Mitra to re-record the song to the mainstream commercial Pop that it is today. But by lacking the support in the UK of key radio programmers a team of marketers decided to make full use of Virtual Alien's language skills and names.
"As the various singles have been scattered between many years and many countries, the song never went platinium anywhere. I'm not sure if I have to call this a flop or what? It was hard work and a bit silly at times. I wasn't even aware at the time that so many versions have been made and sold. I knew I recorded them but I had no control over it. It made one feels like a factory chain type of product with so many versions devoid of emotions as most were recorded very quickly and as a joke. I believe there was a Spanish version: I sung a few words and someone else performed the rest. I have no idea what happened to it."
"When I first retained control of all my recordings in 2000 and by 2007 I recovered more recordings. I have always been very prolific but a lot of it is, well not very good".
War of Love became 15 (known) different singles:
1) War of Love by Virtual Alien (so far we all know)
2) War of Love (Dance) by Virtual Alien
3) War by Old Nick
4) WarWarWar (Alternative dance) by Old Nick
4) W.O.L. by Nick Peterson
5) La guerre de l'amour (in French) by Old Nick
6) A la guerre comme a la guerre (Dance Maxi version) (in French) by Old Nick
5) G.A. (in French) by Virtual Alien
6) Krieg und Liebe (in German) by Old Nick
7) Im Himmel (in German) by Virtual Alien
8) Im Himmel/Dance (in German) by Virtual Alien
9) Krieg und Liebe/TottenTanz (in German) by Old Nick
10) C'era una volta (In Italian) by Old Nick
11) C'era una volta/Dance (In Italian) by Vitual Alien
12) Peace Now (In Hebrew) by Nick Peterson
13) War of Love/Instrumental by Virtual Alien
14) La guerre de l'amour/Instrumental (in French) by Old Nick
15) Im Himmel/Instrumental (in German) by Virtual Alien
In recent years 5 versions have been made available as a ringtone/realtone/mastertone and videotone.
"That is so far what we know of it. No doubt there might have been other versions. I always have been a prolific worker but to that extent it was exploitation. During a period of five years I have been recording at least two songs every week"
"Not that I have been really paid or anything for it. When you start at 14, it is all very different. You are still a child and in this world children have no rights."
5. Y2K Diary, DiaryUnlimited and the Edge magazine.
"In 1999 the Y2KDiary.com was launched. A new portal that commented on the internet culture designed by my great friend Tom Norwood and yours truly. Still alive to this day, a brand new site has evolved from it: DiaryUnlimited. Still at the trial stage it will include the Y2K Diary and everything else expected from a web portal and a networking site: the user will have control of their own diary and a powerful search engine".
"EdgeImageBank is an image bank, an off-shoot of The Edge magazine that I have once created in 1990 and lasted until 1995 with a circulation of 45 000 ex. every three months. The Edge was published in London and Sacramento in California. In 1995 I had enough of it. A yearly almanac survived until 1999. EdgeImageBank and EdgeImageBank Pictures was launched soon after (my then film studio) but nothing much happened as I went back to college. I started at 14 in this business so I thought I needed some kind of education, what ever that was".
" No. I do not give any interviews. The last time - a few years ago- I have been interviewed by a woman from The Times in London and she asked me so many stupid questions, I was so angry. The whole experience put me off".
"I'm not considering any new offers. I did a 'Questions and Answers' game with one of my producers to introduce The Memos a compilation of 30 or so clips for a DVD. There is Virtual Alien, a presentation of Yours truly.
7. Virtual Alien Gigapet
"I have no connection WHATSOEVER with some alien game or toy called 'Virtual Alien' Gigapet. I think it was invented around in the late nineties for a Disney film. Was it 'Toy Story'? "
"I've told them at the time that I wasn't happy as I have been using the name since I was 5 years old and it became fully mine in 1987. I suppose I don't mind sharing my name but it is confusing at times. "
"I have received many emails regarding this including emails from people who bought this 'toy' and it didn't work, so they were hoping to receive compensation through me."
"Sorry folks! Someone had pinched my name in vain. I cannot be held responsible."
8."Speed of Light"
"Speed of Light " has four different endings. The producers all agree to keep only the shortest one. I was furious. The first release on DVD has only the short ending. It was originally designed so that at the end of the movie there would be an abrupt black space for one minute then one by one there would be one ending after another separated by one minute of black space.
The HD release (scheduled for 2011-12) will feature the option to view all the different endings.
The documentary "Speed of Life" on the making of "Speed of Light" has also embarrassed the producers as they wanted the same title as the film itself: "Speed of Light". One title is difficult enough to market but two with a slight difference in the title can be a nightmare.
The documentary was so funny in parts; it became a spoof of the main feature.
The documentary is available on the PAL version of the DVD but not on the NTSC version of the DVD. The documentary will however feature on the HD release (scheduled for 2011-12).
9. Total Record sales:
3.2M (combined albums and singles)
V.A. (or 'VA') stands for Virtual Alien.
11. Singles/12" (Complete Codes and cover sleeves available in DiaryUnlimited)
1) White Mecca/On An Axe/The End 1987
2) Heaven/Drizzle 1987
3) The Inside Story/The Inside Story Mix 1987
4) Well Red/Well Red Mix 1987
5) War of Love/ War of Love Mix 1988 [15 different singles and 12" have been released with alternate versions in that same year]
6) Devil Inside/For Ever and Never 1988
7) No Man's Land/I remember You 1988
8) The Edge of Love/Mad Dreams 1988
9) Fascination/Fascination Mix 1989
10) King of the World/White Mecca (Black Mix) 1990
11) Devil's Life 1/Devil's Life 2 1991
12) With a Mouse (to your mouth) 1991
13) Thundering Typhoons/King of the World 1992
14) Thundering Typhoons/Tonnerre de Tonnerre (French version) 1992
15) The way you make me feel/Reprise 1993
16) Song from in and out/WWW (De Sade Mix) 1993
17) Be Bop/With a Mouse (to your mouth) 1995
18) Loudmouth V.1./Loudmouth V.2./Loudmouth V.3. 1997
12. Books (Paperback and Ebooks. Complete ISBN available in DiaryUnlimited)
1) 1993. Map of the Universe.
2) 2009. Map of the Universe. Samples.
3) 2009. The Y2K File (Volume 1).
4) 2010. The Original Edge magazine.
5) 2010. The Y2K File (Volume 2)
6) 2011. Speed of Light (Screenplay)
7) 2011. In and Out of Planet Earth (Screenplay)
8) 2011. The Y2K File (Screenplay)
9) 2011. Closer to the Sun (Screenplay)
10) 2011. Virtual Alien (Screenplay)
11) 2012. With a Mouse (to your Mouth) (Screenplay)
12) 2012. Est (Screenplay)
13) 2012. The After Life (Screenplay)
14) 2012. T: Ghosts in the machine
15) 2012. TT: Train of Thought
This album recorded and created during 1996 was supposed to be released in May 1997 to coincide with the release of the feature film: With a Mouse (to your mouth). But after failing to sell more than 50 000 copies of the first single "Loudmouth" in the first month (and that is a lot to sell, some contracts are just insane!), I have been dropped by both the record label and the film company. This has left me with a bitter taste in the mouth. Thankfully I have never swallowed the bitter taste and as of 2010, it has now been confirmed that both the film and the album will be released by the end of 2011 or early 2012.
In the period of 1987-1989 my closest musicians were: Markus Ineichen (piano and keyboards). Markus is a virtuoso in piano. He also plays some of the Bach pieces in Speed of Light and The Y2K File.
Philip Adamir is sadly no longer from this world. He was one of my main producers, arrangers and link between Polydor (the distributor) and myself during the period 1987-1990.
In the song Thundering Typhoons, the music is adapted from Verdi's La Forza del Destino. The song has been used in the film Speed of Light.
It was recorded in an abandoned church in Islington, London in 1990. With Mike Storey (Latin voice), Daniel Gilbert, Carmel Gilbert (violins), Steve Davis (cello)
The backing vocals on Thundering Typhoons were Lisa and Donna who also featured in Be Bop (1995) and WWW (1990).
In the film: The Y2K File the musicians are: Karl Knox (organ), Gabriele Pisani (keyboards), Jeremy Gilbert (cello), Phil Joseph (violin), Bill Ford (arrangement and direction).
15. Working with people
I always tend to work intensively with someone so in order to move on I always need to disconnect afterwards. I rarely ever work with the same people again and if I do I have to wait a long time before I can.
I'm aware that I have upset many by disconnecting even "infamously" falling out with people just to be able to start afresh. It may seem sad but it is called moving on. When I feel that something is not going to work, I just fall-out and disappear. No one would understand why I suddenly realize that something will not work and whoever the person is would never let go, so I always need to take drastic action otherwise I wouldn't be able to keep on producing. Of course no one likes it. I may be horrible but there are no other ways.
16. Other artists
Although I'm a film director, some of my earliest video clips for my songs have been directed by other artists.
Laurence Pittet directed The Inside Story (1987) and War of Love (1988).
John Stewart directed Heaven (1987) and No Man's Land (1989)
Philip Adamir directed King of the World (1990).
Heike Hektik directed Be Bop (1995).
David Radeacker directed Loudmouth (1997)
17. Est (E.S.T. in the UK -for the pronunciation)
1. It is a TV show. The contestants must be locked into a room, in the dark for a period of one month. Every day they are psychoanalyzed or audited.
2. Initially intended to be broadcast on the Sky network in the UK in 2002, but seeing the pilot show the producers panicked as it was deemed too controversial.
3. Series one, two and three became instead a webcast. It generated over hundreds of thousands of downloads (combined) as part of the Y2KTV set (Before Youtube existed!).
4. By 2005 nearly all the episodes and clips ended up on Youtube. We had requested all the clips to be deleted but some remained. Youtube has responded by keeping some and "zero" the ratings.
5. Some of the clips that we didn't include in the TV show, the infamous footage when the contestants had a shower, went to the washroom ended up on X rated sites.
6. The initial reception in the UK was lukewarm to say the least due to Britainís extremely 'conservative' and controlled film and media market. This is not the sixties, seventies or early eighties but the Y2K years.
"It's like breaking through an iron curtain". Fortunately, an "iron curtain" never lasts. It's a question of time" and then a new wave of filmmakers can finally break through it.
7. "Est" was first conceived in my 1995 novel "Map of the Universe". Inside the novel there was a chapter called: "In and Out of Planet Earth" and "Writing on the wall". The films are not really related and my ex-agents suggested five years ago to compile a film called "The Complete Map of the Universe" with footage of the three films. I always thought the whole project was a bit confusing. "The Complete Map of the Universe" is a documentary on the films, not a feature film as such.
8. "Est" is now a film (the film of the TV show) with actors, not real life contestants. The TV series is 720 hours long and perhaps some of the scenes are too horrendous to be shown so I'm not sure what is going to happen with this.
18. One-man band
It's the NME magazine in the UK who first came up with the "one-man band" description of myself in 1987. It is a bit unfair knowing the amount of people working with me.
19. Virtual Alien: the film
I have stated in "Virtual Alien", the extremely ambitious feature documentary about myself, starring myself and directed by myself depicting the period of 1987-2007, that I didn't regard my albums as "concept" albums as they weren't any defining theme. I have never chosen any of the titles. However my films are perhaps "concept albums" as I have conceived them in a way that my music (and other music) have been combined together with the footage within a defining theme.
20. The Intro in the film: Speed of Light
The images at the beginning of "Speed of Light" are a series of paintings, oil on canvas (by yours truly).
21. The Y2KDiary.com
The Y2KDiary.com was only meant to last for one year. (It started in November 1999). Created with Tom Norwood, he did all the programming but he never stopped the diary. The problem was that a new diary is being triggered every day. It used to be possible for any user to insert their own diary automatically but this nearly sent us in jail (because of the content). So we needed to control the entry. If no one inserted any entry the diary of the day would be a blank page. I have been effectively forced to continue this diary with my proverbial gibberish and gobbledygook. The Y2K bug was only on the 31st of December at midnight, so a year worth of diary is ok but a whole decade worth? The Y2K years perhaps? But when we reached 2011 I was getting really worried. (The content is also available in DiaryUnlimited.com.) Since I was about to embark on a another film aptly named: The Y2K File, an opera murder mystery thriller in which we have used the whole Y2KDiary.com concept, with this in sight it became acceptable to drag the diary further until the next revival.
22. The Y2K File
The Y2K File, the feature film was never meant to be. After Speed of Light (2007) I became physically drained. My contract with my agents ended and I was back into the wilderness. I needed desperately to move on. I was 30 KG overweight. I first hired a house near a forest and started to hike 6 hours a day. The house was very weird and mysterious and being by myself it added to the spooky atmosphere. I had this idea of a murder mystery opera thriller.
I called a few people and we started filming every part of the house, from the deep and cavernous cellar to the ceiling. I also became so obsessed with losing weight I had to hike at night as well. I was so used to it I could walk in the dark without a torch. I decided to buy a big but not too heavy HD cam and I ended up with six hours of nightcam footage. Fear not! The film is not another trashy infernal non sense. Only 12 minutes of it turned up to be usable (the film is 90 minutes long). We had an array of wild animals: Lynxes, bears, badgers and wolves. I came very close to being eaten alive. It has taken forever to edit 12 minutes out of over six hours of footage, especially since we couldnít have the traditional nightcam green colour for the footage, it needed to be red.
We cast Vincent Hall who starred in Speed of Light. The storyline made references to his childhood. He was 16 when we filmed and his dad had videos of him since he was a baby. So we have been able to incorporate some of it as well. It was another major undertaking to dig through it, project the video then re-film with a HD camera. I love all these technicalities; itís almost like assembling a puzzle, like a traditional animation.
The Y2K File is an opera. I had some idea of the music and I had time to compose some but mainly it was based around the Toccata from Bach. I needed to find some musicians who could play better than I could. We recorded the soundtrack mainly in the house. The musicians were: Bill Ford (programming, keyboards), Gabriele Pisani (piano, keyboards), the strings were conducted by Theo Bloom who also played the violin, Jeremy Gilbert (cello), Phil Joseph (violin), Karl Knox (organ) and yours truly organ on keyboards.
Of course my great producers were: Alex Altman and his brother David Altman (we're cousins) and Tom Norwood. Joe Joseph was in charge of the camera work. (Regular members of my team. The longest I have worked with anyone).
23. The Edge magazine (Complete list of issues, ISSN numbers available in DiaryUnlimited)
The Edge magazine became a similar problem (and nightmare) as the one I had with Y2K Diary.com. The magazine had several phases in 1987-1988 as a pamphlet to promote my first world tour then I have been convinced in 1990 to re-launch it as a commercial venture. By 1993 it should have ended.
It was actually hell to run it but we worked with over 30 people in many countries and had 82 'guest' contributors. The pressure to go on was immense. And we had many sponsors lining up to save the magazine and some great distributors.
The main problem is that I never wanted to have or indeed to run a magazine Ėever-; huge bills to pay, court cases, falling out with people, being the boss (or a dictator), sleepless nights etc. Itís no picnic! I have been pushed until 1995 with various new formats then it was time for me to pull the plug. I went on tour again. But on my return more people pushed me to create a yearly almanac. In fact the Y2KDiary.com saved me as I had many good reasons to leave and find a new team. For this I had to badly fall out with many people; no one likes an ending especially in Art. I had never actually realised how many people actually depended on the magazine. We accumulated thousands of drawings, designs, artworks, paintings and even sculptures. All the Art is currently sitting inside a warehouse in London. In 2010 I thought it was time to release a book in the shape of a 'best of' with the list of artists and contributors, the history and the hell it was to run this. I needed to get all of this out of my chest. Some great Art depending from which angle one is looking at.
Sometimes things happen beyond anyone's control. Before you know it another decade had settled in. This project was never meant to happen but it did.
24. Music for supermarkets for no recognition
Back in the days when radio used to go anywhere especially on cable, some stations used to play recorded songs and the same song up to five times during the day. The stations were played in supermarkets, hospitals and anywhere else for a year. There were no DJs to announce the song or the artist. The following songs: Devil's Life, War of Love (instrumental), No Man's Land (instrumental), Inside Story and Be Bop achieved phenomenal amounts of airplays around the world, so much so that I have, after just 3 years of career and not yet an adult sort of "earned my whole life". It's called being a "multi-million seller". Sadly, no one mentioned "me".
I never had any platinium albums to show for. In fact the coordination was so wrong, the titles weren't even available at the time. The label wasn't interested in the albums, they had the rights of the music. Some people in the industry have stated that I have been really unlucky as I have never actually "made it". I have never really had the recognition for it, in the traditional sense.
Although this is true in the sense that later on I have been called a ghost, even! What would anyone expect with a name such as "Virtual Alien"? Perhaps I was doomed from the start. At least I could afford from all of this to live a virtual life and create all sorts of non-sense (Motion Pictures that is).
The films have been a labour of love or hell as each film involve a whole cast and crew and then someone needs to buy the films, distribute them and promote them. At least I can kick start them. So, I'm not sure it was that unlucky. In time and especially during the last 10 years all of my albums have been re-released four times with four different compilation albums by four different labels. I never received any complaints on the sale front but as to being recognized, I'm still a ghost, I do not exist and I'm truly virtual.
25. Writing on the Wall
The film Writing on the Wall has been divided in 63 scenes. "I realize that there are a lot of scenes in the film..."
26. With a Mouse (to your Mouth). The film.
The story contains 128 different characters all referred to or performed by Virtual Alien with different voice-overs.
Paul, John, Sir Y, Lady Y, Master Virus, Master Virus 2, Master Virus 3, Junior Virus 2 a, Junior Virus 2 b, Junior Virus 3 a.
Cohorts of viruses 1: K-1, K-2, K-3, K-4, K-5, K-6, K-7, K-8, K-9.
Cohorts of viruses 2: P-1, P-2, P-3, P-4, P-5, P-6, P-7, P-8, P-9.
Cohorts of Super Amoebas: A-1 to A-100.
27. King of the World and Fascination.
I'm often being asked why I covered "these" two songs: King of the World (Bernard Edwards/Nile Rodgers) and Fascination (David Bowie/Luther Vandross). It was in 1989 and the powers that be wanted to end my musical career before I became an adult and "they" needed two cover versions. One (King) was recorded in Paris and the second (Fascination) in London. When I arrived in the studio the music was already recorded and the rest happened very quickly. The next thing I knew the songs were released. I worship all the authors of the two songs and in hindsight I might say that covering these songs might not be a very good idea but it's "what everyone does".
28. "Est" intro footage.
The opening sequence in Est was not filmed inside a TV studio. It was filmed inside the corridor and staircase inside a mirror in the Cornavin Hotel in Geneva; The infamous hotel that saw many of the world's makers and shakers, United Nations delegates, dictators and gangsters. One of the only footage available of the infamous corridor (filmed before it's been demolished and rebuilt). The same spot was immortalized in the comic book: Tintin "The Calculus Affair". The footage kept the surrealist decor in its original 1920's Art deco style only restored in the 1950's. The footage is in black and white shot with two infra-red cameras (with the lights completely switched off) and the recurring and disturbing theme tune for Est was the sound of the nearby trains from the main station mixed backwards.
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