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Psychic TV’s infamous ‘First Transmission’ underground video (Very, very NSFW)
04:50 pm


Psychic TV
Genesis P-Orridge
Psychic TV’s infamous ‘First Transmission’ underground video (Very, very NSFW)

For over 30 years, the so-called First Transmission video from Psychic TV, has been the stuff of, well, “snuff film” legend. It used to be that you couldn’t see this except through a fair amount of effort and now look, it’s on YouTube… like everything else. Just like normal things.

First advertised in the back pages of Thee Grey Book—the curious philosophical tract that aspiring members of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth got through mail order via a postal address listed on early PTV album covers—The First Transmission was an ultra weird touchstone of the underground VHS tape trading scene of the 1980s. (I dubbed my copy from the one they had for rent at the Magickal Childe occult bookstore, probably the sole copy anywhere in Manhattan and although it was a “legit” copy, acquired directly from TOPY I’m pretty sure, this was still a handmade item.)

Eventually I think there were three or four volumes of this material going around under the First Transmission title (this hour-long clip represents just a portion of it). Some of the participants were Genesis P-Orridge, Paula P-Orridge, Derek Jarman, Monte Cazazza, Peter Christopherson and David Tibet, with video of Brion Gysin and one of his Dream Machines, Jim Jones and some way fucked-up, er… “medical footage.”

A warning, this video is really not something that you want to watch at work. Maybe if you work at an S&M dungeon where ritualistic blood-letting is the norm... Don’t say you weren’t warned. The really gruesome parts, are, of course, faked, but they don’t look fake. The pissing, the blood enemas, the ritual scarring, they don’t look so fake, do they? I think those bits are, you know, real.

A secondary warning is that it’s a bit… slow moving. Still shocking after three decades, but a tad on the dull side. In defense of the project, Genesis told me that this material was more or less something that was conceived of to air on New York’s notoriously sleazy cable access station Channel J. The idea was for this weird, dreamlike footage just to appear on TV sets, sort of randomly, late at night, with no explanation whatsoever! On that level, and in the context of 1983, it becomes a minor prank masterpiece of sorts.

Posted by Richard Metzger
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