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‘A Message from the Temple’: First peek at upcoming documentary on Genesis P-Orridge cult looks GOOD

As there is just 23 days—ahem—left of their already half-funded Kickstarter campaign, I wanted to call your attention to a new film, already in production titled A Message from the Temple.

As a close observer/fellow traveler—I was never myself a member or direct participant, I’ve never been much of a joiner—of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth in the 1980s, I was pleased to hear that a feature length documentary was being planned on Genesis P-Orridge’s fanclub/cult and really impressed by their excellent trailer. The truly inside story of a cult is seldom an easy one to tell, but when it’s done right—like Jodi Wille and Maria Demopoulos 2012 “cult classic” The Source—it can be the very most fascinating sort of documentary. Sure, films about crazed loners are good too, I’ll grant you that, but there’s something about a group of outcasts deciding to do something oddball or unorthodox together that’s just too interesting, cinematically speaking, in my opinion. The groupthink, the leaders, philosophies, the motivations, jealousies, schisms, etc, etc., are so richly dramatic in a situation like that.

Adding harassment by the authorities—often the case for outlaw communities—only tends to heighten that drama.

Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth has been convened in order to act as a catalyst and focus for the Individual development of all those who wish to reach inwards and strike out. Maybe you are already one of these, already feeling different, dissatisfied, separate from the mass around you, instinctive and alert? You are already one of us. The fact that you have this message is a start in itself.

Conceived in the aftermath of the punk and industrial countercultures, Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY) was an “anti-cult” that drew on the tenets of provocation, transgression, and the DIY ethos to form an internationally reaching network bound together by an esoteric sensibility.

With experimental pop group Psychic TV serving as the public’s access to Temple doctrine (shattering a Guinness World Record for musical output in the process), the decade long spiritual, intellectual, and sexual revolution that TOPY would instigate, for tens of thousands of members worldwide, represented an unprecedented model for radical communion.

TOPY strove to transcend the normative constructs of culture, sexuality, order, and reason, examine and undermine systems of power, and reach ecstatic states of being. In doing so its members often hurdled past the outer limits of propriety, arousing the moral wrath of “Satanic Panic” era British authorities and causing the subsequent Scotland Yard raid and political exile of the group’s central figurehead, artist and provocateur Genesis P-Orridge.

A Message from the Temple is the first authorized documentary about Thee Temple Of Psychick Youth (years 1981-1991), tracing its influences and inception to its dramatic downfall and enduring legacy.

Told with unprecedented access through the eyes of its members, collaborators, and persecutors via contemporary interviews, personal archives, and historical accounts from the mainstream media, A Message from the Temple will provide an intimate portrait of the artists, occultists, and rock stars that surrounded Thee Temple Ov Psychick Youth.

It is our belief as filmmakers that stories such as this must be told if human history is to survive, progress, or have any meaning whatsoever.


This weekend in Brooklyn, the film’s producer’s Unclean Pictures will mount a benefit for the documentary. “Ritual Cuttings” is a symposium of Temple related videos and a discussion with Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and other participants in TOPY. Tickets available here.
Watch the excellent trailer for ‘A Message from the Temple’ after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Live Evil: Psychic TV at the Berlin Atonal Festival, 1983
03:10 pm


Psychic TV
Genesis P-Orridge

When Throbbing Gristle’s mission was terminated in 1981, the band split into Chris & Cosey and Psychic TV, which, for a while, included both Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge. Other members of the group’s initial incarnation were Paula P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson (formerly of Alternative TV), John “Zos Kia” Gosling and Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance. At this time the group’s sound was a unique mix of exotic instruments, Velvet Undergroundy guitar drone, TG and elements we think of as defining the music of Coil, which, of course, Christopherson and Balance soon went on to form.

This group’s initial live shows were among the most mesmerizing, insane and just plain hair-raisingly scary concerts I’ve ever attended. I vividly remember seeing Psychic TV at the Hammersmith Town Hall in 1984 and deciding to step back from the front of the stage just in case a demon materialized. I didn’t want to be too close to that action.

This show, taped at the annual Berlin Atonal Festival in 1983, captures that same intimidating sense of menace and dark energy.

After the jump, bonus footage of Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke performing live with tapes at the 1982 Atonal Festival…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Live Evil: Psychic TV, raising demons live in concert 1983
01:59 pm


Psychic TV
Genesis P-Orridge

Psychic TV’s shows, especially in their early years, had an intimidating sense of menace and dark energy. From the minute you walked in, you strongly got the impression that you were somewhere where you shouldn’t be. Early PTV shows were among the most mesmerizing, depraved, insane and just plain hair-raisingly scary concerts I’ve ever attended. I vividly remember seeing them at the Hammersmith Town Hall in fall of 1984 and deciding to step back from the front in case a winged demon materialized onstage and started flying around killing people. You think I’m joking, but I’m not. I didn’t want to be too close to that action, it was like an evil vortex was threatening to open up and suck the entire place into it. The whole thing was like the most twisted Hammer Horror version of what a demonic rock concert would be like. Yep, the best way to describe it would be to say that it was like being in a really weird, mind-bending horror movie, something so far beyond real life as to seem fictional almost.

In the group’s original incarnation Psychic TV included Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson and Genesis P-Orridge, both late of Throbbing Gristle. The other members were Paula P-Orridge, Alex Fergusson (formerly of Alternative TV), John “Zos Kia” Gosling and Geff Rushton, a.k.a. John Balance. At this time, the group’s sound was a unique mix of exotic instruments (like Tibetan thigh bones and tribal drums), vibraphone, Fergusson’s Velvet Undergroundy guitar drone, a hefty dollop of Throbbing Gristle’s painfully LOUD musique concrète and the various sonic elements we think of as defining the music of Coil, which, of course, Christopherson and Balance soon went on to form, not staying with PTV much beyond their classic 1983 album Dreams Less Sweet.

Another time I saw Psychic TV live it was in a disused synagogue in London’s Drayton Park earlier that same summer. The “security” were Hackney skinheads. There was no electricity in the abandoned temple, so they’d brought in a portable generator. The circular staircase was illuminated with candles. There was debris, bricks, beer bottles and broken glass everywhere. It was late July, hot, humid and the place smelled of human waste and urine. Genesis played an amplified violin, just sawing away at it, his atonal screeching providing the perfect soundtrack to watching ectoplasm form. It was more of an Aleister Crowley-type occult ritual than anything resembling a rock concert…
Keep reading after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Psychic TV’s unexpectedly lovely cover of Neil Young’s ‘Only Love Can Break Your Heart’
01:17 pm


Neil Young
Psychic TV

Songs don’t come a lot more direct in their emotionality than “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” the third track off of Neil Young’s 1970 album After the Gold Rush. This is a song that rapidly lays down a strong melody and a strong chorus and more or less bludgeons the listener to death with them. (In case it’s not clear, I don’t mean this as a criticism.)

The best-known cover of the song arrived in 1990 when Saint Etienne’s version popped up in discos everywhere in advance of their first album, 1991’s Foxbase Alpha. Interestingly, according to Robert Webb’s 100 Greatest Cover Versions: The Ultimate Playlist, Saint Etienne had shown an interest in covering Young’s “Ambulance Blues” but changed their minds after hearing Psychic TV’s cover of “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” which appeared on the 1989 benefit compilation The Bridge: A Tribute to Neil Young, right between Sonic Youth’s cover of “Computer Age” and Dinosaur Jr.‘s cover of “Lotta Love.”

Those expecting a bilious or arch dismantling of this ultimate Boomer ballad from the U.K.‘s premier experimental art punks might be abashed to learn that Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and the gang must have found something in the song that resonated with them, for they appear honor the song’s insidiously catchy chorus as well as, it seems, the message of the song.

In his collection Interrupting My Train of Thought, Canadian critic Phil Dellio (who once isolated “Only Love Can Break Your Heart” as the greatest song of all time) commented, after addressing the Saint Etienne and Juliana Hatfield takes on the song:

And that leaves the bug-eyed, transgendered Satanist with the lengthiest and best version of all, the strangest thing about which is how very unstrange it is. There’s a lifetime of disappointment and missed opportunities in the counsel kept by “Only Love Can Break Your Heart,” and while the lifetime that Psychic TV’s Genesis P-Orridge brings to the song is undoubtedly a lot more unusual than where Neil was coming from, all that matters in the end is the way he invests every last bit of it into the delicate fall of “Yes, only love can break your heart” each time he hits the chorus. Perfection.

Indeed. Enjoy.


Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Somewhere in this world is a Psychic TV Zippo lighter and I totally want it
‘Pirate Tape’: Derek Jarman, William Burroughs and Psychic TV

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
‘Bight of the Twin’: Update on Genesis Breyer P-Orridge’s Amazing African Adventures!

As many of you know, all around icon Genesis Breyer P-Orridge has been spending much time working and filming with Hazel Hill McCarthy III on a truly eye opening project. How better to understand than in this message from Genesis in her own words:

“We just got back from touring followed by two weeks of filming in Benin, West Africa with Hazel Hill McCarthy III and crew. The film “BIGHT OF THE TWIN” should debunk a lot of misguided trashy Hollywood “Zombie” entertainment that has deeply generated an essentially destructive and wholly inaccurate idea/meme attached now, so strongly in many peoples minds.

We are so jet lagged yet also so inspired by Ouidah, in Benin. Statistics show something phenomenal.

As we understand it, the average number of sets of twins per thousand, worldwide comes out at four sets of twins per one thousand B-Earths. In Benin the average number of twin B-Earths per one thousand is around twenty five to forty! Nobody has yet found a genetic nor dietary explanation. So as our search for the “Mother story”, the oldest witness to intelligence and belief developing in humanEs led us there. We were already referring to “twins” in the context of PANDROGENY. Two beings make a third being that is the two individuals immersed and merged into each other. Hazel discovered that Sept-October in Ouidah is a very rare Festival of Twins, both those who die at B-Earth or soon after, and those still living who maintain by ritual, the memories of their twin (triplet,etc) into daily life. Voodu has been practiced continuously there for ten, twenty, even more thousands of y-eras ago. Their Creation myths include a Supreme Being MauLissa. Half male-half female.The male Mau is represented by a python (a serpent) the female Lissa is represented by a chameleon.

For ongoing information PLEASE go to the site We are now in possession (no pun intended) of approximately ninety hours of incredible footage, much never witnessed or filmed before. Plus interviews with Priestesses, “DAH"s (high priests) and many many more key people. We need to raise money to edit a distribution master, and cover all those edit suite hours etc. SO PLEASE go to where we are trying to raise the needed funds asap. We used Kickstarter to raise funds to return to Benin for the twins festival and it worked. We reached our goal, thanks to all of you! Quite literally, your contributions, no matter how large or small ALL force the hand of chance so that this film can be completed and happen as a media-entity, allowing this amazing story to be told, perhaps, by learning of our early days of consciousness, of the essential origin of this bizarre, yet beautiful species, yet also a mundane and brutal species. Perhaps in the Mother story is a truth, a revelation that WILL allow us to adjust our behaviors, so we all save ourselves. Conscious evolution can only happen en masse. Small pockets of alternative are a seed, a source, a “virus” as Burroughs used to say. We will see, or future generations will curse us for our lethargy and indifference to the writing on the wall. “PLEASE DON’T PISS HERE.”   

Genesis BREYER P-ORRIDGE NYC, September 2014.”


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Somewhere in this world is a Psychic TV Zippo lighter and I totally want it
03:13 pm


Psychic TV
Mountain Goats
John Darnielle

Via William Caxton Fan Club, the marvelous Tumblr of author and Mountain Goats’ honcho John Darnielle (and if you’re not a Mountain Goats fan yet, you really need to get to work on that), here’s an evidently unique Psychic TV Zippo lighter. Finding an original source has proven difficult, but I like to imagine it was engraved by a gothy rogue employee at a Things Remembered in a sleepy midwestern mall. The inscription is a Psychic Cross logo with the epigram “Our aim is wakefulness. Our enemy is dreamless sleep,” a PTV slogan found in the liner notes of the live Temporary Temple LP.

Check out this 1984 PTV segment from the TV show “Earsay,” which includes some footage of the band’s intense and ritualistic live shows.

Posted by Ron Kretsch | Leave a comment
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge visits ‘The Pharmacy’

Gregg Foreman’s radio program, The Pharmacy, is a music / talk show playing heavy soul, raw funk, 60′s psych, girl groups, Krautrock. French yé-yé, Hammond organ rituals, post-punk transmissions and “ghost on the highway” testimonials and interviews with the most interesting artists and music makers of our times…

This week cultural provocateur Genesis Breyer P-Orridge visits The Pharmacy…

—Genesis discusses William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin and the “Cut-Up”

—Brian Jones’ ghost visiting Psychic TV in the studio.

—The rise and fall of Throbbing Gristle.

—Gen’s relationship with Joy Division’s Ian Curtis and the unrealized plans the two had when Curtis died.


Mr. Pharmacy is a musician and DJ who has played for the likes of Pink Mountaintops, The Delta 72, The Black Ryder, The Meek and more. Since 2012 Gregg Foreman has been the musical director of Cat Power’s band. He started dj’ing 60s Soul and Mod 45’s in 1995 and has spun around the world. Gregg currently lives in Los Angeles, CA and divides his time between playing live music, producing records and dj’ing various clubs and parties from LA to Australia.

Mr.Pharmacist - The Fall
Who? - The Brian Jonestown Massacre
Three Girl Rhumba - Wire
Intro 1 / Party Machine - Rx / Bruce Haack
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part One
William S. Burroughs on Brion Gysin, William S. Burroughs / Sun Ra
Just Like Arcadia - Psychic TV
Collapsing New People - Fad Gadget
Totally Wired - The Fall
Intro 2 / Computer Love - Kraftwerk / Rx
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Two
Adrenalin - Throbbing Gristle
Definitive Gaze - Magazine
Sensoria - Cabaret Voltaire
Intro 3 / Neuschnee - Rx / Neu!
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Three
Interzone - Joy Division
Just Out of Reach - The Zombies
Levitation - The 13th Floor Elevators
Intro 4 / Freedom Dub - Rx / Linval Thompson + the Revolutionaries
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Four
Brian Jones on Bad Publicity - Brian Jones
Godstar - Psychic TV
2000 Light Years from home
Genesis Breyer P-Orridge Interview Part Five
Intro 5 / Ravah - Rx / Mr.Pharmacist on Sitar
Mr.Pharmacist - The Other Half
Station ID - Genesis Breyer P-Orridge

You can download the entire show here.

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
‘Genesis Breyer P-Orridge,’ the life of a radical and uncompromising artist, in pictures

One Sunday morning, probably about fifteen years ago, I got a call from Genesis P-Orridge inviting me over to help him sort through his archives, which were then kept safely in a locked room in the basement of the Brooklyn brownstone Gen shared with his late wife, Lady Jaye (or Jackie as I knew her).

As one of the world’s most ardent Throbbing Gristle fans—I wouldn’t be the person I am today without Gen’s influence during my formative years—this was not an opportunity I was going to turn down. We sorted through art work (the tampon sculptures from the notorious “Prostitution” exhibit, for instance), press clippings, several boxes containing hundreds of different Psychic TV tee-shirt printings of which one example of each was kept, 16mm film canisters, photographs, letters from people like William S. Burroughs, items from the “Mail Art” movement, videotapes, albums, posters, cassettes, CDs and so forth. It was big fun for me and naturally I got a private sort of “gallery tour” with the artist, albeit in a moldy-smelling basement with washing machines and stuff, as we sorted through the boxes and cataloged what was in them.

At one point, the conversation turned to the recent so-called “Beat Auction” at Sotheby’s—we’d gone together—where the personal effects of Allen Ginsberg were sold to the highest bidder, as well as artifacts related to, or that once belonged to, Jack Kerouac, William Burroughs, Harry Smith, Lawrence Ferlinghetti and others. The cataloging of his past seemed almost wearying to Genesis that afternoon, and his attitude seemed to be “Oh, who’s going to care about all this old stuff?

Whereas Genesis was not optimistic regarding the future value of his archive, I on the other hand, a book publisher, saw a potential goldmine from where I was standing. “Are you kidding me? Other than Patti Smith or Kenneth Anger [and Lawrence Ferlinghetti] you’re practically the last living link to the Beat Generation. Within no time at all, you’re going to be having museum retrospectives and people flying you all over the world to have you lecture. I can think of a gazillion ways to monetize the ephemera in this room. Books, documentaries, DVDs of these concert videos, CDs of the unreleased cassettes, all kinds of things. I mean, come on! The annuities that will support you in your dotage are in this room.

Gen, being Gen, took this in world-weary stride, but of course I was right. Just this summer The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh held a three-month long retrospective of Gen’s art. There’s Thee Psychick Bible anthology of Gen’s writings on magick. Now London-based First Third have published a beautiful new high quality monograph coffee table book retrospective of Gen’s life with the title Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, as Gen—who these days prefers the feminine gender assignation “she”—has re-dubbed herself in honor of her late wife, Jackie Breyer.

Photo: Marti Wilkerson

There are two variants on the Genesis Breyer P-Orridge publication, a numbered “standard edition” limited to 990 copies worldwide and a “deluxe edition” of 333 signed books with a linen bound Japanese-inspired presentation box with a cut-out PTV logo and several other extras including an art catalog, three 45rpm records and a 51cm square poster of the erotic Polaroids taken by Gen and Lady Jaye (“not for the easily-shocked” according to the press materials.)

First Third‘s publications are slick, beautiful, heavy objects that look rather fetching on a coffee table. (I reviewed their—excellent—book of Sheila Rock’s punk era photographs here). They were kind enough to send me a review copy of the standard edition of Genesis Breyer P-Orridge and as a longtime fan—forget that we’re pals—I must say that it’s quite a superb volume, offering a highly intimate glimpse into the public and private life of one of the most uncompromising artists of the past one hundred years, if not ever. (How many artists can YOU name who can boast of a worldwide occult network/cult? The entire idea of a cult band (Psychic TV) with an actual cult of followers (Thee Temple of Psychic Youth) is one of the greatest prolonged performance art pieces—one that scared the piss out of the British establishment, of course—ever in history. One day there will be serious sociological books and PhD dissertations written on the topic, mark my words.)

Photo: Sheila Rock

To be clear, this is not a cataloging of the life and work of Genesis P-Orridge, just the life part (the work slips in, too, in context, but it’s not the point). Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is an idiosyncratically themed, nearly purely visual autobiography—there is a very good interview by Mark Paytress that I wish I could read more of, but nearly all of the book’s 323 pages are devoted to photographs.

I’ve seen some of these shots before, but many of them are new to me, and they’re often quite illuminating or revelatory. Contradicting what I wrote above, seeing these photographs arranged in this way—there’s a definite art to it—the lifelong modus operandi of P-Orridge the artist, the man and now the woman, becomes much, much clearer. From the hippie gross-out performance art of COUM Transmissions through Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Gen’s influence on the piercing, body art and tattooing subcultures, to the elaborate plastic surgery of the Gilbert & George meet Orlan pandrogeny experiment with Lady Jaye, a very definite narrative emerges. The reader (more the beholder, I suppose) also gets more than an eyeful of Breyer P-Orridge’s sex magick rituals, which are interesting, to say the least.

Some of the shots are just priceless. I love the ones of Gen as an incredibly mischievous looking kid and the one of him with FRANK ZAPPA. I’ve never seen someone—especially someone as loquacious as Genesis is—express themselves or “write” their autobiography so successfully in scrapbook form like this. It’s a unique and interesting publishing experiment on so many levels. (It’s also interesting to see who is pointedly missing from the book, but I’m not about to step into that one.)

My guesstimate of the potential worldwide buyers for Genesis Breyer P-Orridge is about 6000 people, but there are just 1323 copies. This book could make a boffo (certainly unexpected) Christmas present for “a certain person” on your list, or if you’re that certain person yourself, don’t snooze and lose because once these are sold, they’re gone.

You can order Genesis Breyer P-Orridge at

Below, the mesmerizing and beautifully evil long version of Cerith Wyn Evans’ video for Psychic TV’s “Unclean.”

A 2009 interview that I conducted with Genesis upon the publication of Thee Psychick Bible. Part 2 is here.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Live Evil: Psychic TV at Hammersmith Townhall, 1984

Em’s post about A Certain Ratio reminded me of the above show, a double-billed Psychic TV and ACR gig held at the Hammersmith Town in 1984. I was in attendance, age 18. I still have that flyer as well (note ticket price). In the days before the Internet, you had to truck on down to the Rough Trade Store to buy tickets for a show like this and that’s where I bought mine. I doubt even the biggest ticket sales offices in London were computerized back then.

This was an extremely intense show. I’ve been to some pretty crazy gigs (Einstürzende Neubauten trying to burn The Palladium down and Julian Cope slicing his stomach open onstage at the Hammersmith Palais for two notable examples from that same era), but this show was so insane that (not kidding here) had demons materialized on the stage—or something even weirder happened—I would not have been the least bit surprised.

Let me try to describe the atmosphere to you: First off, I don’t think I have ever, before or since, seen such a degenerate fucking crowd. A fair percentage of the punters looked mentally ill and an equal number looked criminally inclined or overtly sleazy. Diseased in both body and mind, or at least people who cultivated such qualities in the way they presented themselves to the world. I will never forget one lost soul, with her Thorazine-slacked features and one tit hanging out wandering around on her own. She had the blankest look that I have ever seen on a human face, a bottomless pit of psychotic misery in human form. I mean to tell you there were some right fucking weirdos there, and I’m someone who has made a career out of dealing with odd people. The single time I’ve ever been in a weirder scenario was a visit to NYC’s notorious Hellfire Club a few years later, but that’s another story…

There was a seriously dark vibe going on even before Psychic TV started due to the dozen or so television monitors flickering their spinning logo and candles lighting the stage. Then it started to ramp up. The imagery flashing across the monitors was intended to shock and shock it did. Much of it was footage from the First Transmissions and Cerith Wyn Evans’ (amazing) “Unclean” video (with Leigh Bowery), but there was some stuff that made even that level of an assault to the senses seem tame, like a gay S&M porn-style clip with Peter Christopherson having someone stretch his eyelids out as someone else jerked off and ejaculated right into his eyeball. Cheerful, eh?

When the band walked onstage—and this was when Psychic TV were coming off their evil masterpiece Dreams Less Sweet—the “spirits” that were swirling through the hall that night felt so malevolent that my friend and I both opted to back away from where we were standing at the front of the stage. The back of the hall just seemed “safer” in case something, well, something infernal happened.

It’s one of the best gigs I’ve ever seen. It completely blew me away. It was actually scary. Have you ever been to a scary concert? I recommend it!

But what of A Certain Ratio? Well… they came on second. It was utterly preposterous to think that anyone could have followed what Psychic TV had done. Most of the dazed and confused audience just got up and left and the ones who stayed on for ACR sat on the floor. I seem to recall that the house lights went up after PTV finished and just stayed up.

When I emailed Em to tell him that I’d seen ACR in London in 1984, and Em, consummate rock snob that he is, sniffed “1984 was also post-Simon Topping for ACR, a very different band.”

Yeah, but I saw Psychic TV, too, motherfucker!

Below, a 1984 Earsay report that shows you just a few fleeting moments from the Hammersmith Town Hall gig. You’ll note that they couldn’t show what was on the monitors and so placed their cameras accordingly. They even say so in the piece.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Psychic TV’s infamous ‘First Transmission’ underground video (Very, very NSFW)
04:50 pm


Psychic TV
Genesis P-Orridge

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 | Leave a comment
‘Black Joy’: Psychic TV live in Manchester and London
02:00 am


Psychic TV
Black Joy

Black Joy features live footage of Psychic TV performing in Manchester in 1988 and the Subterrania Club in London in 1991.

A collaboration between the band and film maker Karen Bentham, Black Joy was previously only available as two separate VHS tapes. You can purchase it on DVD at See Of Sound’s website or, thanks to the always generous folks at SOS, you can watch it here. The DVD does come with a bunch of extra bells and whistles.

Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
‘Pirate Tape’: Derek Jarman, William Burroughs and Psychic TV

Derek Jarman’s collaboration with Psychic TV Pirate Tape: A Portrait of William Burroughs, from 1982. This experimental film shows William Burroughs in London, cut to a loop of his voice. For copyright reasons, this clip tends to disappear quickly, so watch it while you can.

Bonus clip, Derek Jarman and Psychic TV’s ‘Force the Hand of Chance’ plus ‘Catalan’, after the jump…

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Psychic TV at SXSW: A roaring of angels
05:35 pm


Psychic TV

Psychic TV’s performance at SXSW was one of the highlights of the festival thus far. Genesis P-Orridge fronted a growling beast of a band that mesmerized a capacity crowd.

Genesis was in town not only to perform but also to attend the Austin premier of a film about her/his life and love affair with partner Lady Jaye. The Ballad Of Genesis and Lady Jaye, directed by Marie Losier, is a moving document of two people attempting to spiritually and physically merge as one. Part performance art and part metaphysical quest, Genesis and Lady Jaye alter their appearance over the course of several years in order to not only look like each other, but to become an entity beyond duality, a form of alchemy utilizing flesh and soul, creating their pandrogyne.

Losier’s direction of the film evokes the experimental movies of the 60s. Shooting with an old Bolex, Losier creates a mystical and dreamlike vision that seems to flutter at the borders of consciousness, a grainy living thing. Some of the footage recalls the look of Warhol’s Factory films and the work of Jonas Mekas. At the heart of the movie is the romance of two deeply committed lovers, but Losier also explores the many layers of Genesis’s art, from Pyschic TV to Throbbing Gristle to books written and archival documents from P-Orridge’s past. It’s a fascinating life lived on the edge of always becoming.

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: vocals, violin
Edley ODowd: drums, samples
Alice Genese: bass, backing vocals
Jeff ‘Bunsen’ Berner: guitar
Jess Stewart: keyboards

Here’s Psychic TV at SXSW creating a dark and beautiful roar.

Watch it in high definition.


Posted by Marc Campbell | Leave a comment
Some of Sleazy’s Best: The ecstatic anthropology of Threshold HouseBoys Choir

Peter “Sleazy” Christopherson’s passing yesterday evoked many tributes to the man as a member of influential electronic acts Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV and Coil. But we haven’t heard quite enough about one of his best solo projects, Threshold HouseBoys Choir.

Both live and on the guise’s single proper release, Form Grows Rampant, THBC basically comprised Sleazy backing his own video of various rituals at the Vegetarian Festival in southern Thailand’s Krabi Town (12 hours from his adopted home of Bangkok) with an abstract soundtrack that drew on the many field recordings he made in the city. Christopherson’s infamous fascination with the young active male body is clear in this work. But many of the problematics surrounding the European gaze that typifies exotica seem mitigated somehow by the late composer’s intimate audio-visual treatment. 

Overall, Christopherson’s work helped create a literary, psychotropic aesthetic that synthesized aspects of outside sexuality, technology, and ritual magick, bound by a wry sense of humor. THBC brought that angle to a highly personal level, and will stand as an evocative late moment in the man’s prolific career.

More from Form Grows Rampant after the jump…

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