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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Monday, April 11, 2005

Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV

It was probably 1977 rather than 76. I had got a finally found remainder copy of the Sex Pistols Anarchy in the UK (on EMI, 37p from Woolies in CD, still got it) but had also got a copy of Throbbing Gristle's Zyklon B Zombie.

Funny thing is I was kinda disapointed by Anarchy. It was only rock n roll after all. But Zyklon B - that sounded like what I had imagined from reading about it what punk should sound like - all distorted and wierd and dodgy. For more on TG see http://www.throbbing-gristle.com/

August 1979, Tottenham Court Road YMCA. By then I was in London and used to hang out at Small Wonder record shop in Walthamstow every Wednesday before going to Waltham Forest College to study engineering. One of Pete Stennet's mates who used to turn up was called Cos/ Coz and cos/Coz started promoting gigs as 'Final Solution'.

They started in a big way that August at the YMCA over two (or was it four?) nights. First night was Echo and the Bunnymen ,Teardrop Explodes and Joy Division. next night was Rema Rema, Caberet Voltaire and Throbbing Gristle.

E and the B must have been pretty newly going - problems working out where to plug guitar into ! Also played in background was as yet unreleased Bela Lugosi's Dead by Bauhaus. (I asked Coz who it was - released on Small Wonder. )

But what I remember is TG. They came on to Village People/ YMCA which gradually slowed down as Gen struck poses under a strobe light... they were awesome. saw them again at old Scala 29th Feb 1980 and Goldsmiths College in March. Bought the records. Joined the 'fan club', even tried to tape the noise of durex condom making machines to send them.

Also had a bit of fun writing to TGHQ on London Rubber headed paper - and got replies from Cosy at work which caused some raised eyebrows - all letters were read by office manager's assistant and stamped "Works Engineers Dept" before I got them!

The actual records were only interesting, but live- Throbbing Gristle were IT, they 'anti-rocked' , they created the most intense atmosphere of any group I have ever seen or heard. Heathen Earth is maybe closest album, but live...

Next up was Toxic Graffitti fanzine. It was a very Crass infuenced one, but the writer whose name I forget but came from Tunbridge Wells was intruiged by the TG/ TG synchronity and so me and him set off one day to Martello Street ( beside London Fields in Hackney) to do an interview. We wandered around but there was no sign of any one so we wander round to Beck Road and met Gen and some other people. I don't remember any actual interview happening though. Shame, it would have been amusing to find TG in TG alongside Crass and the rest.

Beck Road is one one side of Mare Street, with railwayline running on arches over head- for years there was Class War grafitti on one of the arches "Toffs out of Hackney" . I don't think it was ironic, don't remember Class War doing much irony. Brougham Road is on the other side near the original 'Albert Square'. [ Check your London AZ in case I have got it wrong ] A big housing estate had been built and then the money ran out or something so a row of Victorian terracwed houses were left which were squatted for a few years. As mentioned in previous, ex Bader Mienhof person Astrid Proll lived there for a while under an assumed name.

I think Mark lived at Brougham Road for a while, Min did too and so did white south african draft dodger who ran a 'shop' ... more names, um I can't remember, but there was a woman with a young family too. The point being that after Throbbing Gristle ended in 1981 and Psychic TV emerged as Gen and Sleazy's project (Chris and Cosey had their own group) ... a bit of overlap began to emerge with some anarcho-punk Hackney squatters being first TOPY- Temple ov Psychic Youth youths.

Unfortunately I never enjoyed Psychic TV as much as I had TG. I think the tensions and differences within TG made their music more interesting, where as PTV became more and more Gen's project. Can't really say though, I was buying fewer and fewer records, so don't have any PTV to compare with TG.

I think part of the attraction of PTV was their total 'myth and ritual' approach, similar to that of Crass, and even Hawkwind and maybe the Greatful Dead. That what you got was not just a bit of noise on a record, you got a whole lifestyle and ideology. Certainly there was a lot of cross-links between us anarcho-goth-punks and PTV, remember us all going to PTV gigs at Heaven and ? town hall and a squatted synagogue. And of course All the madmen putting out Zos Kia/ Rape- cover showed a pierced willy, which got faded down a bit to make it less obvious. And I went along to the cutting at porky's - Porky's prime cuts, off Marlybone Road somehwere. Which is a bit of history now. Back then, the music was recorded on magnetic tape, then had to be transferred to a master disc which was then used to press the vinyl. Porky was one of the specialists who did this transfer.

Good grief, just remembered going with Mark to a record pressing plant- again just off Mare Street, down near canal. That would be for Witch Hunts before the link up with Rough Trade. After that we used a French company who Rough Trade used.

Quick final flourish - big stushie (good Scots word) later occurred thanks to Joel and his Chaos - about Gen and bloke from Caliphate OTO having a meeting and what the implications were - who was trying to take over whom? Circa 1987.

Last met Gen in 1990, but he (now she?) is still going strong see http://www.genesisp-orridge.com/


Blogger I am not Kek-w said...

Bloody hell...Beck Road, Hackney.

Dom's brother used to live down there and babysit for Gen. He eventually became a Templar and drove PTV's van across Europe for a tour.

Mark = Mark Wilson of the Mob?

His brother Paul still lives down here, in Yeovil. And Max...is that Max from Yeovil....haven't seen him in over twenty years, if it is. Me and Max once got chased thru Yeovil cemetery by a carload of football casuals. Small world if it's the same guys.

7:23 pm  

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