March 15, 2020

"It was the dawn of the psychedelic 1960s, and she saw that she could create herself in a new form, as an alter ego she called Genesis P-Orridge...."

"After art school she formed a confrontational performance group called COUM Transmissions, which shocked the British art world with a 1976 exhibition called 'Prostitution' at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts. The exhibition included pornography, strippers and used tampons, and led one member of Parliament to call the group 'wreckers of civilization.' The core members of COUM morphed into Throbbing Gristle, an often abrasive experimental band that coined the term 'industrial music' to describe its repetitive, amelodic soundscapes. As with COUM, performances might involve nudity, self-mutilation, dead animals and Holocaust imagery; the band’s best-known single [was] 'Zyklon B Zombie'....  [I]n 1991... Genesis relocated to Kathmandu with her first wife, Paula, and their daughters, Genesse and Caresse.... There, as Genesis’s first marriage unwound, she found another unlikely identity, as a single father of two girls, attending P.T.A. meetings in a silver miniskirt and thigh-high boots.... On a trip to New York, she met Jacqueline Breyer, a dominatrix and nurse. Their love was so consuming that they wanted to fuse into a single entity, freed from the binary divisions of gender.... They got matching breast implants.... 'We’d go to our plastic surgeon and say, what else can we do now to look more alike?'"

From the NYT obituary for Genesis P-Orridge, nee Neil Andrew Megson. The cause of death, at age 70, was leukemia.

The obituary closes with this quote from Genesis: "Some people take their lives and turn them into the equivalent of a work of art. So we invented Genesis, but Gen forgot Neil, really. Does that person still exist somewhere, or did Genesis gobble him up? We don’t know the answer. But thank you, Neil."

21 comments:

Wilbur said...

Brian Jones died for your sins.

That's a sad - not to mention wacky - way to view the world. I hope Genesis found some peace in her life.

tim maguire said...

Is it nice that we live in a society where Neil/Genesis can explore his/her proclivities freely? Or sad that no one stepped up to help him stop running from who he was? I’m not the slightest bit bothered by the gender-bending or experimental art, but when it comoes to surgery, to doing things that can’t be undone, the people around today’s Geneses need the freedom to counsel against it without being attacked as bigots.

Lightning Metropolis said...

Genesis was still a guy back when he was in TG. And not to be geek or anything, but "United" was the A- side of the first TG single and was far more well-known than "Zyklon B Zombie" which was the B-side,

Shouting Thomas said...

And since 1976, the rubes have been shocked, shocked I tell you, by daily shocking exhibits about prostitution.

It’s so shocking.

Temujin said...

I just read it and watched the video. Never heard of any of this. No matter. Can't find a positive in this. Nothing. Just...nothing. So sorry. I wonder why we select people who are so confused about their own life and life in general and look to them for the Wise Words. Please....just tell us about you, your life, and how you got to this point. We want to know.

No. Really we don't.

Phil 314 said...

This struck me

“In 1991... Genesis relocated to Kathmandu with her first wife, Paula”

What is proper pronoun for one’s past cis-normative life? (Or whatever that life was...frankly I got confused reading all of this)

Doug said...

Okay, you got me to click. Shame on me.

Marc said...

Genesis P-Orridge, né Neil Andrew Megson. Even if one, out of courtesy or for other reasons, elects to accept the fellow's self-identification as a man-and-woman (or whatever; I skimmed the Guardian's obituary because I wasn't interested beyond requiescat in pace) that he was born the male Neil Andrew Megson seems incontestable.

Howard said...

Phil is getting gender confusion from these stories. I hope it isn't some subminimal conversion therapy.

Jim Clay said...

I imagine that the late-stage Romans would have recognized the decadence.

Jack Klompus said...

Early TG performances were pretty amazing for their time in the early days of industrial music and their spinoff bands Psychic TV and Coil created some really beautiful electronic and ambient albums. RIP Genesis!

Biotrekker said...

Never heard of her. And totally forgettable.

SDaly said...

The desire of normal people to gaze upon freaks is timeless. In the past, you had to go to a circus to see them. Today, they come to you over broadcast or the internet.

The demand is insatiable and compels more and more people to take on the role of freak to satisfy it.

Phidippus said...

Yesterday's outré is today's au courant.

It was a nice civilization, while it lasted.

Phidippus said...

My other reaction is that this guy seems to have had a shitty life. He must have been a very unhappy man. Sad, really.

Lurker21 said...

And it all started with art school ...

Why am I not surprised by that?

Sometimes it pays to ask the question, "That wouldn't be weird, would it?" and think that being weird may not always be a good thing.

But was Genesis really transsexual or just highly unconventional and non-conformist and experientially experimental to the point where gender bending seemed to be a logical step in the progression? Was it really about the angst of being born with the wrong body, or was it about the joy of reinventing oneself in a new form?

Anyway, rest in peace - or enjoy the next step in the journey.

Caligula said...

The art world seems to have decided that transgressing social norms is not merely occasionally of interest in art, but the only thing that might make a work of art at all interesting.

Genesis is the consequence of that valuation-and-incentive system.

Tomcc said...

I'm too conventional to be interested in these kinds of stories/people. To each his own. But who knew that there are PTA meetings in Kathmandu?!

rightguy said...

I try to experience art that is uplifting and this is usually art with a spiritual basis, created by someone that is at peace with himself and the world around him, or is striving to get to that state. I doubt this unhappy, mixed up fellow knew anything that is worth knowing.

Phidippus said...

rightguy: You are right, guy. Today it was Rachel Podger and Trevor Pinnock playing some of the Bach Violin Sonatas with Harpsichord obbligato.

I was indeed cleansed and uplifted.

Bach's music never fails to nourish the soul. How fortunate we are that he lived! Something to be grateful for.

gerry said...

Sad and useless art and life. Nice try. Next time do something positive.