Genesis P-Orridge

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Genesis Breyer P-Orridge
Genesis P-Orridge with Throbbing Gristle.jpg
P-Orridge performing with Throbbing Gristle in 2009
Background information
Birth name Neil Andrew Megson
Also known as DJ Doktor Megatrip, Megs'on, P. Ornot, PT001, Vernon Castle, Shirley Ghostman
Born (1950-02-22) 22 February 1950 (age 64)
Origin Victoria Park, Longsight, Manchester
Genres Experimental, industrial, psychedelic
Occupations Singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer, performance artist
Instruments Vocals, guitar, bass, keyboards, clarinet, synthesizer, violin, vibraphone
Years active 1965-present
Labels Industrial, Temple Records, Wax Trax!
Associated acts COUM Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Thee Majesty, Splinter Test, Pigface

Genesis P-Orridge (born Neil Andrew Megson; 22 February 1950), later known as Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, is an English singer-songwriter, musician, poet, writer and performance artist. In the latter capacity P-Orridge was the founder of the COUM Transmissions artistic collective, which operated from 1969 to 1975. As a musician, P-Orridge fronted the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle between 1975 and 1981, and then the experimental band Psychic TV from 1981 to 1999. An occultist, P-Orridge is also a founding member of Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth.

P-Orridge's early confrontational performance work in COUM Transmissions, during the late 1960s and early 1970s, along with Throbbing Gristle, which dealt with subjects such as sex work, pornography, serial killers, occultism and P-Orridge's own exploration of gender issues, generated controversy — later musical work with Psychic TV received wider exposure. P-Orridge is credited on over 200 releases.

After marrying Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge in 1993, Genesis and Lady Jaye began "project Pandrogeny" to become Breyer P-Orridge, an entity described as an "amalgam" of their two selves. Genesis Breyer P-Orridge continued this project after the death of Lady Jaye in 2007. P-Orridge identifies using the pronouns s/he, h/er, and h/erself.[1]

Early life[edit]

Childhood: 1950–1964[edit]

"Epping Forest was still untouched across the other side of the street, rabbits, squirrels and deer were always around. In the morning my mother would walk me to school. It took me about ten minutes through the forest along a trail worn by footsteps and deer. There were pools, frog ponds, deep shadows. It was a magickal place, and a favourite haunt, I learned later, for rapes, flashing, and the dumping of corpses."

Genesis P-Orridge.[2]

Neil Andrew Megson was born on 22 February 1950 in Victoria Park, Longsight, Manchester, United Kingdom. H/er father, Ronald Megson, was a travelling salesman who had worked in repertory theatre and who played the drums in local jazz and dance bands. Neil's mother, Muriel, was from Salford and first met Ronald after he had returned to England after being injured with the British Army at the Battle of Dunkirk in 1940.[2] Throughout h/er childhood, Neil had a good relationship with h/er parents, who did not interfere with h/er artistic interests.[2]

Due to h/er father's job, the family moved to Essex, Eastern England, where Neil attended Staples Road Infant School in Loughton, and for a time lived in a caravan near to Epping Forest while the family house was being completed.[2] The family then moved from Essex to Cheshire, North West England, where Neil attended Gatley Primary School. Passing h/er Eleven Plus exam, s/he won a scholarship to attend Stockport Grammar School, doing so between 1961 and 1964.[3]

Solihull School and Worm: 1964–1968[edit]

After h/er father gained employment as the Midlands area manager of a cleaning and maintenance business, Neil was sent to the privately run Solihull School in Warwickshire from 1964 through to 1968; a period s/he would refer to as "basically four years of being mentally and physically tortured.", but also a time when s/he developed an interest in art, occultism and the avant-garde.[3] Unpopular with other students, Megson was bullied at the school, finding comfort in the art department at lunch-time and in the evenings. S/he befriended Ian "Spydee" Evetts, Barry "Little Baz" Hermon and Paul Wolfson, three fellow students who shared h/er interest in art, literature and poetry. At weekends they would meet up to discuss books and music, developing an interest in the writings of Aleister Crowley and Allen Ginsberg and the music of Frank Zappa and The Velvet Underground.[3] S/he became interested in the occult; h/er grandmother was a medium.[4]

In 1965, Megson founded h/er first band, Worm, with h/er school friends Peter Winstanley, Ian Evetts and h/er girlfriend Jane Ray, in doing so being influenced by John Cage's 1961 book Silence: Lectures and Writings.[5] With Evetts, Hermon, Wolfson and Winstanley, s/he began production of an underground magazine, entitled Conscience, in 1966. Forbidden from selling it on school grounds, they sold copies outside the school gates. Included in Conscience were various articles criticising the school's administration, leading to several changes regarding such issues as school uniforms and benchers' privileges.[6] That same year, influenced by newspaper accounts of "Swinging London", Megson organised the first happening at the school, doing so under the auspices of organising a school dance.[6]

Solihull School, designed by J. A. Chatwin in 1882. Megson studied here between 1964 and 1968, despising it.

Brought up in the Anglican denomination of Christianity, Megson became the secretary of the school sixth form's Christian Discussion Circle. Arguing that the group should encompass multiple religious views and not just those of Christians, s/he invited speakers from a variety of different ideological positions – including a Marxist from the British Communist Party – to speak to the group.[6] Aged 18, s/he began helping to run the local Sunday School classes, but later came to reject organised Christianity.[6] Afflicted with asthma, throughout h/er childhood Megson had to take cortisone and prednisone steroids to control the attacks. The latter of these drugs caused h/er adrenal glands to atrophy as a side-effect, and so h/er doctor advised h/er to stop taking them. As a result, aged 17 s/he suffered from a serious blackout; while in hospital recovering s/he decided to devote h/erself to art and writing.[7][8]

With Hermon and Wolfson, Megson founded a pseudo-society, the Knights of the Pentecostal Flame,[9] who undertook a happening on 1 June 1968 which they entitled Beautiful Litter. Taking place in Mell Square, Solihull, it involved the three students handing out cards to passers by that had a series of words written onto them; "fleece", "rainbow", "silken", "white", "flower" and "dewdrops". Ensuring that the local Solihull News was informed of the event, Megson told reporters that the Knights wanted to ignite "an artistic revolution in Solihull, by making people aware of the life around them, its essential beauty and tranquility."[10] In the summer of 1968, Worm recorded their first and only album, entitled Early Worm, in Megson's parents attic in Solihull. It was pressed onto vinyl in November at Deroy Sound Services in Manchester, but only one copy was ever produced. A second album, Catching the Bird, was recorded but never pressed.[11]

Hull University: 1968[edit]

In September 1968, Megson began studying for a degree in Social Administration and Philosophy at the University of Hull. S/he had chosen Hull in an attempt to study at "the most ordinary non-elitist, working-class, red brick university", but disliked the course and unsuccessfully tried to transfer to study English.[12] With a group of friends s/he founded a 'free-form' student magazine entitled Worm which waived all editorial control, publishing everything placed into the magazine's pigeonhole, including instructions on how to build a molotov cocktail. Three issues were published between 1968 and 1970 before the Hull Student's Union banned the publication, considering it legally obscene and fearing prosecution.[12] Developing a keen interest in poetry, Megson won the 1969 Hull University Needler Poetry Competition, judged by Compton lecturer Richard Murphy and the poet Philip Larkin, who was then Chief Librarian at the university.[13] Megson became involved in radical student politics through h/er friendship with Tom Fawthrop, a member of the Radical Student Alliance who had led a student occupation of the university's administrative buildings as a part of the worldwide student protests of 1968. In 1969, Megson attempted to reconstruct the occupation for a film, in the hopes that it would itself become a genuine protest occupation, but this venture failed due to a lack of participants.[14]

Transmedia Explorations: 1969[edit]

In 1969, Megson dropped out of university and moved to London,[15][16] where s/he joined the Transmedia Explorations commune, who were then living in a large run-down house in Islington Park Street. The group, initiated by the artist David Medalla and initially named the Exploding Galaxy, had been at the forefront of the London hippy scene since 1967, but had partially disbanded after a series of police raids and a damaging court case. Moving into their commune, Megson was particularly influenced by one of the founding members of the group, Gerald Fitzgerald, a kinetic artist, and would recognise Fitzgerald's formative influence in h/er later work. The commune members adhered to a strict regime with the intention of deconditioning its members out of their routines and conventional behaviour; they were forbidden from sleeping in the same place on consecutive nights, food was cooked at irregular times of the day and all clothing was kept in a communal chest, with its members wearing something different on each day. Megson stayed there for three months, until late October 1969, when s/he decided to leave; s/he was angered that the commune's leaders were given more rights than the other members, and believed that the group ignored the counter-cultural use of music, something s/he took a great interest in.[15][17]

COUM Transmissions[edit]

Founding COUM Transmissions: 1969–1970[edit]

COUM Transmissions were a music and performance art collective who operated in the United Kingdom from 1969 through to 1976. Influenced by the Dada artistic movement, COUM were openly confrontational and subversive, challenging aspects of conventional British society. Founded in Hull, Yorkshire by Genesis P-Orridge, other prominent members included Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson and Chris Carter, who together went on to found the pioneering industrial band Throbbing Gristle in 1976.

Leaving London, Megson hitch-hiked across the country before settling down in h/er parents' new home in Shrewsbury. Here s/he volunteered as an office clerk in h/er father's new business.[18] On one family trip to Wales, Megson was sitting in the back of the car when s/he "became disembodied and heard voices and saw the COUM symbol and heard the words 'COUM Transmissions'." Returning home that evening, s/he filled three notebooks with artistic thoughts and ideas, influenced by h/er time with Transmedia Explorations.[18] In December 1969 s/he returned to Hull to meet up with h/er friend John Shappero, with whom s/he would turn COUM Transmissions into an avant-garde artistic and musical troupe. They initially debated as to how to define "COUM", later deciding that like the name "dada" it should remain open to interpretation. Megson designed a logo for the group, consisting of a semi-erect penis formed out of the word COUM with a drip of semen coming out of the end, while the motto "YOUR LOCAL DIRTY BANNED" was emblazoned underneath. Another logo designed by Megson consisted of a hand-drawn seal accompanied by the statement "COUM guarantee disappointment"; from their early foundation, the group made use of wordplay in their artworks and adverts.[19][20]

COUM's earliest public events were impromptu musical gigs performed at various pubs around Hull; titles for these events included Thee Fabulous Mutations, Space Between the Violins, Dead Violins and Degradation and Clockwork Hot Spoiled Acid Test. The latter combined the names of Anthony Burgess' dystopian science-fiction novel A Clockwork Orange (1962) with Tom Wolfe's The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test (1968), a work of literary journalism devoted to the Merry Pranksters, a U.S. communal counter-cultural group who advocated the use of psychedelic drugs.[19] COUM's music was anarchic and improvised, making use of such instruments as broken violins, prepared pianos, guitars, bongos and talking drums. As time went on, they would add further theatrics to their performances, in one instance making the audience crawl through a polythene tunnel in order to enter the venue.[21]

In December 1969, Megson and Shapeero moved out of their flat and into a former fruit warehouse in Hull's docking area, overlooking the Humber. Named the Ho-Ho Funhouse by Megson, the warehouse became the communal home to an assortment of counter-cultural figures, including artists, musicians, fashion designers and underground magazine producers.[22] At Christmas 1969, a woman named Christine Carol Newby (1951–) moved into the Funhouse after being thrown out of her home by her father. Having earlier befriended Megson at an acid test party, Newby would move into h/er room at the Funhouse, first taking the name "Cosmosis", but latterly adopting the nom-de-guerre Cosey Fanni Tutti after the title of Amadeus Mozart's 1790 opera Così fan tutte.[23] Joining COUM, Tutti initially helped in building props and designing costumes, and was there when the group began changing its focus from music to performance art and more theatrical happenings; one of these involved the group turning up to play a gig but intentionally not bringing any instruments, something Megson considered "much more theatrical, farcical and light-hearted" than their earlier performances.[21]

Activities in Hull: 1971–1973[edit]

"Yes COUM are fab and kinky" (1971), an example of the artwork which P-Orridge produced to advertise h/er artistic-musical group; the primary image is of h/erself as a child.

On 5 January 1971, Megson officially changed h/er name to Genesis P-Orridge by deed poll, combining h/er school nickname of "Genesis" with a misspelling of "porridge", the foodstuff which s/he lived off as a student. The nom-de-guerre was intentionally un-glamorous, and s/he hoped that it s/he would trigger h/er own "genius factor".[24] Catching the attention of the Yorkshire Post, who featured an article on P-Orridge and COUM Transmissions on 11 February, COUM soon attracted media attention from national newspapers,[24] also featuring in an article in Torch, the publication of the University of Hull's student union, entitled "God Sucks Mary's Hairy Nipple". The article's author Haydn Robb subsequently joined COUM,[25] as did maths lecturer Tim Poston.[26] On 18 April 1971, COUM broadcast their first live radio session, for the On Cue programme for Radio Humberside.[27] On the back of their radio and press attention, they performed further happenings, including their first street action, Absolute Everywhere, which brought problems with the police, and Riot Control at the Gondola Club.[27]

The Gondola Club was raided by police and closed soon after; most local clubs blamed COUM and unofficially banned them. COUM drew up a petition to gain support for the group, attaining a booking at the local Brickhouse; their first performance in which the audience applauded and called for an encore. The petition had contained their phallic logo, and the police charged P-Orridge and Nobb of publishing an obscene advert, although the charges were later dropped.[28] Gaining coverage in the music press, interest in the band grew, and they were asked to support rock band Hawkwind at St. George's Hall in Bradford in October 1971, where they performed a piece called Edna and the Great Surfers, where they led the crowd in shouting "Off, Off, Off".[28] The following month, the band attracted the interest of music journalist John Peel, who discussed them in Disco and Music Echo, remarking that "[s]ome might say that Coum were madmen but constant exposure to mankind forces me to believe that we need more madmen like them."[25]

Recognising they would never be a commercial success, COUM gained an Experimental Arts Grant from the publicly funded Yorkshire Arts Association.[29][30] Describing themselves as performance artists, they looked up to the work of the Dadaists and emphasised the amateur quality of their work, proclaiming that "[t]he future of music lies in non-musicians".[31] P-Orridge took an increasing interest in infantilism, founding a fictitious school of art, the L'ecole de l'art infantile, whose work culminated in a 1983 event known as the Baby's Coumpetition held at Oxford University's May Festival, co-organised with Robin Klassnik and Opal L. Nations. Another invention of P-Orridge's was h/er Ministry of Antisocial Insecurity (MAI), a parody of the Ministry of Social Security.[32] S/he created the character of Alien Brain, in July 1972 performed the World Premiere of The Alien Brain at Hull Arts Centre.[33] That summer, COUM entered the National Rock/Folk Contest at Hull's New Grange Club with a set titled This Machine Kills Music.[34] COUM organised events for Hull City Council's Fanfare for Europe to commemorate the UK's joining the European Economic Community in 1973, while that year P-Orridge featured a conceptual artwork, 'Wagon Train', at the Ferens Art Gallery's Winter Show, proving controversial in local press.[35] They also put together their first book for publication; the first volume in a projected project known as The Million and One Names of COUM appeared in 1972, containing 1001 slogans, such as "COUM are Fab and Kinky" and "A thousand and one ways to COUM."[36] Another of P-Orridge's early publications was Copyright Breeches (1973), which explored h/er ongoing fascination with the copyright symbol and its implications for art and society.[37]

Move to London: 1973–1976[edit]

Following continual police harassment, P-Orridge and Tutti relocated to London, moving into a squat and obtaining a basement studio in Hackney which they named the "Death Factory".[38] After a brief correspondence, here P-Orridge met American novelist and poet William S. Burroughs, who later introduced him to the English poet and performance artist Dick Emery.[39][40][41] Gysin would become a major influence upon P-Orridge's ideas and works and was h/er primary tutor in magic.[42] 1973 saw COUM take part in the Fluxshoe retrospective that toured Britain exhibiting the work of the Fluxus artists; it was organised by David Mayor, who befriended P-Orridge.[43] At that year's Edinburgh Festival, they undertook their Marcel Duchamp-inspired Art Vandals piece at the Richard Demarco Gallery, in which they engaged guests in unconventional conversation, and spilled their food and drink on the floor. Exhibiting alongside the Viennese Actionists, they came under increasing influence from these Austrian performance artists, adopting their emphasis on using shock tactics to combat conventional morality.[44] September 1973 saw them produce their first film, Wundatrek Tours, which documented a day out to Brighton, while throughout the year they sent postcards that they had designed to mail-art shows across the world.[45]

In 1973 they were joined by Hipgnosis' Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson. COUM employed confrontational imagery, including Nazi-influenced elements and the occult.[46]

They were prosecuted in 1975 for making collages combining postcards of Queen Elizabeth with soft-core porn, but the jail term and fines were suspended on condition they did not continue.[47]

The Prostitution show: 1976[edit]

Their Prostitution show, in 1976 at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, included displays of Tutti's pornographic images from magazines as well as erotic nude photographs;[48] the show featured a stripper, used tampons in glass,[48] and transvestite guards. Prostitutes, punks, and people in costumes were among those hired to mingle with the gallery audience. The show caused debate in Parliament about the public funding of such events. In the House of Commons, Scottish Conservative MP Sir Nicholas Fairbairn demanded an explanation from Arts Minister Harold Lever and proclaimed P-Orridge and Tutti as "wreckers of civilisation".[49] Fleet Street was not slow to pick up the story. The reviews were cut up, framed and put on display for the remainder of the exhibition.[48] This was also reported in newspapers, so cut-ups about the cut-ups were also put on display.[48] COUM was found so offensive that it lost its government grant,[50] and went on to become the private company Industrial Records.[51] Toward the end of COUM, performances would often consist of only P-Orridge, Cosey and Sleazy, the core group who went on to form Throbbing Gristle.[52]

Throbbing Gristle[edit]

"I've been involved in a total war with culture since the day I started ... I am at war with the status quo of society and I am at war with those in control and power. I'm at war with hypocrisy and lies, I'm at war with the mass media. Then I'm at war with every bastard who tries to hurt someone else for its own sake. And I'm at war with privilege and I'm at war with all the things that one should be at war with basically. As my mentor used to say: "I feel your pain, I feel your shame but you're not to blame"."

Genesis P-Orridge, 1989[53]

Throbbing Gristle was formed in the autumn of 1975[54] as a four-piece band, consisting of P-Orridge, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson and Chris Carter.[54]

The first Throbbing Gristle performance was held at the Air Gallery in London in July 1976.[51] At that point, Throbbing Gristle's headquarters was located at 10 Martello Street, Hackney, East London, the address of an artist collective. P-Orridge and Tutti's living and work space was the mailing address of Industrial Records (IR). Throbbing Gristle released "Discipline" in 1981.

The final IR release was called Nothing Here but the Recordings, a best-of album taken from the archives of William S. Burroughs, who provided P-Orridge and Christopherson with access to his reel-to-reel tape archive.[55]

The final Throbbing Gristle live event, Mission of Dead Souls, occurred in May 1981 at the Kezar Pavilion in San Francisco, US.[56] Shortly after the San Francisco event, P-Orridge and Paula P-Orridge (née Alaura O'Dell) were married.[citation needed]

Psychic TV[edit]

Genesis P-Orridge posing in Japan

Psychic TV, a video art and music group that primarily performs psychedelic, punk, electronic and experimental music, was formed in 1981,[57] with its first song, "Just Drifting", based on a poem by P-Orridge.[58] That same year, P-Orridge founded Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth, a loose network of people operating as a blend of artistic collective and practitioners of magic.[59]

Psychic TV made its debut in 1982 at an event organised by P-Orridge, David Dawson, and Roger Ely, called The Final Academy. It was a 4-day multimedia celebratory rally held in Manchester and at the Ritzy Cinema in Brixton, South London. It brought performers and audience together with literature, performance, film and music. PTV, Cabaret Voltaire, 23 Skidoo, Z'EV, John Giorno, William S. Burroughs, Brion Gysin, Terry Wilson, Jeff Nuttall, and The Last Few Days participated to honour the cut-up techniques and theories of William S. Burroughs, Ian Sommerville, Anthony Balch and Gysin. Video projection and early sampling were used here, as well as whispered utterances by P-Orridge reprocessed as a soundtrack to Gysin's Dreammachine by the Hafler Trio.[60]

In the mid-eighties, Psychic TV aimed to release a live album on the 23rd of each month for 23 months[57] in recognition of the 23 enigma. The group didn't reach its goal but still managed fourteen albums in eighteen months, thus earning them an entry in the Guinness Book of World Records.[57] The liner notes to each of these releases functioned somewhat like mini-manifestos in the tradition of the Situationist International or William S. Burroughs' Electronic Revolution in addition to recounting aspects of the recordings contained therein. For example, the fourth album in this series, Live In Reykjavík, featuring part of a ritual from Godhi Sveinbjörn Beinteinsson includes liner notes that refer to Christianity as "sham X-tianity," in reclamation of a Pagan heritage via an Ásatrú marriage, over which Beinteinsson presided, below a statue of Thor in "the wilderness".

Psychic TV produced music for the 1984 West German music revolution film Decoder, and Genesis P-Orridge was given an acting role in it.

Psychic TV returned to the stage in 2003, with a concert in New York under the guise of PTV3 and was accompanied by (with the exception of Genesis) an all new line-up. In September 2004, an extensive tour of Europe (covering 16 countries) and North America was launched. 2005 saw the band return to the studio, recording their first album in over 10 years (Genesis also spent 2005 working with Throbbing Gristle on what would be their first album in over 25 years).

In January 2006, the new PTV album was announced on P-Orridge's website. Hell Is Invisible... Heaven Is Her/e was recorded in NYC and features Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs) and Gibby Haynes (Butthole Surfers) guesting on some tracks. To inaugurate the release of Hell Is Invisible ... Heaven Is Her/e, PTV3 hosted a five night residency in September 2006 at Galapagos Art Space in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York.[61] Mr. Alien Brain Vs. the Skinwalkers was released on Sweet Nothing Records on 8 December 2008.[62]

Breyer P-Orridge[edit]


In January 1996, Genesis and their second wife, Lady Jaye (née Jacqueline Breyer), relocated to the New York borough of Queens in the US.[63] Following their move to Queens, the couple began an ongoing experiment in body modification, aimed at creating one pandrogynous being named "Breyer P-Orridge";[64] they received breast implants and adopted gender neutral and alternating pronouns.[65] In a 2011 interview with The Village Voice, Breyer P-Orridge described Queens, where the couple shared a brownstone residence that Breyer P-Orridge had purchased in Ridgewood,[63] as an "ideal" area for the enactment of such an experiment:

... we arrived as husband and wife, me still dressing and technically behaving male, and all the local shopkeepers who knew Jaye from being a kid, all the neighbors ... And then over the years, we transformed more and more until we were both running around in miniskirts, dressed the same, and none of them said anything! Except in the pharmacy, where very politely, one of the Pakistani guys we knew very well there ... he says one day, "Hope you don't mind me asking, but you probably want us to say 'Miss P-Orridge' now, don't you?" We said, "That would be good!" And that was the one time anyone even mentioned that anything had happened.[63]

In 2012, again with The Village Voice, Breyer P-Orridge explained the ethos behind the term "pandrogyne": "We came up with "pandrogyne" because we wanted a word without any history or any connections with things—a word with its own story and its own information."[66]

During this era, a book was published of Breyer P-Orridge's writings, poems, and observations, called Ooh, You Are Awful ... But I Like You!.[67] In the mid-1990s, Breyer P-Orridge collaborated with different people in music, including Pigface, Skinny Puppy, and Download. Breyer P-Orridge also performed with Nik Turner and other former members of Hawkwind.[68]

PTV3 live in Germany 2004: Alice Genese, G. P-Orridge, Markus Persson

In June 1998, Breyer P-Orridge won a $1.5 million lawsuit against producer Rick Rubin and his American Recordings label for injuries s/he sustained while trying to escape a fire at Rubin's home in April 1995.[69] According to Breyer P-Orridge's attorney, David D. Stein, Breyer P-Orridge was staying at Rubin's home, as a guest of Love and Rockets, when the fire broke out. Breyer P-Orridge tried to escape the house by crawling through a second-story window and fell onto concrete stairs. Breyer P-Orridge suffered a broken wrist, broken ribs, and a pulmonary embolism, as well as a shattered left elbow that, according to Stein, prevents h/er from playing bass or keyboards—Breyer P-Orridge remained in hospital for a total of ten days.[69] The jury found that the liability for the fire rested with Rubin and American Recordings, and awarded Breyer P-Orridge US$1,572,000 for h/er injuries.[70]

In 1999, Breyer P-Orridge performed with the briefly reunited late-1980s version of Psychic TV for an event at London's Royal Festival Hall, called Time's Up. The MC for the event, via pre-recorded video, was Quentin Crisp, it was recorded and released as a DVD.[71] Time's Up is also the title of the first CD by Thee Majesty, Breyer P-Orridge's spoken-word project with "noise" guitarist, Bryin Dall.


In December 2003, Breyer P-Orridge, using the alias Djinn, unveiled PTV3, a new act drawing upon the early "Hyperdelic" work of Psychic TV with media theorist Douglas Rushkoff among its members.[72] On 16 May 2004 all four former members of Throbbing Gristle performed at the London Astoria for the first time in 23 years.

Breyer P-Orridge appears in the 1998 film and 2000 book versions of Modulations, in the 1999 film Better Living Through Circuitry, in the 2004 film DiG!, the 2006 documentary Monks: The Transatlantic Feedback, in Nik Sheehan's 2007 feature documentary on the Dreamachine entitled 'FLicKeR', and the 2010 documentary "William S. Burroughs: A Man Within."

Genesis and Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge embarked on a years-long pursuit of pandrogyny, undergoing a series of plastic surgery procedures in order to become gender-neutral human beings that looked like each other.[73]

We started out, because we were so crazy in love, just wanting to eat each other up, to become each other and become one. And as we did that, we started to see that it was affecting us in ways that we didn't expect. Really, we were just two parts of one whole; the pandrogyne was the whole and we were each other's other half.[73]

On 9 October 2007, Lady Jaye Breyer P-Orridge died.[74] The cause of death was a heart condition that was possibly related to stomach cancer. Psychic TV cancelled its North American tour dates in the aftermath of Lady Jaye's death. A memorial was held at the PARTICIPANT INC. Gallery in New York City on 8 March 2008 and photos of the event were published on the Internet.[75][76] As of January 2013, P-Orridge's official website says, "Since that time Genesis continues to represent the amalgam Breyer P-Orridge in the material 'world' and Lady Jaye represents the amalgam Breyer P-Orridge in the immaterial 'world' creating an ongoing interdimensional collaboration."[1]

Genesis P-Orridge in 2007

Psychic TV's current incarnation, PTV3, released a CD/DVD set, Mr. Alien Brain vs. The Skinwalkers on 9 December 2008. On 4 November 2009 it was announced that Breyer P-Orridge would retire from touring in any and all bands (including Throbbing Gristle and Psychic TV) to concentrate on art, writing and music.[77]

Breyer P-Orridge sold the Ridgewood, Queens property that he had shared with Lady Jaye in New York for over a decade in June 2010. Prior to Breyer P-Orridge's move to a one-bedroom Manhattan apartment residence in New York's Lower East Side, s/he held a "garage sale" in the basement of a Queens art gallery and sold a range of personal items, such as "punk-rock dresses with safety-pinned seams, a volcanic-rock-shaped mirror-ball blob, and a pink glass perfume bottle", in addition to a considerable collection of dildos.[63]

Breyer P-Orridge participated in an in-depth interview for 'Sup magazine that was published in early 2013. In the interview, Breyer P-Orridge provides a detailed perspective on a range of issues, such as sub-cultures, the Internet, and the punk ethos, and concluded the interview with a view on capitalist society in the 21st century:

Not really, not really. It doesn't matter to me either way whether it [society] staggers on or it falls apart. To me it is still important and necessary for people who are like-minded to gather together and share their resources. Because there's always going to be extreme fear of otherness and difference, you know? That's always been there, it's never really gone away. Hippies got killed for having long hair. Human beings are innately tribal and vicious.[78]

Personal life[edit]

"I'm 38 and for all my faults I have spent most of those 38 years searching determinedly for ideas that work and ideas that help. Not everyone maybe, but some people. If they work and if they make any kind of sense, the only way to check is to give them to other people and see if it works. If it helps one or two or ten or fifteen, that's a massive improvement on what most human beings do in their life to help anyone. If it helps a few hundred or a few thousand, that's incredible"

Genesis P-Orridge, 1989.[79]

P-Orridge has two daughters, Caresse and Genesse, with former wife Paula P-Orridge (born Paula Brooking). A nude portrait of P-Orridge and Paula appeared in the Icelandic publication Eintak in 1994.[80]

Commune involvement[edit]

In an interview, published by 'Sup magazine in January 2013, Breyer P-Orridge explained the "Exploding Galaxy" commune that they joined in 1969:

The commune was really, really rigorous. When you arrived, all your clothes went into a box in the middle of the basement, and any money you had was handed over. Really, a lot of it was classic cult deprogramming, or programming, depending on how you look at it. You could have a sleeping bag or a blanket, but you could never sleep in the same place twice. And you had to, on and on, keep trying to shed every kind of habit you might have. So, if someone was always talking in the same way, for instance, one of my habits was fiddling with my fingernails, which we still do with excess energy— You could go, 'Stop!' They'd all start haranguing you like, 'Why the hell are you doing that? What's wrong with you? Can't you stop? What's wrong with you? Why's your hair the same as it was yesterday? You've got no imagination? What's your fucking problem?' Anyway, from being in the Exploding Galaxy, we realized what they were doing was basically a psychotherapeutic thing. They were trying to basically reduce down one's behavior to an empty plate, you know, erase all inherited, conditioned ways of behaving and responding to things so that theoretically you could build the self that you wish to be.[78]

Esotericism and religion[edit]

In describing their theological beliefs, P-Orridge has commented that "I don't believe in any gods. I believe that gods are early attempts at psychology, trying to understand the light and dark side of human nature. The deeper part of human nature where you go right inside yourself, beyond dreams and into those recesses which we should look into, but we're out of practice [in doing that] in our culture."[79]

P-Orridge has vociferously criticised contemporary Christianity, describing it as "an incredibly sick social pseudo-religion", and arguing that it was based upon the tenet of "Be good now, agree, or else we will punish you forever and ever when you're dead. And we may punish you while you're alive ...". They maintain that such an attitude was established in Christianity by St. Paul and the early Roman Catholic Church, and that it differed from the "ecstatic mysticism of the original Christianity, the Gnostic Christianity."[79]


Note: this is for releases specifically credited to Genesis P-Orridge, for work with PTV see Psychic TV discography, for work with Throbbing Gristle see Throbbing Gristle discography.



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  3. ^ a b c Ford 1999. p. 1.5.
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  6. ^ a b c d Ford 1999. p. 1.6.
  7. ^ Ford 1999. pp. 1.6–1.7.
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  16. ^ Signal to Noise: Issues 28–31 (Signal to Noise): 134. 2003. 
  17. ^ Ford 1999. pp. 1.12–1.15.
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  19. ^ a b Ford 1999. p. 1.16.
  20. ^ Wilson 2002. pp. 59–60.
  21. ^ a b Ford 1999. p. 1.20.
  22. ^ Ford 1999. p. 1.17.
  23. ^ Ford 1999. p. 1.17–1.19.
  24. ^ a b Ford 1999. p. 2.4.
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  41. ^ Metzger, Richard (31 December 2009). Genesis Breyer P-Orridge: Thee Psychick Bible. Dangerous Minds
  42. ^ P-Orridge, Genesis. "Magick Squares and Future Beats." Book of Lies: The Disinformation Guide to Magick and the Occult. The Disinformation Company, 2003: 103–118 ISBN 0-9713942-7-X
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  49. ^ Williams, Sheldon. "Genesis P-Orridge". pp. 770–772 in Naylor, Colin & Genesis P-Orridge (editors). Contemporary Artists. Macmillan Press/St Martin's Press, 1977. ISBN 0-333-22672-0
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  52. ^ Sladen, Mark; Yedgar, Ariella (2007). Panic Attack!: Art in the Punk Years. Merrell. p. 9. ISBN 978-1-85894-403-6. 
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  54. ^ a b Ankeny, Jason. Throbbing Gristle Biography at AllMusic. Retrieved 14 February 2012.
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  59. ^ Greer, John Michael (2003). The New Encyclopedia of the Occult. Llewellyn Worldwide. p. 474. ISBN 978-1-56718-336-8. 
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  • Abrahamsson, Carl (2011) [1989]. "An Interview with Genesis P-Orridge". The Fenris Wolf I–3 (Stockholm: Edda). pp. 32–50. ISBN 978-91-979534-1-2. 
  • Daniel, Drew (2008). Throbbing Gristle's Twenty Jazz Funk Greats. London: Continuum. ISBN 978-1-4411-1325-2. 
  • Ford, Simon (1999). Wreckers of Civilisation: The Story of COUM Transmissions & Throbbing Gristle. Black Dog Publishing. ISBN 978-1-901033-60-1. 
  • Metzger, Richard (2002). Disinformation: The Interviews. The Disinformation Company Ltd. ISBN 978-0-9713942-1-6. 
  • Wilson, Julie (2002). "As It Is". Painful But Fabulous: The Lives & Art of Genesis P-Orridge. Brooklyn, New York City: Soft Skull Shortwave. pp. 51–110. ISBN 978-1887128889. 

External links[edit]