In the early nineties avant garde performance artist, musician, and cultural force to be reckoned with, Genesis P’Orridge met Lady Jayne Breyer and they fell in love. Really in love. Really, really in love. So much in love, in fact that they decided to evolve themselves into a same person that just happened to share two different bodies. They dressed the same, they had plastic surgery to match their body shapes, and they referred to themself in a confusing amount of non-gender specific pronouns that make writers like me cry in confusion. They called this project ‘Pandrogeny’ and still continues to this day despite Lady Jayne having passed to another plane of existence in 2007 after a heart condition relating to stomach cancer.

But being a self-evolving cross-dimensional amalgamation isn’t necessarily the most interesting thing about Genesis, s/he’s hung out with William Burroughs and Brion Gysin, been labelled as a ‘wrecker of civilisation’ by parliament, and released. At a conservative estimate over 80 albums worth of music. In short, a dream interview. A dream that is until technology gets involved. I lost huge chunks of our conversation because of a shonky connection that kept on scrabbling h/er answers.

Maybe the connection to Burroughs and Gysin is apt. Interviews are remixes, cut-ups of transcriptions or hasty notes scribbled during incidental meetings or mediated press conferences. The ummms ahhhs and awkward silences are cut out, meandering diversions sorted into order and in the case of this interview fawning fanboy compliments expunged from reality completely. With flaky internet connection this interview was a jigsaw more than most, huge swathes turned into glitch garbage during these bits I transcribed what odd word I could and in the spirit the Cut Up Technique include this word poem at the end.

After all when I’d asked Genesis to repeat h/erself the third or fourth time s/he said ‘I give you full permission to make up the bits you miss darling’.


GBPO – So, what can I do for you my dear friend?

Me – well I’d like to ask you some questions please.

GPO – Well – we should check were still here, because sometimes the line dies. We have no idea why they do but sometimes they do.

Me – I have a suspicion that technology secretly hates us

GPO – of course it does. So ask away, lets go.

Me – okay, I saw your book, or at least the proofs, you do art, performance, music, writing. Which is your favourite to do?

GPO – that’s a good question, lets think. Right back, in all honesty the weird thing that happened was in 1961 I went to grammar school and we had this homework, this project, where we had to write this poem. And we said to my mother ‘Poetry sucks – I hate poetry, its old fashioned and boring and blah blah blah, fucking Shakespeare blahhhhhhhhhh’ and my mother said ‘maybe there’s a way of making some poetry that relevant to how you think. And that was a big breakthrough – god bless my mother – and she actually sat down with me and said ‘well, what do you want to talk about’ and she sat with me and we gradually thrashed out this thing, we don’t remember it exactly but it went something like

“the once great old ship, as it ruled the high seas
now lay like a corpse with just memories.
But time upon her, now ran aground
no helping hand was there to be found”

And so on. So it was a very negative poem, but it was my first one. And that’s what turned me onto poetry. After that, at school, we had to all those things like Jon Dunn and all those people, and very fortunately at fifteen, my English teacher at a new school in Solihull near Birmingham, he introduced me to The Beats. In fact in my last book threes my last school report from that school, and my English master says – we paraphrase again – but the gist of it is “he seems to live in a different cultural universe to everyone else” **laughs** “and sometimes his essays – which are very interesting – are too long” **laughs** so that’s in there which is kinda cute, and all the things they said about me but I went out there in the big wide world. But we had already started sending poetry out to independent poetry magazines at that time. There was quite a lot of small small poetry magazines at that time. My fathers office had a spare typewriter and he bought it home, so we taught ourselves to one finger type, which we still do.

Me – same here

GBPO – and we started to type up these poems and it took off from from there, the writing. Later on when I discover other bands and found out that poetry can be part of popular music, and that was hugely inspirational. And that’s one of the great contributions we made with industrial music with my lyrics for TG ‘there is no limit to what we discuss, everything can be part of a song, why should it be the provenance of just journalists, philosophers, or economists? We can all have a discussion over this’ and a lot of that was Bob Dylan and Lou Reed, who changed what was possible with song.

Me – Do you still listen to industrial Music?

GBPO – **laughs – a lot** that’s a really good question and it has a really simple answer; NO. We don’t even listen to Throbbing Gristle. We respect the music. Its incredible to think that a handful of people in England – primarily ourselves and Cabaret Voltaire – could change the concept of what music could be and invent a whole genre of music.

Me – Not many can say that

GBPO – errrrm no, and what’s really sweet is that we recently did a remix for Trent Reznor. You know how he’s got a new album coming out and he’s getting all this publicity?

Me – yeah

GBPO – well he wrote me personally, a really, really nice email and said ‘I’d really like you to remix a song of this new record because were going to do a remix of each song’ and then he wrote ‘you won’t remember this gen but in the eighties in Cleveland Ohio I carried your gear upstairs so I could meet you and say hello’

Me – Really?!

GBPO – isn’t that sweet? And I was so touch because most people, when they get famous, the last thing they want to do is admit they were influenced by anybody or that anyone was ever special. And I have to say the song that he gave me is really good. So you asked us if we listen to industrial music, and we do, that song. Its cool, to me like Nick Drake meets John Cage filtered through Cabaret Voltaire. Its really lyrical, melodic song, its almost as if Industrial music has reconstituted the Middle Ages, ballads and troubadours and so on. Its remarkable.

Me – you mentioned you went to school in Birmingham…

GBPO – Well Solihull..

Me – and I gather you didn’t have a good time there?

GBPO – I think we’ve described the school as despicable.

Me – Well I’m from a Birmingham magazine, do you have any fond memories of the Midlands.

GBPO – oh this is Fused from Birmingham **does slightly exaggerated Birmingham accent**

Me – Yes it is

GBPO – BIRMiiingum! Eyll give it fyyve **even more exaggerated accent**

Me **laughs**

GBPO – well I do! One of my fondest memories is going to see Thank Your Lucky Stars which was one of the first pop music weekly programmes, every Sunday. Have you ever heard of Thank Your lucky Stars?

Me – I haven’t, no

GBPO – well this would be before your time probably, this would be the way to date when we were there. This would be when the Rolling Stones were lip syncing to 19th Nervous breakdown. Well my fathers company did cleaning contracts, they’d be contracted to clean entire nuclear power plants, or to paint all the phone boxes in Shropshire, big deal industrial cleaning and renovating – even churches. One of their contracts was for the ABC studios in Birmingham **does accent again** And one week he said to me ‘I’ve got this VIP ticket if you want to go’ and we said and we said ‘yeah, we defiantly want to go’ so he took me down there. And my postcard size VIP ticket meant that I could go backstage. So I’m wandering around backstage, as is my want because I’m actually really shy. And I bump into Mick Jagger.

Me – Wow

GBPO – Yeah. And we so ‘oh er oh, sorry Mick sorry I bumped into you’ and he was very sweet and in his hand he had a bottle of coke-cola, then I got my wits about me to say ‘will you sign my ticket?’ And he said sure and signed it and then said ‘would like the rest of the bands autographs?’ so he took me upstairs to the cafeteria where it was just the rolling stones and me. They were all sat at this table drinking coffee and still being slightly more innocent at that point, and they moved so slow and looked really slow. And we asked XXXX why do use the tear-drop guitar and he looked at me and said ‘well………its…..really cooool’. Of course, afterwards, it dawned on us later that they were stoned out out thier box. But we got everyone of them to sign this postcard and its one of my most treasured and valued possessions of all time.

In them days it was either The Beatles or The Stones, like rival football teams. And to me, the Beatles, how could they ever be the band that I support when my mum and dad and my grandmother listened to them. I was like errrrr **laughs**.

And of course Birmingham was the first place I ever got hashish **chuckles** my friend Spidee at school used to go, where was the area he used to go to, it was very African, West Indian area

ME – [redacted, lest we offend]?

GBPO – That sounds familiar, anyway that’s where we first got our drugs. And so we started reading Jack Karouac’s On The Road and listening to the stones and everything else on the left side of popular music and started to get high. So Birmingham has that beautiful, beautiful memory for me.

Me – You have a retrospective at the moment at the Warhol gallery?

GBPO – Yes once in a while they will present works by artists that they feel, extend or was influenced by the work of Andy Warhorse, and we’ve been blessed to be given a space. Which is as big a compliment as you can get.

Well Genesis P’Orridge is taking Andy Warhol’s concept of the superstar, and my attempt at taking that further, which nobody had really attempted. Which is why it meant so much to me to be asked. If you’d have said to me you can pick any museum to have a retrospective at, where would it be?’ it would be there. What’s even more amazing is that I got to look at some of the archives. What a privilege it was to see Polariods of Andy’s that no one has seen before. And in the book there are some Polariods, some of me and Lady Jane that actually was reference for a lot of the artwork and that is a direct reference to Warhol.

Me – There is a lot of photos in the book which could be seen as intimate or explicit.

GBPO – yes **chuckles**

ME – Is there anything that you wouldn’t put in…

GBPO – No.

Me- there’s no boundaries there whatsoever?

GBPO – No, there cant be. Because once you say that life and art is indivisible, like we did, me and Lady Jane. You lose the right to edit what goes out there. Once you say that, to have any integrity as an artist, then you have to live that. So there is absolutely nothing that we wouldn’t make available. As a statement, a basic integral statement.

Me – you was labelled ‘a wrecker of civilisation’

GBPO – yeeeeees?

Me I’m so jealous, that must have felt, good?

GBPO – Oh god yes, that was just… I jumped up and down I was so excited and happy, that a conservative MP had called me that. But it gets even better when later on it turns out he was arrested for indecent exposure, and one of his female secretaries that he had had an affair with hung herself outside his office.

Me – oh no

GBPO – this man had the audacity to question the moral integrity of our work while he was disgusting perverted one.

Me – its not the perversion its the hypocrisy surely?

GBPO – good point, it is the hypocrisy and bigotry that confound and enrage me. And that’s what we always try to expose and say this is not the way for our species to evolve. This is not the way for our power structures to work. If we live in a society where even the general majority of people know that the politicians that represent them are bigots and thieves, if we let that happen, then we are all guilty of leading our species to destruction. So our message in the end, especially with Pandrogony, which is all about the merging into one. Either or male or female, Christian or Muslim, black, white, whenever you get an either or merging to become one. Then you can have a positive evolution. Because if we continue with the dynamic of ‘if its different we should be scared of it, if its different we should attack it, or intimidate it. Then were going down a dark and destructive path.

Me – Do you still practise Magik?

GBPO – Yes

Me – Is that part of your daily life?

GBPO – Its always part of you life, its always there the awareness. There’s an old Sufi concept that says ‘live every day as its the last day you’ll live. And this is the day you’ll be judged upon.’ So for me that’s Magik, looking for where kindness can occur where you can heal rather than not. So life is a journey along this road, and we are pulled by most of society into greed, competition, selfishness, careerism and that is destructive. And the other pull, which is gentler, inevitability because its about being gentle, is about unconditional love, about surrender to someone completely without barriers. And these are the two ways that we can be, one is about individual success, individual prestige. And the other is about sharing prestige and giving without want of reward. And to me that’s what Christians preach, until they quote the old testament that says ‘kill them all’. So as soon as they quote the old testament they’re not Christians. Jesus came back to say, God is not angry, god is not here to destroy or hurt. God is love.

And the number of times we’ve been confronted with confronted with problematic Christians and we tell them not to quote the old testament and they say ‘why?’ and we say ‘well its not what Christianity is about, in fact its the exactly what Christianity is not meant to be.’

So if you where to ask me what belief system was closest to my heart I would say Buddhism, Sufism with a lot of Christian love. Much to a lot of peoples surprise.

Me – Well its one of the universal messages in most religions, love.

GBPO – but some people find that hard, especially in the internet age where people are able to hide behind different identities.

Me- but wouldn’t you say that’s also one of the advantages of the internet? The ability to try on new personae?

GBPO – well, its an ongoing discussion, as you can imagine we believe in the freedom of information, and the freedom to change and evolve. But its a question whether they’re changing themselves to evolve, or are they changing themselves to become something, in their view, a completely human being. Or are they just using it as an opportunity to be cruel and camouflage themselves because of cowardice.

Me – In the documentary The Ballard of Genesis and Lady Jane Lady Jane says that she wants to be remembered as part of one of the greatest love affairs of all time. How would you like to be remembered?

GBPO – As Lady Jane’s Lover

****Pointless pest and that became underground cage, later when we started that one came out in sixty seven captain beefheart possible genre conclusion cruel. Something like that violent school renegade refuge four years like crazy beautiful art-deco In 1965 Neil Andrew Megson, which is my birth name allowed me to lady Jane parts of his art life inappropriate, there can be no you all the indecent expression of love, who would be prepared relevant discussion life project then what you do both no question to be available then you’re censuring free flowing slippery slope falling tumbling jumping everything or daring because that’s what life really is. Remarkable intelligent exploding galaxy.****

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