And I see much more clearly everyday
And I sense I can see you play
And there¹s always some truth
And there¹s always something I should say
There¹s always something there to give me water everyday
Water I hear you say
Water I plead that you might stay
And every day, in every way
I can see you die
And I could never go away
And I could never tell you a lie
And I can see you scream and I can see you cry
For all the stories and all the hate that always comes to you
Water I hear you say
And I know and I feel
What you say is far too real
And every thing
And everything you say you care for
I need some water
I need some water
I am the devil¹s daughter
I am a Lamb to the slaughter
Water everyday (water pouring down)
Water I hear you say (water on the ground)
You tell me things and they¹re things I should have known
Where your tears are NOW they¹re not quite your own
And at night you lie in dreams you haven¹t flown
As we spin in circles that look so blown
Water in the ground
And your tears are tears and fears more like me
And the S.M.I.L.E. that I S.M.I.L.E. is not what I see
Water, water I know you care
And the tears stream down from the sky
Each tastes bitter
The salt of asking why?
And your words come down and fall over me
Each one is a friend
Each one is the rain
And each is the sea
Our worlds are so close they¹re inside my heart
Falling, falling, falling
Ripping me apart
Water, water I hear you say
Water, water everyday
Water, water I hear you say
Water on the ground
What a strange sound
What a strange sound,
What a strange, strange sound
Lyric copyright GENESIS P-ORRIDGE 1989.
T/G 23 on KFJC 89.7 FM
Sunday June 22, 2oo3
has ceased to exist
Genesis responds to inquiries about problems
with record companies, and his relationship to/with Joy Division
and Ian Curtis. All this is (c) 2003 by Genesis P. Orridge.
Dearest Ethan and Friends,
Here is the text I wrote about Ian. It is
a precis of part of my next book...in the book will be some facsimiles
of letters between Sordide Sentimental and myself, a picture of
the Paris promoter, a Rob Getton letter etc that illustrate some
aspects of the saga...
The original text was included in a booklet
that was part of ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES...BUT as Invisible Records
have never accounted to us for any releases, nor paid any mechanical
or other publishing nor any Royalties that might be due we ask that
nobody who supports our work ever buy anything purported to be by
PTV, myself in Pigface, Splinter Test, Larry Thrasher or any other
musical configuration including myself that might be on the Invisible
Records label. To this day we are suing over those issues and worse
the release after what we believe to be a fully legal termination
of our contract of a third volume called ORIGIN OF THE SPECIES which
conspicuously has no booklet or sleeve notes. Uses photographs without
written permission that are copyright Lady JJaye Breyer P-Orridge
on its cover. It also has primarily a bunch of tracks by other artists
which they did not give legal permission to Invisible to use and
which are NOT PTV tracks combined with other tracks never submitted
which are also by people no longer associated with PTV and which
neither THEY nor WE ever agreed to, or ever wish to, release!!!!
As the above dispute is at present a legal
matter be aware it is our position and no doubt Invisible will present
a contradictory one. Therefore, whilst we ardently believe we've
been ripped off shamelessly for seven years...some carefully worded
precis of the above as a request for people to voluntarily support
myself and Larry Thrasher as nusicians and artists by boycotting
ANY recordings by us on Invisible Records would be a great favour
to us and hopefully enable us to release official and exciting versions
of these recordings, AND more important finally get paid our due
so we can make new CDs etc.
We have NOT had a budget for a recording
studio since 1994...from Cleopatra.
Before that we had no recording studio budget
from 1983 until that year 1994. Everything else I personally borrowed
money for studio time and/or we used our tour and other income to
Also, because we were never paid a penny
Royalties by Some Bizarre for DREAMS or FORCE (after about $5000
in 1982 from Warner Bros) to this day!!! we never have the budget
to sue so its an endless loop.
The only strategy I know left is to ASK our
fans to boycott Some BIzarre recordings of PTV and Invisible recordings
(theres a HOST of other indies too who never paid but...those 2
are the worst)...
Sorry to rant but it is time people KNEW
the real situation.
Alex Fergusson basically left PTV because
he was sick of never getting paid for our music by the supposedly
For the "record" we tried ONE business
manager with Temple Records...whilst we were in the USA touring
a little a making a video for Good Vibes he convinced Rough Trade
to give him ALL our income from Godstar! It was about $250,000 at
the time...the ONLY time we'd made a real profit. By doing it on
our own label. When we sued he'd put it all into a house in his
wife's name and declared himself bankrupt. That's the final straw
that pissed off Alex. And it made me immensely depressed too. That's
the period around 1985-6 when PTV were somewhat shambolic and had
a very ad hoc line-up. To this day I don't know where I got the
strengtyh to carry on. The 23 live series began as a way to try
and survive as a label and band, and as a document as well.
Ian Curtis Remembered by Genesis P-Orridge
It has become an overworked phrase in our
commodified and superficial times, but this is an "heartfelt"
song. It waited 10 years to come through me and even then, staring
at a wall as gray as the cover of "Still" as the words
poured out, it was painful and distressing. I heard it as if I was
hearing someone else sing. Like all the best songs, it wrote itself
directly onto tape. The following excerpt of writing is taken from
a chapter of my
autohagiography "GENESIS - THE LAST BOOK OF CREATION"
scheduled to be published by Creation Books U.K. January 1st 2000.
My feeling, looking back at my brief but precious friendship with
Ian Curtis, is that he and I were intensely anomalous. We were born
in the same post-industrial manufacturing slave vortex of Manchester,
England. We both had an obsessive and sadly disturbed attachment
to melancholic poetic lyricism and we both tended to view experience
in a minute to minute way, as a metaphor and a fatalistic destiny.
When the pseudo-political, and apolitical posturing of ³punk²
was the norm we both felt stylistically sickly and socially stunted.
There was a cynical disregard for society that could often express
itself in self-hatred, for failing to make people understand, failing
to make them really SEE the hypocrisies and the
betrayals, the ludicrousness of inherited ideas of relationships
and reasons for living. Yet, coupled with that commitment to the
point of death to try and make people share our feelings of ennui,
was an equally deep distrust of empty, sycophantic acceptance. An
isolation that knew no bounds. It is so hard at a certain point
in one¹s material existence to make other people realize how
real one¹s angst and frustration can be.
The only way that I can describe how that
connection between us really felt, beyond the obvious fact of mutual
recognition of kindred, spectral, lost souls; of the "little
boy lost in a world of demons" syndrome is to concede what
has since become a cliche. We had an almost genetic Mancunian grimness
of vision. If you saw Salford in the fifties and early sixties,
Myra Hindley and Ian Brady would vindicate all interpretations of
the proposal of
The brutal mundanity of the post-Blitz environment
itself spawned a neo-romantic detachment and kindled a fire of massive
messianic motivation that became almost entirely about compounding
and validating undistilled pointlessness for its own sake, taking
as its medium an highly individualized perversion of excellence,
covertly clothed in the trappings of popular culture. Of that most
despised of contemporary art forms, rock music. Joy Division was
Ian¹s fantasy of the implications for himself Velvet
Underground catalyzed against the mainstream of fashion. Throbbing
Gristle was, quite consciously, exactly the same fantasy for myself.
Rather than be crippled by having none of the usual skills, or ingredients
normally eschewed for such a mission, both of us chose to let the
available resources mature and fester in equal amounts, believing
as we did, that the form would inarguably appear and succeed by
virtue of our determination. This was an act of faith, a leap of
faith, into the unknown pleasures of an metaphysical, and emotional
highwire performance that required, for its illumination, the refusal
of any manner of safety net.
This is how it was. Can you feel that almost
erotic sense of purpose and
that exquisitely tormenting sensation of irrevocability that devoured
us? It is an expression of an idealism for living, of a rarefied
fanaticism that truly conceives of all creativity as an holy act,
a sacred task that leads to immolation or salvation and the acceptance
of that risk is what permeates this path with potency and a contemporary
shamanism that sets its practitioners apart.
To build something, in this case an aesthetic
"jihad", that was not already publicly desired, that nobody
in their right mind could possibly want, and then to relentlessly
prove that they did want it after all, indeed, leave them feeling
that it always existed, and was always so, that was the meaning,
the necessary agenda to extricate ourselves from the horror. In
the end, they would crave our tortured visions despite themselves,
even despising themselves. That was, at the beginning, as far as
we could see. It was enough. How we imagined the Velvet Underground¹s
nihilism to be, especially on that first album, was a crucial trigger
to this beginning. Later we would discover that a knowing musicology
and ambition flavored our personalized, and self-justifying interpretations.
Later we would substitute
Jim Morrison¹s spiritual and emotional psychic- implosion as
closer to the process we had volunteered our "selves"
All the while we were converting the outside
world to our inner aesthetic
Ian and I were depressingly aware that really, in the end, the audience
and critics understood nothing, respected nothing, and protected
nothing of our vulnerability on parade, our genuine pain. They saw
nothing of the
bottomless dead souls that fueled it all, nor the charade of charisma
that disguised the obvious detachment from actually feeling truly
underpinned the paradox of seeming to discuss a seclusion of perception
whilst actually describing a state of absolute discomfort laid bare.
Not even the other band members of our respective
groups really understood this, or really saw it. What was so fatally
affecting us, the exposed morbidity of our onstage, on record personas,
was dismissed all to conveniently as affectation. They were so close
to the open wounds, they couldn¹t even address them. At times
they chose not to believe they were real, or to sympathize. This
compounded our cardinal angst, possessing us with a terrible foreboding
of the emptiness dwelling symbiotically alongside the pivotal vacuity
of humanity, friends and lovers alike.
We explained so much we appeared silent.
We moved so many we appeared still.
This paradox of the "cry - for - help"
misdiagnosed as superficial pop anthem has claimed others greater
and lesser than Ian Curtis. Spirits that scream for acknowledgement.
Hindsight maketh fools of us all.
I am forced to believe that Ian recognized
a great part of himself in the
role I was compelled to act out in Throbbing Gristle. An identical,
careening, searingly adrift and isolated experience, desperately
the guise of radical self-destructive performer . Often bitter,
suicidal and callously nihilistic.
We were never whole, nor never wholly connected,
not even to the other
members of the bands we were part of. We had secrets. Secrets kept
from before those bands existed. Secrets that might have revealed
why, for us, they were a necessity, not a contrivance. We had our
own cathartic and therapeutic agendas. We suffered from an afflicted
fanaticism of visionmbordering at times upon an individuated form
of megalomania. No matter how the world chose to validate Joy Division
or Throbbing Gristle, at the most private level of conception there
remained a repulsing apprehension that it was all, in the sweet
end, an enterprise of pearls before swine. A thing without substance.
The later lionization of both bands, by those
self-same critics and arbiters
of popular cultural taste who had ignorantly adored or hated us,
became just more bitter-sweet evidence of the tawdriness of life
in general and the music "business" in particular as it
dilutes, absorbs, mythologizes and
consumes into cultural impotence and obsolescence that which is
actually a sincere crusade. Regardless of the very real mortal risks
involved, we were engaged in a tenacious and careening search of
the ultimate, yet detached, possibilities of daring to dream of
the immortal. Of course, in retrospect this seems a flawed, naive
way of looking at simply making music to some. Opening up the heart
and soul in public. Learning in public, and experiencing pain as
entertainment and entertainment as pain can consume even the recklessly
strong. Nobody who is mediumistic can survive it without scars,
without wounds, without weeping.
As far as I was concerned, in terms of the
emotional turmoil eating away
inside me, there was much I never bothered to tell the rest of Throbbing
Gristle. Ian Curtis held back from Joy Division in this same way.
Not onstage, but in his heart. Certain deeply uncomfortable considerations
as to the hopelessness of life, certain connections between lyrics
and secreted feelings and evenhidden references to the aesthetics
and structures of personal ikons.
But I would share these secrets, these strategies
and unspoken manipulations that were required by my insecurity to
render the slightest touch of extracted absolution to my existentialism,
in order to cosmetically lessen the burden of worthlessness. I shared
these convoluted fears, and this underlying shame of even seeming
to believe that I was, in private, that others imagined I appeared
to be in public with Monte Cazazza and with Ian Curtis. I had no
choice. The searing pain of seeing is so relentless and unforgiving.
The contradictions are so crushing that someone has to be told.
Otherwise the blackness opens up, we are sucked in, and it is the
sensual annihilation our efforts have been so convolutedly designed
to deflect us from that claims us. We begin by knowing intimately,
and neo-sexually this seductive nothingness. Our flight leads us
to posture and defy our fates in a grandiose copulation that, to
maintain and protect our hardwon sense of being for a shimmering
moment physically present and in time and place, requires, absolutely,
The audience is our anchor. They hold us
here when the sirens and demons try to distract us. We hold on by
our fingernails, unable to confess our terror, lest the mere movement
of our jaw dislodge us and our sanity, slipping us effortlessly
out into the abyss to the howling glee of the banshees. This sense
of terror is very real. The puzzle is how it drives us towards that
which we know wishes to consume us, committing us to purgatory.
The edge of loss is within us, cutting its shape. The outline is
blurred by the tumultuos mass. In solitude, it is clear. The white
line around the lost body. Staying inside is so hard. Being outside
is surrender. The audience is temporary camouflage.
Monte Cazazza understood, still understands
( Hello Monte!) . Ian Curtis
understood. I didn¹t HAVE TO EXPLAIN! Do you have any idea
what a blessed relief it is to not have to explain anything? Not
pretend anything? Not hide anything? Not have to remember what must
not be said? To become, briefly, the beach and its rocks, accepting
the forces of crashing waves from a place of equilibrium. The destructive
forces are not calmed, but there is a chaotic balance.
This illness, this "sickness of the
heart" is a little like a cruely imposed
and imprisoning secret society. One that claims its members without
agreement, unlike Faust, but requires an alleigance and exchange
formidable. Its participants can channel its crippling powers through
dramatic crimes of entertainment through pain; through serial bloodlust;
through military sadism or through political autism. Nothing ends
this creeping dis-ease. The best its victims can hope for is a controlled
bleeding, a steady release of pressure that just might reduce it
to a point that lies just inside the boundaries of a bearable, but
depleting, agony. The infected are all ways in crisis. Death is
an ending of unremitting struggle, a dreamless sleep, a vast and
implacable emptiness. To choose immersion in this gives life its
only consistency. In blindness, so easily invoked by the closing
of eyes, closer, a warm darkness envelops. A slow moving, viscous
tar where repose is foetal. Suspended animation with only demons
for company. Bad drinking partners. Worse lovers they make! And
the source, the source of all this numbing futility is laughingly
celebrated as "life".
I haven¹t talked about this before.
Except to the little boy, alone again, that dwells in terror, deep
within my heart. I never had the inclination. Something paralysed
me. Something sacred. Something to revealing about my Self, as well
as about Ian Curtis. The unbidden similaritites embeded in our feelings
of desparation at that particular intersection of our lives left
it hard for me to assess anything separately from his action. I
knew it would
be years before I was strong enough to tell my truth to my Self,
and honour that I felt I saw within his.
But, now, I am compelled, and wish to, speak.
I wish to make peace with the Ian Curtis whose secret and unknown
pleasures were, I believe, of necessity never revealed to the world
outside. Least of all those closer to him. What necessity can that
be? Perhaps the necessity to try and find a trick to convince yourself
of a plausible ideal for living, and a necessity to avoid acknowledging
a final round of destructive paranoid insecurity from within, and
emasculating ridicule from without. You see, critical acclaim just
does not serve the purpose of a behavioural suture for the likes
of us, as we were then. It doesn¹t heal these kinds of personality
wounds, or resolve the pressing and omnipresent dilemma ...suicide.
Perhaps it was Jon Savage, or perhaps someone
else. But Ian Curtis got hold of my private telephone number and
he began to call me. He would call me at odd hours (as the newspapers
might say). To talk. To talk about Throbbing Gristle, to talk about
my anarchic ideas on popular music; ideas not a little laced with
disdain and sarcasm for what I felt were the obvious rock and roll
celebrity aspirations of ³punk². He was a great talker
on the phone., and smart. He turned out to have been an afficianado
of Throbbing Gristle from as early as 1977.
Apart from a mutual drive to subvert and
inflame "popular" music, we would also talk about militaria;
transgressive acts; nazis; sociopathic tendencies, and needless
to say, about depression and isolation.
In 1978 Throbbing Gristle released "D.O.A.
- The Third And Final Report Of
Throbbing Gristle" on our own Industrial Records label. "Industrial
being a term first coined by Monte Cazazza and myself during a conversation
a couple of years earlier. Ian Curtis loved ³D.O.A.².
In particular he liked the track "WEEPING". As chance
would have it ³Weeping² was my own first official solo
track within the confines of Throbbing Gristle. This song plays
with several interlacing interpretations and resonances of the word
"weeping". It addresses the idea of weeping as tears and
crying and the other weeping of raw third degree burns and wounds.
This conjunction of physical injuries from burning and emotional
wounding from being burned is the morbid centre of the lyric. Morbidity
itself is seen as metaphor and reality. The extreme result of betrayal,
hopelessness, flesh scalded and blistered leaving no protection,
only an absolute vulnerability to infection and unbearable agony.
In fact this song was recorded as an actual
suicide note by me. I had already chosen to commit suicide onstage
at "The Crypt" gig by Throbbing Gristle, in London. To
this end I drank a bottle of whisky laced with sleeping pills and
valium. In the crypt of a desanctified church no less. It didn¹t
quite work. So on my delerious return home after that disconcert
I had swallowed more than 50 valium and mogadon and flushed them
all down with mugs of whisky! To this day I consider that the last
true Throbbing Gristle gig.
I was disillusioned with everything. I felt
no respect for the other members
of Throbbing Gristle. I hated the sudden shift into critical acceptance.
dilution of integrity. Even the "cult" acclaim. I was
convinced that I had
become merely the spectacle. Suiting the voyeuristic purposes of
public and band alike by risking sanity, life, physical freedom
disintegration in order to speak more clearly of vulnerability and
alienation. I was trying, in my crippled way, to be as mediumistic
as intoxication and celebratory indulgence; as pure sonics and streams
of improvised consciousness could take me; in the hope for an epiphany.
A final moment of vision captured in the headlights of this madness
and mayhem. I felt I was the pet freak, a necessary evil to the
others. A controlled implosion of notoriety that added a cudos they
might never achieve otherwise. I believed they despised me and betrayed
me behind my back. That they despised me, and were similtaneously
intimidated by my intensity, and
that they were phoney in their expression of exploring extremes
and taboos, in public at least. Fair or not. True or not. Megalomaniac
or not. Paranoid or not. This was how I was feeling. Exploited,
unappreciated, and disgusted. Without any redeeming sensations.
Which made me assume that this was all my fault. That I was a failure
and completely and utterly worthless and devoid of genuine love.
All these thoughts and screams of pain were
poured into this tremendously personal song. I recorded it, and
the layers of my violin sedated with more alcohol and downers. These
days I stil find it hard to listen to. But because of the stupidity.
How could I have accidentally found myself caring about anything
to do with music or such people so much? How could I have let them
hypnotise me into believing I was all of the problem? With hindsight
it seems clear that a lot of this might well have been amplified
"adolescent" angst. But I had nobody around me to share
this with. Except Monte Cazazza in letters, and Ian Curtis over
the phone. Ian understood. There seemed to be no separation between
us. We even wished we were in each others groups. Or rather, we
wished we were somewhere else with a group of our own, a new group.
remained Ian Curtis' favourite song by me. Sometimes he scared even
me with his devotion to it. He¹s play it to me over the phone
and sing the words along with my vocal. Joy Division released "An
Ideal For Living" in June of that same year and he gave me
a signed copy. Years later I would sell it so that I could go to
see Brion Gysin in Paris.
... During the night of 17th May 1980 an
abject Ian phoned me for the last
time. He was singing, intoning "Weeping". I was scared
for him. I could
feel what was in his mind. I had tried to kill myself to a backdrop
"Weeping" too. Lou Lou Picasso who painted the cover of
"We Hate You (Little Girls)" for Sordide Sentimental¹s
Throbbing Gristle single had also tried to commit suicide listening
to "Weeping". It was all too horrible and
inevitable. He was distraught, anguished, angry, fristrated, confused
severely depressed. He felt that somehow he¹d let matters slip
out of his
grasp and control; that nobody around him cared what he wanted,
what he needed, and more importantly at that moment, how much he
did not want to tour or be in "Joy Division" right now.
He had a sense of invisible, relentless,
steamrollering behind the scenes
and this was compounded by feeling he had ended up exactly where
he didn¹t want to be. Feeling obliged to take part in a truly
dreaded American tour. He spoke of a sense of betrayal, of being
used, of claustrophobic
relationships, of being eaten alive by everyone and destroyed. He
trapped and weakened at the worst possible time.
He believed that somehow his own failings
and courage had combined to create this situation where he was seeming
to voluntarily compromise his own self-esteem by allowing commercial
blackmail and misplaced loyalties to discredit his principles and
dishonour his original intentions within "Joy
Division". Matters had somehow been shabbily manipulated in
such a way that despite his "cries for help" he was scheduled
to fly to America on Monday the 19th. He was was alternately bewildered
and angry. Sick of it all. Sick of not being heard when it was inconvenient
for others. With his own personal contradictions and problems on
top I knew that there was not much time.
I phoned someone in Manchester and told them
that I thought Ian was really going to try and kill himself and
that they should get to him immediately at home or even call the
local police or it might be too late. When I was challenged and
asked how I knew, I said I just knew. It was a scary but overwhelming
certainty that I was feeling. They basically ridiculed me telling
me that Ian was always depressed and suicidal and miserable, that
that¹s just how he is. I felt helpless. They promised they¹d
do something anyway, even though they thought he¹d just been
winding me up. A sense of inevitability still overwhelmed me. I
cried into the night until the valium kicked in. Weeping..the kind
that wracks your body with sobs and screams so deep that they resemble
terminal spiritual convulsions.
I am not sure how long after we spoke he
actually hung himself in such a
very working class Manchester manner. I suspected that nobody would
manage to do anything practical. Nobody would make it to go and
see him and babysit him through that night. Suicide is often an
intense form of temporary insanity. The specific momeant passes,
and fire cleanses. Somehow the person I spoke with succeeded in
putting me into an almost hypnotic holding pattern, persuading me
that everything was going to be fine; it was just a prima-donna
tantrum and that I should not interfere directly and call anyone
else or the police. That it was not any of my business and that
I was just panicking and being dramatic. Just like Ian liked to
be. I was assured that if anything really serious was going on the
Joy Division inner circle would take care of it in their own way.
They were used to this kind of thing.
All this left me very unsure of my orginal
intuition and of how much I could
appropriately intrude when I really didn¹t know everything
about what was going on. I only knew Ian¹s version in late
night phone calls. I didn¹t know all the domestic crises, or
medical details that were amplifying his moods. So, reluctantly,
in my delirium and derangement I didn¹t do anymore. I didn¹t
call 999 myself. The last thing I wanted was for Ian to be suddenly
invaded by emergency services and perhaps carted off for more medical
and even psychiatric evaluations. Perhaps this was just an extreme
version of his usual motive for ringing me up. He was just desparate
for company and support, to be heard and given respect for his psychological
cravings by a person he believed felt the same things just as intensely.
I intended to travel up to see him that week if he managed to cancel
the American tour.