Psychic TV - Pagan Day/Allegory And Self album reviews

1980s P-Orridge oats repackaged

Psychic TV - Pagan Day album cover

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Genesis P-Orridge’s rigorously perpetuated mythology took a battering in former lover and Throbbing Gristle bandmate Cosey Fanni Tutti’s recent autobiography, which painted him as manipulative narcissist and abusive chauvinist more than the fearless outsider artist of legend.

Throbbing Gristle’s deconstruction of anything from prog to punk can never be denied, but the music P-Orridge produced with Psychic TV after TG imploded in 1982, first with fellow former member Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson and Alternative TV guitarist Alex Ferguson, charted more conventional stratas with varying success as they straddled grizzled art, psych pop and acid house.

Originally intended as a Christmas present for diehards from his Temple Records, A Pagan Day (Pages From A Notebook) was first released as 999 picture discs (featuring P-Orridge’s first-born, Caresse) at 11 o’clock on the morning of Christmas Eve 1984, then deleted an hour later. The set contained P-Orridge and Ferguson’s rough ideas and demos for songs that, in some cases, were later expanded, along with homages to inspirational figures, including the Stones/Marianne Faithfull on As Tears Go By and Tom Rapp, leader of US acid folk pioneers Pearls Before Swine, on a delicateTranslucent Carriages. As he was now wont to do, P-Orridge tried lending his flat Yorkshire twang to conventional singing.

Elsewhere, bedroom guitar jams with occasional organ and drum machine proliferated. 1988’s Allegory And Self was Ferguson’s last collaboration with P-Orridge and PTV’s most successful stab at the pop market, starting with Godstar’s eulogy to Brian Jones and continuing with a Beach Boys slant on Just Like Arcadia before She Was Surprised trailered the upcoming immersion in acid house. Thee Dweller was a reflection of PTV’s hypnotic live rituals.

Despite her literary mauling, P-Orridge obviously still exercises a hold over Cosey. Hopefully enough of the long-time acolytes these limited vinyl reissues are aimed at still feel the same.

Kris Needs

Kris Needs is a British journalist and author, known for writings on music from the 1970s onwards. Previously secretary of the Mott The Hoople fan club, he became editor of ZigZag in 1977 and has written biographies of stars including Primal Scream, Joe Strummer and Keith Richards. He's also written for MOJO, Record Collector, Classic Rock, Prog, Electronic Sound, Vive Le Rock and Shindig!