Friday 8 November 2013
Yesterday did an on-stage interview at Rough Trade East on Brick Lane. I was interviewing Genesis Breyer P-Orridge for the launch of a new book of photographs from First Third Books. It was a clever piece of marketing: if you pre-ordered the book you got to attend the event and pick up your book, which Gen would sign and inscribe up to 100 words. You could even decide what you wanted Gen to say. One buyer’s inscription was in digital code, which took ages to write in the book. Gen, Leigha his curator, and I arrived in a cab and Gen was immediately met by fans who couldn’t get in because they couldn’t afford the book, which was about £90 or £350 for a special boxed edition containing three records, a poster and an extra book. The main volume is the life and work of Gen in pictures, some of them ‘most explicit’ as my old friend Joe Maynard used to say. It is a beautiful production – I have no financial involvement in this incidentally – it’s the ultimate edgy cool coffee table book, pretty much guaranteed to shock the idle browser.
It was a target audience and Gen was very relaxed. I had not seen Gen explain his philosophy in public before but s/he loves talking and did a good job at both explaining his motivations and encouraging her fans to take his ideas on board, in particularly to live fully consciously for the moment (sounded a bit like old Baba Ram Dass/Dick Alpert’s ‘Be here now’ exhortations, and why not?) I began to understand quite why Gen has so many fans, he genuinely cares for them and they clearly regard him as something of a guru. It reminded me of walking around New York with Allen Ginsberg. Many of Gen’s old London friends were there including James Birch and John Dunbar. John D and I and painter Robert Hawkins walked over to the party, held in a trendy Shoreditch bar with a heated roof garden. James and his friend designer Deserée, who flew in for the event and jolly nice girl Pinkietessa (I don’t know how to insert her ‘TM’ sign) went by cab. I think we were the only males there without beards.