the untold story of thee temple ov psychick youth gets the documentary treatment
In a career that now stretches over 40 years, Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, and their associated projects and litany of collaborators, has always attacked the hypocrisy of mainstream British culture and institutions.
As a member of Coum Transmissions, Throbbing Gristle, and Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (and its associated band Psychic TV), Genesis has been cutting an unruly swathe through the British underground since the early 70s. Breaking down the boundaries of gender, performance, and good taste, they were famously called out in Parliament by a Conservative MP for being "the wrecker of civilization." Genesis also holds the world record for most music released in a year, after Psychic TV put out 14 albums in 1986.
With Coum Transmissions, Genesis ignited the conceptual art world with incendiary works that investigated pornography and prostitution; with Throbbing Gristle, they pushed experimental music into dark, aggressive, transgressive places. Then with Thee Temple ov Psychick Youth (TOPY), an anti-cult formed in the 80s as a fan club for the band Psychic TV. The anti-cult ended up being investigated by Scotland Yard, had their house raided, was accused of child molestation by a Chanel 4 documentary, and hounded out of the country.
Founded by Genesis in 1981, TOPY gathered members of the industrial music subculture, artists, and occultists, into a loose network with the aim of — in Genesis' words — "changing society through the magical transformation of individuals." TOPY was dedicated to the occult, chaos magic, and ultimately attacking British society, drawing as diverse influences into their world as William S Burroughs and Aleister Crowley. The group was active until 1991, when police interference and a media storm forced Genesis to leave the UK for New York.
Now, the story of how a countercultural movement caused 'Satanic Panic' in society is set to be retold in a documentary by filmmaker Jacqueline Castel, who has already interviewed many of those involved throughout TOPY's history, and has set up a Kickstarter to help fund the finishing off of production and editing. Watch the trailer, below.
Text Felix Petty
Image via Kickstarter