Monday, May 17, 2004


what a curious experience the Throbbing Gristle 'recording session' at the Astoria proved to be... but i guess it was never going to be anything else.

i'd never actually been heading for the full Camber Sand RE:TG event, so getting a ticket from friends who hadn't been able to shift a place in their chalet was a hell of a bonus.. I'd been out all night and morning, so i was feeling suitably sketchy, although what possessed me to wear a suit on the hottest day of the year so far is unclear.

i'll spare blow-by-blow full review and just dwell on the fact that - phenomenal as some of the music was - i felt like i was present at a marketing opportunity for TG Corp.

Gen - and Coil i guess - have never fought shy of exploiting the obsessiveness of their fans (or do i mean 'providing rare items for the discerning collector'?) but there was something pretty fucking obscene about charging £66 for a signed poster, £20 for a set of 3 enamel badges.....

and - much as the 'recording' was technically free, and a form of apology to people deprived the full RE:TG experience till next year - you couldn't move for steadicams and photographers. 2,000 fans buying commemorative DVDs at probably upwards of £25 a pop? you do the maths...

and, i'm afraid, Gen was an embarrasment throughout. drunk, self-regarding and bloated, he was a hindrance to the music the other 3 were making, rather than its charismatic centre. the problem with laptops is you don't ever know for sure who's contributing what, but the concentration and involvement in what was going on gave the impression that the sound - which was at times absolutely phenomenal - was largely the work of Chris & Cosey. Sleazy could have been filing his tax returns for all I could tell, and for the most part looked bored enough for this to be the case.

and still Gen - having insisted that this wasn't a performance but a recording; that we were going to be ignored as they created some new magic together - played up and stumbled around, looking like nobody so much as Kathy Burke in Gimme Gimme Gimme and reading desperately formulaic lyrics for the new songs off prompt sheets.

all that said, it was an experience, an event i guess. i'm glad i was there - i never thought i'd see TG 'live', never thought i'd hear Hamburger Lady for real. and the sound was, as i've said, often phenomenal (no mean feat given the usually dire acoustics in the Astoria). It made me want to check out more Chris & Cosey stuff. but it also made me suspect that - while Gen is I guess on some version of the same journey he's always been on - it's looking a little sad and desperate somehow.....

posted by dubversion at 12:42 pm

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