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Surviving Genesis Alaura O'Dell (Paula P-Orridge) talks to Alan Rider about Psychic TV, misogyny, exile, living on $5 a day and reclaiming her past.

Surviving Genesis

Alaura O'Dell (Paula P-Orridge) talks to Alan Rider about Psychic TV, misogyny, exile, living on $5 a day and reclaiming her past.

by Alan Rider, Contributing Editor
first published: September, 2023

approximate reading time: minutes

...overnight, I lost my career, I lost my family, my marriage and I had to scramble to reinvent my life

Alaura O’Dell is, without doubt, a survivor. After first seeing Genesis P-Orridge from industrial music instigators and agitators Throbbing Gristle aged just 8, and then meeting him as a teenager working in a local supermarket she was persuaded to drop out of school and join his band Psychic TV, travelling the world with them as both band member and tour manager as Paula P-Orridge, in the process marrying Genesis and having two children. After a police raid on their Brighton home whilst the family were out of the country – doing famine relief work, they were forced to flee into exile to California to avoid a media witch hunt in the UK. An acrimonious divorce followed, leaving her stranded alone in America with two small children, no money, and no career, having been dropped from the band. She has maintained a 30 year silence about those events, but following the death of Genesis three years ago she now feels able to reclaim her past and tell her side of the story, with a new exhibition of artefacts from her PTV archive opening in September and a biography in the works.  Outsideleft are the first media she has talked to since re-emerging, and what follows is from a two hour interview she gave from her home in California.

Paulphoto by Jade Turgel

OL: Alaura, you've been out of the picture in terms of music for a long time now. I know you've been busy doing other things in the meantime but you dropped off the radar in the early 90s and now you are back.  I'm wondering what prompted you to return to the scene and why now?
Alaura O'Dell:
That's a good question and I've been looking at that myself.  Why have I been quiet for so long? Honestly, I think it was it was really trauma related.  Genesis (Gen) and I had such an acrimonious divorce, that when I left him I was immediately kicked out of Psychic TV.  So overnight, I lost my career, I lost my family, my marriage (even though I needed to leave) and I had to scramble to reinvent my life, especially because the other thing that I had lost was my home. Or I could say two homes, because in England we still had a house in Hackney at Beck Road that we were using more of an office for Temple Records and the Temple of Psychic Youth (TOPY), but had moved to Brighton to live. 

OL:  The divorce followed you relocating to California after that crazy media campaign against you calling you satanists, didn't it?
Alaura O'Dell:
Yes. That all came about when we were in Katmandu in Nepal, which was a trip I found out about through the people who ran the October Gallery in Bloomsbury. They put on this Burroughs exhibit in the 80s and whilst I was there I met this woman there who told me about a Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Scotland, way up in the highlands, near Lockerbie. I convinced Gen to go up there and we hired a little Volkswagen van and drove all the way up there with our kids. When we eventually located the place (no GPS back then!) we found out through them that you could volunteer to help at a Tibetan colony in Katmandu. 

We already had a concert booked in Tokyo for the launch of a new technology hub from Panasonic, so we aligned this Tokyo gig with Gen and I volunteering in Nepal, which involved feeding lepers, homeless people and refugees. When we got there we got a phone call to say that Scotland Yard had raided our house in Brighton! I just heard Gen on the phone going “What did they do? They sledgehammered our front door! " and I'm thinking “oh my God, this is Scotland Yard doing this!”

There had just been that thing in Orkney, where the media were claiming that there was a witchcraft cult and they took those people's kids away. The raid on our home was organised between Scotland Yard, a Christian right-wing group, and journalists from The News of the World. The house was raided at four or five in the morning on the day we were meant to arrive back, so they thought we would have just got home and be jet lagged, but we were delayed so we hadn't actually set off yet. Later that day the News of the World ran a story that Gen was a Satanist killing babies and stuff like that. Then Dispatches [a sensationalist investigative TV series] came out with the same story.  I've never watched it. It is too traumatic for me to watch it, even now. Now we were stranded with two young children in Katmandu and being told by our lawyer that even though they've raided your house and taken all this stuff, and even though there's no evidence that we've done anything illegal, we shouldn't risk coming back with the children as the authorities might take them away.  He also said the media and paparazzi would be waiting at the airport, so we thought ‘what the fuck do we do?’  

I found a postcard in my Filofax from this US couple Mike and Cindy who we met at a gig in London who had sent us this postcard that said ‘if you ever need a refuge, call us’. They lived 40 miles north of San Francisco in Petaluma, and what they really meant was if you're on a long US tour, and you need a refuge between gigs then call us. I called them up and said ‘we really need a refuge!’

OL:  They probably thought it would just be a few days stopover and it'd be a bit of fun to see you, not a call to help you to escape from your own country!
Alaura O’Dell:
It was crazy. We flew back to Bangkok, managed to get a flight to San Francisco, and Mike met us at the airport. It turned out he was familiar with people being on the run, because he was a close friend of Timothy Leary's and when he had escaped from federal prison with the help of The Weathermen, Mike and Cindy had helped them. They said to us “you can stay for a month” and we lived in their basement in one big room with the kids. They had all these Hollywood posters on the walls of this one young actress who was in all these Hollywood films, and I'm like, this is weird, they're really obsessed with this one actress. They kept referring to their daughter Nonnie too. Then one day I came home and there was this woman curled up in the armchair watching TV, and she turned around and sort of said hello and it was Winona Ryder!  They were her parents. Timothy Leary was her Godfather and he became our kids Godfather too.  Soon after I left Gen and I lost everything. Gen was so pissed off I left him he went on this whole spin of blacklisting me. I think I just went in to PTSD (they didn't call it that back then) survival mode.

OL:  I'm not surprised it traumatised you, because it would traumatise anybody. You weren't even very old at that time were you?
Alaura O’Dell:
I was 28. And then I turned 29 In February of 92.

OL:  Is that why you locked it all away in a mental closet for all these years?
Alaura O’Dell: 
I think I had to do that to survive.  I became a single parent, living on $5 a day after I paid my rent.  I wasn't getting any Psychic TV money. Gen was refusing to pay any child support, and I had no work Visa or Green Card. The woman that organised our visas when we came into the States was a friend of Gen's, and he told her not to do my visa. I was really stuck between a rock and a hard place. I found out that if I released a record, I could get a visa.  I did that solo record [Sacred Dreams] but I didn't want anything to do with the music industry after that. It wasn't just dealing with Gen, it was also dealing with all the misogyny that I had experienced.

OL:  I'd be interested to talk about the misogyny you experienced if that’s ok? That seemed to be present in both the industrial music scene of the time, which was a real boys club, and also the wider music industry which routinely exploits women.  There weren't many women involved in industrial music, mainly yourself and Cosey [Fanni Tutti from Psychic TV’s predecessor Throbbing Gristle].  Reading Cosey’s book, it seems that misogyny was present within TG. 
Alaura O’Dell:
Looking back, it was all misogyny, misogyny, misogyny, but at the time, that was just how it was. I remember things like being in a studio and we'd have a tea break and everyone would look at me to make the tea, and I would often just go and do it, because I was like, well, the fucking tea is not gonna get made unless I make the tea. One thing that really stood out was when I was tour managing the band and also playing in the band because we couldn't afford a tour manager. We were on a tour in the States, and were playing in Chicago.  We had a policy that we would get paid before we went on, because otherwise you play and then they say "I'm not paying you". So I go into this guy's office and I say I'm the tour manager, I'm also in the band, and I'm here to get paid. He basically stonewalled me. Like, nope, not paying you. He's like "I don't believe you're the tour manager, I'm not dealing with you, I don't deal with women", that kind of thing and it was shocking. I was like, fine, you don't want to deal with me and I went out and got the whole band and all the roadies to come in and then they paid! Looking back, that sort of thing happened so many times.  Even when I was at that Burroughs exhibition at the October Gallery I mentioned I had people coming up and going, "Oh, do you know where Gen is? " It was like I was just Gen's wife.

OL:  Is it true that for Gen looking after the kids was seen as part of your role in the band, to be the mother and keep the kids happy and look after all the domestics as if that was a legitimate role within a band? That would obviously be incredibly unfair. Your input hasn't been sufficiently recognised in subsequent reissues of PTV records either, where you've been excluded from the liner notes, credits and things like that, despite the originals including you, plus lots of video recordings showing you in PTV. That must still hurt.
Alaura O’Dell:
I think that's why I really had to put it to the back of my mind for all these years. What has made me come out of the closet as it were, was someone said to me "I really see you as someone who lives in the present and not the past" and this light bulb went off in my head and I was like, ‘oh, I do live in the present and not the past, but I still have this past.  I was in the music industry. I did all this stuff!’ I never used to play music by PTV but recently when I was cooking I said "Alexa play Psychic TV" and listened to those love songs that Gen wrote me like Stolen kisses and Just Drifting and actually that was nice. All those rereleases where I was on the original though, Gen took off my name.  Someone mentioned that I had even been erased even in photos, photoshopped out. I think I knew at least subconsciously that if I talked about being in Psychic TV or said anything about my creative role, he would have found out and would have found a way to shut me down. 

After he died I realised that he is not there anymore.  He can't reach me now.  I'm sure I've lost a couple of hundred thousand pounds in royalties over the years, but I just wanted to get on with my life and be in the present.  When I mention to people I was in a band though, nine times out of ten they've never even heard of Psychic TV! I was really shy at the time and didn't really like being on stage. I even had my roadie, Dicky, face my flight case to the side of the stage, so I didn't have to face the audience, but there was definitely something about playing a gig and having this really enthusiastic audience. People have been posting all these videos recently on my Facebook page of people getting up and dancing on the stage and there's all these naked people, but when I got off stage I always had to go and change nappies and do all the domestic stuff we talked about. I remember if I'd say to Gen, “I want to go out and be with my girlfriends”, or see my friends or do this or do that, could you look after the children? it would be a big deal, or he'd be like, "I can't". When he did, he would tell everyone, "Oh, I babysat Saturday night" and I'm thinking you don't babysit your own kids! So it's been this long road and I think after Gen passed, it was this whole psychic release for me and I'm able to start talking about what I did because up to now I rarely said anything about Psychic TV.

Paulaphoto by Paul Reeson

OL:  I'm curious, when did you first meet Gen?  I read that you were just a teenager working in a supermarket
Alaura O’Dell:
Actually, I saw him before that when I was eight, or nine! The reason I remember is because I was coming home from school and Gen walked past with Cosey and their dog, Tremble. He had this severe triangle shaved out of the hair at the front of his head. I was with my mum and I remember another mum turning around and saying "there’s that bent pornographer", because he'd done that Prostitution show at the ICA. I remember looking at him, thinking ‘oh my God, he looks so scary!’ Then later when I was 15, I was the Saturday girl in the local supermarket at the top of Broadway Market in Hackney where I'd grown up.  He'd come in and buy a bag of sugar and then disappear, and then come back an hour later and buy a pint of milk, but he would always stand and talk to me forever and I was thinking I don't know why this guy's talking to me?  He would come in with Alex [Ferguson] and Sleazy [Peter Christopherson] and go "come around to my house and I'll make you a cup of tea". I didn't go, because I was thinking ‘this man's odd’, but then I eventually went round and that's when I started to meet all the people that were going round to his house.  I never really got a chance to find out who I was because I went straight from living in my mum's house to moving in with Gen, and he was a big personality. There were all these big personalities around us, mainly men. There was William Burroughs, Brion Gysin (who was very gentle and very sweet and whom I adored), there were our next-door neighbours 23 Skidoo, there were Test Department, there were also Einstürzende Neubauten, and I became good friends with Alex (Hacke]'s girlfriend at the time, Christiane F. There was a film made about her.  David Bowie did the music for that. I was into other music though. I mean, I went see Sylvester [a chart disco act of the time] when I was 11!   

OL:  Sylvester was very androgenous though, what you would call non-binary now, so even then you were drawn to those that challenged the norm.
Alaura O’Dell:
Yes! So suddenly, I'm in this world of industrial music. I'd never even heard of Throbbing Gristle before and Gen invited me to the last London Throbbing Gristle gig at the Lyceum.  I was taking my A levels and Gen said to me, “what are you going to do when you finish your A levels?”  I said “oh, I want to go to Portsmouth Poly and study sociology”. He said “why do you want to go to college? you can't learn anything there. Why don't you come and travel the world with me?” So I left school and joined Psychic TV and didn't finish my A levels. I mean, I had joined Psychic TV straight from school, I had one career, and that career was being in the music business and being in Psychic TV and I didn't get my degree because of that.  I wanted to go to Sussex University when we moved to Brighton, but Gen was like, nope, you've got to be in the band, and I'm not picking up the kids from school. That was always my dream, to get my Bachelor's degree. 

OL:  You were also in 23 Skidoo before PTV, weren't you?
Alaura O’Dell:
Yes, although I only played with them for a couple of gigs. It does count though! They're wonderful people, but I suppose I felt with them like, oh, it's the boys. You know, I felt like an outsider because I was a girl and I never felt that I got really in with them. I can't remember why, but I probably wasn't invited to play the next gig. I really can't remember. They were my next door neighbours in Hackney. So I played in 23 Skidoo and then joined Psychic TV with Alex and then Sleazy joined. We went on a trip to California and I was hanging out with Monte Cazazza and Mark Pauline [Survival Research Laboratories] and his brother.  That was a crazy time. They literally put this huge piece of concrete on the back of their truck and they had this big catapult that Mark had bought. We were in South San Francisco in the Missions, which was just nothing, it was like no man's land then. Now it's all Condos. They were firing off these pieces of concrete with this catapult down the street!  It was crazy, and it was fun. This whole new other world opened up to me.  People I really connected with were my new neighbours when I came back from that trip. I was now married to Gen because we got married on a day trip to Tijuana (that's a whole long story!). My neighbour directly across the street was the artist Helen Chadwick. She was nominated for the Turner Prize being one of the first women to get nominated. Helen and I became really good friends. 

OL: What did you do after the divorce and leaving Psychic TV.  That must have been really difficult as you were cut off from your previous life and friends?
Alaura O’Dell:
After the divorce split I talked to a friend and said, I don't know what I'm gonna do and she goes, what are you passionate about? What do you like to do? I said I like sleeping and napping, but no one's gonna pay me for that. I like good sex but I certainly don't want to get paid for that!  My passion was sacred sites in England, you know, stone circles and secret worlds and the history behind them, the ancient people. So I started a company called Sacred Journeys for Women.  I brought women from all over the world back to England and it was a way I could come back to Britain every year and do a pilgrimage to the sites. I took groups to sacred sites in England, Ireland and Scotland, and then I would do this retreat over to Hawaii. I did that for 10 years, and then 9/11 happened and everyone cancelled their trips. I tried to build it back up after, but it never got back the momentum, so I stopped. Then, finally, in about, let's see, 2013, I thought that's it, I'm gonna follow my dream and get my degree. 

I went to the local community college, spent five years there getting all my college credits and prerequisites and was able to enter into a one year intensive degree programme and got my degree at 50. Then I jumped straight into my master's programme. Then I realised, ‘oh, I'm a writer’. I've always been a writer, you know. I used to write the liner notes for few of the Psychic TV records. When they were re-released, those notes were erased as we discussed, but are there if you get some of the originals.  There was this one I wrote on pagan rights or life rights. Someone sent it to me recently. So yeah, I've always really been a writer. I found my little notebooks recently from when I was first with Gen where I was journaling and writing song lyrics. I don't want to blow my own trumpet, but, you know, I do have an MFA in creative writing. My thesis was memoir writing, and I actually think I'm a pretty good writer. I've been practising my craft now for a long time and now I'm working on my memoir! I had started recording music with someone, and then Covid lockdown happened and he lived with his parents who are immune compromised, they're older, so that got put in the hole, but we've started to record again recently.  I've also started to be asked to collaborate with people, so 31 years after ‘Sacred Dreams’ came out, I'm coming back to music. I think I realised suddenly when I was posting on social media, Gen isn't here anymore and he can't shut me up. He's not around, I can speak my truth. I didn't plan it that way, I was just doing my own thing, but I honestly think that part of the misogyny coming from Gen was that he did not see me as having any creative input in the band.

OL:  Because a lot of people were in his shadow, he maybe didn't rate their talents enough. To some extent he had a point in that by being associated with him, it opened up opportunities for them, but it doesn't mean that they didn't have an input and they should be credited for that, including yourself of course. I know Cosey in her book talked about how abusive Gen was in their relationship.  He was still alive then, so she got a lot of flack from his followers for that.
Alaura O’Dell:
Yeah, I think she got flak from his followers - aren't they called sycophants? She was saying to me that if Gen or anyone had tried to sue the publishers, would I speak to the lawyers and confirm some of the things that she was writing about? She also told me recently that it seems like you can write whatever you want when someone is dead.  There was a lot of misogyny going on and it was only once I got out of that relationship and out of the band that I saw that.  I love what we're doing in the studio right now, but I do not miss the music industry, and I do not miss that misogyny!  I actually saw Patti Smith live recently and the thing I loved about her is that she is so authentically herself. You know, she hasn't bought into the pop industry. Like, she hasn’t got to have plastic surgery and dye her hair and wear these particular clothes. It's so refreshing.  I was talking to a friend who is in the music business in LA and I'm saying “I don’t want to appear too judgy, but some of these pop stars, these women, don't even look like they're wearing anything when they're on stage, or when they go to the Oscars they're wearing see through dresses.”

OL:  Yes that whole thing has got worse, I think.  At one time you could have an all-girl band that wasn't an all-girl strip show and just wore ordinary clothes. The fact is that now it appears to have gone the opposite way, where empowerment for female artists seems to be empowerment to take all your clothes off, which doesn't seem very empowering at all to me. 
Alaura O’Dell: 
My friend did say back, “well, we did that too!”  I looked back and I'm like, yeah, I definitely had some outfits on stage where I had my little black shorts and a little bra top with a little jacket over the top. That was kind of the fashion then. It was a bit sort of punky, whatever, but you know, it wasn't my look to wear nothing. 

OL: I’m thinking about of some of the photos in the Terence Sellers book ‘The Correct Sadist’ which Temple Press published, where you're pictured semi-nude.  Did you feel pressurised at the time into doing those kind of shots? Was that something you would normally have done?
Alaura O’Dell:
That's a good question. You know, it is hard to remember exactly what I was thinking then. Let's just say, I was 15 when I met Gen.  He was 13 years older and that's a big age difference. Your teenage brain isn't fully formed until your early 20s. That's the way that your synapses and everything develops. There are definitely quite a few things that were connected to nudity and sexuality that I wouldn't do today, but 40 years ago I think I felt like oh, you know, I have to do this. 

OL: Was that suggested in the context of challenging conventions?
Alaura O’Dell:
Honestly, I think it was just like you just said it. I really do think it was like that, presented in the way of like, oh, we're challenging the norms.  Gen would say that religions or Christianity are all about controlling your sexuality and what you do in the bedroom and we're pushing the envelope. We can do this and do that. I mean, when I moved into Gen's house, he still had all these framed photos from the Prostitution show [the 1976 COUM Transmission exhibition 'Prostitution', held at the ICA] of Cosey in hardcore porn poses, you know, having sex with all these men. I know she talks about it now saying that she was empowered, flipping the narrative and saying ‘I have control about doing porn rather than someone telling me to do the porn’, but she writes in her memoir that Gen was also saying, “oh you should go and do this kind of thing”.

OL:  Pushing her into doing some of these things?
Alaura O’Dell:
Yes. I think it's all very, very questionable and I think that connects to my trauma where I literally had to block out the past. There were some wonderful things and wonderful people that I met in my time in Psychic TV, but I think there was also a lot of trauma. I was a teenager, you know, and just finding myself as an adult and being really influenced by Gen, whose bookshelf was all Third Reich and Charles Manson. I remember one of my teenage friends from school going “I think Gen is a serial killer, don't go to his house!”

OL:  It is interesting that those books and images are all about control. Charles Manson obviously had control over teenage girls.  The Third Reich was all about image and power, and the addictive nature of that.  You can draw parallels between that the imagery used in early industrial music. There was militaristic and neo-Nazi imagery used, for example by Death In June who are well known for that kind of stuff. So, you've got that kind of unsavoury element to it. 
Alaura O’Dell:
I absolutely agree. Not that I'm an expert on Hitler, but it does seem that [in the Third Reich] women were meant to stay at home and have Aryan babies, so it is all very misogynistic. It's interesting actually because yesterday I started reading a book on Hypgnosis, the design company that Sleazy worked for, and I just opened it up randomly and they mentioned Gen and Cosey! Sleazy had just done the Throbbing Gristle artwork for the single Zyclon B Zombie, which was the gas that was used in the gas chambers, and the other partners in the design firm were saying we don't know why you're doing this? this is distasteful. Apparently, Sleazy said, “Oh, no, that's not what we're trying to say, we're trying to say this is an awful thing that happened, and it should never happen again”. Gen did seem to have an obsession with Hitler and the Nazis though. 

OL:  There was Soviet imagery used on the industrial scene as well. Test Department were more into that, but they're both totalitarian images. It's all about uniforms, sigils, and slogans, and pounding away on metal, angle grinders, and machines and industrial noise and all that kind of stuff. There's no feminine energies present in there.
Alaura O’Dell:
No, it's all about white men. It really is, you know.  There are obviously, dictatorships in countries that are not just white men, but it all falls under a patriarchy. Everyone suffers under a patriarchy, but especially women, and non-binary people, and I've really been noticing when I look back on the music industry, and the misogyny, that it's this privileged, white male attitude. When I say that, I'm not dismissing all white men, but there is this complete arrogance with some men that I've encountered, that entitlement, that it has to be a certain way, that I'm entitled to talk down to people, or I'm entitled to treat women this way. I think so much came out in the ‘MeToo’ movement. There's a brilliant documentary on Brooke Shields, because I think that's the epitome of sexualizing a young girl, and her story of what happened to her and being raped by a producer in a hotel room.  I think then the question always comes back to, why do women go into these hotel rooms on our own? I'm looking back on my past going ‘Jesus Christ, I look so young in those photos’! People say to me “you look like you were 12”. Well, I was 18, but I was young. I mean, if you look at those Charles Manson girls, they were fucking teenagers and he was a master manipulator. He groomed these young women. That's what you see in the music industry and Hollywood. You're seeing this grooming, but no one used that word when I was young. 

OL:  Let's talk about the Brighton dolphinarium now.  You helped to get that closed down? 
Alaura O’Dell: 
I started that campaign to get it closed down, which was a good thing to do because it was very abusive to the poor dolphins in there. My grandmother had moved to Peacehaven in 1969/70 after my Grandfather died young of a heart attack, he was only 62.  I'd go down there as a kid and was taken to the Dolphinarium as a day trip and didn't think anything of it, just like, ‘oh, I love the dolphins, they're so cute, and they do all these tricks’. I remember even taking my kids there when we moved to Brighton, probably even before, on a day trip. Then I started reading about how the dolphins were treated. They're swimming in this pool water with chlorine that burns their eyes and skin.  Then it turned out all these dolphins had died in captivity there, and their babies had died. I talked to Gen and said we've got to do something, so we invited all sorts of people, soap actors, and so on, and we would stand outside the Dolphinarium and there'd be all these families with the kids, paying to get in. We were very nice, but I would talk to the children and say, “you know it's like someone locked you in your bedroom and they never let you out and they won’t even let you look out the window”. That's how the dolphins are, you know. In prison. Finally, they closed it down and released the two dolphins that were there. I think it was the Agha Khan who had this island or something in the Turks and Caicos and they took the dolphins there and it was great. They did this steady release of them. Apparently, every day they'd swim around the bay. Every day the distance in their circular motion got bigger and bigger, until they went out and they were free. Dolphins, I suppose, are one of my totem animals. I actually persuaded Gen to come to Ireland with me to see the dolphin in Dingle Bay. It has probably passed away now I guess, because it was a long time ago.

OL:  Finally, tell me about the ‘Godstar’ single. That was the closest Psychic TV came to having a hit.
Alaura O’Dell: ‘Godstar’ was our mainstream, 'almost' hit. ‘Godstar’ was climbing up the charts, then suddenly, it wasn't moving. I heard that the Rolling Stones PR had been calling the radio stations saying, if you continue to play this record, then one, we're not going to give you exclusive interviews and do this and do that.  I don't know if that's true, but it stopped climbing and it was doing really well.  Gen was definitely on a trajectory where he wanted us to have a hit and wanted us to be really famous.  I enjoyed the making the videos, I love the ‘Godstar’ video and also the one for ‘Good Vibrations’. We were working with John Maybury 

I think we met through Derek Jarman. I adored Derek, I adore John, and I would hang out with him one on one when we were in LA doing the ‘Good Vibrations’ video. John actually directed Sinéad in the music video ‘Nothing Compares to You’ and the Pet Shop Boys, ‘West End Girls’. He directed the full-length feature film, Love is the Devil: Study for a Portrait of Francis Bacon, starring Derek Jacobi and Daniel Craig. As well as The Jacket, with Keira Knightly and Adrien Brody and The Edge of Love, with Sienna Miller and Cillian Murphy.

‘Godstar’ seemed like we were going to have this hit and we could be on Top of the Pops. I definitely bought into that. What would that be like, you know, to actually be pop stars? but it didn't happen. I think there was definitely a big disappointment around that, but we just kept going, as you do, as we all as we all did. It's amazing actually to see people that are still going.  Throbbing Gristle got back together for their reunion tour and Chris and Cosey are still great and they've continued to do work.  I do want to say though, as you mentioned, that the music business does chew you up and spit you out.  I think you're right that a lot of creative people are also really sensitive people and I think we've got examples of that. The people who didn't survive, you know, like, Nick Drake, Syd Barrett, and then more recently, Sinéad. She didn't buy into the narrative and the exploitation, she spoke out about the Catholic abuse and all the other things that she spoke out about, and was almost blacklisted. It's like people in the media basically murder people without physically murdering them.

Derek Jarman actually spoke out for us after the News of the World story came out.  They took some art films that were put together and re-edited them to make that Dispatches programme and interviewed these women who we'd never met!  It's unbelievable how much how much power the press has.

OL:  That’s why I feel that your story about that experience is still relevant because it’s still happening today.
Alaura O’Dell:
It was so, so traumatic that I didn't go back to England for four years and I had to completely reinvent my life.  I just wanted to live in the countryside in this town that really no one's heard of, and not talk about that life. Even now, you know, if people ask me what band were you in? I say “Psychic TV, but be careful if you look it up” because of all that stuff. If they see a photo of me with Gen, they look up Gen, and then they go, “oh my God, he looks so weird now” and read all the stuff about him being Trans and the surgery and blah blah. He wasn't like that when we were together of course and I can sort of laugh about it now, but the bigger you are, the harder you fall, as they say.  It's like you become public property. Tom Waits lives in my area and my daughter went to school with his daughter, the friggin’ local paper did an article where someone followed him around and looked at what he was buying in his shopping basket, and I'm like, “Oh, my God, poor Tom, he can't even go to the supermarket!” You know, people harass him all the time.

Essential Information
‘Live in Yucca Valley: The archive and artefacts of Paula P-Orridge’ opened at Fatty’s Barber Shop, Yucca Valley, CA on 2nd September and runs to the 16th before coming to Paris and London.
On the web: Mistress Mix/Psychic TV Facebook Page

Main image by Paul Martello. Other images as credited

Alan Rider
Contributing Editor

Alan Rider is a Norfolk based writer and electronic musician from Coventry, who splits his time between excavating his own musical past and feeding his growing band of hedgehogs, usually ending up combining the two. Alan also performs in Dark Electronic act Senestra and manages the indie label Adventures in Reality.

about Alan Rider »»



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