Friday, November 26, 2010

Industrialobit: Peter 'Sleazy' Christopher

The Guardian has reported the death of Throbbing Gristle founding father Peter Christopher.

Born in 1955, Christopher had originally found himself working with musicians as a graphic artist. He took the first promo shots of The Sex Pistols (and, more tangentially, as the designer of the Boy logo, was partly responsible for one of the iconic Pet Shop Boys images), but started to make the shift from visuals to sound when he came into contact with Cosey Fanni Tutti, Chris Carter and Genesis P-Orridge.

In 1976, they coalesced as Throbbing Gristle, creating music which marked them as outliers even while Punk was shifting where the median of British music was. Being denounced as "wreckers of civilisation" wasn't their highest point, but it's certainly Tory Nicholas Winterton's biggest contribution to British culture.

When Gristle split in 1981, he continued to work with Mr. Orridge as part of Psychic TV. The second album from that band proved pivotal in his life - while working on it, he met Jhonn Balance, with whom he would a life and musical partnership.

The pair formed Coil, creating music for the best part of twenty years until Balance's death in 2004.

In the same year, Throbbing Gristle reformed - initially to play the appropriate location of the Tate Turbine Halls, and then gigging more regularly. That fell apart earlier this month when Genesis quit again; the rest of the band continued to fulfill dates under the name XTG and had been working on an album of Nico covers.

Peter 'Sleazy' Christopher was 55. Dave Simpson ends his piece in the Guardian with these words from the man:

"We are all only temporary curators of our present bodies, which will all decay, sooner or later. In a hundred years or so all the humans currently alive will have died. I take great comfort in knowing, with certainty, that thing that makes us special, able to enrich our own lives and those of others, will not cease when our bodies do but will be just starting a new (and hopefully even better) adventure ... "
That seems a positive note on which to end some sad news.

[Related: John Balance obituary]