Thursday, 25 November 2010

Peter Christopherson 1955 - 2010

I'm still stunned and confused by the sudden death yesterday of Peter Christopherson aka Sleazy, one-quarter of Throbbing Gristle and one-half of Coil. I've been listening to TG and Coil for 18 years now so Peter has always been a huge presence in my life. Hardly a few days would go by without me putting on one of their albums. Peter was also one of the designers at Hipgnosis (and worked on sleeve designs for Pink Floyd's Wish You Were Here and Animals, and Peter Gabriel's early solo LPs), in between TG and Coil, he was a member of Psychic TV, he was an accomplished video director (Erasure's A Little Respect, videos for Rage Against the Machine, Sepultura, Ministry, and Nine Inch Nails' The Broken Movie) and in recent times was still producing brilliant post-Coil music with The Threshold HouseBoys Choir, SoiSong and the reformed Throbbing Gristle. A few years ago we swapped emails - I was bugging him about re-issuing old Coil albums and he was always friendly, accessible and generous with his time. I will miss him dearly.

Reflecting on Peter's work today, I found myself drawn to his photography and those recurring themes - urban landscapes, naked flesh, injured bodies, and the kind of violent, thugish youth that might have stepped from the pages of Burroughs' 1971 novel The Wild Boys. I gathered together some favorites...

John Lydon photographed in 1976. Malcolm McClaren commissioned Peter to take the first publicity photos of the Sex Pistols but deciding that the portraits were too grim the photographs were never used.

Val Denham with Hitler Youth knife photographed in 1979. This image appeared on Volume 1 of Mute's Live TG collection while an alternative shot appeared on Fetish's Discipline 12"

One of Peter's "Casualty Simulation" photographs, date unknown.

Adrenalin/Distant Dreams (Part 2) 7" single. The image of a desolate suburban street is given a sinister flavor by the presence of a singe discarded shoe. The inset picture is more mysterious - some kind of machine, possibly the bellows of an old camera.

An evocative photo of the Golden Gate bridge for the Mission of Dead Souls album, Throbbing Gristle's original final concert in San Francisco in 1981. Photographing the bridge from this particular angle, the vanishing point makes it appear that the bridge goes on forever

Reel to reel tape recorder photographed for the William Burroughs tape experiments collection Nothing Here Now But The Recordings, the original final release on Industrial Records, 1981


  1. This is such sad news Wes.
    Mr. Christopherson was multi talented and a superb artist.

  2. I am not familiar with his work - but it tremendously sad to lose someone who has been a part of your life so I totally understand your feelings about his passing. RIP.