Is a counterculture still possible?

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
There's a bit of stuff about this on Jon's Twitter. Me and him were both involved bitd. I never met Gen but he sounds like an unpleasant arsehole (didn't realise how much of one until I read Cosey's book) but the article is fairly hysterical. All the stuff about Eden numbers and the like - they were more like goth penpal names than anything else.
Yeah I know you were involved and thought you might have something to say. Is it possible you were shielded from some of the worst aspects by not being as closely involved as some people were? I mean, did you ever actually live in one of their communes?
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
No! You would've heard it if that was the case. By the time I turned up it was all very "post-Gen". And this isn't the type of thing that'll lend itself well to historification but it was more about making friends and acquantances who were curious about life, culture, counter-culture and ideas in the same way that I was, in the space before the internet.

It may have been a lot more unpleasant up close with Gen, but some things he's saying in that article are total bollocks i.e. no fucking way on Earth TOPY had 10,000 members. Someone once said the interview is Gen's best medium by which they meant he gives good copy, but with scant regard to truth (i.e. he gave an interview (to Re:Search? I can't remember - where he basically takes the credit for inventing acid house and the rave scene). I think the author there is giving his hyperbole too much credence, and mixing it up with what he's read on cult psychology.
 
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DannyL

Wild Horses
I thought when i read Cosey's book her real intention (it's not exactly hidden) was to sink his reputation and right the record. Seems I was right.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
There were some people from the US who came over a few years ago making a documentary about Gen and TOPY. They filmed a few interviews that were apparently a bit upsetting. I wonder if they shelved the project when they realised what a can of worms they were opening.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I think Danny would have been fine if he’d met Gen.

I mean I was kind of in awe of the guy but learned quite quickly that he was fallible and interesting but not someone I wanted to spend all my time with. It may have been different if I had moved to London before he moved to Brighton, but I didn’t.

I took all the philosophy at face value and wanted to do my own thing - with people who brought their own things to the table.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Yeah, that idea about him being "difficult" was in the air right from the start. Everyone I met who knew him seemed a bit critical. There was never any canonisation that I recall. Was more interested in the other people around in front of me at the time.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
No! You would've heard it if that was the case.
Yeah, that's what I thought - just wanted to make sure.

It may have been a lot more unpleasant up close with Gen, but some things he's saying in that article are total bollocks i.e. no fucking way on Earth TOPY had 10,000 members.
Indeed - I've read this criticism on FB already. Sounds like the author of that article may have confused the active membership with the size of the mailing list.
 

john eden

male pale and stale
I met the film people and they seemed surprisingly ok with presenting a balanced (rather than heroic) account. I didn’t want to be in it though.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
Yeah, that's what I thought - just wanted to make sure.



Indeed - I've read this criticism on FB already. Sounds like the author of that article may have confused the active membership with the size of the mailing list.
All the Ratio stuff about dehumanising people via names is nonsense also.
 

Leo

Active member
aside from all the weirdo cultish stuff, my friend's main complaint about Gen was from a working/business perspective: he didn't write hardly any of the PTV stuff, never wanted to give band members writing credit on songs, even when he did he often wouldn't pay them royalties from publishing and sales, he'd reissue those records and not share any of the money, ran off and didn't pay child support to Paula, etc.
 

DannyL

Wild Horses
One thing I remember is getting back an early letter, handwritten, biro, from an acquaintance who'd chose to "occultise" the spelling of his name. The letter was replete with sigils, fragments of artwork and responded to the various points from my letter to him - the existence (or not) of hell, first person accounts of altered states, what weird books featured accounts of mirror gazing, angry apocalyptic politics, humour and nihilism, some discussion of the counter cultural literary stalwarts like Burroughs and Ballard. Hard to describe the buzz and excitement of getting that letter plonk down on my doorstep in suburban Ilford in what 1990? as I was casting about for ideas, wondering what the fuck life was about. That was TOPY to me.

And the weird thing is, a lot of the ideas, interests, concerns have stayed with it. Woven their way into my life in different ways. Be careful what you wish for.
 

version

Who loves ya, baby?
Skating's been absorbed now. Nike and Adidas found their way in, people are wearing energy drink logos, it's in ads and so on.
 
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