I felt like I wasn’t the only one tempted to google ‘Cosey Fanni Tutti transphobia’ after reading this memoir, but aside from this Jezebel interview which raises the question, it doesn’t seem to have provoked much discussion. Perhaps that’s because in this particular instance, the Genesis P-Orridge depicted here is an enormous arsehole who doesn’t deserve the respect of being appropriately gendered, though it still feels like some level of disrespect to the trans community. One would really have to ask trans people how they feel about that.
Gender politics aside, the book’s big detraction is its dichotomy between the years Cosey spends within Gen’s sphere of influence, full of detail on the thoughts and dreams of a woman coming to terms with her artistic self via COUM Transmissions and later the pioneering electronic band Throbbing Gristle — and the post-Gen time of freedom, for lack of a better term, where she recounts events in such an offhand manner, skipping over multiple years without comment and entirely absent the self-reflection that makes the first half so engrossing. There are remarkable things that happen in this time, but she seems in such rush to get through them, as if holding back her raw feelings and treating them with the same regard as such middle class preoccupations as trading up a home, or boring art world blather, that her words leave little lasting impression.
The stars, so, are for the moments where it feels like the real Cosey is coming through. The ones missing are for the all-too-comfortable person who’s forgotten what the reader’s really here for.
Cross-posted from Goodreads