A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.
A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.

2.

A small but fabulous collection of letters, posters, photographs, flyers, cards, mail art, collage material and COUM stickers, originally sent in the mail by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen between 1972 and 1973, together with a letter to her dating from May 1976 announcing the formation of Throbbing Gristle. Lesley Allen was Vice-President of the COUM Van Glub of North America, and a friend of Charmian Ledner, President of COUM V.G.N.A., both of whom met P-Orridge on their visit to London in May 1972.

The series of ten letters, the first seven of which have been numbered chronologically on the envelopes by the recipient, include autobiographical notes; descriptions of performances by COUM; information and updates on COUM personnel; reports of police harassment; tales of ongoing financial struggles, and the continual pursuit of both grants and gigs; the formation of of L'Ecole De L'Art Infantile; and, in the final one, P-Orridge's announcement: "We have split our existential rock group off and named it THROBBING GRISTLE... We have large art show at I.C.A. Gallery in London Sept."

Most of the accompanying envelopes are adorned with rubber stamps, stickers, or otherwise decorated with paper cut outs and different colour pens; two letters feature colour photographs of COUM; two more include COUM cards; most are entirely, or partially, handwritten, and all of them have been embellished in some way with drawings or Magic Marker colour inks.

The letters are written in Genesis P-Orridge's idiosyncratic style, with the compressed density and unorthodox idiom of the outsider. They reveal his ingeniousness and exude a charm that belies his darker side, already apparent from his interest in Aleister Crowley, séances and the occult. They also convey a sense of the financial and legal struggles during these early years, the former often due to the latter, with both contributing to his frequent emotional exhaustion: "everybody is lopping bits off me and leaving me drained. e am not so sure e like being in demand as e dont even get money or respect or nowt for all my work" (September 1972).

Two sheets of COUM stickers illustrate the wordplay that characterised much of COUM's publicity, a creative ingenuity that appears throughout P-Orridge's letters. The collection also includes a group of previously unseen colour photographs, and three rare posters, all of them designed by P-Orridge, two of them never seen before by this cataloguer. In addition, an envelope full of collage material sent by P-Orridge to Allen hints at the ethos of sharing and interconnection associated with the mail art movement. The letters also use found or recycled paper, and predate P-Orridge's disillusionment with the art form following his prosecution for obscenity in 1976. The final letter, dating from that year, reflects a new direction, a return by COUM to their musical origins and the announcement of the formation of Throbbing Gristle.

LETTER 1: envelope postmarked 3rd February, 1972. Single sheet of yellow paper, typed on one side. Boldly headed 'COUM' and signed 'GEN' in Day-Glo orange Magic Marker pen (P-Orridge's favourite colour).
Enclosed: printed slip from Kingston upon Hull Corporation relating to sickness benefit, c. February/March 1969.
Opening paragraph reads (in part): "Agent 333 Genesis P-Orridge 'the P stands for Willow but is spelled Pillow' meanind way through mental breakdown in hospital 666 the great beast laid to rest Psychologist Ardis say genius thou art sane."
Extract from second paragraph: "E am not at all strange. E was once but now E am normal. They told me so. English hospitals are very depressing and sick but at least they're free! Old men do get visitors as do cats but they are too lonely to notice."
Followed by refs to police harassment and indecent COUM petition (see item #7): "Our little poster you may have seen Charmian has one, was censored by vice squad, E was originally wearing my attachable dayglow orange penis on my trousers but after a police warning the printers artist blacked it out".
Refs to Festival of Light, Mary Whitehouse, homophobia, Cliff Richard - "he is a completely gay queen but puts down homosexuality in public."
Closing slogan: "NOTHING SHORT OF A TOTAL WAR".

LETTER 2: Hand-coloured and embellished envelope, postmarked 11th March, 1972. Two sheets of paper, handwritten in green ink on 3 sides, one of them on verso of HM Customs & Excise form (with added holograph note in red), signed.
Enclosed: 'My Teddybare Hot Water Bottle'. Printed song sheet, double-sided (a song written by Genesis P-Orridge in 1971 about his desire to fuck a hot water bottle; it was performed by COUM during their 'This Machine Kills Music' set at the National Rock/Folk Contest area finals, held at the New Grange Club in Marfleet, near Hull, in March 1972).
First page lengthy text on COUM: "COUM has received EXACTLY the responses & reactions & the backlashes that all great new art movements, thought movements & political & spiritual movements of the past have experienced. We get laughed at banned accused of black magick, we're obscene, anarchists, too stupid, too intellectual, mad, ego-trippers, communists, junkies, filthy parasites, dangerous, corrupting, evil, and so on to the banal finale… we say what we do is BARRIER THEATRE as it is for people who have not yet erected barriers to curb their imaginations & joy… We are not avant-garde we are SIDEWAYS-GARDE we step round a hang-up gently and expose it without judgement & we are responsible in our actions… E don't believe we have it as bad over here and E think that is why our alternative culture follows after amerika like a toned down rebel: Amerika may be a lavatory but at least it turns out some good shit!"
Description of COUM Hull Arts Centre gig ['Infra Red Bucket'].
Refs to Hull University:"E went to Hull University my first choice to do Social Studies and left after one year. The most important function of College is to gently allow you to grow away from home in a respectable manner… College is a very inessential phenomenon. E believe intellect is intuitive and that you must suffer to gain wisdom or as Bob Dylan said 'learn that success is no success at all' and E don’t even like Bob D."
Childhood memories and recent past: "E always felt separate from other kids my own age. E used to like talking to tramps and students from 11yrs old onwards & E really read and wrote a lot ever since… dreamed of bumming round the world digging everything. Hence my love of Kerouac who E was introduced to the books of at 15 years old… E have never been married or divorced. But E have been living with a girl called COSMOSIS for 2 years. As far as E know the nearest E am to offspring is two abortions in the past and lots of attempts to propagate when E was young and overtly randy for any sexual possibility… We used to live in a commune, 16 of us in an old fruit warehouse we called the Ho! Ho? Funhouse but it split up after 16 months".
Memories of child model agency (see item #4).
Letter ends: "Coum have not had one proper booking since Dec 10th 71 mainly due to police & entrepreneurial harassment… We get very frustrated. Some of COUM get groupies but E never do. Cosy says E frighten them off cos E am a bit too weird, LOVE -GEN-."

LETTER 3: dated 3rd April, 1972, COUM, c/o The Alien Brain (the name given to the COUM house at 8 Prince Street, Hull, as well as performances that took place there and elsewhere). Three sheets, handwritten in brown ink on 3 sides, signed. First page written on verso of Pellen Personal Products ad. sheet. Envelope inscribed in pink on verso: "COUM are gear lovers".
Enclosed: 'The Very Rev. L. E. Cheesewire Maull' COUM card, with underlining in pink by P-Orridge (see item #5) + Kingston upon Hull Corporation Transport 5p plastic token + Hull Film Theatre ticket stub.
Letter opens with info on 'Teddybare' song sheet (enclosed with previous letter): "The drawings were paste ups slightly altered from a kiddies comic called Teddy-bare and were found by Tim [Poston]. Tim & E chose & arranged & adulterated em together."
News of "Definite gig on April 21st at University of Kent at Canterbury" ['Copyright Breeches'], followed by a lengthy list of invitees, including "John Peel, John & Yoko Lennon, Hawkwind, Pink Fairies… Cornelius Cardew, Bruce Lacey… Gay Liberation Front members of COUM also plan to arrive too!"
"Lots is going on. Have at last been given a grant by the Yorkshire Arts Association & we hope to buy a van with the money (a 2 ton van!) COUM in big letters across it & lots of fun & mobile theatre activities."
Mentions of upcoming visits to UK by Lesley Allen and Charmian Ledner: "we plan a special COUM welcoum in London, red plastic carpet, COUM dressed as pressmen & banners saying welcoum US. VG. Pres & so on plus tapes etc."
P-Orridge grateful for letters: "E really love it & you & Charm make life much more happy & your letters cheer me up, teach me and are visually lovely too". Goes on to apologise "If mine let you down… mainly because E write loads of letters & still have to do domestic chores, get gigs (sic!), & build props etc… E cant even fit in the Alien Brain Script".
Refs on page 3 to Jack Kerouac, The Fugs, Lesley Allen's admission to Franconia College, New Hampshire: "E think J.K. has influenced the rest of my life with his beauty… E feel as close to the FUGS as you do to Procol Harum… The drinking age here is still 18 years male or female. So you is OK honey… do remember we love you & think of you & oh yess, glad you are in FRANCONIA good luck & greatest (E hope you aint let down when you meet us in the flesh cos we are very domestic) of all see ya in MAY".

LETTER 4: envelope postmarked 26th April, 1972. Single sheet, handwritten in green, red and black inks. Two photos of COUM members (Spydeee [Ian Evetts] and Brook [Tony Menzies]) cut from 'Fab and Kinky' poster affixed to lower corners. Verso of envelope decorated with cut out illustrations of butterflies, plus added comment in aquamarine ink: "too much - hard work".
Enclosed: COUM/COSMOSIS postcard. Designed by P-Orridge, and inscribed by him on the verso in green ink.
Central section of letter reads (in part): "E hope E don’t beco[me] dead thing like Helio Oticia [Oiticica] and David Medalla and Ligia [Lygia] Clark who E almost met once upon a Fitz [Gerald Fitzgerald] and Paella Mahoope [Umiak Mahoupe] Transmedia Quaquaversal Controclinal [Transmedia Explorations] and Guy Brett the patron photo'er".
A postscript at the top reads: "Please tell Charmian that we do appeal to Transvestites - especially in London. Hull isn't any where near as open as that town. E go out in make up & jewellry but the real thing is only public in London which tends to be copying American youth culture & liberation progress."

LETTER 5: envelope postmarked 25th (?) June, 1972. Four handwritten sheets, three of them written on versos of Polydor Records news sheets, one of them on verso of COUM flyer announcing 'COUM in the Marquee', a performance of 'The Alien Brain Decomposition' in Canterbury (21st April, 1972). The chronology is tricky to discern, but it seems likely that the letter was begun in late April or early May, but not actually mailed until late June (after Lesley Allen's visit to London).
Enclosed: 'COUM AND BUSK' flyer. Announces 'A Grand Busk In Aid Of Rag Week' in Hull, 17th June (1972) - "COUM - Your Local Dirty Banned, Who Are Sponsored By The Yorkshire Arts Council Will Also Be There To Make Sure There Are No Dull Moments."
First page with 2 small colour photos of Genesis P-Orridge attached by tape. The first shows P-Orridge standing behind Les Maull's Bible Stand outside 8 Prince Street, captioned "Father Geno lectures his flock outside the church of the Alien Brains"; the second captioned "Cosmosis P-Orridge stands guard". Page 3 with small colour photo affixed, also taken outside 8 Prince Street, described in the letter as "Brook, Pres. Cambridge V.G. Sean, Sec. of same Sarah, Harriet of coum & peeni patch embroideress, Fizzy Pete a member of Hull V.G. & organist on one occasion: Tremble the wonderdog is getting in on the act: Title for the pic: 'Stream of vans waiting for a glimpse of their idols' Daily Sinner." Page 4 small colour photo affixed, captioned "Harriet & Cosy 8, P.St." (Harriet Straightlace [Kelly] and Cosey Fanni Tutti standing at the front door of 8 Prince Street).
Lengthy description of COUM performance in marquee in Canterbury, "finally entitled 'COPYRIGHT BREECHES' ", with ref to "Davey Giggle [Davy Jones], who is President of Canterbury Van Glub" hiring circus marquee. "Did loads of stuff, free drum & piano piece, John Cage piece, Obscene blues by me, Fool on the Hill, Let it Be & the death of Mrs Askwith plus loads more. Muck & brilliance in quadrophonic sound effect. It was brilliant. Our best performance ever & worth all the hard work and obstacles… We took movie film and stills & slides at Canterbury. We are now making a COUM film for underground film co-op distribution. Hope it coums off!"
Ref to "Coum Van Glub of N. America official visit noted. Some of COUM will already be in London doing a week of being red indians with a guy called Bruce Lacey for art exhibition & street theatre. Raids on the subways to be carried out" ('Anal Coumfidence').
Ref to Tutti "doing a 10 week course in bookkeeping at the local college so E have new routines to explore." Signed "Genesis - the orange one".

LETTER 6: Three typed sheets, signed in Day-Glo orange ("My colour!"), dated 26th July, 1972. Pages numbered in Day-Glo orange, with the third typed on the verso of a mimeo flyer publicising the COUM issue of Hans Clavin's magazine, Subvers.
Enclosed: 3 small vintage b/w photos ('50s New York?).
Mentions buying new van, ie. the ex-GPO van, named 'Doris' ("Its massive"); "Bradford Arts Festival ('Spartacus Defused') definitely booked us for £50 today, plus our tightropewalker (Hermine Demoriane), plus Nicholas waxworks" (aka Sergei, from the Gay Lib Street Theatre in London, who worked at Madame Tussaud's).
Mention of Lesley Allen's visit to London: "Sorry we missed you on the Tuesday. We rang several times and they said you had checked out… Did you check out or was that a ploy to keep us from meeting again by either the hotel or accident or what. Please explain that mystery. You werent at all a nuisance and we are really happy we at least met you and you had a good time."
Ref to "AGENTZIA annual of av garde in print with stuff on us".
Mentions "John Peel wants more tapes of us", and going out for the night with him: "Gets sad easily. He is really ever so vulnerable and loveable though. Silly though E sounds he is nice. E saw the stones once in hyde park, interesting."
Two sheets provide info on COUM members: Fizzy Paet ("17 years old. Makes plastic coat hangers all day. Rest of time in COUM"); Foxtrot Echo ("Has basic formula ideas for decompositions and E add detail and then the others coum in with additions usually"); Les Maull ("Does some great tape soundtracks to the action. Also Archbishop & Jackdaw. He does send up folk singer Leonard Condom"); Nicholas Bramble ("Gay member of coum"); Richard ("Makes models and street sculptures… Also plays a panto dame in the show and a gay dwarf"); Tim Poston ("well you'll know about him"); Far-Out John ("second drummer. Will be in if he controls his drug urge which has him at present coumpleting 21 month prison sentence. Dubiouds"). "OUT are Spydee, Haydn, Brook & Johnji… IN Ian Goodrich… He is Mrs Askwith in the scenario The Death Of… Roboray:--: friend of Foxtrot's… Creative writes some lovely songs some of which E have sent to John Peel on cassette… Harriet Kelly:--: plays caterpillar woman. Embroiders peeny patches… Still at school… Very quiet but very kind and faithful and dependable. Well E reckon that’s roughly COUM personnel as it is today."

LETTER 7: envelope postmarked 5th September, 1972. Two typed sheets, COUM stickers attached to both, probably cut from one of the two sheets mailed by P-Orridge on 20th August, 1972 [see below].
Enclosed: short handwritten note re: stickers. Written in red ink on verso of recent typed letter to P-Orridge from his dentist: "dearest Lesley Speed geek, Cleaned any good chicken's yet? here are some pressies for you & Charmian to play with Share em & cut em out its hours of fun". Signed in Day-Glo orange.
Ref to large envelope with COUM stickers already sent.
Ref to Kerouac: "e bought pic by kerouac in hull in the end, the bowery bums also reminded me of his books in that photo, mayhap you realized the atmosphere he generates and the tales he tell". 'On the Road' was introduced to P-Orridge by his English teacher at Solihull Public School in 1965 (referred to in Letter 2), and inspired his interest in Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Gary Snyder, and William Burroughs, who later introduced him to Brion Gysin.
Ref to Tim Poston's visit, trip to Rio and "probably couming to north america so mayhap he will visit if he passes near by. who knows."
Ref to Bradford Arts Festival: "we went down really well… but made a loss".
"… please keep writing and e will reply cos you and charmian are the only two people who write regularly and it really cheers me up to receive letters. coum have gone dismal. dasmsel. drambuie. drop."
Biog info on Spydeee Gasmantell to second sheet and verso of first, concluding: "Waiting to be seduced by avid groupie; thinks COUM represent an original example of a multi-media artistic concept - Impossible to imitate or repeat. Well that's Spydeee of COUM today but tomorrow - -?"

LETTER 8: Single sheet, date stamped 13th February, 1973, with 'FILE UNDER COUM' stamp in pink added. Envelope with multiple rubber stamps. L'Ecole De L'Art Infantile letterhead, with P-Orridge's and Opal Nation's addresses, decorated with the latter's printed illustrations, hand-coloured by P-Orridge. Typed "Dearest Lesley" by P-Orridge, with 'Global Infantilism' dummy symbol rubber stamp added. Handwritten sigilised message in black reads: "My Name Is Al Capone", with "cari saluti" typed, and signed 'Gen..3' in Day-Glo orange.

LETTER 9: Single sheet of L'Ecole De L'Art Infantile letterhead notepaper, date stamped 4th April, 1973. Typed on both sides, signed by Genesis P-Orridge as "Henry Cooper", with four 'Global Infantilism' dummy rubber stamps added. Envelope with two rubber stamps.
Enclosed: L'Ecole De L'Art Infantile letterhead notepaper. Later state, printing additional names: Tim Poston, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Nanny (Jacqui) Rigby (later of the Ragdoll Agency, which arranged modelling jobs for Tutti), and the Martello Street stamp of Robin Klassnik.
Letter opens: "E have just returned avec Cosey Fanni Tutti, from belgium arts festival where we had fun for a week. Was OK." ('Copy Dementaria' and 'The Revolutionary Spirit', Louvain).
Ref to entries to the Litter Art Show, NJ, "run by Stu Horn".
"Charmian is couming over quite soon it seems. We too are moving to London in summer."
Updates on COUM members ("We dont play music at present."): "Lelli, the vicar is in nick for over 2 years for burglary and malicious wounding, he was melody & guitar. Bobo [Rob Eunson] is in Brum trying to get over just couming out of nick for burglary… Far out John has gone solo, forming his own group… But anyway we earn 4 times as much as theatre group & expositions. So we hope to use the money that earns us to get back into music… In the meantime coumposition is E am afraid to say, surspended. Eh well."
News of P-Orridge co-founding new school of art - Global Infantilism - with detailed info on how to be part of it. The intention was to make every participant an equal director, with their name added to the letterhead until there were 500 directors: "E reckons it's a pretty good deal. A kind of chain letterhead. And you get all kinds of coumtact addresses. And anyone with £3 can join. No cliqueyness."

LETTER 10: Typed sheet, dated 17th May, 1976, signed by Genesis P-Orridge, with small drawing of tree symbol. Typed airmail envelope. Letter typed on verso of COUM Transmissions letterhead printing an article from The Observer on P-Orridge's trial and subsequent fine "for sending five postcards bearing an indecent design."
Letter begins with P-Orridge stating that "We have been and still are incredibly busy, yet inevitably incredibly broke. Overpage is one reason why. E owe fine money to people E borrowed it off to avoid jail."
Continues: "We have split our existential rock group off and named it THROBBING GRISTLE. Line up THAT now is Bass Guitar (Cosey), Drums & Violin & Vocals (Gen) and Synethesisers, Tapes, Mixing (Chris Carter). Occasional extra keyboards from Sleazy… Its very much sound oriented, with cynical verbiage… No gigs yet, butter then we aint tried for any. We have large art show at I.C.A. Gallery in London Sept."
Ref to preparing book on trial - "Publisher in Switzerland interested."
"We have started our own cassette label. Two cassettes ready to issue."
"Robin Ratt disappeared after your trip, we've never seen him since."
Updates on COUM members: "Greg retired from active service. Fizzy became a male prostitute in Leeds. Spydee got married and opened a shop. Cosey earns a living doing blue movies. E am co-editing a book on CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS for American publisher. E have been writing articles for a couple of art mags too under various names. Now E must return to my typing history, glad, HONEST to hear from you. Making this touch to coumfirm we still refer."

COUM POSTERS & STICKERS. Large envelope (worn), postmarked 20th August, 1972.
Enclosed: three COUM posters and two sheets of COUM stickers, designed by Genesis P-Orridge.
i) UNTITLED, c. 1971. Poster printed offset on acid orange paper. 43x61cm. Features a selection of COUM cards, collages, drawings, visual poems (including "A house for Allen Ginsberg'), occult symbols, sigils and glyphs, P-Orridge's deed poll from January 1971, and short attacks on poetry, specifically Hull University Librarian, Philip Larkin: "Humanity has been duped into believing poetry is unattainable, for a gifted few, scientific. Cell leader Phillip Larkin heads our unspecific list of war criminals for his sabotage of production, progression and equality of right to expression." Two central vertical and horizontal folds; overall light handling wear and superficial creasing.
ii) BUST BENEFIT CONCERT, St. George's Hall, Bradford, 22nd October (1971). Poster printed offset on lilac colour paper. 45.3x63.5cm. COUM were asked to support Hawkwind following recent coverage in Frendz, despite their local notoriety. They performed a piece (later titled 'Edna and the Great Surfers') entailing an ever-enlarging drum kit that eventually took up the entire stage (watched from the audience by future COUM member, Foxtrot Echo). Verso signed and inscribed by Genesis P-Orridge: "to Lesley from Genesis P-Orridge 16-8-72 Limited Edition 333 33 Signed No. 20/33" (the number 3 had a magickal significance for P-Orridge; although the limitation suggests that there were at least 19 other numbered copies, it's possible that this was the only one he numbered). Two central vertical and horizontal folds; four small tape remnants, one at each corner; overall light handling wear and superficial creasing.
iii) THE M.F. CHRONICLE. Being the first. @1972 Genesis P-Orridge Coum Transmissions. Poster printed offset on lilac colour paper. 45.3x63.5cm. Prints a selection of P-Orridge's collages, drawings, cartoons and mail art, and includes his 'Teddy-bare' song sheet. The cartoons are credited as '© 1971 A Porangreen Production', an elision of the magical colours orange (P-Orridge) and green (Spydeee Gasmantell), reflecting their collaboration. Numbered '110/333' by P-Orridge in blue biro. Two central vertical and horizontal folds; four small tape remnants, one at each corner; overall light handling wear and superficial creasing.
iv) STICKERS. One unused sheet of 20 COUM stickers (green on black), and one sheet of 16 stickers (red on black, with two cut out), c. 1970. (Ford 1.18). 25x31cm. + 25.5x27.5cm. The first sticker design features P-Orridge's early logo for COUM, a limp penis formed out of the word 'COUM', with a drip of semen coming out of the end, and the slogan: 'Your Local Dirty Banned'; the second sticker bears the statement 'COUM guarantee disappointment'. The sheets are referred to by P-Orridge in Letter 7 (September 1972), the pages of which have the two cut out stickers affixed.

COLLAGE MATERIAL. Envelope addressed by Genesis P-Orridge to Lesley Allen, embellished with COUM stamps and 'This Sticker Exploits COUM' sticker to verso, along with handwritten messages from P-Orridge, one of them stating: "E want 'visions of Cody' - 'visions of Neal' by J.K." No date, no postmark (c. September 1973). Signed by Genesis P-Orridge.
Enclosed: a significant quantity of collage material, including cuttings from old magazines, miniature playing cards, numerous squares with printed alphabet letters, wooden draught pieces, and scraps from a variety of sources.

COLOUR PHOTOGRAPHS, c. 1971/72. A group of 7 small colour photographs, contained in an airmail envelope, marked on the front 'COUM Photographs' in orange Magic Marker pen. Each photograph measures approx. 4.4cm. sq.
i) 2 photographs of Genesis P-Orridge pushing the COUM 'Wagon Train' along a street in Hull; one of them features a COUM procession of Sarah, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Foxtrot Echo (Greg Taylor) and Fizzy Paet (Pete Waudby).
ii) 2 photographs of Cosey Fanni Tutti wearing a mannequin mask, standing outside 8 Prince Street.
iii) 3 photographs of Robin Ratt (macrobiotic music teacher friend of Fizzy Paet) posing outside his 'Tao House' in Ladbrove Grove, west London. Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti stayed there in May 1972 during their trip to see Foxtrot Echo, who introduced them to Bruce Lacey (then working on his live sculpture, 'The Laceys at Home', at the Serpentine Gallery). They also planned to meet Charmian Ledner, President of the USA COUM Van Glub (recounted by Tutti in Art Sex Music, p.111. Faber, 2017), as well as Vice-President Lesley Allen. Tutti says she doesn't remember Allen, so it's possible only P-Orridge met her, though his comments in Letter 6 suggest otherwise: "we are really happy we at least met and you had a good time. We are glad you like england too. Cosy and E hope to move to Norfolk or lincoln xmas time…".


A truly fabulous collection, providing never seen before documentation and commentary on COUM, its personnel and artistic practice, and the everyday life of its progenitor, Genesis P-Orridge.

On Hold