Art Sex Music is more than a memoir. It is Cosey’s way of setting the record straight and clear up misconceptions about her and her roles in the creative projects she was a protagonist and often sidelined in. Cosey’s story is one of individuality, challenges, breaking down self-imposed and outer barriers, social norms and creating your own life, while dealing with the unpleasantness and hardship that came with the territory in the 1970ies.
Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey’s relationship and the manipulations and influence he exerts on her, play a major role in her narrative. What makes Cosey’s narrative compelling is that it is unpretentious and matter-of-factly where other rock autobiographies drip with self-indulgent tales of excess.
Cosey’s account does neither seem to be fuelled by the urge for retribution, despite her mistreatment, and there is an intended lack of fuss – it is all portrayed with razor sharp memory, dry and at times dark humour while maintaining a tenderness and warmth that is nurtured by her depiction of the relationship with her partner Chris Carter, whom she is still with.
The book details the founding of the art collective COUM, which started out by acting out surreal actions via dance and costumes and the move from provincial Hull to London, where their performances went up a gear, taking in live sex, bodily fluids and masses of offal, and the transition to what became known as Throbbing Gristle.
It is a story of Tutti exploring her sexuality and her interest in pornography, which culminated in her working as a stripper, nude model sex worker and porn actress while exploiting the sex industry for her own purposes, subverting it with her empowering and pure feminist approach and using it as a forum for the creation of her own art, fearlessly defying expectations and her own inhibitions.
Tutti’s account of her career and the details she reveals on her journey that eventually culminated in her becoming heralded as an elder of the avantgarde movement are fascinating. It provides snapshots and impressions of moments and ideas set at the core of the rejection of conventions, which would become an integral part of a range of popular sub- and countercultures, e.g. the tenets that comprised of punk based on DIY ethics and accessibility.
Drawing on a library of diaries that painstakingly detail the decisions and watershed moments that shaped her as an artist and an independent woman, Art Sex Music is a non rose-tinted autobiography about a bold, daring and radical life fueled by artistic ambition and lived with confidence and no regrets through time and culture shifts.
7.5 / 10
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