Furfur: Sideways into England's Hidden Reverse

interview by David Keenan.
published on 21 Feb 2016 in Wire

This interview extract is taken from Furfur, an additional, limited edition publication accompanying David Keenan's revised and expanded England's Hidden Reverse. Subtitled Sideways Into England's Hidden Reverse, it features a selection of new, previously unpublished interviews that took place after the original EHR was published. Also featuring a host of previously unseen photographs, Furfur is published on 21 February by Strange Attractor.

A Piece Of Meat And Maggots
An interview with Christine Glover

David Keenan: Can you tell me a little bit about how Produktion came about? Were you hairdressing first and then discovered Industrial music or vice-versa? How did you become involved, what was your first exposure?

Christine Glover: Paul (Hurst) and I met in 1976. There was a small punk movement in Sydney and we met Ross Cannon when he moved to Sydney from Tasmania. We became inseparable. In 1978 we headed to London. Ross and Paul worked as hairdressers and when a top storey loft became available in Kensington Markets we opened Produktion Hair. We coined the phrase ‘supercuts’. We took Produktion Hair to the stage of the Electric Ballroom in Camden Town on Sunday markets. We made Super 8 films, animations, we wrote fanzines such as Prodition, made collages, and took photos (pre digital cameras).

DK: Kensington High Street Market sounds like a pretty exciting place at the time, can you tell me a bit about your memories of the place? Did you meet Diana Rogerson there?

CG: Ross met Diana Rogerson (Crystal) when she opened Fetish Or Die in the Kensington Markets and we met her when we returned to London. I was making jewellery and clothes for Fetish or Die and working with Ross and Paul at Produktion. Paul and I lived with Crystal in Archway before we returned to Australia via Japan where we toured. We recorded and stayed with John Duncan the American performance artist in Japan.

DK: Can you describe the Produktion hairdressers space for us? Did you sell records there as well? Is it true that you would play things like Whitehouse while cutting hair? Whose hair did you cut, what styles were popular, can you describe some of your creations?

CG: You never knew who would walk into your space at Kensington Markets. Produktion was a hub of energy. The decor was industrial, the front door was covered in sheet metal studded with four inch nail spikes, a tractor tyre tread as flooring in the back room. Old barber’s chairs and the discarded fittings from a 50s Knightsbridge salon. We sold tapes such as the EQUiNoX evENT, United Dairies, Whitehouse and Club Moral music, magazines and fanzines. We created a round metal film box set with Whitehouse recordings, film, photos and collage art works. True, we played industrial music all day at Produktion. Favourite was the 24 hour Throbbing Gristle box set and Sylvie and Babs Hi-Fi Companion.

DK: Can you tell me about your first encounter with Whitehouse and William Bennett? Can you recall early performances?

CG: William Bennett was Whitehouse. He came to our squat in Brixton. He refused to eat the vegetarian meal. His performances were really intense, explosive and provocative; you never knew what to expect from Whitehouse or the audience.We supported his concerts promoting and deejaying. We remember a Whitehouse performance in a club in the West End where Bennett was backed by the film Un Chien Andalou. George (Jordi Valls), Whitehouse’s manager, organised a performance at the Spanish Anarchist Club. I think Phillip Best was playing with Whitehouse at both these performances. We also travelled to Paris for a performance.

DK: How did you first meet David Tibet? What did you think of him?

CG: Paul and David had been writing to each other for some time before we met in south London in 1979. We had common interests, the works of Aleister Crowley, Austin O Spare, HP Lovecraft and industrial music. David was intense, passionate and we considered him a friend.

DK: Can you tell me a little bit about Ross Cannon and Scarlet Harlot?

CG: Ross Cannon was our closest friend. The Ramones’ “We’re A Happy Family” track was our theme. Ross was creative, spontaneous, funny, down to earth and the very best person to be with. Ross met Scarlet when working at Antenna, and she became a model for Produktion hair and Ross’s wife.

DK: Had you left the UK by the time of the Equinox Event? Were you still involved with the planning? Was Produktion involved in staging any other events? Why did you leave the UK?

CG: Paul and I did none of the planning of the Equinox Event. I can’t remember other events! We left the UK as our working visas ran out and we needed to reapply from Australia. We opened Produktion Hair and distributed Whitehouse and Nurse With Wound’s records while we were back in Sydney. We returned to the UK late 1983, extending our visas for another two years by touring in Europe and getting an extension when coming back into the UK. Here is DDV’s (aka Danny Devos of Club Moral et al) remembrance of the Equinox event:

From our time in London for the Equinox Event and the 19 Keys performance at ProduKtion-HAIR I don’t remember much. The first time we actually met Ross Cannon was at our wedding on 2 April 1983. He was with Toni Rogerson, John Murphy and Mary Dowd. They stayed at our place, Club Moral, for a couple of days. Then we went to London for the Equinox Event on 21 June 1983. We stayed at the basement apartment of Mary Dowd, which was painted totally black, including windows. Every morning she passed by to feed her enormous dog and take him for a walk. When we came outside it was as if we had been in a nightclub all the time. The day before the Equinox Event there was an opening ceremony of AMVK’s installation “The 39 Steps versus The 19 Keys” at ProduKtion-HAIR. The shop was somewhere deep in the back of a maze of corridors in a building complex. The space was tiny, to say the least. We brought all the artworks and our audio equipment in suitcases by train. Several collages on transparent film were hanging from a rubber wire in the space and along the walls were more collages and paintings on plexi. During the opening event we performed “19 Keys” whereby DDV was sitting in the barber chair, handcuffed and his head in the sink, reciting the “19 Enochian Keys” while AMVK was tape-manipulating Schönberg’s “Verklärte Nacht” as a live soundtrack to AMVK’s film “The 39 Steps Versus The 19 Keys”. People were standing or sitting on the floor to witness the performance. My Equinox Event memories are few as the whole event was rather chaotic. We already met the young Philip Best on the subway making noise on his battery operated WASP synthesizer. As a matter of fact the festival almost was a WASP festival since virtually every band was using one in some manner. The event started out fine in the late afternoon, but as time moved on, personal problems between organisers and bands or band members led to several arguments. Some bands showed up, some didn’t, some played in different constellations and some were only there to cause disarrangement. Steven Stapleton was notably moving between the Musician’s Co-op and a bar down the street goaded by William Bennett and particularly accumulating alcohol. Drunk and wasted around 7:00 or 8:00pm he ended throwing chairs during our performance thereby hitting Ross Cannon on the head. Around this time we went to Ross Cannon’s flat (in Brixton?) to have dinner one night. He had a complete reconstructed grave in his bedroom, including a massive headstone. In September 1983 ProduKtion came to visit us in Antwerp; Ross Cannon, Toni Rogerson, Paul Hurst and Christine Glover. On 17 September 1983 both Ross Cannon and Paul Hurst assisted in DDV’s performance “Now I Am Death, The Destroyer Of Worlds” in Gent. From the visit in 1984 I don’t remember a lot. You had the HAIR shop in Club Moral for like two weeks and we went to Breendonk and did some performances and recordings there. The films were shown at the opening event of the In Vitro exhibition. In 1985 we had an exhibition Crash! in Club Moral with posters and magazines by ProduKtion and an installation by Alex Adriaansens. Our visit in Australia in 1987 is covered in Force Mental 15.

All the best, DDV

You can read the rest of this interview, and many others, in Furfur: Sideways Into England's Hidden Reverse. A book launch for the revised and expanded edition of England's Hidden Reverse will take place on 21 February at London's Cafe Oto.

Related concerts: Equinox Event
Online url: https://www.thewire.co.uk/in-writing/book-extracts/furfur_sideways-into-englands-hidden-reverse-interview-with-christine-glover