During the 1980s, before it became a Chaos magic cliché, I was a big fan of Coil. It cannot be denied that, in fond days now referred to as the history of ‘the magical revival’, they played an essential part in the soundtrack. In 20??, when Johnn Balance died, I mourned along with countless others who had lost their various virginities as Coil played on the stereo.
Listening to their music now, the lyrics reverberate through time like messages from restless ghosts.. Death she is my friend / she has promised me a quick end.. One day we’re all going to fall..
As an acid crazed bisexual gothic teenager, one of my favourite tracks was The Tenderness of Wolves, recorded with ‘guest vocals’ vocals by Gavin Friday, and guitar by Alex Ferguson. The last is not a name that many people will recognise from other records, but Alex was a talented musician in his own right. He was also, perhaps unsurprisingly, a magician. You might happen to know that The Tenderness of Wolves ultimately owes its title to the film by Ulli Lommel, a vampire horror based upon the real life homosexual serial killer Fritz Harmann.
In my twenties, when I was still into ‘Chaos magic’, living in London with a male lover and ‘out’ on the gay scene, I got to know Alex. Not close enough to call him a lover, but close enough to call a kiss uncompleted. He was a pretty young man, slight of build and 5’4”, like me. Blonde white hair, blue eyes, and a sensitive soul. Our ages were closer than you might expect, seeing as I was still at school when Scatology was released. Alex told me he was just 14 when they recorded Tenderness of Wolves, live in the Bar Maldoror.
“You have to be careful making records things like that,” he said. “All kinds of creepy psychopaths get fixated on you.”
We spent months eyeing each other up, bumping into each other at rituals, fetish clubs, gay clubs, art installations, all kinds of strange places, but were also both trapped with dangerous and domineering partners. If he saw I was troubled he always seemed to know the right thing to say, whether it was, “Your boyfriend’s spiked you with crystal-meth. It’s horrible, but we can ride this out and you’ll be OK,” to, “You’re quite the shape-shifter, under the skin,” to, “Don’t forget your crown chakra.”
We had some great conversations about both music and magic; he versed in all manner of sorceries, from Kabbalah to runes, Thelema to Chaos magic, and from pagan witchcraft to Voudon, and told me how his local community recognised him as a bocor, from where the conversation lead to the nature of the lwa, and the undead Ghede, lwa of the cemetery. All of which was new to me back then.
He said, almost as if it were a statement of intent, “When I die, I will join with the nation of Ghede.”
The last time I saw Alex we had both recently managed to find independent lodgings, and were both single, when we had a surprise encounter crossing opposite one another at the crossroads of King’s Cross Road – he was with his mother, who he introduced me too, and I kissed him in front of her. She could see how much we liked each other and smiled. He told me where he was living, and we agreed to get together to make music.
Just two days later his body was found naked before his domestic altar, as if his death had been part of a ritual. An investigation revealed that he was murdered by a homosexual serial killer who, when they stood trial before the Crown Court, was proven to be responsible for at least Alex’s death, but also turned out for ‘undisclosed reasons’ to be untouchable. You did not even have to be close to the case to know this – it got into the papers, with much outrage among the red-tops – probably the only time the Sun ever defended a homosexual.
Due to absurdly long autopsy investigations Alex’s funeral was held nearly a year after his death, on Friday 13th December 1996. Due to the circumstances only two of his friends were allowed to attend. The first was my domineering ex-boyfriend, who having joined the Illuminates of Thanateros was still in my life. I was the other, there upon the invitation of his heartbroken mother, who survived her son by just two years.
How could this happen to someone? How could a proven killer be legally untouchable? And what of this coincidence, that Alex should be known for a song anout a homosexual serial killer?
A cold chill also goes through me, and not of the good kind, when I hear the lyrics.. No Johnn, never never tell.. Murder me.. a child’s voice, barely audible at the closing of ‘The Anal Staircase’, Get off me, you creep..
Having already had to sacrifice our love for the music of so many talented artists, now quite rightly hated by all the fans they betrayed, from Rolf Harris through to Garry Glitter and the Lost Prophets, or anyone whose previous fandom hasn’t blinded them to the blatant cover up around Michael Jackson, what do we then make of Coil?
Johnn’s Black Sun paedophile fantasies run through much of Coil’s music, right from the beginning. Towards the end of his own and Peter Christopherson’s shortened lives, they became ever increasingly apparent. The re-release of the album Scatology, for example, has upon its cover a photograph of a nine years old boy’s naked back-side, framed within an averse crucifix. (Yes, really. You thought that was a girl? You might want to throw that album cover away. If there were any legally unquestionable proof other than ‘hearsay’ among Chaos magic circles, you could go to jail for owning it.)
More blatantly, they also recorded a video of Johnn Balance singing Love’s Secret Domain while surrounded by cavorting child prostitutes.
Have you heard the rumours about Peter Christopherson’s own family origins, and his membership of occult circles far more powerful than any Chaos magic? I shall not repeat such alleged disclosures here, but they are out there, and it enough to say there is more than enough ‘circumstantial evidence’, even in the public realm, to suggest criminal conspiracies.
It is my understanding that Alex was murdered because of what he knew; knowing what I do about his life, the people who were around us, common sense suggest this, and his ghost has told me nothing more. Nobody can disclose on behalf of the dead, but it is not always true that their secrets die with them.
I give honour to Alex Feguson, the Ghede of King’s Cross. Remember him when you hear this song.
You know the living. We know the dead. My desire is your kiss completed..