Full of vintage toys, positive nostalgia and a two headed dog called Douglas
Past what feels like the same flat field a hundred times over, into Norfolk and almost out the other side to the sea, we look for an old schooling house that’s been converted into the home of artist, musician and writer Cosey Fanni Tutti and her partner and collaborator Chris Carter.
Cosey and Chris (or Chris & Cosey as their names appear on twelve of their records together) escaped London thirty-two years ago for somewhere near King’s Lynn, to the school house that we do find, almost isolated but not quite. When they arrived from Tottenham the builders Artexed around them and their two-year-old son. One of the school’s classrooms was converted into what is now a lounge and kitchen, the other an impressive home studio. In the garden (kept immaculately by Cosey and featuring a “cat graveyard”) the old toilet block remains, a row of cubicle doors facing the house.
But to escape Tottenham first they had to escape Hackney; in the late ’70s a crooked and industrial area of London so perfect for Cosey’s and Chris’ pioneering work in Throbbing Gristle, alongside Genesis P-Orridge and Peter ‘Sleazy’ Christopherson. In speaking, Cosey always shortens the band’s name to “TG”, and likewise hers and Chris’ more recent collaboration with Factory Floor’s Nik Void, Carter Tutti Void, to CTV. Discussing her previous home, she says: “I love the London that I knew, but that London isn’t there anymore.”
To some extent or other the same applies to Hull where Cosey was born and grew up – the place from her life that is directly referenced across her first solo album since her 1982 debut. Simply titled ‘TUTTI’ (and conceived while Cosey wrote her autobiography Art Sex Music), it’s a record that was originally commissioned by Hull City of Culture in 2017 as a live soundtrack to an installation about Cosey’s early life, featuring family photographs taken in and around the port city. For its album release (out now via Conspiracy International), the eight instrumental tracks – slow, cloudy numbers that are brooding and warm on ‘Drone’ and eventually techno-propelled on ‘Moe’ and the album’s title track – have been adapted and enhanced for release without their visual element.
As Cosey welcomes us into her home full of books, vintage toys, musical equipment and ancient symbols that represent the power of woman, I ask her if she’s a nostalgic person. “I am a little bit, yeah. There’s nothing wrong with nostalgia for me because I don’t want to be back there, I just appreciate having been there.”