Update: Throbbing Gristle Album Art

(Last Updated On: January 3, 2016)

About this time three years ago I made a post about the album art featured on proto-industrial band Throbbing Gristle’s album D.o.A: The Third and Final Report, where I mentioned a calendar that was included in the first one thousand pressings of the record back in 1979 when it was first released, but I could never find a decent version of the calendar image.  Well, thanks to a tip from one of our readers, I was informed that the girl in image was named Kama Brandyk, and a quick search of the name brought me to not only a large (albeit somewhat frayed) version of the image but also to several pages from Drew Daniel’s band bio Throbbing Gristle’s Twenty Jazz Funk Greats about these images and their context, set within a deeper discussion of the slippery nature of what constitutes child pornography and what doesn’t, though it is quite annoying to try to read linearly because not all of the pages were present (it’s one of those book preview things you come across on the web every so often).  It’s an incredibly interesting read and prompts me to want to read the book in its entirety.  I’m not going to share the entire excerpt here (here’s a link if you want to read it), but there is a paragraph quoted from a band member in a newsletter that I think is worth re-quoting:

The young girl on the cover of D.o.A. is called Kama Brandyk.  She is the daughter of a friend of ours who lives in Poland, with whom Gen stayed when he was there.  Her mother is called Ewa Zajak and co-wrote the “Weeping” lyrics.  Kama, the little girl, was listening to Alice in Wonderland in Russian and it was International Children’s Day when the photo was taken.

I find these kinds of details about the origins of particular art and design pieces to be fascinating.  Anyway, a big thank you to Thomas for providing me with this information.  This is a supreme example of why we at Pigtails love for our readers and fans to come forward with details they may have about particular works.  It can lead to further discoveries that only enrich the blog.  So, thanks again Thomas!

Artist Unknown - Throbbing Gristle Calendar (1978)

Artist Unknown – Throbbing Gristle Calendar (1978)

 

12 thoughts on “Update: Throbbing Gristle Album Art

  1. I was just looking over this old post again today.
    One thing that makes the photo look even more cute and charming is the way her underwear seems to virtually match the bedspread.
    (Or does it COMPLETELY match? My imperfect eyesight makes it hard for me to determine that.)

  2. Hi,

    Thanks again for the post! I’ve since had a chance to buy the book but when I checked your Google books link to the preview the bit you quoted is no longer there. It may be naïve to think its unrelated to posting the link on here. Any further thoughts?? Anyway the book makes the essential point about images recreating or affirming what is in the mind (or heart) of the viewer. If one sees a child’s effortless and spontaneous beauty there is a certain empathy with those qualities within oneself.

    • Hi, Thomas. Since I have not had a chance to read the book, I cannot comment on the subject beyond the scant details that I have available to me. You have the advantage here, since you’ve read the book (and incidentally, I appreciate your commentary). Perhaps you would be willing to write up a review of the book for the readers here?

      • Hi,

        Good to come back on here after the summer! I always remembered about doing a message on the book –

        It’s the sort of enthusiastic music book only a fan could do, a small 167 page book, anyway a couple of things can be quoted ” One thing TG can be accused of is overestimating the sophistication and desire to really think and analyse of both the public and critics.” (p.31) What’s clear in their work including their Kama Brandyk photo is the band juxtapose contrasting elements together musically and artistically. In the photo it’s innocence and sexuality. The band was interested how accepting the girl as she is acknowledges sexuality and thus challenges conventional notions of innocence. From the book again on – “What we see in the first place depends upon who we already are.” (p.115) Who we already are determines our response allowing one to see beauty and ambiguity. (And therefore to defend artistic integrity!)

  3. Nothing to do with little girls but I still vividly remember first hearing Throbbing Gristle on BBC Radio 3 on a late night alternative music program. It was ‘Hamburger Lady’ – and it left me stunned and shaken – probably the most disturbed and disturbing music I’ve ever heard (at the time I was living not far from a severe burns unit and would occasionally see some distressing sights).

    I listened to it occasionally afterwards, but always with the same sense of dread I experience whenever I approach a photo by Joel Peter Witkin or, when a child, Goya’s Caprichos.

    • Yeah, the “found footage” samples in their music are often quite disturbing. There’s a brief discussion in the book I linked to about a particular piece on The Second Annual Report which includes a sample of what seems to be an interview with a guy who raped and murdered a 10-year-old girl discussing his crimes. I haven’t yet identified the piece, but if I find it, I may share it here.

    • There seems to be a line missing from that post, apparently right before the reference to Goya.
      (I don’t mean to nitpick; I just thought that I might as well point it out.)

      • I don’t see it myself. I understood his point to be: “I listened to it occasionally afterwards, but always with the same sense of dread I experience whenever I approach a photo by Joel Peter Witkin or, when [I was] a child, Goya’s Caprichos.” But grammatically, there isn’t anything wrong with Lensman’s sentence as it is, and the ‘I was’ is implied.

    • Hi, Jerrold. I haven’t the slightest clue if the book has photos or not. What I can tell you about it is that is part of the 33 1/3 series of books where a writer examines a particular album by a band he or she admires and uses that as a launching off point to examine the larger issues related to the music. The album in this case is not D.o.A. but rather 20 Jazz Funk Greats (an ironic title because the band is not a jazz funk band at all), so I’m not particularly sure where the discussion of the D.o.A. album art and its young model come up in that context; I only know that it does.

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