Factory Records: FAC 2.16 'Pornucopia'


Notes: An unreleased "Fred Vermorel" project. (The project "governors" included Tony Wilson and Malcolm McLaren among others.)

This number originally was referred to as 'Starlust' (a book by Fred & Judy Vermorel, published in 1985 and later a website at www.starlust.net) but became 'Pornucopia' (aka 'The Pornucopia Experiment'), a website (www.pornucopia.org, existing from 1995 until 1998), as well as a pornographic audionovel.

The audionovel/CD was commissioned by TONY WILSON for Factory Too: "A recording of Obsessions created by the obsessed themselves", as first reported on the Factory website v1.


7:23 Pornucopia - The Fetish Factory
3:14 Victoria's Beautiful Cunt (Part 1)
8:33 Securing Her Legs In Case She Got Uppity
3:27 Victoria's Beautiful Cunt (Part 2)
4:39 Rape Your Ears Down This One!
7:14 Fist Fucking On Stage
1:29 Victoria's Beautiful Cunt (Part 3)
8:13 Fuck That And Fuck Me!
8:47 Victoria's Beautiful Cunt (Part 4)
8:49 Branding Her Buttocks In A Line Of Leathered Fire
3:48 Showers Of Spunk
5:55 Victoria's Beautiful Cunt (Part 5)




In collaboration with LARRY GOTT (from JAMES). Drum and bass and singing from Hanna Edgren and Barry Francis.

Starring Doug Bradley ("Pinhead" in Hellraiser). Also featuring Samantha Stell, Elaine Pyke, Rachell Hall, Carolyn Jones, Nick Collett, Patrick Knox and Bill Mitchell.

Recorded at Leee's (Imagination) Creaky Floor Studios in Hendon. Post production was at Southampton Institute, Bryn Derwen Studios in Snowdonia, mastered at Chop Em Out Studios and Audio Productions. Management by R&M Entertainment.

Funded by Factory Records with additional grants awarded through the Higher Education Council of England (HEFCE).

A 90-second video titled "Pornucopia Tapes" purporting to be a clip of video tapes made for the production of this project is posted on the internet but is set to "private" and cannot be viewed. The vidcap below is taken from this page.

A Brief History of the Pornucopia Experiment [via pornucopia.org]

By the late 80s the music industry was in dire financial and artistic straits. Piracy was rife, sales were falling, rock and roll had lost its allure. A rescue package was necessary. The British Phonographic Industry (BPI) called a meeting at its Savile Row HQ, at which all the major international record industry players were represented.

This meeting nominated the BPI to formulate a strategy for the industry in general. As a result of this remit, the BPI invited two of the shrewdest minds in the industry to head a think tank on the problem. These two were Mike Andrews and Tony Wilson, (see People Behind the Site).

Andrews had long been a marketing legend with a sure touch and a quick fire imagination, who had steered EMI marketing as its manager and creatively ruffled many feathers in the process. Wilson, was a rock entrepreneur and brilliant media maverick, founder of the legendary Factory Records which had reinvented the indie scene with a string of platinum selling artists. These two were cutting edge innovators, and, above all, they were independent and unafraid.

After a series of meetings, some of them quite stormy, (including a legendary encounter which allegedly wrecked the BPI boardroom, literally smashing a large oval table), they came up with one key proposal. This was essentially that a concerted attempt should be mounted to make rock and roll dangerous again. Music should once more become a hotbed of controversy: explosive with passion, desire, malice and dissent. What music did best of all, they declared in a seminal paper, was to "tease out our most furtive aberrations and secret inclinations and to glamorise, package and normalise these as goods: acts, songs, T-shirts, mags... " This was a dynamic, they asserted, central to capitalism in general. Which is why music had always played a key role in driving consumer culture. Their confidential report concluded, "Out of the closet onto the megastore shelf!" This was the seed from which the concept of Extreme Marketing (EM) grew.

But to move forward in an effective way meant serious research. Following the advice of Andrews and Wilson, the BPI now turned to the Humanities department of the Royal College of Art. The RCA had a long tradition of rock related research, and, indeed, had produced many performers and video makers. One of the researchers at the RCA at that time was Fred Vermorel. Vermorel had already carried out detailed and groundbreaking research into music fanhood and erotic obsession, resulting in publications such as The Secret History of Kate Bush, Starlust and Fandemonium. He was invited to develop this work through psychosexual avenues as the basis of an Extreme Marketing strategy for the music industry. This research initiative was dubbed by Andrews and Wilson, The Pornucopia Experiment.

In broad terms, The Pornucopia Experiment was initially devised as a platform to commercialize and package so-called sexual aberrations and mental dysfunctions for the music industry. In other words, to put the "X" factor back into rock. This principle was then expanded to cover other areas of mass entertainment - and ultimately, it was hoped, would be applied to the marketing of all concievable products. The project was to be part pure and part applied research.

Professor Christopher Frayling, then head of Humanities (currently rector) appointed Laurence Gane, an RCA stalwart with many links to the music industry, to oversee this work and Vermorel became project director, assembling a team of interested tutors and students.

There followed a richly productive period of research and experimentation from October 1989 to the mid 90s. The Pornucopia Experiment held regular Wednesday afternoon seminars which were often packed and sometimes tumultuous. Passions ran high and fist fights sometimes erupted. There was also a good deal of sexual freedom and experimentation about the proceedings. But without a doubt, this was a genuine flowering of talent and creativity, with academic researchers into hysteria and fetishism, fan behaviour and stalking, extreme desire and sexual deviancy, rubbing shoulders with practitioners who were experimenting around these very same themes with drama and performance and other sorts of art. The annex in Jay Mews where the research offices were housed was continually alive and buzzing. The comings and goings of celebrities like Elton John, Pete Towshend, Madonna and Kate Bush added to the excitement.

There were however, some disagreements and a certain amount of controversy. This was only to be expected. In 1995, following differences with the RCA governing body over procedure and the direction of the work, Vermorel and several others on the team took The Pornucopia Experiment, together with its files and equipment, to premises in Wapping. In October 1999 they moved to Paris.

The Pornucopia Experiment has grown from a research project into an international marketing consultancy. It has meanwhile generated a formidable amount of research and practice around the Extreme Marketing concept in general, and this has been increasingly picked up on by other industries.

As desire and the pace of marketing have quickened the work has become more urgent and relevant. Celebrity and fan culture for example, which were the starting points of EM, have intensified and globalised. The Diana phenomenon was one watershed, signaling an accelerating global hypnosis around celebrity culture, which is equally illustrated by the media's increasing dependence on celebrity related issues and topics, as well as by the exponential growth of stalking and star harassment. We have also seen what some consider to be the ominous development of "radical fanhood" and anti-celebrity movements - a development which may have significant consequences for the entertainment industry in general, as well as important cultural, political, and marketing implications.

Moreover, the cycle of discovering, normalising and commercialising the fetishes and byways of human behaviour in general, is quickening, and gradually eroding the moralistic qualms which once stood in the way of a truly renascent economy. This is where EM can really make an impact. The Pornucopia Experiment remains at the forefront of these and related phenomena both as a research engine and a marketing catalyst.

FAC 2.16 'Pornucopia'

FAC 2.16 'Pornucopia'