Marilyn Manson has been an idol of mine since I was about 13. As a gender confused teenager interested in vampires, gothic romance and being controversial, Manson was my guiding light. Literally, I can't even express how cool I thought he was. He and his band all derived their names from iconic movie starlets mixed with the surnames of famous serial killers. Fellow band members names included Ginger Fish, Madonna Wayne Gacy and Twiggy Ramierez. It was this mixing beauty and glamour with the macabre and vile that really inspired me in work and writing.
At this time, I had no interest in creating my own photographs or paintings, but I did dress extrovertly and extravagantly, purloining voluminous black skirts from my mother's wardrobe and making them into capes, wearing a silk nightdress and high heels several sizes too small to school on non-uniform days. I did all of this whilst feeling that I had the personal endorsement and support of Marilyn Manson. I know he was widely heralded as the voice of angsty teens in the 90s and early 00s, but no one ever acknowledges the effect he had on the genderqueer kids as well. There were few people in the public eye who could speak to us, to me. Lily Savage was old school, Dame Edna Everage was grotesque, Brian Molko of Placebo had put his androgynous days fairly in the past and the dull misogynist rap of the early 00s was on the rise. Marilyn alone stood out to me.
At 14, I bought his Greatest Hits album which came with a dvd of all his music videos, and that just blew my mind. His videos were incredible, atmospheric, gothic, disgusting, repugnant, beautiful, frail, delicate, powerful pieces or rebellion and gender revolution. I now look back with the cynicism of being almost 20 and see that a lot of his gender play was probably done for effect, to be shocking, but that doesn't diminish my love for him at all. I also now know that he worked closely with Floria Sigismondi, Paul Hunter and Joseph Cultice to create his video masterworks. This seems like an incredible thing to work with, and perhaps one day I would like to work as a creative director on music videos and films.
In particular, I love the songs and videos that deal with religion. Marilyn Manson is vehemently (yet surprisingly eloquently) anti-christian, and it is perceived almost as the highest form of rebellion to go against God. I suppose I am this way too, but perhaps not. My interest in religion is odd. I do not believe, at all. I despise those who use it as reasons to be cruel, or unpleasant, or self righteous, but I don't necessarily see what I do (or plan to do) as rebellion. Religion holds no power over me, nor does it hold much power over any of my friends or family, so it seems ridiculous to fight it when there is nothing to attack. I see my work more as emmulation. It's about grabbing divinity for ourselves, it's about worshipping your own body, it's about self belief. In some ways, I think Manson thinks like this as well.
LONG HARD ROAD OUT OF HELL