So I saw finally saw Videodrome this weekend.

No need to bore you with that. I couldn’t possibly offer anything new on the topic. It was interesting being able to see it after having seen so many of his later films. Seeing Mister Cronenberg chipping away at so many of  the same ideas (both visually and thematically) as in the movies I’ve already seen was somehow… encouraging? It didn’t feel tired, like “Oh, here’s where it gets all Cronenberg” or anything. It was more like hearing a musician working through earlier versions of a song that you already know and love, which was good.

But like I said, no need to bore you with that.

Watching Videodrome, and especially the final set piece, made me think of Lost Highway. But I won’t talk about Lost Highway here, either. Just understand that Videodrome’s finale reminded me of the bits in Lost Highway when Bill Pullman’s watching the videotape that was just left at his door. That, and the fact that there’s a piece on the soundtrack called Videodrones; Questions.

That piece is credited to Trent Reznor. It was produced by Peter Christopherson.

Peter Christopherson is known to me as a member of Coil. Coil of my time with black hair dye and drinking port. Coil of the soundtrack of my life for several years. Sneering, snarling, pulsing, grinding, dancing, writhing, gnashing Coil. Who made me rethink Roy Orbison after I had already rethought Roy Orbison. Who made me pay closer attention to Leonard Cohen. Who hung out with William S. Burroughs. Who my friends ran into one night in the French Quarter and who seemed proud and pleased to be recognized on the street, but not in a crappy way.

I know before he was in Coil he was in Throbbing Gristle and helped birth the genre that made me realize that harsher sounds could be really great. But I never got too into Throbbing Gristle. There’s a CD in my library, but I don’t know that it’s been visited in quite some time. I know he worked with Nine Inch Nails quite a bit. His mixes were always cool.

I just found out he died in his sleep in November at the age of 55.

Which blew my mind in several ways.

I always knew he was older than most of the other people I was listening to. I never really gave it much thought at the time- I think I still believed that I was going to be a hair dyeing, boot clomping, sun avoiding goth for the rest of my life and that he was simply one of those rare older goths that I saw on occasion at The Convent or at Falling Janus shows. I never read his age in an interview or album review and said “Holy hotdamn, he wasn’t too much younger than my Dad!” Would it have made a difference then? Probably not. I was in the throes of staking my own claim and casting off the culture and values I had waiting for me at birth.

Another way it blew my mind was reading about what all Peter Christopherson had done. There was all the music stuff that I mostly knew about. Between Coil and his other projects and collaborations, the man had his fingers through much of my music collection. It’s only now that I read about his earlier career that I can really appreciate the scope of his work.

He directed music videos. And not just the stuff that I knew about. Not by a long, long shot. Sure, there are the obvious Coil, Ministry, Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, and so on. There’s also Hansen. And Yes. And Van Halen. I mean, the man wasn’t niche. Not by a long shot.

In addition to music videos, there were commercials for all kinds of ew mainstream yuck kinds of things. McDonald’s, Miller Lite, and Coca Cola all had their wares sold by a man who would someday write a song titled The Anal Staircase. I saw that on the back of a CD and was just like “I am listening to something different.”

And speaking of the backs of CDs, there are obviously fronts as well. Guess who designed a few of those? For Peter Gabriel and Pink Floyd, no less.

I couldn’t have been more wrong by pigeonholing him in my youth. While I thought I was being really open to all these new sounds and sights and ideas I was also being very limited in my thinking. To believe that I would have landed- right out of the gate- into a life and mindset that would last me my whole life was rather… hell, I can’t be bothered to feel silly about it. I wasn’t even able to buy my own drinks, for crying out loud.

Well, I could. But Louisiana’s drinking age was a funny little thing at the time. Anyway.

Peter Christopherson lived a really full life.

He died in his sleep in Thailand.

I could be doing more.