The art of surreal writing

Genesis Live album cover

Back in the early days of the super-group Genesis there was the advent of their first live album (ingeniously titled ‘Genesis Live’).  On the back cover of the large vinyl sleeve of ‘Genesis Live’ was a story written by Peter Gabriel, the band’s original singer, which was not reproduced on the subsequent CD releases (no doubt due to the tiny format of a CD cover).  Anyway, for all those impoverished owners of the Genesis Live CD here is that story in all its glory –

4:30 p.m. The tube train draws to a halt. There is no station in sight. Anxious glances dart around amongst the passengers as they acknowledge each other’s presence for the first time.

At the end of the train, a young lady in a green trouser suit stands up in the centre of the carriage and proceeds to unbutton her jacket, which she removes and drops to the dirty wooden floor. She also takes off her shoes, her trousers, her blouse, her brassiere, her tights and her floral panties, dropping them all in a neat pile. This leaves her totally naked.

She then moves her hands across her thighs and begins to fiddle around in between her legs. Eventually, she catches hold of something cold and metallic and very slowly, she starts to unzip her body; working in a straight line up the stomach, between the breasts, up the neck, taking it right on through the centre of her face to her forehead. Her fingers probe up and down the resulting slit finally coming to rest on either side of her navel. She pauses for a moment, before meticulously working her flesh apart. Slipping her right hand into the open gash, she pushes up through her throat, latching on to some buried solid at the top of her spine. With tremendous effort, she loosens and pulls out a thin, shimmering, golden rod. Her fingers release their grip and her crumbled body, neatly sliced, slithers down the liquid surface of the rod to the floor.


The rod remains hovering just off the ground, a flagpole without flag.
The other passengers have been totally silent, but at the sound of the body dropping on the floor a large middle-aged lady wearing a pink dress and matching poodle stands up and shouts, “STOP THIS, ITS DISGUSTING!”

The golden rod disappeared; the green trouser-suit was left on a hanger with a dry-cleaning ticket pinned to the left arm.  On the ticket was written-



  • paul

    Thanks! Forgot all about that on the album. Looking for someone producing the poster for Genesis Live. To late. Thanks for the memory. Now all I have to do is find my vinyl records. Hoping they aren’t ruined.I had one at one time, i.e. a poster. I have no idea what happened to it. Only thing I can come up with is a old room mate stole it.

  • Matt Soden

    Thanks, I have not read that story since the late 70’s, as a young teenager I was turned on to the band by an older friend ( 5 years my senior ) along with other greats like Yes, Crimson, Brand X, UK, and many others. My First GENESIS show was on the Wind & Wuthering tour with Hackett at only 14 years old!!!!! But one of my fondest memories of that time was sitting on my buddies bedroom floor and looking at the alblum covers of his seemingly endless collection ( after a funny cigarette was smoked ) that and the story in the Lamb album was so obscure it was awesome, it just fit, it fit the band in those years, it fit the times we were living in, but most of all, it fit my youth & that feeling of such mystery within the songs, but we all grow up and some things change ( my love for Genesis never did )
    Thanks for bringing that feeling back!!!!!

  • Artists UK

    I expect I am at least five years your senior too since the first Genesis album I owned was this live album but my introduction to Genesis was stranger. Our history teacher used to bring in his reel to reel tape recorder and play bands like this in his classroom at lunchtime. Many of us owe Craig Barlow a lot for these introductions. Sadly, he was the only cool teacher in an otherwise dire school going through massive changes but we do owe him a lot. Glad you enjoyed the article. I think we still have one or two old Hackett album cover posters on if you’re interested.

  • I remember the story on the back of Genesis Live Album I was a teenager and I thought what a weird story but that was 47 years ago, one of many memories from my past

  • Artists UK

    Yep, something like that. Of course, very poignant for me right now with my old friend Dan Woods having just died. Funeral on Wednesday in Brighton. Will be tough. I was thinking yesterday that for all of us back then Genesis was a common denominator, one of the few bands we all liked.

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