01 March 2008


Pornography of Despair (Part One)

Matt Johnson is The The. Occasionally with a few other blokes as well, but for the most part they’re just him.

For those who are familiar with The The, you’re already aware that they have several legendarily unreleased albums. Spirits, Gun Sluts, See Without Being Seen, Silent Tongue, and the one I’m dealing with today, Pornography of Despair.

Pornography of Despair was recorded and meant for release in 1982, but was withdrawn prior to any copies being made. Some of the ideas were later used on the follow up album, Soul Mining, and quite a few of the songs did make it out as b-sides for subsequent singles.

Though no one is entirely sure what the song order was intended to be, there are several songs that Matt has stated were to have been on the album. A couple of different unofficial track lists have popped up over the years. For the purpose of this blog, I’m using the one I’ve found that most closely resembles what Matt has officially listed.

01 The The - “The Nature of Virtue” B-side of the “Perfect” single.
02 The The - “Leap Into the Wind” B-side of “This Is the Day” 12”.
03 The The - “Dumb as Death’s Head” Released as a flexi-disc in an issue of Melody Maker.
04 The The - “Mental Healing Process (For a Mixed Up Kid)” B-side of “This Is the Day” single.
05 The The - “Absolute Liberation” B-side of “This Is the Day” 12”.
06 The The - “Uncertain Smile”
07 The The - “Perfect”
08 The The - “Three Orange Kisses from Kazan”
09 The The - “Waiting for the Upturn”
10 The The - “Fruit of the Heart”
11 The The - “Soup of Mixed Emotion”
Bonus track The The - “Untitled” Recorded just prior to Pornography. This was released on a Some Bizarre compilation.
Bonus track The The - “The Sinking Feeling”

Next time round, I’ll post the second half, and the other bonus track. Until then go and buy some of these:

See Without Being Seen, 1978 (unreleased)
Spirits, 1979 (unreleased)
Burning Blue Soul, 1981 (buy)
Pornography of Despair, 1982 (unreleased)
Soul Mining, 1983 (buy)
Infected, 1986 (buy)
Mind Bomb, 1989 (buy)
Dusk, 1993 (buy)
Hanky Panky, 1995 (buy) (Hank Williams, Sr. covers)
Gun Sluts, 1998 (unreleased)
Naked Self, 2000 (buy)
Silent Tongue, 2002 (unreleased)

The The recently released a new song, "Mrs. Mac" which is said to be from an unnamed album, due out this year.


¡Mateo es así! said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
¡Mateo es así! said...

Thanks for this. I love this period of Matt Johnson.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!..Looking forward to part 2!


DeadBilly said...

Thanks for the feedback, Mateo and Steven. Part two will be posted in the next few days.

Anonymous said...

Desde España, muchas gracias por compartir. Estás invitado a venir cuando quieras, www.bat242.com

Stewart said...

thank you thank you thank you... a had the cassette of Soulmining as a kid, which had a number of these tracks on it. Brilliant stuff, the bonus tracks actually made a stunning album better.


Roger said...

Thank you! Like Stewart I had the cassette with some of these but the others are amazing to hear for the first time. Johnson was one of the most imaginative of his time. He was too far ahead really.

Anonymous said...


I cannot find the link to this compilation. Please can you re post it?

Many thanks in advance


Novemberer said...

Hi, any chance you could re-up this stuff as I've been trying to piece The Pornography Of Despair together myself over the last few years? It'd be GREAT to hear some of this stuff, hope you can help? x

Mr Sparkle said...

Any chance of re-posting this part one? I have been looking for these rarities for some time now!

DeadBilly said...

Have a look at the comments here:


terribletee56 said...

"Soul Mining" blew me away when I first heard it in 1984, and I have been a huge Matt Johnson fan since, to the point of naming my son after him (seriously). Thank you so much for posting this. I have been wondering if it is actually available somewhere, and here it is!

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