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Christ the Auction: Crass drumhead goes up for auction at Sotheby’s
06.20.2014
12:20 pm

Topics:
Pop Culture
Punk

Tags:
Crass
Sotheby's


 
A stenciled Crass drumhead is going up for auction as part of Sotheby’s rock and roll memorabilia event. The estimate is that it’ll go for between $15,000 and $20,000. The “Presley to Punk” auction will occur on June 24. When I saw this, I have to admit, the collector in me swooned.

It’s a pity that this will probably just end up in some rich asshole’s house instead of in an anarchist museum or some place like that. At least I hope that it’s Penny Rimbaud himself who’ll be getting the money for this (it appears that he signed it recently). If anyone deserves to cash in on their past in this way—I really mean this—God bless them, it’s Crass. No one’s selling out here, they’re just clearing out the garage!

The auction also has some amazing signed items from The Beatles, one of Sly Stone’s vests, a jacket worn by Jimmy Page, several drawings and paintings by Joni Mitchell, as well as guitar straps worn by Jimi Hendrix and Jerry Garcia. A naughty comic strip from a young Jim Morrison and a semi-pornograpic collage made by John and Yoko for Elton John’s birthday in 1975. Several gold records belonging to Mick Jagger, even the Grammy presented to Johnny Cash and June Carter for “Jackson.” There are 145 items in all being auctioned off.
 

Sly Stone’s beaded vest, as seen during his infamous stint as co-host of The Mike Douglas Show.
 

Crosby, Stills & Nash by Joni Mitchell
 

Gary Panter’s original rendition of The Screamers logo

Thank you Luhuna Carvalho!

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Pranksters make a Crass logo crop circle, oblivious ‘astronomologer’ attempts to interpret it
05.22.2014
05:28 am

Topics:
Amusing
Art
Belief

Tags:
Crass
crop circle


 
In 2011 some ambitious punks made this crop circle of the Crass logo not too far from Stonehenge. If that doesn’t already give you a giggle, take a look at what mega-earnest “Astronomologer” Donna Provancher, interpreted from it! (Astronomology, by the way, is defined by Donna as “the practice of astrology using astronomy to build the chart and supply new insights,” so while it’s not entirely clear why crop circles fall in her professional purview, my guess is something to do with aliens or Wicca.)

You know those pictures of the Gods and Goddesses with eight or eighteen or a thousand arms? That’s what we are when we work together. You can tack thousands of pairs of eyes and ears to that image while you’re at it. Nothing escapes our notice.

Roving Astronomologer eyes and ears (thanks again Solar Ophiuchus Raya King—that makes two Gold Stars for you) directed my attention early this morning to a new crop circle reported June 20, 2011 near Stonehenge.Crop Circle Connector is calling this area “Stonehenge (1)” whatever that means. I have a Facebook Wall ping out to Philip Peake (visit his blog Thoughtsoftheguru.com) my longtime Friend (with a capital F), Web Host and Webmaster who is from the U.K.  Maybe he can tell me where this is in relation to the megaliths. The map wasn’t revealing of that little detail.

Something about the above photo immediately bothered me. My first instinct was to want to walk around the circle until I found up, down, left and right. So you know me. I couldn’t leave it alone—I had to tweak it.

To her credit, at this point Donna rotates the logo to match the cover of Christ: The Album! Well done, Donna! From there though, her interpretations go back to indecipherable New Age esoterica.

Oh yes, this is definitely it!

—As Above, So Below (opening greeting)

—An equal-armed or Tau-Cross (the balancing of Earth’s energies)

—A double-headed serpent wrapped around one of the axial poles of the planet — we’ll have to assume it’s the poles of the planet since East-West doesn’t have an axial pole.  The piece on top (the double-headed serpent) is bolted to the Tau-Cross, so at this point, Raya’s vision of the Staff of Asclepius is partially correct; she just didn’t finish it.

The 2-headed King-snakes I used to see at the San Diego zoo had tails. This one isn’t like that. But then it’s not imitating a snake, it’s picturing a new concept. The new Planetary Caduceus. It needs to be finished. This is something else I haven’t discussed yet but it looks like this is one more Agenda Item on the Table I’ll put this on my To-Do list to discuss. What else is on there?  Ophiuchus and Solar Physics since Gloria Prophet requested that I share more on this topic [see Solar Physicists Stymied—Sky & Telescope News Blog].

Oh Donna, no one knows what you’re talking about, but I’ll be damned if you’re not adorable. Say what you will about her lack of punk rock cred, when you see a New Age lady on the subway, you know she’s going to smell good—like patchouli—can you say that for your average crust punk?
 
Via PORK

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
‘Our Wedding’: Crass’s magnificent romance-mag prank
02.05.2014
06:56 am

Topics:
Music

Tags:
Crass

Crass in Romance Magazine
 
In a career jammed with brilliantly provocative instigations, few surpass the delicious prank that Crass pulled on the professional romance industry just as the most overhyped wedding of the twentieth century (uniting Charles and Diana) was about to occur on British soil. Released in 1981, Crass’s third album Penis Envy foregrounded the vocals of Eve Libertine and Joy De Vivre, as befitted an album focusing on women’s topics. As Crass fans know, the album’s final track, not mentioned in the album art itself, is an über-saccharine ditty called “Our Wedding,” performed in a style vaguely reminiscent of “Heaven,” the song delivered by the “Lady in the Radiator” in David Lynch’s 1977 classic Eraserhead. The song brilliantly used the language of matrimonial devotion to skewer the marriage industry and all of its attendant assumptions. Here are the lyrics:
 

All I am I give to you
You’ll honor me, I’ll obey you
Rich or poor or come what may
We’ll forsake all other love
Just we two, one flesh, one blood
In the eyes of god
I am yours to have & hold
I’m giving you my lie….

Never look at anyone, anyone but me
Never look at anyone, I must be all you see
Listen to those wedding bells
Say goodbye to other girls
I’ll never be untrue my love
Don’t be untrue to me [repeats]

 
The song as an adjustment to a Connie Francis parody called “Lipstick On Your Penis” that the band deemed necessary to avoid a copyright lawsuit. Having done so, Crass decided to see if they could fool anyone into imbibing the song “straight.” They found a taker in Loving, a magazine aimed at teenage girls of a romantic bent. Loving agreed to offer the single as a white flexi-disc release readers could receive for free by writing in to the magazine. It’s been said that copies of the flexi-disc go for impressive sums on eBay, but a brief trip to the website failed to confirm that.
 
Our Wedding
 
Loving gushed to readers in the May 30, 1981, issue (a few weeks before the Charles and Diana wedding) that the free Crass flexi would make “your wedding day just that bit extra special…. Joy De Vivre has captured all the happiness and romance of that all-important big day—your wedding—so make sure you send off your copy in time for the grand occasion—it’s a must for all true romantics.”

In 2005 Penny Rimbaud wrote the following account of the incident for Vice:
 

We were recording an album called Penis Envy, the last track of which was “Lipstick On Your Penis” based on the old standard “Lipstick On Your Collar”. Penis Envy was fronted by the women of the band, it was a very feminist album and “Lipstick” was about the institution of marriage being little more than prostitution. Having recorded that track, we realised it would almost certainly lead to a copyright prosecution, so we decided to completely rewrite the lyrics. What we ended up with was so convincingly schmaltzy that we had the idea of trying to sell it to a teenage romance magazine called Loving. It was one of those magazines which feeds lies to young girls, sets them up with ludicrously impossible fantasies which they can’t follow, won’t follow and don’t follow. Magazines like that just create heartache, they remove young people from themselves, set them up to be knocked down.

Anyway, we called in at Loving‘s IPC offices as Creative Recordings and Sound Services (CRASS) and said “We’ve just made this recording and think it would be suitable for your publication.” They jumped at it, saying “It’s great, fantastic. We’re about to do a special brides [bribes] issue. How about us doing it as a free flexi?” Which is precisely what it became. They advertised it as “Our Wedding”—an “absolute must for your wedding day”. They’d bought it hook, line and stinker, but the lyrics were frightful, banal shit about the social fantasy of marriage, you know, things like never looking at other girls or guys once you’ve fallen for it. It was total rubbish, but they happily gave it away with their magazine. Now, what kind of loving is that? Shortly afterwards a friend in Fleet Street exposed the scam and The Star printed the glorious headline “Band of Hate’s Loving Message”. I think there were a few sackings at Loving magazine.

 
When the hoax was exposed, a brief tabloid controversy resulted; the News of the World hilariously called the title of the new album Penis Envy “too obscene to print.”
 

Posted by Martin Schneider | Leave a comment
Anarcho-punk’d: Hear Reagan threaten to nuke Europe in Crass’s infamous ‘Thatchergate’ prank
01.24.2014
12:06 pm

Topics:
Punk

Tags:
Ronald Reagan
Crass
Margaret Thatcher
Thatchergate


 

This two-year old post from the Dangerous Minds archive is something we’ve noticed has been getting a lot of attention recently, so we’re moving it onto the front page again. The reason for renewed interest in this matter is that on January 2nd, the UK’s National Archive released some documents regarding Crass’s epic “Thatchergate” prank of 1982 (it had a bit of a long fuse, as you will see). They’re revealing on several accounts, not least for the level of blinkered-ness they indicate prevailed in the spy agencies back then…

There’s a lot of text here, but it’s instructive to read the news reports—there weren’t many—from the time in chronological order and see how the story was ultimately revealed. At the end of the post, I’ve added recent comments from Penny Rimbaud and Steve Ignorant.

These days we’re used to seeing public figures like Sarah Palin and Scott Walker punked, but in the early 1980s, the avenues for media hacking just did not exist the way they do now. The infamous “Thatchergate” tape—an audio collage constructed by Crass bassist Peter Wright (aka “Sybil Right” and “Pete Wrong”) of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan “talking” about nuclear weapons and the sinking of the HMS Sheffield as a deliberate attempt to escalate the conflict in the Falklands War was one of the first. The “Thatchergate” tape was an event back then, especially in the squatter/anarcho-punk crowd that I was a part of in London at the time. To hear about Crass perpetrating the hoax of Ronald Reagan getting “caught on tape” threatening to nuke Europe (he’d show Russia who was boss!) was nothing short of a blow against Moloch!

Today, there are a little more than 2000 items that come up on Google for “Thatchergate” and most have nothing to do with Crass. This story should be a lot better known, it’s one of the greatest pranks in history:

From San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 1983.

Washington. A fake tape of a purported conversation between President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was circulated in Europe this spring, possibly by the KGB, the State Department said yesterday.

“This type of activity fits the pattern of fabrications circulated by the Soviet KGB, although usually they involve fake documents rather than tapes,” the department said in a written response to reporter’s questions.

The department said that although the recording is of “poor quality,” a technical analysis revealed that the voices were those of Reagan and Thatcher.

But the department indicated the voices were spliced together and said they were not part of an actual conversation.

“We checked with the White House, which advised thay no such conversation took place,” the department said.

The President’s part in the recording apparently was lifted from his Nov. 22, 1982 speech on nuclear disarmament,” it said. “We are not sure where Mrs. Thatcher’s remarks came from.

The department said a copy of the tape was received by the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands a week before the British elections.

The tape dealt with the Falklands crisis and U.S. missiles in Britain, the department said.

It said, “From the drift of the tape, the evident purpose was to cause problems for Mrs. Thatcher by blaming her for the sinking of the British destroyer Sheffield and also for us by stirring trouble on the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) issue.”

The Sheffield was sunk by Argentine forces last year during the war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Britain and the United Staes took part in a NATO decision to install intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe late this year as a counter to similar Soviet forces if an agreement on restriction such weapons is not reached.

The State Department said the tape-recording was sent with a covering letter from an anonymous person to Dutch journalists.

It is said an analysis by the language experts “suggests that the author was not a native speaker.”

The Reagan administration has contended for some time that the KGB has contended for some thime that the KGB has a forgery factory producing false documents to mislead target audiences.

It was also written up in The Sunday Times, on January 8, 1983

How the KGB fools the West’s press.

THE TAPE is heavy with static and puntuated with strange noises, but through it all can be heard the authentic voices of Ronald Reagan on the telephone: “If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.”

At the other end of the telephone is Mrs. Thatcher. “You mean Germany?” she asks increduously.

“Mrs. Thatcher, if any country endagers our position we can decide to bomb the problem area and so remove the instability.”

If this is not hair-raising enough, we hear Mrs. Thatcher virtually admitting that she had the Belgrano sunk to end any chance of an agreement with Argentina. “Oh God!” says Reagan.

The whole conversation is fake. Both voices are real but the words spoken have been doctored, cut, rearranged and then expanded on the transcript of the tape. Every word from Reagan is extracted from his lengthy presidential address on nuclear strategy. When, for instance, he seems to swear at Mrs. Thatcher, he is in fact coming to the end of his speech and quoting a hymn: “Oh God of love, O king of peace.”

The tape surfaced in Holland just before last year’s British general election, but it never quite overcame the suspicions of Dutch journalists. They declined to publish the juicy exclusive, sent to them anonymously. But other journalists across the world have fallen for an increasing flow of such stories based on “authoritative” cables, memo and tapes. The State Department in Washington says they are all products of an increasingly sophisicated Russian campaign.

“They have accelerated their efforts and they have fine-tuned them,” claims Larry Semakis, deputy director of a State Department team that monitors what the Russians call “active measures.” He admits that “no one can specifically prove in a court of law that Soviet hand was on this or that item.” But he says there is a pattern in the use of forgeries which points unmistakably to the Russians.

The State Department believes that “active measures” are the responsibility of the KGB’s first directorate; that some forgeries go as high as the ruling Politburo for approval…

“[W]hich points unmistakably to the Russians”? I don’t think so…

Then one year later in The Observer newspaper on, Sunday, January 22, 1984, it was revealed that…

‘Soviet’ faked tape is rock group hoax

A TAPE recording, purporting to carry details of a secret telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan, has been revealed as a hoax manufactured deliberately by an anarchist rock group.

The recording was taken to newspapers throughout Europe—including The Observer—but, apart from one Italian newspaper, nobody had been taken in by the hoax tape until it appeared in the Sunday Times earlier this month.

That newspaper described it as part of a KGB propaganda war. Unfortunately the tape was recorded not in Moscow but in an Essex farmhouse.

The New York correspondent of the paper reported that the State Department believed the tape was evidence of ‘an increasingly sophisticated Russian disinformation cam- paign.’

The real authors of the hoax tape, the anarchist punk rock group Crass, said that they had been ‘amused and amazed’ that the tape had been attributed to the KGB.

The recording first appeared in the offices of a number of Continental newspapers shortly before the British general election last year.

A covering note said it was a recording of a crossed line on which was heard part of the two leaders’ telephone conversation, and that the person who sent it wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Key lines in the tape include Mr. Reagan apparently asking why the Belgrano was sunk during the Fallrlands war, when Secretary of State Haig was nearing a peace agreement. Mrs Thatcher appears to reply: ‘Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.’

Mr. Reagan then says: ‘Oh God, it is not right. You caused the Sheffield to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on the screen. You must have, too, and not let them know.’

Later, in a discussion on nuclear strategy, Mr. Reagan is made to say: ‘If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.’

The tape was first brought to The Observer by a Belgian journalist last June. We concluded, like most of the other newspapers, that it was a fake.

The quest for the real hand behind the tape led to an isolated farmhouse in north Essex, where the eight members of the band live with their children.

Reluctantly the members of the band, who sport names like Joy Be Vivre, G Sus and Sybil Right, admitted faking the tape. They showed how they had put it together over two and a half months, using parts of TV and radio broadcasts made by the two leaders, then overdubbing with telephone noises.

‘We wanted to precipitate a debate on those subjects to damage Mrs. Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appaling way Tam Dalyell was treated over the Belgrano debate,’ they said.

‘We believe that although the tape is a hoax, what is said in it is in effect true.’

And there was more: From The Associated Press, Sunday, January 25, 1984
 

 

More still, plus the “Thatchergate” tape, after the jump…

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
‘Merry Crassmas’: Have an anarcho-punk holiday (or Santa died for somebody’s sins, but not mine)
12.26.2013
06:33 pm

Topics:
Music
Punk

Tags:
Christmas
Crass


 
Considering that this is the only Christmas song I can thing of that hopes you choke on your turkey, it’s probably better to post this one the day after Christmas….

In 1981, anarcho-punk heroes Crass had had about enough of the increasingly commercialized holiday season—not to mention the mass slaughter of turkeys each year—and decided to protest musically with a Casiotone medley of some of their best-loved numbers. The two-sided single, “Merry Crassmas,” was the result.

“Merry Crassmas” was credited to “Creative Recording and Sound Services.” On the picture sleeve, ringing Gee Vaucher’s distinctive art were these words:

COLD TURKEY ONE. VERY MERRY CRASSMAS. HERE’S AN AMAZING XMAS MEDLEY OF CRASS’S GREATEST HITS. SUPER FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY. PLUS…SUPER FUN TIME COMPETITION THAT EVERYONE CAN JOIN IN. HERE’S WHAT YOU DO…IT’S EASY. JUST LIST, IN ORDER, THE TITLES OF THE EXCITING CRASS SONGS ON THIS RECORD. THE FIRST THREE CORRECT POSTCARDS TO BE RECEIVED WILL BE SENT THE FOLLOWING GREAT PRIZES…1ST PRIZE… BATHSALTS, 2ND PRIZE…ONE EXPLOITED SINGLE, 3RD PRIZE…TWO EXPLOITED SINGLES. HAVE FUN. SEND ENTRIES TO “CRASSMAS COMPETITION.” PO BOX 279. LONDON N22.

Please note that back in 1981, kids, “bath salts” actually meant bath salts like you would put in your bath—not a drug that will make you want to eat people’s faces off—a shitty prize, in other words. I like how third place gets two Exploited singles!

Side A:
Jingle Bells
Big A, Little A
Punk is Dead
Big Hands
Contaminational Power
I Ain’t Thick, It’s Just a Trick
Nagasaki Nightmare
While Shepherds Watched

Side B:
Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
Securicor
Darling
G’s Song
Banned from the Roxy
Tired
So what
Silent Night

One of only two Christmas records I own. True!
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Crass co-founder Steve Ignorant is keeping the seas safe as a volunteer lifeboatman
09.03.2013
07:57 am

Topics:
Heroes
Punk

Tags:
Crass
Steve Ignorant

Steve Ignorant
 
The folks from Crass have settled in to quieter (though certainly not apolitical) lives, and understandably so. Dedicating so much of yourself to producing and living activist art definitely takes a toll, sometimes quite literally—the fees incurred in defending 1981’s Penis Envy from obscenity charges cost them a pretty penny. On top of money and legal troubles, their elaborate political hoaxes began to render them a more visible target for political enemies, and there were disagreements within the group that started to splinter them, politically (most notably, not every member was committed to pacifism). And of course, they’d always intended to split sometime in 1984, anyway.

At first glance, it appears singer Steve Ignorant retired to a quaint, seaside village. He’s kept busy with new projects, but why move to the country if you’re not going to relax? Apparently Steve’s not much for relaxing. He actually volunteers to drop everything at the sound of a beeper, drive to the shore, take a boat to wherever a potential emergency might be, and if need be, save people from drowning. Ignorant takes his responsibility incredibly seriously, openly admitting to the fear he feels every time he’s called up for duty, and though his colleagues seem to have an inkling of his radical punk rock past, it appears he’s appreciated as a valuable member of the team, first and foremost.
 

 
Via BBC News Magazine

Posted by Amber Frost | Leave a comment
Eyewitness accounts of one of the final Crass shows, 1984
07.18.2013
01:35 pm

Topics:
Class War
History
Music
Punk

Tags:
Crass


No, Adam and The Ants and Motörhead were not playing on the same bill as Crass, this was a joke…

If you have flickering, drug-impaired memories of a cultural event from eons ago that you were a witness to, or took place in, fear not because there are always going to be people on the Internet who were there also, and they are happy to provide their version of your shared experience, if not audio-visual records.

Kill Your Pet Puppy is the ultimate repository of information about England’s anarcho-punk movement (e.g. Crass punks, basically) of the late 1970s to about 1986. As these decidedly last century events begin to fade from the memory of many who might’ve been around at the time, Al Puppy, the site’s proprietor, is doing future historians of that scene an invaluable service by putting his enormous archives online as well as soliciting what others might’ve experienced at certain punk gigs, political protests or squat evictions.

The top post at Kill Your Pet Puppy currently is about a Crass gig at the squatted Islington Bingo Hall on March 4, 1984. Although I’m one of those infuriating people who has managed to find myself (often by accident) at some pretty legendary gigs, I’ve truly got one rock snob braggart’s trump card that wipes the smile off the face of any smartass: I saw Crass! Take that bitches!

Obviously, that’s not something many Americans can claim. Here’s my memory of the show:

Crass made no secret of the fact that they planned to disband in 1984, so this also had the air of it being an unmissable show, perhaps one of the last they might do. It was a fundraiser for the striking British miners, an anarcho punk mini-festival with Crass-associated acts like Flux of Pink Indians and Annie Anxiety (aka Little Annie, who stuck her hand right down the front of my friend’s pants) also on the bill. There was someone with video equipment and TV monitors set up and I’d brought along a video I’d made of particularly gruesome WWII footage cut to a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s jaunty “Polka Dots and Moonbeams” that I was hoping to get screened and it was.

The ceilings were very low. It was very dark (between the acts and during them, too) and it was very sweaty. The Islington Bingo Hall was a squat and it had the nastiest, most diseased dark green carpet I have ever stood on for hours upon end, with wads of old chewing gum stomped into it and the smell of stale beer and… worse.

Crass’s Penny Rimbaud recalled that same infernal, disgusting carpeting:

The only real memory I have of that evening was the near-violent argument outside which developed between the vegetarians and the vegans. I don’t think I’d ever seen such a stupid expression of bigotry. Apart from that, I seem to remember that the carpet inside was greasy, dark and stinking of the sort of things one doesn’t want to be thinking of. Love, blessings and joy.

 

 
Here’s what “Al” (I think this is the guy who gave Al Puppy a tape of the show, not Al Puppy himself) recalled:

As I remember it Flux (wearing beachwear & sunglasses) and Annie Anxiety also played great sets that night but we only had one tape so we got what we got. Forty five minutes of No Defences and D&V, then forty five minutes of Crass.

This was a great night, where you come away from it energised and restored, with the complex atmosphere that permeated the whole culture. Genuinely violent, angry, aggressive, edgy, confrontational, chaotic, but in equal measure, friendly, warm, calm, peaceful and life affirming. Fuck yeah!

“Fuck yeah,” is about right. Thinking about it today and sort of mentally placing myself in my 18-year-old body at the time, it did feel like I was in attendance at, and a minor participant in, something that quite honestly might someday be thought of as “culturally significant.” It was a very vivid thing to witness and I was just a few months out of West Virginia at the time, so it made a very big impression on me. This was also probably where I heard about the big Stop the City anti-capitalism demonstrations that were to come in just a few weeks time.

Sure, there might have been some vegan versus vegetarian bickering(!) and undoubtedly there were arguments over how fake leather is JUST AS BAD AS THE REAL THING, but this was an amazing, and very inspiring thing to experience as a young person.

If you click over to Kill Your Pet Puppy, there’s an MP3 download of the entire 45-minute Crass set and much more.

Previously on Dangerous Minds:
The original Occupy Wall Street: Stop the City, 1984

Below, CRASS: There Is No Authority But Yourself:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Girls Aloud: Insanely HUGE compilation of female-fronted punk bands 1977-1989


 
Behold an absolutely monstrous compilation of female fronted punk bands from all over the world from the mid to late ‘70s to the mid 80s (and a little beyond). Some of the artists you’ve heard of (Blondie, Crass, The Avengers, Josie Cotton, Kleenex, Honey Bane, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks, Rezillos, Slits, Malaria!, etc.) but others, trust me on this, there’s just no way you could have heard of all of them. The fellow who compiled this beast is a master. An expert’s expert! A maven’s maven!

This gargantuan set represents a deep education in an exciting, but for the most part never really respected sub-genre of punk. It would be overstating the case to say it has aspirations of being a Harry Smith-type collection of punk and obscure hardcore bands, but some of this stuff I don’t think I’d ever come across if given two lifetimes. Apparently some of these songs come from cassettes, probably copied one at a time. Obviously plenty of the tracks were taken from vinyl 45 RPM records. And the stuff from the Eastern Bloc countries…. I mean, where did he get this stuff?

What a maniac! It must have been really hard to collect all of these songs, even in this day and age. Without a deep knowledge of the subject, it would be difficult to even search for some of these records on Google. Like I say, it’s damned impressive.

From the Kangknave blog (where you will find all of the download the links and a track listing):

This is a pretty insane project put together by my pal Vince B. from San Francisco a few years back. As the title indicates, this is a homemade 12 x CD-R (!) compilation of punk bands fronted by female vocalists from 1977 to 1989. More like a giant mixtape than a compilation, as he only made 36 copies which he sent to friends and people who submitted material. You may notice that some of the bands didn’t have a steady female vocalist (The Lewd, etc.) but he still included songs that were sung by another member of the band. This is as international as it gets, with stuff ranging from world famous Blondie or Crass to the most obscure Eastern European cassette compilation veterans. The boxset came packaged in a hand-numbered fancy translucent lunchbox enclosing all 12 CD-Rs, a stack of full-colored cards featuring comprehensive tracklist and artwork/info, as well as a manga pin-up figure! Talk about a labor of love.

 

 
Above, Slovenian punk rockers, Tožibabe
 

 
East LA’s The Brat do “High School” in 1981.

Via Boing Boing

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
THE NATURE OF YOUR OPPRESSION IS THE AESTHETIC OF OUR ANGER: The Art of Crass
06.18.2013
10:18 am

Topics:
Design
Music
Punk

Tags:
Crass


 
I’m not sure what to make of seeing a young person with the Crass logo painted on the back of their leather jacket. I mean these days. What does it mean to them?

Of course I knew what it meant and what it stood for back in the day. I lived in south London squats in 1983 and 84 and many of my er, squatmates were classic scruffy cliched Crass punks. As a result, I regularly went to see anarcho punk gigs at places like The Ambulance Station on the Old Kent Road. Poison Girls. Chumbawamba. Flux of Pink Indians. Annie Anxiety. Flowers in the Dustbin. Rubella Ballet. I saw a lot of Crass-associated punk bands back then. (When Chumbawamba released “Everything You Know Is Wrong” in 2004, I was chuffed to bits.)

I even saw one of the final Crass gigs, a miner’s strike benefit at the Islington Bingo Hall. Between bands they let me show a little video that I’d cobbled together from particularly gruesome WWII footage set to a soundtrack of Frank Sinatra’s “Polka-dots and Moonbeams.” Although I personally was not a Crass punk per se, I definitely had a foot in that tribe and Crass had a major effect on me and the way I see the world to this very day. Something that I am very grateful for.

When the band was actually together, the idea of what Crass offered was greater than the sum of its parts as well as something, frankly, that was significantly based more on the militant anarchist-vegan-anti-vivisection-pacifist-anti-religious pro-environmental stances they took, than the music itself. Crass were many things—many important things—to many people, but listenable wasn’t really one of them (I’ve mentioned this before, but it’s amusing to think about how many of the Crass punk anarchist squatter types who I knew in Brixton were also into early UB40. Not shitting you. That’s what they listened to, not Stations of The Crass!)

A big part of the appeal, like I say, were the ideas, the leafleting and sloganeering, but there was also Gee Vaucher’s brilliant graphic art and and Dave King’s iconic logo that went along with the Crass mystique. This is what their tribe rallied around. It wasn’t about them as people—most fans probably had no idea what they looked like (I didn’t) and they quite literally shunned the spotlight, performing in near darkness—it was about the fact that because of Crass’s orbit and the gravitational pull of their example and lifestyle that you could meet other people who thought they same way that you did. That aspect of Crass fandom was the glue that held that entire scene together, that you could, as Timothy Leary once said, “Find the Others.”

I think this is why young people today still want to wear the Crass logo across their backs. It may seem somewhat anachronistic—like hippie tie-die does—but the romantic notion of what that scene was all about, is, what I think, motivates kids to sport that symbol in 2013. It will never happen again quite like that, but its a testament to how influential Crass truly were that kids who weren’t even born then continue to be interested in the ideas they espoused, some of which have wormed their way far further into the culture than could have been imagined 30 years ago. Widespread veganism is merely one of the triumphs of Crass that can be seen in today’s landscape and you’d better believe they had a lot to do with it. The concept of veganism seemed so far out in the early 1980s in a way that is almost impossible to convey to someone who wasn’t around back then. People were offended by the very concept of it! Although I was already pretty much already a vegan by 1983, I had never in my life met, until falling into the anarcho punk circles orbiting around Crass’s sun, other people who had the same diet. That was a big deal with me.

Which brings me to the second installment of MOCAtv‘s “The Art of Punk” video series and its exploration of the art and iconography of Crass:

We head up to the Anarchist Book Fair in San Francisco to meet up with Gee Vaucher, and founding Crass member, writer, and activist, Penny Rimbaud. We discuss the art and the lifestyle stemming from the infamous Dial House, where they have lived, worked, and created their own brand of anarchistic beauty, for more than 3 decades. We have a sit down with artist Scott Campbell, at his own New York tattoo shop, and talk about how the art of Crass, and one single t-shirt created a fork in his own road of life. Owen Thornton talks some shit. Finally we hang out with British graphic designer Dave King - the creator of the infamous snake and cross symbol, and discuss post war England, hippies, punk, graphic design, and more, that led him to the creation of the symbol made legendary by Crass.

Next up in this series, The Dead Kennedys. Directed by Bryan Ray Turcotte and Bo Bushnell.
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
When Crass met the Beatles: John Lennon and Penny Rimbaud on ‘Ready Steady Go!’ 1964


 
One from the DM archives: In 1964, future Crass drummer Penny Rimbaud, then known by his given name of Jeremy Rattner, appeared on the Ready Steady Go! music program to receive an award from Beatle John Lennon. He’d won a contest for producing artwork inspired by “I Wanna Hold Your Hand.”

The prizes were copies of the LPs Mingus by Charlie Mingus and Dmitri Shostakovich’s Cello Concerto. This anecdote appears in Rimbaud’s autobiography, Shibboleth: My Revolting Life.
 

 
Thank you to Brad Laner for calling this delightfully weird pop culture connection to our attention.

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Anarchy in the Magic Kingdom: Crass/Mickey Mouse tee-shirt hack!


 
It appears that someone is having a little fun with the whole “sacrilegious” Disney/Joy Divison tee-shirt controversy...

Some crafty anarcho-inspired culture hackers have made their own Crass/Mickey Mouse mash-up tees and discretely deposited them neatly folded in Disney boutiques. Unsuspecting shoppers will either be baffled or delighted by their DIY creation.

Me, I’m delighted! I need one of these! Now, I’ve got… Mickey envy.

Click here to see larger image.

Via Submitterator

Posted by Tara McGinley | Leave a comment
Anarcho-punk’d: Crass’s infamous ‘Thatchergate’ tape


 

These days we’re used to seeing public figures like Sarah Palin and Scott Walker punked, but in the early 1980s, the avenues for media hacking just did not exist the way they do now. The infamous “Thatchergate” tape—an audio collage constructed by Crass bassist Peter Wright (aka “Sybil Right” and “Pete Wrong”) of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan “talking” about nuclear weapons and the sinking of the HMS Sheffield as a deliberate attempt to escalate the conflict in the Falklands War was one of the first. The “Thatchergate” tape was an event back then, especially in the squatter/anarcho-punk crowd that I was a part of in London at the time. To hear about Crass perpetrating the hoax of Ronald Reagan getting “caught on tape” threatening to nuke Europe (to show Russia who was boss!) was nothing short of a blow against Moloch!

Today, there are a little more than 2000 items that come up on Google for “Thatchergate” and most have nothing to do with Crass. This story should be a lot better known, it’s one of the greatest pranks in history:

From San Francisco Chronicle, January 30, 1983.

Washington. A fake tape of a purported conversation between President Reagan and British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher was circulated in Europe this spring, possibly by the KGB, the State Department said yesterday.

“This type of activity fits the pattern of fabrications circulated by the Soviet KGB, although usually they involve fake documents rather than tapes,” the department said in a written response to reporter’s questions.

The department said that although the recording is of “poor quality,” a technical analysis revealed that the voices were those of Reagan and Thatcher.

But the department indicated the voices were spliced together and said they were not part of an actual conversation.

“We checked with the White House, which advised thay no such conversation took place,” the department said.

The President’s part in the recording apparently was lifted from his Nov. 22, 1982 speech on nuclear disarmament,” it said. “We are not sure where Mrs. Thatcher’s remarks came from.

The department said a copy of the tape was received by the U.S. embassy in the Netherlands a week before the British elections.

The tape dealt with the Falklands crisis and U.S. missiles in Britain, the department said.

It said, “From the drift of the tape, the evident purpose was to cause problems for Mrs. Thatcher by blaming her for the sinking of the British destroyer Sheffield and also for us by stirring trouble on the INF (Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces) issue.”

The Sheffield was sunk by Argentine forces last year during the war with Britain over the Falkland Islands.

Britain and the United Staes took part in a NATO decision to install intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe late this year as a counter to similar Soviet forces if an agreement on restriction such weapons is not reached.

The State Department said the tape-recording was sent with a covering letter from an anonymous person to Dutch journalists.

It is said an analysis by the language experts “suggests that the author was not a native speaker.”

The Reagan administration has contended for some time that the KGB has contended for some thime that the KGB has a forgery factory producing false documents to mislead target audiences.

It was also written up in The Sunday Times, on January 8, 1983

How the KGB fools the West’s press.

THE TAPE is heavy with static and puntuated with strange noises, but through it all can be heard the authentic voices of Ronald Reagan on the telephone: “If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.”

At the other end of the telephone is Mrs. Thatcher. “You mean Germany?” she asks increduously.

“Mrs. Thatcher, if any country endagers our position we can decide to bomb the problem area and so remove the instability.”

If this is not hair-raising enough, we hear Mrs. Thatcher virtually admitting that she had the Belgrano sunk to end any chance of an agreement with Argentina. “Oh God!” says Reagan.

The whole conversation is fake. Both voices are real but the words spoken have been doctored, cut, rearranged and then expanded on the transcript of the tape. Every word from Reagan is extracted from his lengthy presidential address on nuclear strategy. When, for instance, he seems to swear at Mrs. Thatcher, he is in fact coming to the end of his speech and quoting a hymn: “Oh God of love, O king of peace.”

The tape surfaced in Holland just before last year’s British general election, but it never quite overcame the suspicions of Dutch journalists. They declined to publish the juicy exclusive, sent to them anonymously. But other journalists across the world have fallen for an increasing flow of such stories based on “authoritative” cables, memo and tapes. The State Department in Washington says they are all products of an increasingly sophisicated Russian campaign.

“They have accelerated their efforts and they have fine-tuned them,” claims Larry Semakis, deputy director of a State Department team that monitors what the Russians call “active measures.” He admits that “no one can specifically prove in a court of law that Soviet hand was on this or that item.” But he says there is a pattern in the use of forgeries which points unmistakably to the Russians.

The State Department believes that “active measures” are the responsibility of the KGB’s first directorate; that some forgeries go as high as the ruling Politburo for approval…

“[W]hich points unmistakably to the Russians”? I don’t think so…

Then one year later in The Observer newspaper on, Sunday, January 22, 1984, it was revealed that…

‘Soviet’ faked tape is rock group hoax

A TAPE recording, purporting to carry details of a secret telephone conversation between Mrs Thatcher and President Reagan, has been revealed as a hoax manufactured deliberately by an anarchist rock group.

The recording was taken to newspapers throughout Europe—including The Observer—but, apart from one Italian newspaper, nobody had been taken in by the hoax tape until it appeared in the Sunday Times earlier this month.

That newspaper described it as part of a KGB propaganda war. Unfortunately the tape was recorded not in Moscow but in an Essex farmhouse.

The New York correspondent of the paper reported that the State Department believed the tape was evidence of ‘an increasingly sophisticated Russian disinformation cam- paign.’

The real authors of the hoax tape, the anarchist punk rock group Crass, said that they had been ‘amused and amazed’ that the tape had been attributed to the KGB.

The recording first appeared in the offices of a number of Continental newspapers shortly before the British general election last year.

A covering note said it was a recording of a crossed line on which was heard part of the two leaders’ telephone conversation, and that the person who sent it wished to remain anonymous for fear of retribution.

Key lines in the tape include Mr. Reagan apparently asking why the Belgrano was sunk during the Fallrlands war, when Secretary of State Haig was nearing a peace agreement. Mrs Thatcher appears to reply: ‘Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.’

Mr. Reagan then says: ‘Oh God, it is not right. You caused the Sheffield to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on the screen. You must have, too, and not let them know.’

Later, in a discussion on nuclear strategy, Mr. Reagan is made to say: ‘If there is a conflict we shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays within its borders.’

The tape was first brought to The Observer by a Belgian journalist last June. We concluded, like most of the other newspapers, that it was a fake.

The quest for the real hand behind the tape led to an isolated farmhouse in north Essex, where the eight members of the band live with their children.

Reluctantly the members of the band, who sport names like Joy Be Vivre, G Sus and Sybil Right, admitted faking the tape. They showed how they had put it together over two and a half months, using parts of TV and radio broadcasts made by the two leaders, then overdubbing with telephone noises.

‘We wanted to precipitate a debate on those subjects to damage Mrs. Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appaling way Tam Dalyell was treated over the Belgrano debate,’ they said.

‘We believe that although the tape is a hoax, what is said in it is in effect true.’

And there was more: From The Associated Press, Sunday, January 25, 1984
 

 
And still more…

Crass ‘KGB tape’ hoax (Sounds, January 28, 1984)

CRASS have been uncovered as the perpetrators of a bogus tape of a telephone ‘conversation’ between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.

The tape was originally circulated last sammer before the General Election and was claimed to be a recording of a crossed line between the two leaders. Needless to say it is not complimentary to either statesperson.

During the coarse of the ‘conversation’ Thatcher replies to Reagan’s question about the Belgrano by saying: “Argentina was the invader. Force had to be used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.”

And later in a discussion aboat nuclear strategy Reagan says: “If there is any conflict we a shall fire missiles at our allies to see to it that the Soviet Union stays with stays within its borders.”

Most newspapers recognised the tape as a fake but the Sunday Times attributed it to KGB propaganda a couple of weeks ago and last Sunday’s Observer took considerable delight in tracking the tape back to Crass’s HQ in Essex.

Invoking the spirit of one of Reagan’s predecessors, George Washington, they explained that the tape had been put together from TV and radio broadcasts overdubbed by telephone noises.

They justified their actions by saying: “We wanted to precipitate a debate on the Falklands and nuclear weapons to damage: Thatcher’s position in the election. We also did it because of the appalling way Tom Dalyell (almost the only MP to raise any awkward questions over the Falklands affair) was treated over the Belgrano debate in the House of Commons.

I recall hearing at the time that Jane Pauley did a story on this on The Today Show in the US, but can find no record of that online, sadly… To this day, the members of Crass have never been able to figure out how the tape was traced back to them.

Pretty much there are only two ways to hear the “Thatchergate” tape: In the Crass song, “Powerless with a Guitar” you can hear a bit of it. It was also included at the end of a “God Told Me to Do It” mix by David Tibet which you can download at the excellent Kill Your Pet Puppy blog (where I got most of this information from and has audio interviews about “Thatchergate”). Since it’s not ideal listening—the conceit was that it was recorded due to crossed wires, so there is a ringing phone noise throughout (a nice touch)—here’s a transcript of the “Thatchergate” tape in full:

Thatcher: Own business!

Reagan. I urge restraint. It’s absolutely essential or the area ‘be “through the roof”.

Thatcher: Look, our objectives are fundamentally different. Al Haig…

Reagan: Secretary Haig….

Thatcher:. Doesn’t seem to be able to find a solution.

Reagan: Why eliminate “Belgrano”? You directed this. The Argentinians were then going…. Secretary Haig reached an agreement.

Thatcher: Argentina was the invader! Force has been used. It’s been used now, punishing them as quickly as possible.

Reagan: Oh, God, it’s not right! You caused the “Sheffield” to have been hit. Those missiles we followed on screens. You must have too, and not let them know. What do you hope to gain?

Thatcher: What I said before -“Andrew”- ....As “cruise” go in, I want incentives at all levels….

Reagan: There’s a deal….a third more submarine ballistic missiles, and you will see that the United States forces remain deployed. The intermediate range missiles are U.S. defence. You proposed building them in Europe. Build up the economy. They don’t work, they’re social programmes…. The United Kingdom is a….er….little nation….

Thatcher: You still need those nations, and you’re given long term international markets.

Reagan: We are supported by our allies, whether they want, or not.

Thatcher: I, I don’t understand you….

Reagan: In conflict, we will launch missiles on allies for effective limitation of the Soviet Union.

Thatcher: ‘Mean over Germany?

Reagan: Mrs Thatcher, if any country of ours endangered the position, we might bomb the “problem area”, and correct the imbalance.

Thatcher: See, my….

Reagan: It will convince the Soviets to listen. We demonstrate our strength….The Soviets have little incentive to launch an attack.

Thatcher: Our British people….

Reagan: London! ....

Thatcher: I think….

Reagan: Let that be understood…

 

 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
The original Occupy Wall Street: Stop the City, 1984


 
The other day, whilst looking for something else in the garage, I happened across some old photographs taken by me in 1984 during a major demonstration that I participated in, in London, called “Stop The City.” The idea, for what was described as a “Carnival Against War, Oppression and Destruction,” was to put enough bodies in the way to effectively cut off the routes whereby the bankers and stock brokers would get to work, block the entrances to the office buildings themselves and stop business activity in “The City” (as London’s financial district is known) for a day.

The 1984 demo that I was at was the second such “Stop the City” event. The first had taken place six months before, but the second demonstration was a lot bigger. I don’t know exactly who was behind it, or organized it, but certainly the vast majority of the young people taking part could have been described as “Crass punks” or anarchists. I heard of it via my friend Ron, who was at one point in a punk band either called “The Living Legends” or “The Apostles” with Ian Bone of Class War infamy. Class War, as well as London Greenpeace, were certainly involved in getting out the troops. There were many anti-nuclear protesters and an anti-vivisection contingent which formed a significant subset of the demo. An item on the excellent Kill Your Pet Puppy blog posted by editor Al Puppy reads:

What I can add is that the idea for Stop the City came from Dave Morris – of McLibel trial fame, longest trial in English legal history – and London Greenpeace. It was organised from a house on Ickburgh Road, Upper Clapton, Hackney. Dave and others (including my future wife Pinki) had been given the house by the GLC so they could organise an anti-nuclear march from Faslane in Scotland to Greenham in Wiltshire.

The tactic to “occupy” London’s financial district was inspired by the heroic anti-nuclear weapons blockade of the RAF Greenham Common by the Greenham Common Women’s Peace Camp.
 

 
Protesters met at 6am outside one of the underground stations. I got there five minutes early (I am nothing, if not punctual, even for a riot). At first it looked like nobody was going to show up. Then it went from almost no one there, to hundreds and hundreds of people streaming into the area within a matter of just minutes. In France they call uprisings of this nature “manifestations” and that’s what it felt like was happening that morning as the numbers of spiky-haired anarcho-punks and squatter-types arriving in the area grew very, very suddenly. It was an absolutely magical moment to partake in as people seemed to “materialize” in the light London rain that morning. It’s worth pointing out to the (ahem) younger generation that this was long before cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. Most of the people at this demo, I’d wager, didn’t even have land-line telephones because they lived in squats (as I did then). This was basically a word of mouth thing.

For a long time it was just a bunch of young punks milling about, trying to be threatening to stock brokers and bankers and yelling stuff at them. The cops had already partially prepared the area and there were crowd control fences everywhere, but they’d underestimated the size of the crowd. The metropolitan police were badly out-numbered for the first few hours of the protest as the lobbies of several office buildings were occupied and a general “mild” ruckus was caused.
 

 
It got pretty nuts pretty fast when a hot-headed stockbroker-type actually decided to try to run some of the protesters over with his car, which was then upended by furious onlookers. That’s what ignited the next phase of what happened when a small faction started tossing smoke bombs and balloons filled with paint. A friend of mine chucked a trash can through a bank window. I spray-painted “Smash Capitalism” on the side of a building. Good times!

At a certain point, hundreds of police reinforcements, including some on horseback, arrived and surrounded the epicenter of the activity and started squeezing about 3000 of us into a pedestrian area near the Stock Exchange. Several military trucks blocked the streets completely. I got stuck in that maneuver and had to stay there for several hours. The tactic the cops used to neutralize and disperse the rioters was pretty clever, or at least it worked: The street grid made it easy for them to herd perhaps as many as 25% of the protesters into this cordoned-off area which they surrounded with metal fences and a line of Old Bill standing shoulder to shoulder staring defiantly into the protester’s eyes as they moved them tighter and tighter together. Several people on my side of the barricades covered the police officers and their horses with “Silly String.” (There was a LOT of “Silly String” around that day). After five or six hours, everyone who had been squeezed into that spot really had to pee.
 

 
After they were able to disperse much of the crowd outside of this area, they started to let people out a few at a time. A long line of London bobbies brandishing truncheons made sure everyone kept moving along a narrow path cut via the crowd control barricades. Gagging for a piss, I, like my wilted anarchist comrades, was only too happy to wuss out without much of a fight to seek out the nearest pub for a slash.

Revolutionary fervor has its limits when nature has been calling for hours on end and keeps getting a busy signal…

Stop the City was one of those mythical events that if you weren’t there it’s almost as if it never happened. I saw little major coverage in the London newspapers the next day. Only The Evening Standard, The Times and Sounds really covered it, if memory serves and it simply disappeared into the mists of history. There’s hardly anything on the Internet about it, but when you do see it referred to—and I stress that this is rare—it’s usually in the context of how the “Stop The City” demos were, historically speaking, the very first major anti-globalism/anti-capitalism demonstrations, and the precursor to the Poll Tax Riots of 1990, the Battle in Seattle demonstrations of 1999 and the London Carnival Against Capitalism that same year. As those events, in turn, are referred to as being the precursors to Occupy Wall Street, then Stop The City would be the granddaddy of them all. Still, it doesn’t even have a proper Wikipedia entry, just a couple of Flickr slide shows.

I can’t recall how many people were there over twenty-five years-ago, but I do recall that a pregnant friend of mine who did not attend STC told me that BBC radio reported all day long that there were approximately 12,000 demonstrators in the City, but then late in the afternoon they changed their tune and said there were but 3000 protesters. I think it was certainly closer to the original, higher number as there were close to 3000 of us trapped like sardines in the cordoned-off area alone.

Here’s one of the fullest accounts I was able to find of Stop the City, on the LibCom website:

The idea of the “Stop The City” (STC) demonstrations was hatched by three London anarchists at a party in the early eighties. At around the same time people in Australia and America had had the same brainwave. The plan was to bring together the radical end of the peace - ecology - “third world” - and anarchist movements to attack the root cause of all their problems - Capital - by attacking the heart of finance. It took a lot of work to promote the idea of STC and then hold together an uneasy alliance of radical liberals and anarchists. The main problem was the issue of “violence” - many pacifists were worried that people might defend themselves against police attacks/arrests and buildings could be damaged by “violence (sic) against property”. Pat Arrowsmith, veteran CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) labourite did her best to successfully sabotage CND involvement.

Police freaked
The police were freaked out by the idea of an organised demo which wouldn’t consult/inform them - very rare in modern Britain. They repeatedly tried to contact the organisers and on one occasion two plain clothed senior cops turned up to a London anarchist meeting pleading to meet with people only to be met by an angry silence and sent away.

On the day of the first STC the phone of one of the main organisers was ‘mysteriously‘ cut off, and on the night before a large number of riot cops stormed the ‘peace centre’ near the Angel in Islington (a large anarcho-pacifist squat where many of the demonstrators were crashing, searching for weapons - none were found).

Several Stop The Cities were held in London and caused a lot of disruption in the square mile - the first caused and estimated £100 million losses. A number of ‘Stop Business as usual’ demos also occurred Numbers involved ranged from 3,000 in the first STC, dwindling to 500 odd at the last one as energy and enthusiasm were sapped by arrests, greater police sus, etc.

Repression
A repressive Public Order Act was passed in response to STC and the activities of hunt saboteurs, etc. Close to 1,000 arrests were also made over an 18 month period.

 

 
Comedian David Baddiel was apparently in the same penned-off pedestrian area with me. He told The Mirror on April 9th, 1997:

“I used to joke: ‘At least when you’re being beaten up by skinheads, you can pray that the police turn up. But when you’re being beaten up by police, there’s no point thinking some skinheads will save you’.””

David, then a 19-year-old student with a radically big haircut, had travelled to the City of London to join a Stop The City demonstration run by a fringe anarchist group called Class War.

What followed was an eight-hour encounter with the strong-arm of the law that saw him hurled around a police van and thrown into a crowded cell.

“There were quite a few of those demonstrations in the Eighties,” says David, 32, who was studying English Literature at Kings College, Cambridge.

“There were no proper political motives. The intention was just to cause a disruption. I went along only because I thought it would be a laugh.

“At the time, I had really big hair and everyone else did so I fitted in and looked the part. Basically, the demo was people walking up and down shouting slogans. ”

“But the police tried to get us all into a small pedestrian area off Threadneedle Street where we were bounded in by railings.

“I was up against the railings and thought I was going to get crushed. So I climbed over and tried to get through the police cordon.

“The police wanted to throw me back into the crowd but I said: ‘No, I’m not moving.’ When I said I was going to be crushed they ran me off into their van.

“Inside the van about five of them started throwing me around. I didn’t suffer any serious injury but basically they were beating me up. “One of the policemen put his fist in my face and told me if I caused any more trouble, it would be going through my head. They filled the van with some other people then took us off to the police station.

“We were put in a cell with about 25 other blokes and one toilet in the middle of the floor.

“We were there for hours and I was bursting but I couldn’t face having a pee in front of all these other men just in the middle of the floor.

“Right at the end, after hours in there, the police gave us one polystyrene cup of water to drink - between all of us. By the time it got to me, it was just spittle.””

David was accused of trying to lead an aggressive charge and charged with obstructing the police and the highway. But when his case came before a magistrate, he was cleared.

“A young junior barrister took on my case for free. He pointed out that the police evidence contradicted itself and the case was dismissed.

 

 
And finally, here’s the description from Punk Torrents of a long out of print documentary film, Stop the City: 1984 made by Mick Duffield and members of Crass that came out in the mid-90s. I had no idea this even existed:

The Stop the City demonstrations of 1983 and 1984 were described as a ‘Carnival Against War, Oppression and Destruction’, in other words protests against the military-financial complex.

Activities that formed part of these events were separate day-long street blockades of the financial district (‘The City’) of London — which supporters of the protest argued are a major centre for profiteering and consequently a root cause of many of the world’s worst problems.

One blockade involved 3,000 people, which succeeded in causing a $100m shortfall on the day according to The Times. Around 1,000 arrests were subsequently made by the police over 18 months.The first demo took place on the 29 September 1983 and involved hundreds of protestors, but six months later on 29 June 1984, thousands brought the City to a standstill. This rare documentary by Mick Duffield and Andy Palmer of Crass offers unique footage of the day’s events. Stop the City is widely regarded as being the precursor of modern protest such as the J18 Carnival Against Capitalism in 1999 and the birth of the Anti-Globalisation movement in the 21st century.

Stop The City in its entirety:
 

 
UPDATE: More on Stop the City from History is Made at Night

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
IN ALL OUR DECADENCE PEOPLE DIE: Fanzines given to Crass 1976-84


 
We culture vultures out here on the West Coast may think we’ve got it good with the opening of Ann Magnuson and Kenny Scharf’s big East Village West show opening at Royal/T (and we do!) but New Yorkers have something pretty amazing to attend this weekend also:
 

 
“IN ALL OUR DECADENCE PEOPLE DIE” is an exhibit of fanzines that were given to members of Crass between 1976 and 1984, plus original punk-era artwork by Gee Vaucher. The exhibit also features a new audio installation from Penny Rimbaud. Curated by Johann Kugelberg

As someone who was a huge Crass fan (I saw them fuckin’ live, how many Americans can claim that?) this looks like something that can’t be missed! (Except, drats, I will miss it as it closes right before I get to NYC next month! Awk! Quel bummer for me.)

The exhibit opening and talk will be held tonight but is already closed to more RSVPs. The exhibit continues daily until October 20th, hours 11am to 6pm.

Boo-Hooray, 265 Canal St. #601, New York, NY 10013
 

 

 
Below, Crass: There is No Authority But Yourself, a Dutch documentary about the band:
 

Posted by Richard Metzger | Leave a comment
Merry Crassmas: Anarcho-punk goes Muzak (+ bonus Penny Rimbaud interview)

image
The charming cover of Merry Crassmas
 

Click play to hear all of Merry Crassmas!
 
The end of 1981 likely saw highly influential British anarcho-punk band Crass both energized and exhausted after dropping their third album, the remarkably complex feminist manifesto Penis Envy.

One speculates that the idea for their final release of the year came to the band as a “eureka!” moment. Why not release a 7” novelty record made up of a department-store-style, organ-and-drum-machine medley of their anthemic and obnoxious tunes, including “Big A Little A,” “Punk is Dead,” “Big Hands,” “Contaminational Power” and others? Slap on an innocuous Santa Claus intro and obnoxious outro at the end, pop it into a sleeve with a strange and horrific collage of an Xmas-day family holiday scene by Gee Vaucher, and you’ve got an instant inside-joke punk classic on your hands.

As a horror-day bonus for you Crass-heads, here’s a wide-ranging, as-yet-spotlighted 2007 interview from pancrack.tv with your man, drummer Penny Rimbaud…
 

 
Part 2  |  Part 3  |  Part 4  |  Part 5  |  Part 6  |  Part 7  |  Part 8 
 
Previously on Dangerous Minds:
Crass remasters and epic interview
Crass: There is No Authority But Yourself
Music for Crass: Mick Duffield’s Christ the Movie
The unexpected Crass-Beatles Nexus Point

Posted by Ron Nachmann | Leave a comment
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