Crass – Various times and various places / Gordon Carr – Angry Brigade and Persons Unknown films

An intimate interview with most members of Crass recorded on super 8 video in 1984 around the impossibly small kitchen table at Dial House. How that many members of Crass all got around that table remains a mystery to me!

Possibly the last ever interview with Crass. Transferred from super 8 video to a DVDR several years ago now for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho. Taken this long to figure out what to do with ‘digital’ version. If you share this video you owe me a £1! I did not film the interview.

There is a twenty three second interruption to this Crass interview. Footage of the M11 motorway. This interruption in the footage comes in at 3.17 and lasts until 3.40.

“Dearest Mickey,

No, I haven’t a clue what paper those guys were from – but it could have been Sounds because there’s a Sounds article of the time where I’m wearing the same green polo shirt that I was in the film – but who knows? It must have been one of the few times in my life when I haven’t had sideboards!!!!!

Loads of love, blessings and joy,”

Penny. X

Semi – Detached is a collection of films made by Gee Vaucher, founding Crass member and the artist behind almost all their graphics (except maybe the logo itself, which was done by Dave King).

These six original videos were created for Crass and used as part of all their shows from 1978-1984.Using a VHS video camera, Vaucher created video collages by recording from black and white television with two video machines linked so that one machine could over-ride the other, specific footage could be dropped into the ‘Background’ tape without a break in the imagery.

It’s weird that more aren’t made of these films, given they were such an integral part of the Crass experience.

Please support Dial House and Exitstencil Press buy purchasing the enhanced ‘Semi-Detached’ released on a DVD with fifty page booklet HERE.

An interesting Radio 1 interview with Steve Ignorant and Penny Rimbaud of Crass aired, and recorded way back in May 1981.

Crass did not do too many interviews with radio stations, so sit back and enjoy what they had to say to the nation that were listening on that Saturday afternoon, when this interview was originally aired.

This cassette recording was originally placed up on the KYPP post below in February 2009 HERE. Download available on that KYPP post.

During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, Pete Millen recorded many Crass and Poison Girls performances with the use of several microphones hanging strategically around the halls that the two bands were invited to perform in.

This Crass performance is one of the many recordings that Pete Millen recorded.

Lee Gibson got some the original cassette tapes (and reel to reel tapes) from Pete Millen and then sent three of the cassettes tapes to me here at Penguin Towers.

Crass and Poison Girls at the Mayflower in Manchester October 1980. Zounds also performed.

Please have a look at the original KYPP post below for downloads of the Crass and the Poison Girls performances (cassette tapes remastered by Pete Fender) and to read reams and reams of information from some of the people that were at the gig that night HERE.

The images that accompany this YouTube post are:

1/ A well worn original Crass patch from the Nagasaki Nightmare 7″ single in 1980

2/ My original 1977 Gee Vaucher artwork for the New York magazine (gouache and collage 220 mm x 160 mm) that is framed and up on the wall at Penguin Towers

3/ All the pages of the first issue of the Eklektic fanzine created in 1979 by Seaman Stockton (A.K.A T42) and Andy Palmer of Crass.

We all know the fanzine which we all purchased in thousands.

We all got copies of the Crass flexi-disc that was included in that issue of the fanzine and we all sung along to the ironic Oi! style lyrics.

This much we all know.

What we did not necessary know is some of the background behind this Crass flexi disc and later hard vinyl version.

Mike Diboll, the young punk behind the Toxic Grafity fanzine in the late 70’s and early ’80’s, writes an essay, loosely based around this Crass flexi-disc, that ends up as one of the most important essays that has been placed up on KYPP.

Read the essay HERE.

The images that accompany the audio, the fanzine, original red letter flexi-disc, and the hard vinyl version with picture sleeve are all nicely tucked away in my collection.

Pete Millen during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s recorded many Crass and Poison Girls performances with the use of several microphones hanging strategically around the halls that the two bands were invited to perform in.

This Crass performance is one of the many recordings that Pete Millen recorded.

Lee Gibson got some the original cassette tapes (and reel to reel tapes) from Pete Millen and then sent three of the cassettes tapes to me here at Penguin Towers.

Crass, Annie Anxiety and Poison Girls at Isle Of Wight June 1981.

Sadly ringing around various Crass members there were conflicting memories of the Isle Of Wight. Personally I would have imagined that a performance on an island a few miles off England would have been relatively memorable compared to several performances up Liverpool or Manchester etc, but there you go, it was a long time ago.

Perhaps someone else could help out with a memory or two, and if anyone can I will add any memories to this YouTube post.

Unfortunately the Isle Of Wight Crass performance was recorded halfway along a flip side of a C90, Crass starting their set after a long (recorded on the cassette tape) interlude after Poison Girls came off stage (assuming there was a stage) and a couple of Annie Anxiety songs.

The Crass performance that actually made it onto the cassette tape only lasted four or five tracks so the Crass performance did not make it onto a KYPP post.


As I have a YouTube channel now I might as well place the Crass performance on here!

Thanks to Bradley Hall for the scan of the Crass patch still attached to a pair of trousers he found in a box that illustrates the audio.


Tracey Dear remembers this about the night:

“I was there, it was at LaBabalu in Ryde. I remember a bible-thumper berating us all whilst waiting for the venue to open!

Everyone was stuck there the night as there were no night ferry’s. A lot of us slept in an abandoned big house, whilst others slept on the beach waiting for the morning ferry.We were getting grief from the cops for burning deckchairs to keep warm.

It was an amazing gig all three were in fine form. Lababalu had really low ceilings and made for a great atmosphere. No aggro, for once. A great night.

Pete very kindly sent me a lot of his tapes from the early shows and I went on to record a lot of the latter Poison Girls and Crass shows 82-84”.

Thanks Tracey.

Uploaded today is a rehearsal cassette tape recorded at Southern Studios in April 1981.

A couple of months later, all the tracks on this rehearsal cassette tape were soon to be recorded properly at Southern Studios for inclusion on the ‘Christ The Album’ album.

The double album, released to the public in the summer of 1982 was wrapped in an expensive box set and included a large poster and a large informative booklet.

This original cassette tape was given to Penny Rimbaud several years ago now for an ongoing Crass web based rare release free download portal. A project which seems to have hit a brick wall!

I had already uploaded the rehearsal cassette tape onto KYPP in 2007 and then re-launched that post on the same blog in 2009. The 2009 KYPP post may be downloaded on the link HERE.

I have another rehearsal cassette tape from the same month and same year to upload onto YouTube along with a host of rare interviews and other bits and bobs.

So look out for those.

The large Crass ‘Falklands’ poster that accompanies the audio on this YouTube post is framed and on my wall at Penguin Towers…

To hear another Crass rehearsal cassette tape recorded at Southern Studios on YouTube link below, you can do so on this KYPP link HERE.


I had already uploaded these cassette tapes onto KYPP in 2007 and then re-launched that post on the same blog in 2009.

The 2009 KYPP post may be viewed and links downloaded HERE.

These original cassette tapes were given to Penny Rimbaud several years ago now, for an ongoing Crass website based on offering rare material from the band as free downloads. A project which seems to have hit a brick wall!

The ‘Thatchergate’ audio collage was put together by David Tibet from Current 93 and ex of Psychic T.V.

The infamous cut up conversation between Thatcher and Reagan is in full, towards the end of the audio collage. The telephone ringing all the way through that conversation is intentional.

This YouTube post includes the following:

‘Thatchergate’ audio collage – David Tibet

Capital Radio news broadcast

Penny Rimbaud on KSK Honolulu

Penny Rimbaud on U.S National State Radio

B.A Nana on the phone to Russian News Agency

Richard Skinner Radio 1 – ‘Dry Weather’ – July 1981

The images that accompany this YouTube post is the ‘You’re Already Dead’ mini fanzine from my collection .

Two documentaries on anarchist activism (and trials) in the seventies and eighties. Both were made by Gordon Carr, the first was the basis of his book on the Angry Brigade.

Contains archive footage of events varying from Miguel Garcia to snippets of a Crass gig in 1980. With introductions by Stuart Christie.

The Angry Brigade (1974 – Gordon Carr)

Between 1970 and 1972 the Angry Brigade used guns and bombs in a series of symbolic attacks against property. A series of communiqués accompanied the actions, explaining the choice of targets and the Angry Brigade philosophy: autonomous organisation and attacks on property alongside other forms of militant working class action.

Targets included the embassies of repressive regimes, police stations and army barracks, boutiques and factories, government departments and the homes of Cabinet ministers, the Attorney General and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police.

These attacks on the homes of senior political figures increased the pressure for results and brought an avalanche of police raids. From the start the police were faced with the difficulty of getting to grips with a section of society they found totally alien.

And were they facing an organisation — or an idea? Gordon Carr’s film explores covers the roots of the Angry Brigade in the revolutionary ferment of the 1960’s and the anarchist First of May Group, and follows their campaign and the police investigation to its culmination in the ‘Stoke Newington 8’ conspiracy trial at the Old Bailey — the longest criminal trial in British legal history. It remains the essential study of Britain’s first urban guerrilla group.

Persons Unknown (1980 – Gordon Carr)

Documentary by Gordon Carr on the so-called ‘Persons Unknown’ case in December 1979 in which members of the Anarchist Black Cross were tried at the Old Bailey on a charge of ‘conspiring with persons unknown, at places unknown to cause explosions’.

A concise look at the ‘Persons Unknown’ trial. A fascinating snapshot of history in the making, The Persons Unknown pieces together an intricate web of radicals at a thriller’s pace. Carr crisply relates the correspondences of a Black Cross secretary and imprisoned Irish republican and reaches all the way back to the Paris Commune to discuss the secretive, internationalist elements of radical leftist politics.

Where mainstream media tends to become hysterical where anarchism is concerned, The Persons Unknown remains keenly factual throughout. Among those featured in the film are Stuart Christie, publisher of the “Black Flag” newsletter and former would-be Generalisimo Francisco Franco assassin, and the anarcho-punk group Crass.

Negativland – Seeland Records – 1980

Side PRE


The debut album by Negativland from 1980 is a strange listen indeed and some parts are quite scary if you are happy to sit in a quiet dark room!

Synths, radio cut ups, random noises (drills / hoovers etc) the odd primitive drum machine (Think Throbbing Gristle), clarinets, along with a few strums on a guitar all make up the ambiance of this first work by Negativland.

The twenty tracks on this record are not named, Negativland preferring to use track 1, track 2, track 3 and so forth, up to track 20.

All copies of this record features a completely original hand-made cut-and-paste front cover (early copies are wallpaper). Some rear photographs are advertising images cut out of old magazines. Some sleeves are spray painted with NEGATIVLAND.

Early copies are hand-numbered and have different labels.

The text below courtesy of the Negativland website with a little bit of Wikki mixed in.

Negativland is an American experimental music band which took their name from a Neu! track, while their record label, Seeland Records is named after another Neu! track. Negativland started in Concord, California, in 1979 around the core founding members of Lyons and Hosler (who were in high school at the time), and released an eponymous debut, individually sleeved, in 1980.

Since 1980, Negativland have been creating records, video, fine art, books, radio and live performance using appropriated sounds, images, objects, and text. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland re-arranges these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In doing this kind of cultural archaeology and “culture jamming”, Negativland have been sued twice for copyright infringement.

A number of releases followed in the early 1980s, but it wasn’t until after the release of their breakthrough sample and cut-up sonic barrage Escape from Noise in 1987 that Negativland gained wider attention. Vinyl copies of the album came with “CAR BOMB” bumper stickers, in reference to the album’s song “Car Bomb.”

Following the somewhat unexpected success of this album, Negativland faced the prospect of going on a money-losing tour. To prevent this, they created a press release which said Negativland were prevented from touring by “Federal Authority Dick Jordan” due to claims that Negativland’s song “Christianity Is Stupid” had inspired David Brom to kill his family.

The press release went on to denounce the purported connection between Negativland and the murders. While Brom had in fact argued with his father about music shortly before Brom killed his family, no one had ever claimed that Brom was spurred to murder by Negativland’s music. The claim that Brom’s crimes were inspired by Negativland was disseminated and discussed in the mass media, seemingly with little to no fact-checking.

Soon the world was informed of the “Killer Song” that caused a kid to murder his parents with an ax.

The scandal became the foundation for Negativland’s next release, Helter Stupid, which featured a cover photo of TV news anchorman Dave McElhatton intoning the Brom murder story, with the news station’s caption “Killer Song” above his head, and a photo of the ax murderer.

Over the years Negativland’s “illegal” collage and appropriation-based audio and visual works have touched on many things – pranks, media hoaxes, advertising, media literacy, religion, the evolving art of collage, the bizarre banality of suburban existence, creative anti-corporate activism in a media-saturated and multi-national world, intellectual property issues, wacky surrealism, and artistic and humorous observations of mass media and mass culture.

While it is true that, after being sued, Negativland became more publicly involved in advocating significant reforms of our nation’s copyright laws (more recently finding themselves being brought to Washington DC and Capitol Hill as citizen lobbyists for copyright and art issues), Negativland are artists first and activists second. All of their art and media interventions have intended to pose both serious and silly questions about the nature of sound, media, control, ownership, propaganda and perception in the United States of America.

Love Songs From Rosemary’s Baby – T.O.P.Y World Network – 1985

Om / The Power Of Love

Emabs Byos Y’Rra / See Woman See Human / 1 Vortex

Rosemary’s Baby was the musical arm of Ricerche Studi Babalon (RSB), the Italian ‘access point’ of the Temple Ov Psychick Youth (T.O.P.Y.), which issued tapes, booklets, bulletins and videos.

Rosemary’s Baby’s main man was Pierre Luigi Zoccatelli. His ideas were rooted in Aleister Crowley’s Thelema and Magick, later turning into Guenonian Christianism.

For Rosmemary’s Baby’s first performance, Zoccatelli plastered the streets of Verona with posters, drawn up in the typical style of Italian funeral notices, simply announcing that “Rosemary’s Baby is born”. Unfortunately the local media thought that these posters announced the creation of a new group of Satanists in Verona. From that point on, the Verona public decided that Zoccatelli was a practising Satanist…

Since the short lived Rosemary’s Baby days, Zoccatelli decided to wander down the rather dubious route of the Alleanza Cattolica / Alleanza Nazionale. K.Y.P.P do not endorse, or share the views of this fundamentalist far right Catholic organisation.

This very rare 12″ record got me a verbal ticking off from Genesis P’Orridge when one day he heard the record being played upstairs on the sound system at his home in Hackney.

No trouble with the 12″ record as T.O.P.Y. were distributing it, or me for using his sound system.

The problem was that his young daughter Caresse was in the room at the time. Genesis quite rightly in hindsight, did not appreciate Caresse hearing this 12″ record.

This is a 12″ record to summon demons with.

Halloween history and traditions

Halloween, celebrated each year on October 31, is a mix of ancient Celtic practices, Catholic and Roman religious rituals and European folk traditions that blended together over time to create the holiday we know today. Straddling the line between fall and winter, plenty and paucity and life and death, Halloween is a time of celebration and superstition. Halloween has long been thought of as a day when the dead can return to the earth, and ancient Celts would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off these roaming ghosts. The Celtic holiday of Samhain, the Catholic Hallowmas period of All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day and the Roman festival of Feralia all influenced the modern holiday of Halloween. In the 19th century, Halloween began to lose its religious connotation, becoming a more secular community-based children’s holiday. Although the superstitions and beliefs surrounding Halloween may have evolved over the years, as the days grow shorter and the nights get colder, people can still look forward to parades, costumes and sweet treats to usher in the winter season.

Halloween’s origins date back to the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain.

The Celts, who lived 2,000 years ago in the area that is now Ireland, the United Kingdom, and northern France, celebrated their new year on November 1. This day marked the end of summer and the harvest and the beginning of the dark, cold winter, a time of year that was often associated with human death. Celts believed that on the night before the new year, the boundary between the worlds of the living and the dead became blurred. On the night of October 31, they celebrated Samhain, when it was believed that the ghosts of the dead returned to earth. In addition to causing trouble and damaging crops, Celts thought that the presence of the otherworldly spirits made it easier for the Druids, or Celtic priests, to make predictions about the future. For a people entirely dependent on the volatile natural world, these prophecies were an important source of comfort and direction during the long, dark winter.

To commemorate the event, Druids built huge sacred bonfires, where the people gathered to burn crops and animals as sacrifices to the Celtic deities.

During the celebration, the Celts wore costumes, typically consisting of animal heads and skins, and attempted to tell each other’s fortunes. When the celebration was over, they re-lit their hearth fires, which they had extinguished earlier that evening, from the sacred bonfire to help protect them during the coming winter.

By A.D. 43, Romans had conquered the majority of Celtic territory. In the course of the four hundred years that they ruled the Celtic lands, two festivals of Roman origin were combined with the traditional Celtic celebration of Samhain.

The first was Feralia, a day in late October when the Romans traditionally commemorated the passing of the dead. The second was a day to honor Pomona, the Roman goddess of fruit and trees. The symbol of Pomona is the apple and the incorporation of this celebration into Samhain probably explains the tradition of “bobbing” for apples that is practiced today on Halloween.

By the 800s, the influence of Christianity had spread into Celtic lands. In the seventh century, Pope Boniface IV designated November 1 All Saints’ Day, a time to honor saints and martyrs. It is widely believed today that the pope was attempting to replace the Celtic festival of the dead with a related, but church-sanctioned holiday. The celebration was also called All-hallows or All-hallowmas (from Middle English Alholowmesse meaning All Saints’ Day) and the night before it, the night of Samhain, began to be called All-hallows Eve and, eventually, Halloween. Even later, in A.D. 1000, the church would make November 2 All Souls’ Day, a day to honor the dead. It was celebrated similarly to Samhain, with big bonfires, parades, and dressing up in costumes as saints, angels, and devils. Together, the three celebrations, the eve of All Saints’, All Saints’, and All Souls’, were called Hallowmas.

Halloween has always been a holiday filled with mystery, magic and superstition. It began as a Celtic end-of-summer festival during which people felt especially close to deceased relatives and friends. For these friendly spirits, they set places at the dinner table, left treats on doorsteps and along the side of the road and lit candles to help loved ones find their way back to the spirit world.

Today’s Halloween ghosts are often depicted as more fearsome and malevolent, and our customs and superstitions are scarier too. We avoid crossing paths with black cats, afraid that they might bring us bad luck. This idea has its roots in the Middle Ages, when many people believed that witches avoided detection by turning themselves into cats. We try not to walk under ladders for the same reason. This superstition may have come from the ancient Egyptians, who believed that triangles were sacred; it also may have something to do with the fact that walking under a leaning ladder tends to be fairly unsafe. And around Halloween, especially, we try to avoid breaking mirrors, stepping on cracks in the road or spilling salt.

But what about the Halloween traditions and beliefs that today’s trick-or-treaters have forgotten all about? Many of these obsolete rituals focused on the future instead of the past and the living instead of the dead. In particular, many had to do with helping young women identify their future husbands and reassuring them that they would someday, with luck, by next Halloween, be married.

In 18th-century Ireland, a matchmaking cook might bury a ring in her mashed potatoes on Halloween night, hoping to bring true love to the diner who found it. In Scotland, fortune-tellers recommended that an eligible young woman name a hazelnut for each of her suitors and then toss the nuts into the fireplace. The nut that burned to ashes rather than popping or exploding, the story went, represented the girl’s future husband. (In some versions of this legend, confusingly, the opposite was true: The nut that burned away symbolized a love that would not last.) Another tale had it that if a young woman ate a sugary concoction made out of walnuts, hazelnuts and nutmeg before bed on Halloween night, she would dream about her future husband. Young women tossed apple-peels over their shoulders, hoping that the peels would fall on the floor in the shape of their future husbands’ initials; tried to learn about their futures by peering at egg yolks floating in a bowl of water; and stood in front of mirrors in darkened rooms, holding candles and looking over their shoulders for their husbands’ faces.

Other rituals were more competitive. At some Halloween parties, the first guest to find a burr on a chestnut-hunt would be the first to marry; at others, the first successful apple-bobber would be the first down the aisle.

Another day with connections to Halloween is Guy Fawkes Day, celebrated on November 5. Guy Fawkes was a Roman Catholic who planned to blow up the Protestant House of Parliament on November 5, 1606; luckily for the House, he was apprehended and executed. Afterwards, the anniversary of the day was celebrated by building straw effigies, entreating passersby for “a penny for the Guy”, and finally burning “the Guys” in bonfires.

All the period photographs of Halloween children and adults that are displayed on this post are courtesy of the Ossian Brown book ‘Haunted Air’. Ossian has collated dozens of astonishing photographs for this charming and luxurious felt covered hardback book.

All the photographs were taken in the United States Of America between the late 19th and the mid 20th century.

I would like to thank Ossian for sending me two signed copies of this beautiful book, one which went straight up to Sheffield towards the eager hands of my younger brother who knew Ossian, as I did also, in the mid 1980s.

Ossian is a member of Cyclobe as well as working in collaboration with David Tibet’s Current 93.

Haunted Air is available now ISBN 9780224089708 published by Jonathan Cape with a forward passage by David Lynch and Geoff Cox.

Psychic T.V – C.B.S acetate – 1983

Psychic T.V – Orchids

Psychic T.V – Finale

Psychic T.V – White Nights

Psychic T.V – Ancient Lights

This must be the rarest record that I own. There couldn’t of been many acetates of Psychic T.V handed out by C.B.S / Some Bizarre, and shelved in record collections.

This 7″ acetate contains four songs from the then, yet to be released, ‘Dreams Less Sweet’ album.

Coincidently ‘Dreams Less Sweet’ is not only my favourite Psychic T.V album, but also one of my favourite albums by any band or artist.The album still gets a spin a couple of times a year, over thirty years since I got a copy (with the ‘Full Pack’ 12″ single included).

One side of the acetate has the songs ‘Orchids’ and ‘Finale’. The other side has the songs ‘White Nights’ and ‘Ancient Lights’.

C.B.S also pressed up two extremely limited vinyl versions with the same songs on, handing them out to the press and to the radio stations to promote the ‘Dreams Less Sweet’ album prior to release.

The two vinyl versions have two songs pressed up on each. The first vinyl had the songs on the ‘A’ side of my acetate, ‘Orchids’ and ‘Finale’. The second vinyl had the songs on the ‘B’ side of my acetate, ‘White Nights’ and ‘Ancient Lights’.

There were less than seventy copies of each pre-release vinyl pressed up. T.O.P.Y in Beck Road, Hackney sold a boxful for £20 each vinyl. An immense amount of money in the early to mid 1980’s. There was probably only a handful of acetates produced.

The concept, the thoughts, the ideas, the technology and the numerous performers and field recordings that went into the production of ‘Dreams Less Sweet’ were immense, and could take several hundred words to explain properly, so I won’t.

Thankfully ‘Lord Lucan’ from Julian Cope’s ‘Head Heritage’ online site has. So…

“This nineteen track album is a kaleidophone full of twists and turns, sweetness and light cohabiting with sourness and darkness, all permeated by an uneasy air of mystery, magick and ritual. It forced open my adolescent ears to sonic possibilities which I didn’t know existed nor even imagined. At the time, I knew nothing about T.G, T.O.P.Y or anything else Psychic T.V had done. This album appeared to me like a puff of magickal smoke in a vacuum jar.

Once I had got the record home and put it on the turntable and started playing it I felt I’d fallen through the forest floor into some kind of (oc)cult group’s hidden labyrinth. This album drips with the atmosphere of a network of fire-lit caverns populated by the eldritch shadows of cowl-wearing figures. The group image on the back sleeve places this seminal Psychic T.V line-up in a coastal setting on the edge of dusk.

A large part of the ambience, which permeates the album, is due to the fact that it was recorded using Zuccarelli Holophonic technology, similar to the Artificial Head system used by the 70’s Berlin Krautrockers. Extra spacial dimension and clarity become disorientatingly apparent.

This encouraged Psychic T.V to record sounds and environments which would make the most of the recording system. Locations included The Hell Fire Club caves 300ft. underground, Christ Church in Hampstead, and Caxton Hall. The album is full of sounds designed to exploit the 3D effect. It’s an amazing experience on headphones.

The album begins with a car approaching, then the first track, the tiny ‘Hymn 23’ is played by Andrew Poppy on an emulator, weaving the first of several ecclesiastical and monastic pieces of music into the fabric of this album, which I suppose could be seen as a hymnody for T.O.P.Y.

This is followed by ‘The Orchids’, which is a beautiful song played on Reichian xylophone, oboe and guitar, with Genesis P Orridge duetting with himself in his sweetest choirboy vocal: “In the morning after the night I fall in love with the light”, opening the album in a similar way to ‘Sunday Morning’ opening the first Velvet Underground album, hinting at a night of excess seen from the inevitable spangled daybreak.

This mood is dashed by ‘Botanica’ which drags us into the realm of cavernous ritual drums, possessed metallic tinkering and the distant sound of animal horns.

Blink and it’s gone though, to be replaced by a small ensemble of brass, cor anglais and oboe wrenched from the recital chamber to the cavern to play ‘Iron Glove’. Their sad and beautiful tune floats over to the left channel as Monte Cazazza appears in the right channel reading his own words in a telephone call from San Francisco. The track ends with the vicious attack and decay of a tuning fork.

The telephone line interference gives way to the glorious clarity of a solo choirboy singing ‘Always is Always’, a song penned by the murderer of psychedelic innocence: Charles Manson, and much sung by his adopted family of waifs and strays. The choirboy’s angelic voice drifts around in the sonic space until we are left with the distant sound of what could be water dripping from the roof of a cave, blood dripping from a corpse, a crackling fire or maybe someone pissing in the distance, with a barely discernible voice, perfectly encapsulating the contrast of seductive innocence and the mysterious threat of the unknown that pervades the atmosphere on this album.

The next track is a bitter-sweet winter solstice carol played on organ, guitar, and tambourine with lashings of sugary vocal harmonies. And Genesis is back again with his wide-eyed innocent vocal singing ambiguous lyrics which could be about all manner of other things, or maybe it’s simply about “Santa Claus (…) checking his list / Going over it twice / Seeing who is naughty and who is nice”, though the implication of threat in that last lyric and throughout the song is chilling, particularly as the sound of an Uzi machine gun starts to appear towards the end cracking through the surface innocence [the lyrics are actually part of a sermon by the Rev. Jim Jones prior to the suicide in Guyana].

‘Finale’ smashes right through, beginning with the sound of petrol being thrown on a fire, then all hell breaking loose a mediaeval military fanfare, complete with machine guns and barking and growling hunting dogs sounding like they’re coming out of the speakers and invading the room.

This is followed by ‘Eleusis’, a ritualistic chant by those figures in cowls ringing ritualistic bells. The monastic figures melt away and are replaced by ‘Medmenham’s swarm of Tibetan Thigh Bone bees buzzing all around the cave.

‘Ancient Lights’ follows with its dark, unpredictable, sparse funk. Genesis is on full sinister vocal form this time, as the sounds of phones, car horns and various shrieks, shouts and screams fly around him. ‘Proof On Survival’ follows, with a short piece of psychick motivational polemic spoken by Genesis followed by the sound of earth to earth: The literal sound of being buried alive in a coffin. The ultimate claustrophobic nightmare.

Side two opens with the trilogy ‘Eden 1, 2 and 3’. This mini symphony begins as a building cacophony of ringing telephones. The holophonic recording technique means the brain is fooled into thinking one of them must surely be your own telephone. Mr Sebastian, a tattoo artist and body piercer who would become a household name four years later thanks to the notorious Operation Spanner police raids, had pierced and tattooed various members of Psychic T.V; The sleeve of this album alludes to a Prince Albert piercing. Here he is heard reassuring John Balance about the tattoo he is about to give him.Then a creepy-as-hell track cuts in with a killer bass line and buzzsaw feedback guitar following a tyrannical ritual drum beat, the sound of the tattoo needle providing percussion. Genesis intones lyrics possibly about Cerberus. Dog’s eyes glowing. Towards the end the guitar and Genesis’s voice meld in an indo-oriental chant, building to climax. By far the most sexually charged track on the album. Feedback wails as a baritone singer breaks in with his righteous light, banishing the screeching feedback to Hades, whence it came. The voices multiply until a complete male voice choir is filling the room with plainsong chanting. Cerberus rears his ugly heads again momentarily and growls at the choir, however his growling is soothed and calmed and the choir begin again. However they cannot hold off the march of nasty cacophony forever, and once they have faded the hellhound reawakens,and comes running into the room barking, heralding the arrival of more cavernous drumming and a gristled-to-fuck guitar. The volume rises and rises and culminates in a dervish frenzy of feedback which is slain in an instant by ‘Clouds Without Water’, a beautiful woodwind, horn and xylophone piece with systemic leanings sound tracking distant, rumbling thunder.

‘Black Moon’ follows with Genesis P Orridge at the front of the primary school assembly singing along with the piano as birds tweet outside.

‘Silver And Gold’ brings us back to the cavern as gongs and Tibetan singing bowls are stroked, caressed and gently tapped. What sounds like a large remote-controlled vehicle makes its hesitant way closer and closer to us, then makes a run for it as the swooshing percussive sound that pulls us ‘In The Nursery’ begins.

Genesis comes on like a detective William Burroughs narrating as he enters the house that will take him Exorcist-style to the nursery. The music is wailing howling feedback, concrete clicking and crashing of unidentifiable origins, all the while that insistent whip swooshing sound flying around the room, suggesting the vortex in the bedroom in Poltergeist. Genesis screams louder and louder until the whole thing crashes around him and us.

‘Circle’ finishes the album with a short, cathartic recorder solo.

This record, once it has finished, leaves behind feelings unlike any other. It’s not only the sound that is left ringing in my ears, but my mind feels like it has been well and truly exercised and exorcised too. I was worried that reviewing this album might be like spraying pine air freshener into a room impregnated with a complex, evocative, ethereal odour, but it hasn’t killed any of the mystery or tension in it for me.

‘Dreams Less Sweet’ remains just that, a dream teetering on the verge of a nightmare. It defies anal-ysis, and has the power, unlike almost any other recording I know, to subject the psyche to a severe whip lashing and a tender massage, often at the same time”.

Anarka And Poppy – The lost All The Madmen recordings – 1984 / This Bitter Lesson – 96 Tapes – 1982 / Crass – The final interview Dial House – 1984 / Blyth Power – Meanwhile Gardens – 1986 / Buld – 96 Tapes – 1986 / Louise – Chiswick Demo – 1989 / Blyth Power – Streetlevel Demo – 1984 / A Touch Of Hysteria – 96 Tapes – 1983

Anarka And Poppy – The lost All The Madmen recordings – 1984

In January 2015, Louise from the band Hysteria Ward contacted me to ask if I was interested in a load of stuff in a box. A mysterious question to which I answered “Yes I was”. On visiting I found that the box contained several 1/4 inch master reels of various recordings (by various bands) that were released on the All The Madmen record label back in the 1980’s. At the bottom of the box I noticed a master reel that was not released by All The Madmen records.

This master reel had been lost for over thirty years, and it was in this box.

Anarka And Poppy were a peace punk band from Preston. In 1984 the band (at the invitation of Josef Porta who during late 1983 / early 1984 was now the ex-drummer of The Mob) came down to stay at 96 Brougham Road in Hackney.

The following day Anarka And Poppy travelled to Gold Dust studios in Sidcup with Alistair who was looking after All The Madmen records at that time. Gerard remembers that a few months previously Flowers In The Dustbin (along with Claire from the band This Bitter Lesson) had also completed a session at Gold Dust studios recording ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’ a record that was released on All The Madmen records in 1984.

Not much is remembered about the session that produced the three tracks recorded by Anarka And Poppy at the studio that day.

Alistair remembers that Paul Christie, the producer at the studio, had asked Jane, the vocalist, to not sing the line “It’s a fucking nightmare” as he was worried it would offend. Perhaps his heart was in the right place, but his advice was duly ignored in any case.

On completion of the session the master reel was handed over to the band after payment and everyone was driven back to Hackney by Paul ex-This Bitter Lesson and Faction who had a van.
At Brougham Road Paul held onto the master reel and from that point the mystery of this master reel starts.

Alistair never did end up releasing the Anarka And Poppy single on All The Madmen records after all. The master reel had gone missing, no doubt lying around somewhere in Brougham Road. Alistair did get to release the amazing Zos Kia 7″ single ‘Rape’ though.

Anarka And Poppy split up several months later on in 1984. By 1985 Rob Challice ex-Faction had taking over from Alistair running All The Madmen records. Rob ploughed head first in the record label releasing several records by Blyth Power, Thatcher On Acid and The Astronauts along with a handful of other bands up until the spring of 1988. The Anarka And Poppy master reel was long forgotten about.

I had helped out at All The Madmen records from the Autumn of 1985 until the Spring of 1988. I did not spot this master reel during those years, so who knows what happened to it? And who knows how, thirty years later, I get a large box of old master reels to either keep, throw away or ‘to do something with’, that included this Anarka And Poppy master reel amongst them?

I decided ‘to do something with’ all the master reels. I checked with Pete Fender ex-Fatal Microbes, Rubella Ballet and Omega Tribe, if it was possible to restore the master reels after so many years. He advised that it was possible.

I ‘advertised’ the master reels I had been given, including the Anarka And Poppy one, via a post on Face Book explaining that Pete Fender was willing to bake the reels to restore and then he would remaster the restored master reel. I got some interest from some members from the bands, including members of Anarka And Poppy.

I handed the master reels (that members of the various bands were interested in being restored) to Pete in Dagenham, and later on that month, the master reels were carefully restored and remastered by Pete.

Pete then returned the restored master reels to the members of the bands who were involved along with the remastered raw files and mp3’s on separate CDR’s.

The three tracks on this Anarka And Poppy master reel that were carefully restored and remastered by Pete Fender have turned out beautifully clear, and all three tracks are absolute classic early – mid 1980’s peace punk songs.

I have taken great care on this YouTube video so as to compliment these great lost studio recordings from Anarka And Poppy and in tandem to compliment the hard work of Pete Fender restoring this thirty year old master reel that was discovered in a crumpled heap at the bottom of a cardboard box on a cold night in January 2015.

All the artwork featured on this YouTube video is drawn and painted by Jane Mason, the Anarka And Poppy vocalist.

This YouTube video has been put together with the blessing of Anarka And Poppy.

It is hoped that these three songs will be released on a 7″ single or included onto an album one day. There has been some interest so let’s see.


If It Dies We Die / Acceptance / Nightmare

This Bitter Lesson – The Value Of Defiance – 96 Tapes – 1982

THIS BITTER LESSON – In The Eyes Of A Child / Untitled / Japanese Girl / Ode To A Trendy Nightclub

THIS BITTER LESSON – Your Legal Slaughter / Poison Policy / Living?

One of my favourite cassettes in my collection just happens to be the very first cassette released on Rob Challice’s 96 Tapes in 1982.

This Bitter Lesson’s wonderful cassette is packaged with a strong thick booklet, some wonderful images and amazing well thought out and moving poetry. No Discharge punch in the face lyrics on the songs contained on this cassette. That’s a little unfair. Discharge lyrics are a couple of paragraphs long (then repeat) but pretty much hit the spot every time.

Rob Challice had set the bar pretty high with this début release. Rubella Ballet, Faction, Blood And Roses, Touch Of Hysteria, Subhumans, Blyth Power and Flowers In The Dustbin being a few of those other cassettes released on 96 Tapes that followed on from This Better Lesson.

Rob went on to manage All The Madmen records at the dawn of 1985, juggling WOT Distribution and 96 Tapes at the same time, all based at 96 Brougham Road in Hackney hence the 96 Tapes moniker.

The only fact that I actually know about This Bitter Lesson is that Claire the vocalist / poet / lyricist briefly joined Flowers In The Dustbin for the studio recording sessions that ended up as ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’, a 12″ record which was released on All The Madmen records in 1984 and remains one of my favourite records to this day.

For the seven songs on this cassette, selected pages from the booklet with the lyrics written upon them are fitted in order of the track listing for this YouTube video. There are more pages in the booklet with much more to read and to be inspired by.

Strangely the only lyrics that are not in the booklet are for ‘Japanese Girl’, which for the purposes of this YouTube video I have placed both sides of the A4 information poster that came with my copy of the cassette instead.

This cassette is a real treat, give it a listen.

Some additional information from Nic Bullen;

“Paul from This Bitter Lesson wrote A-Z fanzine and Total Lyric fanzine (with Claire), sang on The Snails second tape (released by Graham on New Crimes) and played guitar with Faction…”

Some additional information from Gerard, vocalist of Flowers In The Dustbin;

“All I remember is that the This Bitter Lesson cassette was wonderful, and me and Claire used to write to each other. I could hear her voice on our songs in my head before we recorded them so we asked her to join in. When we recorded ‘Freaks Run Wild In The Disco’ I got ill in the studio and had to go home, so Claire actually recorded all her bits without me.
Claire came to see Flowers In The Dustbin support The Mob at the Fulham Greyhound but didn’t want to come up on stage, which is a shame. I also heard a story about Crass rejecting a proposed This Bitter Lesson single but it’s probably wild gossip.”


In The Eyes Of A Child / Untitled / Japanese Girl / Ode To A Trendy Nightclub / Your Legal Slaughter / Poison Policy / Living?

Crass – The final interview Dial House – 1984

An intimate interview with most members of Crass recorded on super 8 video in 1984 around the impossibly small kitchen table at Dial House. How that many members of Crass all got around that table remains a mystery to me!

Possibly the last ever interview with Crass, transferred from super 8 video onto a DVDR several years ago now for £20 by Stanley Production in Soho. Taken this long to figure out what to do with ‘digital’ version. If you share this video you owe me a £1!

I did not film the interview. There is a twenty three second interruption to this Crass interview. Footage of the M11 motorway. This interruption in the footage comes in at 3.17 and lasts until 3.40.

Blyth Power – Meanwhile Gardens – 1986

A few songs from Blyth Power recorded at one of the Meanwhile Garden gigs. Free of charge and four events in the summer were organised by the Lancaster Music Co-Operative although the park with the sand bowl next to the Grand Union Canal was entrenched firmly in Westbourne Park West London.

Donations into the hat, Grant Showbiz on the sound desk and Protag building the stage and setting up the P.A in the morning. Raymond a regular fixture at Meanwhile Gardens and in the ‘scene’ generally is there. I am also there somewhere, and I am thanked by Josef for “no apparent reason.” I am wearing my ‘home produced’ Mob / Wilf artwork T shirt! Blyth Power were releasing records on All The Madmen records at this point.

The reason this is not a full performance is that the two people filming it were ‘experimenting’ with different analogue camera options. Basically flicking black and white, flicking negative. Drives you nuts! So I didn’t bother to place that footage up sadly as there is a fair chunk of it.

That said, although only a few Blyth Power songs are featured, viewers will still be able to get a sense of these wonderful afternoons in the summer, cider in hand, back in the early to mid 1980’s.


God Has Gone Wrong Again / It’s Probably Going To Rain / Corialanus / Some Of Shelly’s Hang Up’s

Buld – Nox Noctis – 96 Tapes – 1986

BULD – No More Cry / Desert Rats / Nicht Unbekannt / Window

BULD – Nox Noctis / Burst / Big Show

I’ll hold up my hands here and surrender to the fact that I know nothing about this band.
I am sure I would have handled a few copies while helping out at All The Madmen records and distribution in Brougham Road, Hackney and later on in Caledonian Road, Kings Cross. I was active at All The Madmen from the Autumn of 1985 until the wind down of the company in the Spring of 1988.

This cassette was the sixteenth release on Rob Challice’s cassette only label 96 Tapes.
A double cassette recorder would be rotating away most of the time at WOT / All The Madmen Distribution, playing the master cassette on one side of the recorder dubbing onto a blank cassette on the other side, to sell on to any paying customers.

Gummidge or myself would also photocopy the covers, in the days when you actually needed to find a photocopier in the area, which was not that easy.
Master cassettes of the previous fifteen releases, Rubella Ballet, Faction, This Bitter Lesson, Blood And Roses, Subhumans, Blyth Power and Flowers In The Dustbin being a few of those other cassette only releases, would also get a daily rotation – recording in that large double cassette recorder.

Buld seemingly are not on any Google searches for the ease of myself trying to grab just a small scrap of information to place up on this YouTube post. Rob Challice himself cannot remember who the band were, or why the band ended up on 96 Tapes. I asked him a couple of hours ago!
What I do know is that Buld were a Danish band with vocals in English, and that this session was recorded somewhere in Denmark on the 5th January 1986.

I also know that Buld are actually a decent post punk / Gothic band, with some decent songs, similar in parts to how Lack Of Knowledge sounded.


No More Cry / Desert Rats / Nicht Unbekannt / Window / Nox Noctis / Burst / Big Show

Louise – Chiswick Demos – 1989

LOUISE – Chiswick Demo – 1989

A master reel discovered, along with several others, in a box in Louise’s loft.

All the master reels were of bands or artists that were released, or going to be released, on the All The Madmen record label. Two outstanding master reels were the full Clair Obscure album released on All The Madmen records in 1986 and the legendary long lost master reel for the Anarka And Poppy single that was going to be released on All The Madmen records in 1984. All the old master reels were restored to the highest quality by Pete Fender (Fatal Microbes / Rubella Ballet / Omega Tribe) in his studio and were eventually distributed to their rightful owners. Louise, the vocalist of Hysteria Ward, is featured on this master reel without a band, but with a guitar.

There are four songs performed, although there are seven songs on the master reel. I included all the songs off of the master reel as I felt all the songs (different mix / performance on three of the songs) were worth keeping intact and placed up on this YouTube video. I think the songs were recorded in 1989 at a studio in Chiswick. This makes this master reel out of the life span of All The Madmen records, but hey, the songs are full of of melancholy and the lyrics are masterful.

The artwork that is featured in the video accompanying the songs, are all painted by Louise. Louise’s art is both elementary and stunning in equal measure. Several art pieces are darker, more troubled. These pieces perhaps highlight Louise’s personal torment that she has suffered for most of her adult life.

The best insight into the life of Louise and the bands she has fronted can be found on this KYPP post HERE.

Blyth Power – Street Level Demo  -1984

Smoke From Cromwells Time / Hurling Time / Chevy Chase / The Rookery / Ffucke Mastike Room / My Lady’s Games / Fang Over Lip / Me And Mr Absolutely

The first ever recording by Blyth Power from my first generation master cassette.

Blyth Power when this session was recorded were a three piece band consisting of Josef and Curtis, recently ex of The Mob, alongside Brougham Road resident and ex-Faction member, Neil Keenan.

These songs were recorded in the early months of 1984 at Street Level studios in Freestonia West London. Freston Road / Latimer Road W11 to be more precise.

On the strength of this demo Blyth Power missed a trick by somehow cocking up a record deal with Crass’s Corpus Christi record label. Whether the ‘blame’ lay at the door of Dial House or the doors of the damp co-op housing in Hackney, I do not know. Whatever the issues, Blyth Power were not going to be the next UK Decay that’s for sure. Note: That was not a Gothic / positive punk reference, UK Decay were the big ticket for Corpus Christi, a band that had split up on the eve of 1984.

Ironically (ironic after stating the two main points) my photographs accompanying this YouTube video are early photographs of the five piece Blyth Power line up which included Andy and Sarah as backing singers, as I have no photographs of the three piece line up.

I have also added my photographs of Brougham road in Hackney that I took in 1985, again as I have no photographs of Street Level studios! Those photographs feature 96 Brougham Road, the home of All The Madmen records at that time, along with Rob Challice’s small 96 Tapes cassette only label. Going down impossibly thin stairs and a small walkway was J.C’s legendary basement / practice room where Blyth Power would rehearse every now and again. Some of my photographs are of that basement… Not much standing room if I remember rightly.

This recording does not quite match the glorious ‘A Little Touch Of Harry’ cassette released in 1985 on 96 Tapes but it does show an embryonic Blyth Power picking up a little bit of speed along the tracks.

Around nine months later Blyth Power would be recording ‘A Little Touch Of Harry’ in that basement at 96 Brougham Road, Hackney with, I think, J.C’s equipment already stored there, engineered by Protag with few overdubs.

The ‘Harry’ cassette was the first ‘official’ release by Blyth Power, a band at this time hurtling down the tracks at speed and momentum. The cassette brought more people on board for the party, and it was wonderful.

Although Josef would not agree I am sure!


Smoke From Cromwells Time / Hurling Time / Chevy Chase / The Rookery / The Ffuke Mastike Room / My Lady’s Games / Fang Over Lip / Me And Mr Absolutely

A Touch Of Hysteria – 96 Tapes – 1983

Non Compos Mentis / The Lords Prayer / The Rulers / To Cross The Rubicon / Death Cart

In Similar circumstances to another band from the north west of England (Anarka And Poppy) Josef Porta had some considerable influence on A Touch Of Hysteria being discussed all the way down south in Hackney, one of the grittier parts of East London back in the early 1980’s.

Eventually Rob Challice’s 96 Tapes cassette only label released this fine cassette, and this cassette was my introduction to the band. A Touch Of Hysteria also in tandem, had their own cassettes produced to sell at their infrequent local gigs.

This 96 Tapes cassette only release was not the preferred choice for the band. There was discussions, during one of the band’s visits to Brougham Road, of a 7″ record by A Touch Of Hysteria split with The Astronauts to be released on the All The Madmen record label.

This sadly never happened.

Although the band were supporters of The Mob and anarcho-punk in general, thankfully A Touch Of Hysteria seemed to be closer to Kirk Brandon’s The Pack music wise, and Part 1 lyric wise, lot’s of religious ‘imagery’ within those lyrics. Original sin and so forth. The artwork was also suitably grotesque.

A Touch Of Hysteria were active from 1982 until 1985.

A photograph from my collection uploaded onto this YouTube video (between the cassette cover scans) was taken at an old School in Kendal after one of A Touch Of Hysteria’s last performances supporting their old friends Josef and Curtis who were now in Blyth Power. This photograph features A Touch Of Hysteria and Blyth Power members and friends of both bands.

Chris, the drummer of A Touch Of Hysteria, sadly committed suicide in the mid 1990’s.

After A Touch Of Hysteria, Chris eventually joined some college friends to form a band called Lush. I saw Lush several times at the beginning of their career in small London venues. Chris was also a member of Hard Skin for a few months at the beginning of Ben’s (Thatcher On Acid) and Sean’s (Wat Tyler) parody oi! band forming.

A Touch Of Hysteria created a handful of songs that ended up on this 96 Tapes cassette that were / are of the highest quality.


Non Compos Mentos / The Lords Prayer / The Rulers / To Cross The Rubicon / Death Cart

Exit-Stance – Exit-Stance Records – 1984 / Rema Rema / Door And The Window


Conspiracy Of Silence

Exit-Stance, not the Milton Keynes punk band that released records on Mortahate and supported Conflict from time to time.

The Exit-Stance that recorded these tracks, releasing them on this record via the bands own label, were from Bristol and had a sound reminiscent (actually pretty much a carbon copy) of UK Decay (with added Ritual perhaps). After the recording of the ‘Esthetics’ 7″ single, the punk Exit-Stance, supported perhaps by Mortahate records, forced the Bristol Exit-Stance to change their name after threatening legal action. If this is correct then it’s a pretty ironic situation. Exit-Stance changed their name to Feud.

For the second time in a year*** I get a totally unexpected box of goodies from Mike Clarke, Defiant Pose fanzine editor and owner of Inflammable Material records. This time the box contained three Rema Rema 12″ singles.

Two different sleeve versions of the track ‘Entry / Exit’, a track that Charisma Records rejected during the bands lifetime for “Blasphemous Content”.

The track itself is a six minute slow bass led plodder with some great feedback guitar work from Marco, and a call and response vocal style. And yes, the lyrics might be labelled blasphemous.

The B – side of ‘Entry / Exit’ is a stripped down instrumental version.

I was also sent (of which I am greatly indebted to Mike) the limited edition sleeve version of ‘Entry / Exit’. The record is the same but the artwork for the limited edition is a different design which is screen printed. The quantity of the limited sleeve edition is 50 copies. I was sent number 50 / 50.

The second 12″ single is actually two modernised remixes of the old Rema Rema track ‘Rema Rema’ and is on the band’s record label ‘Le Coq Musique’. Two remixes by Renegade Soundmachine (Soundwave) bringing the track kicking and screaming into the 21st century.

Please support these releases if you have any interest in Rema Rema by going to the Inflammable Material website HERE or HERE

*** HERE is the original KYPP post regarding Rema Rema, Defiant Pose and Inflammable Material.

‘Detailed Twang’
12 track LP only: Label: Overground : Edition of 500
Cat. No. OVER 146LP
Release Date: On sale now

Originally inspired by both the DIY ethic of the punk movement and the likes of Throbbing Gristle and File Under Pop, two friends Nag and Bendle decided to form The Door And The Window in March ’79. Lacking any musical experience, the first thing they did was to book a gig, then set off to a rehearsal studio to record their first single on a cassette recorder.

“Initially we had little interest in making music; we were interested in sound and noise. I had a cheap guitar and a collection of 2nd hand tape recorders, and Nag had a cheap synth. It was an advantage that we couldn’t play anything. When the guy running the rehearsal studio proclaimed that we were the “worst band he had ever heard” we took it as a complement and drunkenly caroled his sentiment back to him and recorded that too.” – Bendle

The first single ‘Don’t Kill Colin’ EP came from the pressing plant in plain white labels and sleeves. The band painstakingly hand-made the labels and sleeves and managed to self-distribute all 1000 copies.

The success led to a distribution deal with Rough Trade. Their next single ‘Production Line’ EP was joint NME ‘Single Of The Week’ with Ian Dury’s ‘(Hit Me With Your) Rhythm Stick’. Inspired by Crass, the ‘Pay No More Than 55p’ on the sleeve caused problems for the distributors, but the single still sold an impressive 2000 copies.

As true exponents of the DIY ethic the band produced a fanzine called ‘Common Knowledge’ devoted to the politics of record reproduction and included the likes of the Desperate Bicycles.

The Door And The Window were becoming more popular and highly respected. They played with the Pop Group, Scritti Politti, Delta Five, Swell Maps and Raincoats.

The line-up of the band was always fluid and sometime members included Fritz (23 Skidoo), Dennis Burns (ATV/Good Missionaries), Grant Showbiz (The Fall) and Giblet (49 Americans). In late 1979, Mark Perry, disillusioned by the constraints and expectations of Alternative TV joined the band as drummer and co-songwriter.

As more bands formed with the same attitude the band toured as part of the ‘Weird Noise’ tour with The Instant Automatons and 012 – a band fronted by Kif Kif and made up of members of that night’s audience.

1980 saw the release of the album ‘Detailed Twang’ which sold 2000 copies at the ridiculously cheap price of £3.00 before the band split up in the summer of ’81, although they’ve reformed on an occasional basis to experiment with new ideas.

The LP replicates the original album but with the bonus of an inner bag featuring a detailed band history and rare photos, limited to just 500 copies making rarer than the highly collectable original!

Track Listing:
Dads/Habits/We Do Scare Each Other/Order And Obey/He Feels Like A Doris/ Part-Time Punks/In The Car/Subculture Fashion Slaves/Sticks And Stones/ Positive/Why Must You Build Walls Around Us?/Detailed Twang

Order from Overground Records directly HERE

Rubella Ballet – Centro Iberico – 2/5/82

Rubella Ballet performance

After receiving a cassette of a Rubella Ballet performance at the Centro Iberico in 1982 from Peck, originally from Colchester but now a long time Ipswich resident along with getting a large box of paperwork and photographs from Tony D to scan in for a possible project in the future, I can now place some of this material together in this KYPP post.

Firstly thanks to Peck, Tony D and Mick Mercer (photograph of Rubella Ballet performing at the Centro Iberico) for all the component parts that make up this post (except the Centro Iberico Punk Lives article that has lain dormant at Penguin Towers for many years).

The recording of the Rubella Ballet performance is recorded on a hand held recorder and is not of the greatest quality sadly, although it is reasonable and does give a snippet of the atmosphere on the night. Rubella Ballet shared the night with Conflict, Assassins Of Hope and Zounds, the other bands performing on the night.

Tony D’s original typed interview conducted in June 1982, part of which ended up included for Zig Zag magazine, and Al Puppy’s article on the Centro Iberico written in 1983 and included in Punk Lives magazine are uploaded in full onto this post. The pages may be viewed via the HERE link below each scanned page. There is a magnifying glass option when the link gets you to the Photo Bucket web page to get a really good quality viewing of the text.

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The Centro Iberico, a squatted school originally housed Spanish anarchists, assumed runaways from General Franco’s four decade rule which started in 1936 and lasted into the mid 1970’s.

Spain was an outsider in Europe due to the totalitarian regime that General Franco led during those years so many Spanish citizens would have tried to get out of Spain as best as they could considering the circumstances. I can only guess that most of these Spanish squatters were illegally based in London and could only claim benefits and British citizenship after convenience marriages to British men and women.

Feel free to correct me on that point.

The Centro Iberico was putting on performances by outsider bands a little before the Wapping Autonomy Centre closed it’s first floor doors. Raped (Cuddly Toys) and Rudi from Belfast, Northern Ireland performed at the squat in October 1978 and Throbbing Gristle performed in January 1979 are two examples of performances that occurred.

The gigs at the Centro Iberico were not exclusive to the peace punk bands of the day. Whitehouse also performed at the Centro Iberico on a couple of occasions. William Orbit had been living at the squat since the late 1970’s and had performed there in the 1980’s.

The Centro Iberico article written by Al Puppy and included in the Punk Lives magazine is important to add to this post. The article gives an overall picture of the venue alongside the autonomy centres prior to the punks descending onto the Centro Iberico for Sunday night gigs, and is a wonderful insight of some of the people involved in these autonomy centres during the early 1980’s era.

Unknown, Wolfen, Val and Greenhair inside the Centro Iberico.

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Screaming Dead – Skull Records – 1982 / Beltane Festival / The Laila Mythology

Valley Of The Dead

Schoolgirl Junkie / Lilith

For this years Beltane I am placing up the debut Screaming Dead 7″single up on KYPP.

Screaming Dead were a band I first read about in a copy of Rising Free fanzine, written, edited, printed and distributed in and around the Welwyn, Hitchin and Stevenage areas. The ‘No Future’ issue of Rising Free to be precise. I was surprised to read about this band as the band came from the other side of the world, well from Cheltenham to be exact, home to the other punk band, the massively fine Demob.

Cheltenham’s answer to the Misfits. That can’t be a bad thing.

The band, named after the English title of Drácula contra Frankenstein, the 1972 horror film directed by Jesús Franco, was formed by guitarist Tony McCormack, who recruited former singer with The Waste, Sam Missile, bass guitarist Mal Page, and drummer Mark Ogilvie.

The band built up a strong local following which spread farther afield with coverage in fanzines such as Gez Lowery’s Rising Free and through sales of their demo tape. They followed their first tape with a more formal release, the Children Of The Boneyard Stones cassette, which came with a badge and a copy of the band’s own fanzine, Warcry.

They then self-financed their debut vinyl release, the ‘Valley of the Dead’ 7″ single, initially released on their own Skull Records label, but when it sold out of its first pressing within a week it was picked up by No Future records. The band’s next release, the ‘Night Creatures’ 12″ single, saw them break into the UK Indie Chart, reaching number 22 in September 1983.

While the band were at times tagged as Goths, the label was rejected by Bignall, who in a posthumous interview stated “Screaming Dead were a punk rock band, there’s no doubt about that! We had a bit of an interest in the horror theme, and that was how we decided to present ourselves.”

For their next release, the band recorded a cover of the Rolling Stones’ ‘Paint It Black’ which was also an indie hit, and was recorded as a tribute of sorts to Brian Jones who is buried in their home town of Cheltenham. In 1984, taking inspiration from X-Ray Spex, the band recruited saxophonist Nick Upton, the band also signing to Nine Mile Records, who issued their last two releases on the Angel label. The change in sound lost a lot of fans, and with interest in punk rock declining, the band split up in 1985.

The Fire Festival of Beltane

This festival is also known as Beltane, the Celtic May Day. It officially begins at moonrise on May Day Eve, and marks the beginning of the third quarter or second half of the ancient Celtic year.

It is celebrated as an early pastoral festival accompanying the first turning of the herds out to wild pasture. The rituals were held to promote fertility. The cattle were driven between the Belfires to protect them from ills.

Contact with the fire was interpreted as symbolic contact with the sun. In early Celtic times, the druids kindled the Beltane fires with specific incantations.

Later the Christian church took over the Beltane observances, a service was held in the church, followed by a procession to the fields or hills, where the priest kindled the fire. The rowan branch is hung over the house fire on May Day to preserve the fire itself from bewitchment (the house fire being symbolic of the luck of the house).

This is a holiday of Union–both between the Goddess and the God and between man and woman. Handfastings (Pagan marriages) are traditional at this time. It is a time of fertility and harvest, the time for reaping the wealth from the seeds that we have sown.

Celebrations include braiding of one’s hair (to honour the union of man and woman and Goddess and God), circling the Maypole for fertility and jumping the Beltane fire for luck. Beltane is one of the Major Sabbats of the Wiccan religion. We celebrate sexuality (something we see as holy and intrinsic to us as holy beings), we celebrate life and the unity which fosters it.

The myths of Beltane state that the young God has blossomed into manhood, and the Goddess takes him on as her lover. Together, they learn the secrets of the sexual and the sensual, and through their union, all life begins.

Beltane is the season of maturing life and deep found love. This is the time of vows, handfastings and commitment. The Lord and his Lady, having reached maturity, come together in Perfect Love and Perfect Trust to celebrate the joy of their union.

This is a time to celebrate the coming together of the masculine and feminine creative energies. Beltane marks the emergence of the young God into manhood. Stirred by the energies at work in nature, he desired the Goddess. They fall in love, lie among the grasses and blossoms and unite.

The flowers and greenery symbolise the Goddess and the Maypole represents the God. Beltane marks the return of vitality and passion of summer. Another common focal point of the Beltane rituals is the cauldron, which represents the Goddess. The Welsh goddess Creiddylad is connected with Beltane, often called the May Queen, she was a Goddess of summer flowers and love.

May Day

May Day has long been marked with feasts and rituals. May poles, supremely phallic symbols, were the focal point of old English village rituals. Many people arose at dawn to gather flowers and green branches from the fields and gardens, using them to decorate the village Maypoles.

The May Queen (and often King) is chosen from among the young people, and they go singing from door to door throughout the town carrying flowers or the May tree, soliciting donations for merrymaking in return for the “blessing of May”.

This is symbolic of bestowing and sharing of the new creative power that is stirring in the world. As the kids go from door to door, the May Bride often sings to the effect that those who give will get of nature’s bounty through the year.

In parts of France, some jilted youth will lie in a field on May Day and pretend to sleep. If any village girl is willing to marry him, she goes and wakes him with a kiss; the pair then goes to the village inn together and lead the dance which announces their engagement. The boy is called “the betrothed of May.”

The Laila Mythology

It is written in Celtic folklore that the roots of the hawthorn tree transcend the two worlds. A factualism that was soon to be realised by a young girl named Laila.

Whilst out on a spring saunter in Epping woods, Laila is inexplicably set upon and despoiled of her treasured necklace by an insane opportunistic magpie. Subsequently she finds herself on a search for its recovery, but soon discovers more than she had bargained for, when the magpie who stole it turns out to be none other than a nefarious shaman named Ibora, who appears to have mistaken her pendant for that of a mythical jewel known as the Brisingamen.

Luring her down through the roots of a gigantic hawthorn tree into the underworld, Laila is inadvertently transported into a magical land where Ogres and Wyvern frequent and where the sanctity of nature is no longer revered by humanity.

Befriended by Jack, a huge Green man who has the ability to converse with trees and with the help of a wise old wizard named Yan Overton, Laila desperately tries to get back to her world, with or without her necklace, but in order to do so she must first find the legendary Omega tree, the last of the ancient hawthorns or ‘world trees’.

But with all ancient world trees condemned by order of Queen Lhanna, a tyrannous sorceress whose lust for power impels her to kill her own sister Isla in order to gain complete total control of the world, Laila’s quest seems almost futile.

But soon she discovers the secret whereabouts of the Omega tree, far away in the Goblin lands and the reasoning behind Lhanna’s condemnation of ancient trees.

It is prophesised in the underworld that Geborga, a gigantic dragon created by the evil Queens sister to protect the forests before she perished would return once more in to the underworld through the portal of a world tree and bring peace into the world and the subsequent demise of her sister Lhanna. With such a foreboding prospect for the Queen, all portals in and out of the underworld are to be indiscriminately felled.

But with her only means of escape under threat, Laila finds herself in a race against time.

Making her way surreptitiously across the treacherous Goblin lands to the Omega tree in the company of the Green man and a Changeling named Lon Attilia, Laila can almost smell the sweet scent of home, but before reaching the town of Puo Landum in the heart of the Grayweald where the mythical tree is said to grow, she is unexpectedly betrayed by her Changeling cohort who turns out to be a servant of the Queen, and had masqueraded himself as her ally in order to discover the location of the tree.

Laila then unwittingly becomes the catalyst to a war between the despotic Queen and the race of Goblins, as Lhanna’s armies invade the Grayweald with the intent of destroying the Omega tree as well as their Goblin adversaries.

A great battle then ensues throughout the forests of the underworld as the Goblin hordes fight for their survival against an unremitting force. But with such overwhelming opposition it is only a matter of time before the last of the world trees is finally raised to the ground and the Goblins are forced to retreat into exile, leaving Laila trapped in the underworld forever.

But Jack, her trusty companion has not lost hope and believes the answer may lie in the place of their first meeting. So immediately they make their way with haste back towards the old wood but are ambushed en route by Queen Lhanna and her forces.

A brief skirmish breaks out as Jack fights desperately to protect Laila but is sadly slain by the powerful sorceress. Overwrought by the devastating loss of the green man, Laila’s sorrow appears to create a huge storm in the skies overhead and the world is cast into darkness. The earth then begins to shake as Geborga the dragon is awoken by his master’s voice and rises up from out of the mountain lake.

Realising that Laila is the reincarnation of her murdered sister Isla; Lhanna attempts to kill her but is beheaded by Ibora, her shamanic servant in an act of retribution for Isla’s fratricide.

In the aftermath of the storm, after the dust had settled, Laila finds herself inexplicably back home in Epping Forest with her pendant in her hand and Yan Overton the old wizard, walking over to greet her. He explains that her journey into the otherworld was predetermined and her purpose for going there, as well as what became of Jack, the green man.

As Laila makes her way home she wonders how on earth she can relate her amazing adventures to her family, but understands that she will never be the same person ever again.



Scientist Meets The Roots Radics – Selena Records – 1981

Jah Army / Flabba Is Wild / Some Dub / Whip Them / Fighting Radics

Kill The Devils Wife / Jah Is Love / Wa Di Is Free / Best Dub On Ya / Forward Dis Ya Dub

Here is a scratchy old record that I have pulled out for today. I actually wanted to share the ‘World At War’ album on Black Ovation records but sadly that was a little too scratchy so I placed it back into the record racks. I have not put these albums onto a turntable for decades so was not sure which one was the better quality.

The ‘World At War’ album had dubs that pointed towards the issues of today, and considering The Revolutionaries (the backing band on ‘World At War’) performed tracks entitled ‘The Invasion Of Iraq’ thirty five years ago and the cover artwork points to Syria and Iraq shows that sadly not a lot seems to have changed in those thirty five years…

The ‘…Meets The Roots Radics’ album is a fine and sturdy excursion into space and time and is worthy of a listen. My copy is in super blue vinyl!

Eventually the members of Roots Radics, when not backing every vocalist in Jamaica, were performing sessions in London at Basing Street and Southern Studios for tracks to be released on Adrian Sherwood’s ON U Sound record label under various ON U Sound band monikers. Adrian had met members of Roots Radics when they backed up Prince Far I (at that time billed as the Arabs) on a U.K tour back in 1978 which Adrian had a hand in organising.

The text below forms part of an essay on the exploration of dub pioneers on the Dread Library website. Thanks to the moderators of that site in advance of my thieving.

The closest that any other dub artist has come in comparison with Tubby’s deity is one of the King’s past apprentices, Hopeton ‘Scientist’ Brown. The two were introduced by a friend of Brown’s who got him a job working at Tubby’s studio in 1978 as a radio repairman.

Brown relates that he had been building his own audio amplifiers, but when he tried to mix reggae beats, the amplifier would over heat, so he would use King Tubby’s mixing board. He contests that Tubby’s were the only ones to comply with his mixes, becoming “fascinated by his (King Tubby’s) exclusive style of mixing and unique sound effects.”

During Brown’s employment at the studio, he would often assure Tubby of his mixing abilities, given the opportunity. As typical of Tubby’s ‘teaching techniques’, he would simply reply that Brown was too young (15 -16 years old) to know his abilities, and that there were plenty of older men who try to mix for years and never get it. Eventually, when Prince Jammy was out of town one day, Brown’s opportunity came when Tubby offered to let him mix in the studio, to which Scientist quickly took him up on.

From that point on, Brown, who took on the name ‘Scientist’, left his work in the repair shop, to mix in the studio. During this time, Scientist further pushed the limits of dub music, taking Tubby’s equipment to never-before-seen levels, surpassing the lengths that his predecessor had reached. By the time he was sixteen, Tubby introduced Brown to his first producer, Don Mais, with whom he would create his first hit, a mix of Barrington Levy’s ‘Collie Weed’.

Brown recalls that of his experience working with Tubby, the most valuable part was the criticism that he received. Scientist contests that he would whittle away at a mix for hours on end, only to have Tubby react with anything but disapproval of his creation. Tubby would persistently assure Scientist that he was young and had much to learn yet, only driving Brown to improve his styles. It wasn’t until years later that Tubby admitted he had merely been pushing Scientist to test his limits, encouraging him to continue experimenting, and that these early versions had really been excellent. Grant Smithies writes: “…of all Tubby’s many challengers, Scientist was the real heir apparent to the crown.”

A few of the Scientist’s trademark techniques include controlled distortion, choppy guitar, flying hi-hats and enveloping horns that reach previously unattainable heights, commanding that the highest respect be given to his works. In speaking of his career as the most prestigious dub technician that Jamaica has seen since King Tubby himself, Scientist writes:

“…when I would mix a record, I would tek it to ‘im and say ‘Tubby’s how’s that sound? He used to say it don’t really sound too good, but his reason for doin’ that is to let you always keep tryin’ harder. Years after he confesses; he said, ‘A lot of that stuff you were doin’, it was good but I was scared at the time that if I let you know how good you doin’, you probably would have gotten swell headed an’ stop tryin’. He was truly a genius.”

At the end of the 1970’s, Scientist (now also referred to as ‘The Dub Chemist’) left Tubby’s to become the main engineer at Channel One Studios, and working with Henry “Junjo” Lawes, cut some best-selling dub albums, only to leave for the greener pastures of Tuff Gong in 1982.

Toxic Grafity: Reflections on Self-hood and Revolution

14th February, 2015

I write this on a significant date. No, not St. Valentine’s day (3id l-7ubb, ‘The Festival of Love’ in the Arabic-speaking world), but the fourth anniversary of Bahrain’s 14th February revolution, a revolution that was suppressed by a lethal combination of Saudi tanks and British political and diplomatic cover. I lived in Bahrain at the time of the revolution, first teaching Comparative Literature at the University of Bahrain, and later Teacher Training at Bahrain Teachers College. Many of the students who I taught between 2007 and 2011 were activists directly involved in the uprising.

The Kill Your Pet Puppy website did a feature on my old fanzine, Toxic Grafity (1978-82), early in 2009. I don’t think I’d quite got it back in 2009, but post 2011 I now see that what the KYPP website was about was a new way of taking Punk seriously.

Of course, Punk (broadly defined) has always been taken seriously in some ways, first and foremost by ‘old’ punks (nowadays ‘old’ in multiple senses) who had always, in one way or another ‘kept the faith’, but also musicological and as a minority interest in Cultural Studies.

But where I think the online KYPP circa 2009 was ahead of the curve was in taking Punk seriously not simply as a ‘counter-culture’, but as a movement which, if not ‘revolutionary’ in direct political sense, was, very significantly, a sustained reaction against and attack on the political-economic phenomenon that would later be called ‘neo-liberalism’. In this regard, Punk was as important as, indeed was perhaps (in a way that we participants didn’t quite see at the time) an extension of the counter-cultural revolutionary movements of the 1960s.

Since the end of the first decade of twenty-first century, the serious scholarly study of the Punk phenomenon has blossomed, in large part through the use of ‘life history’, and ethnographic and auto ethnographic qualitative research approaches. The lazy 1980s and 1990s stereotypes of punks as yobby, mouthy, slightly comical nothings has, I’m sure been laid to rest. In their place, in the second decade of the C21st punks are beginning to re-emerge, I think, not just as counter-cultural figures, but as revolutionaries, of a sort.

In the light of this, I have to revise the glib response I gave in 2009 to KYPP’s feature on TG. Not least of all because of my witness of, and involvement in, a real revolution during the so-called ‘Arab Spring’ of 2011. In early 2009 I’d just been appointed to a senior position at the teachers’ college, and had been involved in its 2008 start-up. This in turn had been part of a significant reform initiative, the Bahrain 2030 Vision, which was supported by the reformist faction of Bahrain’s ruling Al Khalifa family, and in extension the Bahrain regime’s British backers.

On 20th February 2009 I wrote some short reminiscences for KYPP to go with their TG feature. However, the version of ‘me’ that wrote that now seems a very distant figure, writing from a complacent middle age how:

“I’ve repudiated so much of what I used to believe in during those days in the late 1970s, but the closing words for Crass’ ‘Bloody Revolutions’ track ‘but the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero still appeals to the Burkean in me ….”

I kidded myself that that was a smart thing for me to write at the time, looking back at 2009 me from the perspective of 2015 it just seems smart-arse, smug and deeply reactionary.

But that’s how I was at that time, insufferably smart-arse, smug, sliding into an abyss of reactionary complacency. True, I had to be careful of what I wrote about myself: even before the vicious counter-revolution that murderously suppressed the 2011 uprising, the Al Khalifa family-state in Bahrain was a surveillance state and a police state with a nasty reputation for torture; yet I was, as a well-paid British expatriate professional a beneficiary of that state.

Looking back from the perspective of 2015, the ‘me’ of 1978 or 1979 seems far closer to the ‘me’ of 2015 than does the ‘me’ of 2009. That ‘me’ is no more. I hesitate to say ‘dead’ because I doubt one’s earlier selves can ever really be ‘dead’ to one’s present self. Rather, I see that 2009 self as having been distilled away by a kind of alchemy, as dross burnt away in a crucible, as a fragile construct devastatingly de-constructed, shattered, and blasted across the four cardinal compass points by a tsunami of fire.

Stripped of the façade-like persona I had constructed around the ‘me’ of 2009, I now see a person remarkably like the ‘me’ of 1978, although I hesitate to say that is the ‘real’ me: to what extent can any of our constructed persona’s be ‘real’ in a fundamental, existential sense? Although I have a sense of there being a kind of essential core to my being, I am skeptical about that core being anything at all to do with any of the conscious persona’s I have sought during my life to project into the world.

Nonetheless, the transformation has been remarkable. The immediate question that arises when contemplating that transformation, then has to be ‘What were the factors that brought it about?’ These factors are easy to identify, but hard to write about.

Firstly, there is the experience of revolution. I don’t mean reading about revolution or merely witnessing one, but of experiencing that inexorable movement that draws one – almost drags one, in some ways reluctantly – from bearing witness to a revolution to becoming part of it. In so far as there is any sort of essential essence to ‘me’ (and I’m not sure such a thing exists), that essence found itself yearning to become part of the world of the revolutionary students whom I taught. Perhaps it wasn’t any sort of ‘essence’, but was merely a survival of the ‘me’ of 1978 lurking about unnoticed among the cacophony of conflicting voices that constitute my consciousness.

Whatever it was, it was able, with a daring and disturbing deftness of touch to take over from the more cautious personae within me and direct my actions in the world. As this happened the part of ‘me’ that is supposed to direct my actions in accordance with rational self-interest retreated to the edge of my consciousness, letting the ‘me’ of 1978 (or something very like it) dictate my actions, even though ‘rational self-interest me’ knew in doing so I would be writing the execution warrant for 2009 ‘me’: deprived of the material and professional symbols that announced my 2009 ‘me’ to the social world beyond me, it would wither.

But if such a transformation is to be anything other than a form of neurosis, it cannot take place entirely within one’s self. Rather, the re-emergence of the 1978 ‘me’ was only possible through my interaction with the social and political world beyond me. That this social and political world was the world of the revolutionary students rather than the world of reactionary expats in their exclusive clubs (of which I was a member) is almost entirely a result of my work in higher education.

Specifically, this brought me directly into contact with the revolutionary youth, and that my reflexive philosophy of education meant that I experienced each and every teaching and learning encounter as a co-construction of knowledge in which both myself and my students were active agents, and in which I was learner as well as teacher, and in which I sought to enable my learners to teach. In the context of pre-revolutionary Bahrain, this inexorably meant that my students educated me in revolution, as I educated them in Comparative Literature, Pedagogy, and the rest of it.

When the revolution happened, I was amazed to witness the world I had dreamed about, fantasised about, in the late 1970s actualize before my eyes: the world in which vast numbers of individuals en masse self-organize autonomously of the state and state structures to become a great collective entity expressing with powerfully a collective political will.

Hundreds of thousands of people out of a population of 1.1 million occupied social space and in an atmosphere of carnival-like creativity organizing not only the essentials needed to maintain everyday bare life – food, water, shelter, waste management – but articulated a revolutionary culture and aesthetic of awesome. The state seemed about to wither away before my eyes and the words of the young Wordsworth on the French Revolution ‘Bliss it was that dawn to be alive ….’ hardly seemed to do it justice.

My 2009 ‘me’ had allowed itself to be convinced that these things were merely a whimsical fantasy, a delusion, a platform for the adolescent showing of and grandstanding of the emotionally insecure and immature. This, had I even thought of it in such depth at the time, was probably 2009 ‘me’ critique of the 1978 ‘me’, and perhaps there was validity in that critique. I still see aspects of 1978 ‘me’ as having been hopelessly immature, insecure and perhaps inadequate.

But be that as it may, what I was witnessing in 2011 was something altogether different to immature fantasies of revolution. Rather, it was a people, young and old and of all walks of life making history, becoming the subject-objects of their own revolutionary becoming. This was bigger than ‘me’, of any of the ‘mes’ that have noisily occupied the conscious space of my individuality. I saw how social and political forces flowed through my subjectivity, shaping it and in turn being shaped by it, as a river forms the landscape even as its course is determined by it.

I saw subjectivity not as a stasis, but as a process, that my ‘me’ was a construct that would always be a work in progress, never complete. I further saw how this transformation of one’s understanding of self and society was inherently part of the revolutionary process. That in rejecting the static social and political structures in which both coercion and ideology corral us, revolutionary consciousness, life-as-becoming, is re-initiated.

But I also saw how vulnerable this is. How, its awesome social power notwithstanding, revolutionary consciousness mobilized on the streets was vulnerable to the state’s ruthless projection of military force. I have no desire to denigrate the Western ‘occupy’ movements, but in the Arab world the occupation of social space is a far more dangerous act, and a far more overt challenge to the power of the state than it is in the West. It is not so much to ‘occupy’ social space as to bring social space into being.

As social space comes into being so the space in which the state can ceremonially display its power, a kind of ‘ceremonial violence’ diminishes. When this happens haybat al-dawla, the ‘fear’ or ‘awe’ of the state that maintains unfair power relations vanishes, and if it is to survive the state then turns ruthlessly on its own people.

This is what happened in Bahrain, and this is also what I personally witnessed. No, more than merely witnessed, what I experienced and participated in, most notably on 11th March 2011 when an attempted occupation of the University of Bahrain was viciously crushed by the state’s police, military, and vigilantes.

When protesters oppose live fire with their bodies, or seek to fight off tanks with bricks or Molotovs, they are making a moral case to the outside world, ‘help us’. Yet the ways such messages are mediated in the global media are geopolitically determined, and the Al Khalifa family-state’s status as a regional ‘ally’ of the trans-Atlantic West ensured that that moral case went unheard, that Bahrain’s was the ‘forgotten’ or ‘inconvenient’ revolution, that the tank tracks could roll across blood and brain-soaked pavement with impunity.

Yet the resistance continues, although seldom now is it a contestation for control of the prestige social spaces of the capital, Manama. As the family-state’s forces sought to push into the villages, the heartlands of the revolution, the villages fought back, continue to fight back.

I returned to the UK a shattered, broken person. My wounds opened afresh and salt poured in them by my realization of the sickening extent of Britain’s complicity in atrocity in Bahrain, the bloodthirsty, greedy hypocrisy of its wider Middle East policy, at the realization of the re-establishment of colonial relations in the region: in 2014 Britain announced the building of a new naval base in Bahrain, a drastic reversal of Britain’s 1971 ‘withdrawal from east of Suez’, and the de facto return of Bahrain to protectorate status. But the British public seems hardly aware of this.

The years since 2011 have seem me struggle with mental illness, specifically with post-traumatic stress disorder and major depressive disorder. I have come close to suicide, but now I now longer see this as illness, although the pain and anguish continue. Rather, I try to feel the pain as the death-agonies of my 2009 ‘me’ as it burns in a hell of its own construction, and as the re-birth cry of the ‘me’ of 1978, but older, more mature, far better educated, hopefully wiser.

The pain of this coming-into-being I am learning to live with, and I am struggling now to see my painful inner experiences not in pathologized terms as mental ‘illness’, but as a form of rage against a gross injustice that is being perpetrated on us by a neoliberal elite in Britain as well as in Bahrain and elsewhere. The 1978 ‘me’ has been reborn in and of fire, and this rebirth is of itself a revolutionary act.

Perhaps I’ve been too harsh on myself, but only on my 2009 ‘me’. And I’ve been a bit critical of my 1978 self, and Toxic Grafity, Crass, and in extension the rest of them. Really, back in the day the whole lot of us were more than a bit virgins-talking-about-sex about revolution. All of us. But my main point in this reflective essay, I think, has been about the shifting nature of subjectivity, and how this relates to revolution, and how the latter shatters and then reformulates the former.

In some ways, 2011, on a subjective level, was about the exorcism of my 2009 self, a persona that led to the embodiment and re-enactment on my part of a whole heap of neoliberal, late capitalist values that have been rammed down all our throats over the past thirty years. As such, I suspect that what I experienced in the Middle East might be some sort of vanguard of a process which, I fear, we might all have to go through in Britain lest we are to fall into the thrall of some sort of fascism.

I have the people of Bahrain to thank for this rescuing of ‘me’ from the ‘self’ I had constructed. Toxic Grafity and Crass’s ‘Tribal Rival Revel Rebels’ – ‘the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero’ – were a kind of meditation, a kind of reflection, on revolution, albeit essentially an imagined revolution. There are ways in which I still see both as having been hopelessly ill-informed, but I can no longer ‘repudiate’ them as my 2009 ‘me’ did. Instead, I value that meditation, mistakes and embarrassments of a youthful past notwithstanding, for without them the ‘me’ that writes these lines would not exist.

Although I didn’t understand it as such at the time, the Bahrain 2030 Vision reform movement I participated in 2007-11 was itself a failed attempt to offer ‘reform’ as a sop to buy of an earlier revolution, the Bahrain Intifadha of 1995-2002. This Intifadha had developed into a stalemate between the family-state and the revolutionary masses. In 2002, this reform had had some credibility, when I naively blundered into Bahrain as a professional expatiate, it was morally and politically bankrupted. I got up to speed quite quickly on this one.

While the Bahrain revolution of 2011 may have ‘failed’ in its immediate objective of overthrowing the Al Khalifa family-state, it has succeeded in transforming consciousness. The pre-2011 genie cannot be put back in the bottle, change is coming, big time, not only in Bahrain, but in Saudi Arabia and the wider Gulf region. Punk failed in the sense that bands sold out to major record labels, and punk became a kind of fashion and consumer statement, before finally becoming a kind of safe TV dinner ‘Young Ones’ joke.

But another Punk continued, the counter-cultural, revolutionary Punk that fed into the Western ‘Occupy’ and similar movements. I was involved in the early days of this with ‘Stop the City’, before I became a deluded reactionary. These guerilla-Punk ‘occupy’ strategies and tactics, the occupy asthetics and modes of protest-as-performance were in turn, in far more drastic and violent contexts, adapted in the Arab world, and elsewhere in Greece and Latin America from 2011 onwards. I suspect that in this altered form they will yet return to the UK as the crisis deepens further in this decade.

It was an honour to have been part of both 2011 and 1978, and for fate, in the form of social forces that determine the shape of my subjectivity, to have intervened to connect my youth with my later middle age.
Fuck the system.









This edition of Toxic Grafity was put together while I was squatting in New Cross, south London and originally printed during late 1979, but it didn’t really get into folks homes until early 1980, when a substantial reprint was done. Originally 2,000 came off the presses, quite how many were eventually printed, I am not sure.

Joly from Better Badges (who also printed the first three KYPP’s fanzines, the last three were printed by Little ‘A’ Printers) used to always swing things so it seemed that I owed him lots of money (quite large sums for those days); I’m sure he may well have been diddling me, but that was my fault, because I was very naive in those days and thought that anything do with business, copyright etc, was bourgeois and reactionary, so perhaps I deserved it. *** Also, it must also be added that I was off my head a fair bit in those days, but of course so was Joly! Judging by the number of flexi’s that were sent to Better Badges, I suspect the actual print run was over 10,000, perhaps well over.

A year before the release of this particular issue of Toxic Grafity, in 1978, and also during 1979, there had been some really nasty rucks at Crass gigs at the Conway Hall in Red Lion Square in west central London. These rucks had mainly been fought between boneheads and bikers brought in by the SWP.

I can’t remember what the gigs were in aid of, but it was something the SWP had a hand in. The boneheads were used to pushing punks around, but got far more than they bargained for when taking on the bikers, some of whom were grown men in their 30s and 40s armed with bike chains, knives etc. After those experiences at their concerts Crass seemed to get a lot more edgy than they had been previously about sharing any sort of platform with members of the ‘hard’ left wing.

The lyrics to the Crass 7″ single ‘Bloody Revolutions’ is based on that feeling from the band around this time.

Basically it was the left wing causes that Crass would sometimes support, that seemed to aggravate the boneheads, and of course the boneheads would generally mill around the halls looking dangerous, and on occasions causing some real trouble.

Toxic Grafity didn’t really have those left wing associations, and (luckily) I also knew a few of the bonehead contingent quite well. I had always despised their ideology, but on a human level I was quite friendly with some of them. This I think helped diffuse things when Crass performed at the Toxic Grafity event staged at the Conway Hall late on in 1979.

It was not a violent night at all, which was obviously good news at the time considering the previous gigs at the Conway Hall. There were of course some minor problems, but those situations were quickly nipped in the bud by some friends of my family that had come to witness the gig.

The flexi disc followed on from the Toxic Grafity benefit gig, it was Penny’s idea, he bought it up one evening at Dial House, the Crass commune, way out in North Weald, Essex.

The original Toxic Grafity benefit was staged because of an incident late on in 1978 when I was pulled by the police in Soho, the seedier area of the west end of London. The police stopped me on one of those charges they used to pick punks and other ne’r-do-wells up on, the infamous SUS law.

I had stopped off in Soho on my way back from a visit to Dial House, and had the artwork of an earlier Toxic Grafity on me.

The police found this highly amusing, as you might imagine, destroyed the artwork, treated me a bit roughly, threatened me, and said that they’d put me on some sort of Special Branch terrorist watch list. Looking back on this as a 50 year-old I can see that this was almost certainly bullshit, but I took it seriously enough at the time!

As a result, Crass decided to help Toxic Grafity out (a previous issue had carried one of the first in-depth interviews with them), and the gig at the Conway Hall and the flexi disc followed on from that.

The track on the flexi disc, was not one of Crass’ more in-depth or enigmatic tracks, rather it was what it says it is, a protest against violent political sectarianism screwing up the young. Of course I was extremely grateful never the less.

I’ve repudiated so much of what I used to believe in during those days in the late 1970’s, but the closing words for Crass’ ‘Bloody Revolutions’ track “but the truth of revolution, brother, is Year Zero” still appeals to the Burkeian in me!

Joly at Better Badges did the litho printing for the fanzine and sorted out the badges. Southern Studios took care of the flexi disc by Crass, but I can’t remember where they had it pressed, or how many exactly were manufactured. The Crass flexi discs were written in red for the original publication of Toxic Grafity, others were written in silver for subsequent issues of the fanzine.

There were five Toxic Grafity fanzines that were produced and sold from 1978 – 1981.

Toxic Grafity issue 6 and 7 were planned and in large part nearly prepared, but I became a father in March 1982 (I’m now a grandfather, twice), and ‘reality’ stepped in quite soon after so all those projects were cancelled.

The later Toxic Grafity’s, including the issue above, had dropped the whole band interview thing and had become more like an anarcho-punk agit-art magazine, similar to what Kill Your Pet Puppy would evolve into.

By 1983 I was doing a lot of dispatching and also a lot of ‘white van man’ work until sometime in 1989. While doing these small jobs, a friend of mine, Wayne Minor (from Brixton’s 121 Railton Road bookshop) and myself brought out one issue of “The Commonweal” which was a more mainstream anarchist publication in 1985.

In 1989 I entered university as a mature student. I now live and work in the middle east.


*** This statement has been discussed by Mike and Joly subsequently in the comments to the original KYPP post from February 2009 but I feel I should leave that part of the essay in for this reproduction on this KYPP post in March 2015.