CEASE AND RESIST – SONIC SUBVERSION AND ANARCHO PUNK IN THE UK 1979 – 1986 – OPTIMO MUSIC
Cease And Resist – Sonic Subversion and Anarcho Punk In The UK 1979-86 is compiled by JD Twich and Chris Low and released on the Optimo Music record label.
Ten years in the making, this double album looks back at some of the most radical music ever recorded by acts at the forefront of the underground and self-initiated musical movement, Anarcho Punk.
Compiled by JD Twitch and Chris Low for Optimo Music, the compilation spans music made between 1979-86 and features classic tracks from Crass, Poison Girls, Flux Of Pink Indians, The Mob, The Apostles, Zounds, Honey Bane, The Cravats, The Ex, Lack of Knowledge, Hagar The Womb, Chumbawamba, The Alternative, Annie Anxiety, Andy T and more including several previously unreleased studio versions of classic tracks:
A1 Zounds – Can’t Cheat Karma
A2 Honey Bane – Girl On The Run
A3 Crass – Bloody Revolutions (Alternate studio version)
A4 Annie Anxiety – Hello Horror
B1 Flux Of Pink Indians – Tube Disaster
B2 Andy T – Death Is Big Business
B3 Poison Girls – Underbitch
B4 Alternative – Anti-Christ
B5 The Cravats – Rub Me Out
C1 The Apostles – Mob Violence (unreleased original full studio version)
C2 Lack Of Knowledge – We’re Looking For People
C3 Hit Parade – Here’s What You Find In Any Prison
C4 Hagar the Womb – Idolisation
C5 Alternative TV – The Force Is Blind
D1 Chumbawamba – Revolution
D2 The Ex – Ay Carmela
D3 D&V – Conscious (Pilot)
D4 The Mob – No Doves Fly Here (unreleased original studio version)
Anarcho punk was the one sub-genre of punk that emerged in isolation from the rock and roll establishment. During its pioneering days of the early 1980s it thrived in opposition to the music industry, existing as a fiercely underground alternative to the bands, labels and venues of the commercialised mainstream punk scene. It continues to do so. Anarcho punk represented one of the last truly underground and autonomous music movements ever witnessed and remains a movement that has never sold out and has never gone away.
The major differentiation between the anarcho punk acts and the more traditional punk outfits was that for the former, albeit often more due to musical limitation than intent, the message was more important than the music. Standard song structures were often dispersed with in favour of a relentless lyrical polemic accompanied by a similarly uncompromising aural assault. As the scene grew, so did the diversity of records that emerged under the anarcho punk umbrella: from D & V (drums & vocals) to the proto-EBM synth-pop of Belfast’s one-man Hit Parade and the Dadaist Beefheart hybrid of The Cravats. In later days the two biggest acts of the scene, Flux of Pink Indians and Crass themselves, both released albums which had more in common with improv Jazz than hardcore punk.
The resounding victory of anarcho punk is that it is now a the unifying soundtrack to a culture of resistance that spans Scotland to Indonesia and remains without compromise. It is still as removed from mainstream music and oppositional to conventional culture as it was over forty years ago and shows no sign of changing. Quite the opposite: the more popular anarcho punk becomes the less it has to engage with the music establishment and the more control it can enjoy. In 2023, that message remains as uncompromising as ever.
This is a double vinyl retrospective compilation of some of the most radical music ever made, a musical force that changed lives. Covering the years 1979 – 86 and all newly remastered by master engineer Daniel Husayn. It comes as a high quality double vinyl pressing with a full colour sleeve featuring iconic artworks by the legendary Gee Vaucher plus a six page fold-out poster with detailed sleeve notes and images and a stunning anarcho-inspired wall-poster on the reverse by Glasgow graphic artist Andrew Beltran.
The compilation is a fundraiser for Faslane Peace Camp. Not so far from Glasgow, Faslane Naval Base is home to Britain’s abhorrent Trident nuclear missiles. The camp has been there, protesting since 1982 and is still active to this day. We hope in our lifetime we will see those missiles leave Scottish soil. We have so much respect for those who have dedicated their lives to protesting against these weapons and it seemed an obvious choice that the proceeds from this release should go to help them and the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.
About the compilers of the album
JD Twitch and Chris Low met as teenagers in the pre-House/Techno club scene in Edinburgh. They had their lives changed by the arrival of House Music and the subsequent Rave revolution, both DJing at and promoting club nights in the city as the 80s turned into the 90s. Prior to this, Chris was extremely active at the very heart of the anarcho punk scene, at a preternaturally young age. JD Twitch fell in love with anarcho punk after the fact, becoming a passionate advocate of the music and its message. Staying in touch throughout the years they began discussing putting together this compilation around a decade ago. It has been a very long process to get to this point, but here we finally are!
ANDY MARTIN AND CHRIS LOW DURING THE RECORDING OF THE 2ND APOSTLES EP IN 1984 – PHOTOGRAPH FROM CHRIS LOW COLLECTION
Chris Low first discovered punk in the late 1970s. At the age of eleven, he first saw Crass play his hometown of Stirling and embraced the emerging band and fanzine scene that would come to be known as anarcho punk. He published three issues of the fanzine, Guilty of What? and took up drumming. Since the early 1980s Chris played, recorded, and toured with seminal Anarcho acts including Political Asylum, The Apostles, Oi Polloi and Part One. He also contributed articles and graphics to early issues of Class War amongst other anarchist publications. Like Twitch, Chris became a DJ in the 1980s, coincidentally starting his first night, Sex Beat, on Wednesdays in the same Edinburgh venue Twitch was playing on Saturdays at The Backroom club. He ran and DJd at Edinburgh clubs Soma, Skidoo and the Ahoy! Raves on the Waves and continues to DJ regularly in London and internationally. He has retained a relationship with Punk throughout these years until the present, documenting the Tokyo Punk scene in a photo-book and exhibitions. He is currently working on an anthology of ‘Pigs for Slaughter fanzine and reissues of ‘The Apostles’ recordings.
JD Twitch (AKA Keith McIvor) is a DJ, artist, activist, producer, label runner and event promoter, active since 1987. He co-founded the club Pure which ran from 1990 – 2000 in Edinburgh and founded the club Optimo (Espacio) which ran from 1997 – 2010 in Glasgow. Optimo (Espacio) continues to be active to this day as a DJ duo comprising JD Twitch & Jonnie Wilkes, touring globally. Optimo (Espacio) also put on regular club nights in Glasgow and in 2022, celebrate their 25th anniversary. JD Twitch has a long and diverse production and remix discography and also runs the Optimo Music record label (and various sub labels) with a discography of almost 200 releases. He is active raising funds and awareness for various local (and beyond) anti-racist organisations & local Glasgow food bank.
BEST B4 1984 – IMAGES FROM THE ANARCHO PUNK UNDERGROUND – LOWTHARIO PRESS
SO MUCH MORE THAN MUSIC – CHRIS LOW
I hope these pages I have curated from the boxes of fanzines and flyers I avidly collected between 1980 and 1984 reflect the vibrancy of the unique and empowering movement we now know as anarcho punk in all its glorious diversity.
From the deranged looking, hastily assembled and barely legible cut up and scrawled pages of Cobalt Hate and Coming Attack to Gee Vaucher’s artistic and beautifully presented graphic agit-prop magazine The International Anthem; From the vegetarian recipes for recent meat-free converts in New Crimes and Oi Polloi’s early Skinhead Havoc to the recipes for Molotov cocktails in ‘The Militant Anarchist Punk’ zine Pigs For Slaughter and guide to squatting on The Apostles’ first EP cover; From testimony from gay punks to the inclusive liberation the scene offered to the caustic critique of punk tribalism in the embryonic Napalm Death’s iconoclastic anthem, ‘Punk Is A Rotting Corpse’, It can all be found within these facsimile pages. The images are presented in a vague thematic order illustrating the preponderant concerns of the scene in this nascent period when fears of an escalating arms race were a primary concern and perhaps surprisingly veganism barely existed within the anarcho punk milieu. I have tried to avoid the obvious images, posted all over the internet and, in more recent times, commercially reproduced on T-shirts and posters and sold by opportunists on Ebay. Though, lamentably, I expect there will be all the more appearing once this collection is published!
I have fond memories of the fanzine Guilty of What? I published three issues of over the years 1982-1983, during which time I was aged twelve, going-on thirteen. The name was inspired by two sources: a badge I had picked up following Sid Vicious’ arrest for murdering his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen and the title of an article I had read about the Persons Unknown trial of an Anarchist cell arrested on bomb making charges. In hindsight, this could be seen as an unconscious attempt to synthesise Anarchism and Punk as, truth be known, I’d never even considered this at the time. Similarly, I only discovered recently that one of the very first ever uses of the genre term ‘Anarcho Punk’ in print was a review of my final issue in the excellent Sunderland ‘zine, Acts of Defiance.
All three editions of Guilty of What? were assembled solely by myself at home using my mum’s typewriter, scissors, glue stick, the mandatory WH Smiths blue plastic stencil and any Letraset I could steal from the local art shop. My father got the first issue copied at his work. Issues two and three were printed by the bassist of my first band, Toxic Noise, who was working on a YOP Scheme (early 1980s Government ‘Work Opportunities Programme’) at a printing company in Stirling and was able to duplicate my zine on the side, which at ‘mates rates’. He also printed Twisted Nerve #5 by Miles [Ratledge] the similarly aged original Napalm Death drummer, who I’d become friends with through the DIY cassette and fanzine trading scene.
As I produced my zines years before I could legally drink, and was still at school, and living with my parents, all my pocket money plus everything I made from the sales of my zine and the cassettes I put out on my tape label went straight back into fanzine production, buying records and going to gigs. Needless to say, postal costs were heavily subsidised by the time-honoured ‘punk post’, i.e. applying Sellotape or a coating of soap to postage stamps so the franking mark could be erased and they could be reused, often repeatedly.
Like everyone involved with anarcho punk at the time, I’d have said I did it “to get the message across”; all issues had articles on the mandatory anarcho punk topics: Nuclear disarmament, apartheid, vivisection, fox hunting, etc. Being active and campaigning against these ills seemed just as important as the music at the time. The reality is probably a cross between that and writing a zine simply being a fun thing to do and having some sort of precocious creative urge within me that it satisfied. There was the ‘fan’ angle too – providing a legitimate reason to write to and sometimes meet the bands and musicians I was a ‘fan’ of Crass, Flux, Discharge, The Alternative, Omega Tribe, DIRT, Poison Girls, etc. ‘Fandom’, per se, being much maligned within anarcho punk culture.
Access and response were the major factors that determined content. Access in what bands I could successfully make contact with and response as in how, and if, they responded when I wrote to them with questions or attempted to conduct a telephone interview. Some were successful, Crass always responded to postal interviews with detailed, in-depth answers, whilst others, memorably with Discharge, The Wall and Anti-Pasti, were pitifully terse. I also covered local Scottish bands such as Stirling punk heroes, The Fakes and Dunfermline peace punks, The Alternative.
Also, as I soon discovered, producing a zine allowed me to blag free stuff (posters, records etc.) and once I discovered tape-trading became an avenue for the reciprocal exchange of tapes of my early bands (Distraught, Political Asylum) and others throughout Europe and the rest of the world. Every week letters, tapes and other fanzines, often in native languages I couldn’t comprehend and from places I’d never heard of, would drop through the family letterbox. And every night I’d spend responding to them and copying tapes to dispatch in return.
There were various reasons I stopped producing zines: Guilty of What? It became very much an ‘anarcho-punk’ zine and by late 1983 the scene was beginning to change into something I was moving away from, mostly due to the influence of the ‘hardcore’ scene from America and ‘thrash’ sound from Scandinavia both of which held little appeal for me. I always thought when Crass split in 1984 anarcho-punk lost much of its direction and became more about the music rather than the ideas which, like the visuals, were the elements I found most the engaging.
But maybe that was just me? I was only thirteen at the time…
INTERNATIONAL PURCHASE RATES, INC. POSTAGE & PACKING:
UK: £27.40 / Europe: £38.60 / USA: £50.00.
There will be no extra import charges on delivery. Please send payment via Paypal at the address
email@example.com (that is the correct address – just ‘co’)
Don’t forget to add your address in the message field and please add if you would like your copy signed.
Any other questions, please message Chris direct on the same email address.
THE ‘CEASE AND RESIST’ ALBUM AND ‘BEST B4 1984’ BOOK LAUNCH PARTY – MICKEY PENGUIN
Helgi’s in Hackney was the venue chosen to hold the launch party for the album; ‘Cease And Resist – Sonic Subversion And Anarcho Punk In The UK 1979 -1986’ and the launch party for the book; ‘Best B4 1984 – Fanzine And Flyer Images From The Anarcho Punk Underground’.
Both the album and book projects had been put together by the unstoppable force that is Chris Low, as was the organising of this launch party at Helgi’s.
The launch party was a resounding success, and as far as I know, no guests were seriously injured walking around the area to the rear of the venue. The venue was very dark, front and back, but especially around the rear of the venue, where the room was that we would eventually be seated and standing in. The rear of the venue had several steps to trip over, and a set of stairs leading to the depths of the building to wobble down backwards! Those that survived a trip down those stairs leading to the toilets, almost met their maker walking back up them again, what with the loose handrail!
Helgi’s is an ‘occult’ rock bar with ‘unique & esoteric décor’, reminiscent of the ‘Ghost Train’ rides at the fairgrounds that I would have gone on as a pre-teen. Maybe injury and near death experiences for patrons are the Helgi’s bar’s standard policy, and expected as all being part of the experience!
It was an amazing venue, quite small but utterly amazing.
Nick Hydra and Dani Mejia (Less Than Human) DJ’d the bar. Both of their strictly vinyl punk and gothic sets were also ‘piped’ to the rear of the venue, so other patrons who were not necessarily in the tiny bar area, could hear the music. Nick and Dani both played great sets.
Chris Low run around in a blind panic from 6pm. Chris’ hectic state remained for pretty much the whole of the night, although he was, of course, courteous and approachable to all in the venue.
Tony D turned up as a ‘pound shop Adam Ant’ after a visit to the hospital earlier that afternoon, for a small operation on the bridge of his nose. The black strip plaster across his nose could have at least been a white strip plaster, he missed a trick there!
Tony and the other speakers, Nic, Dani, Rebecca, Chris and also Zillah (from the audience) spoke to the audience which filled the room, and I do mean really filled the room, relaying interesting individual experiences regarding their time in and around the anarcho punk scene.
Donna patiently worked the stall, actually very patiently worked the stall, learning from a member of staff how to process hi-tech digital cashless transactions in super quick time!
GRAHAM BURNETT – NEW CRIMES FANZINE
Many fine folk and old faces attended, some folk who were from bands of those days, some who were fanzine writers of those days, some who, like me, were just eager punters of those days handing over small amounts of money to record store owners and to folk sitting behind desks at various gig venues.
I knew many of the fine folk there, and met other folks that I knew by name but had never actually met. John Eden springs to mind. I met an old friend Tania, who I had not seen for over thirty years, so that was special.
Books and records were sold to some of the fine folk in attendance, the bar staff were pleasant and were busy throughout, the toilets were, well, special, and things were good.
Well done to all involved.
And thank you Chris for giving me the album and book.
Rebecca Binns: Has written the first ever monograph on the work of the artist and designer, Gee Vaucher, titled Gee Vaucher: Beyond Punk, Feminism, and the Avant-Garde (MUP, 2022), which evolved from her PHD research (LCC, 2019). She works as a lecturer on critical theory for design and illustration.
Nicholas Bullen: Founding member and original Vocalist with Napalm Death who started off as an anarcho punk band and enjoyed their first vinyl release in 1984 on the Crass Records compilation, Bullshit Detector volume 3 in addition to publishing a number of fanzines whilst still at school. Nick currently works in sound art and plays with Rainbow Grave.
Chris Low: Chris became involved with the anarcho scene before even reaching his teens, publishing a fanzine and drumming for seminal acts including The Apostles, Part One, Oi Polloi and Political Asylum. A co-compiler of the compilation album with Twitch of Optimo who he met through starting a DJ career at the same Edinburgh club, Chris has remained engaged with the punk scene through his internationally exhibited photography work and writing.
Tony Drayton AKA ‘Tony D’: Moved from his native town Cumbernauld in Scotland to London at the explosion of the original punk movement, starting his first fanzine Ripped and Torn in 1976 before launching the more ‘anarcho focussed’ Kill Your Pet Puppy fanzine which ran from 1979 to 1984 and becoming involved with the early ‘80s London Anarchy Centres. An anthology of his first fanzine was recently published by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Tony will open proceedings by exploring punk’s evolution from 1976 into the anarcho movement this evening celebrates.
Matthew Worley: Coming from an anarcho punk background Matthew has gone on to become a professor of modern history at the University of Reading and co-founder of the Subcultures Network. He has had several books published on the topics of punk, fanzines, and associated culture in addition to collaborating with Steve Ignorant on his most recent autobiography and the collection: References – Lyrics and Stories.
Guest DJs who joined Chris Low in previewing the complete album and spinning a selection of choice anarcho tunes from past and present over the night were Nick Hydra (Punk Rock Youth Club/Solus) and Dani Mejia (Less Than Human/Wraith) who was also one of the speakers on the night.
Tony D opened proceedings by exploring punk’s evolution from 1976 into the anarcho movement this evening celebrates. Here is the transcript.
I am an Antichrist, I am an anarchist.
The opening lines to the Sex Pistols Anarchy In The UK put ‘anarchy’ in the spotlight right from the start. To be a punk was to be an anarchist, because Johnny Rotten tells me so.
It was exciting times, no doubt about that. The single Anarchy was released in November 1976 but all that year there had been music press talk and pictures of punks, wetting the appetite of people like me who lived a long way from London, who devoured anything about this new movement, instinctively feeling this is what we’re looking for.
Then the records started, and it got even more exciting; with a tide of incredible, shouty, angry, snotty, fuck yous pouring out; smashing through the music industry and into our lives, changing our lives for ever. Me, I started a fanzine called Ripped and Torn whilst in Glasgow, and moved to London as soon as I could to be part of it.
“I use the NME”, sneers Rotten, the music press were welcoming punk with open arms and open pages. Punk bands were being signed up to major labels as fast as they could form or rebrand themselves as punks; and the music press were queuing up to do interviews and review punk records. They also wrote a lot about fanzines – because many of their older journalists were using fanzine writing to get a handle on how to report on punk matters.
The flaw in this promotion of all things punk were things like the page in a fanzine which said, ‘here’s three chords now go form a band’; and the Desperate Bicycles lyric, ‘it was easy it was cheap, go and do it.’ The secret was out, pandora’s box was open, anyone can write a song, a review, make a record, make their own magazine. Who needs the music business, we can Do It Ourselves.
One reaction to the growth of DIY and independence was the music industry trying to kill punk. As early as the summer of 1977 the official industry stance states ‘punk is dead’. When they couldn’t kill it they tried to cage it, contain it by creating and favouring certain punk ‘stars’ who only performed at big venues, separating the audience and the bands like in the bad old days before punk. They also neglected any other version of the genre.
But we had the anarchists, the Sex Pistols to fight this corporate takeover, didn’t we? They would save us and keep punk anarchistic and free?
“I use anarchy,” sneers Rotten. When the Pistols influence was needed it was nowhere to be found.
At the same time, London was filling up with punks, who like myself were moving to London from all over the world, to experience and be part of the punk world they had heard about.
By early 1978 punk squatting was beginning in earnest as still punks kept arriving, staying and finding somewhere to live. These squats were often in unsuitable buildings, I squatted in abandoned fire stations, pubs, churches, hospitals and warehouses, living as part of large communal group.
Squatting was a commitment, a 24-hour punk lifestyle.
The story so far, in 1978 punk has evolved into a lifestyle removed from the original Pistols idea; whose idea of ‘Anarchy’ was only a firm commitment to fun; to get pissed, destroy. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
‘Hampstead’s for affairs and not for revolutions’
The band that these squatters were drawn to was The Ants, even though the band didn’t sing about boredom and anarchy like punks were meant to. The music press were not talking about new punk bands, and they were DEFINITELY not talking about The Ants!
This is due to their fetish imagery, camp and risque songs. For these same reasons they were also not signed to a major label – this exclusion meant they had an outsider, outlaw, feel to them and their gigs which the squatters could relate to, so The Ants were seen as the band ‘like us’ to many punks living in London.
And still punks kept arriving. I remember one evening in May 1978 after an Ants gig at the Roundhouse in Camden, walking a troupe of homeless punks down to Central London and opening squats in a big tenement block, which was between Tottenham Court Road station and Cambridge Circus.
Most if not all of these punks had The Ants written on their leather jackets, along with Ant images of fetish and decadence.
“In all our decadence people die,”
Sneers, shouts, screams an angry woman. It’s a wake up call by a band called Crass; turning the world upside down again.
TICKET STUB FROM IAN CHILES COLLECTION – THANK YOU FOR KEEPING THIS WONDERFUL ARTIFACT
Crass’ first record, Feeding of The 5,000, was released in November 1978 but the beginnings of Anarcho Punk really started on January 29 1979, at the Music Machine, when Crass headlined a Small Wonder Records showcase.
With the Pistols, before the release of Anarchy In The UK, I knew what they looked like but could only imagine their music.
With Crass it was the opposite, I loved Feeding and all the literature that went with it, International Anthem and so on, and so were an increasing number of people I knew. But we could only imagine what they looked like live. At the Music Machine we had our first live experience and what an experience, especially to hear Steve Ignorant shout
Do They Owe Us A Living?
Suddenly Crass were on the back of leather jackets everywhere; the squatting punks finding strength and direction in the onslaught of the Crass experience. The noise, the words, the visuals that shouted I am a punk, I am an anarchist; and this time we mean it, man.
Living outside society was a key factor in Anarcho Punk building it’s own identity, unmanufactured and raw. Defiantly DIY was the credo, the 1976 idea of DIY and independence was back in force. Only this time we weren’t just destroying the passer-by, now we were attempting to destroy the world that passer-by lived in; with its’ crushing, constricting conformity.
Inspired, I started a new fanzine called Kill Your Pet Puppy and there were many more springing up all over the place. And bands were forming and playing in all manner of makeshift venues, such as squatted schools, ambulance stations and children’s play parks.
Animal rights, pacifism, the ethics of what we wore and what we ate; these were all introduced into this world; concepts also excluded or disdained by the mainstream. The political words, thoughts and thunderous songs developed over the following years into a diversity of sounds and visions as heard on this album.
Anarcho Punk was excluded from history for a long while, with one example being John Savage’s book England’s Dreaming. The book originally ended with an interview with Crass but this was cut out by the publisher.
However; thanks to the medium of the internet, and with the help of the ‘free’ hosting site, MySpace, Mickey Penguin’s, All The Madmen Records and The Mob pages brought scanned images, information and digitalised music of the bands concerned to browsers world-wide. Continuing the work with this, the Kill Your Pet Puppy site, we have helped the story of Anarcho Punk grow, and to be recognised with the importance it deserves, and it is still as relevant as it continues to this day.
Anarcho Punk is as independent, indignant and angry as ever; still asking
Do they owe us a living? (Of course they fucking do!)