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INTO THE EMERGENCE
OF THE ANARCHO-PUNK SCENE OF THE 1980s
Ph. D. Thesis
INTO THE EMERGENCE
SCENE OF THE 1980s
OF THE ANARCHO-PUNK
ARICAS School of Media, Music & Performance University of Salford, Salford, UK
Submitted in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements of the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy, October 2004
THESIS CONTAINS VIDEO
CHAPTER ONE THE TRANSFORMATION OF THE SUBVERSIVE: ANARCHIST THEORY AND THE BRITISH PUNK ROCK SCENE OF THE 1970S 1
FROM WAR TO RECESSION: DETERMINING FACTORS IN THE EMERGENCE OF BRITISH PUNK IN THE LATE 1970s 1. Punk and The Consensus: The Move Towards the Anarchic 1.1.1940-1955: The Building Blocks of the Consensus 1.2. A Force to be Reckoned With: Sustaining Britain's `World Role' 1.3. Looking After the Nation: The Establishment of the Welfare State 1.4. Fixing the `Balance of Payments': The Development of the `Mixed Economy' 1.5.1955-1979: The Breakdown of the Consensus 1.6. `Rivers of Blood': Another Blow to the Consensus 1.7. Final Thoughts: The Beginning of the End 2. Pop vs. Progressive Rock: Starting Out on the Punk Rock Road to Nowhere 2.1. Musical Whiplash: K-Tel and the Politics of Boredom 2.2. From New York to Sex: Sonic Reducing in the Big Apple 3. The Sex Pistols and Anarchic Rhetoric: `Cos They Meant it Man 56 57 63 71 72 73 83 93 46 48 50 50 54
CHAPTER THREE THE POLITICS OF POST-PUNK: CRASS AND THE MOVE TOWARDS THE `ANARCHO' 109 1. New Beginnings: The Transformation of the Punk Rock `Ethos' 114 1.2. From Protestto Parody: The Building Blocks of the `Anarcho'
2. Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Parallel Emergence of Discharge 3. `Bloody Revolutions': Crass and the Forging of a New Direction 4. Parliamentary Questions: Crass and the Politics of War 5. Instantaneous Spontaneity Drive: The Final Path of the `Anarcho' 5.1. Us Fish Must Swim Together: Anarcho-Punk and Lyrical Reflection 5.3. Onwards and Upwards: `Culture Shock' and the Hindrance of Stereotype 5.4 A Revolt Against the Rational: The End of the Road for the `Anarcho'
129 144 166 183 188 202 208
CONCLUSION 1. Unfinished Business: The Thread of Dissent into the'80s and Beyond 2. From Conflict to Sore Throat: Musical Heterogeneity of the AnarchoMovement 3. The Relationship Between Punk and the `Anarcho': Final Thoughts
1. Iggy and the Stooges:`Searchand Destroy'. 2. The Yardbirds: `Heart Full of Soul'.
3. 4. 5. 6. The Sex Pistols: `Anarchy in the UK'. The Sex Pistols: `God Save the Queen'. Crass: `Punk is Dead'. Crass: `Darling'
7. Crass: `White Punks on Hope'. 8. Discharge: `Fight Back'. 9. Crass: `Bloody Revolutions'. 10. Crass: YesSir, I Will, (Extract). 11. Crass: `How Does it Feel?' 12. Subhumans:`From the Cradle to the Grave'. 13. Culture Shock: `Joyless'. 14. Poisongirls: `PersonsUnknown'. 15. Honey Bane: `Porno Grows'. 16. Conflict: `Increasethe Pressure'. 17. Sore Throat: `Heath'.
.18. SoreThroat: `Eat Organic'.
for his time and generous donation of Threat by Example. Gee from Crass for her thoughts. I would like to thank George McKay for his advice and article through the post.for their never ending support and help. bored and badgered throughout this project.mum. Nick Reynolds. Eloise and David (who saved my life at the last minute). thesis. Good luck to you all in your dissent! I would also like to show my appreciation enjoyable and constructive towards Simon Warner for making my viva an experience. after a few pints! Obviously I would like to thank my family . Although this work has often been a struggle. advice and encouragement. hugs. Without them I would like least Last but I have to thank Sam. half of the McLibel trial for his ideas surrounding anarchism for Home loads Stewart the sending me protest of stuff about and wider movement. Dave Morris. Linfield Mike Doe. V1 . There are many friends that have been involved. Especially to Kev for his chats about punk and anarchism (as well as magic tricks). the to go Dave (the Fonz). mugs of brew and constant support she has been an inspiration to me: thank-you. everything and Paul Marsh from Class War who sent me the (near) complete backlog of the paper. for their constant support and encouragement through the long and (seemingly) endless completion of this project: I cannot thank them enough. Greg Russ Bestley. Dick Lucas from Citizen Fish.ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS First and foremost I would like to show my appreciation both towards my Supervisor Sheila Whiteley and Derek Scott at the University of Salford. But a special thank-you must (for burning CDs). dad and brother Simon . Robert. this would not completed never Between her patience. it has taught me that there are many kind and thoughtful people out there who are ready to give you help. Sarah (fingers) Moody. Bettina (on the fiddle) Isaacs and Kev the punk for all their help.
I wish to explore the way in which ideas surrounding `anarcho' and `punk' were fused together so as to provide a space where individuals could develop a more `informed lifestyle' in expressing a subversive distaste towards corporate forms of oppression such as multinationals. musical environment nurtured a social. Here.Abstract This thesis aims to investigate the way in which anarchism . exploring ideas that link it to a continuing thread of agitation akin to groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Situationism. governments and the police. Chapter one will provide an overview of punk within a wider history of political and philosophical dissent. political and The anarcho-punk scene proper is introduced in the main body of this work. With particular attention to the music of the Sex Pistols. I in the to turn which the musical characteristics of the anarchoway primarily will punk movement encompass the twin ideals of `punk' and `anarchism' so as to dissent form towards a capitalist system seen to embody organised of provide a new oppression and uniformity. repercussions on VII . the crisis resultant economic post-war consensus. I wish to explore the extent to which the break down of the in Britain in the 1970s. and for first wave punk to flourish. In particular.both as a means of theoretical political dissent as well as a practical tool of shock .was transformed from the `chaotic' intent of first wave punk towards a more informed political ideology in the emerging `anarcho-punk' scene of the 1980s. In particular. This debate will be further explored in chapter two. I wish to explore the extent to which the practical realities of applying a complex political system such as anarchism had British the transformation the of punk scene as a whole.
any other post-war an more so narrative. a general consensus as to its temporality as a post-war subculture. elements ambiguity. Indeed. flanked 1 . inform the existence of punk as perhaps one of the first move from a modernist meta- from to a paradigmatic emerge subcultures interpretative Perhaps than subculture. there still remains however. and where the so-called `ground-roots' interpretation of a is fanzine `well-written' Xeroxed together often as valid as a patched ' text. fate: is in `good' `bad' is bound twist of self-evident where a up analysis of punk (and vice-versa). performer relationship record production.Chapter 1: The Transformation of the Subversive: Anarchist Theory and the British Punk Rock Scene of the 1970s. academic movement's musical and drawn predominantly from a now well-trodden historical narrative. Despite the many debates surrounding the have been historical of punk analyses origins. Savage (1992) and Laing (1985) to find evidence of a discussion of `punk' being centred around the tapered intensity of the Sex Pistols and the Clash. academic researched Although there remains a definitional ambiguity as to the socio-cultural significance of punk. Paradoxically. fanzine DiY between the or aspect of and and audience. one needs only to turn to the work of Heylin (1993). the very characteristics that constitute a working definition punk are those same characteristics that contribute of towards its definitional define breaking down For the those that such as of the punk. McNeil and McCain (2000).
new wave. In Perry's Sniffin' Glue. 6. 3 Anarcho-punk was by no means the only critique of punk becoming too `fashionable' or `mainstream'. fight for the right to be able to walk down a street unmolested by the authority that was designed to protect us that has turned into the moron machine you all know could devour us all'. surprise yerself (sic) Punk. 'Number 11'. the anarcho-punk scene could be regarded as a backlash against an increasing dependence of punk upon large record labels as well as its noticeable shift ' towards the mainstream. shout about getting beaten up by Teds. this is a debate that will also be touched upon throughout this thesis. Moreover. fashion houses. newspapers or anything that will determine your future existance (sic). But you don't shout about being exploited. Ibid. You don't want to end up like the hippies do you? ' He continues. a political and `ground-roots' emphasis upon fanzine distribution. New York Dolls on one hand.. `Number 11'. p. individual importance the of and personal freedom so as to experiment with identity and expression. 'fight for the right to maintain your individuality. hit back stop posing'. one important musical and political strand of punk that has not been studied in any great depth. Moreover. the debateto which anarcho-punkis thereforeframed within an anarcho/modernist metanarrative will be explored throughout this thesis. 2Again. 2 . Although the study of these are fundamental towards an understanding of 1970s British punk. the author concludes. been termed as subsequently Disillusioned by the increasingly commercial nature of `first wave' punk. an article written by 'Steve at Rough Trade' reads. there still remains however. 'IF YOU WANNA FIGHT UNITE FIGHT BACK AT THE LIES. don't take it like every other minority group. that punk still adheres towards a modernist meta-narrative in that it holds to a real/phoney dichotomy. MC5. a strand that has ' `anarcho-punk'. Central to this was taking the concept of 1 It may be argued however. Anarcho-punk therefore could be interpreted as an attempt to re-ignite a number of generic ideals that were central to the so-called `original' or `authentic' punk ethos of the early to mid-1970s. 'you shout about being the Blank Generation. anarcho-punk began to build upon the socalled earlier established `punk ethos'. These included a return to an essential `anyone-can-do-it' culture of music production and performance. Oi! and post-punk on the other. Consequently. by record companies. show them and yourselves that you do mean what you say.either side by musical and cultural influences: the Velvet Underground.
4 Sabin. anarcho-punk bands in particular advocated a freedom of expression away from what they saw as the constraints of party politics. political debate and These included a heightened awareness of issues such as personal freedom and animal rights.p. this is not to say that it remains unacknowledged. `But if punk stops in 1979.`anarchy' not only seriously but also literally and thus developing ideas surrounding co-operation in order to encourage focused political organised subversive activities. 3 . p.the Clash or Chelsea for instance . (1999) Punk Rock: So What? The Cultural Legacy of Punk. 4. R. 4. Most recently. He observes that left the the the of writes of story out'. as well as the development of local co-operatives where musicians. 5 Ibid. with bands like Crass who took the anarchist message seriously and who on occasion inspired actions which were a real challenge to the "ThatcherReagan axis"'. then it can be argued that there is a great deal ' in introduction he book. ' In effect. artists and like-minded people could meet. Whereas many artists within first wave punk . anarcho-punk did not adhere to any particular political party. London: Routledge. Furthermore.. editor of Punk Rock: So What? The Cultural Legacy of Punk (1999) acknowledged the movement when he apologised for its lack of any real mention within the main body of the book itself. Sabin's commentary therefore tells only part of punk's historical significance. Although anarcho-punk has rarely been touched upon.were seen to have an alliance with the Left. Roger Sabin. is lack this a of analysis an example of surrounding `the anarcho-punk movement.
from its predecessor. More specifically. Although anarcho-punk was to build upon those ideals already mentioned above. as well as of of commercial means as a paraphernalia distribution. it was soon to shrug off the use of Nazi boycotting the shock value. `By 4 . is to explore the emergence of the anarcho-punk scene of the 1970s and 1980s: and . this will be concerned with how anarcho-punk from `anarchy' away using moved as mere connotation and `shock-value'. In terms of analysing its form and structure.to raise questions concerning a scene that is scarcely mentioned. as well as discarded. illuminating those aspects which anarcho-punk appropriated. The discussion will therefore begin in from first into the anarcho-punk emerged which wave way with an exploration punk. prioritising instead a more focused political debate.The central task of this thesis therefore. a step which laid particular emphasis on personal freedom from the constraints of government legislation. rarely written about and seemingly forgotten in the post-punk tales of new wave.to paraphrase Sabin . structure and cultural significance. I will adopt an essentially analytical perspective so as to raise questions initially over the origins of the scene and subsequently over its form. Oi! and the emerging 1980s. labels and of music recording means a as record An important be in first to the also raise questions over ways will which aspect of my analysis ideas the and concepts surrounding used wave punk and anarcho-punk the terminology and concept of `anarchy'. Not least. I wish to raise questions as to the almost arbitrary manner in which institutions and established forms of communication were manifest in the formation of the anarcho-punk scene.
p. concerned with the way in which anarcho-punk as a the relationship between both the appropriation of established objects and institutions.repositioning and recontextualizing 6 commodities'.. `the communication of a significant difference. p.. He continues. 102. Consequently. p. this raises questions about the wider cultural significance of is In `scene'. (musical consumption for instance) and the everyday. a heightened sense of political opinion and the music material itself. D. co-operatives. 7 Ibid. writes Hebdige. 102. 5 . By drawing upon Hebdige one can note a significant importance in analysing 6 Hebdige. Consequently. In turn. this particular. I will explore the significance of `commodities' such as such gigs. 8lbid. to determine the extent to which they provided and identity beliefs and within the anarcho-punk scene of coherence communicated a as a whole. London: Routledge. [author's emphasis] then (and the parallel communication of a group identity). a central issue raised within this thesis will be the exploration of discoursesand texts surrounding the development of a punk `scene' and the way in which that `scene' in particular explored and appropriated the concepts of `anarchy' and `subversion' in the political climate of the 1970s and 1980s. [author's emphasis] is the `point' behind the style of all spectacular ' subcultures'. 102. the subculturalist stylist gives the lie to what Althusser has called the "false consciousness of everyday practice" and opens up the world of objects to new and covertly ' oppositional readings'. (such as the social and political climate of the time) were manifest in the emergence and development of what can be termed a scene. (1994) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. `by subverting their conventional uses and inventing new ones.
one which can to their surroundings. Bands record companies were three magazines years. moreover in the way in which people can define their in local this case. and everyday relationship be interpreted broadly as the anarcho-punk `scene' within my research. (1994) Dissonant Identities: The Rock 'n' Roll Scenein Austin. 114. alienation 9 Shank. but. almost both The was similar to and cultural explosion made.. p. 6 .p. 114. 11 Ibid. formed. "Ibid.Hanover: WesleyanUniversity Press.. late in that the scene at notes music punk scene lasted burst for that the creative activity a of scene] marked punk venue central founded. Indeed. the author concludes that an eclectic liberal in `drawn the this to oasis mix of artists. to of of out middle of conservative make sense worked " from the contemporary condition'. movies were different from the initial progressive country movement'. This is concerned not only with the way in which musical texts are consumed. B. feelings their Texas.popular music texts within a wider social and cultural framework so as to illuminate the way in which those texts are experienced on a day-to-day basis. A good example of the way in which the concept of `space' can be useful in illuminating in be Shank's Dissonant Identities: identity seen may subcultural The Rock 'n' Roll Scene in Austin. 114. providing a socio-cultural backdrop to the analysis of musical practices highlights the way in which music becomes a key resource in the negotiation of the everyday. `as with the earlier period of intense activity. musicians and writers alike. musical performance at a specific site was the central activity within a number of overlapping cultural practices that 10 mutually reinforced each other'. As such. Texas. In his analysis of the emerging `the Raul's [a Shank 1970s. started. ' He continues. p. Texas (1994).
that to to them'.Moreover. a rented machine. Artists designed posters and record covers. 115..created a new cultural production system that was at first wholly " institutions from the of progressivecountry'. 13 Ibid. musicians speak continued Shank also highlights the significance of the differences found within the Austin punk rock scene.. set up a garage.. Shank pulls upon the bohemian and art-school origins of the punk scene in Austin. 12 Ibid. they wrote and.. 115. separate From here. they down If laid four-track it in the tracks. he do-it-yourself importance highlights the the ethic compared to the already of also existing structure of the local music scene. he writes that the punk scenein Austin did not believe in the possibility of a so-called non-commercialised `authentic' musical practice.. 7 . p. and they wanted to read a story about a friend's band. `The movies that were made shared themes with and featured actors involved in the music scene. and a practice that was reflected in self-critical production was more the way in which punk itself was disseminated across the country. p. 14 Ibid. Moreover. `If a band needed a manager. The Austin audience 12 its demand directly Importantly.Shank highlights the central importance of music in this developing scene.Shank notes the distrust that punk musicians had of the commercial structure of the local music scene. often. " he notes. 114.Comparing it to the folksingers of the early 1960s. `if they wanted to record. they hired the guitar player's roommate'. but `instead. p. The author notes that this new approach to music making and intelligent.
7. G. 8 . In other words. the notion of space and location not only raises questions over the sociopolitical make-up of a subculture such as punk rock. (1996) Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistancesince the Sixties. In other words. p. More so. own spaces'. 7. 115. In the words of George McKay. " Moreover. questions over the definition of the term `punk'.15 it': published a practice that Shank concludes increasedthe involvement of an entirely different group of people in the Austin music scene. musical or political and the differing accounts that make up that history.almost pseudo-anarcho essence . London: Verso. but space itself is vital'. p. `mythological' the way in which for many. - 'SIbid. "Ibid. Yet.. the transformation of Shank's ideas of identity and space onto an is in it framework from British theoretical that useful a provides punk analysis of which to enquire into the subversive . distinguished in part through the subcultural elements of music. 16 McKay. An important example of such an account .is the way in which for many. Consequently. it raises further questions concerning the complexities and contradictions that make up such a culture. punk epitomised a subversive trend in human nature itself. own zones. style.. or favoured drugs (if any there usually are). p.whether it be sociological. punk embodied an almost be that traced back towards a long history thread could subversive of aesthetic dissent. the way in which `cultures of resistance define themselves against the culture of the majority-through the 16 be `these He their their can construction of continues. the genealogical make-up of punk .and indeed one that is central to this thesis .of the scene itself.
needs at its heart the space in '$ to exist'. 2. He attributes much of McLaren's subversive tendencies to the influence 18 Quoted in Anon. wretchedobject". 'Genet describeshow a tube of vaseline.the musical texts.. possession. of a safety-pin. observes Mark SPOR in Cultures of Resistance (date which unknown). of a tube of vaseline'9and their re-contextualisation within a new space or zone . can be seen in the ideas of Jon Savage. It is exactly this relationship . `living' `Any interpretation of "freedom" . like the buddleia on the still exist. "the sign of proclaiming his homosexualityto the world.. vanguard manifestos. The other beginnings of punk .All the participants of what will be called Punk are alive. 20It is interesting to note here that Savage opens the text with a brief discussion of 'Location'. 1. the vacant spacewhere. Op. For Hebdige. Sex Pistols Croydon Art School in late the the spent at of eventual manager 1960s. p. p. between the arbitrary items of a bin-liner. in order to promote the anti-authoritarian stance that would epitomise British punk in the Savage McLaren In the time that the concentrates on mid-1970s.which is central to this debateconcerning the subversivewithin punk.between the theoretical and the practical. Hebdige.London: The Book Factory.an analysis of space is useful in that it not only encompassesthe theoretical almost academic accounts of a given subculture .if so-called over questions it's going to materialise beyond the theoretical . One such debate that highlights the dichotomic elements of the theoretical and practical within the genealogical subversive make-up of punk. This "dirty. already 9 .found in his is confiscatedby the Spanishpolice during a raid. he begins. cit.. but few of them know each other'. (date unknown) Cultures of Resistance. He continues that 'they will come together during 1976 and 1977 in a network of relationships as complicated as the rabbit warren London slums of Dickens's novels. becomesfor Geneta kind of guarantee a secretgracewhich was soon to saveme from contempt"". pulp fictions but first we need the location. Writing in England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock (1992). particular. 20Savage discusses the notion of the `anarcho' and the use of imagery from the Situationist International ESI] used by Malcolm McLaren et al. 19 A specific referenceto Hebdige's useof the work of writer JeanGenetas a meansof summing up his notion of revolt. 'It is the early seventies.but can also raise further its history.
partly because it was the `first properly televised urban insurrection. p. made reference to the precise moment in French history. when the words "anarchy" and "anarchist" first used freely and pejoratively in the sense of social were ' chaos'. `in George Woodcock's thought. an artist who was also a student at Croydon during the 1960s. 23Ibid. but 1968 turned aesthetic style into political gesture. Savage concludes.p.. `the virus of anarchy had returned with the symptoms suited to the age'' He continues. 22Ibid. 10 . p... 27. aiming at fundamental changes in the structure 21Ibid. plentiful bombsites these flowers bloom'. p. London: Faber& Faber. the author concludes that `the American destruction of Vietnam may have been a trigger. Savage. "a system of of society and `anarchism'. J. the almost rhetorical definition is `anarchy' became now termed as what of words. this was an event that had an enormous political influence on youth world wide. Consequently. " For Savage therefore. the author notes that during the century after the Revolution. 21For Savage. 27. 27. Les Enrages. (1992) England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock. `the term most commonly used for the 1968 rioters. 3. Together they arranged a sit-in at the School to support what Savage terms as `the near-revolution that occurred in Paris and the rest of France during May 1968'. The from intensity flooded 1964 was translated into had the that world violent of pop a public demonstration of the utopian promise: that the world could be transformed'. 24Ibid.of Jamie Reid. p. 27.. through anarchist writers such as Pierre-Joseph Proudhon and Michael Bakunin. partly because it marked a generation claiming its political rights' xz Indeed. the late stages of the Revolution.
in School Art Croydon discussing to support that the sit-in moves on occurred at zsIbid. of the ' ideas `spontaneity of communications. 27-28. lie dormant for seasons and even for years. updated anarchist and methods'.. p.particularly at the replacement of the authoritarian state by some form of non' individuals"'. x' Ibid. p.. 28. 28. paradoxical'. Ibid. he believes that the political rhetoric in the and. p. la Plage" acted as polaroids of an . ' Savage therefore concludes that although the events surrounding the insurrection of 1968 were not directly influenced by French anarchist thought. xsIbid. pp. p. "Imagination Is Seizing Power" inverted conventional logic: they made complex ideas suddenly seem very simple'3° As such. he again quotes Woodcock. p. in but slogans the canned spray way which rather artist. 28. waiting for the rains that will make it burgeon'... 30Ibid. groups. 11 . `it can flourish when circumstances are favourable and then. Savage continues by noting that perhaps the most noticeable aspects in Paris of 1968 were the posters and graffiti that adorned the city. like a desert plant. Here.. 28. particular. 27. 3' instant' He then Work" or "Sous les Pares. writing. between free governmentalco-operation Moreover. easily packageable and the medium perfect were 29 "Demand `phrases like The Impossible" he that or noting writes. 29 Ibid. Savage continues by noting that the strength of anarchism comes through the lack of definition.novel.. the author observes how they were being in traditional the attributable to one particular of sense not pieces of art like `Never `anonymous. `Their cryptic phrases for this mediated revolt .
of the events that had happened in Paris. p.. `For the bored students in the concrete 32 it Croydon. 28. mauve'. They were what I bought them for. colours: covers various French: you tried to read it. When you asked for the literature. p. `Why not go one further than just putting on visiting lectures: why not dispense with lecturers? '33 Therefore.You had to go up to Compendium books. Then you got these beautiful magazines with reflecting colour 3a He `the in text was in gold. Indeed. `I'd heard about the Situationists from the radical milieu of the time. Savage concludes that on 5 June. 33Ibid. Just when you were getting bored. 32Ibid. not the theory' 35 The idea of `location' as a source of exploring the debates surrounding points of origin within subcultural identity is useful in that it highlights the way in which writers interpret the extent to which individuals such as McLaren and indeed Vivienne Westwood [the fashion designer. Savage draws upon a quote from McLaren himself to illuminate this idea. 30. Savage believed that it was one of the factors that made McLaren aware of the subversive ideology and imagery of the Situationist International.. something that would perhaps later inform his managerial career with the New York Dolls and the Sex Pistols.. you had to pass an eyeball test. art students barricaded themselves in at the South Norwood campus and issued a series of political demands. but it was so difficult. p. green. Although the sit-in eventually dissipated.. 12 . 28.. p. continues. cage of acted as a starting pistol'. 28. there were always wonderful pictures and they broke the whole thing up. he notes. 34Ibid. were influenced by the imagery and 31Ibid. .
was placed the or on an pocket other. p.. I do not wish to get bogged down with a debate that has been covered elsewhere. Westwood also turned towards more controversial symbols and political rhetoric: `small rectangular portraits of Karl Marx (from Chinatown) were placed on the side of the chest. cit. However. `So suffice to say the punks probably unwittingly 3sIbid. The next stage was to stitch on more slogans: hand painted on rectangles 37 As such. 30.36 SI. sixties shirt. the use of `anarcho' and Situationist imagery in the manufacturing of clothing McLaren. would a second-hand notes black. In her the the shirt.. 13 . over whether raises questions Westwood or indeed the individuals who wore those items of clothing in the 1970s were fully aware of the academic theory that surrounded those schools of thought. above and on inverted) flying swastika from the Second World War'38 However. 188. he notes that although many of these slogans made of silk or muslin' direct references towards the events of Paris in 1968. for the benefit of this thesis I wish to concentrate on the `subversive' the as a means of interpretation and debate within 1970s punk as a whole. 39writes Tom Vague in Anarchy in the UK: The Angry Brigade (1997). (often the the collar. before stencilling on a slogan such as "Only Anarchists Are Pretty". of clothing onto dye it in Westwood `taking that stripes. `But whether the Sex Pistols and Punk Rock actually count as a revolution or a Situationist intervention is open to debate'. op. SI to the very and popular culture came of political rhetoric surrounding does however outline the way in which Westwood would interweave SI imagery Savage design `Anarchy' discussing designs. Although Savage admits that the combination thought the of philosophical he little. of notion 3' Savage. "There is a fierce debate between many authors as to the extent to which McLaren and Westwood were directly influenced by the SI. red or brown. p. 38 Ibid.. p. 188. a debate which I will unravel below with the work of Marcus (1990) and Home (1996a). Instead.
London: Penguin Books. 14 . ground'. of water percolating time a strong underground current. not of a 41 `here He forming for a through porous continues.p. and then re-emerging where the 42 in it the social structure may offer a course to run' cracks This (essentially) non-Marxist analysis of the historical course of anarchism -a critique that also raises further questions over the anarchic ideas surrounding the 39 Vague. the author's definition of anarchism is indicative towards my investigation into the subversive strand that culminates in punk. 40Ibid. Edinburgh: AK Press. 17-18. the way in the protagonists of 1970s punk used these images as mere shock value. G. Here. there gathering into a swirly pool. T. 135. and in the historic perspective it presents the rather its flowing to stream sea of destiny-but swelling on appearance. In other words. Therefore. 135. the unconscious hooliganism by Thatcher and the yuppies. it would be useful to return to the writer George Woodcock. 0 it be to side of was not missed'. and leave themselves wide open to their recuperation However.. In this analysis of Savage's discussion of the `anarcho' within the socio- formation of punk. (1986) Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. one must realise the clear division between the use of `anarcho' or SI imagery and phrasing and the understanding of these areas in an academic manner. without necessarily realising the full depth of the theoretical complexity that surrounded those areas. disappearing from sight. pp.recuperate the bits of Situationist theory that filter down to them. and his work Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1986). p. 41Woodcock. He describes anarchism as `both various and mutable. (1997) Anarchy in the UK: TheAngry Brigade. trickling through crevices.
coinciding with the first edition of Anarchy. 1961 also saw the formation of what CND terms as the Committee of 100. Whatever our view may be . particularly useful notion political As it also highlights the many complexities of punk as subversive. on much groups and inspiration and support from taking part in such a movement' 43 Indeed. As the which such a campaign which way such. The author conceives foundation the this the renaissance was that one of of most notable events of Anarchy. a monthly journal of anarchist thought and writing that was founded by Colin Ward in 1961.is in discussion of organisation my of punk. Further. he notes that in the 1960s this was soon to change. If Woodcock believed that the 1950s were a time of calm for anarchism in Britain. and the use of the politics of mass azIbid. p.yet culminating aesthetic reorganisation buff against a failing economic and social policy of the mid-1970s.and it will throughout this thesis -I be these questions that will be touched upon consider Woodcock's analysis of the rising anarchist from framework be in 1960s to the which to attempt to trace a useful movement the so-called pseudo-anarcho in 1970s punk. accompanying this renaissance was the emergence issues thought throughout key the to anarchist of growth central of a number of the subsequent 1970s. a rise that Anarchy itself followed with in it highlighted interest. 15 . how the gain the could other anarchists. 18. as an it or whether was a spontaneous . great by `anarchist from benefit the study of affinity concepts of organisation could in both hand. The first of these was the growing support for the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament..
and to a lesser degree today . J (1989) Protests and Visions: Peace Politics in 20h Century Britain. 16 . 169.within Britain as a whole.300 people (of the 12.disobedience. provides an almost pre-cursor to the analysis of space in 1970s punk.000 who attended the action) in Trafalgar Square on September 17`h. p. p. but also as a means of subversive reproach towards British society as a is important in formation CND Although the an aspect whole.44 Throughout the 1960s therefore . 386. This was evident not only against the threat of nuclear war that was seemingly eminent in the Cold War era of the 1950s onwards. It is an event that is elaborated upon by James Hinton who. If indeed punk can be analysed against a back-drop of the post- apocalyptic . London: Hutchinson Radius. a series of London sit-downs culminated in the arrest of more than 1..which would only go ahead if at least 2000 individuals had pledged themselves to participate.Savage cites J. in civil Protests and Visions: Peace Politics on 2O" Century Britain (1989) writes that: in December 1960 plans were announced for the initial action down in Whitehall in February sit -a .CND became an important focus of demonstration. of a subversive thread in the 1960s. and the way in which the anti-war stance has led itself towards an analysis of society . While a vigorous direct action campaign got under way in Scotland against the use of Holy Loch as a Polaris Base. On the day more than enough people turned up and sat down. 1961.of space and location . 43 Ibid. Ballard's High Rise (2003) for instance .then Robert Swann writing in Anarchy in July 1964. G. I wish to note a link between the ideas surrounding the Committee of 100. "' Hinton.
46Ibid. 45Swann links the ideas surrounding CND and its application towards the everyday of British cities. Swann who. " Ibid. be being `of describing A that. and asSwann.. centralisation. (1987) `Direct Action and the Urban Environment'. rights'. Mumford. to make it liveable. over organisation. man tries to end it all in an orgy of self-extermination'. Further. was closely related to a priesthood or "authority" accompanying 49 divine Importantly. over population.In his article `Direct Action and the Urban Environment'. Anarchy (1961-1970): Selections pp. 17 .) A Decadeof from the Monthly Journal Anarchy. 244. may modern man. we cannot which create vital. (ed. know it. in The City in History essentially war as we (1962) discusses the notion that `war as an institution.. big governments. insecurity fears free from the and paranoia. 244. in terms of evolution recent Swann expands upon this point by noting that `city culture. London: FreedomPress. 46 for Swann are a dictatorship'. p. and power magical with its the author `possessed the power and control over it that attitude that an such was observes 50 in its citizens to make mass participation war and slaughter possible'. 49Ibid. 243-257. `until we can understand and control the city. `Big cities. in Ward. alienation. pp. 48and unknown until nearly 3000 years ago. p. is a product of city culture. 244-245. especially in its decadent phases. mass paranoia. lacking ability to solve his problems in any other way. p. mass schizophrenia. he concludes. itself. p. 244.. 47Ibid. S0 Ibid. 244.. C.. which war number of ways of said to be the only result. Lewis the quotes work of sociologist 47 Moreover.R.
and the accompanying loss ... 245. Yet. Britain's testing of their first H-bomb two years after. and the control it has over US' 51 Obviously one must be careful here in attempting to provide a direct.the thread that seems to `percolate' and form within a given subculture -I feel it important to attempt to gauge the political sentiment themes that have it be As the time.expect to free ourselves from the institution of war. Swann's analysis is useful in that it highlights the role that space plays within the socio-formation of identity. Yet Swann's analysis also provides another important concept that is useful to been dealing have I mainly with the emergence of punk rock. article advocating in Yet. Savage's the to as with war. my analysis of `space' and `location' in the first part of this thesis. clear link or trace between the emergence of the punk scene in the 1970s and Swann's individual freedom the the and sovereignty of within the city.of analysis of everyday practicality of the `centralisation of power.. argued that the post-apocalyptic of could emerged from the social backdrop of the Cold War produced a scenario where the future lay in the balance. In this sense. analysis of resist mass participation an action the subversive in punk . The Suez Canal in 1956. both on a theoretical as well as practical level. and the emerging Cuban Missile Crisis in the United States are all examples of an apparent move towards imminent nuclear conflict. Swann's by is living the the accompanied city . 18 . of decision making 51 Ibid. p.
. 245. or try to. whose The Ego and His Own (1845) denied all absolutes and institutions . Moreover. rebuilding not cities. store chain suburban Expressways have that eviscerate great promenades. social helplessness and the increase in low-quality housing. cities . Ibid. Furthermore. p. who believes that decentralisation is not only an essential ingredient for a growing diversity within increase in diversification in is it the an providing also systematic a city. of life in local business. p. highlighting the growth in delinquency. that looking are avoided everyone centres good but bums. p. and that is why s5A reference to the anarchist writer Max Stirner. government. Cultural centres that are unable to support a by Civic bookstore.. 246.52 "ordinary the citizen"'.believing them to encompass authoritarian and anti-individual 52 Ibid. Ibid. dry `academic' in been theory has the the there accusation of often as anarchism. no and nowhere is This is the sacking of This the of cities. `England is now Stirnerite55 territory. as well so-called circles of academic anarchism. life. as well as an active participation and Jacobs is also critical in the way in which modern cities have already developed. something that is `undoubtedly at the root of power of ills'' psychological man's social and I Swann also refers to the writings of Jane Jacobs. with a rapid vulgarity. Commercial centres that are lack lustre imitations of standardised from Promenades that go no place to shopping. luxury housing projects that mitigate their insanity. that disregards practicality.' The link between the practical and theoretical within Jacobs.. dullness housing truly are marvels of projects which middle-income buoyancy any or vitality of city against sealed and regimentation. 19 . 245. and indeed Swann's born from how in important the a arguably punk was thoughts are analysis of 1960s British framework be linked Woodcock's to that of thread may subversive `world' both In the the of punk. vandalism. who have fewer choices of a loitering place than others.
Letter written by PeterC. change and 59 Whiteley Although image'.the Stirnerite Freedom [Anarchy's contemporary in the 1960s] continues to go round in circles. growing was paralleled of A second aspect central to Anarchy `it first leftist the that was one of was feminism discuss in depth to and to the militant of coming wave magazines sense 58 As such. op. Pop Iggy MC5. instead 'ownness' the of and advocating an extremity of particularity characteristicsFor an accountof this work. in ingredients adheres style and outrage as crucial `the in British that principal to the genealogical meta-narrative of punk rock Stooges. Consequently. established spontaneity and discovery. 386. the the for British of the new wave were catalysts individual. 20 . (2000) Women and Popular Music: Sexuality. ' Readers'Letters page.'23`dFebruary 2002'. p.. 7. from fortnight to fortnight'.and its importance in the writings of `anarcho' journals and articles . cit.Freedom: Anarchist Fortnightly.. s' Whiteley.could indeed provide in that the practical nature the thread to of punk rock make-up subversive another dissent in in its dissent the punk at that time. Woodcock's in the problem of women a male world'. Identity and Subjectivity. London: Freedom. one could argue that it was a time when both space and location could open up to what Sheila Whiteley terms as `a space for "do-ityourself" individualism. 80-89. p.can be usefully transformed into analysing the punk era of the 1970s. p. `the breakin has discovery. SA Woodcock. on a new out. cit. writes an aggrieved reader on the paper's letter page. notion of feminist theory in the late 1960s . 7. p. s7 its Woodcock's ideas CND If true. London: Routledge. S. one needsonly to turn to Woodcock. s' Ibid. conscientiously saying nothing. 97. op.. pp. He continues.. is be if to turn traumatic to there manifest one. then this and surrounding rings action' demonstrations towards wider social and political issues .
would an artist and be his all art students were'. C. p. 64 Ibid... 98. a move that `inevitably brought Patti into New York's "artistic" circles [where] Andy Warhol and William Burroughs were 60 Ibid. I found this guy.. 61 Ibid. her connection to the artistic and musical poetry of Smith underlines a genealogy of artistic links that leads back to the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe. 61 Ibid. London: Penguin.. Whiteley notes that `the notorious sexism of 1960s' and 1970s' rock. p. `I was reading all these life I in Pratt books Brooklyn. 98. driven both by the unconscious and by social forces' 61 Moreover. which extended both power and control and where women were the "passive squaws of patriarchal hippy men". where she and Mapplethorpe `hung out in Max's' counter-cultural (a restaurant/bar frequented by influential artists of the time). 62 Heylin.. 107. 1967.p. and Smith moved in to the Chelsea Hotel (famous for its `bohemian' residents). Smith moved back to New York. 106. where to the the artists so went of about romantic 62 `I figured I find the she says. he started 63 in' discipline to teaching me put my creative stuff and structure After a brief spell in Pratt. Importantly..Velvet Underground [and] the Ramones'60 she provides a useful musical link to the otherwise ignored influence of Patti Smith. was replaced by a new emphasis on the woman as both "warrior" and "mystic". 106. mistress and take care of him. p. p. artist Andy Warhol and the writer William Smith had moved to New York in Autumn Burroughs. (1993) From the Velvetsto the Voidoids: A Pre-Punk Historyfor a Post-Punk World. 21 . Robert Mapplethorpe.
65 Ibid. cit. the first sign of industry intervention 67 observing' in the CBGBs groups whose development McLaren had been Moreover. p. p." habitues'. lead singer of X-Ray Spex with military helmet and goggles . op.. four nights a week. a striking example being the Clockwork Orange (1971) influence on the fashion and make-up of Siouxsie Sioux. it could be argued that musicians such as Smith .contributed towards the opening for women in the emerging British scene. `The Woman Punk Made Me'.and indeed Maureen Tucker of the Velvet Underground or Debbie Harry of Blondie . While one must be careful in directing a causal link between regular British punk of the mid-1970s and Smith's residence in the Chelsea Hotel in 1968. and all fours' . p. in Sabin. images such as Jordan. `screamed of a suburban relapse [when Sioux] went into a Bromley wine bar in fetish gear with her friend Berlin on a leash. 22 . `When McLaren 66 New York'... 92. 92. a It was an image that. `The Patti Smith group were in the returned middle of a seven-week engagement at CBGBs. the image of Poly Styrene. `the first Sex Pistol'69 in Derek Jarmon's film. breasts visible and covered in mud on the front of their album Cut (1979): these also became just some of the `warriors' that Whiteley talks of. 67Ibid. `Bromley the so-called member of O'Brien re-counts. At the end of their season. cit. p. O'Brien. to writes Jon Savage.or the Slits. Op. Savage. thus providing a new sense of feminist identity to the `zone' of 1970s punk. Jubilee (1978).. 186. as Lucy Contingent'. Whiteley's `warrior-like' female figures are certainly evident in the British Punk scene of the mid-1970s.s Furthermore. 107. L. the group signed a deal with Arista.
70Home. cit. least for members'.op. Artists such as Siouxsie. 114. own and sell 72 inherent in do-it-yourself a musical culture'. Vi Subversa of Poisongirls and Stacey of DIRT for examples of female members of the anarcho-punk scene. op. to the as their as well concludes creativity'. more once emergence a problem 69Savage.particularly `first Indeed. (1996a) Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock. Ari Up. also was anarcho-scene de-machonisation ideas the thought surrounding of popular and progression of for `Punk is space women to explore opened a specific up now significant. 93. one needs only to so-called as anarcho-punk .Yet. cit. who at under-current that could also be linked to post-punk groups . 71Whiteley. As will be discussed later.as well turn to Eve Libertine of Crass. wave punk no means a new genealogy need heralded the end of feminist emancipation.p. so one can also highlight perhaps an almost little known aspect of women in punk. Consequently. highlights an important a time. opportunities A third aspect of discussion within Woodcock's framework concerns the in later `When housing became the of squatting.the pseudo-anarcho . if the first is be by for then to traced.. 23 . or the day-glo coloured lyrics of Poly Styrene are frequently mentioned. door for many other women of highlights. Hove: CodeX Press. Stewart Home the also opened punk as that era. the for become The to aesthetic space a central sexuality.from the days of 1960s anarchism in Britain and its link to the later punk movement.. in the same way in which I have discussed the almost subtle re-emergence of the subversive . p. music 71 `explore Whiteley. 108. Home's long list of `various groups from the late seventies/early eighties 70 femail (sic) featured. p. S. the wave'. yet.
Woodcock. 76For. housing in target the was a partially movements in Wanstead High Street. the London Squatting Campaign would `a Bailey Ron have radicalising effect on existing notes as what subsequently 75 field'. 74 Ibid. for importantly `ordinary' taking themselves. 114. it was also hoped that a mass squatting campaign would spark an all-out attack on existing housing authorities and regulations. ' Ibid.1960s and the squatters appeared again in the cities of Britain'. to environmental and ecological questions 74 in technologies to the the and significance of new context of anarchist aims'.. 73Woodcock writes. in a different way'. If a discussion of `space' and `location' has been a common thread that runs throughout this first chapter. action people with .. It devoted space. keep thousands to were empty. whilst property owners Bailey believed that the `occupation for a few hours of these flats on 1 December 1968 was symbolic too. p. squat.more - Set up on November 18. 386. 386.freeserve. Many flats block of the flats of empty had been empty since they were built four years previously. p. p. cit. uk (2003). Although squatting is primarily a movement that developed to re-house families from hostels or slums. houses Yet. `Anarchy gave them support and used the occasion for studies in depth of urban problems... . then the idea of squatting is essential within this analysis. East London. it also suggested a logical step forward: homeless people could introduce an element of control into their lives by taking over empty houses which the established institutions of society would not use. op. co. Their first `The Hollies'. 24 .1968. 75Taken from the website www. and their subsequent injustice be the to symbolic which allowed private of occupation was seen left homeless.
as with the discussion of the Situationist International above in attempting to trace a clear link between these origins and the development of the later punk scene in the 1970s. The squatters subsequently cleared and decorated the property. a building that had been kept empty by the Church for over three years. the to obtain right permanent This brief outline of the origins of the squatting movement in the late 1960s is do-it-yourself involved. Although one could argue that the squatting movement in the 1960s was born from necessity. an occupation that would make her the first squatter since the 1940s to housing through squatting. Notting Hill. In other words. as well as later subcultures (such as punk) .From here. A week after the occupation of `The Hollies' a separate group of activists took over a house in Notting Hill.as a way of side stepping an already established authority. Two weeks later. it was used as a 76 Ibid. 7 Camelford Rd. Maggie O'Shannon. West London. leaving voluntarily symbolic gesture after a few hours. it may also be argued that the punk scene used it as a means both for self-expression as well as a means of remaining in the margins. in it highlights One must the those that aspect of useful be careful . the London Squatting Campaign occupied All Saints Vicarage. on January in a 18 1969. Leyton. which had been empty or 18 months. the Notting Hill group occupied a block of luxury flats called Arundel Court. squatting began to grow. Then. demonstrating its suitability for use by the homeless. Yet. just before Christmas. whilst at the same weekend. a mother of two children moved into No. 25 .. it is useful to note that squatting was used both by those families discussed.
a could of city in the bulk of the London Squatting Campaign. one could argue that the relationship between CND and the London Squatting the way in which Campaign that existed around the same time highlights subversive ideas and actions almost pollinate one another. as well as a means to be in control of one's `space' and `location'.senseof individuality. the discussion of the origins of the squatting movement in the 1960s also highlights the almost porous. Woodcock believes that to theoretical this wise.The journal not only devoted two whole issuesand countlessarticles to the causesof the revolts. for the main impetus between 1968 and 1969 came from a `loosely-knit had involved been of whom group of radicals. an aspect that will be further explored below when analysing first wave punk and anarcho-punk. intertwining means of dissent at that time. subversion and punk rock. lies in the paper's coverageof the student revolts in France in the late 1960s. many with the Committee of 100 and the Vietnam Solidarity Campaign' 77 In this sense. Indeed. Yet. The final issue. it did so without aligning its analysis to any particular political group in been have basis. I have already discussed the link between CND . or `since the student rebels had a very shaky theoretical base and were as likely to 77 Ibid. 26 .the politics of Nuclear Disarmament and Swann's article concerning the alienation and over-centralisation be highlighted is link It that also culture. central to the link between Anarchy.
. even though they did not lead to any particular social movement.. Further. `It was as if a sudden libertarian tidal wave had ' Woodcock. op. More You `Neither Consume The as with slogans such Less You Live' and `It Is Forbidden To Forbid'. p. the graffiti that inspired directly by anarchist thought. cit. this time the seemed adorned country at `The Gods Nor Masters'. In this sense. If one could argue that anarchistswere merely one group involved at the time. Situationists and what Daniel Cohn-Bendit . of anarchist and and anarchists. 'ibid. those `ageing intellectuals who publicly represented in inspiring in France the event and the traditional anarchism played no part movement played no real part'. Libertarian Marxists.the unofficial spokesmanof the movement . who as Woodcock notes.the events of 1968 are interesting for the way in which so-called disparate political groups and ideologies drew together at a point of dissent. 386. 270-271.be capturedby authoritarian Marxist factions as to be consistent in the libertarian impulsesby which so often their actions seemto be governed'. then there is also evidence of the wider involvement of Maoists. have little Indeed. p. `organised' the events at this time nonetheless anarchist was not one of marked a resurgence of anarchist theory. as already mentioned above.78 One could argue that the student uprising in France at this time highlighted the way in which anarchist ideals and tactics could simultaneously situation where those individuals involved do not define surface in a as themselves knowledge history ideals. 27 .termed himself. although one could argue that the uprising dissent. Yet.
liberation'. leaving historians to pick over the "' it flotsam discarded in its As such.p. what remains confused which wake'. is the way in which social dissent forms and surfaces at particular social and political moments in history. 82Ibid. `They looked to self-liberation as the basis of 82 impetus Marshall. porous to social and political events. I do not wish to give a detailed account of the Paris uprisings.. London: Fontana Press. one could argue that the movement that grew from the freedom and worker's events at this time was advocating more for individual rights than for a direct overthrowing and replacement of government. remains constantly shifting and. one must be careful in equating a direct link between the events of 1968 and first wave punk.. `only to subside as quickly as it had come. but merely to highlight the way in which the events of 1968 were not overtly economically and politically revolutionary as such. Marshall. Yet. p. but rather concerned more with the transformation of everyday life. threatened to the come nowhere and wash away writes..80 from State'. the and as political grew into a mass writes social movement involving all walks of life. as Woodcock observes. As with the analysesabove surrounding squatting and CND. 547. 547. p. important between a discussion of the Paris uprisings and 1970s punk. 8' Ibid.. one could argue that these events are mere examples of the ways in which 80Marshall. P. the way in which the indefinable political ideology rhetoric of an such as anarchism. 28 . 547. (1993) Demanding the Impossible: A History of Anarchism.. the writer observes how `the uprising direct State from to the to and permanent contestation a resistance rapidly passed with it'' In this sense. In other words.
play host to anarchist ideals and political action.. within society as it is. an Woodcock believed had happened to the earlier counter-culture. even by those who have very little knowledge of anarchism as a particular political ideology. However. if we free it late for be the too to a revolution. but also to both the spurious link between anarchism as an established political ideology and as a subversive thread that leads us towards the late 1970s. In particular. create may wait society of which the anarchists dream. important issue lies in the way in which it meant the constant search. the underlying thought being that governments and especially welfare states are so destructive of freedom and of individual and mutual initiatives that. ffi Ibid. the discussion concerning the student rebellion is interesting because of the way in which the ideas surrounding anarchism are bought to the fore in public dissent. rather than large political organisations. for the opportunities to put anarchist principles into action without waiting for revolution. 29 . the way in which certain political factions advocated a false concept of revolution. this thought not only takes us back to Savage's quotation of Woodcock concerning the ambiguity of anarchistic thought.individuals. of turning the essentially antiEstablishment into dissent a mere rite of passage: a notion that anarchist As such. and Anarchy were particularly `Playing at Revolution'. In other words. the student revolts of 1968 also leads us to the way in which suspicious of what they termed as Woodcock. Importantly. p. because the natural social impulses will all have been atrophied. 547. it is this almost `unconscious' appropriation of anarchism that will be further explored throughout this work. 84 Further.
30 . this was personified in the confident and mostly young contingents who would be there behind the black banners in every Aldermaston March and would figure prominently and often uproariously in the demonstrations in London and the larger cities. one can also see the awareness of McLaren's thoughts as to the provocation and incitement of British society. Another author who links the emergenceof the British punk scenewith the May 1968 uprising and the influence of the Situationist International is Greil Marcus. Writing in Lipstick Traces: A Secret History of the Twentieth Century (1990).. rock. op. 386.. and how this would provoke the necessary publicity for punk ideas how McLaren inherent it is in the In not only used retrospect. cit. although one of elements could highlight McLaren's lack of awareness of anarchist theory. Guy Debord. becoming rather than joining. it could be argued that McLaren and Reid's use of Situationism and the definitional ambiguity of anarchism.. p. Where young British rebels in the decade before World War II joined the communists. Quoting from Debord's `Theses On The Cultural Revolution'.Indeed. For instance. Marcus supports his argument with reference to the ideas of the once leader of the SI. in the 1960s they were more likely to become anarchists. As Woodcock concludes. evident ambiguities of anarchism as a political concept. a work written for the first number of Internationale situationniste. symbolic displacement and lyrical content drew upon all three ideas those those of mentioned above. I Woodcock.. but also capitalised on the very in British been instilled had fear the that public throughout the real sense of 1960s and 1970s. a change of heart rather than a party ticket "5 . as well as the use of subversive elements through fashion. Mark the change.
or indeed even to the formation of the SI in the 1950s. pp. he clung to a sixties definition of young . 21. p. p. 90-94. (1990) Lipstick Traces: A SecretHistory of the Twentieth Century. p. 21. not an age'. Melville. And he by heroes into those should never continues who old for because is `new the that scavenge past ancestors. p.In 1976 and 1977. changes old maudits re-writes new culture manifestation 90 have been born'. Ibid. `as empty of disorder as rock 'n' roll was in 1975. as symbolically remade Ibid. pp.. Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. Ibid. Marcus. G. in the rock 'n' roll 1960s it was Mississippi bluesman Robert Johnson of the 1930s.but in all times forgotten actors emerge from 91 but familiars' the past not as ancestors as Here. heretic Dutch John to the question of ancestry is culture is of and 89 in Lipstick Marcus to the prologue spurious'. 91 Ibid. 386-387... ancestry authors noting legitimacy and novelty is doubt .youth was "' an attitude. 21. writes Traces. 31 . in that Marcus not only attempts to trace a subversive thread back to the student revolts of the 1960s. `victory will be for those who know how to create disorder ' it'. 53. Ibid..Marcus notes that. Marcus draws upon a number of examples to illuminate his ideas it in literary America `In 1920s the this was Herman surrounding ancestry. without McLaren understood that it remained the only form of culture the young cared about. and the years to follow. He continues. 53. in the past. and at thirty in 1975.. 'Ibid. but even as far back as 1534 88 `The Leydon. `every new into heroes..p. Lipstick Traces is an interesting account of punk.
by the Sex Pistols. Marcus. Belgian neo-surrealist review'. 21-22. "`The incendiaries" few has known the ad read. dated 1954. p. youth hurls them upon the consenting rabble.. cit. 9sIbid. `I'd come across an advertisement for it. op. op. Marcus that a noting which salutes with continues only Ibid. p. NONE live `but it Sabin. p. 22. 22. "Today they're dead. situationists. pp. of tracing a line between pieces of a found story. and various ' heretics'. ' Lipstick Traces is useful in that it raises a number of key issues that surround current analyses of punk rock.. The way in which Marcus weaves a so-called `secret history' of was/is the subversive into his analysis of British punk could certainly be. The first of these concerns the almost in has that many texts. he notes.. p. 96He notes that. Ibid. Ibid. p. it was perhaps dadaists. Consequently. 1. lettrists. in his own words `spurious'. as the linking between a diverse and eclectic range of subversive sources towards punk becomes increasingly' mythological in nature. Everywhere. Marcus admits later that `I found myself medieval caught up in something that was less a matter of cultural genealogy. them to of up what quotes 95 like'. a page in Les Levres Hues. or great century a finishing up preening in the mirror.. `There are LOADS commanded mythological status punk of myths about Punk'. perfect example of `Long before I tracked down Potlatch'. a slick-paper. A in his be this can seen account of the magazine Potlatch... youth (as it calls itself) discovers a few blunted knives. cit. Sabin. than of making the story up'. shaking in its shoes. a few defused bombs... 22. 32 . under thirty years of dust and debris. titled "The Gilded Legend". 1. 97 it `such its by laugh"'.
may understand as music. they returned the gift . p. Ibid. commercial form of the circulation of a preof of goods. 23. and only their thorough analysis unpublished previously by others can constitute a return gift"' 9 Lipstick Traces therefore. founded on the reciprocity sumptuary gifts".and indeed also Savage's England's Dreaming. the therefore. the "non-saleable goods such a free bulletin can distribute are desires and questions. a conversation of a new brought that critique to life . forgotten social critique. that is interesting. 101 Ibid. aesthetes who would have been appalled to see 10° Moreover. 23. another is Traces Lipstick not work which offers a sometimes uncritical view of punk In formation to the of punk. but that blindly. used among the Indians of North America.. title from the name. 10' In defence of Marcus . p. p. of be that the key to those questions is not that the Sex Pistols could have traced their existence to the LI's gift.that is something far more than interesting'. p. Ibid.claim is not so much an argument about the way the past makes the present as it is a way of suggesting that the entanglement of now and then is fundamentally a ' itself. in a "Anarchy in UK" few in the Potlatch thousand songs. as mystery'. `grew out of a desire to come to grips with the power its fecundity it in UK" "Anarchy to the as culture. author. in the UK" truly did distil an old. `if "Anarchy into their theories turned cheap commodities'. `drew "its it described For Potlatch. 23.. 33 . or effect critically evaluate socio-political an attempt the same vein as perhaps Dave Haslam's Manchester England: The Story of the 100 Ibid. 23.and in a form those who first offered it. if...
104 Ibid. Home its that explains. in Punk.one can turn to Ibid. him Home Calling in writes evidence of association. more rock. In the case of Savage's England's Dreaming it is a thorough and well researched account of punk and the Sex Pistols: in Marcus' Lipstick Traces we find an extremely well written account of an uncovering of subversive intent throughout the twentieth-century. 36-44. Cabaret Voltaire. 103 Home usesupper caseletters here as part of his dialectical unfolding of the history of punk information For on this aspect. However. What was punk if not a media hype? It was empty.. pp. `as with all musical eras. I hadn't even heard of Dada until one of the Sunday papers ran a feature comparing the PUNK fury. 103 to paraphrase Howard Devoto. came out of nowhere and was heading straight back there. both Marcus and Savage do not set out to uncover a wholly political or social meaning for punk in the 1970s. was . Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock (1996a). PUNK to the sound and was much events at phenomena signifying 105 Home's views on the social and political nothing'.to use attempting one must careful punk rock. shallow and trivial 104 `when I fourteen Moreover. cit. they wouldn't too and young was have interested me. have some bearing.Pop Cult City (1999).. (1996a) op.. in the same way as I have used Savage's `anarcho' framework in an attempt to discover a link between the alternative movements of the 1960s and link in be to an embodiment . 20. p.and know Situationists. was greatness'. there is a nostalgia industry for punk. 23. in 1976 1 didn't I first into the about anything punk and got ignorant. 102 Home. (2001). 34 . that 'PUNK. very between disparate and `free Stewart Home terms association'102 as what arbitrary voices and a subcultural movement such as punk without positive `Groovy Greil Marcus'. Stephen Colegrave and Chris Sullivan write. Even most recently. p.
p. 106 Colegrave. '06Home. 20. madness. he runs through an extremely detailed the Sex Pistols and the Situationists'. violent creativity and sheer audacity of the period is in danger of being lost'). 106 original spontaneity. 15. 20-31. from which he concludes. (1996a)op. p. tenuous of what as such provide evidence Although I do not wish to cover the debatein detail in this thesis . pp. p.. I have already noted above Savage's constant reference to the influence of the aesthetic behind the SI and its culmination Marcus' account of punk in Lipstick in the later subculture. rooted in a clear link Traces is firmly between the SI and the punk. 35 .which continually re-invents myths.the detail and in its it is Home's demand own right a work also of analysis would pedantry from Internationalle draws Situationist that the a quote upon author worth noting 12. on the other hand. Moreover. 15. in a chapter `Blood Splattered With Guitars: A demonstration of the fact that there are no direct links between PUNK ROCK. Black the to such as and groups revolutionary he believes links. Home. (ed. aggrandizes the trivial and over-estimates (Although one must note that they conclude. the influence of the Situationist International upon the punk scene of the 1970s.) (2001) Punk. 108 account of a number of political neo-Dada groups.. Specto-Situationsts and Motherfuckers King Mask Mob.one that also raged between Marcus and Home... refutes this notion completely. & Sullivan. cit. also draws upon another central debate . the the legacy'.S. `The Debordists made their state of affair quite cos Ibid. C. 107Ibid. London: Cassell& Co. Indeed. '07 The idea that analyses of punk are becoming mythological.. `unfortunately.
.clear. Home also goes on to note that `although W. 81-82. both on punk and in general. in Home. 10Wise. D. completely overestimates the influence and importance of specto-Situationist theory.. previously published work The Assault on Culture: Utopian Currents from Lettrisme to Class War (1991). p. . sneers at the negative influence of the Motherfuckers or King Mob. pro-Situationist'. 'The End of Music'. Dave W. "' Home. S. 36 . for while punk did not entirely embody the SI aesthetic. Talking of the article `The End of Music'. first it is that the accepted use of the punks generally were unaware of while circled `A'13 as signifying anarchist thought. 81.. S. 63-102. he ignores that fact that the influence was actually more determinate than that of the specto-SI'. p. (ed..and the extent to which this is paramount in the SI being influential towards the two protagonists has already been mentioned above. Proudhon's slogan of 109 Ibid. This is perhaps not surprising. Yet one could argue that Home `misses the point'. since at the time the text was produced he was part of the miserable milieu centred on Guy Debord and the Champ Libre publishers in Paris'. Edinburgh: AK Presspp. Home reiterates his view in a wrongly. it could be argued that it did embrace a sense of `spectacle'. passes.pp. 26. 12 The indeed Reid's understanding of the background of in McLaren's and ambiguity the SI . thus providing a relevant critique of late capitalism in the 1970s. when they [the SI] stated: a rag called KING MOB.. & Wise. 112 Ibid. or indeed the underlying 113 The circled A was first created by the French group Jeunesse Libertaire in 1964 as re-defining 'Anarchy is Order'. "' From here. Home notes that `unfortunately. quite 109 for being Moreover.. Stirling: AK Press..) (1996) What Is Situationism?A Reader. In other words. "o written by a member of King Mob. S. (1991) TheAssault on Culture: Utopian Currents From Lettrisme to Class War.
As Hebdige notes in Subculture: Meaning of Style (1994). p... concludes. in particular.. "s Ibid. 37 . "' language He language available which was current'. "' ability to symptomise a whole cluster of contemporary problems'. . its it is Thus. between the former's notion of `free association' and Marcus' attempt to uncover a subversive thread through the twentieth-century is indeed central to this thesis. 1970s late while unlikely that the average to the scene. frustration and in how But these no matter strangely constructed. op. The debate between Home and Marcus. were anxiety.Debord's Society of philosophy of the Spectacle (1997). punk relevance punk on the street was aware of theoretical origins of such terms as `detoumment' and `spectacle'. associated with the anarchic. Not least. it has led to a concern to investigate more fully the meaning of the term `anarcho' and. the of analyses analysis of punk. cast statements. `the various stylistic ensembles adopted by the punks were undoubtedly expressive of genuine aggression. 87. expressions of While my discussion of Home and Marcus informs two key debates within the link the and punk. p. or indeed the writings of Proudhon or Debord. cit. namely often overly mythical between the SI and punk. they were aware of the symbolic power of anarchy as an expression of subversion. generally which was a -a its for `this the the subculture success of punk as spectacle: accounts. their focus on class also draws attention to the "authentic" inherent between in `dialectical interplay the the and contradictions "4 Hebdige. could which. 87. it is evident that certain ideas and items were appropriated and recontextualised as be in discontent turn.
provocative.. Edinburgh: AK Press. p. his for bands he `doesn't to that that realise enthusiasm seem with noting university backgrounds. the the times cult of obscurity. O'Hara believes that `punk in Britain was essentially a movement consisting of 120 `many felt He them of class concludes. nevertheless There is often a misconception as to the `class based' aesthetic expressed by British punk rock in the late 1970s. "9 While Home's observations are. C. working underprivileged their social situation deeply and used the medium of punk to express their dissatisfaction'. 38 . cit. O'Hara's analysis extends towards questioning the extent to which 1970s punk was the embodiment of any sense of 16 Home. "' As Home writes. combined with a deeply intolerant attitude towards phenomena such as Oi!. in reference to Lipstick cultural critics" Traces.. they importance highlight the of class to an analysis of punk. 118 Ibid. the that they concerned with actually expose themselves as the adding `there is a long tradition of snobbish individuals attempting to derive "8 from hilarious. 19Ibid. 27. 18. (1999) The Philosophy of Punk: More Than Noise. 27.. exposes him as an exponent of class prejudice and petitbourgeois values'. p. pp. (1996a)op. p.. ""Ibid. p. at least. 120 O'Hara. 18. Pulling upon Tricia Henry's earlier writings in Break All Rules (1989). 121More specifically. `the problem with self-styled "contemporary is that they are so 117 former latter'. Even Craig O'Hara's Philosophy traditional recent work The draws Noise (1999). 121 Ibid. white youths'.. 17. 18-19. p. More Than Punk: upon the now more of `working-class as of punk an expression of analysis anger' and `despair'.the "counterfeit"'. and results are at social status He then chides Marcus for liking bands such as Gang of Four and the Au Pairs.
Indeed. `It would be a lie. New Society805 (43) 9 March. ' have been against all the standard `-isms'. 535. 27. to say that these original he writes. "Ibid. whether it was a combination of both. that O'Hara's indeed Henry's is and analysis simplistic. the author notes that although punk was associated primarily statistics" with `pop. whether the movement was simply an expression of dissatisfaction and frustration with the increasing economic crisis of the late 1970s or. p. however.. but its firm place in the history of "5Although British radical art'. One needs only to turn to such writers as Frith (1978) and Hebdige (1994) to realise the complexities inherent in defining and analysing the relationship between aesthetic expression and class.theoretical political expression.. vandalism [and] the unemployment he believes that `the most interesting sociological feature of punk is not in its nebulous place on the dole queue. even as early as Frith's article `The Punk Bohemians' (1978). Frith disagrees with O'Hara's Class analysis of their discussions nevertheless highlight one punk as inherently `working-class'. (1978) `The Punk Bohemians'. but were more apt to spit and swear than to explain their feelings to the mainstream public': " It could be argued.. S.. indeed.. '24Frith. p. of the central debates concerning punk. 39 . This discussion is usefully extended by reference to Frith and Horne's Art into Pop (1987) which argues that while `punk rock was the ultimate art school "Ibid. 123 Ibid. viz. 535. 27. p... p. the extent to which punk was led by an organised political sense of direction. `they may punks had well-developed social and political theories'.
p. 129 Ibid. the influence of the `working-class' aspect of punk rock into the Horne's Oi!. Frith `punk fixed definition `punk' in and rock' or sense of what one may call Home highlight the diversity of political and social thought within the subculture as a whole. political or artistic one social. 124. One needs only to turn to a writer highlights hand `academic' the Home (1996a) the almost one on who.which surround the punk in the that contradictions so-called exist rock scene. In of proclaiming a other words. London: Routledge. & Horne.p. S.126 it also had two very separate histories. between `punk' and punk as `style'. Differentiating movement'.. an useful punk debates itself lends to the that concerning the subversive threads that analysis in it illuminates in in that the punk placing any of ambiguities punk. 124. such as influence its towards art-school relationship and. 128 Ibid. always movement was with a conclude '29 punk-as-pub-rock movement'.as well as the mythologies . while encompassing many of do I not wish to use this as a complete subculture. Frith and Horne's analysis is useful in that it provides a way of dealing with some of the complexities . an analysis of a problematic framework for a discussion surrounding class. 126 Frith. culminated instead `camp'. Yet. they argue that punk `brought to a head fifteen years of questions about creativity in a mass medium'127 and that it `tried to keep in play bohemian ideals of authenticity 128 ideals They Pop and art of artifice'. 40 . Frith and critical analysis of and subsequent skinhead culture is heterogeneity It it highlights in the is the that of movement. 124. (1987) Art into Pop. intertwined `punk-as-art that therefore... p. H. 124. 'n Ibid. p. on and movement of punk rock the other.
post-punk and anarchopunk. in that many writers have already pre-conceived ideas of the meta-narrative of the British punk rock scene.almost bohemian .even Home in his analysis of Oi! .become almost bogged down in attempting to clearly label punk rock definition. this notion is useful in a discussion of Home's `unfolding' of 1970s punk or O'Hara's dependence upon punk being merely an expression of disenfranchised youth. incorporating musical dress into diverse thoughts of a modes and complex and political expression. Frith Horne believe class mode of and working within an art-school or that punk was a subculture that was made-up of a complex mixture of both. as well of class aesthetic supposedly working the pacifist . Moreover. would space flexible instead discussion expression remains and aesthetic of class of where a `fixed'. in Horne and Frith's definitional I that there a sense remains of argue analysis of class. The way in which these later movements re-appropriated aspects from the `original' punk scene of the mid-1970s and of each other. given and all are useful in the illumination punk within of first wave 41 . Consequently.make-up of a punk scene that would advocate discussion been has There and a of the way peace politics. vegetarianism already in which writers such as Hebdige. A way perhaps of illuminating how this later scene would encapsulate elements of the `anger' O'Hara's found in the punk scene. Whereas writers such as O'Hara or Henry . Frith and Horne's discussion is useful in that it becomes a useful framework in which to explore the later anarcho-punk scene. form of popular culture in the post-1970s. Home and Marcus have attempted to explore boundaries. from its so-called conception with the Sex Pistols and its development towards Oi!.Indeed.
punk 42 . The aim of this thesis therefore. This involves further research into the transformation of the subversive beyond the 1970s first wave punk towards an analysis that illuminates and raises questions over a post-punk scene that has rarely been touched upon by many `punk writers' and cultural critics. Frith and Horne's analysis is particularly useful in that it highlights the complexity of the subversive thread that culminated in punk: a thread that will be continued to be unravelled throughout this work. a band rock.were tantamount in building a musical arena that resulted in the backlash that was The chapter concludes with an analysis of the Sex Pistols. exploring the way in which the eventual break down of the social and political policies surrounding the consensus contributed towards an environment that allowed a subculture such as punk to emerge and flourish in the 1970s. such as Home (1996a).punk within the 1970s. Yet. The chapter begins with an examination of what is termed as the `post-war consensus'. chapter two examines the emergence of punk rock within a social and political framework. While chapter two begins with a social and political analysis of first wave punk.such as the growth of progressive rock and the emergence of the so-called `novelty single' .This section investigatesthe extent to which particular areas of the popular music environment of the time . Savage (1992) and Marcus (1990). Whereas chapter one was primarily concerned with writers who investigated the anarchic elements in punk. is to trace the emergence and development of the anarcho-punk scene of the late 1970s and 1980s. the next section within the chapter turns towards an examination of the musical environment of the 1970s.
such as Crass in uses musical the to which way provide evidence of analysed so as based dissent the upon to subversive express a means of organised material political notion of anarchist thought. Crass embodied much of DiY including to the aspects of record return ethos. 43 . the anarcho-scene to illuminate such a transformation.commonly regarded as the quintessential musical and political embodiment of British in 1970s. Chapter three develops my discussion of the Sex Pistols and other punk rock bands and leads into the anarcho-punk scene of the late 1970s and 1980s proper. later form the anarcho-punk within protest of political towards a more organised key three As musical styles of this upon concentrate will chapter such movement. I do not give a so-called `blow-by-blow' but the of anarcho-punk scene. exploring the ways in which both the Sex Pistols and the accompanying punk rock scene as a `anarchism' ideas the as a means notion of and concepts surrounding whole used of scare tactic and shock value. account instead examine the ways in which the notion of `anarchism' is transformed from an expression of shock. punk this analysis continues the investigation into the transformation of dissent discussed above. In the rock particular. as previously highlighted within first wave punk. It will begin with a discussion of the work by the seminal punk band Crass. Seen by many as one of the most important of all British anarcho-punk bands. the so-called anarcho-punk distribution and the `anyone-can-do-it' Tracks first punk. wave of philosophy it ' Feel? Does `How are and `Bloody Revolutions' is `Punk Dead'.
not least because they emerged within a subculture built upon the ideas of anarchism and freedom of expression. aspects that were considered contradictory by Lucas. Although these analyses are based upon a discussion of the subversive nature of anarcho-punk to the the which questions extent movement over raising - idea ideas the thoughts they over and also raise questions embodied anarchist of `scene'. such.the Subhumans and Culture Shock .A discussion of the musical and political transformation of first wave punk into the later anarcho-punk scene continues in the second section of chapter three where there is an analysis of the band Discharge.Lucas's work is important in that it illuminates the way in which the anarcho-scene became increasingly uniform and oppressive in its own right. content and a forthrightness of musical delivery. Whereas Crass appropriated the in first style of wave punk order to convey a new complexity of political musical thought and action. examining the way in which almost arbitrary ideas are re- key into As three also maps out contextualised new surroundings.including a discussion of development the of the travellers squatting. rights. The concluding section within this chapter explores the music and lyrics of the vocalist and author Dick Lucas. chapter issues within the so-called anarcho-punk `scene' . Involved with two prominent anarcho-bands throughout the 1980s . the scene of nature a coherent picture of the subversive 44 . co-operatives and animal in an attempt to `build-up' movement itself. Discharge transformed 1970s punk into a new form of `in your face' lyrical extreme aesthetic that encompassed musical simplicity.
Although one could argue that Crass. Donna and the Kebabs and Chaos UK. In this the particular. lack of space within this particular thesis also dictates a lack of discussion surrounding the diversity of musical styles and political ideas briefly This therefore the covers a number of bands that section scene. centres upon the punk movement of next porous nature of `anarchism' and `punk'. This chapter begins therefore with a brief discussion of the continuing thread of dissent beyond the temporality of the 1980s and into the discussion decade.Chapter four. but also highlights further questions that need to be raised in future research conducted of the 1980s anarcho-punk scene. my concluding chapter. not only summarises subsequent findings throughout this thesis.but rather because the concept of anarchy is itself indefinable and anarchic. exploring in between is that constantly shifts relationship punk rock and anarchism one focus . 45 . such as the Poisongirls. Discharge and the Subhumans are central towards a musical analysis of this particular punk scene.not simply in response to the historical in its which circumstances various manifestations are embedded . highlighting the ways in which ideas from both schools of thought fed into wider actions of protest from the 1980s to the present day. within make up such diversity. As with any analysis of a subcultural movement. The second section within this chapter explores the musical heterogeneity of the anarcho-punk scene of the 1980s. The concluding section of this chapter turns towards a reflective in the this way which the analysis of particular work as a whole. including those against multinationals and government. it is impossible to encompass the entirety of the scene in question.
policies emerged political late in 1970s. is It demise 1960s the 1950s their to considered the eventual and that such an analysis is important for a number of reasons. the crisis in a British identity and the monarchy. consensus.Chapter2: From War to Recession:Determining Factors in the Emergenceof British Punk in the Late 1970s Within this chapter I will attempt to draw together a number of key elements that As 1970s. I begin by providing an outline of the from tracing these the that policies through consensus. `The Politics of Post-Punk: Crass and the Move Here. It is also considered that a clear outline of the policies that emerged from the post-war consensus will provide an informative basis with which to lead into chapter three of this thesis. the term 'anarcho' is more often used within the context of `anarcho-punk' or 'anarcho-scene'. 46 . punk breakdown is is first below. so illuminating any distinctions that may have existed between the political I More 1980s. the Cold War. post-war success of provided a somewhat angry and noisy criticism the music and lyrics of the consensus. to describe the emergence of a post-punk subculture that adopted a more theoretical understanding of anarchism. and move environment of '30As will become apparent below. tapping into a number of key issues within the framework including immigration. as well as of the consensus. I will explore what is termed as `the ending of Towards the Anarcho'. seminal texts on diminishing the British a critique of that as served rock punk punk consider More the specifically. The discussed the of what commonly which are termed as the `post-war consensus'. 130 the consensus'. First. late into 1970s the the the specifically. British the the to the scene of of punk rock emergence contributed ingredients. and the subsequent election of the Conservative government in 1979. three of of vital a complex mixture was with many subcultures.
Whereas the previous section deals specifically with the political and economic environment surrounding the advent of punk. second part of rock Sonic Reducing in the Big Apple'. this the section.and more specifically the concept of `anarchy' . 1-40. will examine the development of the so-called `attitude' found within punk. this section will investigate the accompanying musical climate of the late 1960s and 1970s. pp. It will focus specifically on the influence that American bands such as Iggy and the Stooges and the New York Dolls of the formation British later in had 1970s the and musical political of punk upon early the decade. pp.is explored further in the concluding section. The importance/significance of attitude . D.will explore the extent to which changes in the socio-political this time contributed towards the formation scene of the 1980s. 'Formation'. 47 . 1-5. It will also explore the extent to which the notion of attitude within the American scene would be transformed by their British counterparts as `punk rock' crossed the Atlantic. It will deal specifically with what Laing identifies as `The Music Machine Before Punk': 132examining the way in which the growth of major record companies contributed towards the development of pop music and progressive `From New The York to Sex: during 1970s. (1985) One Chord Wonders:Power of Meaning in Punk Rock. environment of of the so-called `anarcho-punk' The second section within this chapter will deal with what Dave Laing terms the 'formation"" of punk rock.. Milton Keynes: Open University Press.Chapter 1. 132 Ibid. where both the political drawn together in an examination of the Sex Pistols and the are and musical 131 Laing.
p. The unemployment figures for that month were the worst since the Second World War [with] school leavers [being] among the 133 He concludes. Here. `by July 1975.British punk scene as a whole. tracks written by the Sex Pistols. so the country's 134 life factions. 108. the whole idea of the "consensus" that had dominated postwar politics and social life was disintegrating: it was as though the whole post-war ideal of mass consumer enfranchisement fostered by the Prime Ministers of both parties was being proved a sham. London: Faberand Faber. 1. 48 . into be degenerating to social seemed warring The idea of the so-called `post-war consensus' rests upon the broad political agreement between the two major parties of Labour and Conservative in 13 Savage. John Savage notes that. England was in recession. `Anarchy in the UK' and `God Save the Queen' will be analysed in order to determine the extent to which punk rock became a form of protest song in the political climate of the late 1970s. or whether it was indeed motivated simply by shockvalue. Punk and The Consensus: The Move Towards the Anarchic The relationship between the demise of the post-war consensus and the emergence of British punk rock is arguably no coincidence. Just as the pop culture of its middecade had fragmented into small segments. the "classlessness". Writing in England's Dreaming: Sex Pistols and Punk Rock (1992). most vulnerable'.J. (1991) England's Dreaming: SexPistols and Punk Rock. The relationship between `protest' and `anarchy' provides a specific focus here. raising questions as to whether punk rock was related to any form of political agenda. and especially the optimism of the sixties now seemed like a mirage. an expression that I have termed as `rhetorical anarchy'. The bright colours.
the post-war consensus proclaimed a time of economic and social optimism built upon the creation of a welfare state. Given the complexities of the issues under discussion. Ibid. welfare and defence'. the economic stability of near-full employment. 136 A `mixed economy' is one that has a balance between privately owned industries and those attained by the state. an analysis of the post-war consensus may be divided up into four first. L. my intention here is to provide the necessary '34 135 Coxal1. public optimism. years strain. and a new balance between the public and private sectors so as to attain the `mixed economy"" that emerged in the 1950s. 19. overlapping sections. In summary.. separate. eventually leading to a post-1997 political environment that has often been termed as the building of a new post-Thatcherite consensus under `New Labour'. Although all four phases will be touched upon within this thesis. London: Macmillan. 49 . (1998) Contemporary British Politics. As such. 1940-1955 that they the and periods on background the central towards an analysis of the emergence of political provide British punk (1976-) and the anarcho-punk movement of the early 1980s. p.attempting to re-build the `key areas of management of the economy. saw of however. between 1940 The but the years and 1955. & Robins. the and witnessed the ending of the consensus. this chapter will concentrate primarily in 1955-1979. In other words. B. 1955 1979 between The and saw the second stage. demise of such political confidence. 109. as the consensus came under considerable 1997 1979 Thus. p. heralding increasing initial building thus time this the a of consensus. "' following the cessation of the Second World War in 1945. the policies that remained the basis of the consensus will be found themselves that those the policies subsequent strain examined along with under until the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979.
development the the the state and of welfare particular The final area involved economic policy and the attempt to build a `mixed become the subsequently would more government economy'. an area whereby involved in the running of the economy than at any previous time in modern politics.political and social contextualization As such. cit."' It is generally acceptedthat this statuswas built around three key areas being The first Britain based foreign these one of the policy. A Force to be Reckoned With: Sustaining Britain's `World Role' In 1945. in far it USA USSR. p. Japan'. and France Italy. in National Health Service. op. but heavily defeated and countries such as second rank. 50 . the following for the emergence of punk/anarcho-punk. `Although far by industrial the new in capacity military production and outmatched population.. The first involved governmental Foreign Policy and. 20. B.. discussion provides a summary of the key points arising itself. The second area was concerned with the implication of social policy.1940-1955: The Building Blocks of the Consensus The foundation of the post-war consensus was built upon three key areas. Britain's so-called `World Role' that continued to emerge immediately after the Second World War. the advance of other potentially was superpowers. Germany. the than evaluation of source a critical material rather 1. & Robins. in particular. of upon was of '37Coxall.2. 1.1. Britain continued to be recognised as a World Power. L.
Secretary. Here. Further. that some extent argued could population. Roosevelt Stalin'. Because of this agreement. but also that it was important to '38Ibid. As early as 1941 Britain had formed for Land-Lease a system termed agreement. led by Foreign Labour Party's the policy was British believed Bevin that two a only vigorous not principles. Britain's foreign Based Ernest Bevin.major victorious powers in the Second World War. it was considered that `in Churchill. the country had a towering leader bluff. by magnetism and seemed able to treat on of personal who. American and and equal terms with the The second contributory factor in Britain's so-called `world leader' status. guiding upon Foreign Policy was vital to world peace. Britain was one of the three major powers at the two conferences of Yalta and Potsdam that. and military economic remained of considerable had a `special relationship' with America. a combination "' Soviet leaders. the two countries became military subsequently Japan. Germany in in 1942 the against and war allies Following Clement Atlee's post-war election victory in 1945. lay in its possession of a large empire. by the growth of nationalist movements in the non-white territories. p. the empire 139 Lastly. At its peak in 1933. 20. the British Empire covered nearly one quarter of the globe and contained almost one quarter if its `although destabilised be it to Indeed. Britain significance'.. 51 . providing of credits as a what was Britain to obtain a continuous supply of American goods and materials in order to sustain its war effort. in default of an official post-war treaty would nevertheless constitute a post-war settlement.
maintain the notion that Britain was still a great power with important global interests to protect. p. Here. 52 .. status preserving withdrawal of troops from countries that were deemed untenable. Bevin looked to the close involvement of the United States in the so-called `defence' of Europe against he Therefore. power. Britain began to provide financial relief for Colonial and Commonwealth help in Asia and the 1951 in Colombo Plan to thus the participating countries. irrigation. Consequently. India Pakistan. then Bevin also recognised the economic and political value of the Empire and Commonwealth. Bevin presided over the development of a number of treatises to sustain Britain's status as a world superpower. Due to a discontent Britishin Nationalist territory the of and economic reliance growth independence in 1947. which could not be supplied by private 139 Ibid. Far East to develop communication basic aspects of `transportation. the North the role negotiating Atlee government (1945-1951) also allowed American strategic bombers (with in Britain in be 1946. although was to play a leading possible Organisation in Atlantic Treaty (NATO) in 1949. in this a number of strategic actions that were aimed at and was reflected hand involved On Britain's this the the one as a world power. and public utilities. Soviet military aggression. 20. and was ruled was partitioned creating granted to Burma and Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1948. The first of these was the containment of communism. If the containment of communism was high on the agenda. Consequently. from 1949) to stationed atomic capability in Britain 1948 Soviets blockaded Berlin the participated with the United when States in an airlift of supplies to keep the city open. Accompanying such a retreat.
p. Britain also defended its foreign interests by retaining a in bases. superpower claim a military The third way in which Bevin's Foreign Policy was to preserve Britain's `world in in defence A-bomb. p. Bevin also decided that Britain would use force to defend its interests. 912. 21. op. D. 53 . 141 Coxall. a figure that meant Britain had a higher United States. E. B. 141 For further referenceto Britain's decision to keep control of Hong Kong through its worry of the spreadof communism. is significant in that it grievously weakened Britain's force in World be to and a major politics. Hastings Banda in Nyasaland.that Britain should have this weapon too'.turn to Welsh (1993) pp. 438-440. burden defence the to of spending compared even per capita 140 Hall. role' was Churchill's in A-bomb 1952 British testing preceded a of successful decision - `in the wake of US and Soviet development of the more powerful H-bomb . " However. Suez Canal Communist led Russian subsequent so-called Crisis in 1956 however.investment'. This included a war fought against a communist threat in Malaysia. L. being two those most notable naval and military of world-wide system Hong Kong and the Suez Canal Zone. & Robins... the crushing of revolts in Kenya and Cyprus and the imprisonment of Nationalist leaders such as Kwane Nkrumah in the Gold Coast and Dr. cit. sanctioned an GDP (Gross Domestic Product) in 1954. investment A further the by particular and. G. t42This was subsequently developed in 1954. (1981) A History of South-EastAsia. The maintenance of the base in Hong Kong is significant in that the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party in 1949 continued to compound the already established paranoia by the West of a 14' The Conspiracy. As such. Britain's international military obligations and overseas 8% budget increasing defence to that almost of rose commitments. London: Macmillan.
the government took upon itself the powers to over-see both the distribution distribution the as well as of resources of the labour production and force itself.3. The first of these large in the the role of post-war government. responsibilities" of government after Whilst the consensuscan be interpreted partly as a form of extreme paternalism National Health its `family' the that the took through state care of ensuring Service and the Family Allowance Act. return Paper on Employment Policy (1944). 54 . manpower planning. p. and so contributing towards a stable intrusion into it by social as an was many neverthelessconsidered workforce life/civil liberties.1. For expansion was platforms instance. which `called for a new social security system based on compulsory social insurance and fixed subsistence-level benefits in i43 by This for flat-rate the White complemented was also contributions'. The second key area was the drawing up of vast new governmental responsibilities in the full This the employment. which concluded that `the maintenance of a "high and stable level of employment" was one of "the primary aims and 144 the war'. price controls and rationing. of sustenance was reflected and provision of welfare in the Beveridge Report of 1942. An example of this can be seen in the allocation of raw materials to priority purposes. 22. Looking After the Nation: The Establishmentof the Welfare State The second major aspect of the post-war consensus was the development of the welfare state: a policy that was built upon four key platforms. As such one could argue that the government increasingly undermined personal choice and thus constructed instead what has since been 143 Ibid..
As will become evident. The first entitled A National Health Service . intervention in economic and social affairs.of the post-war consensus itself.and consequent demise . 55 . from reformist widespread support civil servants [and] political for 145 degree support of government who advocated an unprecedented parties'. 22. of enjoyed intellectuals.was to provide a free health service funded by taxation. This was to include actual government legislation. examples being the 1944 Education Act. p. Social Insurance. the introduction of family allowances in 1945 and two government White Papers. a policy that underpinned much of the resultant development . social reconstruction the consensus. "' Ibid. The final key area of the welfare state was an both left-wing elite and public opinion that accompanied the of swing obvious implication `post-war Here. the anarcho-punk movementof the early 1980s. the problems surrounding these optimistic governmental interventions became an important source of political backlash which involved punk. whilst the second.. The third key area in the welfare state provision within the consensus was a commitment by post-war government for social reconstruction.termed as a `nanny state'. and even more so. implemented the Beveridge Report outlined above.
Moreover. ' Ibid. 23. electricity and aviation. 23. e. these were retained by subsequent Conservative governments (19511964). a of organisations government and so-called 147 damaging bias'. economic growth... avoidance of Middlemass points Indeed. p. 23. 56 . there was now a growing between industry `peak' and trade unions. 147 Ibid.. employment.. the railways. 148 interests the of their members'.. one could argue that the most important aspect of postkey industries by the the nationalisation of a number of concerned war policy Atlee government. iron and steel. gas. with both (i. This `corporate that the to he ensure terms was as relationship industrial conflict that had occurred during the 1920s would not be repeated: `the it for business informal that the was gave unions corporation and rationale of them a permanent voice in policy-making. fiscal `a techniques e. as the historian relationship Keith out.. ' Ibid. the idea of a `mixed economy' provides a specific example of the government's close intervention in the running of the economy. p. and monetary methods . with the exception of steel and road haulage.4. serve thereby increasing their capacity to '45Ibid.1. stable prices. p. These included the coal industry. protection of the value of sterling and the ' balance of payments crisis'. manipulation of tax rates) of combination parties using full interest (i. Importantly. Fixing the `Balance of Payments': The Development of the `Mixed Economy' In terms of the economy.. 22. to ensure rate charges). p.
A time where a sense of British identity was high on the agenda as Britain looked strong both at home with the implementation of social policy explored above . for the mass of life'.1955-1979: The Breakdown of the Consensus If. Here. economy mixed was a ordinary people for the newly found optimism of the post-war era. 57 . post-war could argue in beginning `collectivist' the the so-called show were cracks mid-1950s. in retrospect.. Yet. the central task of the consensuswas to achieve the most painless transformation from wartime to a peacetime economy. serious politics of the immediate post-war years.were simply appropriated by the election of the Conservative Party in 1951. indeed. was over. "`Winning the war" had. one by the the that so managed consensus was not easily and. there was a continuing commitment to by boom full the created post-war under the slogan and employment welfare `capitalism for the people'. twisted the balance . 1.As such. no longer necessary as the interests of the working people and their rulers were identical: capitalism was at last being politically managed to produce. The class war. the Labour Party's attempts in post-war re-construction . The framework `a better therefore.5.involving a new form of consensus founded on the concept of reformed capitalism and where support for a mixed economy was tempered by the construction of a welfare state and an expansion in public ownership ..as well as retaining its `world role' through its Empire and the Commonwealth. then one can soon perceive the social and political effect that the breakdown of this ideal would have on Britain during the 1970s. it was argued.
a central reason for the increase in de-colonisation during the 1960s. cit.of power from its previous axis so that Britain was no longer a world power'. it the and remained of nearing completion. 108. Furthermore. agreement after owed Whilst the balance of payments was a contributory factor in Britain's demise as a world power. Indeed. L. B.. and the increasing reliance on the United States provide specific insights into the significance of external relations in the maintenance of the consensus. When America called in its Lend Lease '50 five days VJ day. ls' Coxall. and that the only factors underlying the timing of the process were in question. '-' Even had during 1950s. de-colonisation. 24. 150 Ibid. other factors. the slowed considerably now began which so.. p. 108. p. Britain £3 billion'. By 1979 this process was little British Empire. it seemed was torn between the safeguarding of its traditional role as a major power and the urgent need to develop an effective mixed economy. '49 notes Savage. seventeen colonial territories gained their independence between the years 1960 and 1964. 58 . such as the displacement of the Commonwealth by Europe. `It was merely a small island held in thrall by the USA. op. p. could be argued that it was a dissolution that was inevitable. to increase during the 1960s. Here.in response to the 149 Savage. cit. op. & Robins. `when . is often attributed to the Suez Affair of 1956. both strategically and economically.. Britain. As Coxall and Robins observe `the major strand in Britain's domestic history was the continued reluctance to sacrifice its pursuit of national "greatness" in order to dedicate itself to the goal of developing an efficient modern economy'.
the Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan (1957-1963) remained hopeful for a `world role' for Britain. Britain was forced to withdraw. 24. `Blue the negotiation of an eventual and missile surface from launched to purchase a new generation of nuclear weapons agreement Polaris submarines from the United States. and the decision by Belgium to withdraw from the Congo in the mid1960s. p. 56-59. '52 Ibid. Gamal Abdel Suez Canal by Egyptian the the of nationalisation Britain colluded with France and Israel to launch a joint military expedition 152 international However. Britain was anxious to avoid further acute embarrassments `massacres' in Camp Kenya and of Hola 1959 the the revelations of such as in Nyasaland. therefore.Nasser leader. '' A more detailed outline of the SuezCrisis can be found in Dorey (1995) pp. that by the mid-1950s Britain's now over-stretched defence increasing burden the of expenditure. `police conditions state' accusations of so-called It could be argued. Furthermore. The British independence in the cancellation of the surface-toended nuclear attempt at real forced in Streak' 1960. to pressure a sterling and run on against from the USA amongst others. were plus global responsibilities.. Even so. with the most important one perhaps being the development of a British Nuclear Deterrent. 59 . other deep-rooted blow to the country's self image as a great power. it was an ideal that was soon to break down. Yet. thereby dealing a However. due Egypt'. already damaging the country's economy. 153 in been increase de-colonisation have have to that an may pointed may reasons France's decision to speed up de-colonisation in North and West Africa after 1958.
Britain had initially opposed the EEC. but in return. B. 24. A wage freeze. a move that was reflected when Britain's applications to join the EEC in 1961 and 1967 were blocked by French President. 60 . received back under one-tenth of EEC spending. a seaman's strike and a move to more coercive and punitive measures led increasingly '5' Coxall. cuts in expenditure.Therefore. p. exports to the EEC grew quicker than exports to the Commonwealth. `The General's vetoes also owed much to wartime antagonisms and to French unwillingness Robins. in the 1960s. L. which was reasonable. Charles de Gaulle. the notion of the Commonwealth as a world force was at an end. this was accompanied by an increasing economic decline.. op. The maintenance of the consensus undoubtedly depended upon a buoyant economy and. Trade with the Commonwealth was also in decline when. to share European leadership with Britain'. ' had a point about Britain's write Coxall and pro-American `but he undoubtedly 155 Indeed. forming instead the EFTA-(The European Free Trade Association). by 1965. and the problems concerning the EEC were but two factors in Britain's declining economy. who rejected Britain on the grounds of not being a `member' of Europe. although the concept itself had succeeded in disguising Britain's retreat from its Empire..the end of the transitional period of membership Britain - provided one-fifth of Community income. 1974) eventual entry into the EEC in 1973 was one that was disadvantageous to Britain. cit. the Conservative Prime Minister Edward Heath's (1970sympathies'. & Robins. as Britain began to slip down the so-called international `league table'. The demise of the colonies. In 1978 . because the EEC's payments were skewed towards farm support in the Common Agricultural Policy.
to over prices Unemployment. the the time million mark since the unemploymentwent over Indeed. 61 . cit. governments using incomes policies.. `after the quadrupling of OPEC (Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries) oil ' in 1975'. in order to contain inflationary measures. 1-56Savage.000 the 1960s also increased sharply the and an annual 1.`stagflation' unprecedented situation of slow growth describe to this coined was combined with both rising unemployment and accelerating inflation. The economy began its long decline: by 1972. which had averaged in 447. 42. op. the inflation rate. and in January of that year 157 for first 1930s'. `The post-war economic boom that had produced the foundation for [the consensushad] ground to a halt as early as July 1966'. & Robins. as well as wage freezes. 157 Ibid. that was to lead into the 1970s. B.' wrote Savage. op. The years between 1972 to 1979 were also the heyday of `corporalist' economic interventionist between with management government. which had averaged 2.towards a harsh `control culture'. p. in 24% 1973-4. L. which had been on average at 2-3% in the 1950s and 45% in the late 1960s rose to over 9% in the early 1970s and consequently. cit.. 42. p. ` Coxall.`when a six month wagesfreeze was initiated and the pound devalued. 26.4 per cent between 1973 and 1979.. Consequently economic growth..25 1970. to of million a national average after rising in the years 1974-9. p. p.000 1950s in 335.1-'o A new term therefore . employers and unions. 27.This was an approach that was symbolised by Labour's ' Ibid.8 per cent per annum between 1948 and 1973 plunged to a mere 1.. inflation was running at thirteen per cent.
believing hand. p. whereas the Conservative in 1970 . especially in those concerning education and housing. It was an arrangement whereby the unions agreed to voluntary restrain their members' wages in return for government social and industrial policies. In terms of the welfare state. 27. 'g' Ibid. served to politicise industrial relations between government and the unions. The Education Act and The Family Allowance However. more means-tested regrettable..preferred government - this policy a move towards the development of grammar schools. Labour increased the need for the stock of council housing. both parties moved towards a for Labour which was system of social security policies. there was very little policy difference between the two parties. whilst the Conservatives wished to encourage more home-ownership. In education Labour began a rapid movement towards comprehensive although continuing continuing schools. in that it was a departure from the principle of universality. 62 . there were certain differences of opinion. the on other approved such a policy The that it preserved work incentives as well as containing the growth of state welfare.`social contract' with the unions between 1974 and 1975. Conservatives. National Health Service. In terms of housing. thus continuing the post-war consensus that had produced the Act. This in turn. Yet. culminating in the Heath government's clash with the miners between 1972 and 1974 and the Labour government's James Callaghan's (1976-1979) consequent battle with the public sector unions between 1978-9: both of which contributed towards their downfall.
by the mid-1970s. 1. 95. but by the 1970s this expectation had been diminished: for whereas National income had failed to grow as rapidly as expected. On two that the reflected a need to rested central one upon policy British labour the the through that of expansion overcome shortages were created economy through post-war reconstruction and Keynesian techniques of economic management. 160 writes Peter Dorey in British Politics Since 1945 (1995). even people officially classified as amongst the poorestin the community paid tax.it was expectedthat the rapid growth in the economy would allow welfare spendingto rise without raising tax. 63 . Consequently. Unfortunately.6.Yet. with what was defined as the `average' wageincome in direct taxes their two of one-quarter children. government welfare commitment had increased dramatically. paying earner with comparedwith 3. `For the first ten years or so after the war'.3% in 1955. whilst on the other. `Rivers of Blood': Another Blow to the Consensus If there has been a discussion centred primarily around the key areas of the postbecame issue turn to that then central to British also an must one war consensus. P. p. `Britain operated an "open door" policy vis-avis immigration from the countries of the Empire and Commonwealth': 16' a it hand issues. Oxford: Blackwell. immigration fact that citizens of the Empire and Commonwealth also derived from the countries enjoyed the so- 160 Dorey. In the 1950s. (1995) British Politics Since 1945. Britain was falling ever deeperinto recession.by the mid-1970s. 1970s: 1960s the throughout and governmental policies surrounding politics immigration. the welfare state had also come under severestrain.
64 . p. p. Indeed.. 161 Ibid. 95. where .in spite of being urged to oppose it by the Home Secretary. The first attempt at introducing legislation to limit the influx of settlements to Britain came from a Labour government when. and as such were allowed to take up residence called status in their `mother country'. '62 There is a full and comprehensive table entitled 'Immigration from the Commonwealth. flow "the be to that unrestricted of on curbs might need placed was suggesting immigrants from the West Indies"'. immigrants from the the to of and countries accorded Subsequently. In Britain this time. Dorey observes that. 163 Ibid. The first was the actual number of immigrants for 1953. for Commonwealth Minister Douglas-Home.162 Secondly. 96. both the of scale express concern over as well as the rights Empire Commonwealth. racial disturbances occurred in Nottingham and Notting Hill during the second half of 1958 and thus opening out the issue of immigration into the public domain. there were a total of at who were entering 2000 immigrants entering the country. 96.members supported a motion calling for tighter immigration controls. p. 19531962' in Ibid. in 1948 the Atlee Administration Although Conservative Party Act.850 in 1958 and 136. Sir Alec the autumn. example. the demands on stricter controls on immigration during the 1950s increased for three main reasons. compared to 29.`British of subjects'. `during the Relationships.400 in 1961. 63 Such a call for restriction was further highlighted at this time at the Conservatives' annual conference. Rab Butler . Nationality British this time the the at passed Conservative began MPs by to the many mid-1950s such restrictions... opposed immigration.
. stemmed from a number of soConservative MPs being elected for constituencies in the Birmingham area.served push Dorey quotes from an entry that the Conservative Prime Minister.The third reason for the increasing demand within the Conservative Party for controls on immigration called `anti-immigration' during the late 1950s.including higher issue immigration the to of up the political agenda.. "4Dorey is becoming concludes. unemployment . which now the concern over the scale of immigration Commonwealth Immigration by the early 1960s that the 1962 Act was introduced. p. 166 Ibid. The figures quoted above as to the steady rise in immigration. 65 . '63 Ibid. set in the context of concern over Britain's deepening economic problems . '65 It could be argued that this piece of legislation. `such was rather a serious problem'. fuel it to actually effectively seemed and over implying that people's concerns over the number of immigrants entering Britain Labour Party justified. 97. Harold Macmillan (1957-1963) had made in his diary in May 1961 regarding `a long discussion [in Cabinet] on West Indian immigration into the United Kingdom. 97. for immigrants those already settled anti-discrimination '64 Ibid. far from relieving public concern legitimise it by immigration. p. p.. This the effect opposing was compounded when were `recognising the danger of losing working class support to the Conservative Party issue" "race immigration began the to tougher controls. 97. albeit with on support ' legislation in Britain'. which established a voucher immigrants Commonwealth the to number of entitled to move to regulate system Britain'. a part of Britain where many immigrants were residing.
`We must be mad.000 letters that Powell his in to speech. The social and political effects of Powell's speech have been well documented elsewhere. 169 An exhaustiveaccountcan be found in Patrick Cosgrave(1989) The Lives of Enoch Powell. 241-255. his from invasion in their people and nation saving and takemerely concerned over by `alien forces'. " but of the 110. said Powell. for the most part.. literally mad. `It is like watching a nation busily engaged in heaping up its own funeral pyre . seeing him as a heroic figure and a true patriot... p.000 dependants who are. pp. the material of the future growth of the immigrant 167 population'. p. Indeed. Like the Roman. London: Bodley Head. support for Powell was evident when workers from the East End of London. as a nation to be permitting the annual influx of some 50. 168 Whilst most educated people were appalled by Powell's speech and sentiments. 97. to speech resulted calling made his dismissal by Edward Heath. 168 Ibid. 97. as in April 1968 the Conservative Member of Parliament Enoch Powell delivered his now notorious `Rivers of Blood' speech.Indeed. now leader of the Conservative opposition. I seem to see the "River Tiber foaming with much blood"'. staged a series of strikes and marches to Downing Street.. who later admitted that he found the speech deplorable in tackling such a delicate 167 Ibid. received response often congratulatory. such as dockers and meat-porters from Smithfield Market. 66 . the debate over race and immigration consequently came to a head under the Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson. Instead. many of them in for him be Powell's Prime Minister. I am filled with foreboding. the overwhelming majority were supportive. the tabloid press applauded him. As I look ahead.
the of party spent much although and race. non-white) 10 Heath. cit. namely Society. pp. the issue of immigration when the racially soon came back to the forefront of Front party became a British politics motivated National later. issue both Conservative backbenchers this of as well a calming on perceived as as a `need to counter any challenge by Powell for the Conservative Leadership'.000 4.000 the to was early risen which about by perceived was than and a pressuregroup. E.. In that there should be no settlement other words. undoubtedly a political party rather (i. ironically stricter controls on `coloured' Heath was soon to speak of the need for a move that could perhaps be immigration. 290-294. 17'This move was further reflected in the Party's election manifesto which pledged that although Commonwealth immigrants residing in Britain in future. Yet. issue be the coloured e. to the right would retain immigrant workers and their families would not enjoy the right of permanent believed Heath in Britain. '' Dorey. p. the of organisations. although the Conservatives won the election in 1970. (1998) The Course of My Life: My Autobiography. and further defused the situation by implementing the 1971 Immigration Act. to of concerned almost exclusively with most people its immigration Indeed.topic in this way. few force a years serious electoral The National Front was formed in 1967 from the remnants of three far-right Empire Loyalists. 10 Yet. Having amasseda combined membership of Preservation Racial the and Front National by 1974 had 15. 67 . London: Coronet. op. further large-scale permanent immigration. National League British Party. 98. joined by be their wives and children.
the by "caused too many the were cost of maintaining state welfare escalating 'n For a thorough accountof the birth and subsequent developmentof the National Front one can turn to Richard Thurlow (1998) Fascismin Britain: A History.rising unemployment. cit. suggestingthat many socio-economic problems in Britain . by being undermined coloured race.pp. levels innate biologically determined civilisation. poverty. there was the notion of eugenics which National Front leaders hierarchies (sic) intellectuals and about racial arguments espoused. p. 173Dorey. increasing crime. B. 245-267. Taurus. electoral or populist in lives.were Consequently. the party warned as non-white races and civilisations. culture. `Firstly.that the so-called purity and superiority of the British `race' would be destroyed if its members began breeding with the National Front insisted Therefore. the National Front believed in the superiority of whites over all had Hitler Consequently.1967-1985'. `The Grand Synthesis. Front was largely basedon the notion that British society. slum housing. entailing and "' intelligence. and the (white) British " immigration'. done in Mein Kampf (1936) . The second level of the National Front's opposition to immigration was the the threat that British of warned were people whereby one. Pulling immigrants their upon the propaganda posed everyday coloured National `the Republic.. Weimar by Hitler Jewish the the and population used on Front played the numbers game. 1918-1985. another members of depended British to the upon putting an end all race of superiority purity and mixed-race marriages and sexual relationships. 142. 68 . (inferior) the that the race. of In terms of race.London: I. etc. the National Front's opposition to immigration worked on two levels. op." National its fascist `the "ideology" denying the time or programme of past.
whilst election to the Greater London Council (GLC). Dorey also turns to another way in which the Far Right would impose its views on minority groups. and " won over 4 million votes nationally. paid for by the taxes and national insurance contributions of British workers. the National Front claimed that they were denying a white person that job. The following year. Conversely. p. p. 143.immigrants"'.. the Party fielded 54 and 90 candidates respectively. 1'a Ibid. in in 113. Such racial attacks have long been particularly prevalent in the East End of London'. 142. as Dorey February 76. did 43.700 votes (over 16 per cent of the total cast)..000 in 1977. noting that the National Front `was also engaged in direct individuals in form "non-white" the and action. usually of physical assaults on criminal damage.000 and polling votes points out. if a `black' person was unemployed. when it polled over 4. in elections in Leicester. Figures taken from Ibid. to the win although a seat a local party"'. 69 .. `the October 1974 result "confirmed its position as England's fourth 16 failed National Front in Moreover. 15Ibid. they were then accused of `scrounging' off the welfare state.. 15 In other words. 142. as electoral influence for the Far Right decreasedtowards the end of the late 1970s. in the two 1974 general elections (February and October).579 October. The most significant `breakthrough' for the National Front came in the West Bromwich by-election in May 1973. Indeed. 16Ibid.including arson . 143-144. if a `black' person was in paid employment. they poll over votes.000 votes.to their property. pp. " Indeed. they managed to poll 119. p.
the party contested the 1979 general election on a manifesto that promised much stricter immigration Margaret Thatcher had herself `the Dorey that. even though the National Front fielded 303 candidates Conservative'. p.000 him thus about of members with amassing a membership Moreover. '' Ibid. 179 Ibid.. John Tyndall. subsequently securing 178 Ibid. 180 in the 1979 General Election. Under Margaret Thatcher's leadership.. 70 . In 1982 a former senior figure in the National Front. the British National Party has displaced the National Front as Britain's main party of the Far Right. notes "the fears interview. due partly as a result of its diminishing electoral support. year. in that television of our people" about understood she said. 2. 144. 144. Dorey also sees two main factors that contributed to the decline of the Far Right in the late 1970s: the first being the involvement of the Conservative Party. since its formation.there is evidence to suggest that members had fewer qualms about relying on direct action and violence in order to `drive out' ethnic minority society. 179 `many of those who it Front National for have the now consider worthwhile voting could voted might As such. by "alien cultures"'. previous controls. it could only secure 1. founded the British National Party .000. p. p..5 per cent of the vote nationally.taking many NF 3. a being "swamped" Consequently. sections of More importantly. The second factor attributing to the decline of the National Front in the late 1970s was the increasing fragmentation of the party. 144.
and high and increasing levels of public expenditure meant that by the end of September the government had to turn to the International Monetary Fund. cit. 1. increasing and a post-war optimism eventually gave way economic unemployment.. slowing economic growth. In June. 229.. unemployment reached 1.. a decline in the nation's role as a world `superpower' subsequent crisis of national identity. For Savage. ''' Indeed.4% $2 1940. portents. Denis Healey was told by the Treasury that he of had to cut public expenditure to regain the confidence of the markets'.501. far from being eradicated.976. Even the avuncular James Callaghan could not disguise the fact that the consensus that had governed post-war politics and social life was cracking up. was not only inadequate against the recession of the mid-1970s but was also patently untrue: one had only to look at the decaying inner cities to realise that poverty and inequality. rapidly rising inflation and unemployment.70. The that was felt by Britons to a deepening in the late 1940s and 1950s recession. 'RZ 181 Savage. When the IMF team arrived in England in England on 1 November.6. American monetarists came to dictate the policy of a centrist Labour government. were visible as never before.7. London in 1993. the chancellor. p.. op. partly inspired by the century-long democratic ideal of American consumerism. By July. 1976 `was a time of of the workforce.the election of a councillor in a local by-election in Tower-Hamlets. Final Thoughts: The Beginning of the End The demise of the post-war consensus was therefore central to the social and political environment that would eventually encapsulate the mid-1970s. 71 . The figure dropped below the to reach the figure since and pound worst $1. The consensus.
including non-virtuosity.2. 229. I would like to argue that the essence of punk related to a number of important musical form. Firstly.. In that to rock would want argue progressive particular. p. and the emergence of TV advertised compilation albums. 182 Ibid. one can see the emergence of mass produced music by large `transnational' record companies (EMI for instance). Pop vs. I would like to argue that the emergence of these characteristics lay in the backlash towards the progressive rock and pop scene during the late 1960s had become I 1970s. a `do-it-yourself' between down breaking the the performer and audience. so emphasising the significance of the virtuoso performer and the increasingly large-scale. points will be considered in more detail below. this section will concentrate upon two further contributory factors which also played a significant part in the British 1970s the musical environment of the punk: emergence and attitude of 1970s and the New York punk scene of the early to mid-1970s. and increasingly complex in both form and content. of relationship and ethic Further. immigration (and Rock Against While these Racism) and the decline of Britain as an affluent `superpower'. simple musical characteristics. economically by both characterised venues studios and performance expensive reliance on groups such as Pink Floyd and King Crimson. Not least in the underlying ideology surrounding the dole-queue (and its relation to the worsening economy). ProgressiveRock: Starting Out on the Punk Rock Road to Nowhere There is much evidence to suggest therefore that the economic breakdown of the post-war consensus was to play a significant role in the shaping of punk sensibilities. 72 . In terms of the pop music at this time.
I will highlight the importance of the New York scene to British punk rock by discussing bands Stooges. six major in the by them did putting they originate recordings signing artists and not only distributed them and discs then tapes they and also manufactured and studio. I. Attention will be drawn to the role of Malcolm McLaren and his involvement with the earlier American scene. In particular. Sex Pistols in part three of this chapter below. 21 Musical Whiplash: K-Tel and the Politics of Boredom In One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock (1985).The second influence on punk rock relates to attitude. 73 . `in thirds the shared two was market that record of notes integrated: "majors" These vertically transnational were companies. ' them to shops'. had EMI the the stake a record while aspects of . `each controlled three or four main fourth in business. op cit.. not least the way in which the temperament of British punk rock was influenced by the New York punk scene of the early to mid-1970s. p.retailing - 'ffi Laing.. `Search Destroy' the track the and conclude with an analysis of highlighting be found in British key that also can punk of elements a number in become the that subsequent analyses of the apparent will characteristics rock. Dave Laing between British 1976. thus providing a consideration of the extent to which this subsequently influenced his `masterminding' of the emergence of British punk. This Iggy New York Dolls The the and section will and such as by Stooges. promoted He continues.
compared to CBS who had 16 per cent and Polygram who came third with 13 per cent. evidence for his observation. Subsequently. Here. In Rock and every market of significance Roll: A Social History (1996). CBS had 9 per cent and Polygram 13 per cent. since many smaller record companies used the majors to manufacture and distribute their products'. had 21 per cent of the market in terms of single sales in 1976. it could be argued that music had entered the climate of `Big Business' and with profits soaring and growth levels reaching 25 percent annually. a British owned company. He notes that record sales.. Moreover. EMI for example. Laing also points out that `in some cases the proportion of record sales in which a major had a financed interest was even higher. continued to grow. reaching $2 billion in 1973 and $4 billion in 1978. In terms of album sales. 1. Paul Friedlander provides a commentary on the industry in America during the late 1960s and early the record expansion rapid of 1970s. Laing includes figures from the British Phonographic Industry (BPI). p. ' Consequently. `Lawyers and accountants 184 Ibid. the author estimates that EMI handled about one-third of all records sold in Britain during the mid-1970s. which had topped $1 billion in 1967. EMI had 22 per cent of the market.through its chain of HMV '84 To provide record shops'. 74 . the revenue from record and tape sales began to surpass all other types of mass entertainment revenue including sports merchandise and cinemas. record-labels began to attract the scrutiny of corporate bosses. not least the way in which they could ensure access to in Western and Third world countries. The dominance of these major companies can also be observed in the international market.
82 figure that per cent reached and albums. Laing believes For development. a company that began in funeral homes and parking lots. Consequently. p. " Friedlander. (given were united under the corporate umbrella of the Kinney Corporation. Hertz Rent-a-Car. 75 . Industry giant Columbia Records was only one part in the CBS conglomerate that owned the CBS TV network. The transnational success of these artists . 233. major record labels began to merge with smaller companies as the trend toward corporate consolidation increased. 187 All figures taken from Ibid. p. ' Because of the growing profits to be made. Elektra/Asylum. I. by 1973 the top six record 66 Hot-100 the cent per of all approximately selling singles corporations were "7 had by 1980.. Oxford: Westview Press.p. (1996) Rock and Roll: A Social History. many British musicians with international status in the mid-1970s were he foreign-owned As this to quotes among record companies. 233. to the who were who signed others was signed to Arista and Led Zeppelin Atlantic with who were WEA.had an effect on the process of the actual recording of the '85 Ibid. City David Bowie.. that of the success of the a Beatles.which also included Rod Stewart and Fleetwood Mac . then one can point to the importance of the British music scene in such because instance. Bay RCA. Atlantic/Atco the acronym WEA) and other related subsidiaries combined. /Reprise. Banquet Foods and much more.replaced old-time music aficionados such as Atlantic's Ahmet Ertegun and Elektra's Jac Holzman as the final arbiters of major-label decision-making'. P. By 1973 Warner Bros. of signed evidence Rollers. a If Friedlander highlights the move of the international music industry into Big Business.
190 Ibid. '88Laing. Because of the expansion of the world market. the recording studio. quality sound recording. Ibid. Laing notes. There was however. 3. p. musical value sounds an unprecedented increasingly on the expertise of the studio engineer and music producer.. cit. p. and had thus equated musical excellence with a meticulous (and time-consuming. particular'. `the only path to artistic success musicians labels imagine lay that one's own work would prove through convincing could 190 commercially viable'. and thus superior. 3. 3. into which the music to be recorded could be separated. general was that `good' of made a by identified a clean. the so-called `progressive rock' genre had further emphasisedthe primacy of recorded music over live performance.material written. henceexpensive)attention to detail in and maximum use of. 76 . money was spent on improving the technology in recording ' `In studios. financial rewards from a world-wide hit record were potentially vast. as one could only finance studio time by the sponsorship of a major record label.. op. another reason for signing to a major or large independent record label. records were Furthermore. p. In this to to rely sense. `the exponential increase during the decade in the number of tracks. Since the late 1960s. or channels of sound. Therefore.. and subsequently this monetary gain encouraged major record companies to invest large sums of both in in involved the the recording the of musicians preparation and money process. as Laing points out. allowed musicians and producers to manipulate the '' began degree'. Although the emergence of punk rock proved that `valid' recordings could be in 1976 for fraction the the consensus cost.
a song cycle that remained in the top-200 charts for fifteen years could be argued to be the quintessential concept album. regarding them as a form of publicity for the album proper\'9. Musicians became increasingly virtuosic and the themes of the concept albums became ever more verbose. 77 . Laing illuminates this by turning specifically to the Beach Boys. but also towards the musical form and content found within the style. turning instead to writing lengthy and more complex `concept albums'. whilst The Wall (1979) featured the construction and destruction of a huge wall during its live performance. to have an effect not only on the way in which progressive rock was performed. An example of the musical complexities surrounding the notion of the so-called `concept album' can be seen in two lengthy works by the band Pink Floyd. Live concerts were increasingly expected to sound exactly like the artists' studio albums and consequently needed increased technology and extra musicians. an eleven 191 Ibid. continues Laing.Indeed. 3. whose origins (guitar/vocals) in the psychedelic underground shifted after Syd Barrett by drug-related breakdown suffered was replaced a who - David Gilmour.000) £5. At the same time artists began to deviate from the traditional three-minute song format. `In many instances. Dark Side of the Moon (1973). whose `Good Vibrations' single. such shows ran at a loss and the record companies covered the costs. p. recorded in 1966 `reputedly took six months in four 191 $10.000 (over This in turn began to separate studios and cost produce'.. Another example is David Bowie's The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972). as artists began to explore both musical form and subject matter in their work.
Love' 9 the whilst stayed weeks. Manipulated by the dance band leader Tam Paton. In contrast.. 78 .000 due to to themselves sending pictures of addresses eventual success was lifted from so-called `teen' magazines in 1974. Laing also highlights the existence of what is often termed `teenybopper' music - `(exemplified by the Bay City Rollers) and the emerging disco dance music of ' facing like Charles Chic Tina the trends'. admitted to not playing on a number of their tracks. Subsequently. the title track exploring ideas around loneliness and love. p. the late 1960s as the Saxons by brothers Derek the emerging its by band in Alan Longmuir.. main pop artists and Rollers in particular. -a in 16 `I Only Wanna Be with You' the chart. their image of being a short-trousered. Yet it must also be noted that progressive rock was merely one style within the British popular music scene of the 1970s. 3.track album that tells the story of its title. it could be argued that their audiences were also predominantly made up of those whose sense of a musical tradition stretched back to the Beatles and the Beach Boys. 4. The Bay City are a good example of the teeny-bop scene that was in Formed in 1970s. tartan-trimmed. the changed name sticking a pin a map of the and USA. Not only did these particular artists concentrate on making albums rather than singles. spiky-haircut group contributed to two number one hits the following Dusty Springfield's `plundered' from `Bye Baby' Bye track year. 193 Ibid. weeks spent - band have `Give A Little for Furthermore. p. or Heroes (1977). 192 Ibid. part of the band's 10.
hailed as the first punk single . longer serving artists such as Manfred Mann does Demis Roussos The Presley. '96Figures are taken from McAleer. (ed. share the chart with older. Gambaccini. '"Ibid. Rice. London: Carlton/Little Brown. M. the clarinettist so-called novelty Am a Cider Drinker (Paloma Blanca)'. T. D.. 4. p..Laing also continues by noting that `these two genres (progressive rock and pop) in between them were a the mid-1970s two poles of music and represented .196 in October the that the released month selling singles Rose' .. slips to number 14 after reaching the dizzy heights of 12 the month before (the single actually reached number 3 in the British singles chart in September of that year).. 4. '97Rice. Abba and the Bay City Rollers. J. it highlights fragmenting be Laing the that changing almost shift could argued in popular music audiences of the 1970s. and Paul McCartney. Bilk. Artists such as Rod Stewart. 79 . for the next wave of so-called ready and who were now `teenyboppers'. as an makes singer also and Wurzel's `I Moreover. in be best 20 Evidence began fragment. (1981) The GuinnessBook of Hit Singles. and then a larger diversity of audience brought together by the Beatles in the 1960s.and the release of the Sex Pistols' `Anarchy in the UK'. ' range of other styles'. These styles were able to `straddle the rock/pop dividei195 and included artists such as ELO.) (1996) The Warner Guide to UK and US Hit Singles. 266.p. Here. the top this to can seen analysing of now Damned `New 1976. P.. p. What had essentially been a teenage audience of the 1950s. 197 194 Ibid. Elvis appearance. & Read. Elton John. whose `Mull of Kintyre' sold over two million copies in Britain alone. the Acker the song. London: GuinnessSuperlatives.. In particular highlighting the effect of `baby boom' is the termed the post-war who were about to of wave second what hit puberty.
in the top result of this was that the of maximised sales records already "turnover" of album titles in the charts slowed down considerably. David Chocolate the the Hot Parton. or penchant wave of much - 80 . what is also interesting inclusion of so-called punk . Hot Gossip and Rose Royce. contains artists such latter has Three Soul. H. `The 20. `Hence. cit. '99`New wave' was a term given to an emerging post-punk movementthat although co-opted for first the towards the punk critical attitude society. evidence perhaps of what could be termed as the smooth end of 1970s. who was to subsequently launch the first television-advertised hit of album compilation buy It that records.To be competitive with the already establishedrecords discounting that began albums this selected group of shops a policy of outlets. they were sold "oldies" by 1960s by the already established or new albums else stars of collections ' superstars'. Yet. Disco Fever for example. and not otherwise at an audience would was aimed records. p. Two such examples of K-Tel's albums are the compilations Disco Fever: 20 Original Disco Hits (1977) and Action Replay (1978). move as and stores such multiple into the selling of records. making it " Laing.Laing also highlights the emergence of a new company entitled K-Tel. 4. in be a slightly would higher age group. It is interesting to note that both albums epitomise Laing's notion of the fragmentation of Seventies music. op.. to Woolworths Boots. Dolly whilst and as Degrees.or new wave" is the Blondie the such as acts and - Boomtown Rats. Indeed trends to promote these television advertised compilation in best-selling 20 by 1976 became the top that albums of nine so popular albums Britain were TV advertised re-issues. late during the punk The increase in sales of K-Tel's compilation albums was also assistedby large beginning Smith W.
it Laing. Indeed, difficult to the succeed, especially newer artists'200 notes more due less difficult had to to the succeed support more as artist now even was made for difficulty budget for Furthermore, TV increased the albums. advertising an those artists also lay in the fact that the growing market share of the multiple stores (30% by 1976) was made at the expense of the specialist record shops. These independent retailers, whose numbers now began to diminish, would invariably stock a far wider range of titles than the multiples. Therefore, they by likely be to available records new or unknown make more would certainly musicians.
By the mid-1970s therefore, it was more difficult
to locate an epicentre for
British popular music. Laing notes that `there was no guarantee that the new teenyboppers would follow the evolution of their predecessors.. . who graduated 201 later lyrics He Beatles their from screaming at the to analysing the of songs'. during lack highlights talent the midthe emerging of new musical so-called also 1970s, a process heightened by the pressure on funds available for investment in future The discounting TV by talent of popular and advertising. caused such by Laing during time this concludes and consequently seemed uncertain: music lay future `some that the not with the pop and people wondered, asking whether but (middle-of-the-road) MOR the new-style sphere with rock by the success of TV marketed albums? '202 audience revealed
200 Laing, op. cit., p. 4. 201 Ibid., p. 5.
for instance dress be contained could arguedas a more educatedand what unconventional skilful attitude towards the musical material.
202 Ibid., p. 5.
Although this section has dealt predominantly
with the emergence of major
records labels in the mid-1970s, it may be useful to briefly conclude with the discussion of a number of so-called `independent' labels that existed at this time. If, on one hand, the mid-1970s witnessed the increasing centralisation of record production and distribution, then, on the other, one can also find evidence of
in Stiff Records London and Factory records from labels such as smaller Manchester, beginning to issue and distribute what Laing notes as `Xerox
203 first The in Stiff Records Formed 1976, the made punk signing with music'. Damned in 1976, resulting in the issue of the single `New Rose' in that year for instance, whilst Factory Records became home to a number of post-punk bands Here, Column. Durutti Joy Division the emphasis was placed upon and such as the initial signing of the bands and the distribution of musical material, rather
than the `polished' and `professional' recordings from the majors. Also, these labels relied upon an alternative method of distribution, with material often being delivered by hand to a variety of outlets, or sold by mail order.
In this sense,the independent label became a useful alternative to the growing instance, Trade for label Rough The the majors. shop and commercialism of based in London's Kensington Park Road, being a good example of this. (Interestingly, the label became home to two European post-punk bands in the form of Metal Urbain from France and Switzerland's Kleenex, as well as the British based Raincoats and Scritti Politti). Although catering to a number of different musical tastes - including a wide range of punk and reggae - Rough Trade also began to develop a distribution network named `The Cartel',
203 Ibid., p. 17.
alongside its retail activities. More so, the shop became a meeting place for local musicians, with the advertising of band members and gigs, as well as selling a number of home grown fanzines. In this sense, independent labels played key roles in the decentralisation of punk in the mid-1970s, seemingly disputing the notion of `good' music being equated with superior sound quality and a nationwide network of distribution.
2.2. From New York to Sex: Sonic Reducing in the Big Apple
While the musical polemic of the 1970s was significant to the aesthetics of punk, not least in its backlash against the centralised control of record companies, there is also evidence to suggest that the increasingly stale musical environment was an expression of the failure of the post-war consensus and worsening recession inflation, high facing Britain 1976 1970s. By soaring the was unemployment of intricate inner-city Moreover, increased the areas. aspects of within poverty and the consensus that have been dealt with above were arguably finally taking its toll upon the British economy, as taxes were increased to pay for the Welfare State and Defence. Furthermore, inflation as Britain was gripped by rapidly rising
increasingly high and unemployment, slowing economic growth and
levels of public expenditure, it was also accompanied by an increasing loss of `national identity' due mainly to a sharp decline in international political status
be it Consequently, argued that the midcould and relative economic strength. 1970s was a time that encapsulated an era for a more realistic musical backlash
04 demonstrated highlighted these the time. the that problems and negativity of The social and musical aspects that contributed towards the birth of punk rock is further highlighted by Malcolm McLaren who, in Please Kill Me (2000) noted that `by the dawn of the seventies, the philosophy was that you couldn't do
anything without a lot of money. So my philosophy was back to "Fuck you, we don't care if we can't play and don't have good instruments, we're still doing it Indeed, in McLaren's because we think you're all a bunch of cunts"'. 205 eyes,
`that's what really created the anger - the anger was simply about money, that the culture had become corporate, that we no longer owned it and everybody was He desperate to fucking get it back. This was a generation trying to do that'. 206 also acknowledged, `I was at least a generation older than the generation I
from I Sex Pistols' from I the generation of the was generation, managed. wasn't the sixties. So my relation to the Sex Pistols was a direct link to that existential in for doing & rock anything roll - giving up the motive angst-ridden early 207 & do-it-yourself, the amateur spirit of rock roll'. notion of career, and
Whilst McLaren draws attention to both the adverse economic climate, as well as the need to recapture the early DiY spirit of rock 'n' roll, it could be argued that his intentions towards managing the Sex Pistols and his ethos behind re-claiming
204 One may note here that the so-called `traditional' mode of protest song within the popular for folk be it the from folk Yet, surprising not came predominantly may genre while music music. movement to have revived to provide a political commentary on the failure of the post-war consensus, this role primarily fell to punk. Although the folk genre of the 1960s had similarities with its later counterpart, in that it `communicated a personalised reflection in issues of contemporary concern', one may also note that'by the mid-1960s resonated more with the student peace movement than with the underprivileged rural poor'. In this sense, radical protest S. in fore Dylan In Whiteley, the to the a new et al. guise: of chaos clarity replaced relative came (2000) Women and Popular Music: Sexuality, Identity and Subjectivity, London: Routledge, p. 72.
205 McNeil, L. & McCain, G. (2000) PleaseKill Me: The UncensoredOral History of Punk London: Abacus, p. 304. 206 Ibid., pp. 304-305.
corporate culture were questionable. Many have cited the £40,000 advance from EMI Records, the £75,000 he received from A&M Records (for the 6 days they were on the label) and the £15,000 received from Virgin, to question such an ethic. Although this matter has been covered in great length elsewhere, I
merely wish to highlight the way in which the anarcho-punk movement would later question the sincerity of McLaren's motives. While the question of
McLaren's financial relationship with the Sex Pistols will be dealt with below in chapter three, (where I wish to outline the contempt that anarcho-punk had for bands such as the Pistols and the Clash for signing to major record labels), it is evident that his motives for launching punk into the British arena were based on drew heavily that on his experience of the an acute sense of entrepreneurship New York punk scene of the early 1970s. In 1973 McLaren, Westwood and Gerry Goldstein [McLaren's business associate], were invited to exhibit clothes from their shop Let It Rock at the National Boutique show at the MacAlpin Hotel in New York. It was during this time that McLaren first met bands such as the New York Dolls, Iggy and the Stooges and the Ramones. McLaren was
particularly impressed with the New York Dolls. According to Savage, the Dolls were "`a reflection of their audience", who congregated in the tiny Oscar Wilde This scene was Room at the Mercer Arts Center right in the middle of SoHo'. 209 `the tail end of the sixties Warhol scene, which had been the venue for drag 210 freaks, Savage also pulls upon the queens, speed every possible outcast'.
206 The financial affairs of McLaren and the Sex Pistols are dealt with in depth in Savage (1992). The author covers the signing of the band to EMI (pp. 223-227), the ending of that deal (pp. 287289) as well as the eventual signing to Virgin (pp. 344-349). Moreover, Savage also covers the between Lydon and McLaren (p. 227) and the eventual court case relationship acrimonious between them (pp. 531-535). He has also written an update in an Appendix (pp. 542-545).
207 Ibid., p. 304.
209 Savage,op. cit., p. 60. 210 Ibid., p. 60.
the Dolls in particular encompassed a sense of pantomime. McLaren saw the Dolls as his first `prototype of testing public reaction' 213They encapsulated a sense of a band that existed around a package. New York was like a jump-cut to the present. With the New York Dolls. unfolding a series of freedoms . 62. Candy Darling. 60.that had seemed a distant dream in England. who said that `we played Max's Kansas city: that was the scene.from class.meant that. they had managed to update the original wildness of teenage Rock 'n' Roll to suit the 1970s. 86 . for McLaren. guitarist of the Dolls. " hang in back there the starswould out rooms'? McLaren's relationship with the Dolls has already been well documented. from stasis. they lived out what they sang. 212 Ibid.evidence of Sylvain Sylvain.wearing women's clothing and garish `glam type' outfits . made Therefore. from puritanism . aspects that also permeated through bands such as the Dead Boys. Although one could argue that their music lacked the rawness of the Ramones or and Stooges. Warhol .and he wanted more. They had attitude. for McLaren. The group themselves were impressive. p. they had style.. p.. the Dolls were a throw back to the very ethos of 1950s rock 'n' roll in their raw and 211 Ibid. it was a particular mix of rawness and theatricality that fascinated McLaren. the Ramones and Iggy and the Stooges. Yet. and most of 212 feel he belonged him that they all. Their dress-sense . Jackie Curtis.. Beginning from a similar point in fashion and fifties music. Here. McLaren at last found himself in the world of celebrity . most notably perhaps in Savage's England's Dreaming. The city seemed boundless. Savage sums up the influence of the New York scene when he states that. a sense of nihilistic theatricality built upon an image of sexual ambiguity and an extremity of attitude. they had media attention.
On one hand. it is characterise was `Search Destroy' (track to an analysis and provide of one on considered relevant the accompanying disc) to highlight the musical characteristics that were later to become commonplace in British punk rock. cit. (1998) Too Much. the track embodies many of the stylistic traits that were to become commonplace in British punk rock. p. 215 Ibid. aspects that were otherwise essential in the developing progressive rock scene at the time. `Search and 213 Antonio. 166.but I didn't wanna walk into a guy with a lion's head full of drugs and pills. shouting 215 It was this sense of `raw power' that POWER" "RAW at me'. wonderfully "' enjoyable singer'. p. said McLaren. incredibly sexy. Socially however.uninhibited sound. N. op. 214 McNeil. `I adored the album Raw Power (1973) ..it may be by draw Iggy and the Stooges to highlight a number of track to a useful upon become in to the British punk scene a that apparent were musical characteristics few years later.157. and screaming few later British the to punk scene a years and. as such. `Search and Destroy' is the opening track on Iggy's second album Raw Power. and musical simple very simple. Too Soon: The Makeup and Breakup of the New York Dolls. 87 . Although McLaren was predominantly influenced by the defiant posing of the New York Dolls . p.an aspect that will covered in more depth below . the track is musically form It `poor' techniques. Written in 1973. 157. entails production lacks instrumental virtuosity. & McCain. albeit with a contemporary edge that reflected the hedonistic life-style associatedwith the Warhol Factory.. `What I saw was a very tough. Iggy embodied an attitude and musical style that McLaren felt threatened by. London: Omnibus.
88 .. 218 Ibid.question and answer . These two sections. the pace 216 Ibid. Consisting of the rhythm guitar. it could be is the two that the chords an attempt to introduce the of power argued alternation band Iggy's The Prime Movers. 218 songs.Destroy' remains far more complex. p. 59.seem almost mismatched. zi6 `Search and Destroy' opens with a simple four-bar introduction. this introduction is made up of two power chords -D flat and G flat .the drone and the phrase. p. That's how it really was'. two tracks or as someone completely mixed as had been messing with the tuner on a radio. they were like demented grooves - If the first four bars are `trance like'. "We are going to politicize the Youth! " But the kids were like "WHAT? Just give me the dope".phrase on aD flat blues scale. p. As the phrase enters. 50. but they weren't "trances"'.. noted drone going. 217 Ibid. They didn't care. if if different had been together. In an atmosphere dominated by talk of the Vietnam War. Stooges John would] get this tremendous antics'.. Something that Iggy noted.and is low in the mix. 50. then the spell is soon broken with the introduction of an eight bar . when he said that `the People don't give a fuck. Iggy's generation had seen the demise of the counter-culture during the late sixties. Although the introduction is short. previous of reminiscent essence of a `Iggy kind of created this psychedelic drone act as a backdrop for his front man 217 just `[the Sinclair. [John] Sinclair would say. the New York punk scene was a move away from the organised politicisation of popular music towards a new form of identity. drone.
a cheetah skin jacket actually . 89 .. a phrase that refers to his a street walking cheetah with time spent in London whilst Bowie produced Raw Power. opening reflects a heart full of napalm'. p. The drums increase the driving force of the track with the emphasis on the crotchet beat. to guitar of rhythm and note blues introduction As lyrics.although probably on purpose and not because of musical incompetence . `Heart Full of Soul' (track two on the accompanying disc) -a track in has Graham Gouldman by Yardbirds 1966 by the a and recorded written 219 Ibid. 220 Ibid. I `Heart I Full Soul' thought.and the lead guitar sounds almost `tinny' and uncomfortable to the ear. 45. `I'm a sense of uneasiness. thought song so a good was always of napalm. What's my heart full of? I decided it was basically full of napalm'. leaving the eighth is drive bass that the so characteristic of punk rock. would Iggy heart full do liked `all I to the a with streets of was walk around concluded. " Indeed. p. `What I noticed about these black guys was that the music was like honey off their fingers. the lead guitar drops out completely. `What you gotta do is play your own simple blues''219 Iggy once said after seeing a gig with Sam Lang and Jimmy Cotton. `I used to walk around London. u1 Ibid..and all the old men in London " in drive by try to their cars and they'd stop and cruise me'. the with accompany begins Iggy lyric with the line.. p.it had a big cheetah on the back . p. 155. 46. with this leopard jacket I had.quickens slightly .. Real 22° in its simplicity' childlike and charming As the vocal interjects. through the park and stuff. the the the of phrase in bar five. 222Ibid. 155.
not an event but a scope was whose 225 but beginning '. 11. not least in the introduction with `Search and of the vocals (bar nine) where the lead guitar drops out. a place in which there was considerable sure and common ground between men on issues of 224 bad bad'. J. the drums enters with a snare drum accent on beats two and four... while the solos revert to a more `laid back' blues style. The rhythm guitar is percussive in nature and thus adds to the rhythmic momentum of the track. p. 225 Ibid.. (1968) Bomb Culture. Again.number of similarities with `Search and Destroy'. `the morality. The introductory phrases in both are menacing in feel. p. The world of the European Victory was. After this two bar phrase has been played once.. There is also a comparable contrast between the two major sections. `Heart Full of Soul' begins with a menacing blues motif on the lead guitar. returning only at the end of the chorus where the ensemble sing `heart full of soul'. rhythm guitar and bass. On the other hand. 11. the act being. The musical arrangement again has similarities Destroy'. but this time accompanied by full drums. New York: Delacorte Press. of a condition 223 Nuttall. Lyrically. this helps in building texture and pace. 1. where good was good and was world of the Japanese victory was a world in which an evil had been precipitated immeasurable. At bars five to eight. p. Nuttall continues the an not occasion continuum. `Search and Destroy' might be seen as an attempt to capture the feelings and mood of what Jeff Nuttall terms in Bomb Culture (1968) as the `post Hiroshima teenager'. accompanied by an acoustic sounding rhythm guitar. ' Nuttall writes that WE Night took place in one world and VJ Night in another. "A Ibid. 90 . the blues phrase is repeated twice. in itself.
the about sex.. The people who had passed puberty at the time of the bomb found that they were incapable of conceiving of life without a future. The one who searches and destroys'. life `Search and Destroy' mirrors such a lack of with a conceiving of faith in any kind of future. 227 Nuttall. 12. `I'm a runaway son of a nuclear A-Bomb'.. p. cheerfully or institutions . He lived his life in an elaborate system of ' for hundreds had been of years'. p. social class. 13. me please' cries. ' Ibid. 13-14. It is almost as if Iggy himself wants to destroy the pretence of the post-Hiroshima society. `Look out "b Ibid.. 91 . shouts Iggy. 229 Ibid. 13.of moral 23° harsh New imagery lyrics The to this to the point attempts within authority'. political party. `I am a world's forgotten boy. pp. Ibid. gotta gotta the lack of time.. His vocal style is shouted instead of sung and his accent is overtly American. `Dad was a he lied `he lied liar'.church. p. going on pretence that Nuttall also believes that `in the new world the light was harsh. happy family . a perpetual noon 229 final being He `the decisions. action possibly observes. People who had not yet reached puberty at the time of the bomb were incapable of 226 future'. World. As the track continues Iggy begins to plead with his audience: `honey he But he help `somebody realises save my soul'. placing an emphasis on the enunciation of each word. He lied about and about war notes the bomb and he lied about the future. the possibility of this crucial action being his last.by noting that `what way we made in 1945 and in the following years depended largely on our age. crucial every of less fought had (some for and more or cheerfully of us) more which we society had had dropped its in doing its died less so robbed all mask and.
each instrument becomes more desperate. live if halt. In stark contrast to the earlier counter-culture of the late 1960s. was sure whether It could be argued therefore. 92 . heard As is the the tracks fades..honey. Musically the track also reflects the uneasiness of this New World. punk did not have a definite political or philosophical let alone the organisation that accompanied the emergence of the manifesto. wailing of phrase Also. a lack of production technique and a resultant sneer of anger through the vocals: similar to that which was soon to be heard in the Pistols. As the track closes. 12. `ain't got time to make no apology'. bands such as the Stooges. the that the all snare about on feel. Dead Boys and the Dolls desperation felt in Nuttall's the to express extremity of attempted harsh New 230 Ibid. disintegrates the a screaming of the lyric. as well as the political of the time. as the pace of the track varies throughout. There is a clear sense of rhythmic flexibility. The track lacks the pretence and virtuosity of progressive rock. that the unpretentious. the lack of production aids to the chaotic ending of the track. `cause I'm using technology' he sings. Iggy's into `forgotten boy'. hippie movement. Instead. It connotations of the MC5 and the surrounding counter-culture really is raw. p. raw nature of `Search and Destroy' embodied a number of key characteristics that would culminate in British punk rock in the mid-1970s. to the the band were not to adding as an abrupt music comes fade be to there to an abrupt ending or out. as the rhythm improvising lead back beat the the guitar now and clear often overpowers guitar is from drums.
232 Ibid. political. `anyone-can-doit' rock. op. agenda'. personal freedom. p.World.. well since prostitute a slang. `What happened was by the time I finished Raw Power. offensiveness aligned to the concept of `raw power' discussed earlier was central to McLaren's subsequent realisation of British punk. my standards were different than other people's'. 371. freedom. I wanted the music to come out of the speakers and just grab you by the throat 232 just just knock basically kill head the wall and you'.. as offensive as possible'. referring particularly to a petty criminal or gangster. 93 . & McCain. Out went the art-school manifesto of the Velvet Underground and Andy Warhol. op. I mean. p. `it was about real 734 notes McNeil.. 234 McNeil. cit. '33 `Punk was like. 174. McNeil. But it wasn't political. under-produced. From the very beginning. maybe that is I mean the great thing about punk was that it had no political Instead. powerful. in came a new extreme of expression condensed into a form of music that was built upon an aggressive three-chord. and your against 3. It was also about doing anything that's gonna offend 735 Just being As such. the apotheosis. this is now. the writer believes that. p. The Sex Pistols and Anarchic Rhetoric: `Cos They Meant it Man The term `punk' was coined by Legs McNeil and John Holstrom. In this sense. this is new. the nineteenth-century. 174. the two American founders of the magazine Punk. not least in how it was contributing towards the formation of a disenfranchised and powerless youth. it could be 23' 233 One should note that the term `punk' most probably originated in seventeenth-century British in both has been American It English denoting established of sexes. `that's the only way I can put it. ' noted Iggy. McLaren was able to tap into the mood of negativity that accompanied the failure of the post-war consensus. cit. & McCain. this sense of a grown up.
a fear that McLaren exploited in his use of a Russian hammer and sickle backdrop behind the Dolls performance. rested upon America's paranoia over the spread of Communism in the 1950s and 1960s.images and symbols were often used as a means of purposely shocking the onlooker. p. so that an occasional swastika band on 15 Ibid. it was a management of the New York Dolls (1975) and. 87. Savage. Ibid.the `great fear' as it was also known.. 87. notes Savage. 371. Further. throughout the 1950s America had been absorbed by the now infamous post-war `witch-hunt' against alleged Communist subversives.op. 238 Ibid. cit... 87.but `the New York Dolls were far too wayward ever to be consideredcoherent about anything.after the Senator Joseph McCarthy . and thus realising the moment to shape the concept and trappings of a British trapping fostered in part by his unofficial punk scene. For instance..argued that McLaren sensed the moment of opportunism in recognising the offensiveness of the Dolls and the Stooges. this was compounded by his use of the Chinese revolutionary slogan to accompany the Dolls' new look: `WHAT ARE THE POLITICS OF BOREDOM? BETTER RED THAN DEAD! t23" While the New York punk scenelacked a coherent political agenda. Termed as McCarthyism . p. Furthermore. came Communism'237 _ is evident from the onset that he was an opportunist who was quick to recognise the explosive impact of imagery and symbolism. 94 . in particular his agenda concerning what he believed to be `the 236 facade' As McLaren re-styled the Dolls `out in Glam. `As well as exhibiting their exciting incompetence. p. the Dolls occasionally used the 739 swastika'. p. tired group's went .
London. As Dick Hebdige notes in Subculture: The Meaning of Style (1994).I believe that the useof the swastika was one of relative innocence. McLaren said. Personally. high-heeled Sex245boots. trousers.. 244 McNeil. 116. 64. replied Here we can see a clear distinction between Iggy and the Stooges and the New York Dolls. The debatesurroundingthe use of Nazi memorabilia as either a meansof mere shock value rather than political intent is an issuethat is still rife within post-punk writing today. 95 . 24° Ibid.the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie Sioux... zas Ibid. London: Routledge. 117. Lou Reed..with many musiciansand punks being fascinatedby pre-World War Two German memorabilia. p. p. & McCain. Indeed. with the Dolls there was now a complete about outfit. a hammer and sickle 739 Ibid. quoting a punk whom.Thunder's arm was just a good metaphorfor obnoxious intent''`'ý0 The purposeful in imagery order to shock is an important trait that runs through both the use of American and British punk scenes.. `I didn't see the fashion 2 4 had but Iggy'. 242 Hebdidge. the Dolls were a package. when questioned on why just like be hated'243 `punks to she wore a swastika.. p. Iggy Pop. due to the support for anti-fascist movements (such as Rock Against Racism). p. D. consisting of `a uniform made by Vivienne Westwood. 63. op. `the punk subculture grew up partly as an antithetical responseto the 242 Moreover. (1994) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. 245 The notion of `Sex' refers to the shop owned by Westwood and McLaren in Kings Rd. including David Bowie. one inflicting find Home (1999) (1995) Sabin to turn to to accountsof the rise of only and needs fascism in punk: in particular when both writers talk of the extreme-right wing band Skrewdriver.p. red cire T-shirts. 157. For McLaren. red vinyl . a paradox that runs through much of punk and in `Anarchy in be further discussed the the UK' and `God Save analysis of will the Queen' below. he in the mid-1970s' quotes an interview re-emergenceof racism from the magazine Time Out.Yet the use of the swastika241 epitomises an important aspect of this shock in that it not only highlights shock value but also notes the lack of political intent. cit.
Although McLaren was fascinated by the Dolls he also.backdrop. something that was to become essential in the forming of the Pistols later that year. p.. Hell and a school-friend Tom Verlaine had formed Television in 1973.' It was the theatricality of the Dolls that impressed McLaren. 89. 250 As such. A theatricality that would fuse together the potential shock of the British punk scene in pulling upon sado-masochistic imagery and the more politically charged significance that surrounded earlier ideas of Nazi oppression and the emerging National Front with the current paranoia surrounding Communism. existential of messages: series of carried a beautiful self-destruction of the poete maudit. ragamuffin shades.op. 2'8Savage.. McLaren was also impressed with another musician. Savage outlines the importance of Hell on the punk scene. in Sylvain's words `loved Richard [Hell]'. Richard Hell. op. y'McNeil. cit. it was the origin of what would become the punk style'. 96 . and had played regular gigs at CBGB's in New York. leather jackets. 247.. 'Ibid. p. `Hell had also worked out a visual package to go with the chopped fifties large musical style: ' hair'. `if such a thing is possible to identify. " Indeed. sixties'. p. bassist and vocalist with the band Television. 89. freedom the the the lazing.. & McCain. 87. p.and a manifesto'. torn T-shirts and short Savage also notes that `this was a severe aesthetic that fifties beat. and the razor-sharpness of the 249 And the author concludes that. on his return to London in May 1975. McLaren's utmost desire lay in forming a band that reflected the essenceof the New York punk scenewithin a ' Savage.op. cit. cit.
97 . Yet. In this intent he the the of eventual political sense. and felt that he was too old as well as too proud to allow himself to be manipulated.`in your face' .politically-charged frame that resonated with the current UK economic and political climate. but also perhaps more importantly.as he had done earlier with the Dolls .. if McLaren's purpose to import the very essence of the New York scene into Britain is well documented.or whether indeed the Pistols were to be based upon any kind of theoretical political base: in other words. As such. a band that would shock the very Yet. McLaren realised the opportunity these characteristics into what he believed to be a stagnant musical and political environment of Britain in the mid-1970s.aspect of American punk. Before he returned to London. foundations of British society. he begged Hell to accompany him to front what would eventually become the Sex Pistols. it nevertheless raises questions as to the nature of formation from Sex desired Pistols. Already expression of Iggy and the Stooges. and the soof importing called `punk' attitude of Hell. exploring the extent to which McLaren adorned the band with the for `anarchy' `A' hammer Dolls had the the as and sickle accompanied circled kind indeed he tactic. the seeds of McLaren's fascination with the New York punk scene had already been sewn.as u0 Ibid. Yet. 89. it means asking whether McLaren wished the Pistols to encompass a sense of mere political shock value . Hell was already having fights with Verlaine over who was to become the star of Television. the theatricality fascinated by the raw of the Dolls. according to Savage. McLaren not only wanted to form a band that encompassed the DiY . p. of shock of means or whether some a was espousing .
p. the IRA and Council Estatesarejuxtaposed. themes such as the Antichrist. 204. I now wish to turn to the way in which the Pistols nurtured this `anarchist' label. almost laboured so as to produce 251 Ibid. the track was. exploring whether the Pistols used the label of `anarchism' in its theoretical sense . could accompanying disc). in particular. celebrating the emergence of punk against the stale musical environment of the time. was a track that best epitomised this emerging subculture.or whether it was a label exploited for its ability to encapsulate a senseof shock-value within the every-day. as well as the increasing economic and social breakdown that was gripping Britain. 98 . I am an anarchist'. The tone is almost one of mocking the audience. as Savage notes. the band have been single `Anarchy in the UK'.delivering a drawn-out declamation of the words `right. It could be argued that the Pistols have always primarily been perceived as anarchists.lead vocalist .From their aptly named first November 1976. `a call to arms. now'. Although the Damned's `New Rose' is hailed as the first punk single to be (track three on the in UK' be it `Anarchy the that argued released. delivered in language that was as explosive as the implications immediately confrontational. the destroying of passersby.theoretical understandingof anarchist politics.whereby individuals can live in co-operation without the coercion of government . " the of group's name'. to the final lingering `destroy'. From the sneering `I am an antichrist. The track is and begins with a contemptuous. releasedon 19`h embroiled with the political ideas surrounding the notion of anarchism. As the track continues. laughing John Lydon .. As such.
clashing half rhymes. Whilst UK, UDA and IRA are fused together, the line `I use the NME, I use anarchy' highlights the ambiguity of syllabic pronunciation: the question as to Lydon actually meaning `enemy' - rather than a reference to the established popular music press and the New Music Express - could be asked.Moreover, the track pulls upon a notion that will become more evident in the latter single `God Save the Queen': the idea that those listening lack a sense of future. It could be arguedthat the Pistols do indeed sum up the unemployment
figures of July 1975, of the seemingly apocalyptic atmosphere of the time. `How 252 ', boss? bridges do have before the to cross many reads the we we get to meet graffiti on a bridge in West London. `Anarchy in the UK' seems to sum up this sense of helplessness, this supposed lack of future in 1970s Britain.
Yet this track also moves towards establishing the idea of a punk rock aesthetic. The track is regimental in character with the rhythm adhering to a straight eightbass following Matlock's Glenn beat, closely with pulse Steve Jones's distorted,
three-chord guitar playing. As with `Search and Destroy', Jones plays `powerdiatonic their to then counterparts yet, are easier play chords which chords', because of their lack of thirds, they have a sense of eeriness, a sense of openness in their sounding. Musically, the track is also very simple with both melody and harmony being encapsulated within the form of a so-called `standard' rock 'n' roll track of the 1950s.
Although it could be argued that `Anarchy in the UK' epitomises the punk aesthetic, it could also be viewed in another, more controversial way. If Savage
ibid., p. 107.
links the track to McLaren's
use of anarchist symbols, then
Stewart Home slots the track into what he believes to be a `novelty record'. In Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock (1996a) he describes how he listened to the track for the first time in a number of years. Although his first thought is of Paul Cook's drumming, `real meat and potato stuff', ' that the track sounds very much like a `novelty production' "`Anarchy in the UK" sounds like history'. '`` he notes
and concludes that
Although the author admits that familiarity
breeds contempt, one must also be
in before in drawing the reflecting upon way which an conclusion such a careful 1970s. Indeed, in have the track one needs only perceived such a audience may to turn to a recent artist such as G. G. Allee to highlight the way in which
it Yet, have been de-sensitised towards shock-value. may modern audiences in UK' does indeed `Anarchy has Home the be that a valid point. argued could beginning The the times. sneer at of the track, as well mocking seem contrived at 'UK' do indeed highlight in `IRA' the juxtaposition and way the which the of as Pistols were purposely trying to shock.
In this sense, it also highlights the way in which McLaren used his business in `God become full force. Again, the to this analysis evident of will acumen Save the Queen' below, yet it could be argued that McLaren knew instinctively
zg Home, S. (1996a) Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock Hove: Codex, p. 14. Ibid., p. 14. us An artist who, during performances,defecateson stageso as to throw it at the audience.Once more I do realisethe lack of discussionconcerning the definitional problems with the term `punk' and the placing of artists under such a musical umbrella. Yet I am merely attempting to highlight of shock value within this genreand not dealing with the musical and the shifting parameters political nuancesof this areaof punk rock.
how to `tap' into the British psyche; he knew how to produce a sense of shock value at its most central. Moreover, if Home believes `Anarchy in the UK' to be '`novelty is then the track production' musically actually very well produced. a The idea of punk being a return to a 'DiY aesthetic', a return to an `anyone-cando-it' ethic, does not quite fit into this track. Not only is Jones's guitar part overdubbed, but the track has the bassist Glen Matlock who, although had already left the band, was asked to return because of his replacement's - Sid Vicious - lack of talent.
This argument is by no means an effort to belittle the Sex Pistols, but merely to continue the debate from chapter one in analysing the depth of theoretical Home's is intent the analysis punk movement. useful in that one political within must be careful in applying anarchist political theories upon a subculture such as punk; it highlights and questions whether indeed Lydon, Cook et al., were aware of the politics and ideas surrounding the libertarian movement known as
influenced however, McLaren Yet, was the moving of the idea what anarchism. in into `anarchy' terms theory the of chaos or political public whether of domain of a subculture such as punk, a notion that will become evident in the below. 1980s the the of anarcho-punk movement analysis of
Yet, it could also be argued that this track epitomises the paradoxesof punk. The way in which the term `anarchy' takes on two simultaneous meanings; the libertarian ideas surrounding an anarchist writer such as Pierre-JosephProudhon hand, idea disorganisation the the and of on chaos, one a sense of menace and on
256 Chris Thomas, a producerwho had begun his careeron the Beatles' The Beatles (1968),
the other. A paradox that one could argue runs the full length of the track as Lydon pulls together a number of central themes that were politically sensitive at the time, such as unemployment, loss of a `national identity' and a lack of an future. As with `God Save the Queen', releasedsix months and social economic later - and analysed below - the Sex Pistols pulled upon lyrical imagery to shock, to deal with themes that, like the Dolls' before them, are imbued with malicious intent.
If the debate surrounding anarchism - as well as the previous discussion of Situationism throughout chapter one - and their significance to punk is
in is does the which the Sex Pistols were able seem clear way ambiguous, what to draw upon specific elements central to a quintessential British identity to `call in UK' `Anarchy If to arms', then their the a so-called was produce shock. Queen' four (track Save `God the on the accompanying disc), moved next single, the Pistols towards a new level of hatred by the British public. In England's Dreaming, Jon Savage notes that the Sex Pistols released their single at a time impact. `nobody He it the observes, connected with the most when would make in Lydon he John least the when scribbled words a Hampstead of all group, Squat, could have foreseen the effect that "God Save the Queen" would have, just as nobody could have foreseen just how successful the Jubilee would be'. ' Released by Virgin Records on 27`hMay 1977, `God Save the Queen' was a final Perhaps breakdown the to the more so than any consensus. of post-war rally in Britain's history, `God Queen' Save the track popular music provided a other damning attack on the very essence of a British identity itself. Not only did the
track swipe at Britain's `fascist regime', the moronic importance of the H-bomb and of course,the Queen herself, more importantly, what provided the track with the obnoxious intent required was that it was releasedat a time when the general feeling most patriotic. were public
What is interesting here is the way in which `God save the Queen' also lacked an in UK' `Anarchy discussion As the the above of with organised political agenda. in the punk the the the swastika of use as shock surrounding as well value instead Save Queen' `God the rhetoric on political ran movement noted earlier had business If McLaren's seen monetary sense of an organised political attack. business it in time, track this also a sense that the was at releasing of such a gain was mirrored by Richard Branson, head of Virgin Records. According to
Branson, the Pistols had impressed him when he had first heard `Anarchy in the UK'. Although there are conflicting views as to Branson's musical
in he band is is the the which saw as a way of way certain what
image Records, Virgin image that portrayed the company the an transforming of due Mike Oldfield's `hippies' to such releases as earlier as a group of so-called Tubular Bells (1973) and Gong's Flying Teapot (1973). Indeed, it was one that `free love' in his first Branson by helped promoting of earlier pictures was not record shop in Oxford Street and of the entrepreneur protesting against the Vietnam War. In this sense, Branson was soon to revel in the notoriety of the Pistols' release of `God Save the Queen'.
Savage,op.cit., pp. 351-352. For an analysisof Richard Branson's involvement with McLaren and the Pistols turn to Branson,R. (1998) Losing My Virginity: The Autobiography, London: Virgin, pp. 141-150.Other
148. p. Their notoriety was practically a tangible asset. Jackson(1994) pp. 259 Branson. the British government and the post-war consensus.op. Not only does he begin the first verse with reference to `God save the Queen/The Fascist regime'. 2D notes Branson. at-the monarchy.at one point even claiming that the Queen `ain't feeling being' Lydon human the the track concludes anti-Royalist of with a no Save `We laaaarve Queen/God ussss'. sarcastic delivery of each line. cit. and one that would provide McLaren. 262 Savage. As he continues through the track . `the band we had been looking for' 260He continues. p. Branson and the Sex Pistols with a new notoriety.. than in Lydon's disdained.. Most of the press was negative. " More importantly it was the way in which they were delivered. accountscan be found in Bower (2001) pp. 34-36. 148. sarcastic our mocking. 148.op. 353. p.. `What was so great about "God Save the Queen" was that it " notes the author. 104 . he then goes on to proclaim that `They made you a moron/Potential H-Bomb'.. `the Sex Pistols generated more newspaper cuttings than anything else in 1977 apart from the Silver Jubilee itself. cit. a phrase no more evident was confident. ' Ibid. p. unapologetic'. 353. 60-63 and Savage(1992) pp. that `God Save the Queen' was an organised. but so had it been for the Rolling Stones when they had set out fifteen years earlier'. Yet. opportunistic business-like swipe at the very heart of a British identity.`The Sex Pistols were a turning point for us'. p. it was not just the way in which `God Save the Queen' embodied what Savage terms lyrical `time-bombs'. 26' It could be argued therefore. clear. 344-350. 260 Ibid. 26' Ibid..
26s `God Save the Queen' takes the American sound of Cochran and turns it British through Lydon's vocal delivery. a track incidentally covered by the Pistols. where bar. in first bar. 357. Formally. just that the Pistols seemed to be playing with the age-old notion that rock 'n' roll is somehow dangerous and immoral. This blatant reference increases the sneering attitude of the track. but more ironic and played with derision. Lydon accentuates each word.and whilst the vocals are sung . 105 . `like reggae. phrase and repeated motif culminating in a sliding A chord that leads us into the first verse. `Each generation has the power to '`` in language'. the track is very simple. as witnessed in the Iggy Pop track analysed above.Jones uses palm in to the as produce characteristic common punk so eighth note pulse muting in `Anarchy in heard `New Rose. but it gave the draught a peculiarly British flavour'. with the guitarist menacing nature of instance. For between the each providing a clear contrast the guitarist plays an A chord . reminiscent of Eddie Cochran's `C'mon Everybody'. This is not to say that the track was comical in any way. perhaps the most obvious one being the Rock 'n' Roll style of the 1950s. As with Iggy's overtly American vocals.. Consisting of a four-note lasts for bars is four flat-D A-D-D the two times. lending an almost fake Cockney accent to each line. punk drew restate an archetype a new from the millenarian well. wrote Savage. Not so much menacing.Musically `God Save the Queen' draws upon a number of different influences. To increase the is bar the track. UK' Damned's two the the earlier and and rock 21 Ibid. It begins with a chromatically sliding A power chord. this two phrase cut in half. bars five to eleven provide the basis for the rest of the track. Proceeding the four-bar introduction. p.
beneath each phrase sung the guitar remains menacing.. sees the guitarist playing the chords with increased sustain. Within each verse.the track ends with is downward future'. The chromaticism inherent in each section . crashes. The accompanying ensemble provides further nuances.it is as if SteveJonesis replying to each line sung with a sneeringso there. D-D flat-B line `no This the vocal motif on chromatic a Lydon by finally times the of a number until adding concludes phrase repeated 265 Ibid. he in the switches to the ride cymbal and the eighth note beat so chorus whereas is Each interjected by to section also a series of cymbal as add momentum.quintessentialpunk tracks. As such.adds a senseof `eeriness' and unpredictability to the track. 106 . relies firmly on the eighth note.although less so in the chorus . the section of the verse where the vocals are not present. Cook plays the hi-hat on the crotchet beat in order to slow the pace slightly. so as to the as same vein and ride cymbal very much create contrast and momentum between verse and chorus. From the very beginning. reminiscent and characteristic of punk rock. where one hears the chromatically sliding A power chord and the subsequentDD flat-D motif in every other bar of the verse. a device that underpins such lines as `the fascist regime'. `potential H-Bomb' and `she ain't no human being'. 357. the very continues end of -a causeda severedisagreementbetween McLaren and Lydon . In this sense. Matlock. the bass player. p. the track's use of the semitone `No Future' Originally titled title that the to track. The secondbar that consists of the chords D-D flat-D however. Cook uses his high-hat `Anarchy in in the UK'.
all point towards images and sentimentsbeing used for mere shock value. towards chaotic of a term in itself. and finishing on the tonic A. instead of those built upon any kind of theoretical political stance. the hammer and sickle and degraded images of the Queen with a safety pin inserted through her nose. often diverse and business it be McLaren's Yet. that British first wave punk was a rhetorical .`for you' on the end. as the deepening recession gripped Britain . events. shockwell as value supersededany real effort to discuss `anarchism' in terms of a political 107 . McLaren in 1970s. Swastikas.anarchic swipe at all things Established.compounded particularly by a crisis of National identity . as points `A' found the circled on the clothes of Lydon and many punks.and the increasing stagnant musical climate allowed a time flourish. It could be argued therefore. for the formation of any subculture is a complex melange of ingredients. At least there is some certainty for the listener after all. often coupled with the culmination of many. that acumen. albeit a negative one. could argued combined with his previous fascination for the attitude as well as musical and theoretical characteristics of American punk. It would certainly be nave to place responsibility for British punk on the individual shoulders of McLaren himself. unpredictable. one can also turn to the political and social imagery that Westwood wove into her fashion.Anarchism in this sense instead both As the the theoretical. as punk could such where a subculture With this in mind. Britain the sensed the of and political sensibilities relationship between the political and musical environment of the time.rather than theoretical . enabled him to tap into the moral Moreover.
this newly emerging subculture would herald a new stage in the transformation from been has the that chapter unravelled of subversive one. Later to be termed the `anarcho-punk' scene. As the first wave of British punk dissolved.doctrine drawn from the writings theoretical writings of Joseph-PierreProudhon or Max Stirner. 108 . so the idea of the `anarcho' was once more transformed. this `anarcho-scene' would become a space where new political be fore. making way for a disparate scene of `second wave' punks. as the excitement of these initial ideas surrounding first wave punk declined. Moreover. inevitably the and subculture was pushed further into the mainstream. Yet. itself transfigured from to the would sentiments would come where punk the rhetorical towards the theoretical and where anarchism would envelop both. so one movement in particular took the idea of anarchy seriously.
. cit. op. 342. (2001) Punk.S. p. Although there is the exact date of the demise of British first wave 267 punk. by contemporaries many of echoed Yet. It had become the uniform controversy surrounding " of the stupid'. 352... I have already discussedthe music of the Pistols. & Sullivan. C. & Sullivan. for many had begun as an individuality `new' subculture . S. ' Colegrave. p.Chapter 3: The Politics of Post-Punk: Crass and the Move Towards the `Anarcho' `In 1979 [punk] had transmogrified into an absurd caricature. 109 . so the in initially ideology the and particular movement manifested within political those ideas surrounding `anarchy' and `chaos' . there is a shared opinion that it was moving towards the mainstream. for the most part. 'b' Turn to Sabin (1999) pp. more and as chapters one and two of my thesis punk milieu.and now. and thus becoming increasingly commercialised. C. This included back Westwood Lydon turned their and was a year when everybody on punk. the swastikas were for real. Now punk meant ridiculous six-inch-high mohican hair-dos. 3-4 to find a concisedebateas to the termination point for British punk.epitomising exciting and freedom of artistic from `movement' `faction'.. ' notes the stand-up poet Jock Scott.becameever more ambiguous. in `anarchism' it that expression of seem an punk was rarely would very argue. been had to transformed very quickly expression `It was all over in 18 months'. an idea in his the punk scene at the time. London: Cassell& Co. facial tattoos. 2ffiColegrave. What. fake bondage and steel toe-capped boots . and the ways in which one could in `orchestrating' instrumental Malcolm McLaren that much of the was argue Yet importantly. as punk became ever more incorporated into mainstream culture.
Perhaps this is evidenced in the post-punk environment subcultural movements and a diversity that heralded a number of of musical styles and fashions. 342. one could cite `two-tone. in its demise had left behind an eclectic music scene. but rather an expression of chaotic intent that was realised through the use of various shock tactics.the former in the senseof artistic expressionthrough fashion and the latter through the appropriation of the three-minute song structure .. 270 Ibid. something that was also important in the emergence of the anarcho-scene of the late 1970s and 1980s. In other words. 271 as examples of subcultural movements that emerged and the new romantics'.my concern here is to examine the way in which the `anarcho-punk' movement of the 1980s transformed the notion of the political within 1970s punk. `punk. `In Britain'. `real' anti-establishment subculture that many believed it to be.. Thus. 269 wrote Colegrave and Sullivan in Punk. exploring the ways in which the Ibid. p. new wave. electro.however orchestrated embodied a freshness of expression. p. which. while it could be argued that punk was never the so-called `authentic'.. p. the movement nevertheless became a location where marginalised youth could express diverse emotional and political views. hip-hop establishment'. blossomed have without punk's assault on the '70s music would probably not 270 Indeed. Even so. While it is interesting to note the way in which new wave or Oi! for instance transformed the `original' impetus of British punk . 342.the purely political sense of the word. there is little doubt that the first wave of punk . 342. 271 Ibid. although not directly related to it. 269 110 . (2001). from the punk milieu.
were central in creating an in late 1970s for the and the of punk newly emerging politicisation artistic space 1980s. label that is seemingly used freely in order to encompass a diversity of I Here. I will also fairly in first key two the seem obvious three of which areasother explore illuminating my discussion. my punk study of with punk scene'. this chapter will concentrate on exploring the make-up and essence of a number of key areaswithin the emerging `anarchoSex Pistols American As the the and above. the police and multinational corporations. emerging 111 . The first of these is the transformation and continuation of the term `punk'. reflecting within .as with (as first British Oi! `appropriated' wave punk certain aspects of new wave and in ideas 1970s) the American these the the re-built and scene of early well as 1980s. With the analysis of the musical material as a framework. Exploring the way in which certain musical characteristics .ideas surrounding `anarchism' moved beyond the realm of the chaotic found within first wave punk.such as those already defined within the punk rock aesthetic. a a a steeped today. from 1970s developed to have the wish analyse that onwards. towards a more critical aesthetic attacking specific `corporate' forces of society. attention will be primarily drawn towards the musical material surrounding such a `scene'. such as government legislation. subcultures by individuals in transformed term this the way was re-appropriated and which individuals in these the the which way anarcho-scene. Even definitional in label become has `punk' sense of ambiguity. As such.
examples of perfect oppressive government many saw as an overly Jon Savage observes. and the subsequent wave of conservatism that ran through the 1980s was instrumental in galvanising the anarcho-scene into direct War Falklands My the and the emergence of what of analyses subsequent action. anarcho-punk of other and `anarchism' were combined within the so-called `anarcho-punk' scene. both as a means of terminology and as a political tool. 112 .The second area of discussion will be centred primarily upon the ideas surrounding `anarchism'. be `promised to termed. Mrs. While the concepts of `anarcho' and `punk' are central to my discussion of `informed subversion'. I wish to investigate the way in which anarchism. for one needs only to turn to Woodcock (1986) or Marshall (1993) to gain valuable insights into this movement. restore curb union subsequently 272 Ibid.. was transformed from the chaotic . Instead.as a tactic for mere shock value in first in ideology informed the emerging towards a more political wave punk in both `punk' 1980s. Thatcher was in Downing Street'. to power. I do not wish to provide a long history of anarchist thought or action. incentives. Britain did not change overnight. 541. there is little doubt that the election of Margaret Thatcher to Prime Minister in 1979. Although the writer admits that as this conservatism was `Thatcherism'.so as to provide a spacewhere individuals could nurture a more informed `lifestyle' in `corporate' dislike towards those structures mentioned expressing a subversive above. In the the which way scene words. As being this. p. `the conservatives won the election by fifty-three votes: by 4 May.
In addition. I illuminating that effective of more way a would argue the anarcho-punk scene would be to discuss the ways they are mutually constitutive. seen by many as the most far-reaching and influential band of the of the 1980s.defence and uphold the role of Law and the primacy of the familyi273 strengthen As such. Although at first it may seem logical to deal with all three areas separately (i. this was to `strike a chord amongst the people who felt swamped by left-wing union activists.particularly with regards to the is integral towards the of musical emergence an understanding anarcho-scene of this movement. e. so a separate discussion of all three would merely overlap. 113 . this chapter maps out three very different music paths of the emerging anarcho-punk scene. anarchism. 540-541. decaying cities. and all the archetypesof youth Culture decay. the relationship between anarchopunk and the emergent political framework will also serve to illuminate the fluidity and contradictions of this rarely discussed post-punk scene. whether rastas or punks'..The examination of Crass concentratesupon the way anarcho-scene in which the band transformed the almost `chaotic' ideas of anarchism from first focused dissent based towards a new sense of punk. That is because they inform each other at different times and different places. punk and the emerging political environment of Thatcherism). pp. the political environment . upon the theoretical wave M Ibid. in that its central thesis was built upon a need to expresssocial and political ideas through its work. 274 As with the discussion of the post-war consensusabove. As such. The first investigates the music and politics of the band Crass.
its demise the towards contribute would also eventually 1. P. Penny Rimbaud275 believes in black hole Club. who was to becomethe drummer for Crass. My Revolting a way of soon my chest Edinburgh: AK Press. Roxy few first the wet `for the the that.this analysis explores a number of key areas of the anarcho-scene that later in decade. so as to convey a more intellectualised form of dissent. Ratter. 1977. face' level `in path of musical simplicity and your new Involved Lucas. New Beginnings: The Transformation of the Punk Rock `Ethos' Writing in Shibboleth: My Revolting Life (1998). stance Further. 73-74. n5 Penny Rimbaud is the pen namefor the male writer and musician J. discreetvisual checksthat usually centredon life'. form had If Crass band Discharge. p. became Rimbaud. (1998) Shibboleth: Life.the Subhumans and Culture Shock . 276 Ibid. out from the rural corpses. Ratter outlines his decision to adopt `Penny' for the way in which it `createda genderblur which.. 114 . the the and musical style of appropriated of first wave punk. J. Crass would appropriate musical stylistics of first wave punk to provide a criticism of bands such as the Sex Pistols and the Clash.p. pp.. whom they believe used punk as a means of monetary involves below `anarcho' discussed The the exploration the of second path gain. if not following officialdom. Dick discussion the with centres upon writer and musician of two pivotal anarcho-punk bands in the 1980s . played host to a 276 hippy `out from He by the that. 70. 541. drain-sucker for the painted sewer-rats. corpse of continues noting phenomenon'.Although `Rimbaud' refers to the French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Haight Ashby. where anarchy had hidden its face 274 Ibid.based thought upon an essentially anti-government aspects of anarchist and individual and political co-operation. months of London streets. then Discharge used the punk aesthetic to retreat into writing music that involved a final The forthrightness. certainly confusedit.
circus. `Within six months the movement had been bought out'. might Rimbaud expands upon this notion by observing that `in its infinite ability to into incorporated its had quickly punk cosy. 75. p. the Beatles' death-pickings in Central Park'. `there were high jinks to be had on the high street. 280 Ibid. p... 115 . another punk 280 have been'. out again to the streets rose the voice of futures that had been buried in the narcotic fuck-up of the sixties. cashnullify. ears city pricked up energy. The dirty little Roxy bounced to this fresh 278 its Yet. 74. a with cash. Sold in the out. 281 Ibid. Punk had come out to air its dirty from the stagnant mire that was the Beach Boys' sperm at wings. 7' For Rimbaud therefore.. One by one the young revolutionaries who'd been protagonists fell over backwards to exploit its new commercial potential. 74. p.. new vocabulary. the Damned. and its political and social roots became obscured''' From here. the writer turns his criticism to if bands "`Play became the the the message. p. and new of era. rn Ibid. resurging Malibu.those last years. rn Ibid. sanitised and strangled. the Damned. the Clash: new sounds. mainstream culture based overview. 74. 74. the Clash and the rest of punk's nouveaux richex (sic) thought they were getting their message through despite the commercialism. `The capitalist counter-revolutionaries had killed ý force for becoming just from being degenerated Punk to change. as you earn" specific Pistols. p. he continues. and optimism that was to be short lived.. 278 Ibid. The Pistols. it was an to the the ring of cash-tills'. grand media element' another burnt become just had a out memory of how it social commentary.
. empty rhetoric bouncing around the steel and glass offices of the new glitteratti. Bowie's the early alter-ego created a character and the musician ' superstar'. Ibid. Rimbaud comparespunk to earlier incarnations `Punk had offered an alternative to the Glam rock movements. and so now was this first ' wave of punks'. Safety-pin jewellery was radical chic. drummer and . Rimbaud's founding the of anarcho-punk member views argued first demise in birth that the of eventual wave punk are and useful. `torn sweatshirts had become "de rigueur". Lurex-and-makeup- The retirement of the figure in 1973 by Bowie reflects the essence in `star' the popular music the temporal the and almost of mendacious role of canon. As such. Ibid. The Stones always had been. 76. pp. Bowie was dead.and Johnny Rotten's mug-shot on the covers of thick colour magazinesbelied everything that it had stood for. Bacardi and bullshit'. There was still talk of revolution.. counter-culture of superstarsof the early seventies. As Bowie had the ultimate influence over his alter ego. p. so the ' Ibid. In particular. 75-76..it could be band Crass. one could argue that Rimbaud's reference to David Bowie is poignant. The writer concludes. And so are outlined the views of Penny Rimbaud. 76. surrounding the author highlights the way in which the initial vitality and freedom of in dissipated increasing 1976. p. to represent `the perfect hedonistic. The Beatles were dead. 116 . in that it encapsulates the resemblance between punk in 1970s by Ziggy Stardust. but it was from the seatsof limousines and the safety of armoured minds. finally through that punk was embodied expression commercialisation.they'd got it wrong'.
with record sales in the tens of Here. books.. & Spicer. magazines. who were to survive and flourish as a radical underground organisation in the dark days of Thatcher's early 1980s'. actions and concerts) so zss Buckley. if one was now aware of the increasingly manufactured make-up of the socalled `tail-end' of first wave punk. slogans. p.commercialisation and demise of punk seemedto heighten the way in which its rebellious and `anarchic' nature had becomeincreasingly spurious. London: Verso. G. A. p.is highlighted by Jon Savage. `their Feeding of the 5000 [Crass's first album released in 1978] was the first of a sequence of media (records.and their influence upon a number of underground movements in the post-punk environment . films. posters. 117 . p. 75. zsb McKay. '' He continues. then one could argue that Crass's transformation of the `anarchic' became ever more credible. Although one can note a relative neglect by academic writers and journalists alike in providing analyses of the anarcho-punk scene. texts. Crass .0.. McKay backs up his ideas by drawing upon the writing of Stewart Home. M. (1996) Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistancesince the Sixties.as George commune. they were to produce a large and varied body of cultural ' thousands'. the diversity of media used by Crass as a means of political agitation . Seen by many as the seminal band within the so-called `anarcho-punk' McKay notes . 75. . Duane. Ellington... J. `more than that. Yet. He notes that.. 75.was `an anarchist band/collective/ genre. 1 Ibid. 119. ) (1999) Rock: The Rough Guide.. (eds. 287 Ibid. p. when he refers to Crass as a `significant and neglected example of "political-cultural "' agitation and protest groups"'.
these culminated as both a criticism of modern society as well as As such..and the anarcho-movement as a whole . and the anarchism it espoused was not the Pistols. Mick Duffield. M. 118 . 584. developed but lifestyle the they through a of anarchy a and world-view combination of hippy idealism and resistance. organisation is that the band was responsible for a wide-range of multi-media events. G.2"9 also possible to trace the current popularity of the travelling lifestyle to Crass's huge successin the early eighties'. 584. It would be the culmination of these aspects that resulted in Crass . record covers were the conformity of the punk movement as a whole. punk energy and cheek. p. Artist Gee Vaucher would design the album covers of each release and as I will discuss later .. (date unknown) Christ . for instance would write and direct films to be played behind the band at gigs. . (1992) England's Dreaming: SexPistols and Punk Rock.. as well as musical. Exit 1. Autopsy (1979). `Crass were a radical anarcho-pacifist. London: Exitstencil Films. London: Faberand Faber..The Movie. 292 also covered in political commentaries and information on local anarchist groups. 292 Vaucher. `punk' something that will also be analysed in more more organised a detail below.290 The importance of both writers' remarks on the dual make-up of Crass as a political. Choosing Death (1981) and Yes Sir. I Will (1984)291 are all works that encompass a juxtaposition of images portraying Western capitalism and human barbarism. `it's anarchism and the popularity of CND in the early 1980s'. vegetarian collective. Edinburgh: AK Press.and so effective that they sowed the ground for the return of serious He concludes. and some zsv Savage. 291 All three can be found on Duffield.as paradoxically embracing what may be termed lifestyle. p.J. (1999) Crass Art and Other Pre Post-Modernist Monsters. For McKay then.. anarchafeminist.complex. 290 Ibid.
cit. 295 Rimbaud. 294 Ibid. the house soon developed into a thriving artistic space house in `declared 1968 he the a commune. film-makers and artists living in a commune . the earlier political thrust was more keenly developed and deeply explored'... and contributed to the total package lifestyle. less than the through theory gap might and practice the two)'297 In this sense. Essex. 75. He concludes.. First rented by Rimbaud in 1965. towards the building of a new anarcho-framework. away from the Pistols' shouts of `anarchy' and `chaotic' intent.named Dial House . 77. and threw open the doors to when. 295 in'. p. 119 . a rarely achieved thing in anarchist thought and movements (anarchism better between be defined. p. p. 47. op. p. op. The band consisted of nine male and female musicians. to transform of shouts I McKay. `in the slightly later the the of cultural strategiesof ignored somewhat and post-punk culture. was to move away from the rhetorical . 294The central concern of Crass therefore.. `the communal living was a utopian experiment. 75.2 Situationist'. As McKay notes. Original source not given. right down to living in a version of what anarchist down to right thinker Murray Bookchin calls an "affinity 296 More importantly group"' however. 296 McKay. cit. op. cit. but also the newly emerging anarcho-punk scene of the early 1980s. drop It to was such an action that was later to become who cared any-one central to the development not only of Crass in the late 1970s. he believes that `there's an effort here to close the gap of rhetoric and practice.almost nihilistic .notion of the anarchic. Crass was'an attempt to put into practice the rhetorical from `anarchy' the `armoured minds' of first wave punk.in Epping Forest. where a far more organised form of political agitation would come to the fore.
From Protest to Parody: The Building Blocks of the `Anarcho' If one of the central aims of Crass was to develop a more politicised form of the begin by discussing their their then could of work an analysis punk rock genre.Feeding of the 5000 (1978) and Stations of the Crass (1979) . 76. ranging are characterised overall albums start. There was a whole new generation of dissenters out on the 298 been for if from General Rotten. through images of Nuclear war (`They've and child murderers gas chambers ('The Gasman Cometh') ('Mother Earth'). Got A Bomb'). we'd seen through the con. Ibid. continued to court controversy by forming the band Bow Wow Wow: most famous perhaps for the lead singer. p. from the confrontational (`Asylum'). 77.. 120 . This time we were on our own'. leading back to Iggy Pop and Nuttall's portrayal of a harsh New World (pp.. He concludes. but were also to turn its development. had For that the subculture a nurtured very against post-punk hard-edged by both commentary. appearing naked on the front of their debut album See Jungle! See Jungle! Go Join Your Gang! Yeah. 299 Rimbaud. put 300 it This to time make work' round we were going place victims. then Crass's first two albums . first increasing for disgust the commercialisation of wave punk in the vehement late 1970s. and we'd the mistake. p. 90-93): where a 297 298 McLaren on the other hand. op.this now defunct subculture into a new form of political protest.2. Annabella Lwin. 29' Rimbaud continues. cit. City All Over! Go Ape Crazy! (1981) whilst only fifteen. `Well. There is almost a sense of reflective despair. waiting orders we'd realised streets. `if the first wave punks had become velvet zippies. it was up to us to be into We to the weren't going made another set of marketrecord straight.were not only to continue that tradition. 1. If punk was originally a rhetorical swipe at all things Established.
releasedin 1978. As such. We'll go 303 future".. love and the workplace) unnatural and uncomfortable.senseof future hangs in the balance and individuality of expression is brutality oppressedby Late capitalism. 121 . 302 Savage. cit. being musical swipes respectively at the 301 bands Sham 69 Buzzcocks. both albums are unrestrained. 301 The track 'Tired' refers to the Buzzcock's `Boredom'. p. within itself. with the effect of making the familiar (images of motherhood. and `Tired'. with tracks such as `Hurry Up Garry'. the syntax disjointed. the and punk Yet perhaps above all.. notes Jon Savage using a quote from Rimbaud contained in few Crass. not only against through lyrical imagery and shock value. 481. whilst 'Hurry Up Garry' is a swipe at Sham 69's 45 'Hurry Up Harry'. found on Spiral Scratch (1977). but more so through a continual parodic first wave punk itself. to 300 Ibid. It is as if Crass are constantly attempting to move at swipe the parameters of the subculture that has now been defined as `punk'. `Very few punks had the rigour or the courage fully to investigate the ideas 30Z in their subculture'. Transformed into a new intellectualised form of protest. Moreover. `we said. p. The imagery is unpredictable. intense is Yet is there there a a sense of contradictions out and show deep irony beyond both the very music that a sense of remains albums. central to both albums on the other hand. "we're not going to have all these young kids thinking that there isn't. 77. is a constant thread of parodic musical and lyrical subtlety. `As highlighting the the of one exception groups to take up the as by "God Save Queen" down the thrown and "Anarchy gauntlet in the UK" explain: `Our anathema was no future' says Penny Rimbaud of Crass. op. Crass are using the very medium that they are denouncing: the mechanised three-minute rant that characterised first wave punk has been turned itself.
95-118. 304 For a succinct analysisof Patti Smith's musical and poetic influence on the punk movement turn to Whiteley (2000) pp. lost. They shift from Steve Jones. one sold all pay out and we all 303 Ibid. p.from Feeding of the Five Thousand is Beginning this. The lyrical interweaving transistors.endeavour to turn its very musical and political attributes back on itself. it is evident that constant punk-like part and climbing the track's strength lies in the political narrative of lyrical content coupled with a between disparate thoughts and notions of changing and constant swapping imagery. 122 . you write with youre (sic) hands but it's Rimbaud's arm'. criticisms surrounding the mainstream inclusion of punk are explored. juxtaposition school-boy of consumerist ethics ('bubblegum sedition plastic rock on and its backed by big time promoters') upon talk of war ('punk narcissism was a social napalm. you're Napalm. `Punk is Dead' (track five on the accompanying disc) . 481. example of an with an upbeat.. drive bass the of the guitar. towards the idea of `Patti Smith. four bar introduction the track instantly establishes a sense of punk-like forthrightness. `movements are systems and systems kill'. the inner rhyme itself characteristic of the American poet and musician Patti Smith. thus highlighting punk's increasing commercialism and encroachmentin mainstream culture. shouts Steve Ignorant [lead vocalist]. felt the the cost'. whose hero was the French writer Rimbaud 304 Further. up a of staring glass. the tired superstar's arse'. `punk became a movement 'cos we hears leaders but Moreover. Steve Jones started doing real harm') creates a sense of abhorrence as they get drawn into association through syllabism and rhyme: `looking through shit-stained Despite the reiteration of rhythm.
aggressive vocal delivery/style and the vocabulary effectively cuts through both the words and meaning. Consequently. but it ain't for revolution it's just for cash'. but the systems(sic) stole the sting. meaning. The scorpionsmight attack. as the track segues into the next. The phrase almost loses all meaning as the track slows and the kit attempts to stop the track final -a resolution of `Punk Is Dead' is heard from Ignorant and the drums roll into the last beat. Ignorant has problems with crushing the third and fourth lines into the rhythm. 1. with an increase of pace. I watch and understand that it don't mean a thing. do I want to burn? Is there something I can learn? Do I needa businessman to promote my angle? Can I resist the carrots that fame and fortune dangle? I seethe velvet zippies in their bondagegear. The track's title is repeated over and over. yes. but now not just by Ignorant but the entire ensemble. with the phrase `business man to promote my into being forced the already established arrangement of words and angle'. The social elite with safetypins in their ear. One hears a growing sense of panic and. the track continues to build.a clear swipe at first wave punk bands: 'CBS promotes the Clash. and phrases are over- emphasised so as to heighten symbolic meaning through intonation: And me. `Reject'. The fragmentation and repetition of `Punk Is Dead' also works through play between lyrical phrasing and meaning. a firm `grunt' is heard from the vocalist. Ignorant's forthright. 123 . The hacking staccato delivery and musical phrasing seem to cut through the lyrical syntax.
The juxtaposition and abstraction of syntax and lyrical imagery is a common be in by Crass. and of stereotypeof further emphasisesthe dichotomy of macho-heroism and the female by ending by Libertine `protection'.moves from an almost subtle political stancetowards a scathing it's divinity. `Desire the text. your protect reiterating by device is favourite of words and rhythm a compositional constant repetition 124 . snaps at (as is both the rhythm of the syllables take precedence over the confusing effect `hell-o' the association of the words) and enhancing: sense of drawing on the apocalyptic with Enola imagery (hell) of the first atomic bomb whilst hello/Enola hello). Libertine a line typical of the track. she sings. placing emphasis on the clash of the rhythmic and repeated words is itself. 125-129) . The female vocalist on the track. entitled `Darling' (track six on the accompanying disc). Libertine the the of at only social obscenity'. the possession' over your protection. rather pronunciation of hello' `hero two that the words are embedded phrase predominantly around for hero hello'. swaps constantly between half rhymes. As with The the pronouncing each syllable. Ignorant.very much in the vein of `White Punks on Hope' discussed below (pp. Eve Libertine. the accompanied word with a male vocalist repeating The `protect top. over vocals. snaps here further juxtaposes the imagery of Enola and the so-called `macho' The `obscene track `hero'. `possession' the the sentimental'. the protection. A this seen a track on more extreme example of can used method their next album Stations. love `they as when sell us attack on societal attitudes as a whole: from And beginning track. Enola hello'. built just The track than the meaning syntax. heroic (hero the the of status simultaneously questioning The track . majority of within `protect your possession.
Crass. Virgin. `Cause it's them that take the cash. Ignorant begins the solo. The regimented lyrical delivery of the words is emphasisedby Ignorant's almost farcical cockney accent . are taking as an individual. They can stuff their Punk credentials. While my brief analyses of `Darling' and `Punk is Dead' highlight two generic strands that run through and build towards the musical development of Crass. It is as if Crass themselves are encouraging you to re-evaluate the way in which one listens to listener the to think about the very subject-position they encouraging punk rock. As their more self-conscious anarcho stance is evidenced in the second track on Stations. chordal progression on the accompanied 305 In particular in the track `Bodies' from Never Mind the Bollocks (1977). the musical form and lyrics point towards a new sense of political and ideological coding. Even though the Sex Pistols were to sing of a subject such as abortion3os for instance. in that it places the listener in an uncomfortable position. it final be helpful here third to the to turn and strand that I wish to discuss will also within their early work. almost mechanical as they follow the four-in-a-bar pulse. time the when at a were actively accompanying disassociating themselves from the original wave of punk rock. `White Punks on Hope' (track seven on the in 1979. But the name is Crass not Clash.the jerky delivery of the opening lines now by a mechanical. 125 . their musical syntax was still relatively comfortable to the ear. feedback enhanced. The lyrics on this later track continue to be tight. band Released disc). the regimented character of the words exploring each clash of the half rhyme: They said that we were trash.
a Marxist con. when we'd always invented a dividing line. as with `White Punks On Hope' heralds a clear progression. Above all. us us all clever all divided when the trouble starts'. and noisy in its emphatic delivery. nihilistic `Darling'. The swipe at the Clash. in that it mirrors a new depth of subtlety. Yet. Here.guitar and drum-rolls on the kit. at the RAR movement and the so-called `punk credibility' is further elaborated upon as the track continues: `Punk was once an answer to years of crap'. snaps Ignorant. scene of - 126 . `They won't change nothing with their fashionable talk. the song is mimetic in its reproduction of a mechanical world.beyond the pseudo-anarchic of the first wave punk . they said yep. `a way of saying no found But the moment we a way to be free.towards a more succinct swipe at governmental organisations as a whole. continues Ignorant. a new parodic shift in the criticism of first wave punk. their RAR [Rock Against Racism] badges and their protest walk'. Crass attempt to move beyond the merely rhetorical . Hill Riots. another keep keep keep in labels line.stereotypical now in the musical itself defined `punk' is to turned so as provide a criticism of against genre as the first wave movement. Sex like. On one hand. Yet the lyrical content is not merely like. there is a clear shift in the parameters ideology the political of and musical delivery that the anarcho-punk of punk late 1970s from `chaos' the away a sense of and pseudo-subversion. the lyrical delivery and syntax . street credibility'. little Neat to to to trick us all apart. `White Punks On Hope' continues `bigotry and blindness. Clash Pistols Notting just the at a rant passer-by or a not rhetorical. both musically and politically in the direction of Crass. Instead.
gives way to a pseudo-melodic section. sparse chords of the guitars and bass combine with a rolling drum-rhythm impels the track forward.an anyone-cando-it-ethos . sibilance and repetition that both confuse and move the lyrics into new associations through the juxtaposition section. The guitar and drums with bass and vocals . AND `White Punks on Hope' therefore.towards a more evaluative criticism of the very movement it was born. As such. More importantly. the capricious nature of the track does not end there. the assonance. This senseof the almost over-mechanised. In the next as the that continues. however `White Punks on Hope' draws upon the notion of `anarchy': but not in the semantic sense of earlier punk bands. The vocal line is now low in the mix as if to reinforce the sense of unpredictability. `left wing. this sense of juxtaposition of images. of punk becoming a commodified genre . The title is an obvious play on words. you can stuff the lot. is indicative of both the musical and political development of Crass. `Boring fucking politics that'll get us all shot'.now pull into line and the texture changes. the off-rhymes. I don't see the point. Keep your petty prejudice. this time instrumentally.the idea of form and texture almost accompanying the lyrical subject matter. The track becomes easier to listen to. 306 and this sense of word-play is crucial to the overall effect of the track. ANARCHY FREEDOM IS WHAT I WANT'. as if the mechanised delivery of the first section is 127 . Mention has already been made of the solo introduction and spitting emphasis of the vocal delivery. ends the track. right wing.
is Although in the music of of musical and political experimentation band from by the to it hints the move away effort conscious also at a short. The track eventually ends with an emphasis upon the `want'. towards a more further be form that an aspect style. as almost contrived the way in has become first nullified and void of any real political threat which wave punk hears final Consequently. three-chord punk rock. earlier form and style of three-minute. Although the textural make-up of the track changes. will of political and musical sophisticated investigated in section three of this chapter below. as it background. is that it epitomises a sense it Crass. `Bloody Revolutions: Crass The title is a play on the Tubes' single 'White Punkson Dope'. As with the already mentioned rhythm still indicative Hope' Punks `White bands. the track switches once again. track. releasedin 1978. change of texture at the end of the one a or meaning. as if the music itself is attempting to encapsulate the political ideas surrounding the `anarcho': `anti-label' inherent highlight the to unpredictable. it does not detract from it being defined within the so-called punk rock genre. Crass on seems so of earlier punk parodic swiping of highlighting band in the consciously are nature. with both the lyrical delivery and four-in-the-bar of 1970s punk rock. into fading the echoes.A brief 128 . The importance of `White Punks On Hope' therefore. as each instrument within the ensemble reverts to a scarcity of texture: the bass playing a `reggae style' line with the guitar `vamping' in the same style. aspects within this attempting new movement. The musical characteristics are still forthright in nature. low in the mix. Moreover.somehow forgotten.
309 Ibid.. Breaking the Sound Barrier: The Parallel Emergence of Discharge `To their detractors. Where others had cross-stitched tunes and melody into the package. 129 . the author concludes that the band were `an aural bombardment marshalled into a military tattoo with Cal [lead singer]. Whereas Crass were attempting to experiment with musical form and structure.and the Forging of a New Direction' (pp. The of Heavy Metal. Discharge were not really a musical proposition at all'. 2. rhyme. of all creations. Discharge were almost Puritanical' 309 Moreover. there was also another form of `anarchopunk' developing at that time. one that was based more upon the now established punk rock aesthetic of the 1970s. Importantly however. compulsive recitation of facts [that] took away any frills and reduced punk to its elements. 307 writes Alex Ogg. The lyrics made little effort to. a twirling Tasmanian-devil of commitment and intensity.. serving as drill sergeant' 310 history of the band can be found in Rock: The Rough Guide (1999) pp. 144-166). `just a grating minimalist thud delivered by snot-nosed kid brothers of Crass's peace and protest movement' 308He continues. once observed that they were "perhaps the most influential band since the Sex Pistols". 308 Ibid. preferring a hectoring. 310 Ibid. one can also turn towards another parallel unfolding of the anarcho-punk genre. 307 Quoted from Alex Ogg's commentaryfound within the inner sleeveof Discharge's compilation compactdisc releaseVision of War. `alternatively they were the group that made noise sculpture a legitimate Kerrang! Directory art form. (1997) by SnapperMusic. coupled with a succinct political debate. 1035-1036.
ziplink. One could argue that there could be no other band better than Discharge to promote this new idea of the `anarcho'..... whereas Crass embodied a sense of 311 ibid. Moreover. often piercing and barbaric. three-chord. `anyone- incomprehensible vocals and a return to an essentially `do-it-yourself'. awful. Fight Back and Decontrol in 1980 all released . under-produced. no talent. a information historical dedicated to on Discharge. Extreme Noise Terror. boring and monotonous.like the record covers themselves are as harsh and simplistic as monochrome photographs.. Three-minute. 312 Quote taken from the Internet site http: //www.. no fun. The twelve tracks that are contained within their first three EP's Realities of War.are analogous to demonstrative snap-shots. the equivalent of sniffing-glue' 311Yet there is little doubt that Discharge's initial output did indeed herald a new direction in the post-punk.. grinding texture. can-do-it' mentality. no tunes. providing site 130 .. structurally simple. arguably a power' backlash towards the increasing commercialisation stylistically and incorporation of a now into rock mainstream culture by groups such as produced punk Subway Sect or the Undertones. All . forthright and overtly simplistic. a band whose music the journalist Garry Bushell described as `umpteen versions of the same pneumatic drill solo. dull. net/users/writer/history.It is tempting to read Ogg's commentary on the musical stylistics of Discharge as being a quintessential antecedent of what would eventually be termed anarchopunk -a generic which was to subsequently describe such innovatory bands such as Disorder. enlightening their audience `by blasting sonic titles about the realities of war and 312 Their material is brutal. htmi (2002). Chaos UK and Sore Throat. anarcho-movement.
Oxford: Westview Press. however. 3'6 From The Clash's The Clash (1977). There is often an emphasis placed by writers upon the musical simplicity of punk rock. 137. Edinburgh: AK Press. (1997) Anarchy in the UK: The Angry Brigade. whereas punk rock orientations. (1996) Rock and Roll: A Social History. competent playing or also more interesting to note that Sid Vicious was dropped from the recording due to his `lack of talent'. form. 249. needs only find has been discussed to that evidence of Matlock's already above. 317provide examples of the Friedlander. simple subcultural I do not wish to suggest that first wave punk was characterised by a sense of musical virtuosity. 3'4Ibid.p. the musical complexity of the Clash's `(White Man) In Hammersmith Palais'316 or `Rudie Can't Fail'. an album bass is Jones' It than over-dubbed guitar solos. turn to to the Pistols' Never Mind The Bollocks (1977). Quite the contrary. P. is the 315 into `Style in Vague Culture' Tom One calls which punk evolved what way for instance. it could be argued that Discharge was a step in the oppositedirection: a move to strip punk rock back to its very basics. T. p. where musical production.p. as Paul Friedlander notes. parodic in a swipe at first wave punk. although punk `was generally driven by a frantic.here the quoting and there of establishedmusical characteristics subtlety. musically movement. CBS. What I am suggesting. there is evidence to suggest quite the contrary. eighth note pulse. a return to an essentially do-it-yourself. 131 . comprising a complex melange of ingredients and 314 As such. `grass-roots' aesthetic. 313it was also `a heterogeneous style. Yet. melody and harmony are stripped back to their very basics. spread across a spectrum of artists' is often perceived to be an under produced. Moreover. 315 Vague. 249. carried by the entire ensemble'.
one may even turn to the saxophone 319 Ruts The the of 318 Thomson..as the punk ethos implies . it is against this background that the music of Discharge comes into its own. Yet. CBS. three-chord the a accompanied verse accompanying is delivered C# C D# the chorus merely over a power-chords. Virgin Records. 59. D. whereas motif of is back C.. heralding a return to Tom Carson's notion of the Ramones. The cut with declamatory style melody straight chordal sequence of 317 From The Clash's London Calling (1979). (1985) One Chord Wonders: Power and Meaning in Punk Rock Milton Keynes: Open University Press. in that `they had defined the music in its purest terms: a return to the basics which was both deliberately primitive and revisionist. a central aspect of such a comparison can be seen in the approach' way in which Discharge `cut-down' to a bare minimum both the production techniques of 1970s punk rock. from the album The Crack (1979). while the quality of the musical production for each of these tracks also highlight completely playing examples of punk not embracing a DiY type attitude. p. songs adhered a typical three-chord melodic cell in the verse and a one-chord trick in the chorus. EMI.that even within this so-called `vulgar' subculture there was both creativity and musical proficiency. 318 Saxophonistfor X-Ray Spex. as well as its now increasingly elaborate textural bare As to the their minimum of and melodic characteristics. Rudi of or the reggae pastiche complexity of these acts perhaps epitomise a sense that in fact not everyone can do it . such.subtle mixture of reggae and punk. 3' Laing. both of which are distinguished only by subtle textural variation. Indeed. is Here.and who most notably played their album GermfreeAdolescents (1978). 319 Epitomised by The Ruts' single 'Jah War'. a musical and lyrical bluntness of 320 Indeed. A typical example of this can be seen in the track `Fight Back' (track eight on the by descending disc). 132 .
providing a `fuller'. The track is extremely fast . as will be discussed within a concluding section of this thesis.vocals and.approximately 280 beats lasts and a grand total of one minute and sixteen seconds. The drums increase in texture. The drums are extremely high in the mix . `Fight Back' begins with a four bar dotted rhythm motif of D# C# C. is a `stabbed' drum rhythm. As discussed earlier. Indeed. then the construction of subtle textural variation is used to produce a sense of momentum within the piece. If one could argue that the track is structurally very simple. it is this texture that dominates the remainder of the track. relationship there is now an emphasis placed on the between overall structure and the make-up of each melodic cell within the piece. however. The bass. Both the verse and chorus are four bars long . Because of the lack of complexity. `Fight Back' is indeed a good example of a track based upon what is often termed as an `anarcho-punk' tradition. Indeed. unlike much 1970s punk. The per minute subtle textural development around a three-chord/one-chord verse/chorus 133 . the lyrical subject matter is indecipherable. we can then see the next two bars as textural development. If we term this as a four bar introduction.but what differs can be seen after the second verse where the intro is again repeated to interject verses one to four.dominating the sound the with `fuzz' distortion on the guitar taking third place behind the shouted. however is nowhere to heard and there is a feeling this is a live recording without over-dubs on any parts. Accompanying this. more complex rhythmic backdrop to a now predominantly `flowing' guitar line. this would be a trait inherent in many subsequent anarchopunk tracks. dry produced vocals.
structure (it is actually more common to have two chords in the chorus) and the
live, integral production un-dubbed are of a characteristics. predominance
If the musical form and style of `Fight Back' is an indication
of a newly
emerging post-punk subculture, then the same could be said of the track's lyrical content. Gone are the so-called subtle Situationist shock lyrics of first wave
punk, or the `laid back' call-to-arms style of bands such as the Clash or the Ruts. Instead, Discharge embraces a new level of harshness and aggression, a new form of expression that adheres to a unique sense of reality and shock. `Fight Back' is an example of the almost simplistic way in which the band expresses a harsh aesthetic: the constant repetition of `fight the system, fight back',
interloped with what could be termed as phrases of `stark reality'. `People die in before if God Cal `why don't them', see can custody', police shouts, you go see fight back'. fight back `fight fight back, the then to the system, reverting system,
While `Fight Back' embraces the idea of police brutality, other tracks on the first three EPs cover a range of subject matter, including war, homelessness, the
oppressive nature of government and organised Religion. `Realities of War 1321 for instance, is starkly realistic, noting images of `mutilated corpses and chopped `meat flung describes flesh', `War's No Fairytale' the of scene yards whilst off in Discharge harsh from bodies'. This track that admits another aesthetic apart `realism is what we're preachin'322- seems to encompass the extremity of lyrical form, hacked The the move away texture, away musical simple, grinding content. from the `traditional' three-minute punk track towards a one-minute roller-
321 Discharge, op. cit.,
coaster ride, the harsh vocals and subject matter - war, child death and police brutality - are inextricably connected. The lyrical content informs the musical
texture which, in turn, enhances the brutal realism of the words and vocal delivery.
There has already been a discussion above of the link between the peace movement in the late 1970s and early 1980s and the emergence of the anarchopunk scene. Discharge seem to reinforce this, not only in the sense of just being anti-war as such, but also in the linking military of the `reality' and `harshness' of
conflict towards what they believe to be the `system' as a whole. In
other words, the brutality of war may be linked to the brutality of government, organised religion and the monarchy: all of which are placed beneath the overall control of the capitalist system itself. `Government and Queen are your only 323 in `War's No Fairytale' `Don't be fooled by their plastic they enemies', sing smiles', proclaiming `guns and bombs aren't fucking toys'. Another example can be seen in `Religion Instigates', where Cal observes that, even though `a stray bullet kills an innocent child, nothing's gained and nothing's solved, Religion instigates this hate and war'.
The inclusion of the ideas surrounding police brutality and war, as well as an interpreted be can as a conscious move anti-monarchy and government stance towards a more politically focused punk rock aesthetic. If one can turn back to the analysesof 1970s punk, set against the back-drop of the failure of the postwar consensusand the enduring recession that was gripping Britain at the time,
"From the track 'But After the Gig' found on the album Why? (1981), Clay Records.
then one may also note the sense of helplessness in the punk scene. Tracks such as `Career Opportunities'3z4 by the Clash, `Boredom' by the Buzzcocks or
Johnny Rotten's call of `no future' in `God Save the Queen', all herald a punk scene that is predominantly negative. In other words, it was merely a declaration of increasing poverty, growing dole queues and inner-city problems in the 1970s: the movement itself did not profess to hold any answers to these problems.
Obviously one needs to be careful in proclaiming
1970s punk rock as entirely
negative, not least in the Rock against Racism stand. The backlash towards the stale musical environment, individuals for the space as well as creating to
explore and re-build their own identities are aspects that could be defined as positive attributes to the emergence of such a scene. Yet, it could be argued that the mainstream incorporation of this `alternative' sense of identity, coupled with a lack of political impetus within the scene, paved the way for a band such as Discharge to provide a more focused political commentary: a notion which
would subsequently become integral to the anarcho-punk scene of the 1980s.
In this sense,although Discharge lacked Crass's subtle parodic criticism of first focused debate idea did indeed to the the their political of music push wave punk, fore; a move that one could argue was merely the next step in the unfolding of the punk rock aesthetic. In other words, whereasthe Pistols introduced the ideas `anarchy' to the punk scene - whether or not they the notion of surrounding idea `chaos' indeed the the theoretical of or post-punk anarchism meant ideal. indeed `Anarchy's did to this embrace seem parts of political movement
Discharge, op. cit.,
your solution now', sings Cal in `Always fuckin'
`smash to fuck the
system'; evidence that there are still questions to be raised over the
relationship between the theoretical and the chaotic.
Yet, if the punk movement's increasing political awareness could be explained by the notion of theoretical anarchist thought being introduced to the fore, then there is no doubt that another key aspect towards this awareness was the election of Margaret Thatcher in 1979. Not only in the way in which Thatcher as an individual became the source of criticism from a wide range of post-punk bands, but also in the way in which this dislike was expressed in a musical manner. As such, it must be noted that Discharge - or the anarcho-punk movement as a whole - was not the only post-punk band to criticise the Thatcher administration. The Newtown Neurotics' `Kick Out the Tories', " as well as the Exploited's
`Let's Start a War Said Maggie One Day'326 are two particular tracks that are self-explanatory in their criticism of the then Prime Minister. Yet, both tracks
seem to reinforce the notion of punk being now an incorporated subculture. `Kick Out the Tories' in particular inclusion Punk the on compilation album an and Disorderly 111: The Final Solution (1983) is musically a well-produced -
melodic track that could be argued slots into the quintessential definition of this strand of post-punk. The track itself sounds almost restrained, convoluted and `safe'. Whereas the British nation was shocked by the release of `God Save the Queen', `Kick Out the Tories' seems almost guarded, even somewhat comical. `Evil will triumph', sings Steve Drewett the guitarist and vocalist, `if good men
szsA track on Punk and Disorderly 111:The Final Solution, (1983) Anagram. "The title track on the Exploited's Let's Start a War Said Maggie One Day (1983) on Future Earth Records.
Clash, (1977), op. cit.,
say nothing, evil will triumph, if good men do nothing'. The track is easy to
listen to, even to sing along to, lacking any real menaceor intent.
In many ways this may be reinforced up by the artwork on the cover of Punk and Disorderly III. Writing in Punk Rock: So What? The Cultural Legacy of Punk (1999), Frank Cartledge describes punk fashion from 1980 onwards as `black, studded, leather jackets and Doctor Marten boots, bondage trousers and a 3n black [with] in both of predominance mohicans exaggerated size and colour' The author concludes that this accompanies `a culture related to the political doctrines of both the Left and Right promoted by bands such as the Exploited, Crass and Discharge' 328 Although Cartledge is right in the exaggerated
mohicans, as well as the Left wing ideology spouted by bands such as the Exploited, it could be argued that bands such as Discharge - and certainly Crass beginning far to express were a more anarcho-type political stance. -
In this sense, Punk and Disorderly
III epitomises the idea of Stewart Home's
`novelty production'; 329the way in which punk at this time seems defused, almost devoid of any shock value. The UK Subs' `Police State' and the Destructors' `Jailbait', two further tracks from the album, reinforce this almost comical incorporation, an aspect arguably epitomised by the amateur looking, `hangs', dead in Downing Street,
33o A punk, blindfolded montage album cover.
327 Cartledge,F., 'Dress to Impress?Local Punk Fashionand Commodity Exchange' in Sabin R. (1999) Punk Rock: So What? The Cultural Legacy of Punk Rock, London: Routledge,p. 146. 328 Ibid., p. 146. 329 Home, S. (1996a) Cranked Up Really High: Genre Theory and Punk Rock, Hove: Codex, p. 14.
330 Perhaps even more so on the previous release Punk and Disorderly: Further Charges (1982), Anagram Records. Here, the black and white photographs that cover the front and back of the Mohicans, 'stereotypical' Doctor Marten boots and bondage wearing punks of now are album
in Margaret Thatcher the doorway mimicking whilst stands a Nazi salute .next to Adolf Hitler. (the other wears a spiky haircut.the Exploited also cover the subject matter of war and unemployment for instance . as if facing a firing squad. 139 . all bar one punk wears a mohican. the photographs are obviously `coloured in'. The track a sense of predictably in remains within a popular song trousers.GBH or 999 for instance as examples of punk bands that stood apart from the aesthetics of what would be defined as the `anarcho-punk' genre. as Absurdity now replaces shock and fashion now seems to replace individuality. 33' accompanied by bondage or combat trousers and Doctor Marten boots. I have already discussed the almost comical delivery of the post-punk aesthetic on records such as Punk and Disorderly 111. Moreover. the way in which these bands remain more accessible to the listener. even a track such as `Let's Start a War' has framework. Yet. al.. Although one could argue that the post-punk politics expounded by the Exploited et. This is not to say that bands such as the Exploited were in any way `easy listening'. are as valid as Discharge's own ideas . dressed in riot uniforms pretend to shoot dead three punks who are lined up blindfolded.Yet one can turn to a number of other bands . The difference between these bands and the emerging anarcho tradition is in their sense of incorporation. Moreover. 331 It must be noted that one punk has 'Discharge' and `Fight Back' written on his jacket. reminiscent of Sid Vicious).the difference between the two is the way in which these ideas are expressed in a musical manner. Two swastika flags are flying either side of the entrance whilst police. most are wearing studded black leather jackets. with one punk in particular having snot dripping from his nose. Quite the opposite.in fact she's merely waving .
that it skips periodically from a recognisable verse and chorus framework. Let's start a war said Maggie one day. dispersed between verses. One must be careful here in implying that this style of post-punk was in any way lyrics The to the are still shouted. dropping bombs. the two albums are well produced. and thus creating a montage of Thatcher herself talking of war. each one each which upon clear way ideas harmonic within the guitar and vocals. Yet the difference here lies in the in is formulaic is built in track still nature. You fight for your Country. There are three verseseach interspersedwith a rendition of: Let's start a war said Maggie one day. with the reiteration of `no Maggie Thatcher and no government'. Let's start a war said Maggie one day. completely melodic or pleasant distorted and the BPM still predominantly fast. 140 . Another band. Moreover. Indeed. the Anti-Pasti track is preceded by the sounds of gunshots and of a plane flying overhead. claiming `these casualty figures were not as high as those expected'. The Last Call (1981). On the other hand. and there is often clear melodic and 332 Anti-Pasti. Anti-Pasti. Rondelet. the track even ends with a reprise of the first verse. adding a sense of form and aural stability. You die for their gain. with the Exploited's album in particular stations having the sound of a radio being `tuned' to a variety of different between tracks. on the album The Last Call (1981) is similar to `Let's Start a War' in that the track remains within a verse/chorus framework. the guitar ear. `No Governmenti332 for instance. is another example of the way in which this style of post-punk is inherently melodic.
rather than topical. as one could argue that regardless of musical form. there is even the odd `sing-along' `Exploited Barmy Army' 333 track as with the Exploited's Also. In this sense. one must be careful in focusing merely upon the melodic characteristics of the music expounded by the Exploited or the Newtown Neurotics. there needs to be more than a frontal attack on Thatcher .and this is larger demonstrated the the of anarcho-punk awareness where movement an political arena. 141 . many bands within the anarcho-movement did not merely swipe at Thatcher as an individual. the obvious target of criticism is that of Thatcher herself as a `larger than life' political figure.textural variation between verse and chorus and at times even a guitar solo. As such. one could argue that the difference with the music of Discharge lies in their relative inability to become incorporated. way which anarcho-bands with other it is images that not the `individual' of war and poverty. grinding musical 333 Found on the Exploited's album Punk's Not Dead. As such. Their hacking. one could argue that for a band to be politicised. but the `system' as a whole. but recognised instead the way in ideas ideology the the the of war and oppression. Yet. recognising apocalyptic that is the problem. one needs only to turn to the musical style of Bob Dylan to realise that political messages do not always have to be set in confrontational musical styles. (1981) Secret Records. she became a iconic figure to attack clearly given the anti-Queen stance of first wave natural punk. Moreover. In of state encompassed which bombarded listener in the the words. The tracks themselves are also often anthemic in nature and one can often sing along with them.
In `Always Restrictions'. the of early 33s is individual that the she not the problem..style. cit. As such. op. exceptions. fast. coupled with her increasingly close relationship with the American President Ronald Reagan. 142 . dazed for lost and sings Cal stricken and survivors search in `Never Again'. political Trident missile system in July 1980 so as to replace the Polaris as Britain's Nuclear deterrent. Short. you're so full of crap'. desperation. upon political. dissonant flashes of feedback and intense declamatory vocals making them difficult for the listener to access. Discharge creates snapshots of the almost apocalyptic environment Yet Thatcher herself is rarely 1980s. `unanswered cries of pain families'. resigned to living in fear' shouts Cal over a discordant. as an notion reinforcing mentioned: it is the system as a whole that needs to be addressed. 334 be ever divided. It is as if they just start and stop without warning: `Two being a good example. each track is like an individual snapshot. 335 As with almost all examples there are. `choking lust crazy with thirst drinking from poisoned pools and streams'. In this sense. imagery becomes more important than specific decision drawing Thatcher's to purchase the the events. of course. leaving the listener feeling increasingly uncomfortable. too discordant on the ear. `Should East and West Monstrous Nuclear Stockpiles'. means that their tracks often seem to mould into each other with very little textural difference. but short bursts of harsh. distorted guitar: a track that lasts just over one minute. Discharge mention the Prime Minister in the line `Thatcher. at times almost inaccessible. These are not anthemic `sing-along' punk tracks that have been discussed above. Their music is. `real' commentaries on the brutality of war and government. with the vocals rarely understood without a lyric sheet in front of the listener. 334 Discharge.
shifting the parameters by writing is. the Clash and the post-punk bands that have been discussed above. the music of the Pistols. Yet the music of Discharge really does strip away musical recognition to its very base: there are no anthemic tracks of Thatcher or football.What may define Discharge as a so-called `anarcho-punk' band therefore.resonating with McLaren's ability to `tap' into the helplessness of a post-war recession and the stale musical environment of the 1970s . almost too overwhelming to listen to. the Damned. no `sing-along' tracks espousing `barmy armies' or `cop 336 brutality Discharge Instead. cit. one political familiarity does indeed breed contempt. 143 . that at times. the of of war and of the sing predominantly cars' `system': an aspect that is mirrored in their hacked away. There has already music been a discussion above as to the heterogeneous styles within the punk rock genre. op. are accessible in terms of be here in ideas Obviously. is the way in which the musical expression and subject matter were simultaneously inside the punk rock scene yet also beyond it. In this sense therefore. musical 11 Found on the Exploited's album Punk's Not Dead. that to the careful must as well as ear. both of whom epitomise Penny Rimbaud's notion that the mohican has merely become a fashion accessory. most of whom are accessible. Yet if one could equate the Pistols with a form of `organised chaos' .then this idea could also be applied to bands such as the Exploited or Anti-Pasti. minimalist expression.
then here Crass began forging a new direction towards anarcholater. 117-118. up an setting suggested in support of the Centre . 339 Ibid. p. as anarchists. They wanted to know whether. cit. a member of Persons Unknown them. pp.. Those charges were later dropped. and to raise money for their impending trial 33s If the first two albums had encompassed a sense of rhetorical dissent towards first wave punk. p. Rimbaud goes on to reveal that Persons Unknown turned out to be the support group for five anarchists arrested in July 1978 on charges of conspiring to cause explosions.Crass co-released the The Revolutions'. possession of explosive substances.3.. Crass performed a benefit punk as organised political protest... and were set left funds. we would support them' 337And so begins Rimbaud's commentary that led to the eventual release of the single `Bloody Revolutions' (1980) and the next stage in the transformation of the anarchic within the work of Crass. As Centre Anarchy the what was of with such. but replaced by charges of conspiring to rob. Ronan Bennet. 117. possession of firearms and handling stolen goods. notes raise money publicise order and gig that `shortly after the gig [the group] were found not guilty of the charges against 339 free'. Persons Unknown had been formed by supporters to argue their innocence. 338 Ibid. as a month Although Rimbaud in the to group. 120. `Bloody track shared the release of the single with the single 337 Rimbaud. `Bloody Revolutions': Crass and the Forging of a New Direction `Notwithstanding. op. 144 .and to raise essential funding . our political bluff had been called during the recording of Stations when we received a mysterious phone-call from a group called Persons Unknown...
" The Anarchy Centre was open for barely a year `before collapsing in disarray'. we backed off into the shadows. 343 Rimbaud writes.. 230-233). op. notes Rimbaud. happy enough to consider the matter closed'. 341 Rimbaud.. 342 Ibid. Revolutions' ' Yet. (pp. as Rimbaud commented `we'd toured extensively. `in which the play one gig degree of inter-camp bitching left me wondering whether the whole thing hadn't 'The Poisongirls will be discussedin more detail below. p. 343 Ibid. or were. pp. of the mutual interest between these two groups involvement have direct band Crass themselves. the revolution we sought would be without leaders. anarchist views'. p. cit. we had realised that we were in very real danger of becoming of our "leaders" of a new movement for social change'. there'.by The Unknown'. 31 Ibid. So having donated over £12.000 to the cause. they now bona fide. the band decided that they wanted very little involvement with its everyday running.. 124. 145 . to the any still refused with were 347 `We did however. and who shared our libertarian. 124.. the centre. 345 Ibid.was to further many of the `confusions that [he had] felt during and after the Persons Unknown benefit gig'. p. Poisongirls' `Persons written song with whom. 346 Ibid.123-124. 344 Ibid. for Rimbaud the release of `Bloody indeed the support given to the Anarchy Centre and . p. 121-122. 345as Rimbaud notes that `conflict arose between the older generation of anarchists and the new generation 346 Although anarcho-punks'.. p. 2 Although Crass supported the Anarchy Centre. 122. 124. `Soon after the release first album. 124. pp. `It was a role that we refused to play...
The other dismisses him as a mere promoter of disorder who offers nothing in 35' `the he destroys' Woodcock the concludes. 350 writes George Woodcock in Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements (1986). 352 Ibid. p..as seen above in the work of the Pistols or the Clash . and in most dictionaries will be found at least two definitions of the anarchist. 11.. 146 . p. p. G. 350 Woodcock. 11. in 1970s the the the scene of see which punk can now way used it as a tool one 348 Ibid. and terrorism are often mistakenly equated.been a dreadful mistake' s Moreover. what hope was there ""' the come much-vaunted revolution? The problems that Rimbaud had experienced with the Anarchy problems that are reflected in the practicality of implementing Centre are a complex political system such as anarchism. 11. `But even among those who recognise anarchism as a social-political doctrine.but instead the conscious effort of a band such as Crass to encourage the implementation of anarchism in terms of an organised political ideology. 'Ibid. (1986) Anarchism: A History of Libertarian Ideas and Movements. 124. 124. p.. in popular parlance. One presents him as a man who believes that government must die before freedom can live. after the Centre's eventual demise. stereotype of the of order place anarchist is that of the cold-blooded assassin who attacks with dagger or bomb the symbolic pillars of established society. Anarchy.. `Anarchism. p. Rimbaud writes that `all in all I was happy that the project had come to an end it deserved. Not in a rhetorical sense of the word . 35'Ibid. confusion still exists'. is malign chaos'3S2In terms of this stereotype that surrounds the term `anarchism'. if that was a demonstration of anarchy in action.London: Penguin Books. nihilism.
the way in which punk used imagery and symbols . its deliberate avoidance of rigidly systematic theory. in constant but it never vanishes [I]ts very protean quality has allowed it to . 354 Ibid..contributed 353 Ibid..they would argue . `No Future'. sang Rotten and `Boredom' sang Devoto.. loud music so as to express a sense of anger and often despair.. In other words.its stress on freedom of choice and on the primacy of the individual judgement extreme creates immediately the possibility of a variety of viewpoints inconceivable in a 354 dogmatic The author continues by noting that `as a doctrine it system'. 147 . fluctuation.such as the swastika or sexual intent .. `For the very nature of the libertarian attitude . any attempt to define the practical ideas surrounding anarchism as an established political thought is difficult. . p.. closely changes constantly.. More importantly however. 353 writes Woodcock. as a movement it grows and disintegrates.its rejection of dogma. p. 17. 18.because there was nothing else to say. or the way in which it drew upon a new aesthetic within the popular grounded in a fast. 355 Ibid. `To describe the essential theory of anarchism is rather like trying to grapple with Proteus'. 17.. probably . Woodcock the towards running counterpart .to consciously invoke outrage towards the mainstream. p.for cultural terrorism and chaotic intent. but less adaptable movements of the survive where many more powerful intervening century have disappeared completely' assIn terms of The Anarchy Centre therefore one can see how this ambiguity of definition the shifting - its between theoretical the of anarchism application and practical parameters into Centre trouble. monotonous.
Crass were not only attacking the leaders within `leaders' but their of the anarcho-punk movement own role as also government. per 1970s punk rock or indeed leaders. are varieties of absolutism". 18. the basic itself is what is important' 356 ideas of anarchism. the importance lies in its reiteration that can best be achieved through a social and political is `Bloody Revolutions' lacks leadership. also a critique of systems of established political only a critique it be democratic Whether government. but none seeks to give it artificial continuity. p. campaign is but thought. As Rimbaud has already noted. that had been thrust upon them.... se. futility following highlight Crass the to of are attempting anarcho-punk.. Woodcock writes that `in fact. with their stress on freedom and spontaneity. whose work What is Property first is the in 1840 as one of anarchist texts. Woodcock is referring to Pierre Joseph Proudhon. in so far as they seek for power. least in the the track nine work of not within on the accompanying successful revolution disc). and particularly of anything in the nature of a party constructed for the purpose of seizing and holding 357 Here power' . p. 359 And none of his The idea of rejecting any form of group that attempts to seize power is notable (track `Bloody Revolutions' Crass.. preclude the possibility of rigid organisation.also notes that `the peculiar fluidity of anarchism is reflected in its attitude toward organisation. By no means all anarchists reject organisation. 358 noting that "`all parties without exception. regarded written - 148 . the fluid survival of the libertarian attitude Indeed. descendants has thought otherwise'. 358 Here. Here. Woodcock quotes from Proudhon. In that this not central sense. 3 Ibid. 3 Ibid. 18.
is reiterated by the introduction of the first section of the track beginning with a four-in-a-bar rhythmic idea. 359 Woodcock. the three of the covers the sung only phrase verse consists of of these bars. regimented and as will be discussed later . but because part of a within very rendition one constitutes can sense the notion of a National identity. op cit. each of rendition The juxtaposition of the parodic . lead The bass a predominantly percussive guitar and played crotchet are manner. as each line is concluded with a phrase from the French Anthem on the electric guitar. 149 . with the drums low in the mix. Moreover.`Bloody Revolutions' itself. a relationship similar to that of the first phrase of the French National Anthem itself.has a march like quality due to the crotchet emphasis instrument. a control by governmental organisations four bars. each instrument playing a chord on the in beat. The mood is forthright. The importance of this melodic element is that it is played twice: the first by an instrument sounding similar to the kazoo. provides a its National Anthem. Harmonically line Each these the the of consists of verse military. The metonymic de-contextualization of the melody just because the phrase not musical swipe at organised government. the second by a more so-called `traditional' brass band. is characterised by a sense of political tension that is immediately established by a repeated phrase from the French National Anthem..first introduction adds of the Anthem and the mechanical march-like suggestions of conformity of identity. although each line first four bars. This regimented .almost mechanised swipe . and bars alternate between the chords of D and G. p.almost comical . 18.
well that's fine'. who 360 The original line reads`You say you want a revolution. almost sarcastic manner. the increasing commercialisation of 1970s punk and the over-bearing encroachment of government. the track `General Bacardi' concludes with. `You talk about revolution. Moreover. tending their goats and fucked by fascist being While tomatoes. The vocals begin with the phrase. Well you know we all want to change 150 . a rendition that has an obvious melodic and lyrical reference to the Beatles track `Revolution 1' on The Beatles (1968) 360However. On Feeding the 5000 for instance. Indeed. The stabbing nature of each syllabic delivery provides a metaphor for political and subcultural tensions.The subtle parody evident in Crass's use of the French National Anthem is further elaborated upon in the introduction of the lyrics in verse one. Ignorant delivers his line in a declamatory. the regimes. that's mine"'. the reiteration of the failed idealism of 1960s counter-culture. "mine. As the first verse continues. they was world organic talked of windmills and psychedelic dreams'. Ignorant's dissection and emphasis of the lyric line is particularly effective in preventing the familiar from being one- dimensional. They really meant. `Bloody Revolutions' also provides a further subtle parodic shift from Crass's earlier works where their criticism of the 1960s counter-culture was more forthright and lyrically pronounced. there is also another deliberate swipe at the punk band the Clash. `They formed little groups. They never really meant it when they said "get it on". whereas the Beatles' version has the line sung in a smooth melodic style. a fucking con. like rich man's ghettos. Crass states that `alternative values were a con. There has already been a discussion above concerning the disapproval that Crass had towards bands like the Clash and the Sex Pistols.
or individuals such as Jordan. Simon Barker. found on the album Give `Em Enough Rope (1978). p.(1968) EMI. 122. (1979) op. In Crass draws upon two tracks by the Clash in order to towards the ideology the Clash sing `When feels is Crass their lack of commitment criticise what In `Guns in track their a called work. to name just a few be later to seen so-called were `authentic leaders' of the emerging punk for first `The doubt 1970s: the the sense made wave of style of no movement inaccessible innovators level to those who at a which remained self-conscious became punks after the subculture had surfaced and been publicised'.incorporation of 1970s ideas `plastic Hebdige Dick terms the of subcultural elitism and what punk. Sue Catwoman. 362 Pistols in The bands Clash the the and way which such as punks' .almost mechanised .in their eyes lacked much of the political `Bloody Revolutions' intent delivered in their music. 122. Once again there is evidence here of the intertwining complexities of organised government and the mainstream .The Beatles. p.. the Beatles. (1994) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. the world'. London: Routledge. 36observes Hebdige. 363 Ibid. 362 Hebdige. of Brixton'. spouted they come at your front door how you gonna come? With your hands on your head or on the trigger of your gun? '3fi' Crass replies to this by singing `But what doing be to going come the time? Are you going to be the big man with are you ' be It tommy gun? could also argued that the latter part of the line is a your blatant swipe at another track by the Clash entitled `Tommy Gun'. 151 . cit. 361 The Clash. D.
123. 367 Sex Pistols taken in May 1977 standing in front of a number of posters 36s Rimbaud. 36'Ibid. 122. p. because but however Rimbaud. the importance of of ideas for a subculture such as punk to remain on the so-called `outside'. Jah Wobble on Bassand the Jim Walker on drums. or PiL was formed in 1978 by Johnny Rotten . we learnt.Yet Crass's parodic de-contextualization of musical characteristics and their lyrical swipe at the 1960s counter-cultural movement. the and the statue of portraits of meticulously Justice transferred to the bodies of the Sex Pistols. `Despite its rather conciliatory tone. cit.who by now had changed his nameback to John Lydon . Crass may be highlighting fluidity a need for constant re-negotiation. were.. 365 of writes because of "inflammatory 36 He continues. Siouxsie and 364 `icons'. nature of the cover"' `Gee's Thatcher Margaret detailed Pope. this idea incorporates the way in which punk itself had its lose to so-called authenticity: the DiY aspect. as well as its so-called shock tactics approach. the and are now `heroes' for a new generation of incorporated punk rockers. 364 Public Image Ltd. 152 . p. as well as their constant criticism of the Clash and the Pistols is perhaps saying the opposite. 122. what Gee had adapted was a photo of the four bounds of good taste"'. the anyone-can-do-it seemed ethos. `Bloody Revolutions' also highlights the clear shift from the punk ethos images `anarcho'.. Instead. the banned by HMV'. 366Ibid. op. Crass are advocating a criticism of the way in which bands such as the Clash.. p. becoming Public Image Banshees Ltd.. "Beyond the Indeed. Instead. Moreover. `not.with Keith Leveneon guitar.. the record was immediately lyrics. by Pistols towards the the the on the record of so-called use of sleeve itself. musical Further.
of punk which undermined 311 Vaucher. a notion evidenced earlier in their refusal to act as `leaders'. 44. Indeed.. who in which Vaucher had superimposed the Queen's head on to Sid Vicious.3 Queen' `God Save the single advertising their As Rimbaud so rightly points indeed background has heads been the the the transformed. whilst Steve Jones the head of the Pope. It is also possible that their intent was to highlight the need to remain on the `outside'. another blatant swipe at the Beatles. in front of an advertisement accompanied by Crass graffiti standing and the scrawled words `All you need is love'. op. and of photo out. Sid Vicious for instance now has the head of the Queen. is further by Beatles. effect.. As such. they are now for lingerie. thus drawing attention to the fact that he too. g. highlighted the this the that use of a band argue could one is demonstrated by iconic This had the way also already assumed an status. had assumed a `star-like' status that was first intentions In diametrically to the of wave punk. it could be argued that Crass's de/re-contextualizati on of musical phrases (e. 153 . cit. opposed supposedly he too was merely a consumable commodity . the French National Anthem and the Beatles' `Revolution 1') was meant to provide a more succinct political criticism. p. Their sniping at the ineffectual posturing of groups such as the Pistols and the Clash suggest not only both critique of the counter-culture a musical its to the approach soft and - overthrow of the status quo .standing against the lingerie its intentions the and relationship to the anarchic.but also towards first wave punk's pseudo-anarchy. Instead of the `God Save the Queen' advertising.
As such. The `Bloody' of the title is thus more an expletive than a call to arms. `don't want your One I could argue therefore.all too often end in tyranny and terror and Crass's position as pacifists is reflected in the final line. op. `Well. of an ideal state. he shouted. "how dare you defile the Pistols like that. Crass point out in the final two lines of the first verse. revolution. and rather drunk Glaswegian 369 punk'. cit. is not simply that HMV had banned the record. 154 . rather than a specific call to overthrow the If `Bloody Revolutions' is a lyrical swipe at both organised government and integrated being de-sensitised the thought.. but more the complaints and abuse they also received from a number of first wave by far disturbing `More was a phone call we received from a very angry punks. Political revolutions . 123.is something Crass attempted to highlight throughout their career. bastards"' 370 Crass's identification of the similarities between organised government and organised subcultural identity .What is also important here.that both. `Bloody Revolutions' can be identified as a seminal track for the emerging anarcho-punk movement. Further. then the musical form and make-up of this track also "ý Rimbaud. reiteration government. Don't you know they're fucking sacred? If you come up here I'm going do (sic) the lot of you. of punk and notion as well as political into mainstream culture.as the opening reference to `The Marseillaise' (1792) reminds us . freedom has no value if violence is the price'. in effect are part of `the system' . that this was a and want anarchy peace'. continues Rimbaud. p. "`You fucking bastard".
and therefore this now newly defined `punk style' . or Sham 69's almost `dumbed down' political message throughout That's Life (1978). whereas the Stranglers et al. Obviously. one needs only to turn to the Ruts' `Jah War'. p. were attempting forming new musical identities outside of the now well defined punk idiom. three-chord musical form that can be found in the earlier bands such as the Pistols or the Buzzcocks. one does need to bear in mind that this part of the anarcho-scene was by no-means the only post-punk movement to move away from such a compositional style. fighting and `chat to up' girls one evening.reflect Crass's growing reluctance to write in the now `stereotypical' punk idiom. as two male characters go out drinking. with the incorporation of `pop' melodies. to find an integration of the reggae style. Indeed. Crass began to turn the style back upon itself. parody now moved but into from lyrical the musical style also and almost plagiarised not only the very musical form and delivery itself. 123. Stranglers and Subway Sect. They began to use the musical form and texture .as a means of political and subcultural criticism. Yet. This is also highlighted by Crass's desire to move away from the three-minute. In other words. 155 . beat During the the the ensemble remains playing on crotchet of chorus.. in bar the particular palm muting so as to emphasise the guitar with each 31 Ibid. as `new wave' bands such as the Ruts. an album that incorporates a `soap opera' type drama between each track. also heralded the increasing fragmentation of the quintessential punk idiom. The first instance of this can be seen in the transition from the verse towards the former. reggae grooves and a sense of political commentary that often bordered on the comical.
as Ignorant's vocal delivery becomes far more aggressive in manner and. the guitar fills the space between each beat with feedback. the leading note of D major. the musical temperament changes. the two people rule right now. that aggression. the piece continues to discuss the political implications of revolution. Although each line of the chorus is still sung over four bars. The drums also become far more apparent by introducing `fills' that add momentum to the music. difference would there be? Just another set of bigots with their rifle-sights on in Although typical track that the a chorus reflects punk one could argue me'. There are four lines in the chorus with the first being accompanied by aG chord played on the bass and guitar. The two bar phrase of the French National Anthem is also omitted from the end of each line. rises restrain a chorus For example. At the chorus however. what ain't read rule'. `You speak of liberation and when the people it final lines `Well Further. and continues with the second line. There is an obvious build. effect accentuated chorus lyrical in harmony. The first line reads `You talk of overthrowing power with violence as your tool'.percussive texture of the music. Therefore the climax of the chorus . the way in which the musical texture and delivery as a whole reflects the hardbetween 1970s the relationship of punk verse and edged stereotypical style by The is is the to stopping and constant starting. Each line is given more harmonic emphasis by rising a tone each time. there is no harmonic alternation within each line. immediately proceeding the third rendition of the chorus the entire 156 . pace and expectation. Lyrically. although the bass continues to accentuate the crotchet beat. The change of musical temperament is also mirrored in the harmony of the chorus.is eventually sung over aC sharp chord.the concluding line .
The words are accentuated by the adoption of a mock French accent and the phrase is accompanied by the French National Anthem played in a patriotic style by the brass band heard at the introduction. `Old hate-words he notes. marching north to depose Louis XVI on 10`hAugust 1792 and then proceeding to fight the Austrian in importance Valmy. The symbolism of using the French National Anthem is apparent. it was dropped in 1815 due to its revolutionary associations. (1981) A History of Modern France. 183. 373 Jones. For the historian and writer Colin Jones. and one could argue that the rendition of `The Marseillaise' should not be taken at face value. people of the world unite. `contrasted with terms newly ("privilege". "equality" and "fraternity". 152-266. which formed the building 371 Although `The Marseillaise' was accepted as the French National Anthem in 1795. it's your job to fight'.was adopted to provide a `battle hymn' for the volunteers from Marseille. `The Marseillaise'37 . Volume One: Old Regime and Revolution. the French Revolution372 was primarily based upon the two defining principles of words and symbols. It was. 157 . There is a sense of irony accompanying this musical break. A. 372 A full account of the French Revolution can be found in Cobban.as it is called . (1994) The Cambridge Illustrated History of France.the period that immediately proceeded the French Revolution ."citizen". Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. "nation" [and] the Revolution triad "liberty".. p. Written in 1792 by Roget de I'Isle. London: Penguin.. Prussian The the cannonade of the song lies armies of and illuminating in not only what was termed as `the Terror' . C. "feudalism". pp. reinstated in 1879. Stand up men of courage. and so on)' '37' infused with Revolutionary meanings .interjects Libertine and ceases playing with the shouting of the phrase ensemble Wive la revolution. however..but also in terms of events that led up to the deposition of the monarchy and the building of the First Republic.
from which France had hitherto been ruled. 183. p.blocks of the newly emergent political 374 For Jones therefore. 158 . Religious tolerance was introduced. Careers within the administration were also opened to all. the the of the Rights of and was cut Man378 accompanied a new found economic liberalism.. establishing what 7 `career to talent'. termed as a open was The spirit of laissez-faire prevailed. saturating French society at every level. p.. wallpaper. `The Bastille. 376 Ibid. deepculture' labels dialogue and were soon manifest in the Revolutionary political rooted symbols of the time. judicial. was transformed into a symbol of the people in 375 `and found its Jones. political and economic optimism was accompanied by a number of substantial reforms at all levels of French political life. "Ibid. p. arms'. 184. 377 Ibid. as state intervention in trade and industry Declaration freedoms inscribed by back. continues way on to flags. pocket-knives. symbol of royal despotism. such as financial. 3'4lbid. 183. shop-signs.. The ancient provinces . where eighty-three departments would reside over all forms of government administration. buttons.ancien regime . religious and military matters. 183. freedom habeas of speechstrengthenedand was corpus encouraged. as a system of election was introduced to the clergy and judiciary as well as those in political positions. book-covers and all the bric-a-brac of everyday life' 376 Further. fans. this new wave of social.. p. was replaced by a new constitutional monarchy.
383 Ibid. this new era of French history was certainly not without its problems. p. 185. foreign powers. 185. p. while political instability in the Caribbean in particular. counter-revolutionaries and Royalty. Ibid. in the early days of the Revolution. op... The principle of election gave local communities far more sway over their daily lives As such. effected the economy through the ruination of many luxury trades. Jones believes that `to refashion himself from miracle-absolutist liberal constitutional monarch proved beyond his powers. 159 . in June 1791. from the early days of the Revolution. especially when he [Queen of France]'. 381 remarks. often divergent voices' 380 Yet. religious and of overbearing rights. 185. put the sugar islands in a state of open revolt. The new sense of tranquillity and social affluence soon gave way to conspiracy from noble exiles. Revolution. the pair fled the country by heading towards the 378 Foundedin 1789.. 382 Ibid. In the early days political culture was diverse and decentralising.. the press `crystallised the lines of division and adversity within the nation. ` by Marie-Antoinette ill-advised the grudge-bearing was so Subsequently.. p. 379 freedoms stimulated a hubbub of different. 185. p.the Declaration of the Rights of Man was a mixture of civil and political freedom from freedom including tolerance the speech. 381 government. p. 380 Ibid. cit. 185. economic and political "" For a start. `Far from'the Jones nation's defeat of tyranny having ushered in a golden age'. the large emigration of nobility to escape the problems remained'.the independence of the press celebrated. `the incorporation of the personal than had ever been the case before '. Indeed. 379 Jones. Indeed. `it soon became apparent that severe social. increasingly difficult Louis XVI found it to maintain the role of constitutional monarch set out for ruler into him.
385 Ibid. the King would never recover his status. 386 Ibid. Compounded by these problems. the act required an oath of allegiance that subsequently turned into a kind of `national opinion poll' on the Revolution. p. `a rough pressurised fifty/fifty split between "jurors" (those who swore the vote) and "non jurors" (those who refused) emerged. social radicalism and political sss threatened to tear the state apart' centralisation . as parishes into their priests voting either for the act or against. even after France went to war with Austria in 1792.German border. 160 ..most notably those in the north and in favour the tradition. As such. In particular. notably in the west of the experiencing counter-revolutionary country. Jones notes that `there developed a number of fault-lines . and its inevitable restructuring. 187. elected by universal suffrage. Although found and returned. also received much hostility. predominantly of church country remained and west of residing on the right-wing of the political spectrum: an act that would remain 384 Ibid. those areas that rejected the oath . By 1793 France was at war with much of Europe. p.. the overthrowing of the King was just one of a number of deep-rooted political and social problems inherent with the Revolution. 189. it was an action that. p..notably over religion. proclaimed a republic that was to be "one and indivisible"' 381Unfortunately however.which The first of these concerned the Nationalisation of the church. 185. plus the geographical profile of "two Frances"' 386 Further. `On 10 August 1792 the King was overthrown. whilst also insurrections. although had a great deal of clerical support. and on 21 September a constitutional Convention. Introduced by the Civil Constitution of the Clergy in 1790.
. Jones from Jacobin the pulls upon a quote strategy. the Girondins. was put down in a sea of blood' 3ý' The second problem that emerged during these war years was concerned with In Convention the particular. These measures seemed introduced in August 1793 for be was conscription to national when successful. who believed that. the Girondins `feared mob rule if too many " The Jacobins Parisian to the radicals'.. the Jacobins introduced a incomes including and price-fixing measures. to enlist public support for the war effort. "we must rally the people"' 388Yet. 388 Ibid. radical number of policies. favoured Revolutionary between Jacobin deputies those split who was victory even at the cost of co-operation with the lower classes. `if the republic in mid-1793 was to be saved. radical divorce legislation and an initial draft of a welfare state. the took of of control and Further. 387 ibid. 191. those regions who accepted the oath tended to be (and remain) essentially anticlerical and republican. p. Termed as `Church and King' peasants many took arms against the Republic in 1793. More importantly however. prevailed street made concessions were Safety. 161 . non jurors with counter-revolution insurrection were associated in the west of the country. fuelled by opposition to religious reform. of social class and questions political radicalism. 389 Ibid. p. but also antagonism towards new taxes and other Revolutionary demands. 189. Robespierre. On the other hand. 191. who expressed caution at such a Maximilien Indeed. p.steadfast even down to the Fourth Republic (1945-1958). Convention Public the war cabinet at this time. but `their uprising.. and the more moderate deputies in the Convention.
a Revolutionary Tribunal was set-up in Paris.the army enlisted three-quartersof a million men and increased the total size of the army to over a million individuals. while mass executions were conducted in civil war zones throughout France' 39' During the years of 1793/4. it is estimated that 35. then. Jonesalso believes that `radical politics saturatedevery town 390 in and village an entirely new way' If radical reforms within the Church and the Convention had highlighted a deep split in the social and political structures of revolutionary France. Although a large number of those killed were peasants or manual workers. p. the Jacobins took full advantage of the subsequent political centralisation.000 `enemies' of the Revolution were executed or died in prison. The quote from `The Marseillaise' that presages`Bloody Revolutions' is. widespread were of many intensified the impact of the Terror -a move that affected 3 per cent of the adult population . then this was compounded by what is arguably the most important event at that time: `the Terror'. Not only was the Revolution suddenly worth fighting for. As Jones observes..000-40. the privileged classes imprisonment Further.adding to a sense of witch-hunt and trepidation though out the country. lead that to violence and terror. than a patriotic zeal can reminder more a salutary 390 Ibid. which had occurred through the reforms of the war cabinet. With the on-going threat of invasion and counter-revolutionary insurrection. 191. treated the the arrest and arguably worst. `Terror was made the "order of the day": the committee of Public Safety was given sweeping powers. 162 .
Once again Crassjuxtaposes imagery. it is a sense of uncertainty and caution that is further reinforced in the second section of the track. it runs through a number of different musical ideas without fully establishing any central theme. `don't seem to take in to account the true reality'. The section begins with the tempo quickening to approximately 150 bpm and the guitar switching octave so as to play a descending semitone motif high in the register. but there and pain and suffering. sings Ignorant. 163 . he now turns far more aggressive. sit sipping as you you're saying. written relying on the half-closed hi-hat to somehow slow the pace. again.. 191. each The lyrics once more turn on those who believe in the political notion of it be those of the First International. `Your intellectual theories on how it's going to be'. as a of course descending semitone motif on the lead guitar provides an interlude between the introduction Libertine's Ignorant and subsequent of of vocals. The drums provide a clear back beat on two and four. aggression 4 391 Ibid. 392 Although there is no evidenceto suggestthat the musical similarity betweenthe two tracks is in any way purposeful. At the end of each line drums fill the to add momentum for the next line. Whereas in the first section of the track Ignorant delivered of the line verse with a hint of sarcasm. the late 1960s counter-culture or revolution. No longer reliant upon the versechorus structure of the first section. the socialist idealists of punk in the late 1970s. down At the track this slows point you wouldn't care'. p. Moreover. Vocally play a small vocal the mood changes too.`call to arms'. 32 in the same year . The motif is one very similar to that heard in the Dead Kennedys' later track `Holiday in Cambodia'. The next line readsthat `the truth of what is death beer.
At this point. it is Libertine's turn to take on the role of forward. she sings. is that the drums cease to play the cymbal pattern and now four. `quote from Marx and Mao. she sings. What is interesting here. This time however. Here. Again. At this point the mood returns to the aggressive stance found at the beginning of this second section. you can keep your politics'. `What's the freedom of us all'. adding momentum for the move in to the next musical idea of this section. `So don't think you can fool me with your political political left. which is reduced to playing one note on the first beat of the bar. Libertine drops out and Ignorant takes over the vocal line. the counter-culture's capitalism alternatives and so-called Western democracy Marxism challenge to the status quo of involved the exploration Red Book' of of such as Communism. she sings. tricks'. `against the ' few? And she concludes with. to this Libertine's final contribution form heroes in the counter-cultural of another snipe at of the comes yet section late-1960s. `You romanticise your heroes'.Accompanied by cymbals and bass. there are references to the failures of revolution: that one political system is as bad as the next. Libertine sings in a high register pulling once again upon the juxtaposition of images. and the `Little Chairman Mao. well their ideas of freedom are just oppression now'. `that the kind of self-deception the of suffering that killed ten million Jews'. the drummer increases the tension by playing toms on the eighth note. This beat back drum two the and change on of pattern not merely plays 164 . `political right. At this time. the track mocking those who talk of revolution pushing but who in Crass's eyes lack political intent and foresight.
they can call it really freedom. with march-like drum-fills sound the end of each line. voice militaristic menace The both delivery further the subject matter.only reflects the introduction of Ignorant's more monotone vocal delivery . Ignorant sings. After four bars. ain't same rules games. all government's the same.obviously `brother'. At truth the of revolution track concludes with this point Ignorant interjects and the track ends with an echo . The beginning of the third section mimics the instrumental introduction of the track. adding an element of is. the the the of melodic rest guitar plays phrase beat by drums bass the the the crotchet and playing aD on anthem. Libertine takes over and. with the guitar and vocals dropping out. whilst the French anthem continues on the guitar. the of word produced - 165 . but slavery is the game'.in that the cymbals helped place emphasis on Libertine's melodic female vocals but also creates a clear change of texture which lends itself to the final climax of the track. from the Consequently. and concludes all changed says. continue their anti-government stance. piece. fascistic but The just `it's their the clearly stated'. This is followed by a march-like drum pattern that eventually accompanies the idea itself. `Nothing's "cos different'. Libertine's to the at this point multi-tracked. the lead guitar enters with the two bar phrase of the French National Anthem. however. and vocal emphasis on providing is brother `the line the year zero'. leaving the bass and drums playing the crotchet beat once more. she ideas for death `nothing's the that their created'. accompanied improvising around the march-like figure. The lyrics.
cit. the of shouting violent advocate but is instead a cry towards the anarcho-punk scene in facilitating a space for pacifist self-awareness against the oppression of government and Western capitalism. of self-appointed pre-election declared war on Argentina'. Crass's songs. Little did Crass know however. 3 As such. thus of notion where does In in track this the not change. `in the spring of 1982. words and ideas 395 few became Crass the one of voices nevertheless seemed suddenly worthless'. 393 Rimbaud. p. Babylon. `to boost her party's flagging downright defeat' 393 . Margaret Thatcher. Parliamentary Questions:Crass and the Politics of War Writing in Shibboleth. As Rimbaud notes. that it would be a debate that would soon be forced to the foreground in the next stage of development both within the band and the anarcho-movement as a whole. op. sense. 394 Ibid. the Falklands War was to become central to the musical and political development of Crass. 166 . p. p. although `as young men died in their hundreds. or political social no real resulting `Revolution'. a into idealism has degenerated too the all often nihilism.. protests. a bubble. 395 Ibid.. Penny Rimbaud notes that.. 219. The track is not failure but `call the to a reflection on rather of violent revolution. ensuring future flaccidity if not pinprick popped the anarcho-pacifist He continues by noting that. of dissent towards an effective critique of the war. had Queen image. 219.. 219. 4. arms' as such.`Bloody Revolutions' therefore reinforces Crass's pacifist ideals..
317 Ibid. 167 . 221. 219-220. p. 220-221. was 397 but into label our own' randomly slipped albums and singles of any Rimbaud continues by writing that `throughout the war. we decided to produce the flexi notes Rimbaud. 220. As long as people remained dependant on leaders to get them out of the mess that those leaders had themselves created. such is the power of paradox' 400In order to express the anger that Rimbaud felt for this apparent rise in jingoism. 220. 398 Ibid. pp. p.The first criticism that Crass made towards the Falklands War came in the form of a flexi disc.. p. `Knowing that any adverse comment on our "great leader and her glorious war" would lead to instant prosecution. presumably to give some in to what reality was little more than a playground scrap. 3 but one that he believes `had the desired effect of instilling fear into a population whose lives were already controlled by fear. the author decided to write a piece of work that `became a stream of consciousness rant against everything that [he] loathed Britain"'401 known "Thatcher's had become then as about what 396 Ibid. 400 Ibid. and lacking any as if it was bootleg' '396 identifying label or packaging "Sheep Farming in the Fucklands" was smuggled into the country and. there was very little chance of dissent. 399 Ibid... the more weight hysterical element of the media went as far as to suggest that there was a real danger of escalation into global conflict'. p.. with the aid of like-minded distributors and retailers. 401 Ibid. pp.. 221. " Rimbaud admits that this is a `ridiculous assertion'. `Manufactured in France..
From this softly spoken introduction. the grand social circus'. 403 Ibid. prisoners of their morality. `feelings from the heart that have been distorted and mocked. Arguably the first punk `concept' album. writes Rimbaud. invisible hands are held. like rats. Afraid of death.. 168 . aggressive manner. cling to sinking Shared between a ' in Crass had been ships. (track number ten on the accompanying disc). `Humans. It concludes. and many respects no exception'. the possibilities are enormous.as well as the rejection of the band as so-called `leaders' . of anyone we've used more that (sic) most'. I Will (1983). the track lurches into a discordant melange of white noise. deprived of their meat. There sense of helplessness from Crass is an almost desperate feel to the track -a themselves . instead encouraging a fluidity of debate and political ideas . thrown around in the spectacle. Step outside and parasites.in their criticism of war and Thatcher. `Friends in adversity are not necessary friends at all'. `words don't seem to mean much. Unending statistics that fatten leaders. Crass's refusal to allow writers to `pigeon-hole' their work. softly The door standsopenAcross lines. Alone. golden streamers building in the night. wait to suck on tiring flesh. 291.. I Will is a one-track album lasting for forty-five spoken introduction by a female vocalist: minutes.Entitled `Rocky Eyed'. It begins with a short. 291. male and female vocalist.within the anarcho-scene is encapsulated in the 402 Ibid. begins the second stanza. To breatheis not enough. the work was soon to be re-written and produced on vinyl as an album entitled Yes Sir. we can not save ourselves. p. rhythmic unpredictability and shouted declamatory vocals. Yes Sir. p. the lyrical delivery is spilled out in a fast.
p. cit. unoriginal and badly balanced in an uncompromising and humourless extremist sort of way. Melody Maker. for the popular music paper article written 405 Sutherland. simply adds to the diseased attraction of their naively black and white world where words are a series of shock slogans and mindless token tantrums to tout around your tribe and toss at passer-by'. S. released in the same year. (1981) 'Keep Off The Crass'. Another line reads. declamatory vocals thus creating at times a track that becomes uncomfortable to listen to. 20 June. The line from the article notes that Crass are 'so unattractive. The track is based upon a call and response pattern. p. The overall texture is uncompromising. I Will has been described as a one track album there are a number of different musical styles within the work. op. `another token tantrum to cover up the fear'. that reads `anarchy's become another word for "got 10p to spare?"'. a piano motif is introduced and the next part of the album consists of a piano and voice. and the feedback of the guitar runs parallel to the shouted. 30.constant switch between the discordant unpredictability of the drums and rhythmic stability. The first section of the track lacks any real musical form. a reference to a criticism of Crass by the music journalist Steve Sutherland in an 405 Melody Maker. with aural cohesion being provided unpredictability by the constant switch between rhythmic and the drum-kit shifting towards a recognisable back beat. Indeed. 169 . for instance. is arguably a reference to the track `Have You Got 10p?'404by the Ejected. One line in particular. with each line sung being followed by the response of `what did you know? What did you care? ' Again. 40M1 A track incidentally found on Punk and Disorderly 111(1983). underpinned by a synthesised string section that provides a calming accompaniment to the now melodic vocal line. although Yes Sir. As the introduction fades to an end. the lyrics partly consist of a subtle swipe at first wave punk. London. 30.
it illuminates the way in which punk.seem to highlight the absurd. I Will Yes to themselves. `how many times must we hear rehashed versions of Feeding of the 5000. As in the earlier discussion of the Exploited's defused rants about Margaret Thatcher. `Punk has spawned another rock 'n' roll elite'.the difference between the rhythm and texture. the and seems to music almost lack direction. As the track reverts to the discordant texture of the initial section. Ignorant continues.and the early 1980s . a poor parody of itself. initially heralded as a strong form of protest in the 1970s . I Will is probably one of the most important pieces of work in Crass's repertoire.The shifting of musical parameters not only highlight Crass's attempt to create definitional ambiguities over their work. the notion and that the anarcho-movement itself may also have become institutionalised incorporated into the mainstream. by jerks whose only fuck off to the system has been one off the wrist? ' Although Yes Sir. times. The dichotomy of musical form and structure . In other words. a number also of occasions listen down discordant At breaks too to to. an indication of Rimbaud's admission that the words and music Indeed. but becomes Crass On Sir. between the softly sung vocals and piano and the descent into rhythmic unpredictability and a wall of white noise . Itself contained by itself'. Ignorant `sings' the phrase `anything and everything can be so easily institutionalised.had finally lost its menacing impetus. it little the to to of war. it must be noted that the idea of the institutionalisation of the punk movement refers not only to first wave of the subculture in the 1970s. questions can be raised over the way in 170 . could be so-called reality add very now seem argued that Crass are themselves questioning the effectiveness of anarcho-punk highlighting in a sense as providing an effective critique of society.
241. p. this is a thought discussed by Rimbaud in Shibboleth. 171 . 407 Ibid. of a 4" authorities'.which the anarcho-movementitself would need a constant fluidity of ideas and shifting identities if it was to continue to form an effective challenge to a subcultural and societal statusquo.. 241. 406 he notes. 241. the wing rock attacked it as "the most revolting and unnecessary record I have ever heard". p. their first than to we ever needed events `tactical response'. we needed to respond to world 407 faster far had before'. MP the article was the received 406 Rimbaud. 410 Ibid. `made us realise that despite our growing sense of tiredness. `The speed in which the Falklands War was played out. 241. p. `How Does it Feel' is arguably the most important record that Crass produced.. twenty thousand in the first week. 401 Ibid. coupled with the devastation that Thatcher was creating both at home and abroad'. p. creating interest from `Robin Rimbaud. Eggar.. p. 409 Ibid. (track number eleven on the accompanying disc). Indeed.41 Rimbaud also discusses the interest that the record days `A few later.. cit. `Initial sales of the record were high. 241. from Conservative Tim Eggar.. was to release the 7" single `How Does it Feel to be the Mother of a Thousand Dead' (1982). which reflected the tenor of most of ' it the coverage received9. p. 241. Released so as to coincide with what Rimbaud terms as 'Thatcher's parody 408 "victory the single was `met with immediate hostility from the parade"'. Consequently. 411 Ibid.. op. the national press'410 of writes wave a a for left journalist Daily Mirror.
brother, Tory by MP Tim Robin's Eggar, on who, describing himself up picked as a "dutiful brother", read the article, was duly enraged,and immediately wrote to the Attorney General requesting that Crass be prosecuted under the Obscene Publications Act' 412
Rimbaud goes on to discuss the press release that Eggar produced, noting that the MP believed the record to be `an insult to the Prime Minister, the government, the armed forces and the families ai3 died in Falklands' those the of who
Rimbaud goes on to give an account of a radio interview between interviewer and Andy Palmer and Pete Wright, members of Crass. `After having heard his hysterical description of the record as "going beyond the acceptable bounds of freedom of speech, being the most vicious, scurrilous and obscene record that had ever been produced""" replied, Rimbaud says, `Andy quietly and confidently
I consider that Margaret Thatcher, her government, Mr Eggar and all others who support her are responsible for sending young men to be slaughtered, which in my view, amounts to pre-meditated, calculated "'-' is Now, that obscene. murder.
Rimbaud also gives an account of the mention that the record received during Prime Minister's Question Time. `In Parliament, a Labour backbencher asked Thatcher... whether "she will take time off.... to listen to the record"... Naturally, her Secretary issued Press later but declined that to week a comment, she "not (Crass) decision these to the the give people statement which announced
412 Ibid., p. 241. 413 As quoted in Ibid., p. 242. 414 Ibid., p. 242.
416 having Rimbaud also observes that `a memo a public platform"'. of .
was circulated within the Tory Party advising that the record should from now on be ignored, as should any further provocation from Crass'. 17 Moreover,
responding as the law does to political pressure, the Attorney General quickly announced that the record `does not contravene Section 2 of the Obscene Publications Act, thus giving a clean bill of health to the most vicious, scurrilous 418 and obscene record ever produced'
`How Does it Feel' adheres to a verse/chorus structure. In stark -
contrast to a track such as `Bloody Revolutions' - or indeed Yes Sir, I Will
`How Does it Feel' has a clear introduction, a distinct verse and chorus and an established outro. It is almost `designed' and anthemic in nature, reinforcing the militaristic overtones that Crass are highlighting. The track begins with a short
motif, rocking between A flat and A on the lead guitar, adding a sense of eeriness blurred Although bar-lines the track. the to the as expectation are somewhat and drums bass the the that and enter at motif rubato419 guitar plays - one could argue bar nine. The bass underpins the lead guitar, playing the rocking A flat/A natural motif, against a two bar drum pattern. In bar one of this pattern the drums beat every crotchet with a cymbal crash - accentuating the guitar part accentuate in the second bar they play a quaver roll on the toms, providing whereas momentum to the track.
4'6 Ibid., pp. 242-243. 417 Ibid., p. 243.
418 Ibid., p. 243.
4'9A piece of music that is to be performed with a flexibility
The vocals enter at bar thirteen, and as already mentioned echo the introduction of Yes Sir, I Will. The vocals are declamatory in nature, with each line shouted aggressively into the microphone. Although Libertine's voice is relatively low in the mix, her vocal delivery is shouted, giving the impression that she is fighting to be heard. As with much of anarcho-punk, the lyrics - or indeed the often political message - is arguably more important than the music itself. Although one cannot hear the lyrics clearly - due also to the speed of their delivery as well in being low the mix - when they are read one realises that they are describing as the difficulty in providing an effective criticism of the state. 'It doesn't get much
better', she shouts, `your voice can just get ripped up shouting in vain. Maybe one hears what you say, but you're still on your own at night'. The vocalist then turns to the apathetic public, the public that has already been discussed in terms of being a mass that needs the comfort of leaders. `You've got to make such a noise to understand the silence', she continues, `screaming like a jackass, ringing hear the silence'. so you can't ears
Accompanying the voice is the rocking semitone (A flat/A natural) motif played by the guitar, bass and drums. As the vocals conclude, the rest of the ensemble fade-out and the listener is almost hit by the apparent silence; the extremity of aesthetic between the discordant female vocalist (and the over-powering
is interesting into final Moreover, the this what and stillness. move ensemble) here is that Crass leaves out a paragraph from the lyrics printed on the record for in `we innocence begins The the war, never asked nor paragraph of sleeve. it. We for in birth the struggle to asked war, never nor aware of were we our for it'. if It feel `we did there a was need concludes, as we never asked realisation
for war, nor in the joyful colours of our childhood were we conscious of its darkness'.
The next section of the track begins with a male vocalist shouting `How does it feel? ', followed by the first rendition of the chorus. Each line of the chorus
first bars The diatonic two two, two-bar contain phrases. a simple of consists by A. Sung lyrics tonic the the a male vocalist, motif around resemble melodic the title of the track and are sung almost monotone. Bars three and four are sung by the remaining ensemble, providing emphasis and aggression, as well as
is beat Each lyric the sung on crotchet and reads perhaps, an air of solidarity. `Young boys rest now, cold graves in cold earth'. Whereas in the first two bars the guitar mirrors the vocal motif and the drums play a simple `two and four back beat' in bars three and four the texture changes. The drums play a cymbal crash in beat bar drum fill in bar four, three adding momentum and a crotchet each on imagery is lead latter to the the the add and chorus while used to end of guitar descending, idea `cold in by to the a cold playing of graves earth' painting word jarring semitone motif. almost
The chorus consists of a repeat of the line `how does it feel to be the mother of a latter dead', the time through the section of the chorus yet second thousand lost `sunken for lyrics The time the eyes, now; empty second read changes. by is death', in futile that an upward guitar motif accompanied and sockets is in half. The Each into also split the track the verse verse. proceeding moves first half is based upon the semitone movement of the A flat to A natural motif Again, declamatory introduction. the the and vocals are the at guitar on played
the end of the first section is echoed by a downward semitone motif on the guitar. The lyrics are forthright, beginning with the phrase `your arrogance has gutted these bodies of life, your deceit fooled them that it was worth the sacrifice', and conclude with `your lies persuaded people to accept the wasted blood, your filthy pride cleansed you of the doubt you should have had'.
The second half of the phrase quickens in tempo and, although the drums provide stability by playing a clear back beat on the two and four each phrase breaks down into an uncomfortable texture of feedback. The vocal delivery changes too, as the vocalist becomes far more sarcastic, almost contemptuous. `You smile in the face of death because you are so proud and vain', he sings, `your cruel inhumanity stops you from realising the pain that you inflicted... '. At this point what may be termed as a coda signals the end of the verse. On the word `inflicted' the guitar, bass and drums play a chord on the first crotchet beat of the bar, with the fourth bar - the end of the chorus - consisting of a drum fill to add momentum into the next verse. The lyrics at this point are equally as poignant, it decision `you determined, the your created, you was you ordered with phrase to have those young boys slaughtered'. The rest of the track is surprisingly rather degree `Bloody Will, I Unlike Sir, Yes to track even a and predictable. a such as Revolutions', `How Does it Feel' sticks to a verse/chorus structure. I have
first discussed introduction, first the the the the chorus and already rendition of verse. The rest of the track continues with verse two, chorus, verse three, chorus, verses four and five and finally the outro. Except for the third verse, each
sounding of the verse and chorus are identical.
providing an almost comfortable axis to the dark scenery that is painted by the feedback. but it was you who slaughtered out of national pride'.. he sings and.it was your decision to have those young boys slaughtered'. you created. This verse is not chopped in two as with the others. underpins the ensemble. The outro resemblesthe semitone motif that be the mother of a thousand dead? four in first bars four bars consist simply of The the three and chorus. Although there is a variation in the musical texture. with the remaining eight bars enlisting a number of vocalists 177 .. `What right to spit on hope with the gory madness'.The difference in verse three can be seen in the change of musical texture. the beginning phrase opens with `you use those deaths to achieve your ends still. The verse lacks both harmonic stability and melody. The lyrics however are just as poignant. The drums play a continual drum fill on the toms whilst the guitar is reduced to the sound of distorted feedback. using the corpses as a moral blackmail'. the subject matter in each verse is very much the same. In the first verse. `throughout our history you and your kind have stolen the young bodies of the living to be torn in filthy war'. `that you inflicted you determined. echoing each of the other verses. In verse four. you ordered . And continues with `what right have you to devour that flesh? '. for instance. The verse begins with the phrase. we hear the phrase `you accuse us of disrespect for the dead. and continues with `you say "think of what those young men gave" as you try to blind us in your living death. yet ends with the same phrase as the other verses. ' The outro to the track lasts for twelve bars and is preceded by an almost desperateplea from the vocalist with the final questioning of `how does in feel to '. although one can just hear the lead guitar picking up certain chords.
shouting `1.2. it did however coincide with the political polarisation that the group were facing both in terms of public opinion.3. As such. We don't want your fucking war'. Not only did Thatcher `admit' responsibility for the controversial but `using information Argentinian The Belgrano the sent to also. 245. a gig band . 421notes Rimbaud it the that seemed effectively undermining Britain's role in the war also mirrored problems that had begun to unfold in the anarcho-movement as a whole.4. You can 4Z° fucking stuff your war' Although `How Does it Feel' provided a succinct outline of Crass's views on the Falklands War. details by the concerning the sinking of the serving sailor us a I The lyrical content perhapsbeing a referenceto Country Joe and the Fish's track `The Fish Cheer &I Feel-Like-I'm-Fxin'-To-Die-Rag'. On the third repetition a drum fill accompanies the second half of the phrase. The track eventually ends with a solo vocalist shouting `1.4.3. p.`the message of "do it yourself" had never seemed so real as it did that helplessness that Crass felt in day'. `And it's one. the bass player in Crass. What are we fighting for?' 42'Rimbaud. 178 .. it was a sense of helplessness that was further compounded by one particular political action that would herald the eventual demise of the band: the emergence of the now infamous `Thatchergate Tapes'. ship sinking of in Falklands. op. The lyrics of which read. three.2. two.cit. from the album I'm-Feel-Like-I'm-Fixin'-To-Die Vanguard (1967). as well as the anarchoZig Zag Club in in 1982 revitalised the Although the movement as a whole. bringing the ensemble to a close. Produced by Pete Wright. the tapes involved a `secretly edited tape' taking the form of a telephone conversation concerning the Falkland's War between the American President Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher.
They were thrilled that a "bunch of embarrass The State punks" had been able to so effectively Department. Moreover. 254. pp. how much more was known about our activities? We barely had time to consider the implications of our confession before the world's media pounced upon the story. an action that still remains a mystery to the band today.. In order to protect Prince Andrew . 251... 254. and "by the way. Rimbaud outlines that it was a journalist from the British newspaper The Observer who had contacted the band and revealed the hoax. we had been involved in various forms of action.who was a member the tape alleged that the - of the Royal Family serving on the Invincible Sheffield was used as protection for the aircraft carrier when two Exocet missiles were fired towards it.. from sabotage to subterfuge. the band realised the enormity of the political repercussions surrounding its publication: a naivety that resulted in a sense of paranoia sweeping through the group. 179 . 4' writes Rimbaud. `We had been meticulously careful to ensure that no one knew about its production and distribution'. what else had we done? " au Ibid. a hypothesis 4? 3 it the time' which probably wasn't quite as absurd as seemed at As the tape surfaced..p. and Crass eventually owned up to the hoax. p. `it acted as a 47S for The author continues. 250. substantial warning us' Since the days of '77. Ibid. 253-254. p. au Ibid.British destroyer Sheffield were included'422The significance of the Sheffield lay in the ship being involved in a crude decoy operation by the aircraft carriers Invincible and Hermes. If walls did indeed have ears. aý Ibid. the tape also went on to `present Reagan threatening to "nuke" Europe in defence of American interests. a'-6Ibid. p.
`we'd become bitter where once we had been joyful [and] pessimistic where once optimism had been our cause'432 As such.similar to first wave punk.As the tape generated increasing interest from the world's subsequently travelled to Amsterdam and Tokyo for media . `we had become the very things that we were attacking'. 255. the band also found themselves increasingly questioning their own 429 integrity. 43' p.. 180 . Ibid. band the of `Where once we'd been and inward'. In other words. and were being treated with a 42$ Yet. p.. 254. into a means of organised political action within the punk genre had now become institutionalised `a poor parody of Crass say would as - itself'433 . p. 430 Ibid. p. 430 Although the band had finally found a platform for their ideas. itself. seven years on writes Rimbaud. 254. a`9Ibid. 254-255. p.... 4SS Ibid. 432 Ibid. the earlier discussion of Woodcock's ideas concerning the complexity indefinable of anarchism as an political ideal needing a constant fluidity of ideas and lack of leadership in order an Ibid. 254.. pp. The original conception of Crass. as a means of transforming the almost chaotic business-like anarchy espoused by McLaren and the Pistols. 431 he we had now become cynical concludes. `After the political road'. 254. Rimbaud believes that they had lost a valuable insight to the very functioning generous and outgoing.Crass `exclusive radio interviews'427 for instance band felt `thrown into in the themselves an arena which [they] were given a form of political power. it now seemed that Crass had been drawn into the very political arena that they so vehemently despised. if Crass's political views were reaching a wider slightly awed respect' audience.
In addition. it would seem that their 433 Lyrical quotation from Crass's album Yes Sir. commentators. Crass also found themselves caught within a wider theoretical impetus Whereas their was one that encouraged political original political arena. highlighted the deep political rifts between a disparate number difficulties highlighting further the and ambiguity of the of post-punk off-shoots. previously attacked `General Rotten" `counter-revolutionaries'5 the and of first wave punk. . It would now seem that the band had appropriated the role of counter-cultural `heroes' such as Dylan or Mao. a political position and form of ideology that Crass equally despised.through the organisation City Campaigns. Moreover. more unwanted.to survive had become apparent in Crass's own transformation . 74. On another level. in terms of the ground-roots level of the scene . In this sense. 435 Ibid. cit. Firstly. Stop Zig Zag Club the the latter of which is the the of and discussed in more detail below (pp. events such as those organised at the anarchy centre discussed earlier. p. 181 . op. one could argue that the so-called institutionalisation the anarcho-scene became increasingly of Crass within apparent on two central platforms.Crass now found themselves Where Rimbaud had `leaders' movement. p.and one could argue institutionalisation . 76. the writer now found Crass and himself to be in much the same position.of the anarchic. a new of and uneasy... I Will (1984). a sense of direct action and DiY practicality against the oppressive nature of in Crass the role of political more cast were government and capitalist society. ' Rimbaud. practical implications of a political doctrine such as anarchism. 220-221) .
439 For an account of the trial turn to Ibid. `can't enjoy looking at girls' tits because it's sexist. therefore.. that Crass had encountered the complexities and contradictions that are manifest in a political system such as anarchism. 438 For a detailed accountof this struggle turn to Ibid. or Rimbaud's increasing struggle between pacifism and direct forms of 43$ Crass had eventually action. Crass had merely replaced one set of rules with another.such as other of the mounting pressure and attention Baader Meinhof and the IRA. 276.. and split in 1984. found themselves increasingly part of a had band Tired to debate: the that strove avoid. 16 notes Rimbaud. 258. p. 182 . it sometimes feels like we've put laughter a3' fashion' out of It had seemed. something mainstream political dissident from groups . p. such as those surrounding vegetarianism and sexuality. 260-276. as well as the police and the authorities . 440 Ibid. p. 255-258. 437 Ibid.. an Ibid. live we'd to tell to their perhaps own others attempted increasingly been unable to live our own. fallen had that notes the pitfalls other social prophets because but lives. pp. `Can't wear leather boots because they're not vegetarian'.. 258. In this sense. pp. `We'd attempted to avoid "' `We'd Rimbaud.advocating of political awareness and their attack on government per se had aligned them more in terms of intellectual activists than Stewart Home's agitation protest previous notion of a `neglected example of political-cultural group'.Crass Publications Obscene the under subsequently were prosecuted Act for the `depraved' nature9 of their material. into'. Christ. Whether it be the replacement of rules. we'd become a parody of ourselves.. Can't indulge in a holiday in the sun because it's bourgeois.
then there was one other band that was taking the message of the anarcho-scene further into the 1980s. ' And so begins the musician and author Dick Lucas in of a social discussing his own initial involvement in punk rock.p. formed with my brother and friends at school. Writing in Threat by Example: A Documentation of Inspiration (1990). if the anarchy that Crass had espoused was reaching an end in 1984. p. 4°3 Ibid. "" Ibid.M."anyone can do it" . p. Lucas continues by discussing the way in which first wave punk was to soon transform into the later more politically conscious anarcho-scene. p. `all the young punks wanted to be on stage .and my first vocal venture was with the Mental [1979-1980]. it was "bollocks" it was. D. the beginnings 2 life'. Edinburgh: AK Press." empty vessel on an empty sea'. he continues.. Instantaneous Spontaneity Drive: The Final Path of the `Anarcho' `Punk Rock! WOW! Ignition to the imagination! So easy. a band that attempted to unravel the political and subcultural contradictions that surrounded the anarchoscene at this time: the Subhumans. 15. so fast. so let's go! For the first time I felt involved and identified: it justified my feelings of alienation and brought me into contact with like-minded people. 5.. so real. `I was yet to get into forming political opinions or a social conscience beyond my own area: punk was "new". and reflecting the chaotic spontaneous atmosphere prevalent at the time'. (1990) Threat by Example: A Document of Inspiration. 442 Lucas. 15. above all. 44° Ibid. 16. "Look at me! "'444He notes.. in Sprouse. (1990) `Dick Lucas'. 183 . Yet. 276.
As such.. which he had set-up in 1981 in order to promote the Subhumans and other local bands. The idea of a so-called `anarcho-punk' ethic was manifest primarily in the way in which Lucas's next musical venture . Pink He notes band Flux the of such as with working with an established that the band took advantage of `Flux's methods.difference in such diversity became indifference to many people over the years. a new sense of relevance and self-reliance took the ever-increasingly commercialised punk scene back to a deeper emotional and social ' bother to than roots we'd ever consider. as Crass appeared on the hitherto unknown "anti system" pedestal. Having been signed to the Flux of Pink Indians" Spiderleg label. 16. he was lucky enough to receive the financial help needed to start a company named Bluurg Records. it gave those bands involved complete control over their musical output as well as political viewpoint.recorded and distributed their work. They disbandedin 1987. Further. in emphasising the DiY ethic and freedom of expression central to anarcho-punk. .. adopting and adapting their ideals of independence as they had learnt the same way from their experiences 45 Ibid. to his already established distribution network Bluurg Tapes. the Subhumans had larger Small the the with contract signing a record earlier refused option of Wonder label. '6 Formed in 1980. On the writer's own admission. but a standard way of being for the rest of us.Flux of Pink Indians were another influential anarcho-punkband inspired by Crass's marriage of politics and music. Lucas believes that Bluurg Records `reaped' the rewards Indians.the Subhumans . an addition he believed. 184 . so as to pursue their belief in cheaper than-standard record and tape prices. p. Lucas believes that this was of central importance to those bands recorded and distributed by Bluurg Records.
printed lyric 448 sheets' Lucas further demonstrated the practical application of what may be considered as a so-called `anarcho-punk' ethic by restricting gig prices. 16. 451Consequently. Crassdecided to set up their own record label in order to have overall control of their musical material. Banshees. although at times he finds it difficult to keep 448 Lucas. p. 16.. etc)' 452 notes that. 185 . etc). 449 Ibid. no contracts. no obligation.. `And as I saw my old favourite bands progress/regress into commercial poptunes with nothing more to say (Damned. 16. to me it was important to not forget . 453 Ibid. profit above message and band above audience' 45° As such. the importance of the Subhumans was in what he termed as `keeping both sides of our productivity as accessible as 4a9 Importantly.. although `this seems obvious. low prices. they had seemed so removed. asi Ibid. he concludes by drawing upon the experience of earlier punk bands.. p. praise. I mentally swore I'd never go that way'. p.. 16. which is geared to maintain image above reality. abuse. op.. . 450Ibid.. p. 452 Ibid... For Lucas. Lucas `consciously made myself He available and accessible to conversation (questioning. p. possible' difficult he believed that the band may find it increasingly political and social message if they are to convey any meaningful `surrounded by the machinations of the music industry.. that I'd never had a chance to talk to bands I'd seen on stage when I was younger. 16. So my address appeared on the record " I have! train that sleeves and prompted a of mail won't even stop even when In this sense Lucas concludes that. 16. cit.with Crass Records"". a4'After encounteringproblems with the releaseof Feeding of the 5000. Stranglers. p. avoiding agencies and seeing no need for a manager.
as. All else is peripheral. that of recreating the feeling experienced when writing the lyrics. All thoughts went to words and their intended effect. no one should suffer. relationship that helped the emerging anarcho-punk scene to develop a new sense of autonomy and self-reliance that had never existed in first wave punk. p. political dissent shifted from the rhetorical. ) as well as further stressing the rights of freedom ass Further.. 'Ibid. the band `continued my lyrical progress into this new realm of intensified awareness.. "Ibid. etc. 16. As such. his music to embody an increasingly the author believes that it was a Further. he believed it was a harsh and realistic of speech and action' awareness that `reflected the political and social nightmare that was Thatcherism'456Musically. p. it was an animosity that was to manifest itself in the lyrical output of the Subhumans.Ibid. p. 186 . `the anger I felt at the way people behaved towards each other presented itself in emotional mirrors held up to myself for anyone to see. . yet we are all suffering'45' Lucas elaborates upon this by continuing. anti-Establishment ethic that had awareness that existed in 1970s punk towards a new sense of political encapsulated specific areas of capitalist society. p. `the feeling of satisfaction having taken hours over a long interview is really something else. a reason for existence as a communicator'454 Lucas therefore conceives that the basis of a `ground-roots' relationship between listener and audience alike allowed focalised political standpoint. As Lucas notes. Lucas notes that his `anger became specifically directed against tangible forces of control and oppression (media.. 16. 16. police. ase Ibid. politicians. 16.. but still essential: it's the outside view of what you .up with the work-rate...
the revised longer running version of "anyone can do it"'. '5' Ibid. 4G0 Ibid. `ends the to war and a anything on who up driven `Parasites'. the Subhumans attempted to explore the complex relationship between an overtly oppressive capitalist system and the diversity of the individual. 16. " From the very beginning therefore. spawning a new wave of independent fanzines. Ibid.. p. `Susan'. 16. which asks the question of why `nobody says Nuclear factory' in buses'. 16. he further differentiates between first wave punk and the newly emerging anarcho-punk scene. `Words ideas'. machinery Lucas's writing was a subtle melange of analyses between `tangible forces of oppression'. p. p.and the way in that individual should think for him/herself .458 From here. He concludes. If one could argue that the main impetus of Discharge and Crass were to directly criticise the'political '2 of government. and individual behaviour within the anarcho-scene itself. and the gap between lyrical honestly and empty sloganeering is the gap that proved that for some... and for others it was a trend to exploit'' As such. he turns to the relationship between the theoretical ideas are about' that were generated from the origins of the anarcho-punk scene and the way in which these were manifest in the practical elements in the development of the ' itself. `if behaviour contradicts them. `so with an air of honesty and communication the scene developed its strongest sense of unity yet. p. 187 . the Subhumans' music is an attempt to move away from ' Ibid.. nýz Although Crassturned their attention towards the individual . scene will not sustain he writes. punk was an attitude.on a number of occasions. From tracks such as `People Are Scared'. bands and labels. 16.
whatever their `u'4 "cradle from Whereas such legislation was seen to to grave"'. P. p. and pensions 463 Further. circumstances. *3 Dorey. 188 . when the government universal system of benefits introduced covering a `comprehensive. Although one could focus upon any of the above tracks in order to highlight the political complexities and anarcho-ethics surrounding Lucas's work. It runs for just over sixteen chord. overly of government 5. (1995) British Politics Since 1945. be largely beneficial towards society at the time. Subsequently. 14. however. a number of unemployment. `were intended to ensure that all citizens were effectively guaranteed a minimum income. the Subhumans' track echoes the later sentiment held by many. sickness. rock' track stereotype. that this kind of provision led to an into intrusive infringement everyday life. motherhood and means-tested Social Security benefits were introduced for those whose incomes were inadequate to meet their basic everyday needs. one track in particular encompasses much of the writer's own thoughts and own political ideals: `From the Cradle to the Grave'. Oxford: Blackwell. these two types of benefit.`punk' as a lumpen youth. The term refers to the implementation of the National Insurance Act of 1946.1. contributory and means-tested. retirement'. Us Fish Must Swim Together: Anarcho-Punk and Lyrical Reflection `From the Cradle to the Grave' (track number twelve on the accompanying disc). towards an encouragement of the individual to become aware of what Lucas seesas the brutality of capitalist society. is immediately unique in that it musically defies the already established three`punk three-minute.
This distinction is important. then to grinding almost a rhythmic musical momentum 46'Ibid. Textural differences also enhance this duality of focus. but slowly fades in.. the introduction drawn-out. until its final playing when it moves to the chord of F# instead of F briefly destabilise the now The final descent to this seems natural. p. no immediate musical texture or introduction of a short central motif to establish the material to the listener. reinforcing a notion of repetition and social monotony. the drums play a distinct triplet feel on the cymbal on each downward run. lasts for approximately forty bars. the momentum produced by the move back from F# to F provides both resolution and return to the original idea. with the drums emphasising each beat of the chord. providing a feeling of constant. This motif is repeated three times. The track does not begin as such.minutes and alternates steadfastly between a number of original and newly established musical ideas and motifs. thus adding momentum to the track and creating pace for a song that is already approximately 120bpm. as musical and textural variation within an overly long introduction relies predominantly distinctive a upon move between chords a semitone apart. beginning with a Instead. is a perfect example of this. the entire ensemble plays the chord of F#. The introduction in particular. variation on established musical pattern of the introduction. 14. There is no abrupt start. unrelenting movement. then the halt is further interrupted. In the first section. As such. three-chord descending motif of A-G-F. If the introduction established a senseof textural difference and bpm. On the concluding section of the motif however. 189 . almost stalling the rhythmic integrity of the track.
and and lead guitar continue by reversing the second section of this initial musical idea. as Lucas disrespect Queen. Instead of relying upon musical and motivic repetition (and what listener). the line.bass for first The drums fall the the to verse. `told to or nose your the pick not continues with you body keep day. aural such. subtle textural differences and long instrumental breaks between verses. The chromatic movement between F# and F-natural creates an underlying sense of conflict and tension that is reinforced by the introduction of the vocals. and musical case. clean'. taught you how to run your life by following the rules'. `From the Cradle to the Grave' is interesting in that it does not depend upon the late the track of punk rock verse/chorus structure equated with a traditional 1970s onwards. Furthermore. to provide As in the this move momentum. From the drawn-out. the two drums The to on turn and clear provide a with stability. beginning with the line `well they took you from your mother's womb and put you in a school. and times mind teeth three your a scrub your Although the next verse remains musically similar to its predecessor. the track then draws upon the quintessential and harmonic by re-establishing a sense of rhythmic elements of punk rock beat back four. Lucas's delivery is immediately forthright and declamatory. chromatic of the introduction. patterns musical - 190 . `From the Cradle to the Grave' is an interesting track in that it constantly pushes the musical boundaries of the so-called ambiguity `traditional' punk idiom. the lyrical content echoes that of first wave punk. this time on the chords of F# and G. so as prepare out completely. the for `safety' the as providing a sense of musical one could argue track relies predominantly upon a constant succession of short motifs. the guitar alternating between a semitone motif.
the political narrative becomes central to musical unity and coherence. cit. by his thoughts own thoughts outlines echoed and experiences of school: `I was young. .. one might argue that `From the Cradle to the Grave' does not rely upon the more `traditional' V-I cliches that are apparent in earlier punk tracks. but instead draws upon a sense of chromatic movement and textural variation to initiate musical if Yet. In this sense. in development. sings Lucas. pasts and other people's present'. In this sense. `We are born likely to but get told to all you're are nothing and want all can get.. As such. are his by in Example. 14.. Lucas. "ý Ibid. I was innocent. as well as being each verse varies and motivic interrupted by long instrumental breaks. p.from F natural. remember what you're told'.. p. 191 . constant change ' futures. wanting we is attention. to F# and subsequently to G- in important increasingly are assisting the rhythmic and harmonic momentum of the track. then they adhere to a clear sense of political and lyrical narrative.. op. length. `And when they send you off each day. most of which is patronising or derisory' a66As such Lucas observes. He then elaborates on this by focussing on the juxtaposition of innocence with the inculcation of greed fostered by the entrepreneurial philosophies of Thatcherism. it was all by belongs the problematic thoughts to those unfettered new. `you may think you don't need teaching. of security. Lucas's ideas surrounding education within `From the Cradle to the Grave'. but you'll need it when you're old'. he Threat Here. as the music moves to and from each musical motif. 14. verse two continues to express Lucas's ideas surrounding education and conformity already heard in the previous verse.
where ideas and communication came second to obtaining the means to survive in an atmosphere of material gain and control over others. was an all-boys school. 14. `with apparently no imagination to fill the gaps. television. `How could people be so petty and vicious? '. 4n And he concludes that. p. ' ubsequently. p. where the playground mentality had been distorted and mixed with a vast range of social fixations. 4(iß Ibid. Lucas outlines the way in which `physically inept at sports but mentally able to learn in class. 192 . 473 Ibid. 'my hopes that once out of school I'd be in a less stressful situation were crushed as soon as I got a job. and that they'd into more mature people one day . I didn't fit the macho conscience that puts belligerence above intelligence'' 9 He then turns to the constant persecution that he received whilst at school.`that's how it seemedas the first wave of heavy authoritarian came along. " He continues. like there was nothing else! i473 467 Ibid. drinking and sport. p. p.. 14. 4F9Ibid.. 15. in the form of boarding school at the age of eleven'. that I couldn't believe had such a hold over people'.. noting that: choice but to think it was "human nature". 470 he asks.not realising that school was to later seem like a miniature version of the world".. 14.. p. 14. conversations repeatedly dwelt on cars. 14.. you lived and acted macho to avoid the rut of persecution.47 I had no all grow boarding "outside The writer continues. ar_Ibid.. p. which I fell into beyond escape (so it seemed) in my last Form year there'.. 15. 471 Ibid. it .. `previous to this I can't recall being continuously miserable. Ibid.. p..
is also mirrored in his thoughts in the way in which individuals create hierarchical relationships on an everyday basis. Yet. you could ever see through them.Lucas's commentary concerning his school days reflects the very relationship between authority and the individual that he attempts to explore within his work. the political and social essence of anarchobands discussed Whereas concentrated their attack upon the punk. `And if you're too intelligent they'll full fill down 'til happy. the next is lyrically upon within a wider societal elaborated section of `From the Cradle to the Graye'. Lucas's thoughts concerning the oppressive nature of the education system in framework. In other words. cut you praise you you're lies'. or as part of society as a whole. the musical texture changes. they know they'd never win'. begins the third verse. It concludes that `intelligence is threatening and of if is sin. his own thoughts concerning the way in which he encountered the so-called `pettiness' of his contemporaries in the education system. previously identified forces. In this sense. as the prime movers in were which government and corporate control politics. genius Again.whether as part of the anarcho-punk movement. whereas his previous references to such authority has predominantly focussed upon those forces that are politically Established (the government or the police for instance). to they'll they'll you then size. Lucas began to transform once again.in this case to admit the introduction of the ska/reggaeinfluence that was to become so dominant with Lucas's later bands 193 . Lucas argues that we should take personal responsibility for our social actions . Lucas also attempts to deal with the way in which a sense of control works on many other levels.
The track also changes key to the dominant C. with line lyrical to the and vocal content. `if you're too thick they'll tell you that you're lazy. proclaiming those `outsiders' who are not included: the irrational. `channel the Lucas. accompanied by the relative sparse reggae type musical texture. then the next two contemplate upon the future of the individual. on the other. they'll put Lucas's is Further. and wind you Establishment. the musical texture changes once more. the change of mood and texture accompanies the change of lyrical indictment If the two an of the Education system. into direction'.and to B flat. the right ability and. As such. the mood turns to one of helplessness and reflection. A flat and then back to B flat again. Yet. On the one hand. The reflective declamatory style vocal forthright for texture more makes way a reggae style delivery.Culture Shock and Citizen Fish. compared to the more punk-like style of the introduction. The ensemble drops out completely and the vocalist continues each line bar beat giving the the third each of ensemble only playing on near solo. previous verses were narrative. the pot smokers and those whose loyalties and dreams are excluded individuality. from the dominant fails that elite to take into account of From here. it delivery drives down up until you you crazy'. With the slowing of the bpm. could your system notes consequently `if you're good enough and rich enough you can be a politician'. from the the chords of guitar vamps a reggae style riff minor -C minor . emphasis 194 . dig ironic the at almost an in it the which way remains and his is The its by commentary own. reggae underpinning powerful reproducing again like a musical metaphor.
The noticeable rise in musical tension reflects Lucas's innate political line is delivered the musical tension builds. It listener. is the way in which they have found a space within the punk rock genre so as to provide an increasingly focalised political debate through their work. coupled with the subtle accompaniment of stylistic variation in the musical material reminds the listener that the Subhumans are a band within the now established anarcho-punk genre. so styles. Indeed. the metaphor a musical of albeit effects stalls before the texture and mood changes once more into a driving rhythm based 195 . as essentially anarcho-bands. until Lucas's As each commentary. one needsonly to turn to the subsequentsection in `From the Cradle to the Grave'. lyrical content. to find evidence of such a relationship between the musical arrangementand lyrical narrative. Rather. and Crass relied upon parody and subterfuge. difference. rendition picks up the musical material and moves forward towards the next verse. Whereas in the underpinning power awareness of Discharge used an extremity of expression as a political tool. one and informing their ideas. Not only do each band provide a sense of informed political lyrical commentary within their have that also a sense of selfcould group argue each content. and the hanging vocal of the word `crazy' had soundedlike the climactic figure be finality. is left `crazy' hanging before the ensemble the sustained. there the the reggae of verse. If the last verse had ended with rising musical tension. As such. with sense musical combined as to express political understanding and dissent. would ending a senseof briefly. within this particular track the Subhumans have inherent lyrical different an of narrative. of word solo. Once again. as well as Crass and Discharge. what defines the Subhumans.
almost discordant. Lucas's vocal style is jarring. `they'll say that school prepares you for the awesome world outside. simple and cyclical heightens drudgery that the never-ending present promised of the predictable: -a `They'll written say you ought to learn a trade to help you with your life. by a new surge onwards. a house. as the ensemble moves up a tone to E flat on the singing of the next line. success is in three parts. he sings. reinforcing the forthcoming climax of the verse. continuing with the motif D. a job. Lucas sings. Lucas continues. with aligned 196 . teacher to class'. but also to the line as a whole.`class' is musically `crazy' to effect a sense of momentary reflection on `them and us'. The verse subsequently concludes with the line.around the chord of E flat. As such. a wife'. The rhythmic emphasis is placed upon each word. and a patriotic pride'. Musical tension starts to build once more. E flat and E. E and F. sexism. this time with each instrument emphasising the chord of D flat. musical emphasis is placed upon the word `class'. adding a depth of meaning not only to the word. On this final line the ensemble drops out whilst the guitar plays a short upward motif with the chords of E flat. immediately after Lucas delivers the line `and a patriotic pride'. Gone are the reflective thoughts and musical style of the previous verse. working up to the musical intensity of the next line: `are you white and middle class? ' As with the word `crazy'. The musical motif is again short. `from school to work remain the same'. replaced instead. Once again. `racism. the pace of musical style and lyrical delivery is stepped up. The vocal delivery is almost deadpan. as Lucas delivers the line. the texture changes again. The emphasis also causes a sense of dejä vu . well it certainly gives you bigotry. this time with a little more conviction.
197 . coupled with the musical succession of motivic unpredictability. where once again the lyrics counter the way in which schools teach you morals that you keep and . Yet. This is merely to emphasise the way in which the Subhumans have attempted to merge musical material and political narrative. musical unity is held together by the development of a series of small.The ascending motif starting on the chord of E flat is played once more and. In this sense. provide the track with a sense of It is as if the Subhumans themselves are not quite sure where they are musically heading. one also gains the feeling that the ideas inherent within the lyrical content. begins this half of track. the ensemble returns to the texture found at the beginning of the verse. `They'll give you a decision when you get to 18 too! '. Yet. after a short bass solo. This analysis has concentrated predominantly upon a so-called `blow by blow' account of each verse and the associated musical motif and style. accompanied by the rest of the ensemble playing in a percussive manner. if the first half of `From the Cradle to the Grave' has been predominantly concerned with the way in which school and the education system are instrumental in almost `mapping out' the future of an individual.for Lucas hardly question. is the way in which the mood and rhythm is almost unrelenting. then the second half of the track turns to adulthood. As such. - The musical essence of this track therefore. Instead the track moves further forward towards verse six. ideas. The lyrics are delivered in an almost speaking style. there is no pause and no stalling for the listener. interrelated motifs that echo the political essence of Lucas's narrative.
his melodic inflection mirroring the rhythmic stability `is to the getting top. This line is accompanied by the same guitar pattern. but the drums now play a clear back beat on the two and four. `But the end result is slavery to a false set of ideals'. adding a sense of stability to the track. and thus leading onto the next section of the track. Yet. at this halt The to to the track texture grind a once seems point. by conning you with empty words that promise you a lot'. and awarenessof use escape 198 . `But the only thing he cares about'. but plays a monotonous percussive eighth note figure. `you'll be tempted to believe then 'cos they'll seem so very real'. `the slavery of attitudes that make you keep in line. of stalling and slowing almost as recitative before a final cymbal crash and the track reverting back to a just keeping `ticking the the rhythmic on guitar momentum quiet. sings Lucas . repetitive motif over'. subconsciously devoted to the morals of our time'. raising the tension for the next line. over the changes again. The drums play a roll on the cymbals and the guitar and bass play a descending musical figure so as to provide once again. of rhythmic momentum. The ideas surrounding the relationship between school and work are also well documented in Threat by Example. who says he cares for you.. play motif pushes On each line the guitar ascends a tone.adding a clear sense of rhythmic momentum.. The harmonics shift up a tone. `the right to vote for someone else. line. Lucas believes that `the universality of the in is lives the springboard the rest of us people's repetition work centred numb I into imagination the the to realms of potential. Lucas continues. notes Lucas. a feeling lyrics The down the are spoken. The drums now drives instead the that music a cymbal and of pulling it back.
Work is mental slavery in the way it sets out our future actions. `Basically. 15. mechanical or whatever: but it leaves untouched the world of imagination within these talents. 4 `From the Cradle to the Grave' runs for a further eight minutes. dealing with a subject matter that examines the subsequent escape from the monotony of the `dole queue' by joining lyrically. belief that a standardised. A 478 It seemsas if Lucas is inadvertently drawing upon the Marxist idea of `false consciousness'. p. realise you only need money to help you survive.don't wanna be like that. for Lucas's to politically unrelated musical motifs provide an accompaniment 474 Ibid. whether they're artistic. p. shapes our lifestyle and makes us forget any alternatives'476 At this point Lucas points to a definition of work.. musically and serving and the track continues in the same vein. you can free yourself from the mundane478and get more out of work by gearing towards your likes and abilities'..indeed.. . 475 Consequently. 15. 477 Ibid. I wanna be like this! i474 He continues. so producing a streamlined attitude that drives all talent into repetitious jobs designed to exploit. it's income: how much of it you think you need dictates how long and hard you 477 He in tedious concludes that. capitalist-led and oppressive'culture industry' works to stifle the imagination and revolutionary tendenciesof its audienceby the 'false fulfilment of wish dreams. 475 Ibid. 199 . 15. and that any happiness in its otherwise derived from money is transitory and often self-deteriorating addiction. controls our lifestyles . p. `education can be useful in showing where your talents lie. p. 15... pulling upon almost separate. 476 Ibid. `once you continue working a environment'. in British Both the army. these and not enhance abilities' "`Work" becomes a dirty word and "Leisure" becomes geared to television and a suntan once a year.
self-appraising love.passionate (1961). reinforced by Lucas's monotone . for on the self-titled album. power and sensationalismin general'. cit. 200 .recitative-like vocal delivery. Written at a time when the anarcho-punk movement had been Discharge. adventure. On the contrary. iteration and mutability of three notes. p.. If the importance of the track lies partly in the way in which the Subhumans have transformed the so-called `traditional' its importance lies in form. Lowenthal. as well as much of their musical output idiom. Although the Subhumans continued this somewhat short tradition. their lyrical increasingly became and musical material also reflective and critical of the relationship between the individual.succinct lyrical content. like wealth. is interesting Yet. Further. p. while first wave punk was characterised by the simplicity his further Lucas this to take play on the constant with seems chord progression. track particular what with this essentially political the way in which it seems to reflect the almost forward looking. 15. 47'Lucas. L. in then the idiom also musical extending rock punk way in which lyrical content has become ever more reflective towards the individual listener.almost monotonous . op. 11. one could argue that the narrow range of musical motifs (those of three semitone steps for instance) provide a metaphor for the narrowness of opportunity and the never-ending cycle of work. the remaining material instance. Crass to bands by musical content was seen as and such established predominantly vilify corporate structures such as government or the police. It would be misleading to suggest that `From the Cradle to the Grave' is typical of the Subhumans' complete repertoire. and the anarcho-punk scene as a whole. be albeit with an termed traditional punk rock as a remain within what can is in bent. of the three- Thus.
an ideal that Lucas would continue to investigate within his next musical project. `Powergames'. It is an idea that is perhaps best summed by a later track. his personal approach towards composition and lyrical content became a means of attempting to encourage the listener to constantly re-define themselves. Although musically the track adheres to a simple verse/chorus structure. 201 . from the album Worlds Apart (1985).nature of Lucas's later work. Culture Shock.`From the Cradle to the Grave' and indeed `Powergames' were both musical and lyrical ventures that attempted to reflect and explore the increasing conformity of the anarcho-punk movement. I had made them fools By merely looking different To those who knew the game The unity was there to see There's something wrong or is it me? But they all look just the same A massof non-conformity In essence. the lyrics inform Lucas's own distrust of conformity movements: punk rock within subcultural A passing stranger dressed in black With slogans painted on his back Turned and stared and laughed and carried on Another came and did the same At first they mademe feel ashamed And then I'd realisedwhat I had done Without asking. Lucas himself attempted to defy the characteristics of `anarcho-punk'. As such. accompanied by the now `quintessential' sound. I had broke the rules Without knowing. In essence. but also within society as a whole. not only within the anarcho-punk movement.
.. 48z Ibid. 481 Ibid. p. 17. forget'` drop to to attitudes past names and Consequently.at least.. Lucas believes that `still we suffer the consequences of merely wishing our have internal instead them the tackling when with zeal we problems away own of dealing with external issues' 482 `180 Ibid. 17. words to say. p. Onwards and Upwards: `Culture Shock' and the Hindrance of Stereotype If the music of the Subhumans had attempted to reflect upon the growing conformity of the anarcho-punk movement.. 17. p. `the positive tide of creative thinking in the punk/alternative scene with the renewed diversity of music and expansions into other art-forms. Culture Shock continued to consolidate and build upon those very ideals.3. the author was also aware of the problems that the movement faced in terms of political complacency and subcultural uniformity at the time. Culture Shock shifted somewhat from dealing merely with those corporate organisations already cited above (such as the government or police). In particular. he observes the ways in which the anarchointo believed built had the transformed to be a subculture author scene upon what `another short-lived media spot-light [with] new styles to wear. it should by now' 4"0 As such. 202 . towards a musical commentary that explored the problems inherent within the anarcho-movement itself. although Lucas realised the relative openness and political diversity of the anarcho-scene in the late 1980s. has produced a new feeling of co-operation that goes beyond fashion conscience or media mentality . then Lucas's next musical venture. as well as its wider relationship with organisations such as the state and the police.5. In Threat by Example.. As such. Lucas notes that.
`we analyse and memorise the if know. regurgitating `certain phrases [that] catch our minds'.Indeed. a particularly critical time in the development of the subculture. One particular verse within the track is useful in illuminating individuals within the anarcho-punk the way in which movement talk of unity. one could argue. one could argue that a growing sartorial sense of identity impetus built `anarchy' began the to of a original scene apparently overtake and around freedom of expression and individual co-operation. Further. As such. `When the Fighting's Over' encompasses a sense of reflection that would inform much of Lucas's work as a means of analysing anarcho-punk's increasing congruity: a first of wave punk. to find evidence of this. also reminiscent problem. chapter already above an area fighting Lucas the uses metaphor of particular. As previously discussed. This track in particular discusses a number of problems that the anarcho-punk scene was facing during the mid-1980s. the mindless clone minority with the sick contorted 203 . has he that the and violence `Aggression to explore such a relationship. As such. Lucas emphasises the problems of complacency within the scene by noting. the lyrical content here continues to discuss the complexity between the theoretical and practical applications of a movement built upon anarchic ideals. In in been in has discussed length that one. 1984 saw the purposeful disbanding increasingly label `leaders' Crass to the within of an of so as avoid elaborate `movement'. one needs only to turn to a track such as `When the Fighting's Over'. misdirected against gigs witnessed at ourselves and not the state. Further. but that slogans we words are only meaningless that's all we can show'. from the album Onwards and Upwards (1988).
the those outside believes that it is a constant process of eliminating influences in order to become more aware of our own behaviour. greed.hate'. he sings within the same track. ' Ibid. this idea of what one may term as a catharsis for Lucas. ' one. in Lucas's eyes. 18.. I say self-defence is natural but all other violence is caused by a distorted view of reality'.such as violence and prejudice .. how much freedom can there be before you have to restrict your ambitions to treat people equally? The freedom to get drunk too often becomes the freedom to fight'' As such... envy and above all. 18. Lucas remains ever more reflective in his analysis of the anarcho-scene. `fear of being known when we don't know ourselves'.. As such. In Threat by Example he writes. ' In this sense. there is a possibility many people are unable of realising the ways in which wider social forces . Lucas provides further insight into this relationship by linking his lyrical analysis of violence with contradictory ideas between the notion of an anarcho-punk expression of movement supposedly built upon co-operation. "' Ibid. p. Consequently. competitiveness. The line concludes. is one of the reasons for 483 Ibid. 204 . `with drink and false security they turn gigs into fights. people say it's "human nature" to be violent. p. Lucas believes that `freedom of speech tolerates prevalent songs that pave the way for people to act out their final slogans.are almost mirrored within an individual's writer own actions. imposed by a history of capitalism. then when the state turn up they run away in fright'.. 18. that has been. `tolerance levels. He believes that although in know themselves to great depth. and an individual's freedom. p..
as a actions of the state and society . words. 18.. p.. Ibid. He continues. he notes that `the range of emotions and actions are so far beyond the realities of the 9-5 lifestyle that it's easy to wonder if you can change anything outside the van or ' venue'. 205 . never sure which one right. into beset by a of a movement evolved violence and a sartorial sense level be of the very ground-roots solved and unravelled on problem that needs to the subculture itself. p.. he notes. axb Ibid. 18. Lucas sees a important correlation between wider issues and . p. the state of mind controls the conclusion: if you see the contrivance of war. `I find "writing it down" not only relieves any frustrations'... 490 Ibid. poverty.. For Lucas the anarcho-scene therefore. etc.. 18. which way everyday is dissent. A87 Ibid. but if you consider the way (as have influenced ideas have they evolved others and own your influenced you). although the author believes that being in a band is different. Indeed.such as rioting or armed revolution macrocosm of the way in which individuals act towards each other on an has in the basis. p. then you can only conclude that change is always happening in the mind. 18.his lyric writing. 490 In this sense. `but helps me understand my own ideas and resolve any contradictions by arguing them out'' Importantly. acv Ibid. as failure of you or the movement to achieve change then your sights are set too high. p. 18. . Lucas continues by noting that `being able to see two or more sides to any given concept makes insight easier but sometimes too confusing for `8 but knowing is is the one or other right'.
but instead almost celebrates the ambiguity of this new self- 206 . watch the innocence burn and the naivety turn'. the lyrical content has transgressed the almost argumentative.`It was you messedup my plans.in particular within the anarcho-movement . he sings. `So feed me and help me. `blew it away with a kiss. He continues. blew it away with a fist'. smash my own apathy'. Furthermore. `Fast Forward'. Yet the track does not dwell upon the pessimistic character of this `loss'. 'cos you showed me I `now it So begins. reflection and optimism Other tracks on the album also reflect this. Lucas sings in `Open Mind Surgery'.As such.and rebuilding with new ideas. instil some creativity'. on his own admission. encouraging a sense of communication between individuals within the scene itself. he is asking them for answers. `live and learn. angry subject matter of the Subhumans towards a sense of in found the newly formed Culture Shock. the breaking down of accepted thought . `Ignorance is bliss? '. deal with a range of social and political remains ever more reflective towards issues. Instead. 'cos I made the wrong connections. and indeed the earlier album Go Wild! (1986). Yet Lucas does not attempt to preach or patronise the audience. Lucas's lyrics now seem to reflect a striving for flexibility and development on an individual basis. and couldn't understandwhere went wrong'. have to ask directions. for instance hints at the complexity surrounding the loss of political apathy and a new voyage into a senseof self-awareness. although Onwards and Upwards. I I I what am. `feed me and help me. and I haven't got a clue where I belong'. the lyrical content an understanding of individual relationships within a politically motivated subculture such as anarcho-punk.
`that person right next to you could feel the same. there is also no clear sense of direction. Instead. he sings awareness. rearrange and fill the spaces'. he sings in `You Are Not Alone'. `You Are Not Alone' and `Fast Forward' are useful tracks in highlighting Lucas's continually reflective political commentary. of breaking away from what he sees as a predominantly apathetic public. unloved or unwanted repressed or unknown'. his lyrical content also turns to the importance of the individual as a means of dealing with . even when they offer you in in Lucas lies keep importance The the way which sweets your mouth shut'. It is an idea that is mirrored in another track `Civilisation Street'. and where such a place as you have to be discreet. anarcho-punk scene.almost deciphering .forget `I'll the airs the graces. Lucas deals with the complexity of becoming politically aware. if `Civilisation Street'. yet! again. seems reinvent very essence of anarcho-punk believed he Establishment back that the was towards criticisms of a subculture itself becoming increasingly conformist and sartorial. `But don't forget if you feel on your own'. then is in in in the track useful exploring ways which one could argue particular one he approaches the now established ethos of the anarcho-punk scene itself: 207 . `it may look like I've been beaten. Yet. in the last verse. such as the state or the police. but ' Once Not no. they deal with the everyday occurrence of life and not only the relationship between individual and state as seen earlier with Crass and Discharge. its turning to the the own scene. but not only in the sense of opposing what are deemed as oppressive structures. don't ever talk to strangers. `where describes Lucas the neighbours never meet.the now constantly shifting ideals of the lyrics As the on the album are interesting because such.
so as to convey a diversity of political commentary. As future planned and not even considering whether he was happy or not! For him. I ago.`Joyless' (track number thirteen on the accompanying disc). "Well. Yet. 15. on the other. 15. raising questions as to whether the subculture now relied upon a sartorial sense of dissent rather than one of organised political action. old principles forgotten. From the very beginning. met an old punk writes Lucas. "happy" will remain one of the seven dwarves and a useless concept if it doesn't generate profits! Such 44 `Joyless' hand. 493 Ibid.. then one can certainly hear the latter musical style coming to the forefront within the more reflective stance of Culture Shock. `who was brandishing an enormous payslip and lecturing me on the massive future in buying property' 492 He continues. On the people call one towards individuals that Lucas believes rely predominantly upon a material-led capitalist system for a contentment of existence. 208 . p. one could argue that the track is a subtle swipe at the anarcho-movement itself.. p. is an obvious reproach I "Joyless"'. 5. `Joyless' dependsupon a `vamped' style guitar pattern that alternates between the chords of G natural and G#. no-one likes working. "`Punk rock innit?! " I sneered and asked him if he was happy doing what he was. Yet this time. `there he was.4 A Revolt Against the Rational: The End of the Road for the `Anarcho' If `From the Cradle to the Grave' had been a subtle mix of punk influenced forthrightness and reggae/skainfluence. p. `A couple of years 491 from '81'. the chromatic semitone 491 Ibid. 15. he answered. 492 Ibid. do they? "" such..
as `From the Cradle to the Grave' . while the drums emphasise the break by playing a fast fill on the toms. `I can feel your empty mind. 209 .shift does not create tension through uncertainty . Between this verse and the next. the guitar plays a syncopated idea on both the latter sections of each bar.but rather an uncertainty that conveys a sense of reflection. and although Lucas retains his forthright singing style. `without the spark of life. Crass and even the Subhumans. high in the register. 15. Again. you hide behind your anger and your pride'. As the vocals enter. Here. meaning that on each beat. consequently concluding the first verse with the line. reinforcing Lucas's individual thoughts above and the unravelling level. with a pattern on the half-closed hi-hat to seemingly slow the track. the guitar plays a short motif. the second bar whereas the first bar has the guitar `vamping' consists of two crotchets and a `syncopated' motif on the G# at the latter half of the bar. p. there is a short. The bass plays a walking motif that begins on G. thus helping to add to the texture and complexity to the aural quality of the track.. four bar instrumental. The drums play a steady back beat on the two and four. thus providing momentum for the musical material. Unlike the declamatory delivery heard in much of the Subhumans' material. through your joyless empty eyes'. but ends on the tonic of C. they are melodic in nature. the lyrics are not particularly shouted. The phrasing of the `vamping' of subcultural identity at an is cut in two. The lyrics enter at bar nine. the overall texture is melodic and more `easy listening'. this provides textural difference and momentum to a track that is running I ibid. In stark contrast to the music of Discharge. he sings.
as and as values 210 . and walls are to be climbed. so throw away your values and leave them all behind. As the second verse enters. ideas that Lucas discusses in Threat by Example. Go wild.at approximately 80bpm. `Can your image ever lie? Is there room for me to try to put a bit of life inside. and instead advocating an approach whereby individuals within the movement can exercise self-criticism and flexibility of political view point. `Joyless' lacks the earlier punk ethos of almost lecturing the listener towards a particular political ideal. references to a number of your we can open wide'. Lucas interjects the track with the idea of spontaneity. As such. and his idea of idea is `logic'. the Establishment or even anarchism: Lucas is merely asking . to re-evaluate their own thoughts and actions.even encouraging . Further. and subcultural Lucas is not advocating the listener to run wild in the streets. posing. Here. slowing the music to seemingly accompany this more reflective stance. It `instinct' instead an reminiscent of an earlier track. Most importantly. but rather to re-evaluate their own ideas and `anarcho-punks' both individuals. political for - Obviously. moving away from the criticism of corporate structures that had dominated the earlier incantations of the anarcho-scene. it is a call for `instinct' action . flouting laws and rules in the name of `anarchy'. let hear further instincts Again. `Go using of Wild (My Son)' written in 1986.rather than just social. the author is placing the emphasis upon the listener and audience. the police. the texture and form of the track remain the same. the author cites the lines `rules are to be broken.the listener to look inward instead of outward. There is no direct reference towards politicians. Go wild! ' Again. my son.
Musical texture accompanies the forthright delivery of change. `or just a second. then running through a leaps and ending on C. `pre-conceptions re-arranged'. but also as a 211 .almost number of semitone syncopated . and understand it can happen for years'. and the obvious use of word painting to accompany the idea of `flicking a switch' however. Yet. one could argue that the track is a subtle swipe at the very nature of the anarcho-punk scene itself. accompanying the sudden shift in the mood and style of the musical material. as the guitar plays a motif of descending chords beginning on F. `With a flick of a switch the light goes in'. The motif is offbeat .and the vocal delivery becomes shouted. The words `changed' and `arranged' almost hang in the air. The move towards a more melodic sense of musical style. seems to be a conscious decision by Lucas and Culture Shock to indicate the musical heterogeneity of the It is scene. The change of mood. simultaneous total change'. away from the aesthetic extremity of Discharge. suggested that this was not only a means of trying to anarcho-punk move away from the musical three-minute forthright style of `punk'. continues Lucas. `So take my words and fill your ears. One is tempted to read `Joyless' as a reproach towards those who are deemed to be `brain washed' by an `oppressive' capitalist society. Yet. the ensemble comes to a halt this time to the sound of a drum-fill back the to the shifts ensemble and reggae- style outlined above. but merely reinforces Lucas's own ideas over the advantageous benefits he believes can be reaped over constant change and re-arrangement. continues Lucas. Crass and the Subhumans. but it stays the same. before the listener can become accustomed to this change of texture.It is an idea that is immediately echoed in the next verse of `Joyless'. does not feel abrupt to the ear.
. written in 1986. One could argue that the failings of the transformation of `punk' and `anarchism' highlighted by be Culture Shock's aptly named track `Punks on best can Postcards'. `leaders' were soon carved out of band-members. in-house fighting ensued between punks. as well as an appropriation of a dress code and accepted musical styles.means of looking forward. If first wave punk had initially been a call-to-arms for individuality and freedom of expression then it was newly reinforced by the emerging anarcho-punk scene of the late 1970s. As already discussed. meant that the anarcho-scene soon turned into the very stereotypical culture that it had originally despised. taps on your 212 . a time when McLaren et al. It would seem then. pushing subcultural values and boundaries beyond what Lucas now sees as stereotypical and sartorial constraints. anarcho- punk soon became the very anathema of its original intent. that Lucas is and of red mohican merely highlighting the similarities between both punk movements. echoing the the ways in which the anarcho-scene itself had words of Crass. anarcho-punks and anarchists. Further. then one could also discuss the failings of the anarcho-punk scene in appropriating theoretical anarchist thought doctrine dissent. Supposedly that political a political as a means of organised rejects any form of government and oppressive political leadership. if one could highlight the failings of punk rock in maintaining a space whereby individuality and freedom could prevail. in illuminating turned into an almost repressive subculture with its own set of norms and values that were not to be broken. were pushing the first wave towards the market place bondage haircuts trousers. `They'll put your name on files.
concluding the track with the line. your picture on a postcard. 213 . he continues. sings Lucas. nothing more than trash'. Yet the author then turns to the complex relationship between capitalism and the failings of a subculture such as punk. criticising what he believes to be the oppressive nature of the Establishment. `They'll make you the epitome of what the tourists love to see'. `packaged non-conformity.telephone. if you really need the cash'.
this of et. al. As Crass the throughout such. Although both are beyond the remit of this particular work. as such. I have relied predominantly in the Stooges the the music of upon discussion of the American scene. The second area of study concerns the musical heterogeneity of the anarcho-punk `main been have the I I that upon guilty of concentrating movement. that rock punk of each wave of For constructing a canon that is arguably at odds with an anarcho-philosophy. highlighting the way in which the decade. first wave punk and anarcho-punk raises two further issues that I wish to conclude with here. upon the work of a number of this punk movement. they are nevertheless. my later discussion of anarcho-punk Crass. as well as the Sex Pistols in the analysis of British first wave punk. The first concerns the way in which into its the 1980s and beyond. analysis will anarcho-bands from the mid-1980s onwards. instance. realise players' I have discussed and. Furthermore. Discharge the and centred musical material of paradoxically upon rather - 214 . CND then further research consequent squatting movements and would provide an insight into the porous relationship between anarcho- anarchist/marginalised groups of the 1980s and the now well-defined draw Further.Conclusion The complex relationship between anarchism. political message continued further development the the anarcho-scene of section also raises questions over into the 1980s and its role within the protest movement as a whole. relations/dissent anarchistic punk rock continued If one could trace a thread of dissent from the 1950s onwards. two areas that I feel worthy of investigation in the future. through for instance..
then one may also trace such a thread through the of the anarcho-punk movement. Although one could draw upon a wide number of 215 .the Subhumans. Whereas one can turn to Heylin (1993) and Savage (1992) respectively to find a discussion of this issue within American punk and British first wave punk. one needs only to turn to McKay (1996). expansion of protest accompanied and environmental issues. and subsequent Indeed. Home (1996a) and O'Hara (1999) to find evidence of a wider community of `punk rock' resistance that feminism into the such areas as animal rights. emergence. If one could argue that first wave punk Establishment embodied a sense of `marginalised' resistance against the per se. all of whom rejected any idea of becoming so-called `leaders' of the movement. framework political and a preceding within social wave punk rock of within this section I wish to turn briefly to the continuation of this relationship throughout the 1980s and. to cover the complete spectrum of music within it More is indication impossible. beyond. is so an each movement of a punk scene almost that is musically as diverse as it is politically: with in further studies of such a movement. development. a notion that I would like to deal 495 1. I wish to conclude with a brief outline of the musical diversity 1980s. in some instances. Unfinished Business: The Thread of Dissent into the'80s and Beyond Whereas chapter one was useful in attempting to unravel the emergence of first dissent. The reason for such an inclusion is not British the the of of anarcho-scene just an admission of the limited material that I have used within this work: as with perhaps all subcultures.
groups to explore the diverse political development of anarcho-punk . the original `collective' of Class War were made up of as well as a `group of `assorted headbangers from South Wales and London" 498 in Islington in large house (North lived London)' As together nutters who a involved been it had he that was a group such. but importantly 50' `disaffected Home terms targeted what youth'. S. Stirling: AK Press. p. 96. a former writer for the South Wales agitational paper The Scorcher. 96.. within an early copy of Class War. anarchist and pacifist movements of the time. turn to McKay (1996). the group emphasised the influence avs The section headingis a direct referenceto The ClassWar Federation(1992) Unfinished Business:The Politics of Class War. p. 96. S01 Ibid. (1991) TheAssault on Culture: Utopian Currents From Lettrisme to Class War. pp. Ibid. 96. concludes. p. Class War was formed in the early 1980s and. Stirling: AK Press. p. 5°D Ibid. a more movement that including the writing of `the satirical magazine Authority. was `led' by Ian Bone. Home continues. aý Ibid. 'A description given to the growing number of individuals who embracedthe travelling lifestyle especially during the 1970sand '80s.. Indeed. as Stewart Home notes. For in excellent insight into their lifestyle. in the anarchist 49' decade back `stretched than and numerous projects'. 216 .p.. "9' Home. 96..including 496 `Crusty' `Peace Convoy the analyses of so-called culture or -I wish to concentrate upon one group whose political involvement in the 1980s provides a valuable framework in exploring the porous relationship between the anarchoscene and the wider protest movement: Class War. 45-71. as a attracting instead the large punk. had appeared in the late seventies' S00 two issues of which In its early days Class War did not seek to recruit from a traditional workers' base.
. -505 want to swap one set of bosses for another.. they write. S06 Ibid. The first of these is the rejection by Class War of so-called `organised' political parties and movements of resistance.. p. `Firstly. Emphasising energy and aggression punk kicked the arse of the flabby supergroups of the '70s. org (2003). p. 96. . as a the or groups members Ibid. 217 . But for the working class the laughs at the ' British Establishment farts be in boring focus'. Socialist Workers Party and Militant. got upon rich on and misery of sixties middle class youth'. Punk saved the record industry and the music hacks. `music trends and the music papers and industry are just the raciest example of how the modern market works according to the principle of "if it moves sell it". Instead. .. via Maclaren's rehash of old '60s S0' business' for is politics. 50tIbid. this is not a subject that I wish to dwell upon here. good Although Class War re-iterated the idea of British punk in the 1970s `selling out'. londonclasswar. such as CND.in essence its notion of attitude and subversion `Dylan had fuck-ups the the group. 96. Class War is not another "Party" trying to they write in an Internet article outlining their history. no matter how "radical progressive" they pretend to be'. `Maclaren (sic) and punk got rich on the fuck- ups and misery of working-class youth.. 5" Found on www. I wish to concentrate upon a number of ideas that are integral in linking the anarcho-punk scene and the politics espoused by both Class War and the wider anarchomovement. 506Although and the group believe that some Militant left-wing join like Socialist Workers Party.that the earlier punk movement . p. 96. Working class anger. `We don't gain power'. the and must expense of old put The article concludes.
218 . 96. pledging support to our boys in the S. including incidentally Crass. their politics are up shit creek. 96. but like him " Crass. `The only band (sic) to carry the musicalthey write in an early edition of Class War. Class War did believe that `at last bands are emerging that reject the rock music/celebrity/wealth from working-class escape route boredom as much as they do the normal political escape route of the trade union/Labour 510 it in interested `not it And making without smashing up the party'.means to change society primarily through revolution `what type of society will be formed and by who. S. op cit. from Oi! has declined departure that it those they a real mark show and who run into glassing each other (rather than the rich). a pivotal aspect of Class War can be seen in their distrust in the form of the so-called passive resistance of many of the organisations that encompass the Left. 96. p. sýo Ibid. 96. p. Ibid. Home. Putting the stress on pacifism and rural escapism they refuse the truth that in the cities opposition violence if it were to get anywhere' .. p. continues.. S07 Ibid.. p. '" What is interesting here is the way in which Class War turns to specific bands in the anarcho-punk sub-genre..-509 means confrontation and Nonetheless. forward line was politics `They have done more to spread anarchist ideas than Kropotkin.. Atlantic and voting Labour'. is fundamentally different to what we think and want' S07 As such. Ibid. `The Apostles [in particular] link with the war against the rich and make for the real possibility of taking the anger and frustration away from the gig and out onto the streets and sob Ibid.
where `anarchists. In this sense. co. 96-97. writing in an article on anarcho-punk. Fortunately help was at hand in the form of Class War.. html (2002). `butchers. And he continues by noting that `anarchopunk. pp. 516 The first of these included the `Stop The City' demonstration of 1983-4. not by itself. Indeed. it is also important to point out here that there remains an important juncture between the pacifism of Crass and the ideas of direct action that many other punk bandsadheredto. McDonalds. caused change and unrest.once and for all saying "fuck that" to the shitty rituals that pass for pleasure' "' As such. 512 Ibid. fire bombs were used against the most offensive of these establishments'. . graffiti.. windows and glued locks. a loosely organised group of malcontents who wanted 513 it they revolution and wanted now'.people such as the Apostles. Martin believes that `there have been two wonderful riots. Class War and various other individuals whose desire for 514 revolutionary changewas a genuine expressionof class anger'. but due to. uncarved. pacifists and other members of the counter-culture [amassed] in the city of London with the aim of 513 Found on www.. which while not organised exclusively by any one group . demon. su Ibid. 515 Moreover. Army Recruitment Offices and other smashed government institutions were attacked via fake bomb threats. uk/music/apunk/autcent.. 219 . 514 ibid...boasted many disillusioned ex-Crass fans and punks among their participants'. Andy Martin (from the band the Apostles) notes that `the clearly pacifist stance adopted by the early Crass fans prevented any effective political activity.being spontaneous expressions of class hatred .
perhaps as S18 homeless' three thousand many as .517 for day'. it down Martin believes that `Stop the City' the closing `was a concerted assault upon the business sector of London by hundreds .even First!. and White youth took to the streets of East Central London around Holborn. 516 ibid. or free. 519 As such. 510 Ibid. Reclaim the Streets began a campaign `FOR walking. Reclaim the Streets is a good example of this method of protest.against the callous. one the rejection of confidence . oppression wore a grey suit'. 220 .violently .angry young people. and coinciding demonstrations (most notably those at Twyford with the anti-car Down).. public transport. greed-ridden old men who dictated our futures from behind closed brass doors. Asian. `the sheer popularity and widespread nature of street protest and direct is in from campaigns part a response to a lack of single-issue action emanating 52' democracy'. Indeed. Parliamentary As such.. the writer concludes. Liverpool Street. `the day was ours despite the heavy toll of arrests and assault by the faces of evil who probably wished that they'd used the tear gas SZ' Punks then'. were not taken seriously. Reclaim Streets Earth the to to turn and the such as needs only groups Critical Mass bike rides to find examples of direct action similar to that of Stop The City. until Importantly. many of whom were He observes. As George 1980s into McKay beyond the the next early and protests notes. 518 Ibid. 517 Ibid. `Black. cycling and cheap. Threadneedle Street and the City to protest . after all. it was an action that was to arguably influence a number of political decade. 519 Ibid. Formed in London in Autumn 1991.
rts. itself. as well as in violent confrontation with opponents Class War. 221 . because that is the indicator of "economic In this sense. dislikes the the community way which urban not only in polluting and congesting the environment. 523 Ibid. 524 521 Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance McKay.it is all about increasing "consumption". rs Ibid. `more petrol being burnt. `More travelling they the on goods of capitalist system write. London: Verso. p. construction path of the On their admission. 128. G. but is also against the very nature 524 longer journeys'. roads and the system that pushesthem' 522 were painted overnight in London streets. as the Movement is dominated in by the car. subvertising on car adverts appeared around the city and a trashed car was placed in Park Lane to symbolise the arrival of `Car-maggedon'.DiY cycle lanes and AGAINST cars. htm (2004). whilst some dug up the tarmac with jackhammers and in its place planted trees that had been rescued from the 523 M11'. gn. but rather as a form of symbolic protest.Reclaim the Streets share the view of Class War in proclaiming a more direct form of action. more customers at out-of-town supermarkets .000 people took control of the M41 Motorway in West London and `partied and enjoyed themselves. a we return having included Thatcher image Margaret a meat the paper copies of an of 522 Found on www. (1996) Senseless Since the Sixties. apc. discussion Indeed. 525 growth"'.One of the most effective protests came in July 1996. Reclaim the Streets uses such political action not for any specific political gain.org/evol. when 8. Ibid. if early the of to and authorities.
222 . with the caption `We Have Found New Homes For The Rich'. and a picture of a foxhunter accompanied by the words `You Rich Fucking Scumbag. op. with the caption. the ideas surrounding such a march is nothing new. in an attempt to raise a wider An example of the way in which Class War themselves utilised their ideas in `direct their organising of `Bash The Rich' the surrounding use of action' was Marches in the mid-1980s. they are by no means exhaustive. We're Gonna Get You'. `The Best Cut of All' beneath the image. when the activist `told people who were on the verge of killing themselves to "take a 126 Home. Although one could argue that these marches epitomise the relationship between Class War and the anarcho-punk scene. to find further evidence of the organisation condoning aspects such as squatting. Indeed.. cit. using `black humour" Stewart Home as regards what awareness of anarchism and class-consciousness. where they targeted the more affluent areas in London including Hampstead Heath and the Henley Regatta. p.cleaver striking her bloodstained head. shop-lifting and prison riots. Another would show a picture of a cemetery. Class War's approach was therefore far more direct and forthright. However. Drawing upon the ideas of the anarchist Lucy Parsons. one needs only to turn to Class War: A Decade of Disorder (1991). there is evidence to suggest that the ideas discussed below encompass and touch upon the main impetus of the Class War movement's anarchist thrust.. Class War notes that exactly the same form of protest was used in Chicago on April 28" 1885. a dislike for the monarchy. S. As the group point out.. 96.
.this form of protest highlights the way in direct idea Class War the action rather than what they termed of which preferred listen London like to to through `getting 250.the March on Hampstead on 21" September 1985 for instance . szs Ibid. 99. The plea was furthered by groups of up to twentyred glare of who thousand anarchists would march from working-class areas of Chicago. it highlights the way in which one could inform beginning to 1980s a was argue the anarchist movement of the early `anarcho-punk' the such as movement scene so as to transform the punk ethos of s2'Ibid. when the group marched through `swanky Kensington chanting "rich scum" and "we'll be back" as they 5 drawn behind bewildered from Due to a massive their curtains'. Moreover. congregating in rich neighbourhoods displaying banners such as `Behold Your Future Executioners' resulting in riots with the arriving police. ' Moreover. 5Ibid. was held on May 11`h 1985. the `At its head `membership' highlighted the the group. The first `Bash the Rich March' then. standard street clothes'. let their eyes be opened to what was going on "by the 5 7 destruction"'. the media coverage was very as sufficient in that Class War could hail the march as a victory. or so anarchist militants `while behind them were several hundred teenage punks' s3° Although later marches would end in anti-climax . 223 .. p..few rich people with you". Stewart points out. Yet. p. 98.. p.000 to tramp sheep as people Kent Bruce them to Ruddock telling CND like Joan go and middle-class wankers home and do nothing'. 99. peered at us Henley Regatta destination final the the the march caused police presence at Home little disruption. 99. were the ten of march also 529 dressed in writes Home. s3o Ibid. p.
Indeed. band One towards the turn to of a work many advocated. the political use of direct action is an idea that many anarcho-bands openly Conflict. `This is the A. the police and government structures alike. the in the working-class police and oppressive control of government areas does indeed point towards the discussion earlier in creating a space where protests against corporeal structures of oppression was possible. needs only believe to be a direct descendant of Crass . As such. that the sit means we are no prepared mean? allow terrible cruel things to happen'. proclaiming `direct action in animal rights " Ibid. a political system and thought that is strewn with ambiguities. `Conflict are not pacifists'.albeit with a more forceful edge.. p. `we believe and strive for freedom but will not let people destroy the little we have'. Yet.as well as the group's hatred towards the monarchy. there is also a strong debate surrounding the notion and definition of anarchism. L. it would be a vast generalisation to directly link post-punk to the ideas of Class War. Moreover. action such an back `It ' begins longer to and track. they proclaim on the inner gatefold of Increase the Pressure (1984). 98. Obviously one must be careful associating all forms of post-punk in the early 1980s with the anarchist movement. with an analysis of the `Bash the Rich' campaigns . much of the band's material provides a `call to arms' in the fight against butchers.anarchism as a quintessential idea of `nihilism' towards a more coherent form of political expression. Yet. F [Animal Force (1986) particularly Liberation highlights Front]' Ungovernable The track on a direct does `What idea. 224 .
don't buy leather. the furriers. parodic swiping of Crass towards a more forceful. to find examples of support for the animal rights movement. A seized engine just won't start. if `Stop the City' had arguably been a precursor to the Reclaim the Streets movement or Critical Mass. burger bars.and in particular vegetarianism highlights the further - 225 . die'. slash tyres. `hands on' political approach towards what many of bands saw as an oppressive capitalist system. Further. Indeed.means causing economic damage to those who abuse and make profits from exploitation'. If Conflict's the way in which the animal rights Front. F' continues. every animals are murdered stuffed down your throat and shat out of your arse: murder'. Chewing gum sticks well to fur coats. If the circus comes to town remember what goes up must come down. whose chorus simply repeats the phrase `die sick butchers. bankrupt the lot. it's possible to do things alone. Stop contributing to the abuse yourself . L. or Extreme Noise Terror's `Murder'. material then this can be reiterated by a number of fellow musicians at this time. which begins `450 million be in Britain to year. it is also useful to highlight movement. herbal soap and shampoo's better.don't eat meat. one needs only to turn to Mortal Terror's `Sick Butchers'. `This is the A. When the new death shop opens up make sure you're the first person to be there. it is interesting to observe how a number of anarcho-bands began to move away from the subtle. glue up locks butchers. fed into the anarcho-punk Liberation been had a calculated attack on animal abuse. Indeed. Buy non-animal tested make-up. such as the Animal movement. sand in the petrol tank means that delivery's going nowhere. then the issue of animal welfare . Paint stripper works great on cars. smash windows. As such. Throw paint over shops and houses. Yet.
the group declined. `drive the bastards out of towns. in particular. The issue of vegetarianism also highlights two central issues that I wish to briefly deal with here. a `Green Peace' broadsheetthat was compiled of a number of ideas of how individuals could take practical action in their own lives to preserve the `ecosystem'. smash them up. `Multinational Corporations'. group London Greenpeace. Founded in 1971. and the and the cross-fertilisation final issue I wish to deal with here: the Court case termed as McLibel. inviting London Greenpeace to set up a branch in the UK. proclaiming them to be the `genocide of the starving nations'. `deciding to keep its autonomy and radical 226 . and the continuing thread of dissent throughout the 1980sand beyond. burn them down'. London Greenpeacewas formed following the publication of PeaceNews. the Vancouver group decided to establish a centralised Greenpeace International.cross-fertilisation of anarchism. sing Mortal Terror on `Yankee Go Home'. anarcho-punk. A number of Greenpeacegroups began to grow around the world until in 1977. It is an issue reiterated by another band. However. making big profits from animal murder'. linked with the mistreatment of animals also leads into another between anarcho-punk and the anarchist movement. they sing on the self-titled track. The importance of this dislike for large multinationals. The track continues. `There's a McDonald's on every corner. scene the fast food chain McDonald's. The first is the obvious dislike by the anarcho-punk towards multinationals and. Napalm Death on the album Scum (1987).
and respect all London Greenpeace therefore was a small.. `together ordinary people can reclaim our world. the sharing of precious resources 534 for life'. and harmony between people and the rest 533 they write in `London Greenpeace: A History of Ideas. currently based on the greed and power of the minority. Campaigning'. however. In 1986.532 In this sense. 227 . a corporation they believed to epitomise `everything we despise: a junk culture.org (2003).. and to network with others in an attempt to effect real change. 245. libertarians and vegetarians. (2002) Fast Food Nation: What the All-American Meal is Doing to the World. and the group `traditionally' campaigned against issues such as Nuclear power and the Falklands War. E. brought together in a common belief in non-violent political action. They conclude. mcspotlight. The main ethos behind the political action of the group is to encourage people to organise themselves to take practical action. London: Penguin. the deadly banality S35 Members of the group began to distribute a six-page leaflet of capitalism' entitled `What's Wrong with McDonald's? Everything they don't want you to 532 Quoted from the pamphlet `London Greenpeace: A History of Ideas. p. 533 Ibid. and create an anarchist society based on strong and free communities. London Greenpeace has deliberately remained a small character' group of activists . Protests and of nature'. found on www. the group decided to target McDonald's. A meeting of the group would range from anywhere between three to a dozen or more people.without `leaders' only `members' . `We need to create a new society based on the cooperation and sharing between people.with decisions taken within the group by the initiative and consensus of all of those involved. diverse mixture of anarchists. `Schlosser. pacifists. "' Ibid.Protestsand Campaigning'.
The group accused McDonald's of `promoting Third World poverty. individuals to protest against what many see as an oppressive. the recognisable insignia of McDonald's accompanying slogans such as McProfits. In `spaces' in both `movements' for marginalised the are which way other words. p. McMurder and McGreedy. 228 . exploiting workers and children. as with Stop The City in interesting is it Class War. Although the leaflets were distributed for up to four years previous without complaining. Instead. Obviously. I do not itself. 245.. individual forms of protest.know'. banal capitalist system. One detailed trial the to of needs only to turn to account wish provide a Schlosser (2002) to find a discussion of the case. be it surrounding Class. the to which political way note and ideas and actions seemingly independent of one another constantly cross over between the newly formed anarcho-punk movement and the older anarchist organisations. selling unhealthy food. one needs to be careful in casting over-spurious links between have I forms that fragmented of protest: a notion marginalised groups and often link direct discussed in that Yet a whereas already chapter one. vegetarianism. among other things' 536 Along the top of the leaflet ran a number of `golden arches'. and destroying the Amazon rain forest. the company decided to sue the McDonald's group for libel. In other words. in September 1990. proclaiming that every aspect of the leaflet was false. or the 536 Ibid. their protests are subsumedbeneath the umbrella of an anti-system and anti-capitalist stance. one could argue between groups may at times be ambiguous. torturing animals.
but rather to briefly highlight the way in which each artist has used the anarcho-punk `scene' as subcultural space in which to experiment with a range of musical styles. money grabber'. greed and power. `System's shit. therefore. I wish to begin with an analysis of 229 . system's shit. In this sense. lying bigot. sing Extreme Noise Terror in `System's Shit'. I musical analyses above. `system's shit. have nonetheless expressed their dissent and political ideals in a diversity of musical styles. of än individuality for nurtured an environment have already confessed to the almost `restricted' bands that many may perceive as the `main players' in the emergence of this particular subculture: a `limitation' due to the lack of space in this thesis. Within this section. before I move onto a brief discussion of the musical heterogeneity within the anarcho-punk movement. fuck off'. system's shit. I feel it best to give the last word to one of the bands involved the subculture. 2. then one could argue that it also of artistic and musical expression.environment are often aimed towards what many deem an all encompassing oppressive capitalist society. From Conflict to Sore Throat: Musical Heterogeneity of the Anarcho- Movement If the anarcho-punk scene of the late 1970s and subsequent 1980s provided a `space' for subcultural/marginalised overriding. They conclude. I do not wish to provide an in-depth analysis of the musical/political impact of each band mentioned. oppressive capitalist resistance against what many saw as an system. I wish to briefly cover a number of bands that. although defined under the all-encompassing umbrella of `anarcho-punk'.
that I have in discussed chapter three. and the band would subsequently employ a total of thirteen bassists throughout their in Already connection with the co-release of the existence. almost recitative . The second part of this section will turn previously towards musicians that have appropriated the musical style of those bands manner). racism. challenging ' industry Nuclear and all manners of abuses at every step'. incidentally 42 year old Vi Subversa. Poisongirls' is Crass. sexism.two bands. and although melodic at in high delivery is Subversa's like times.and. mentioned above. `Persons Unknown' (track number fourteen on the accompanying disc). much of rock' relatively slow. The position of bass-guitarist would be a particular problem. menacing repetitious guitar-riff that runs throughout. is a track that musically fits more closely with a definition of `punk has track Although the their a than other material. both of whom provide a stark musical contrast to those artists (in particular Crass and Discharge). your political commentary. `Survival. such as Conflict. in (albeit discussed their own individual previously Extreme Noise Terror and Sore Throat. drummer and anarchist Lance D'Boyle and the guitarist Richard Famous. Noted as `one of the most uncompromising bands in rock history. for instance. `Persons Unknown' the (1981) musical material single with intent `in face' comical and serious an eclectic mixture of style punk. providing the lyrics with a senseof forthrightness. silence.and the mix. 230 .speech vocal . the Poisongirls were formed in 1977 by the vocalist . Poisongirls and Donna and the Kebabs.
unlike the previous track. there is a ironic humour take on that the group are using sense as a means of providing an 537 Buckley.)(1999) Rock: The Rough Guide. the repetition of lyrical content and the recurring guitar-riff stabilises the aural quality of the track. In this sense. then a later track.. providing As `comical' texture. J. M. each and every one of us. hiding in the shadows. what is particularly distinct . sings Subversa. fragment the overall musical an underlying melodic within such. although the track remains forthright in nature.and an aspect that was an anathema within the anarcho-scene at this time . A. The mood of the track is upbeat and. Although not in a verse/chorus format.is that the track includes a keyboard. it nonetheless lacks the hard-edged. similar to `Persons Unknown'. Duane 0. even noting `the Queen on her throne'. 231 . Ellingham. As such. illuminates the comical. Further. Persons Unknown'. `keep your mouth shut. provide melody and If one could argue that `Persons Unknown' forthrightness that remains a retains within the punk rock canon. in between the mention of `anarchists and pacifists'. nature of the Poisongiris' material (track number fifteen on the accompanying disc). the track is nonetheless anchored by the lyrical and melodic repetition of names and fragments. and somewhat satirical.. head in the sand'. although the lyrics remain as forthright as `Persons Unknown'. `Real Woman' (1984). (eds. `terrorists and saboteurs.isn't good enough no more'. and `Persons Unknown' becomes relatively easy to listen to. extreme directness of Crass and Discharge. instead taking advantage of Subversa's distinct vocals to decipherable lyrics. and rendition at the end of each phrase with the words `Persons Unknown'. However. It continues. the lyrics are easily intelligible. & Spicer. `Real Woman' adheres to a clear verse/chorus structure.
I curse the system that makes `I She continues. so pleasedon't squeezemy pips'. sings Subversa. providing a clear sense of rhythm. don't waggle my hips [or] shackle my lips. (track number sixteen on the accompanying disc) highlights the way in which their music also dealt with intense political debate. And I'm not a lemon. 757. she pronounces. Further. `I denounce the system that murders my children. `Statement' is a good example of the way in which the Poisongirls experimented with musical form and texture. as well as emphasising the forthright nature of the track. are no with a solo male voice repeating phrase as if in a church choir. `Statement' relies predominantly upon Subversa's spitting. but sparse.conforming femininity. As with those tracks discussed above. so as to convey a diverse range of political and social ideals. London: Penguin Books. Musically sparse. then a brief examination of one last track. or preciously wait for your favours in bed'. She continues. `I'm not a real woman'. musical fragment on the guitar. 232 . p. `Statement' (1980). reject the system children' machines of my that turns bodies of my own sweet flesh into caged monsters of Iron and Steel into hands the turns my children robotic claws'. no words'. If `Persons Unknown' and `Real Woman' are characteristic of the serious and comical nature of the Poisongirls' material. `Statement' is interjected for `there the words us. `I don't nod my head. Accompanying of and war and the straightforward vocals is a short and recurring. I denounce the system that denies my existence. speech-like vocal delivery. `I'm not a real woman. bass and drums.
a good example of this can be seen in the music of Honey Bane. Indeed. 233 . one could argue that although the anarcho-scene was to move away from what many saw as `mainstream punk'. one could argue that the subculture nevertheless opened up a new arena for musicians and artists alike to experiment with both form and content. the legacy of the earlier subculture can certainly be heard in some of the music produced by the later anarcho-punk movement. lead singer of the band Donna and the Kebabs. the vocal delivery differs between verse and chorus. a Bside from the single `You Can Be You' (1979). the track attempts to move away from the forthright musical style of first wave punk. Indeed. with Bane's voice providing a more melodic delivery in the former to accompany the piano. On the one hand.Although I have drawn upon the eclectic style of the Poisongirls' musical material as a means of highlighting the relative artistic freedom of the newly emerging anarcho-punk scene. Although the debate surrounding the commercial nature of 1970s punk continues. Indeed. A piano accompanies each verse to provide aural stability and textural and melodic variation. one needs only to turn to the track `Porno Grows' (track number seventeen on the accompanying disc). the musical material is interesting in that one could argue it is a subtle mix of experimentation and first wave punk rock. In this sense. to find a perfect example of this. this does not mean that one should completely disregard the influence and impact of first wave punk. Subsumed under the anarcho-punk movement in that their music was released on the Crass label.
`paedophile lovers' and `masochists [that] take all the lash'. Whereas the Pistols were singing of the Queen and the unemployment line. previously 234 . The track constantly shifts between the melodic and the forthright. each chorus reverts back to an `in your face' musical style. the lyrics there is a clear verse/chorus structure and an obvious sense of harmonic progression. Indeed. The lyrical content of `Porno Grows' certainly remains more poignant than first wave punk. one needs only to turn'to the Banshees' material such as that on The Scream (1978) for instance. to find the similarity between the two artists.On the other hand. between the easy-listening .to provide a complex musical texture. Yet one could argue that the musical material itself remains within legacy of first intelligible. wave punk.seemingly drawing upon the music of the Banshees . but instead uses an almost conjunct musical style . `Porno Grows' is not a straight-forward `punk rock' track as such. Although forthright the canonic are in nature. if bands had discussed and those taken of own. one could argue that the anarcho-punk scene did not altogether disregard the music and ideas of first wave punk. Bane sings of `brothel babies'. In this sense. then the second part of this discussion will legacy build in began itself to the a concentrateon way which the anarcho-scene ideas its Indeed.almost spoken verse and the shouted - `in your face' chorus. If the Poisongirls and Donna and the Kebabs are two bands that show a senseof 1980s (and into from first the legacy the musical experimentation wave punk of the emergence of anarcho-punk). As such. reminiscent of the band Siouxsie and the Banshees.
including the police. from the album Increase the Pressure. government. one needs only to turn to a track such as `Increase the Pressure' (track number eighteen on the accompanying disc). Already noted above for the way in which they fused together the ideals of anarchism. Further. three albums of that decade. In particular. then they also appropriated their musical style. first wave punk. As with much of the music of Crass. Force (1985) are long. Apart from the bands Subhumans/Culture Shock and Dick Lucas's contribution to the anarcho-punk scene. if Conflict had taken over the political ideals of anarchism espoused by Crass.musical styles from first wave punk. The first of these is Conflict. 235 . vivisectionists. For an example of this. heavy metal music celebrities and nuclear war. Discharge and the Subhumans. but instead relies upon two vocalists running through a number of different political ideas and messages at a great pace. Conflict are arguably one of the most important anarcho-bands to have emerged in the early 1980s outside of Crass. direct action and an overtly political lyrical content. the track does not adhere to a verse/chorusstructure. In this sense. I wish to briefly explore a number of bands that took on the musical mantle of Crass and Discharge and continued the trend throughout the rest of the 1980s. I have predominantly focussed upon the emergence of the musical stylistics of the subculture. then we can also turn to a number of bands who appropriated anarcho-punk and expanded upon the musical legacy of the `original' discussed in chapter three. It's Time to See Who's Who (1982). Increase the Pressure (1984) and The Ungovernable unrestrained rants against all things Established.
keep smashing at the wall'. whilst Ungovernable Force. `Well bollocks to them all. is built upon a The final track the on clear verse/chorusstructure with a short guitar solo. Obviously. perhaps highlighting the way in which the music itself often remains second to the importance and primacy of the political message within the anarcho-scene. `But it takes more than music and more than words to by hoards (sic) `it's they that's of police'. there are exceptions. continue. `Increase the Pressure' epitomises the way in which Conflict used a particular Crass-like musical style throughout the 1980s... and the drums a simple back beat on two and four that seems to stabilise the rhythmic and vocal intensity of the track. 236 . the track is extremely fast. government will fall'. `To Be Continued' is a slow melodic track with a softly for female `Do I in vocalist and piano. the lyrics are distinct and decipherable.Indeed. `pile the pressure on and lyrical content switches towards musical/political protest. Well it's the same fucking system and it still stands strong'. in my . and the vocalists often have problems fitting syntax into rhythmic spaces and harmonic progressions. From here they sing. idea to idea. Yet what is most apparent is the forthright nature of the track. sung stand alone again my endlesssearch freedom?'. `Bullshit Broadcast' on It's Time to See Who's Who for instance. she sings. Surprisingly however. continuing with `as I step into their darkness. The vocals are spat towards the listener at an unrelenting pace with the lyrical content jumping from message to message. The guitar plays a simple repetitious chordal progression throughout. controlled recreate a nation the same old racket with the same old songs.
hopeless chase for freedom'. face'. anarcho-scene As with the discussion of the Poisongirls and Donna and the Kebabs. has been for many the defining sound of this subculture: the work of Extreme Noise Terror. I in became `space' highlight the to the which anarcho-scene a way merely wish for a diverse mix of musical styles and political thought and debate. ENT's music was extremely forthright. I wish to conclude this particular section with a brief analysis of another musical strand of anarcho-punk that. rant-like musical style of Crass:the fast. other than the infamy of Conflict. or `No Threat' from Radioactive Earslaughter (1986). Extreme Noise Terror [ENT] moved towards an appropriation Conflict had Crass. Chaos UK and Sore Throat. the feedback guitar and shouted. Whether it be a conscious move away from first wave punk. a split album with the band Chaos UK. `in consisting of growling. spat vocals. I do not ideals Conflict to the political of and analyse music wish in detail. from the album Holocaust in Your Head (1988). the relentless. Yet. an appropriation of first wave legacy in Conflict indeed. in that Discharge the the with vein same of musical style of Already mentioned above with regard to their political ideals. being indicative of 237 . Instead. the the of continuation case a of a pivotal of punk. aggressive and your lead from indecipherable lyrics. Yet Conflict has appropriated the long. or anarcho-punk band such as Crass. Tracks such as `Use Your Mind'.rhythmic intensity and the constantly changing lyrical content dealing with issuessuch as governmental first wave punk and even the philosophising of the growing abusesof power. itself. Formed in 1985. a cacophony of hacked away musical production and form.
the ideals ENT. Chaos UK and the final band in this discussion. then one could argue that ENT. the work of one of the most important aspects of the heralded had Crass 1980s. their album Short Sharp Shock (1984) is a barrage of musical delivery. with each track running at approximately 150 bpm and the overall musical texture being subsumedbeneatha feedback-based progressionof guitar and bass. almost farcical. Musical form and production . whereby emphasis was placed upon artistic and musical freedom.as diminished down bare Discharge to the the are with minimum and work of there is no attempt at musical experimentation or virtuosity. ENT and Chaos UK also highlight Yet. with each track seemingly melting into each other. into began the of to mould a sense which anarcho-scene a need for `leaders' and fixed values such as the wearing of black. the lyrics are indecipherable and the tempo extremely fast. one needs lyric sheets to decipher lyrical content. Indeed.their musical style. if one could argue 238 . Indeed. In this sense. If the emergence of a new the of anarcho-punk scene subculture. Indeed. Chapter three way already scene originally 'fashion'. Chaos UK are another example of this style. Chaos UK Sore these Throat throw to musical style of and seemed back into the face of the anarcho-movement itself. As with Extreme Noise Terror. direction. writing anti-Nuclear war songs and following bands such as Crass and the Subhumans. purposely took the subculture towards a new. In particular. one could thus argue that these bands highlighted the way in which the into forming 1980s late a parody of what the was anarcho-punk scene of the in highlighted had has the despised. Sore Throat.
on voice and guitar. had the that their very argue music reached Indeed.that Crass had used subtle musical parody and quotation commercial nature and political triviality to highlight the of first wave punk. Chaos UK and Sore Throat had nowhere to go. One could limit. Sore Throat had Rancid Trout Vomit Bestial `stix' (the `grinds' distortion.or by Job Centre. The comical aspect of the music is immediately apparent when one looks to the members of the band. and band identities farcical the Karl. if Ian Yet. Throat Inspirational Sore Pete Pox the accordion. Chaos UK for instance. If punk bands in the 1970s had used false . and the Subhumans had moved towards the inclusion of reggae and succinct political and subcultural comment with the newly formed Culture Shock. If Crass had used the French National Anthem to highlight the futility of government and revolution. Porpoise Howard guitar). the problem over these particular bands arose over the progressive nature of the musical style. identities the then by the late to evade recognition abbreviated 1980s. Yet. 239 . then their music is as extreme and scathing. John. whilst Extreme Noise Terror had Pig Killer on drums and Road Drill on guitar. were the of consisting of and arguably a backlash towards a growing conformity of this style of anarcho-punk. Accompanying the ensemble were Dave on Choir. then ENT. had Mower on vocals and Chaos on bass. this idea had taken on a new sense of absurdity. it is a notion that is epitomised by the yet unexamined music of Sore Throat. on on on and Rawhead Rex on shouts. then these bands used a musical mixture of comedy and brute force. As such.
Further. is a track that lasts for one second and consists of a vocal growl of the word `thief'. `we're all drinking in sunny weather'. highlighting over the band and the notion of `punk rock' as a whole. eat organic. if you want to live long'. a work that contains fifty-four tracks in total. `and all the music a sense of farce (??) was made up as we went along (Punk eh?)'. Succinct political commentary is tackled in the track `Eat Organic' (track number twenty on the accompanying disc). The band also provides an observation of the wider record industry in the track `Record Collectors Are Still Pretentious Assholes'. epitomised by the track `Bonded by Booze'. for instance. `fashion' and `movement': aspectswhich the anarcho-scenehad equally despisedof in relation to the growth of first wave punk. In this sense. they sing.the 240 . everyone together'. at a great pace the advice `why eat meat. like to point out that we do not practice (sic) at all'. the band deals with the ideas of anarchism and the notion of social co-operation between individuals. fast. `Heath' (track number nineteen on the accompanying disc). 'We would however. which lasts for one second and consists of the lyric `twenty quid'. the music of Sore Throat deals with the way in which the anarcho-punk movement had itself become subsumedunder the labels of `subculture'. Although farcical and absurd. where. you know it's wrong. aggressive snap-shots of political and social commentaries. is conveyed. or the single `Spontaneous Musical Combustion' (1988) that runs through forty-three tracks to find evidence of this. a reference to the Conservative Prime Minister of the 1970s Edward Heath. `Love and happiness. Tracks on both records are extremely short.One needs only to turn to the album Unhindered by Talent (1988). they write on the sleeve of `Spontaneous Musical Combustion'.
anarcho-punk scene itself had fallen victim identity.. `point-scoring' became as rife within the anarcho-scene as it had earlier in first wave punk. as did an involvement with the so-called `Peace Convoy' and the Traveller Movement of the decade. He continues. As I have previously discussed. or it can be a slight distraction. `The distinction between originals and hangers-on is always a significant one in subcultures'. wearing black and being a member/friend of an `anarcho-punk' band were deemed essential to being a `member' of the now established anarcho-punk movement. Further. The anarcho-scene's move towards a real/phoney dichotomy of subcultural identity is by no means new. It can representa major dimension in people's lives . where elitism to a fixed sense of subcultural held precedence over and the notion of `lifestyle' innovation and originality.. By the late 1980s however. being a vegetarian.p.. `different youths bring different degreesof commitment to a subculture. with bands such as Napalm Death. 122.. Although the scene still exists today. Extreme Noise Terror and Conflict still touring. (1994) Subculture: The Meaning of Style. 241 ... Although based upon a different set of decontextualised subcultural symbols. Wearing one's hair in `dreadlocks' scored highly on the list. bands such as Crass and the Subhumans had already vilified those first wave punks who wore mohicanstyle hair cuts as fashion-statements and who paraded their `anarchist dissent' with snobbery." writes Dick Hebdige. D. a 538 Hebdige. one could argue that the anarcho-punk scene during the latter half the 1980s had lost the fluidity originally of political and musical momentum that the subculture had been built upon. London: Routledge. it is apparent that the anarcho-punk scene itself had moved in that very direction.
by the late 1980s. Further. to the and air and views This is not to say that the end of the 1980s witnessed the end of anarcho-punk. the way in which the combination of two anti-Establishment and versatility of fluidity built both a thought. 242 . 122. to to. m9lbid. the `correct' political bands like listen `anarchist' `best'. solidified political and social lifestyle'. became the the towards relative at end of central subcultural In other words. incorporating the `right' kind of clothes to wear. realities of school. is discussing this the of modern scene.. then one could argue that the had into transformed anarcho-punk of nature another fixed sense of very political identity. p.. the anarcho-scene itself had moved away from its original versatility of subcultural identity towards a clear notion of `lifestyle'. for the scene is still going strong today. upon schools of of whom were `subcultural into became clear sense of a thought..bit of light relief from the monotonous. home and work'9 . what evolution apparent when in 1980s the the which the very strength of the anarcho-punk way was within indefinable between the political and the the marriage and ambiguous scene its demise decade. relatively free from the constraints of first wave punk and an overly oppressive capitalist system. the criticisms surrounding the into beset 1980s by the the a movement of a sense of anarcho-scene of evolution `fashion' and `lifestyle' are problems that are often tackled by bands and writers day Yet. In other words. Whereas anarcho-punk artistic/musical/social had originally attempted to provide a `space' for freedom.
I would argue that his ideas concerning the reasons for the punk movement embracing the political ideology of anarchism do indeed stand up to scrutiny. `when it comes to choosing a political ideology. and valuing " Although I have questioned O'Hara's reading surrounding the class based structure of the punk rock scene per se (pp. essence of the two movements. of capitalism or He continues. Throughout this thesis. (1999) The Philosophy of Punk: More Than Noise. I have striven to explore the ambiguous relationship between the practical and theoretical ideas/issues surrounding punk rock and highlight to In have the almost transformative I attempted particular. 38-39). 243 .both `labels' . Indeed. are especially indicative of my own musicological exploration into the birth and development of the anarcho-punk scene of the 1980s. one needs only to compare the move from the 'O'Hara. anarchism. `this is not to say that all punks are well read in the history and theory of anarchism. C. There are few who promote the continuation ' communism'. in particular those surrounding the social and political basis of punk from the 1970s to the present day. Craig O'Hara argues that. for one could argue that O'Hara's thoughts. punks are primarily anarchists. but most do share a belief found around the anarchist principles of having no official individual freedom and responsibility'. Writing in The Philosophy of Punk: More Than Noise (1999). The Relationship Between Punk and the `Anarcho': Final Thoughts. 71.3. government or rulers. raising questions over the extent to which both words .p. Edinburgh: AK Press.lend themselves to connotations meanings that mutate and occasionally and a cluster of transform into specific identities and forms of political dissent.
M. p. C. `by refusing to be controlled you are taking manipulation'. p. 244 . is. 54. op cit. (1993) What is Anarchsim? An Introduction. or the sartorial to the theoretical. first wave punk seemed to embody the quintessential. except interfere with the ability of other individuals to do what they choose' 543 It is a transformation reiterated by the band Crass. p. when interviewed for the fanzine Flipside. note `anarchy is the only form of political thought that does not seek to control the individual through force'. 54' its later counterpart. in the comparative analyses of first wave punk and anarcho-punk above. seemed to have appropriated the theoretical definition of anarchy. (ed) (1991) Collins English Dictionary. 83.. not one of political 545 They conclude. the start of personal order-The for is bedlam themselves' out chaotic where everyone state of anarchy is not a w S41 Ibid. life into that and own own your rather than the popular idea of your anarchy as chaos. su O'Hara. ' Condemning both the Left and the Right -a discursive arena that has already been covered in the previous chapter Crass believe that `anarchy is the rejection of that state control and represents a demand by the individual to live a life of personal choice... Glasgow: HarperCollins. D. the anarcho-scene. 83. to highlight such a transformation.. 71. drawing upon the idea of `a society in which all individuals can do whatever they choose. London: FreedomPress. 5'6Ibid. sas Ibid. sa'Rooum. 83. Emphasising the co-operative essence of anarchism expounded as we have seen by bands such as Discharge and the Subhumans Crass that. p. p. hands.chaotic to the corporeal. 2. Whilst on the one hand. 542 A definition found in Makins.p. almost overriding dictionary definition of anarchy as being `chaotic' or `lawless'..
society wave punk was partly instrumental in continuing the thread of dissent unravelled in chapter one. Further. freefloating concept to allow disenfranchised. government or the monarchy.In this sense. although one could equate first wave and social punk with an almost rhetorical form of anarchic expression. to line on into scathing give a attack as so of political a new aligned British first if In in this the1970s. then 245 . CND and the London Squatting Campaign were now re-appropriated and redissent. Yet. sense. Subsequently. there is evidence to in it that essence. a continuation of the subversive thread of political was suggest dissent that began with my discussion in chapter one. other words. a more organised movement a anarchism was taken seriously by the newly emerging anarcho-punk scene as a into interjecting `self fervent the punk awareness' means of a sense of political rock movement. `The Transformation of the Subversive: Anarchist Theory and the British Punk Rock Scene of the 1970s'. (such as the swastika) or imagery. although anarchism was at first taken as a means of mere shock value and expression of political rhetoric encompassing an eclectic mix of symbols. one could argue that it was nonetheless a sufficiently ideological. (the Queen with a safety pin through her nose) it was soon transformed within certain fragments of the punk rock form for into `space' of dissent. alienated groups to express political In dissatisfaction. if first wave punk adhered primarily to the anarchic in a sartorial sense of the word. anarcho-punk further saw anarchism as a means of questioning the very relations between `members' of the so-called `punk' movement as well as society as a whole. rather than simply attacking corporeal forces such as the police. One could thus argue that ideas surrounding groups such as the Situationists.
first wave punk nonetheless provided a space where a freedom of expression and individuality was tantamount. and where the `marginalised' members within. the subculture .one may conclude that the anarcho-punk scene regarded this initial wave of punk `space' ills the as a where one could protest almost as a means against of society.could provide a more effective protest against the capitalist system.anarchists or otherwise . 246 . Although criticised for the lack of theoretical understanding in terms of anarchist theory.
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DIRT.1974: UK. Buzzcocks. Black and White. `Holiday in Cambodia'. Crass.2004: UK. 253 . The Beatles. CBS 32232. CRASS 521984. Conflict.1986: UK. The. The Last Call.Best Before. Bluurg FISH 18. Active Distribution SKULD 027. The Clash. 1980: UK. Apple PCS 7068. Dead Kennedys. CRASS 5CD. YesSir. Country Joe and the Fish. It's Time to See Who's Who.1977: UK.1981: UK.1986: UK. I Will. date unknown: UK.1979: UK. Clash.1968: UK. Go Wild. The. 1967: USA. CRASS 121984/2. Damned Damned Damned. Culture Shock. The. Radioactive Earslaughter (split album with Extreme Noise Terror). The Best of the Beach Boys. 1995: UK. Rollin'. Mortarhate MORT 20. Damned. Heroes. Onwards and Upwards.1982: UK. Virgin CDES TVD 3. Rather. 1977: UK. Cherry Red CDCHERRY 13. Crass. Mortarhate MORT 6. I'm-Feel-Like-1'm-Fixin'-To-Die.. ChaosUK. The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars. Clash. The. Demon FIENDCD 091. Bluurg FISH 20. Chaos UK.1984: UK. Vanguard (unknown Crass. Bowie.1984: UK. Crass. The. CBS CLASH C2. Bell BELLS 244.SELECTED DISCOGRAPHY This is not a complete discography of first wave punk or the anarcho-punk scene. Corpus Christi CHRIST IT'S 3. Give `Em Enough Rope. CRASS 621984.1978: UK. Culture Shock. David. The.The. RCA SF 8287.1972: UK. Manic Ears ACHE 1. Nor does it cover the complete output of those bands mentioned. Bowie. Increase the Pressure.1986: UK. Conflict. The CompleteSingles Anthology. it is a list of singles/albums that are encompassed within this particular thesis.The. Bay City Rollers. London Calling. Beach Boys. Anti-Pasti. Short Sharp Shock. David. disc number).Stations of the Crass.Feeding the 5000.1988: UK. RCA (unknown disc number). EMI 5710282. The UngovernableForce. The.1977: UK. Conflict.1978: UK Clash. Beatles.1979: UK. CBS 32444.Children of the Revolution GURT 1. 1989: UK.1984: UK. Rondelet ABOUT 5.
EMI CDP 7814792.1973: UK. Punk's Not Dead.1979: UK.1997: UK Donna and the Kebabs.The. Back in the USA.1977: UK.1988: UK.1978: UK. The Crack.EaracheMOSH 3. The. Future Earth PAX 18. Blank Generation. `You Can Be You'. 1983: UK. Extreme Noise Terror. Visions of War. The. The Wall. Elektra 8122736601. Mike. The New York Dolls. Sire SR 6042. Virgin (unknown disc number). SecretSEC 1. Flying Teapot. Sire 7599261372.The.1979: UK. (Date unknown): UK. The.1973: UK. EMI TOCP 65742. New York Dolls.1981: UK. CRASS 521984/1.1986: UK. Too Much Too Soon. Napalm Death. Why.1969: USA.1981: UK.1973: UK. The.1995: UK. Virgin V 2001. Kick Out the Jams. Tubular Bells. Metal Box/Second Edition. Public Image Ltd.1974: USA. Virgin OVED 160. Mercury 8327522. Mortal Terror. In the Court of the Crimson King. Dark Side of the Moon.Discharge.1987: UK. Sire SRK 6063. Virgin 8480992. MC5. Virgin CDV 2132. Exploited.1978: UK Public Image Ltd. A Holocaust in Your Head. Pink Floyd.Vital/Cooking Vinyl COOKCD 087. Public Image. Scum. Meantime COX 10.1982: UK. The.1970: USA. One Little Indian TPLP 2. Oldfield. Statement.1977: UK. SnapperSMD CD 131. Strive to Survive Causing Least Suffering Possible. 1979: UK Ramones. New York Dolls. 254 . Radioactive Earslaughter (split album with ChaosUK). MC5. Clay PLATE 2. Pink Floyd. Gong. Ruts. Road to Ruin. Rhino/Atlantic 8122710332. Head Eruption Records HURT 1. Ramones.1973: USA. Manic Ears ACHE 1. Poisongirls. Flux of Pink Indians. Discharge.1979: UK. Richard. Polygram 8342302. Extreme Noise Terror. Hell. Charly CDCRH 114. Let's Start a War (Said Maggie One Day). Mortal Terror (split album with Generic). King Crimson. Exploited. Rocket to Russia.1969: UK.
1978: UK. X-Ray Spex. Subhumans.The. Teenage Kicks: The Best of The Undertones. S. The.A. Virgin VP 2086. Bluurg FISH 8.1976: USA.1967: USA. The. Horses.1993: UK. EP-LP. The Velvet Underground. Polydor POLD 5010. Subhumans. Stooges.The. T. A&M (unknown disc number). Yardbirds. Subhumans. Sore Throat. Charly CPCD 82452. Time Flies & Rats. The. Motion PACEDCD 010.1983: UK. Meantime COX 012.1979: UK. Velvet Underground. Columbia 4851762. From the Cradle to the Grave. Undertones.1990: UK. Verve 5312522.Sex Pistols. 1981: UK. The.1975: USA. Worlds Apart. White Light/White Heat. Island IMCD 90. Television. Slits.1968: UK. 1981: UK.1978: UK. Elektra 9606162. Twenty Odd Years: The Story of SubwaySect. Siouxsie and the Banshees. Marquee Moon.The. 1967: USA. Bluurg FISH 25. Castle CTV CD 121.The. The.1979: UK. EMI (unknown disc number).The. Greatest Hits. Velvet Underground. Subway Sect. 255 . Tubes.H (Rarities and Smash Hits). Subhumans. Germ Free Adolescents. Sore Throat.The Scream. Subhumans. 1988: UK.1999: UK. Join Hands. Acid Rain Recordz (unknown disc number). Verve 5312512. Sham 69.1988: UK. Arista 07822188272. The. Once Upon A Time: The Singles. The Day the Country Died. Raw Power.1973: USA.1986: UK.Polydor 8390082.R. Polydor 8315422. Bluurg FISH 14. The Velvet Underground and Nico.1969: USA. Polydor 8390042. Bluurg XLP1. Never Mind the Bollocks Here's the Sex Pistols. Smith. Spontaneous Musical Spontaneous.1977: UK. The. Velvet Underground. Siouxsie and the Banshees. The. Unhindered By Talent. Patti. Cut. 1978: UK. Siouxsie and the Banshees. Polydor 5312502. That's Life.1985: UK. Bluurg FISH 12.The.1983: UK.
K-Tel NE1014. K-Tel NE1040.1978: UK. Punk and Disorderly: Further Charges.Compilations Disco Fever: 20 Original Disco Hits. 256 . Anagram GRAM 005.1982: UK.1983: UK.Anagram GRAM 001. Action Replay. Punk and Disorderly III.1977: UK.
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