Category Archives: Book

Love Songs Book

Crass

Pub. 14 February 2004                                                                                                             ISBN 1-904590-03-9                                                                                                                           Published by  Pomona Books

Iain Aitch

Friday 12 March 2004
The Guardian

Anyone who saw black-clad anarchist punks Crass play live, or took a cursory glance at their record sleeves, may be surprised that they considered their output to be songs of love rather than hate. It was easy to miss amidst the buzzsaw guitars and expletive-laden lyrics, but Crass never went about anything in an orthodox manner during their tenure as fomenters of dissent from 1977 to 1984. Living as a collective on the edge of Epping Forest, where growing organic vegetables was more important than tour schedules, Crass were on the end of a large amount of invective from the music press. This is why the likes of Garry Bushell and Tony Parsons come in for a fair bit of stick in this collection of the band’s lyrics set out as poetry and revealing which band member wrote which song. Previously the words were credited to the band as a whole, an important part of their “no celebrity” stance. Shorn of the music, the lyrics lose none of their power and act as an essential, insightful piece of social history. They also go a good way towards explaining how the band came to spawn the anti-globalisation and modern animal rights movements, as well as get up the nose of police, security services and politicians.

Update December 2012

LoveSongs1

Exit Stencil Press Gee and Pennys publishing  house have produced a beautiful  Hardback version of the book, Listed on the southern website as

Hardback, 304 pages, 12.7 x 19.5 cm. Litho printed, embossed heavy card cover bound with litho printed spine tape.

Love Songs is the book which compiles all of the words to all of the songs by Crass. Originally published by Pomona in 2004 as a paperback,  and out of print for a couple of years and so we felt it was time for a resurrection.  Love Songs seems a fitting endpoint to the Crassical Collection – the remastered and expanded CDs of Crass’ studio albums.

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Photos curtesy of Southern.

There are still copies available from the southern web site

International Anthem Number 1

International Anthem Number 1 1977 35cm x 27cm

Gee wrote in Crass Art And Other Pre Post-Modern Monsters, In 1977, Whilst living in New York, I started work on the first International Anthem – ‘a nihilist newspaper for the living’ Profiting from the illustration work  I was given, and aware that what I produced was becoming too radical for the mainstream American tastes, I decided to create an alternative vehicle for myself and for the others who felt I had something to offer. International Anthem was never intended to be a regular newspaper, it was produced when and if I had the inspiration and the finance to see it through. So although I compiled five editions only three made it into print.

George Berger adds, Now truly up and running, Crass’ artistic backgrounds and vivid imaginations quickly expanded from gigs with banners to a multi- pronged multimedia attack on the status quo and the establishment.The written word was another branch.With a bit of money under her belt, Gee had earlier started her own paper, International Anthem, with the strapline ‘A nihilist newspaper for the living’. Still in regular contact with Pen back in England, Gee had enlisted his writing services, along with those of Eve, for the first issue. It sold through an independent network and radical bookshops.

You can thumb through a copy here 

Gee Vaucher’s Cover Illustration for International Anthem 1 – Education.  Collage 42cm x 30cm

 

 

A Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums

Publisher: Exitsencil Press (1982)

Text from the Exitstencil Press Site

Crass by name, even worse by nature, like
it or not, they just won’t go away. Crass
are the distempered dog end of rock ‘n roll’s
once bright and vibrant rebellion. That they’re
so unattractive, unoriginal and badly balanced
in an uncompromising and unhumourless way, 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 passers by. (From the back cover of the book, article by Steve Sutherland, Melody Maker)


This book was first published in leaflet form as part of Christ-The Album in 1982 and re-printed in 1983. It contains three separate essays all of which deal with the individual and their basic right to freedom and peace. This book, written by three members of CRASS, gives an insight into much of the thinking of the “punk generation” which, contrary to the media portrayal of punk as mindless and violent, is both caring and articulate.

A Series of Shock Slogans... back cover

The first essay is a pocket history of the peace movement from its roots in the “beat culture” of the late ’50s to the “punk explosion” of ’77. Woven into this history is the story of Wally Hope, a visionary anarcho-mystic whose untimely death as a result of brutal treatment in a psychiatry hospital becomes symbolic of the death of hippy “love and peace” and the birth of punk’s raw anger.

The second shorter essay is more of a manual on how, if not to succeed, the victims of oppressive institutions can not only get by, but subvert and use to their own ends the tools of that oppression.

The third essay is a well documented twentieth century history of pacifism versus war. It not only creates a perspective of war against which the urgency of pacifist answers become obvious and necessary, it also offers practical and workable approaches by which this could be possible.

 

A series of shock slogans and mindless token tantrums booklet from Christ the Album

You can read some of the text here at the Southern site

The Rest is Propaganda: Steve Ignorant and Steve Pottinger

Publisher: Southern Records, ISBN-10: 0956674607, ISBN-13: 978-0956674609

This really is the story of Stephen Williams, a working class kid from Dagenham who happened to become the singer in one of the Britain’s most important punk bands. The Story of how Steve first met Penny and the Dial house people has been told many time before, but the reasons of why such a bond grew between them has been lost in the Chinese whispers since the band demise in 1984.

The book is the tale of love affairs, the love of life, of friendship, the love of music and the love of people and like all love affaires they can let you down, which is the story of Steve’s life, and a refreshing read it is too, not glossed over but told in a straight and honest way.

Steve talks through his youth, then through the Crass and post Crass years and the emotional straight jacket the Crass has become to him and how it took time to be comfortable about Crass and its legacy.

I love some of the stories about kipping down in some hideous places in around Europe with no beds or toilets, took me back to my youth :).

Go buy this book, even of your not a Crass fan, a great read.

Shibboleth: My Revolting Life

ISBN: 1-873176 40 6 , Published by AK Press

Started as a compilation of essays written during the Crass era and developed into an autobiography using Penny’s reflections on this period. In it there is an extended version of “Last of the Hippies – An Hysterical Romance,” “. . . IN WHICH CRASS VOLUNTARILY BLOW THEIR OWN,” “Crass at the Roxy. He Fails Articulation on the Skinned Dog,” and various show leaflets done for Crass shows

AndyT Poems

A book of Poems by Andy T produced and printed at Dial House, to cope with the amount of requests for the lyrics to Andy’s Crass release Weary of the Flesh.

Thanks to Andy for letting me scan this.