After The problems with the pressing plant with The Feeding of the 5000 the band decided to release Asylum as a single and after they found a French pressing plant willing to press the single they released as Reality Asylum backed by Shaved Women. The Original 5000 were released with this card sleeve, these were soon sold as Reality Asylum climbed up the sounds alternative chart. The second pressing came with a poster sleeve designed by Gee Vaucher. George Berger adds ‘Asylum’ was the first Crass Record to feature the stencil lettering on a black circle that would come to represent their brand as surely as Beanz Meanz Heinz. It was a straightforward influence from pop-artist Jasper Johns, the American artist who emerged in the late fifties to influence both Pop Art and Minimalism and who was a notable forerunner in the use of stencil lettering,

Penny wrote ‘Meanwhile, benfiting from our own enterprise in the form of royalties from our first album, and boosted by an inheritance left to Andy by his grandmother, we had finally been able to induce a pressing company to manufacture ‘`Reality Asylum’.  Not content with the original recording, we had re-recorded it and then, rather than having to search for a printer, we had printed the first five thousand covers ourselves. Not wishing to implicate Small Wonder, the record was released on Crass Records, a label at that time we had no intention of expanding.’

Inside Scans can be seen here                                                                                                           page 2 page 3 page 4 page 5

As with Feeding, it wasn’t only the songs on the ‘Asylum’ single that stood Crass apart.The single was released initially in a gatefold cardboard sleeve. Subsequent repressings took the weirdness even further, as the sleeve folded out to six times the single size to reveal a poster of a man (not ostensibly Jesus Christ) being crucified.

Penny:“The big foldout poster – you could look back to the sixties, where people used a lot of that sort of tactic. No-one had done it on a record before, but the whole idea of broadsheets was very much a sixties thing.”

Personal were listed as                                                                                                                 Eve Libertine – Lead Voice
Gem Stone – Backing Voice
N.A. Palmer – Rhythm Guitar
Phil Free – Lead Guitar
Pete Wright – Bass
Penny Rimbaud – Radio/Tape/Drums
Steve Ignorant – Lead Vocals (not on this recording)
Joy de Vivre (Virginia Creeper) – Voice

The Lyrics were first developed in the book Christ Reality Asylum that Penny wrote, just as the band were starting. george berger adds “Written by Penny Rimbaud, ‘Reality Asylum’ was an enormously brave single, risking as it did not just worldly prosecution, but eternal damnation too.”


2 responses to “REALITY ASYLUM / SHAVED WOMEN first pressing.

  1. I have no fuckin clue how, but one of these beautiful ops found its way into my hands in San Diego California two years ago. A friend of mine gave me a stack of what were ostensibly crass ops for 20 bucks and this gem was in it! I was just wondering how much this record is worth, not that I would ever sell it!

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