Crass -There Is No Authority But Yourself -dir.Alexander Oey (2006)

When I was proudly parading my anarchism in 81-85 (after that it was in my head rather than on my chest) people were forever telling me that Crass were, in fact, a bunch of 'old hippies'. This observation was made both by old school counterculturalists (themselves often derided as hippies) and punks of other stripes and colours.
There was a Class War (not just the paper) in the 80's. We lost it and our lives remain blighted by this defeat. Global Capitalism has been kicking the prostrate body of the working class ever since, and governments have grown ever more sinister and cynical. 
I suspect that, like myself, many of Crass' youthful audience at the time were largely unaware of The Situationists, The Angry Brigade and the like.
Penny Rimbaud makes an observation in this film along the lines of  there being no distinction between hippies, beatniks, punks etc. Here here. As my old headmaster used to say, are you with me boys? well, no sir, we are against you, and we come in many shapes and forms.
He also comes across as the ultimate 'old hippy', and I mean this as an unparalleled compliment.
I've never met him, but he remains one of the most influential people in my life.

Here's an earlier snippet of Rimbaud, comes right at the end of some nauseating antics from the 'Fab' Four.


  1. As much as I loved the Crass documentary, I really wish the director had shone the spotlight a little more on Gee as she has always fascinated me...having said that, it is worth watching just for the sight of Penny starkers on the toilet!

    I think I was ten or eleven when I first became aware of Crass, a friend's older brother had bought the Reality Asylum 45 when it came out and we used to sneak into his room and listen to everything he had bought the Saturday before...Very few things have had as much effect on my life as that first listen.I remember been physically scared as Eve belted out the words as though the very act of listening was transgressive and deeply wrong...I had no idea how deeply they would influence my life and actions over thirty years later.

    While I agree with you that most of the Crass audience had very little idea of even the Angry Brigade, never mind Situationist theory, they were definitely a springboard into those areas for a minority, especially through things like the Spectacular Times booklets from Reading that got me into Debord et al.

  2. I forgot to mention Vague and Kill Your Pet Puppy! Very important at the time.


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