Song of the day – 257: Crass
This is Crass. This is ‘Mother Earth’ from the recently reissued and repackaged (again!) Stations Of The Crass CD. It’s still nicely, nearly unlistenable. It still makes me choke on my Cornflakes. It seems appropriate to be hearing something like this, in England, surrounded by the effects of the first few months of Tory rule (and lickspittle Lib-Dem toadying), with the students out on the streets and the country grinding to a halt because of a few pitiful inches of snow and a depression or five looming. I’m half-expecting to wake up in my council flat in Rotherhithe any morning.
So yeah, Crass. They were a major influence on my teenage self. I was moved to start an anarchist’s collective during my brief sojourn at Goldsmith’s College – one bloke turned up to the first meeting, and we went down the pub. I squatted in New Cross Gate (on ‘Mugger’s Corner’). I attended a Stop The City or two. I saw Poison Girls a lot (but not Crass, or Conflict). I could of course see many contradictions about their stance – and sure as fuck didn’t trust the hippie connotations – but I knew I didn’t like the current system either. I do not like grown-ups. Full stop.
Before that, I attended a fifth-rate public (private) school with my three brothers on a county scholarship, and got called ‘tramp’ because I wore hand-me-downs. Then I reached the Sixth Form and all of a sudden it was cool to be poor. All of a sudden, all these rich kids in their fancy mansions were pretending to be my mate, and inviting me to their parties (partly because I was supposed to be an expert on music). One such party, I DJ-ed with John Lennon’s first (‘primal scream’) solo album and Crass’s Feeding Of The 5,000 – and never got invited back again.
Whatever. I can see why the music press totally distrusted them – same as with Riot Grrrl, now I think on it – but for a few years, they spoke directly to me. Plus, their later-day music stands up brilliantly, they pissed off the establishment something rotten, and with Penis Envy even confronted their (mostly) meathead male audience with feminist ideas.
Southern Records in the UK have reissued two albums. If you haven’t heard either, go for Stations first.