Addressing the ever-shrinking credibility of rock journalism since 2007. With a sasquatch.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Off The Shelf: There Is No Authority But Yourself

Dutch film maker Alexander Oey examines the history of punk rock social phenomenon Crass.

Punk rock. The unflinching unofficial religion of a sea of disenfranchised, socially and geographically isolated kids and cranks in Western culture.

Made in England by bands like the Sex Pistols and The Exploited then commercially perfected in America, Punk rock is a lot like that Angry Kid From high school. The odd one in the corner. That Kid who, each day, scribbled lyrics into his beat up binder. The one who consistently got D's and worked a night job. The same one who secretly carried a red-flecked pipe wrench in his back pocket like some kind of hidden talisman to ward off gangs of crack fiends and packs of ultra macho jocks who dictated what was Right and Wrong behavior.

Yet, instead of resigning himself to a meaningless life he picked up his beat up binder and screamed out to the world, waving a guitar instead of pipe wrench, that The Kid wasn't taking it anymore and that his audience didn't have to either.

This is a good introduction to Crass. An English punk rock act who railed against corrupt authority figures, institutionalized racism, mindless violence, out-of-touch splinter cells w/in government, smothering social anxiety and the ever present pressure to conform to an impossible ideal - an ideal that only existed on celluloid or in the dancing scanlines of television.

Pete Wright, Steve Ignorant and Andy Palmer.
Core Crass members performing live in the early 80's Pete Wright, Steve Ignorant and Andy "N.A" Palmer.

Crass, formed in 1977 from of a group of edgy artists and actors, promoted Anarchism as a political ideology to combat corruption. Crass went on to form the base of a resistance movement against exploitative English policies and popularized the Anarcho-Punk movement of punk subculture by advocating real and direct action in social arenas as varied as political protest, animal rights, personal accountability and environmentalism.

Crass utilized and advocated a DIY punk ethic approach by producing sound collages, graphics, anti-Nuke pamphlets, solid albums and films that remain nearly unique in Western culture outside of Medieval monasteries and the utmost levels of Higher Education.

Fight War, Not Wars. Fight Power, Not People.
Promotional material typical of Crass who advocated positive and lasting social change.

Alexander Oey's rockumentary of Crass, There is No Authority But Yourself, was premiered at the Raindance Film Festival at the Piccadilly Circus, London Trocadero in October 2006 and part of the Official Selection film program at the Flipside Film Festival in May 2008.


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