Do they owe us a living room?

THE big news of the month for nostalgia-nerds such as myself has got to be the long-awaited reissue of The Feeding Of The Five Thousand, the spiky, spunky, awkward and bolshie debut release by Crass from 1979. It had seemed like the project, which has been talked about for years, wouldn’t ever see the light of day after objections to the release were aired by former members of the band.

Now digitally remastered by Penny Rimbaud and Harvey Birrell and lavishly repackaged by Crass visual artist-in-residence Gee Vaucher, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand: The Crassical Collection is a wonderful and joyous thing.  For example, besides illuminating contributions from Rimbaud and Steve Ignorant, the booklet also reveals who wrote which songs – it’s the little things that show you how much has really changed. You even get a dinky little facsimile of the original fold-out poster.

Having loved and lost my copy of Feeding back in the day, I bought it again a couple of years ago – though I ended up getting the original Small Wonder version, with the space where the censored Reality Asylum should be occupied by the silence of The Sound Of Free Speech instead.

Listening to tracks like Securicor, Reject of Society and They’ve Got A Bomb, you’re struck by the fact that although they came to be defined to some extent by their opposition to Margaret Thatcher’s Tory junta, The Feeding Of The Five Thousand was actually written and recorded under a Labour government.

Coming across as resolutely undated and contemporary, there’s now a bigger, fuller sound, with a heavier bottom end and much more robust guitars. As before, there is barely any space between the tracks. No sooner does one song finish than another comes slamming in. They’re in a hurry, clearly. They haven’t got time to waste. There’s a lot of stuff to talk about.

I’m probably going to end up talking about all this shit myself, at length, some other time so I’ll leave it there for now (though I could do with not having to listen to Do They Owe Us A Living? again for some time). Suffice to say, I think it’s a marvellous thing, not only that the young people get access to this stuff but also that Crass finally get paid in some kind of meaningful way.

The sleeve designs of the various albums to be reissued all combine to form a big Crass symbol, meaning that the more idiotic among us will just have to buy the lot – even Acts Of Love and Yes Sir I Will. All I’ll say is: Bravo to the heartless cynics in the Existencil marketing department!

If I had a coffee table in my comfy living room, I would probably mount all the individual sleeves in some kind of expensive frame on the wall above it.

And, leading on from this, one note of caution: When I bought the CD from Piccadilly (in the first week of release, naturally), I asked the guy behind the counter how many copies they’d sold to the young people, only to be told that it was usually being bought by 30 and 40-something blokes not unlike myself. That really wasn’t the point at all.

Young people! Sort it out! A brave new black and white world awaits you!

More info, including the reasons why the reissues are coming out at all, in this illuminating Vice interview with Rimbaud and Ignorant.

And more nostalgia for the bad old days comes with This Is England 86. Set three years on from Shane Meadow’s Bafta award-winning original tale of ordinary kids in the unfashionable and very recognisable provinces, This Is England 86 is yet another example of Channel Four’s admirable insistence on making television of a quality which is utterly above and beyond the comprehension of other TV companies.

Featuring many of the superb cast from the original film (Thomas Turgoose as Shaun, Stephen Graham as Combo, Joe Gilgun as Woody etc), you have to hope that the four-episode format allows Meadows to really tell his tale properly and avoid the clumsy telescoping together of non-contemporaneous events, trends and attitudes which occasionally threatened to spoil This Is England.

For me, 1986 was all about hitching around the country to see bands, fanzines and vegieburgers, trips and resin, Jah Shaka and Hunter S Thompson. It absolutely wasn’t about skinheads and mods.  Or the World Cup, come to think of it. Having said that, the story is supposed to be at least part-autobiographical and maybe it was still all about skinheads and mods and the World Cup where Shane Meadows lived.

Either way, it’ll be good to see some serious drama on TV that isn’t about crime, doctors or marital infidelity. More details here.

This month I am also enjoying (care of my wonderful missus) Cee-Lo Green’s excellent Fuck You! single and (care of Mr Suhail Khan) Brett Domino’s awe-inspiring Hip Hop Medley, while I am absolutely fucking loving the shit-kicking, dirty guitar noise of Panico (produced by Joakim, no less, with a free download via the band’s own website). The video is great too.

More please soon.

Other stuff of interest this month includes an interview with Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon by my Vice paymasters, the music of Londontown electro-duo Widower (though I have to say that their own stuff doesn’t do as much for me as their remix of Paloma Faith’s Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful – which is not something I ever thought I’d find myself saying, to be frank) and In Like Flynn, purveyors of ‘Alternative Indie Disco Pop’ (something else I didn’t ever think I’d find myself recommending).

Head straight for the satisfyingly aggressive Dinner For Two at the band’s Bandcamp site here.

And finally, I am also fast finding a place in my heart for the former Nouvelle Vague chanteuse LeeLou and her fabulously titled Kiss Death Love Come EP (you can listen to the lead track Burn Down Your Houses here, though I have to say I prefer Gasoline and Kiss Like Carnivores myself). Think poppy post-punk and you’ll be in more or less the right place.

Pretty bloody brilliant sleeve too. But why the long face?

[Dial House living room photo courtesy of Kill Your Pet Puppy]


Filed under expletive undeleted, hyperbole

18 responses to “Do they owe us a living room?

  1. Phil

    I love that Leeloo track, but that cover, weird! I feel like I’ve seen it before, do you know, is that an old image or is that her on the cover photoshopped?

  2. I asked her on Twitter:

    leeloulovesyou it was from a bunch i did with my photographer pal in the New forest a while ago..we loved it so much we decided it was the one!

  3. linda

    I go to sleep for a couple months and this is what I wake up to?!! The news about the Crass release is marvelous. More than makes up for the fact that anarcho punk made its way into one of the U.S. law enforcement dictionaries.

  4. It sounds great and it has lovely packaging. They’ve done a superb job.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the Steve Ignorant roadshow rolls around to Chicago you know, he’s doing a loda of gigs in Europe. To be honest, I’d be surprised if he didn’t go to the States at some point .. how exciting is that?

  5. linda

    I’ll keep a lookout for him. I had a link somewhere for updates.

  6. johnn

    only heard snippets on the web in mp3 format and i guess thats why they sound more or less the same as the originals?thats mp3 quality for you,does the tunes no justice.
    havent bought it yet but will do ,got to the manc gig late so missed the stall selling stuff.
    as for the gig-absolutely fecking top,go out and buy it youngsters its as relevant as ever it will be….rant over.
    love n peace

  7. Good to hear from you Johnn. Just spent a very entertaining half hour reading the thread about the remasters on the Thirty years on and we’re still arguing about utterly irrelevant shit while the world we say we want to change is continually changing all around us. It’s funny but it’s also a bit fucking tragic.

    That gig was fantastic on loads of different levels. Filmed interview with Ignorant coming up on here later today …

  8. johnn

    altight mate,have you got a link for this anarcho(lol) discuscussion,i cant find it,need summat to give us a chuckle inbetween decorating my luxury apartment……….thats what they call council flats now isnt it?
    look forward to the video interview when you upload it.
    met nicky who used to live in leeds at the gig,didnt recognise her at first,well it had been 20 odd years since i last saw her and then she had cropped skinhead.

  9. Hahahah, don’t mention your luxury apartment on there! They will criticise you! On the internet!

    Take my advice Johnn – don’t get involved.

    Don’t think I know Nicky. I met a lot of old friends down at that gig though. We had a laugh. At this stage in the game, I think that’s as important as anything else ..

  10. johnn

    jesus h-what a madhouse that place is,i think a lot of the posters on there may be suffering from tourettes syndrome and also may wear blinkers like race horses.
    count me out,not contributing to it,felt a bit sorry for gerard who wrote the crass book,such a nice bloke treated so rudely.
    i think they are a very young crowd of angry young folk.
    as you said at the end of your reply,”We had a laugh. At this stage in the game, I think that’s as important as anything else ..”
    too true.wheres the love on there?found it invisible really..
    p.s. nicky said she knows yer mate dallas and hes posted loads of old pics of the Leeds squatters on facefuck,so if you go on there maybe you may recognise her?
    anyway young mr undeleted, atb til next time.

  11. It’s nuts isn’t it? They’re all as daft as brushes, but so was I when I was a teenager – and I’d hazard a guess that you were too Johnn. That’s what teenagers are like.

    Having said that, if some old hippy had tried to tell me what to think when I was a teenager, I wouldn’t have been anywhere near as rude and unpleasant as those guys on there – although I didn’t have a keyboard and the Atlantic to hide behind.

    It was the same kind of argurment I used to have with vegan/DIY/animal rights fundamentalist nut-jobs back in the Eighties. They’re the kind of ‘anarchist’ that doesn’t actually like people very much. Very dogmatic, intolerant and aggressive.

    The funniest thing is that they’re all bitching about the price of the reissued albums but none of them would dream of actually buying them no matter how much they cost.

    Best just leave them to it, I reckon, and maybe they’ll just fuck off or something, or disappear up their own arseholes. I’m sure they’ll grow out of that mind-set sooner or later *he said, pat-ron-ising-ly*

    Did Nicky go out with Ben/Sik O’War? If so, I may have um, slightly lusted after her. A bit.


  12. johnn

    not sure if she went out with mr siko war?her current fella is called paul and a very nice guy he is too,if your on faceache,search for ‘Nic and Paul’,their profile pic is the mad irish neighbours from tv show shameless.
    oh god,ive just admitted i watch T.V. ,bet i’d get thrashed by the anarcho crowd for that one.what they do remind me of is a version of the taliban,a big soft in the head version.
    enjoyed the interview with steve igs you filmed,am i wrong but when he sang ‘so what’ instead of singing ‘i could always use a knife’,he changed knife to ‘wife’ LOL?

  13. Hahahaha, I thought I’d heard that too. But his missus is lovely! For shame!

    If you think is bad, check out the squatjuice forum. Unbelievable.

    It’s a great big beautiful world.

    Will check your mates and see if I know them ..

  14. johnn

    you know what,i was so glad to leave a lot of that scene in the 80’s.i was quite into animal rights/hunt sabbing.i just got so sick of the rightousness and i did this what have you done ,the one upmanship constantly,slagged off for using the wrong toothpaste.
    i see it still when ive dipped my toe into the current scene,i’m still anarcho minded but channel it positively in art or doing my voluntary work.
    Not looked at squatjuice yet but i can hazard a guess what it’ll be like,another thing what cracked me up is the ‘vegan reich’,totally over the top but i just gotta laugh.
    anyway best go cos i should have left 10 minutes ago
    keep on blogging

  15. Exactly. Once again, cheers for the lovely comments Johnn. You can come again, definitely.

  16. Gary critchley here, Thanks for your support and mention John. I’m not sure which John you are, but I love you anyway. I haven’t seen Crass since 1980 – the year I was stitched up for this charge, but I still love the music and Steve Ignorant himself has been doing quite a lot to promote my campaign…Blinding. Destroy power not people! – Gary (gonerong) Critchley.

  17. johnn

    hi gary,its john from Hulme that wrote to you a few times when your case first got brought to the attention of us unkowing of your situation,wrote ages ago so sorry for not keeping it up,things get in the way,bad health,mental and physical etc etc never get round to half the things i mean to,and an ever dissapearing short term memorey doesnt help,i still have your hand painted postcards stashed away safely as they are proper good.Will get em framed(sorry unfotuanate word) so i can put em up on the wall at some point.
    I will try and get round to writing in the near future Gary,btw,in between songs at the igs gig i was shouting justice /free gary critchly ,plenty of folk must have heard me and i hope they get writing and supporting you.
    best be off and take a trammy for me back lol!
    keep at it mate…the truth will out ! XX.

  18. Good to hear from you again John, hope you are okay. If you are not doing anything my friend Adam and the F3GC campaign are putting on a festival/art exhibition on the 30th of July in Redditch near Birmingham. there are about seven bands playing…including the cracked actors, nuke enroute, trenchfoot U.K., the hedgerow carriers and fuzz on mate…aswell as Sledge ‘ammer – a Birmingham based reggae/lovers singer. there are also various other things like cider tents, goat curry van, other food and drink and other things. There’s a free ticket for you if you can get there. It’s an all-day and all-nighter. later- Gary.C

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