By Roger Batty
The Anarcho-Punk scene was one of the most pro-active, prolific, and controversial musical happenings of the early 1980’s britain. It focused Punk rocks original sound into an often more stark & aggressive form, and it also saw bands advocating direct action, concerned about animal rights issues, environmentalism, and anti war/ anti- nuclear weapon propaganda. The scenes golden period lasted between 1980 and 1984, and this is the period that “The Day The Country” covers.
This is a new/second edition of Ian Glasper truly definitive study on the scene & the time, and it appears on Oakland based independent/ anarchist publisher PM Press. The book first came out on Cherry Red Press back in 2012- so it’s very telling of the keen interest in this scene & it’s key bands, that the book gets a re-print just two years after it original appeared. This new edition doesn’t really add much new or extra material from the original edition, a-side from a selection of recent portrait pictures of key scene figures, and updates on reissues…but really I guess Glasper couldn’t feasible have added too much else in, as the original edition truly was a very detailed study of the Anarcho-Punk scene.
The coming-on 500 page paper back is divided into nine chapters, and each of these chapters covers one set area of the UK. Over the whole book Glasper covers a total of 79 bands from the scene- and he gives each an every band, no matter how big or small, it’s own entry in the book- in which he discussers the projects formation, it’s sound, it’s output, ect. For each of the 79 bands covered Glasper has tracked down at least one member of the each project for a interview, and these interviews are wonderful snapshots of the time & the scene- yet they are never allowed to become over indulgent or too length, as Glasper has clearly edited them to focus in on rewarding scene stories, interesting band details, etc.
Each band entry runs between a few pages to around thirty pages for the likes of key Anarcho-Punk bands such as Crass, Conflict, Subhumans, Flux Of Pink Indians, and Rudimentary Peni. As well as the texts, we get rare pictures of each & every one of the bands covered too…so as I keep mentioning this truly is a definitive study of the scene, and clearly it must have taken Glasper a very long time to interview, compile & research this book.
Obviously this book is a must have item for anyone who has even a passing interest in the Anarcho-Punk scene, but I can also see this appealing to anyone who enjoys any form of confrontational music or sonic art. As the book’s highly readable & rewarding through-out, and it’s thoroughly informative yet still concise & interesting over the whole of it’s near-on 500 page length.