Modern Punks Needed: The First Post

The Story of Crass

By Richard Cabut
The First Post
September 2006

We need more rebellious music to match our inflammatory times, says richard cabut
Contemporary political rock culture is characterised by the image of Bob Geldof with his arm thrown cosily around the shoulders of Tony Blair.

The music scene wasn’t always so servile. In the 1980s, the anarchist punk band Crass railed against authority rather than embracing it. So articulate were Crass in their espousal of anti-consumerism, self-rule and – against the background of the Falklands War – peace, that questions were asked in parliament.

They sold a phenomenal 2 million-plus records which, it is said, helped to inspire everyone from the anarcho-punks to the anti-globalisation movement.

So where, in these inflammatory times ripe with the necessity for action, has that good old anarcho spirit gone? Where are the songs and gigs screaming about Iraq/Iran, or about the sheer boredom of celebrity culture?

Crass, as a new biography by George Berger reminds us, politicised a whole generation – but unfortunately not this one. This lot are happy to leave it all to sanctimonious, self-publicist Geldof and Bush-toady Bono – although how these people, who show their love of the world by flattering those who are busy messing it up, retain any credibility is something of a mystery.

Then there’s Coldplay, whose turgidity gives singer Chris Martin’s favourite worthwhile causes a bad name by association, and eco-dabblers like Damon Albarn and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke. Meanwhile, Mercury Prize winners the Arctic Monkeys are happy to take punk’s spikey lustre, but have decided its ethos doesn’t look good on the dance-floor.

In the light of such limpness, what we need is a committed, oppositional and, yes, anarchic, rock culture to kick up a rebellious stink once more. Arise, kids, you’ve got nothing to lose but your chainstores – which, I suspect, is the problem in a nutshell.

Back to George Berger’s Author Page