The Story of Crass: A Review
I was never a fan of Crass. I found their music dull and probably the only thing going for them for me were their stunts, which were hilarious. The infamous "Reagan/Thatcher" phone conversation really got up some peoples noses and was even talked about in parliament. Still, that wasn´t the only stunt and many of these are talked about in this book.
Humour aside, there was also much serious stuff talked about and that really hits home when you start reading about Crass around the Falklands conflict. You really start to think how the authorities were worried by Crass. Steve Ignorant admits in the book that once they were drawing attention from the authorities, he was ready to back off quickly. That comes as no surprise as everyone who read "Last Of The Hippies" by Penny Rimbaud will know just how far the authorities will go to silence you!
Then there´s the bits about Crass as a band. The full history from start to finish including the lyrics/music/records being talked about and how they came about. Plus the idea of where the idea of them dressing in black came up! Then most importantly their backgrounds are talked about and how they all met etc. Some very interesting pieces there.
There´s just so much in this book that it would be hard to fit in one review! However one surprise to this book are comments from Garry Bushell and I can see what he is saying regards Crass and the Anarchist moment. Even Steve Ignorant felt that way about many people in the movement especially his commments towards many of the folk at the Autonomy Centre in Wapping.
I could go on all day about this book as it is a great read. I read it in one sitting and couldn´t put it down as George Berger has done such a great job keeping it flowing from start to finish. I can´t think of one book written on a band that has held my interest as much as this one has. That´s not bad for a band I never liked!
What else I liked about how George Berger has written this book is the fact that he hasn´t grovelled to the band. This shows throughout this book but becomes more apparent when you read the epilogue.
As well as gaining an awareness of a band that influenced so many people you will also get something else from this book. It will make you think about how you go about doing things and for all you serious politico´s out there - Crass say it´s ok to have a sense of humour!!
The only downer was Andy Palmer didn´t want to contribute to this book. It would have been great to read his thoughts on Crass as the other band members did. Maybe he´ll do something in the future and I think when he reads George´s book he´ll probably be disappointed he didn´t take part.
Maybe they could have featured some of the Crass artwork in the book too?! Still, you get some photos from the Dial House Collection but I´m sure the main core of people reading this book would have preferred some artwork! Still the quality of the photos is good and the author has made sure the photos don´t flood the book unlike other band biographies.
A great read and a must for everyone in to Punk Rock! Nuff said!
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