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An interview with Steve Ignorant

Freq Talks to Steve Ignorant of CRASS

To a young mind searching for meaningful music in the early 1980s, encountering CRASS for the first time was a frightening proposition. In those hazy, far-off days, when the Californian IT development nerds responsible for YouTube and Google had barely finished breastfeeding and the ZX Spectrum was the hot shit in cutting edge computer technology, one really couldn’t be entirely sure whether CRASS was a Punk band, a twisted Dadaist subversion, a political movement or some kind of terrorist cell, like the Baader-Meinhof Group fallen to earth in Ongar Great Park. Or, come to that, all four. With no promotional images to refer to (part of a carefully cultivated tactic to avoid the usual characterisation of a ‘band’ with ‘leaders’), one was confronted only by the CRASS monolith, an Anarchist juggernaut characterised by a terrifyingly intense

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Crass – Penis Envy

Crass

“Feminism – what happened?” (Eve Libertine).

(Writer checks footing on soapbox. ‘Secure? Good. Let’s go…’)

This is a ridiculous record. I’ve never listened to Crass before, and I was still the other side of birth when it was released. Ridiculous and offensive, really.

But not the record itself. Oh no. It’s brilliant. Who couldn’t like a record shouting at the painful absurdities of marriage, the hideous inculcations of capitalism-enforced gender roles, the bucolic terrors of high heels and a whole raft of other feminist/gender/capitalist-related issues? No-one. Obviously.

The problem is that this should, by all reasonable rights, be a record whose urgency has collapsed in the wake of progress, a record which poses as a snapshot of political naivety, as the ‘let’s all just get along, yeah?’ flower power music is. But instead it’s a painful reminder of the absurdities of

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