The Lord of the House of Pomona, he say:
"Ah, the originals. The Godfathers of all that is good
and great. In no particular order, this is why we love them.
1. They didn't have roadies but lugged their own gear (respect!).
2. They sublimated their own egos, dressing in black and never posing for photos.
3. They played gigs in small towns and villages, and not as a publicity stunt (take note
all you 'let's-tour-the-sticks with the NME in tow' careerists).
4. They split up when they said they would and never got boring.
5. They stayed independent despite significant inducements.
6. They had baldies in the band before baldies we're cool.
7. They had some spiffing pop fuzz, total-thrill songs.
8. They made a difference (where so many others didn't).
This is a live album recorded during the UK riots of 1981; the tape kindly supplied by Andy
T, poet and visionary. Crass have given their full support to its release. Good on 'em."
"You'll Ruin It For Everyone" is a live recording of a performance by
the anarchist rock group Crass. The concert took place on July 4th 1981 at the Lesser City
Hall, Perth, Scotland. It was originally released eight years ago as a limited edition of
1,000 copies. Since then, we have had numerous requests to make it available again, and
have chosen to do so now, 20 years after the concert took place. This time with a new cover
and revised booklet. In hindsight, we all felt the original cover was too bleak!
During the spring of 1981 there had been civil disturbances throughout the
UK. By July, as a humid summer exacerbated a simmering wrath, cities like London, Birmingham,
Liverpool, Manchester and Bristol were the subject of fierce riots. Windows were smashed,
cars turned over, milk bottles filled with petrol. Youths terrorised their own neighbourhoods
and police were afforded a surfeit of overtime. Parliament passed an emergency law prohibiting
any gathering of more than three people in a public place.
Crass, with wretched timing, were touring, confronting this nihilism in out-of-the-way
places where naked anger, often for its own sake, was widespread. Its apogee came in Perth,
a town in northern Scotland, usually tranquil, but polluted on this night by enough louts
to goad their own rueful version of a riot. The instigators, National Front supporters apparently,
had travelled to the town purposely to cause trouble.
Elsewhere in this booklet, people who were present on the night write about
the experience. The CD of the concert, regularly interrupted by pleas for calm, speaks for
Crass were an easy target; they inadvertently enticed confusion. The group's
imagery, lyrics, graphics and their furious music had the aura of hostility. They merged
the boundaries - passion/violence, energy/aggression, love/hate - it called on an intelligent
mind to discern the slogans.
Anarchy was, by their definition, the freedom to do as one pleased, so long
as no one else was harmed in the process. It was not a manifesto of recklessness or selfishness:
this was the misunderstanding at Perth.
It is obviously easier not to think, to see merely the cartoon, the power
chord, the rant, the black uniformity. And to become agitated by it and, eventually, wish
to destroy it. For many though, Crass were an inspiration. They became a rallying call for
groups, poets, writers, artists. They each wanted to be part of this counter-culture motivated,
for once, not by greed or ego but by creativity for its own sake.
Their stance accidentally became evangelical and it was right that in 1984,
they went their separate ways. They had served their purpose; a spasm of urgency, a seed
planted, and then to disappear to play out their individual lives.
The tape from which this CD was mastered was recorded through the mixing desk
at Perth. It has not been re-mixed in any way. The sound quality, while much better than
most bootlegs, is not fantastic. It is released with the full permission of Crass although
the project has been undertaken by Pomona Sounds. The tape was kindly supplied by Andy T,
himself a perfomer on Crass Records.
It is presented here in the vain hope that (the ghost of) Crass can once again
incite free-thought, enthusiasm, ingenuity, lashings of lentil soup and just a bit of love,
peace and anarchy. We could all do with some. Pomona Sounds
CHILDREN OF THE SUN
Eight years ago, when this album was first released, I did a state of the
nation address. Surely, friends, time for another, then...While I was staring into the darkness
the other night, I pondered whether life is cyclical or linear. If it is the latter, does
that mean we have lost the philosophy that an individual might be motivated by love, compassion,
art, empathy and creativity? It seems so long ago that these qualities were deemed cool,
and celebrated. Crass, in their own unique way, might well have formed the final swansong
of this ethos.
I hope life is cyclical; that things come around again. I want to see, once
more, a retaliation on commercialism and blandness; kids seeing through the con of designer
clothes, music, - indeed, a complete, received lifestyle itself (car, mobile phone, house,
the sneer, the indifference). I want them to recognise that they are stalked by the moneymen,
that they are schooled to drink their beer, to wear their clothes, to drive their cars,
and sing their songs.
Of course, the counter-culture that sustained Crass has vanished. Independent
became 'indie', became a marketing concept, and not a state-of-being. We are now sold the
revolution solely by the conglomerates. They have bought up the best minds and successfully
concealed the hypocrisy of their position. The slogans have sufficed; the sentiment is no
We need (desperately) bands that are successful on their own terms. They must
eschew the corporate seduction - mock it, reveal it for what it is, - and scratch at the
hearts and minds of a generation that I refuse to believe is so disaffected and apathetic
that it can only further the hollow, specious rebellion of Cartel Rock PLC.
While we wait patiently, please kindle the flame of a homegrown revolution.
Start a band, fanzine, web-site, label, distribution network - do something! Making CDs
and recording music is relatively cheap. The system has accidentally empowered us with its
technology. It has, simultaneously, also deemed that this shall be low-level and small-scale,
but enough whispers can make a shout.
Don't qualify or quantify what you do, just do it. Be yourself. Be someone.
Make up your own world; other people might choose to live in it with you.
Must go, someone has just turned off the dark. The Lord of the House of Pomona
DIAL HOUSEA significant portion of any profits made from the sale of this
CD will be donated to the Dial House Foundation, - a centre for alternative globalisation.
Dial House has been home to various members of Crass for many years and a place of refuge
for hundreds more, a 'cultural community centre', in fact. Individual donations can be made
to 'Penny Rimbaud' at Dial House, Ongar Park Hall, North Weald, Epping, Essex, CM16 6AE.