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As all that is solid melts to air and everything holy is profaned...

Friday, November 11, 2005

Crass, anarcho-goth-punk, neo-paganism and industrial music

Crass, anarcho-goth-punk, chaos magick , neo-paganism and industrial music.

Here are a couple of interesting comments on the story so far:

1.Chaos Magic is kind pushing it a bit. In Leeds maybe... but the links between neopaganism in general as a bridge between hippy, punk and later rave is a more viable conduit. Industrial culture generally is more specifically relevant than Chaos as a link (have you seen Phil Hine' s record collection??!). Esotericism always bridges generation gaps and hence mixes up musical genres. Also see: Robin's Greenwood Gang (ex-hippy anarcho pagan / traveller-related eco group that collapsed IIRC after getting beaten to a pulp by the brew crew for no good reason at all) and of course the Dragon Environmental Network, which is still going strong and scoring the odd victory. paul.meme

2. Dear Alistair,Very much enjoying your ruminations. Yes, Crass were aware of TG--they met at on at least occasion. Mutual respect as far as I know. The Crass-avant garde/electronic/industrial link went primarily through Annie Anxiety and led to such things as Whitehouse supporting Flux of Pink Indians at the Greyhound in November 1982, Steve Ignorant singing with Current 93 etc. etc.You're doing fantastic work in writing about this--keep it up!

Multi coloured spaghetti ; or there’s too much confusion, I can’t get no relief (line from a Hendrix song ? Quick google check- Dylan actually, but Hendrix’s version - All along the Watchtower)

"There must be some kinda way out of here," said the joker to the thief,
"There's too much confusion, I can't get no relief.
Businessmen, they drink my wine, plowmen dig my earth,
None of them along the line know what any of it is worth.
""No reason to get excited," the thief, he kindly spoke,"
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.
But you and I, we've been through that, and this is not our fate,
So let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late."
All along the watchtower, princes kept the view
While all the women came and went, barefoot servants, too.
Outside in the distance a wildcat did growl,
Two riders were approaching, the wind began to howl.

Just from these two comments above, whole alternative/ divergent versions of mystory (myth + history) could be created. Never mind. Lets have a go anyway.

2. Comment 2 . Crass and Throbbing Gristle/ industrial music.

2.1 That is an interesting link. Have found from googling on Centro Iberico that Whitehouse played there in 1982. Throbbing Gristle played in 1979. Whitehouse playing with Flux? That is a wild one. Annie Anxiety did use ‘electronic’ backing tracks so an industrial music link isn’t so surprising. Steve Ignorant and Current 93 - but that was post Crass- or was it? Bit foggy on that. Although I do remember from a conversation with Gen P circa 1983/4 that Dave Tibet had joined the Typhonian OTO. Which is a bit cryptic- so I will adumbrate.
2.2 When Edward Alexander (Aleister) Crowley - whom I hope you have all heard off- died in 1947, he did not leave any clear successor to his role as Mr. Magick. This created a confusion which persists to this day, with several groups and individuals claiming to be the authentic inheritors of AC’s magical mantle. One of these groups is called the Caliphate OTO and were/ are USA based . A rival UK group, led by Kenneth Grant, is called the Typhonian OTO (OTO = Ordo Templi Orientalis , Order of the Eastern Temple).

2.3 During the 1970ies, starting with ‘The Magickal Revival’ in 1972 - which claimed horror fiction writer H. P. Lovecraft for magick- Grant wrote a series of weird and wonderful books which were a UK magickal countercultural alternative to Carlos Castenada’s more high profile shamanic ‘fictions‘. Or Robert Anton Wilson’s Illuminati trilogy. Grant also wrote a fairly straightforward book on Austin Osman Spare who had a huge influence on chaos magick. Grant is still live and well and still writing.

2.4 After Throbbing Gristle came Psychic TV, Coil and Current 93( plus Chris and Cosey’s projects ). PTV , Coil and Current 93 all moved from industrial music to magickal music. Some entanglements ensued. Joel Biroco of Chaos/ Kaos magazine discovered that circa 1986/7Genesis P of PTV/ TOPY had met with one David Rietti, then UK head of Caliphate OTO . This created a huge / tiny ‘stushie’ ( to use a good Scots word).
2.5 From the Kill Your Pet Puppy/ anarcho-goth-punk side there are lots of links. Mouse (whom I met at the Wapping Anarchy Centre in 81) briefly became a member of Psychic TV and was friendly with Coil and wrote for Joel‘s Chaos. Min recorded her song Rape with Zos Kia (PTV/ Coil offshoot) for All the Madmen before becoming a traveller - she was at the Beanfield in 85 . And - if you go back to blog archives for April 2005 more stuff.

2.6 Crass? Unless the works of Kenneth Grant were in the Dial House library, not much overlap/ connection.

1. ‘chaos magick- pushing it a bit’. Paul Meme

1.1 I know chaos magick was more of a late eighties/ nineties thing, bit it did have its origins in the late seventies and as a cultural phenomenon was part ( I reckon) of the seventies ‘underground’ expansion of late sixties counterculture. If you have noticed the Undercurrents magazines scans - in one from mid-seventies I found a review of Ramsay Dukes/ Lionel Snell’s SSOTBME (Sex secrets of the black magicians exposed). Unfortunately I sent Tom Vague that issue, but it was there, honest!
I am not sure how Lionel fits in with the development of chaos magick, but he was/ is an influence. Also Dave Lee - in an early Chaos International (3?) he reviewed a Vague and got nostalgic for the old situationist / OZ etc references. Will scan in. Not sure on Pete Carroll / Ray Sherwin’s roots, but they must have been of ‘that’ generation.

1.2 Phil Hine’s record collection? Intriguing. No idea on Phil’s musical interests / influences, no recollection of ever talking music with Phil. I do remember spotting that Dave Lee had Love’s Forever Changes in his collection which impressed me- one of my all time favourites. And that Nick Hall had 40 Hawkwind albums…

1.3 Robin’s Greenwood Gang. George Firsoff/ Greenleaf magazine . Knew George through Pinki/ Tanith‘s involvement in Stonehenge Campaign. But a problem came up when George had a go at Anne Barrowcliffe and Barry which got quite nasty.

1.4 Dragon Environmental Network. As you say, still going at
Is Adrian still living in New Cross I wonder? Tanith did some actions with them (and Shan/ House of the Goddess) in early nineties but - how can I put this politely? - Tanith was not very impressed. She felt they were fine at raising energy, but then lost the plot - energy raised has to be earthed in a very focused way. Which didn’t happen. She wrote an article on ‘Magick and Direct Action’ - must find and post here.

3. And Crass?
3.1 I guess that there are lots of strands all mixed up here, of which Crass and the politics of anarcho-goth-punk were just part of. Individuals moved between these strands,. creating their own diy mix of influences and actions- e.g. Steve Ignorant plus Current 93, or Annie Anxiety and (?) Whitehouse/ industrial music, Mouse and Coil. Min and Zos Kia. Dave Tibet and the Typhonian OTO. Etc, etc.

3.2 What may seem from a distance as distinct and even oppositional stances/ points of view/ ideologies blur and fuse when seen closer up.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Alistair,
Another great post!

2.6 no--don't remember seeing any Kenneth Grant books at Dial House.

Ignorant appears on Dog's Blood Rising, from 1984--so tail-end of Crass rather than post-Crass. D. Tibet was living in a house in Vauxhall with Annie Anxiety at the time.

Just to add another strand to your mix here, my friends and I got into Crowley/Spare etc. initially through Killing Joke and added those elements to our pre-existing anarcho tendencies.

Your point 3.2 is spot-on--the reality is always much messier than the theories. The map is not the territory.

12:42 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I knew Robin Firsoff, and his Greenwood Gang was basically him and a few mates. He started it around the time of the 70s/80s free festies and was running Greenwood Camps until well in to the 90s. He may well have tussled with the Brew Crew, but so did practically everybody at one time or another - it didn't stop him.
He died last November, and he is still missed by his friends.

8:28 pm  
Blogger Transpontine said...

Well its taken me a while to come across this post (thanks to a link from my friend Mr 'uncarved' Eden). I have written a booklet on New Cross & Deptford radical history and related music. Another connection between scenes is that of shared physical space, e.g. squats. In respect of the punk/magick connection we could mention Speedwell House in Deptford - Peter Carroll lived there and some of his research there found its way into Liber Null. According to 'Frater Choronzon', other proto-Chaos magickians living there in 1976/77 formed a band called Vitriol to perform at times of planetary eclipses. They didn't get very far, but members later went on to join local punk/new wave bands The Rejects and The Realists.

See: http://freespace.virgin.net/ecliptica.ww/book/eclipses.htm

Joseph Porter has recalled going to stay with friends at Speedwell House in the late 70s and coming across an impromptu music festival with The Realists and This Heat. Not sure whether anybody from This Heat actually lived at the now-demolished Speedwell House, but they were squatting somewhere in Deptford.

See: http://www.blythpower.co.uk/genesis/chap01.htm

Incidentally (or not) Jon mentioned to me once that somebody involved with KYPP lived in Nettledon Road, another key connection for music scenes locally. Was that you?

5:13 pm  

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