There is no authority but yourself

I recently watched The Day the Country Died, a documentary on English anarcho-punk in the early 1980s. I saw a really terrible documentary called Punk: Attitude around this time last year and concluded that someone needed to make a film specifically about this side of punk because it is so often overlooked in these sorts of histories.

I originally thought this was an official companion to Ian Glasper’s book of the same name, but it was actually made by Roy Wallace and appears to be an entirely separate project. It does seem to have Ian’s blessing though, as Ian himself is interviewed as well as notables such as Penny Rimbaud and members of Flux of Pink Indians, Subhumans, Conflict, Hit Parade, and others. I haven’t read the book yet but I looked through it at City Lights a while back and it’s on my to-buy list.

The film is in the same vein as the book: a look back at Crass and the other bands in their circle, the music, the politics, and the scene that grew up around them. It’s interesting to hear their opinions now about their politics back then. The prevailing sentiment seems to be that anarchism is more important on a personal level than on a societal. That is, it’s important to live your life the way you choose to, not the way the government or society dictates. “There is no authority but yourself.”

This is also what I took from my recent reading of The Story of Crass, which was a fascinating read. This book covered the history of Crass, the band, Crass Records, the label, and Dial House, the cooperative living house (don’t call it a commune!) in the English countryside that they all lived in (which Penny Rimbaud and Gee Vaucher finally secured ownership of recently). It’s an inspiring look at a group of people who took the anarcho-punk ethos seriously in every way, from growing their own food to selling records at or below cost, and spawning a huge, lasting movement in the process. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in the band or scene, either now or in the past.

Comments

Mot says:

I’ll have to check them out. I just ordered the “American Hardcore” DVD that was directed by Paul Rachman. Any ideas of what it’s about?

Kenn Christ says:

American Hardcore looks like it could be good. It’s got 3.8 stars out of five on Netflix. I haven’t seen it yet but it’s in my queue.

Aimee says:

I’ve seen American Hardcore. It’s good, really long though. Lots of noise in one go.

Kenn Christ says:

I eventually saw American Hardcore and wrote up a review with my thoughts on it.