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The milieu culture of DIY punk
Peter Webb

5 Crass, subculture and class: the milieu culture of DIY punk Peter Webb This chapter presents an account of the activities and social formation of the DIY punk band Crass in order to develop a critique of the notion of ‘subculture’ employed at the time of the group’s existence (1977–85) by the Birmingham University Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS). It supplies a narrative of how the band and the cultural movement known as `anarchopunk’ provided a ‘milieu’ where class identities could blend and develop hybrid forms of cultural and social capital.1

in Fight back
Postmodernism and the anti-rationalist avant-garde
Rebecca Binns

The intense six-year period that Crass lived and functioned at Dial House had seen them undertake a relentless schedule of writing, recording, self-releasing and touring, made all the more onerous without the support of a major label. They provided extensive support to a DiY network of zinesters, bands and record labels, were involved in political pranks that led to them being placed under surveillance by the authorities and became involved in direct action, including the Stop the City protests (1983–84). Crass were also involved in ongoing

in Gee Vaucher
Rebecca Binns

In 1979, Vaucher returned to Dial House (Essex), in the UK, to live and work as part of Crass. She was excited by the prospect of Crass as it gained momentum and played a supportive role in its development. She had organised four gigs for the band in New York City in 1978 and paid half the costs of their flights with the money she made from producing three illustrations for High Times . The band raised the remainder by selling paraphernalia Vaucher had collected at Dial House over the years and from their own pockets

in Gee Vaucher
Abstract only
Beyond punk, feminism and the avant-garde
Author:

Best known for her work with punk provocateurs Crass, Gee Vaucher (b. 1945) is widely acknowledged for the idiosyncratic and powerful images that have played a decisive role in shaping alternative culture over the last fifty years. This is the first book to critically assess an extensive range of her work, situating it in a lineage from early twentieth-century avant-garde art movements through the counterculture and punk and on to contemporary street art. It provides a fascinating insight into social and cultural history from a vital but hitherto marginalised perspective. While Vaucher rejects all ‘isms’, her work offers a unique perspective within the history of feminist art. The book explores how her experience has shaped this perspective, with particular focus on the anarchistic, open house collective at Dial House.

Russ Bestley
and
Rebecca Binns

precursors and peers. This anarcho-punk discourse was also articulated reciprocally through a conversation between the zines and bands such as Crass and Poison Girls. The concerns expressed in Gee Vaucher’s designs for Crass were embodied in the aesthetic accompanying the subgenre; the younger punk demographic of zine creators and authors further built on an established audience and ready-made distribution and manufacturing networks that were pioneered by the previous punk generation, who in turn had been supported by their subcultural predecessors. ANOK4U The notion of

in Ripped, torn and cut
Rebecca Binns

While Crass brought a distinct vision of anarchism, pacifism and feminism into punk through their output in the early years, as the 1980s progressed they became increasingly focused on the authoritarianism, divisive politics and neo-liberal economics of the Thatcher government. Thatcher provided the locus for opposition from various quarters due to her extreme political-economic stance, harsh posturing and high visibility. While the Left in general was focused on opposition to the Tory regime, the anarchist perspective differed in that it saw

in Gee Vaucher
Abstract only
Rebecca Binns

easily with art world appreciation. Born into a working-class family in Barking in the aftermath of the Second World War, Gee Vaucher benefitted from an art school education during the 1960s, when social mobility meant a diverse range of voices were involved in the formation of new art movements and culture. She was one of the earliest occupants of the enduring Essex commune Dial House (later home to punk provocateurs Crass), was closely involved in the 1970s Free Festivals scene (in particular with the formation of the Stonehenge Free Festival) and

in Gee Vaucher
Fearghus Roulston

dominated the areas in which they grew up. This political mode takes different tacks in both cases. Petesy's affiliation with an anarchist milieu, his local organising, and the influence of anarcho-punk bands like Crass and Poison Girls inflects his understanding of punk and politics. Damien instead draws on the leftist politics of The Clash and Rock Against Racism to make sense of his own experiences in west Belfast and to develop his own reading of the conflict in the North. Growing up in Belfast At the start of the interview

in Belfast punk and the Troubles
Political agitation and public intervention in the new millennium
Rebecca Binns

Following Vaucher's hiatus from Crass, during which she turned away from the ‘sensationalism’ that she saw dominating the art world, her work took a more outward-looking turn as the new century dawned. This coincided with a shift in attitude within the British art world, away from spectacular art that denied discernible meaning, towards work that attempted to once again engage with society. Jeremy Deller's (b. 1966) Battle of Orgreave (2002), for example, re-enacted the momentous fight between striking miners and police (1984) using a

in Gee Vaucher
Rebecca Binns

impacted on ordinary people, with its worst effects being felt by the most vulnerable. She later dedicated one of her self-published journals, International Anthem – War (1983) specifically to this subject, while her work with the anarcho-punk band and collective, Crass (1977–84) reiterated this stance, often in relation to the resurgence of Cold War politics and the ensuing arms race in the early 1980s. Figure 1

in Gee Vaucher