Shibboleth: my revolting lifePenny Rimbaud, J.J. Ratter
The extraordinary autobiography of Jeremy John Ratter, a.k.a. Penny Rimbaud, founder, lyricist, and drummer of Crass, a band unique in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. Crass took the idealism of punk seriously. When Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten screamed “No Future” the challenge was taken. In the space of seven short years, from 1977 to their breakup in 1984, Crass almost single-handedly breathed life back into the then moribund peace and anarchist movements. They birthed a huge underground network of do-it-yourself activism, fanzines, record labels, activist action groups, and concert halls. While remaining on their own independent record label, and steadfastly refusing any interviews with the major press, they managed to sell literally millions of records. Their political “pranks” included the now infamous “KGB tapes,” trumpeted among others, on the front page of the New York Times, and the duping of Total Loving magazine into including a Crass song (ranting against the patriarchy of marriage) as the “perfect song to play on your wedding day.” In this book, Penny takes us from his strict lower-middle class childhood and his experiences in art school to the Crass years, the hippies, and Free Festivals, including the now legendary, illegal Stonehenge Festival, of which Rimbaud was a co-founder.
Shibboleth also includes, for the first time, the full story of Wally Hope—”The Last of the Hippies,” close friend of Rimbaud, co-founder of the Stonehenge Festival, and who was murdered by the State while incarcerated in a mental institution.
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