Extracts from a video interview with Penny Rimbaud appear in a new a promotional trailer for documentary Positive Force: More than a Witness: 30 Years of Punk Politics In Action, which focus on the political efforts and impact of the Washington D.C.-based punk political activist collective Positive Force. The interview with Rimbaud appears as one of the documentary’s additional special features. In the clip, Rimbaud reflects on the intentions and motivations of some of key first wave punk bands:

People like the [Sex] Pistols and the Clash, who, on the surface, appeared to be saying rather similar things. But actually, they also were exceedingly ambitious. They were full of intent. And that ambition and intent was to basically benefit, by and through, commodity culture


Chris Ford. ‘Punk Legend Penny Rimbaud Says the Sex Pistols + the Clash “Didn’t Mean It”‘ Diffuser.fm, 16 December 2014. http://diffuser.fm/penny-rimbaud-punk-doc


In a separate clip from the interview, Rimbaud reflects on the Stop the City initiative and his view of the state’s response to acts of collective opposition:


The documentary Positive Force: More than a Witness: 30 Years of Punk Politics In Action is available for online steaming and digital download from the Vimeo platform or on DVD from publishers PM Press, whose site offers more information about the film, its reception and the work of director Robin Bell.

Punk activist collective Positive Force DC emerged in 1985, rising from the creative, politically-charged ferment of DC punk’s Revolution Summer. Born in a dynamic local scene sparked by Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring, a handful of young activists also drew inspiration from UK anarcho-punks Crass and the original ‘Positive Force’ band Seven Seconds to become one of the most long-lasting and influential exponents of punk politics.

This feature-length film by Robin Bell skillfully mixes rare archival footage (including electrifying live performances from Fugazi, Bikini Kill, Rites of Spring, Nation of Ulysses, Anti-Flag, and more) with new interviews of key PF activists including co-founder Mark Andersen (co-author of Dance of Days) and Jenny Toomey (Simple Machines, Tsunami) as well as supporters such as Ian MacKaye, Jello Biafra, Dave Grohl, Ted Leo, Riot Grrrl co-founders Allison Wolfe and Kathleen Hanna, and many more. Covering a span of 30 years, More Than a Witness documents PF’s Reagan-era origins, the creation of its communal house, FBI harassment, and the rise of a vibrant underground that burst into the mainstream amid controversy over both the means and the ends of the movement.

Through it all, Positive Force has persisted, remaining deeply rooted in their hometown, reaching out to those in need and building bridges between diverse communities, while regularly bringing punk protest to the front doors of the powers-that-be. Encompassing an ever-evolving cast of characters, the all-volunteer group has helped to nurture several generations of activists. In the best punk fashion, PF has applied creative DIY tactics and radical critiques to issues of homelessness, hunger, racism, corporate globalization, sexism, homophobia, war, gentrification, and animal/earth liberation, while struggling to constructively address conflicting dynamics and visions within the group itself.

Run time: 69 minutes.

The filmmakers’ portion of the proceeds from the sale of the DVD will benefit the We Are Family senior outreach network.

Just released by Exitstencil Press:

Gee Vaucher

A collection of films made by Gee Vaucher, member of Crass and the artist behind their groundbreaking graphic art. Made between 1978-1984, these films are visual extensions of the music and ideas of Gee and Crass and were shown during all of their gigs.

The DVD includes the songs Reality Whitewash, Shaved Women, Smother Love, Mother Earth, Bomb and Yes Sir, I Will, which gives you a choice of the original audio track or a reworking by Penny Rimbaud.

DVD and booklet
Pages: 50
Size: 140mm x 140mm
Semi Detached - Gee Vaucher

Situation Press is an independent publisher based in London, England. The Truth of Revolution, Brother is our first book. It’s an exploration of punk philosophy, and the culmination of 18 months spent interviewing some of the most important figures in the movement.

It all started with a Sunday lunchtime conversation. We wondered what the people behind punk might be able to teach us about how to live more fulfilling lives. We then thought we’d try to find out. With a bit of luck we could write a book about it.

Everything about The Truth of Revolution, Brother has been Do It Yourself, and when that’s proved impossible, we’ve tried to Do It Responsibly.

Funding for the book’s printing came from a successful Kickstarter campaign (with the added benefit of there being no corporate publisher telling us what not to write), and the print has been done by Calverts Cooperative based in London’s East End.

Named in honour of 17th Century ‘sedicious’ publishers Giles and Elizabeth Calvert, they’ve been plying their radical trade since 1977, and currently work for people like Tate, the British Museum and the Royal College of Art.

They’ve done a stunning job. The Truth of Revolution, Brother features an unorthodox ‘open bind’ which allows the book to lie flat when opened. The book is litho printed, with biodegradable vegetable inks on heavy stock from sustainable sources.

Inside, interviews and analysis are mixed with intimate black and white photography, original illustrations, and art from many of our interviewees.

The Truth of Revolution, Brother is an object of real beauty.

The Truth of Revolution, Brother

The Truth of Revolution, Brother is a unique exploration of the philosophy of punk, based on the ideas, beliefs and lives of the people that created the movement.

The punk explosion of the late 70s and early 80s changed the face of music, art, and fashion. But it didn’t stop there. Punks were onto something really important. They had a unique view on an alternative way of living.

The Truth of Revolution, Brother is the result of a year spent with some of punk’s most influential figures.

From legendary British anarchos Crass to US stalwarts Fugazi and Dead Kennedys; first generation figures the Adverts to contemporary carrier of the flame Jeffrey Lewis, this groundbreaking book investigates the approaches and life choices made by the people associated with this most misunderstood genre.

The result is truly life-affirming. From the fields of Essex to Iceland’s corridors of power; the West Country to Washington DC, 30 interviews gently reveal a host of strategies for living that are more meaningful now than they were back in punk’s heyday.

Unique testament is mixed with thoughtful analysis and original art to create a true punk one-off.

30 original interviews, including Jello Biafra, Penny Rimbaud, Ian MacKaye, Gee Vaucher, Steve Albini, Vi Subversa, Little Annie, Mark Stewart, Tim Smith, Steve Ignorant, Jón Gnarr, Einar Örn Benediktsson and many more

  • Original artistic contributions from interviewees
  • Yes, Sir, I Will – updated for 2014 by Penny Rimbaud
  • Beautifully illustrated throughout
  • Unique portraits of the interviewees

The Truth of Revolution, Brother is a stunning artifact. Printed by Calverts Cooperative in London’s East End on high quality heavy paper, using sustainable stock and biodegradable vegetable inks. The book features an open binding, which allows the book to lay flat when opened.

Re/Search publications are to publish a new pocketbook collection of interviews with Crass co-founder Penny Rimbaud. The publication date is listed as 16 December 2014 on some sites; but the item is currently available for order from the Re/Search web shop.

Penny Rimbaud is probably most famous as the drummer, songwriter and philosopher-founder of the proto-punk band Crass (1976-1984), which in a pioneering DIY spirit produced their own vinyl LPs which included dazzling poster-size artworks by Gee Vaucher (plus lyrics, essays) hand-inserted into plastic sleeves. The listener had a lot to look at while hearing the record! After-Crass, Penny has written poetry, journals, prose, produced drawings, lectured, read poems aloud and done musical performances (with Japanther, jazz musicians) in Europe, London and at City Lights Bookstore and Emerald Tablet in San Francisco.

RE/SEARCH - Interviews with Penny Rimbaud by V Vale

Penny Rimbaud [interviews by V. Vale] (Re/Search publications: San Francisco, 2014). ISBN-10: 1889307416; ISBN-13: 978-1889307411. 4×6″. 184 pages. A Re/Search Pocketbook.

The Where’s Wally? blog, which has been granted access to papers from the Dial House archive, has digitised and posted a press release discussing the death of Wally Hope authored by Penny Rimbaud in 1985.

The document comprises cut-and-pasted extracts from his ‘Last of the Hippies’ essay (included in the 1982 A Series of Shock Slogans and Mindless Token Tantrums book), prefaced by a short introduction by Rimbaud.

Sent to media outlets within weeks of the infamous Battle of the Beanfield (an orchestrated and vicious police assault on a group of travellers en route to Stonehenge in June 1985 which put paid to that year’s festival at the site), Rimbaud suggests:

In view of the confrontational and violent manner in which this year’s festival is being treated by the authorities, I thought it may be useful background to you to know of its equally violent origins.

Penny Rimbaud - Wally Hope - press release - 1985

Pete Fender (Fatal Microbes, Rubella Ballet, Omega Tribe) was interviewed for the Street Voice UK site earlier this month. Reflecting on his experience in the anarcho-punk movement, he recalls:

I grew up in the counter-culture, you know. Both of my parents were anarchists, long before I came along, they were activists in the fifties and sixties. The CND march from Aldermaston and all that. My dad was a conscientious objector, he had printed some leaflets and served time in prison for disaffecting the troops in the second world war. He went to prison again when I was about six years old for refusing to fill in the Census form… I was born into protest, really. I didn’t make a conscious effort towards anarcho-punk, it happened around me and I took part. There just wasn’t any question – it felt more like a sort of family loyalty than anything else.

Fatal Microbes - Violence Grows / Beautiful Pictures

As part of Post-Punk Then and Now, “a series of talks & film screenings exploring post-punk’s popular modernist search for the new from the 1970s to today”, artists Gee Vaucher and Laura Oldfield are in conversation with Mark Fisher on 13 November 2014.

Post-Punk Then and Now - Gee Vaucher, Laura Oldfield - November 2014

Gee Vaucher is an artist & writer whose work extends beyond her renowned association with the anarchist band Crass. Seeing her work as a tool for social change, she has worked in various media and is the author of Crass Art and Other Pre Post-Modernist Monsters (AK Press 1999) and Animal Rights (Exitstencil Books 2004).

Laura Oldfield is an artist & writer whose work is concerned with contested space, landscape, architecture and memory. She is the author of Savavage Messiah (Verso 2011). Her show Seroxat, Smirnoff, THC is currently at the Stanley Picker Gallery.

Gee and Laure will be in conversation with Mark Fisher (author of Capitalist Realism and Ghosts of My Life about politics, art and how the conditions for cultural production have shifted since the post-punk period.

This Post-Punk Then and Now event takes place in the Ian Gulland Lecture Theatre, Goldsmiths, University of London, New Cross, London SE14 6NW; are free to attend; begin at 17:00 and end at 19:00.


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