Always outnumbered. Generally overdresssed.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Do they owe us a living? I strongly suspect they do.

So the first half of this novel I'm supposedly writing is set in the 70s, in Shepherds Bush, in the demi-monde of squatting and petty criminality. As part of the research I've been reading Penny Rimbaud's book, Shibboleth - My Revolting Life.

Rimbaud was drummer and founding member of the anarchopunk band Crass. I remember being played The Feeding of the 5000 in council flat bedroom when I was about 15 and becoming genuinely scared that someone would hear it and arrest us. Just one of the reasons I don't do drugs any more.

Rimbaud was actually an upper-middle class hippy - a public schoolboy, then a tutor at an art college, he lived in a commune he set up in a rented farmhouse. His father was Colonel in the British army and he was already in his thirties by the time Crass made it.

He shares these qualities with Joe Strummer, whose Dad was in the Foreign Office and who consistently lied about his age and his background. Increasingly punk seems to me to a be movement of posers who were angry with their parents, or angry about being sent to boarding school. The only authentic punks were the inauthentic punks.

Anyway, Shibboleth is great, by turns pretentious and smart much as you'd expect from someone that changed their name from Jeremy John Ratter to Penny Darjeeling Rimbaud. If you'd like to experience some abuse from Rimbaud first hand, I suggest you visit his website here.

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