Prosecute Falklands record, says M.P
By Anne McHardy
The Attorney General, Sir Michael Havers, has been asked by the Conservative MP for Enfield North, Mr. Tim Eggar, to prosecute an Anti-Falklands war record under the Obscene Publications Act.
The record How Does It Feel To Be The Mother of 1,000 Dead?, by the group Crass, which also owns the record company Crass Records, which released it, is said to have sold 20,000 copies since. it was issued last Saturday. It refers toMrs. Thatcher and the decision, to send the Task Force. "You never wanted peace or solution, from the start you lusted after war and destruction. . . Iron Lady, with your stone heart so, eager that the lesson be taught that you inflicted, you determined, you created, you ordered -- It was your decision to have those young boys slaughtered."
Mr Eggar said: "This is the most vicious, scurrilous and obscene record that has ever been produced. It goes beyond the acceptable bounds of freedom of speech. It is an insult not only to the Prime Minister, the country and all the armed forces, but also, sadly, to the families of those who died and were wounded in the Falklands."
A member of Crass, Andy Palmer, said that he did not accept that the record was obscene. Mr. Eggar was objecting because he did not agree with the political sentiment expressed. "It was a considered attack on the Government. We are criticising the mentality that can send young boys to war. The mentality of war is far more obscene than we could possibly be."
The New York Daily News, March 28, 1982
A British band's blast at Thatcher
by KEN TUCKER
TO THOSE OBSERVING the fallout from recent war in the Falkland Islands, there were frequent signs that a fresh feelfng of patriotism in the English and Argentines had been instilled; not much was heard from those who disagreed with their countries' war policies. That's why the latest single from teh English band Crass came as such a shock to British listeners.
The song, entitted "How Does It Feel To Be The Mother of 1,000 Dead?" is a ferocious atack on the Thatcher goovernment, addressed to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher herself.
The coomposition, which has caused London, is part of a four song, five-inch disc released in England in October and recently distributed in the United States by Rough Trade. Over a thudding beat and grinding guitar chords, an angry, flat voice intones lyrics such as "You never wanted peace or solution, From the start you lusted after war and destruction", and "Iron Lady, with your stone heart so eager that the lesson be taught, That you inflicted, you determined, you created, you ordered, it was your decision that those young boys be slaughtered."
MANY BANDS, especially since the advent of punk rock, have recorded music with political, violent or obscene content, but the charge that it is done "just for publicity" is a foolish one. Bad music with provocative lyrics disarppears instantly; no one plays it on the radio, so no one hears it. Like any other kind of pop music, this sort of controversial music becomes etfective only if it has compelling music behind it, and "How Does It Feel to Be the Mother of 1,000 Dead?" is a good song; urgent, memorable, smart.
Within the British government, there were repeated calls to ban the Crass record. Conservative member of Parliment, Tim Eggar was quoted as saying, "This is the most vicious, scurrilous and obscene record that has ever been produced. It goes beyond the acceptible bounds of freedom of speech. It is an insult not only to the prime minister, the country and all the armed forces, but also, sadly, to the families of those who died and were wounded in the Falklands.
Even the pop-music columnist for the racy Daily Mirror newspaper joined in condenming the song, saying, "The anarchist band Crass has gone too far. They released the most revolting and unnecessary record I have ever heard."
THIS WAS impressive stuff--imagine, both a government official and a rock critic agreeing about something--until readers noticed that the rock critic was Tim Eggar's brother, Robin Eggar [see article below].
What is most interesting about this little controversy is Crass' response to it. In America, it is common for even the most ferocious rebels to take pains to establish that they're basically friendly people just fighting for what they believe in. Crass, a band that downplays publicity--no photographs, no personality profiles--rejects such niceties.
In a statement issued by Crass, the band asserted that they "accept (Tim) Eggar's accusations and claim that they fully intend to insult those parties as it was them that has insulted "decent consciousness" with their futile, unnecessary and barbaric little war." Referring to their song as "a violent but considered attack on Mrs. Thatcher's handling of the 'Falklands Crisis,'" Crass left no doubt of its serious position.
The band's single will never have the same sort of impact in the United States, of course, but it is interesting to realize that no American, rock band has ever raised these sorts of explicitiy political questions and caused a commensurate stir.
Daily Mirror, October 19, 1982. Page 19
Feeling so Nasty. Shock single with a sick message
By Robin Eggar [brother of Conservative MP, Tim Eggar, see above articles]
ROCK music is often used by the young to voice their protests.
the Sex Pistols
appeared to be in
1977, their songs were
a chilling warning of
the coming recession.
But anarchist band
Crass have gone too far.
They released last week
the most revolting and
unnecessary record I have
How Does It Feel To Be The Mother of 1,000 Dead? is a vicious and obscene attack on Margaret Thatcher's motives for engaging in the Falklands war. It bears Iittle relation to reality. Retailing at only 75p it has already sold more than 28,000 copies.
Guitarist Andy Palmer, 26, who lives with the other seven members of the band in an anarchist commune near Epping Forest, says: "I disagree with the gross glorification of heroism going on at the moment." Crass's last LP, Christ-The Album, reached seventeen in the charts and was the subject of numerous complaints. This time Crass may not escape the law courts.
Palmer says: "We stand by the sentiments of the record, and would be prepared to defend it in court."
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