#PunkHR Crass; Crossovers and Crosswords. #BtW

Posted: May 17, 2014 in Uncategorized

Crass were an anarchic UK Punk band back in the 1970s I remember well. They used the Anarchy symbol in the A of their band name. If I were to see that today I would think “clever marketing”. Back then it was SYMBOLISM. It was about two fingers up to the institution and the establishment. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crass for more.

Crass weren’t as memorable to all as the Sex Pistols perhaps, but I don’t think their lead singer ended up in a reality TV programme or a Butter advert. (Thanks @workessence Neil Usher, @Stuart_Snelling)



Needs the money


Not many people though – unless a die hard Punk – remember Steve Ignorant but he was a frontman for Crass and didn’t end up like John Lydon fronting Country Life butter ads.

Crass – in themselves – provide a fascinating look at how a Punk attitude can mature into direct political activism and how seemingly sensationalist actions aren’t about individual publicity and superstardom they are necessary parts of being noticed and creating an interest in others to effect change.

An interest in others to effect change. There you have it.

Crass were underground, AND needed to go overground. BUT not at any cost. They were incredibly anti commercial and anti consumerism. They had ex-army surplus gear worn to destroy over-individualism and not (as the dumb mass media thought) to portray themselves as fascist militaria. They had no leader yet all lead with their thoughts on a wider socio-political agenda.

Crass were Punk in music, attitudes and ideals.

I have never been a Punk in musical or clothing senses. Yet I hung out with Punks in the 70s and 80s and couldn’t help but be influenced.

I had this ridiculous tension between my being an individualistic Mod – smart clothes looking VERY modernist consumerist – with the Punk rebellion – snarl at preventative, establishment thinking.

I found a home in my mind as a Punk and in my outlook and presentation as a Mod.  I could be construed as a fake. As neither fish nor fowl As a pretend rebel in establishment attire. As plastic. As a danger. A sell out. An indecisive who goes with the flow. A trend follower with no substance or identity.

That’s how I sometimes find myself in a professional capacity too. Establishment appearance. Alternative mindset and heart.

I’m what I CHOOSE to be. I know my values core and identity. All it is, is different to yours / conventional thinking. Different to anything people want to codify and define.

I coined a #PunkHR thing and found others had already beaten me to it. I’m never under the illusion I’m original. Or inventive. Yet this playful thing, had some folks expressing outright dislike for it. Others loved it. Some might “bandwagon” it but the 6 letters put together like this say the following

– There’s individuality to be found in a collective.

– There’s attitude to be found in professional endeavours.

– There’s edge to the mainstream.

– There’s crossover in the underground.


Those rebels in us love a dark corner of dissent and a hangout exclusively for enlightened ones. Where there’s danger in the words used. Where being discovered is a constant threat and part of the thrill. Where membership is a nod and a wink and there’s a club of elite and edgy minds. No intellectual jousting here cos we are all in the know.

But if there’s good in the rebellion, it will be noticed. In fact it is inevitable it will get noticed as that’s a law of nature. Darwinism if you will.

And then it’s not so seductive anymore.

Those normal people you’re not part of suddenly come and hangout with you – and even a little bit worship you as a pioneer. And admit it, you like that for a while. Then it becomes a little too crossed over and the intellectual, philosophical and attitudinal gaps appear and you think your rebellion has been spoiled.

It’s crossed over that’s all. Yes as a result of crossing over, some of the extreme ideals may wither and die, but isn’t that natural selection right there?

Isn’t the reason for a rebellion to overthrow and replace with better?

How you do that without massive support? So my view is you HAVE to crossover. Gain mass appeal.

It does NOT mean you have to sell out.

You may have to prune some extremes but the bigger goal is at stake here so you should still hold the crucible ideal as the thing that counts.

Let go of your dark corner and shine the light on the real reason you wanted to change. Better. For all.

If you dissent from the crossover then you might just like the act of rebellion too much and aren’t really after any bigger outcome. Check yourself if you are and go create some harmless, fruitless rebellion somewhere out of our way.

Because we want the bigger thing. And we won’t let anything – rebels or establishment – get in our way. We need you if your mind and heart are with us but if you’re just up for fighting, then fuck off and fight somewhere else.

Cross words those. I don’t use profanity for any other reason to express passion. For that’s what I have. Why do I exist? What is my life all about? I WANT it to be part of changing the way work is for EVERYONE for the better.

Not a plaque, or a Wikipedia page, or a knighthood. Just another tick in the box of “made a positive difference”.

5 across, 6 letters. – trust, faith, or confidence in (someone or something)


That’s not a cross word, that’s a crossword.

I have belief in a better way and you’re either with that whatever your outward look or you’re not. Establishment rebels? Corporate Punks? Who cares. Just believe – that’s good enough to start with.

And then help us DO.

Something better everyday which sets out to improve the future or work.

There’s nothing crass in that.

  1. […] Further reading: Chris Kane on the genesis of the thinking behind the collaboration Doug Shaw responds to the announcement Mark Catchlove adds his thoughts And more from Chris on why this is so important Perry Timms gets poetic […]

  2. kategl says:

    There is something in the air…. there are a number of blogs this weekend with a shared theme.

    Well said Perry. True change requires more than just a few like minded souls, but we should not compromise for second best, the future is too important for that

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