The Slow Burning Fuse

an atheisitic anarchistic scorcher

literature for rebels




Official government documents have just been released regarding one of the best things ever done by the only real punk band ever, Crass.

Basically, in 1982, when the rest of punk had started playing sax, Crass created this piece of subversive décollage, splicing together recordings of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan to create a fake phone call between the conservative übermenschen.

Here’s Crass founder Penny Rimbaud explaining the whole story to VICE back in 2004:

“We wanted to come up with something which might get rid of Thatcher. It was just after the Falklands charade, when she was about to get re-elected. We were told something we knew could seriously dent the Thatcher Empire. Allegedly, the Navy had allowed HMS Sheffield to be blown out of the water by not informing them that an incoming Exocet missile had been picked up on the radar. The other three boats in the grouping were informed and took defensive action. Why? Because one of the ships was the Invincible and on board was Prince Andrew. Given that the information was classified, we decided the only way to make it public was to fake a telephone conversation between Thatcher and Reagan.

“We edited bits and pieces from speeches made by the two of them, creating a conversation which included all the details of the Sheffield. We then sent out tapes to all the major European newspapers, but nothing happened. Thatcher was re-elected, but then, six months down the line, the US State Department announced that they were in possession of KGB tapes ‘produced to destroy democracy as we know it’.

“It soon became obvious that it was our tape they were talking about. It was frightening. A bunch of anarchist jokers sparking off a world war? Anyway, the same KGB story eventually broke in the British press and it wasn’t long before The Observer got in touch with us, asking whether we knew anything about the tapes. It was unbelievable. The whole operation had been carried out in absolute secrecy, but somehow or other they’d managed to pin it onto us. After a gruelling day of negotiations, we agreed to admit responsibility if they would print the Sheffield details in their article, which, true to their word, they did.

“We did our best to expose the story but even now it’s an issue which has never really been given full and proper investigation.”

Yesterday, official documents were released about the case. They’re not wildly revelatory, but they do prove that Margaret Thatcher spent at least a small part of 1983 reading about Crass. Something she has in common with most of the 45-year-old punks you see throwing their cider cans at Pret a Manger in Kentish Town.

words taken from


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This entry was posted on January 4, 2014 by in anarchy, book, literature and tagged , , , .
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