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Baker's Dozen

I Don't Belong Here: Cathi Unsworth's Weirdo In 13 Albums
The Quietus , July 25th, 2012 07:17

Author and journalist Cathi Unsworth talks us through the albums that inspired her new novel Weirdo. This feature will bring dark joy to the hearts of those whose clothes are black, whose lips are purple and whose witches are red


Crass Stations Of The Crass

This could actually be any Crass album, I have pillaged their brilliant titles and, I hope, their sentiments quite liberally over the course of the book. I discovered Crass in Backs Records in Norwich, which was our Norfolk equivalent of Rough Trade, and where I used to go every Saturday to spend the money I’d earned working in a guesthouse during the summer season on records. Their album artwork was all over the walls there, along with records by affiliated artists like The Mob, The Poison Girls and The Cravats, who are also on the soundtrack of the book. I loved the idea that they had taken themselves completely out of the system and were creating their work unfettered by any outside interference, while also offering support to other artists. That still seems to me the best way to do things, and possibly, the best way of creating an alternative future for good music and maybe even writing too.

Though it seems a world away now that any band could be considered such a threat as Crass were when ‘How Does It Feel To Be Mother Of A Thousand Dead?’ came out and there were questions asked in the House about them. There was no response to Blair and his wars that even compares to this, although I did hold out a hope that Crass would re-record it as ‘How Does It Feel To Be Father Of A Million Dead?’ We might have been living in the worst of times politically in the Eighties, but it was the best of times musically. Up until Live Aid, anyway.