The first is an hour long documentary, not new but enjoying a renewed lease of life, about Crass - probably the single most significant punk band ever - called No Authority But Yourself. Unswervingly committed to psychic resistance in all its forms, to describe Crass merely as a band seems somehow to miss the point: this was what we'd now call viral activity - an anti-ideological ideology, with all the complicated subtexts and conflicting agendas that suggests. And yet if you pitched up to their commune in Essex in the 1970s or 1980s, you could probably crash there for as long as you liked, get fed on veggie soup and record a couple of songs. (I exaggerate here for effect. Though apparently not that much.)
Their music had a strange role to play in all this, in that it was both relentlessly extreme and largely irrelevant to what Crass were about, though they did generate some unsettling moments. I still recall a fearful first encounter with Reality Asylum, aged around 13. This was their attack – weirdly intimate in tone – on organised religion and the church. Even now it sounds like an ambient-Satanic rite recited by Radio 4's Charlotte Green. (Uniquely for a band, Penny Rimbaud's book Shibboleth probably serves as a better introduction to Crass than most of the band's actual records. The Mob's No Doves Fly Here and the stuff they released with a pre-Sugarcubes Bjork under the name Kukl was probably the most enduring stuff, musically speaking, to appear on their label.)
At their anarchic heart though was a terrible irony, of which they became increasingly aware: in attempting to dismantle the entertainment-industrial complex with all its familiar myths, they created a new myth of their own. Penny Rimbaud still writes for our old friends The Idler, who gave away Youth's New Banalists Orchestra album – featuring Penny Rimbaud, Z. Mindwarp and Mark Stewart, amongst others – a while back. He walks it like he talks it.
Unexpectedly, I re-encountered this doc today not on any of the usual, seditious sites we tend to frequent round here, but via online marketing mag NMA (that would be New Media Age rather than New Model Army), who announce that Vice are streaming the film on their new social video channel. I am confident this is the first and only time Crass have ever featured in a digital marketing publication. But their legacy frequently manifests itself in highly unlikely places. So maybe… not.
The second message from the old world – and if you've been to this blog before this will be fabulously predictable - comes from Killing Joke, who have released a new track off their new album. KJ are hosting an end of the world party in New Zealand later this year – assuming we all make it that far - but we'll have to settle with a pilgrimage to the Roundhouse in March, which may occasion a proper piece here on an abiding obsession. New tune below. It rattles.