ORGAN PREVIEW: Cease and Resist, an anarcho punk launch party, discussion and one night exhibition in deepest Hackney with Steve Ignorant, Nic Bullen, Rebecca Binns, Tony D and more…


A quick Organ parish notice, a preview if you will, , a quick thing and I guess it really is in our parish these days, happening right over there in that bar over the road from the Organ bunker where you can sometimes hear the sound of Trespass and that Lady of Mars blasting on to the street – from the bar that is, well maybe for our bunker too. The bar or in this case  venue, is Helgi‘s, you find it on Mare Street in Hackney, London E8, the whole thing is a stew of metal, punk, 70’s hard rock, the occasional bit of prog rock and in terms of  today’s a slice or two of good old anarcho subversion. Hopefully someone is going to hand us a badly photocopied flyer next time we walk pass the gaff, here’s the ‘apps on it all        

“Announcing the London launch party for the Optimo Music album: Cease & Resist: Sonic Subversion & Anarcho-Punk In The UK 1979​-​86  Featuring DJs playing a selection of Anarcho Punk records; Q&A Panel featuring a number of significant figures from the scene and two exclusive photography and archival exhibitions!

The Speakers:

Steve Ignorant: Vocalist with Crass, the band who started it all, should need no introduction. Steve also sung with Conflict and Current 93 amongst others and is currently touring with his new project, Slice of Life, having had two autobiographies published in addition to co-writing a book of Crass’ lyrics, Steve’s experiences within the anarcho scene from its genesis to the present day are second to none.

Nicholas Bullen: Founding member and original Vocalist with Napalm Death who started off as an anarcho punk band and enjoyed their first vinyl release in 1984 on the Crass Records compilation, Bullshit Detector Vol.3 in addition to publishing a number of fanzines whilst still at school. Nick currently works in sound art and plays with Rainbow Grave.

Rebecca Binns: Has written the first ever monograph on the work of the artist and designer, Gee Vaucher, titled Gee Vaucher: Beyond Punk, Feminism and the Avant-Garde (MUP, 2022), which evolved from her PHD research (LCC, 2019). She works as a lecturer on critical theory for design and illustration.

Chris Low: Chris became involved with the anarcho scene before even reaching his teens, publishing a fanzine and drumming for seminal acts including The Apostles, Part One, Oi Polloi and Political Asylum. A co-compiler of the compilation album with Twitch of Optimo who he met through starting a DJ career at the same Edinburgh club, Chris has remained engaged with the punk scene through his internationally exhibited photography work and writing.

Tony Drayton aka ‘Tony D’: Moved from his native town in Scotland to London at the explosion of the original punk movement, starting his first fanzine Ripped & Torn in 1976 before launching the more ‘anarcho focussed’ Kill Your Pet Puppy zine which ran from 1979 to 1984 and becoming involved with the early ‘80s London Anarchy Centres. An anthology of his first fanzine was recently published by Thurston Moore of Sonic Youth. Tony will open proceedings by exploring punk’s evolution from 1976 into the anarcho movement this evening celebrates.

Matthew Worley: Coming from an anarcho punk background Matthew has gone on to become a professor of modern history at the University of Reading and co-founder of the Subcultures Network. He has had several books published on the topics of punk, fanzines and associated culture in addition to collaborating with Steve Ignorant on his most recent autobiography and the collection: References – Lyrics & Stories by Steve Ignorant with Matthew Worley. He will be chairing the panel and Q&A.

Other contributors and special guests to be announced.

The Sounds: Guest DJs joining Chris Low in previewing the complete album and spinning a selection of choice anarcho tunes from past and present over the night are: Nick Hydra (Punk Rock Youth Club/Solus) & Dani Mejia (Less Than Human/Wraith)

The Sights:  Chris will also be previewing two exclusive exhibitions this evening: ‘Beyond The Monochrome’ featuring photographs he took of the original, iconic anarcho acts plus demonstrations and squats he visited as well as ‘Best B4 1984’ featuring a selection of images from his extensive archive of fanzines, handouts and gig posters collected over this period illustrating the graphic vibrancy and ideological diversity of this halcyon period of the movement. This will only be open to view on this evening and none of the material has been previously exhibited. Photographic prints and publications collecting images for both will be available to purchase on the night

It all happens on Thursday 11th May at Helgis, 177 Mare St, London E8 3RH  Open from 6pm, events run from 8pm-1am  Advance tickets £7.50 – What, no reduction for the unwaged, striking nurses or passing coal miners? 

Press Release: 10 years in the making, the double LP looks back at some of the most radical music ever recorded by acts at the forefront of the underground and self-initiated musical movement, Anarcho Punk.

Compiled by JD Twitch and Chris Low for Optimo Music, the compilation spans music made between 1979-86 and features classic tracks from Crass, Poison Girls, Flux Of Pink Indians, The Mob, The Apostles, Zounds, Honey Bane, The Cravats, The Ex, Lack of Knowledge, Hagar The Womb, Chumbawamba, The Alternative, Annie Anxiety, Andy T and more including several previously unreleased studio versions of classic tracks.

Anarcho Punk was the one sub-genre of Punk that emerged in isolation from the rock & roll establishment. During its pioneering days of the early 1980s it thrived in opposition to the music industry, existing as a fiercely underground alternative to the bands, labels and venues of the commercialised mainstream Punk scene. It continues to do so. Anarcho Punk represented one of the last truly underground and autonomous music movements ever witnessed and remains a movement that has never sold out and has never gone away.

The major differentiation between the Anarcho Punk acts and the more traditional Punk outfits was that for the former, albeit often more due to musical limitation than intent, the message was more important than the music. Standard song structures were often dispersed with in favour of a relentless lyrical polemic accompanied by a similarly uncompromising aural assault. As the scene grew, so did the diversity of records that emerged under the Anarcho Punk umbrella: from D & V (drums & vocals) to the proto-EBM synth-pop of Belfast’s one-man Hit Parade and the Dadaist Beefheart hybrid of The Cravats. In later days the two biggest acts of the scene, Flux of Pink Indians and Crass themselves, both released LPs which had more in common with improv Jazz than hardcore punk.

The resounding victory of Anarcho Punk is that it is now a the unifying soundtrack to a culture of resistance that spans Scotland to Indonesia and remains without compromise. It is still as removed from mainstream music and oppositional to conventional culture as it was over forty years ago and shows no sign of changing. Quite the opposite: the more popular Anarcho Punk becomes the less it has to engage with the music establishment and the more control it can enjoy. In 2023, that message remains as uncompromising as ever.

This is a double vinyl retrospective compilation of some of the most radical music ever made, a musical force that changed lives. Covering the years 1979 – 86 and all newly remastered by master engineer Daniel Husayn. It comes as a high quality double vinyl pressing with a full colour sleeve featuring iconic artworks by the legendary Gee Vaucher plus a 6 page fold-out poster with detailed sleeve notes and images and a stunning anarcho-inspired wall-poster on the reverse by Glasgow graphic artist Andrew Beltran.

The compilation is a fundraiser for Faslane Peace Camp. Not so far from Glasgow, Faslane Naval Base is home to Britain’s abhorrent Trident nuclear missiles. The camp has been there, protesting since 1982 and is still active to this day. We hope in our lifetime we will see those missiles leave Scottish soil. We have so much respect for those who have dedicated their lives to protesting against these weapons and it seemed an obvious choice that the proceeds from this release should go to help them and the Scottish Campaign for Nuclear

Disarmament.  Official album release date: May 12, 2023.


Of course over the road from the aforementioned Helgi’s, we’ve got boxes and boxes (and boxes) of anarcho zines, flyetrs, punk zines, old distro lists, metal zines, prog zines, diy flyers, FIN Cell newsletters, free festival lists, squat gig flyers, Stonehenge benefits meeting notes and demo tapes, bootlegs and more more more. We were never punk enough for the anarcho punks though, always way too punk for the progheads, way too strange for the metal tribes, we never really wanted to be in any box with Organ although a lot of the good things that came out of that classic Anarcho punk scene did influence a lot of what we did with Organ (and still does to this day, got to say if I was running this, it would be pay what you want door price, £7.50 might be reasonable for a university lecturer, it is a lot to some people who are still walking it and not just talking it though). I found the so called anarcho punk scene back there was maybe way too riddled with rules and uniforms and people who wanted to tell you what you could and couldn’t do, people who wanted to lay into you if you hadn’t cut your hair or didn’t have the right patch on your filtht denim jacket, they could get quite violent about it at times. “You can’t release a tape that has Civilised Society and the Oroonies on it!”, there were lots of silly things like that, everybody had to be in their own box, cross-pollination was never a popular notion, not sure if it is now.

Surely it was never quite as black and white as the broken photocopiers and those banging it out an manual typewriters would sometime have you believe? The first Organ came out in 86, it wasn’t the first thing we did though, one day we’ll maybe stop and write the book…


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