“What truly matters in life?” Many people do not comprehend that punk was about Black Humour first — creatively making fun of authority, authoritarian scenarios, mind-control in all its forms, conformism.
Three early punk instigators discuss the problem of how to remain permanently radical into the far future and debate the ethics of ‘Punk London’: V. Vale from San Francisco (Search&Destroy, RE/Search Publications); Londoners Penny Rimbaud (poet-philosopher-drummer), and Gee Vaucher (total visual artist-activist) who founded the band Crass. Audience Q&A at end.
Penny Lapsang Rimbaud was born in South West London. He is a poet, writer, philosopher, painter, and musician. He was formally a part of the performance art groups EXIT and Ceres Confusion. In 1977 he co-founded the anarchist punk band CRASS with Steve Ignorant, which disbanded in 1984. From then up until 2000 he devoted himself to writing. He returned as a performance poet working with Louise Elliot, an Australian saxophonist, as well a wide variety of other jazz musicians as the group L’académie des Vanités.
In 1977 V. Vale founded Search & Destroy which was published at City Lights Bookstore and funded by $100 each from Lawrence Ferlinghetti and Allen Ginsberg. In 1980, V. Vale launched RE/SEARCH; initially funded by Rough Trade’s Geoff Travis. V. Vale released books about Jello Biafra, Henry Rollins, Lydia Lunch, William S. Burroughs, J.G. Ballard, Genesis P-Orridge, SPK, Monte Cazazza, and others. Best-sellers include The Industrial Culture Handbook, Incredibly Strange Films, Incredibly Strange Music (Vol. One and Two), Modern Primitives, Angry Women, etc. RE/SEARCH TV is a monthly cable TV programme made by Marian Wallace. RE/Search has produced specialty videos (notably, on J.G. Ballard and W.S. Burroughs) and done live presentations, panels, and workshops all over the world.
East London born Gee Vaucher, made outspoken record covers and newsletters for anarcho-punk band Crass starting in the 70s. She used her paintings and collage work to question social change, exposing the hypocrisy and corrupt arena of the worlds we are all forced to face. Since Crass, Vaucher has continued to create and question with her paintings, films, posters, collages, and books. She exhibits internationally as well as being included in numerous books and publications.