Following the release of the feminist manifesto Penis Envy, a highlight in Crass’s body of work, and the fun Crass had had with the release of Our Wedding under the guise of Creative Recording And Sound Services, the anarcho-punk collective released a true Christmas single.
Creative Recording And Sound Services
For the single the ‘pseudonym’ Creative Recording And Sound Services was used again. The first time Crass had used it was for the Our Wedding single, which preceded the release of Penis Envy, by giving it away for free to girl magazine Loving. Of course, a scandal ensued, when it became clear that anarcho-punk collective Crass was behind the single.
Anyway, on December 15th, 1981, the second single by Creative Recording And Sound Services was released, nothing more and nothing less than a true Christmas single (!) by Crass.
Because the single wasn’t officially released by Crass, it didn’t get the expected catalogue number 321984/8, but CT1 (Cold Turkey 1). The cover was different as well, as color was used. Up to then, all Crass releases had been in black and white.
The single contained two instrumentals, a medley of Christmas music and Crass hits, played on a Casio keyboard (!). Crass, the anarcho-punk commune from England, known for their almost militant dogma’s and their even more militant performances, had made a humorous single. It was even tied to a true competition. The single cover contained the following text:
COLD TURKEY ONE. VERY MERRY CRASSMAS. HERE’S AN AMAZING XMAS MEDLEY OF CRASS’S GREATEST HITS. SUPER FUN FOR ALL THE FAMILY. PLUS… SUPER FUN TIME COMPETITION THAT EVERYONE CAN JOIN IN. HERE’S WHAT YOU DO… IT’S EASY. JUST LIST, IN ORDER, THE TITLES OF THE EXCITING CRASS SONGS ON THIS RECORD. THE FIRST THREE CORRECT POSTCARDS TO BE RECEIVED WILL BE SENT THE FOLLOWING GREAT PRIZES… 1ST PRIZE… BATHSALTS, 2ND PRIZE… ONE EXPLOITED SINGLE, 3RD PRIZE… TWO EXPLOITED SINGLES. HAVE FUN. SEND ENTRIES TO “CRASSMAS COMPETITION.” PO BOX 279. LONDON N22.
The second and third prizes are funny. To Crass The Exploited represented the Oi! punk genre, that had built up quite a negative reputation by 1980/1981. Many Oi! bands were followed by skinheads, who regularly created violent problems and regularly flirted with racism. Crass didn’t hold back in criticizing the movement. On the other side, The Exploited were nowhere near fans of Crass. They introduced their song I Believe In Anarchy by calling Crass “a bunch of wankers”.
Incidently, I don’t know if the competition was won by someone, therefore I don’t know whether the The Exploited singles were ever sent out.
Of course the single wasn’t just humor alone. The label on the B-side contained the text:
MERRY CRASSMASS – have fun
IN THE UK THIS XMAS OVER 20000000 TURKEYS WILL BE SLAUGHTERED FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION – THAT IS AROUND 20000 FOR EACH MINUTE OF XMAS DAY
Even though the single is instrumental, it is introduced and sent-off by none other than Santa Claus. His introduction was:
Merry Crassmas everybody, I hope you have a jolly time and lots and lots of fun and a happy new year to you all!
Next up was the instrumental medley, which continues as Crassmass 2 on the single’s B-side. After the medley Santa Claus closed the single:
And if you’re munching your delicious turkey at the moment,
I HOPE IT FUCKING CHOKES YOU!!!
As stated above, the single came with a competition: what “exciting Crass songs” were part of the medley? They are listed below.
All songs composed by Crass.
- Side A: Crassmas
Big A, Little A
Punk Is Dead
I Ain’t Thick, It’s Just A Trick
- Side B: Crassmas 2
Banned From The Roxy
Do They Owe Us A Living?
Crassmas is enclosed by Jingle Bells and While Shepherds Watched, Crassmas 2 by Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer and Silent Night.
A funny and unique release. Crass let themselves go for once. Is this crucial? Is this a ‘must-have’? No, of course it’s not. Is it a successful parody of Christmas releases? Hell yeah! And, it still contains an important message. The amount of 20,000,000 turkeys that were killed just for Christmas dinners (at that time) is shocking.
What’s your take on the single? Let me know.
Crass – Merry Crassmas (single), Crass – Crassmas – A-side label, Crass – Crassmas – B-side label images: 45cat.com
Crass – Crassmas – Poster image: crassahistory.wordpress.com