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Penny Rimbaud

Penny Rimbaud circa 1977

Penny Rimbaud is the nom de plume of Jeremy John Ratter, drummer, writer, poet, former member of performance art group EXIT and co-founder of the anarchist punk band Crass with Steve Ignorant in 1977.

Rimbaud (so named as a tribute to poet Arthur Rimbaud) set up the anarchist/pacifist Dial House community in 1967 with Gee Vaucher, and, together with his friend Phil Russell[?] (aka Wally Hope[?]), helped to instigate the free festival[?] movement at Windsor and later Stonehenge during the early 1970s. As documented in Rimbaud's essay Last of the Hippies [1] (http://www.southern.com/southern/label/CRC/text/09438) and his autobiography Shibboleth, Russell was arrested and incarcerated in a mental institution after having been found in possession of a small amount of LSD. He was later released, but appeared to have been seriously mentally damaged by his experiences, especially the side effects of prescription drugs[?] that he had been administered, and subsequently committed suicide. Rimbaud has claimed that it was his anger over unanswered questions surrounding his friend's death that fueled and inspired him to form Crass.

Although Crass disolved in 1984, Rimbaud continues to write and perform both as a solo artist and as a part of the Crass Collective alongside other ex members of the band as well as other artists and musicians. His works include Reality Asylum [2] (http://www.southern.com/southern/label/CRC/09400), a vitriolic attack on the myths behind Christianity which has appeared as a 2 minute track on Crass' 1978 debut album The Feeding of the 5000 (although initially the track was removed due to workers at the Irish pressing plant where the record was manufactured threatening to strike due to its allegedly 'blasphemous' content), as a longer single [3] (http://www.southern.com/southern/label/CRC/09401) and as a 45 minute spoken word monologue; Rocky Eyed, an extended poem attacking then prime minister Margaret Thatcher and her government followng the 1982 Falklands War which was recorded as the Crass album Yes Sir, I Will [4] (http://www.southern.com/southern/label/CRC/07010a); The Death of Imagination (a 'musical drama in 4 parts'); The Diamond Signature and most recently Oh America, a response to the events of September 11 2001 and America's subsequent War on Terror; "Give us justice which is not the searing spite of revenge, peace which is not the product of war nor dependent upon it" [5] (http://www.liberation-mag.org.uk/humanrights.htm).

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