Again – Chris was not so much a Crass fan but we have included this in the top 10 as, again, it gives us a very good flavour of the times.


Chris : The easy gigs for me to get to were Poole, Bournemouth, Southampton and Portsmouth. They were the ones I could get to easily. Portsmouth could be violent! I remember Crass played in Southampton once at a youth club in Shirley, (The gig was at the Ashby Centre 1980.)  I think that was what was it called and that was mad. There was no gig because the skinheads turned up and it was the usual thing. They came in and started a fight it just kicked off. I climbed through a kitchen window at the back of the kitchen and over a barbed wire fence just to get out of the place with about 50 other people.

JR : Where you a Crass fan?

Chris : No I would just go and see everyone. I was never a full Crass fan. I got their records but I didn’t really get their ethos. They came from a hippy background. They had a wider vision didn’t they and I wasn’t into their music as much, Shaved Women Collaborators was one of theirs wasn’t it?

JR : It sounds oddly catchy now…

Chris : At the time they didn’t though. Things like Throbbing Gristle were coming out  and then when it went to Gang of Four and Punishment Of Luxury and all of those things came out and I struggled to get into those things as well. I didn’t really fit that mould, even the Mekons, I went to see the Mekons, I really liked the Mekons. I did really get into the Mekons but not at the time so much. All the peripheral new bands like Fad Gadget or the Mekons all that sort of stuff was much  later in 1980.

JR : They now call it post punk but at the time I’m sure no-one thought they were ‘post…’

Chris : The Cure were around. Stiff Little Fingers of course kept going. I saw every farewell gig that they played! I always thought that they were great performers. They always put on a good show. I never saw them do a gig where I thought they weren’t trying – you know what I mean!  I thought they always tried whereas a lot of other bands I always thought they were not trying. Sometimes bands were just not arsed or so pissed that they couldn’t be bothered. Stiff Little Fingers – I saw them loads of times and then when the Clash fizzled out much later there was Big Audio Dynamite. I saw them in Kilburn and into the eighties.

For number 9 in Chris Packham’s top 10 punk and post punk albums please go here

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Award winning journalist and boss of Louder Than War. In a 30 year music writing career, John was the first to write about bands such as Stone Roses and Nirvana and has several best selling music books to his name. He constantly tours the world with Goldblade and the Membranes playing gigs or doing spoken word and speaking at music conferences.


  1. The Crass gig at the Ashby Centre DID go ahead. The skins left when the gig started and were hanging around outside. They soon lost interest and disappeared after a few punches were exchanged with them.


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