This comes from an email from Jeff in which he’d scanned some old bits and reminisced about our joint frames of mind back in 1983-5….
Tue 08/04/2008 22:29
Hi Rees, I’ve had a scurry about and found a few more tangible bits of history – the majority (the stuff with the scribbled text and lyrics) are the remnants of a Crawling Chaos A4 fanzine that we colour-photocopied and sent out as a freebie to certain selected correspondents, here presented in the order of discovery. There are also a few posters, reviews and a newspaper article. Also included is a promo photo of Thee Earnest Kakas at the height of their powers. The line up from L to R is: Holly, Vex Drongo, Gordon Douglas Smith and Yeti (my name may have changed but not the hat obviously) This was another of many parallel projects running alongside CC, this one was more focused on surreal comedy than our “normal” output. I’ve included a picture of Bebside Hall as it was about 4 years ago. I don’t think I’ve got anything else – I’ll look though. (….) Looking at the fanzine again after scanning, I can now see that Holly’s “Holiday” series of cartoons was intended to end with Backworth and the “Explanation” of the Contents page should be at the front. If there ever was a cover it’s not there now. I like the style though and I think the document gives an accurate reflection of our frames of mind at the time, which judging by the lyrics included must have been after the release of C and before the recording of Waqqaz. Well I think that’s enough for now.
I’ve finally got round to uploading this stuff (sp)
Crawling Chaos, though, was a fucking wreck. Gangling, ungainly, sloppy, self-sabotaging, murderously humorous, and perhaps mildly insane, the group appropriated the title of one of James Brown’s most archetypal funk tracks and basically took a big dump on it. Clinical detachment was the name of the game when it came to that era’s synthesizer-backed post-punk, but Crawling Chaos was about as robotically aloof as a rusty lawnmower–and “Sex Machine” is a dripping, glorious, psychosexual phantasmagoria worthy of Ballard or Cronenberg (or a precociously perverted 11-year-old). The synths are demented, the singing shrill, the beats nearly brain-dead–but it’s the lyrics alone that are worth a trip to the nut farm….
One of the nicest reviews I’ve read by miles, and shows that he’d read this website pretty thoroughly enough to grab and use some phrases creatively.
Two points though.
When I/we entitled the track Sex Machine I was so musically naive that I’d not even heard of James Brown!! Maybe Jeff and Eddie did, but not me.
There are no synths on the track. The sound was derived from my self-made green toota organ and destructively modified afterwards in my self-made black tube both of which can be seen in this live photo. So not synthesised as in a Moog etc.
Spot On Description
Finally a proper review of the B-side. There are some shit ones about by others but Jason’s, I really like:
“Berlin.” The name of that city at that time bore connotations of Lou Reed, David Bowie, and the Teutonic lockstep of Krautrock, which were all clear influences on Crawling Chaos. And they all melt into a dissonant mess all over “Berlin,” an aimlessly menacing jam that limps and burps along for seven torturous minutes before succumbing to some kind of sonic gangrene. In other words: It’s fantastic.
However, Jason’s all wrong (and it’s not his fault) when he says,
Khult and Perfect gradually drifted away from the group, although they reunited in 2003 for a new full-length titled Homunculus Equinox.
A more accurate pattern of events is now thoroughly explained on this website right here: https://crawlingchaos.co.uk/myths#recent – and neither, even back in two thousand and 3, 8 or 17 were we still “plugging away”.
Despite the minor errors mainly due to myself (SP) not updating this website fast enough, it’s a gem of a review with Jason “getting” what the whole thing was about. This is his best bit…. I’ll finish with it:
Crawling Chaos’ [Sex Machine] is the musical equivalent of getting punched in the groin.
Just popped up on Facebook is Curly Jhon (CJ) with an old photo of himself and some props for a Dionysian Heights gig. CJ & Mackie did several gigs under the Dionysian Heights and Zyclon B Zombies moniker. Crawling Chaos provided a fair bit of custom background sounds for them.
This short Facebook conversation gives a hint of the nature of the performances, which, if my memory serves me correctly, sought and proved to be a blood-soaked offal-laden festival of over-the-top-ness.
Martin Blank from Gob on the Tyne has been in touch. He and some others are putting together a book chronicling North-East music during the closing years of the seventies decade.
He mentioned that he had a photo from a festival at which we played, of Jeff – that’s it on the right.
The government had big plans for an expansion in nuclear power, Druridge Bay being one of the proposed sites. Naturally, we were appalled! The festival was one of many efforts to publicise the anti-nuclear feeling.
On a personal level, this part of Northumberland has been terraformed so much that I thought enough was enough.
In the Google Streetview below, spin the camera around – you see everything, I mean everything, that you can see, has been changed by man – from deep mining, drift mining and open cast mining, everything except the actual sand dunes,,, is man made! Even the beach is laced with tank traps and pill boxes from WW2.
The lake, the lack of hedges, the copses of trees all the same height – these are the give-aways to a land totally churned up for profit and returned to something like it was – minus the odd farmhouse of course.
In the end, the station opened up at Sizewell and the program collapsed in political disarray.
This is Druridge Bay as it is now – and how it was then, more or less! So we won, in a fashion…. except….
Thatcher still made Britain the greedy thieving place it is now and Britain is still in energy debt.
Nuclear power is on the up despite the Japanese tsunami and the hypocritical stance of Germany.
The evil ‘right’ is on the rise again, just as it was in 79-80.