Friday, 15 December 2017

Opera for Infantry - Scumworld (1984) C60

Here's the second tape I put out by Opera for Infantry, and God only knows why they gave me such free reign with their covers. I think I'd just bought Meet the Residents that week, and that's where the phenomenal pop combo gag comes from.

It's okay. If you need to roll around a little longer, pounding one fist on the floor and crying with laughter, I can wait.

As you will be able to hear, this is essentially a live tape but with the backing track used for the performance taking up the first side on the grounds that it sort of works as a bit of music in its own right, or works as a bit of noise in its own right if you prefer. The gig itself comprises a set of several numbers, but I've digitised them all as a single track, as I suspect that's how it was intended.

As you may well know, Opera for Infantry eventually became the Grey Wolves, so for the benefit of anyone who has a problem with that, or who still suspects the Grey Wolves to have been some sort of covert British Movement recruitment drive, Scumworld is probably as revealing an insight into both their founding and actual political sympathies as you're likely to need - Crass meets Throbbing Gristle if you'd rather get it in primary colours: just listen to the words of the live performance (and the tape is pretty decent quality, all things considered, so they're fairly clear), then reacquaint yourself with Reality Asylum if the penny still hasn't quite dropped. Of course the images were horrible, because they were supposed to be horrible, because it was supposed to get you thinking rather than just nodding your head and agreeing that vivisection was a bad trip. I sort of wonder if it wasn't the frustration of Opera for Infantry actually having to explain that they weren't hoping to bring about some totalitarian state (when their stance was fucking obvious if you bothered to listen), which ultimately drove them to greater extremes as the Grey Wolves. I still have a ton of correspondence from Trev from around this time, and it's obvious that he was frustrated by a certain complacency which he saw as having overtaken the anarchopunk scene. So there you have it, I suppose. 

Thirty years later, I'm surprised at how good this one is - not at all the racket I remember. It sort of makes me wish some enterprising sugar daddy had whisked them off to IPS studios and got some of this material recorded with some kind of sound quality.

1 - Before Scumworld
2 - Scumworld (Amesbury Sports Centre 2/8/84)

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