Bash the Rich by Ian Bone

I cannot help but be endlessly fascinated by the stream of intertextual inertia that ensures I drift from one absorbing (or at least intriguing) book to the next, and so I’m very happy that the present stream has pushed the intellectual boat out deep into the random waters of non-fiction.

Remembering my course back up river, I get a little lost around the Idler (either issue number 42 [Smash the System – sounds likely] or 43 [Back to the Land] attractive in its new hard-cover cloth binding but unattractive in its Idler-off-putting new price bracket) and the article with Ray Jones, laughingly self-monikered with the double barrel insert “Roughler” and his pursuit of unemployed bliss. I think that perhaps my periodical infatuation with all things idle (due no doubt in part by the periodical nature of its publication) was the catalyst, perhaps the inception point, so the search may be in vain. Nonetheless it has seen me wend my way through the Ray Jones biography (review coming soon, I suspect), two Crass albums and Hartmann the Anarchist to Ian Bone and his cliff-hanging chronicle of Class War and rich-bashing, and this here review-type article, so it is.

Having had no wish to develop a class consciousness myself up to this point, I was concerned that, recommendations from the Gnome and The Idler urgings aside, I would be bored to chuffing tears by the middle aged rantings of a man the Sunday People once branded “the most dangerous man in Britain”, a tag he doesn’t shy away from repeating ad nauseum. Indeed, there is quite a bit of content that I am unabashed to admit I cared for not a toss. For example, I suspect I am missing quite a few references, cultural and historical, to properly anchor his narrative in my understanding. My knowledge of Italian anarchists is sadly lacking, and despite the helpful if black-and-white pointillist-style picture of Lucy Parsons (now deceased I understand) I am no closer to caring who she may or may not have been. And frankly, the whole Class War team appear to have some serious growing up to do. Of course, they won’t, as it would mean becoming a part of the system they aim to seriously inconvenience for a bit, and also stopping drinking Special Brew.

All of these serious impediments to understanding are not, however, a barrier to enjoyment. In fact, the speed at which Bone trots out the acronyms means one is able to skip past them without them registering (although I did double-take at the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, one of the rare series of capital letters that I recognised) and means that the next bit of drunken disorder arrives all the faster; for indeed, that is the fun part. Drinking six quick pints before barracking the toffs and boater hat-wearing lah-di-dahs at Henley, punching coppers in the face, chucking cans and bottles at Neil Kinnock, joining the fun on the streets in Brixton, creating rude collages for the covers and contents of Class War, and annoying the vegan hippies and pacifist anarchists of Crass by repeated calls to swift and violent uprising – that is the meat in this tasty anarchist sandwich.

But what happens next? The book ends just as Class War looks like it might finally get a piece of Thatcher, and Bone’s bookend piece about his father’s surprising rebelliousness seems tacked-on (although the photo of father Bone with placard and shit-eating grin is excellent). Will there be a second instalment? I sort-of hope so.

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