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Shibboleth: My Revolting Life

3.99  ·  Rating details ·  185 ratings  ·  12 reviews
The extraordinary autobiography of Jeremy John Ratter, a.k.a. Penny Rimbaud, founder, lyricist, and drummer of Crass, a band unique in the history of rock 'n' roll. Crass took the idealism of punk seriously. When Sex Pistol Johnny Rotten screamed "No Future" the challenge was taken. In the space of seven short years, from 1977 to their breakup in 1984, Crass almost single- ...more
Paperback, 344 pages
Published July 1st 2001 by AK Press (first published September 3rd 1998)
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3.99  · 
Rating details
 ·  185 ratings  ·  12 reviews

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Feb 07, 2016 rated it liked it
Fans of Crass will know that besides producing noisy punk songs with great lyrics, the band also recorded a few sprawling ambient works overlaid with spoken word. It's not surprising then, that the band had at least one member who wrote for the page as well as the microphone. This member was drummer J. J. Ratter, who took the stage name of Penny Rimbaud.

This book is very loosely an autobiography, interspersed with a few fiction pieces and a bit of self-reflective waffle. Ratter's life has been v
Leopold Bienkowski-gibbs
May 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The book is stunning. I started reading it and I found myself reading it out loud to mouth such beautiful writing and rest on the pauses to take it in. There is a lot to take in. And sometimes it hurts. Penny Rimbaud's revolting life is exactly that. Insurrectionist and, at times, quite repulsive. But always beautiful in an often sad, poignant kind of way. His words and stories are wounding. The turn of events and the turn of phrases in his book are at times so sharp, so to the point, they are l ...more
ChaCha Ala Mode
Oct 22, 2013 rated it really liked it
I am a slow reader, I read too many books at once. If I don't have my current book I pick up another one. This book is a fairly simple read in the beginning. As it progresses it begins to incorporate poetry, which at a glance seems random and needs to be read a few times. I am currently fascinated with communal living and find this to be a realistic reflection of what that looks like. It also reflects on the state of true anarchy and pacifism, which both also fascinate me.

In the end this book is
Jun 20, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: People interested in throwing off the shackles of mental slavery (and CRASS fans)
Crass was single handedly one of the greatest punk rock bands, and one of the greatest political/creative projects of all time. This book is a great read and details the life of Jeremy Ratter (aka Penny Rimbaud): An upper middle class poet/writer/drummer who created an "open-door" house in Essex, England where Crass took form. This book also includes a history of the band as well as some really cool essays that shaped much of Crass' songs (the original essay "Rocky Eyed", which is included in th ...more
Sep 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: music, biog-autobiog
Not just about Wally Hope and the free festival as the back of the book suggests but a view on politics , the anarcho punk movement and communal living as well as the odd bit of prose thrown in.
A great read I'm more a fan of the idea of CRASS than much of the music but certainly this led to me dusting off the old vinyl
Dec 14, 2007 rated it liked it
Shelves: music, punk
This isn't so much a "music" book, but it is penned by Penny Rimbaud. This is at times a strange read, but a good one. It's quick and interesting. The author's dedication to anachism is obvious throughout this text. Interesting stuff.
Ryan Mishap
Sep 11, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: personal-writing
Memoir of the author and Crass...kind of essential if you are a punk, but I wasn't very fond of him, and the novel he wrote was terrible.
Aug 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone.
This book is amazing.
I love reading about his life and his tangents.
Probably my favorite book.
Sally McRogerson
Jul 24, 2011 rated it liked it
Some explanation of what inflluenced Crass and Penny Rimbaud in particular. He is one of the most complex characters I've ever come across but was still left wanting to know more about the guy
Sep 26, 2016 rated it it was ok
Good in places before meandering into rather odd fiction and general waffle in others. Was left feeling with a sense of disappointment as too many stones left unturned.
Dec 27, 2012 rated it really liked it
A disturbing, but often enjoyable autobiography: part memoir, part band history, interspersed with challenging radical political rhetoric and excerpts of poetry. It's a quick read for anyone remotely interested in Penny as a person or artist, though not always an easy one. Penny has a habit of revisiting themes that he seems to have already explored thoroughly elsewhere in the book (and apparently others). Due to, or perhaps, despite his time in Crass, he also seems to be most comfortable plying ...more
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Using the pseudonym Penny Rimbaud, Jeremy John Ratter has long been a thinker, artist, musician and activist within British counterculture. Opening Dial House in Essex in 1967, an 'open house' for visitors interested in alternative living which exists and is a centre of activity to this day, for example for permaculture courses, he then found himself with like-minded individuals who coalesced into ...more