Cybore: Box Set Go

Cybore / Box Set Go.

Matt owns a lot more boxsets than me:

These Trojan sets, compiled by Steve Barrow, were the most accessible way to get into Black Ark stuff in the late eighties. They foreshadowed Barrow’s later work with the Blood & Fire label – incorporating great selection, sound quality and design. And also the excellent Arkology 3 CD set on Island.

Sort of “Occult Roots of Big Beat” set, featuring mad breakbeat tunes from across the board. I got this ridiculously cheap (I think 6 quid?) from Berwick Street in the mid 90s.

Test Dept’s first LP with grainy photo inserts. This must have been the first box set I ever bought, in the mid eighties. Ordered via the back pages of “Record Collector” magazine. Also the first record I ever picked up from a Post Office depot, something which seems second nature now! Some if not all of this was produced by Genesis P-Orridge. Another Some Bizzare classic.

This used to be ubiquitous – peaking out of people’s record shelves at you when you visited them for the first time. Shorthand for a particular background and all-encompassing worldview which many of us have now jettisoned most of – but the traces remain. Lots of 4o year old anarchopunk “sleepers” out there, biding their time.

This set includes a whopping great booklet featuring the tragic tale of Stonehenge Free Festival founder Wally Hope. And a full colour poster by Gee Vaucher (which mine is missing, boo!)

I had this on tape for years and then finally found a copy in Reckless Records in Islington (RIP) for a good price in the late 90s.


  1. Yes well I have the Crass one obviously, and fit said profile. I don’t have any other box sets though and would query whether ‘Christ – the Album’ is really a box set. It’s just an album in a box innit? (maybe same with Test Dept) Not to be confused with a retrospective collectors completist album with lots of obscure outtakes.

  2. thats exactly right on me = those two lee perry boxsets really got me into black ark-ism – though i picked them both up much later than when released second hand in rat records camberwell. very thankfull for that too.

  3. bizarrely, have all the sets you’ve listed…

    Christ is two albums in a box so I think it qualifies…

    On a related note, Ailsa saw Penny Rimbaud give a talk at the Beautiful Days festival a couple of weeks back, and despite knowing almost nothing about Crass or its members was blown away by Rimbaud’s ideas, passion, commitment etc. she came back to where I was DJing visibly moved and inspired even… good to see that stuff has legs…

  4. I flogged my copy of ‘Christ’ to Reckless, sans poster, some time in the late ’90s. Just saying. As I recall, the poster was a huge montage of Thatcher with her pants down, shitting pork chops, with Reagan and Andropov in tight swimming trunks, fondling each other, and a load of mutant kids waving union jacks in the background. Not one of G’s best, it didn’t last long on my wall (Class War’s Diana with bottle of pills and Nike ‘Just Do It!’ logo was a long term keeper, til ’97 at least). I preferred the live/messing about disc to the studio one, to be honest.

  5. I think Neil is right to draw a distinction between things which originally came out boxed, and box sets which are lavish retrospective affairs for completists. There still seems to be something fancier about those two crass and test dept albums compared to the rest of their output though…

    Luckily I’ve purged myself of most of the industrial vinyl fetishism of my yoot, so I don’t feel obliged to splash out several hundred quid on Vinyl On Demand sets, or that massive wooden box of Coil DVDs.

    Having said that, the best box set ever is the Foetus of Excellence one, which was an empty box with a t-shirt in it that apparently still made the lower reaches of the charts:

  6. Crass seem to be bogged down in a legal battle about reissuing their back catalogue and whether or not it should be remastered, which is very dull. Certainly a lot duller than your description of the poster, Martin :-). It’s tempting to do a competition to see who can come up with the most ridiculous anarcho punk artwork involving eighties moral panics and celebrities:

    Terry Wogan french kissing the “Heroin Screws You Up” poster boy outside Habitat whilst flying big macs (which are actually turds) loom menacingly in the background. And Thatcher holds up a knife and fork, menacingly, dressed as an SS guard.

    Dub/v – I think you just have loads more records than me so maybe it’s not that surprising that you’ve got all these 😉

    I am glad Crass can still inspire people, but I guess I can see so much wrong with them now it’s hard to get too excited by it – although it is depressing there isn’t anything of that intensity and reach which isn’t bedded in the eighties…

  7. The remasters are all coming out, “Feeding” is out already…wouldn’t normally buy it, but having a decent quality copy of the Southern demo swayed me. Think I may be confused about the poster, as I just had a look at the link you provided and it looks nothing like it.

    Used to do collages in the early 90s which were so unbelievably bad, I wish I’d kept them. I had some 2000AD issue which had a page with a speech bubble saying “Nothing worse than a soft concentration camp!”, so of course that got scalpelled out and affixed to some Bosnian trying to lift a dead woman off the floor. Stick the Boots logo on a pic of a Russian female prisoner staring through the bars, and you’re well on your way. John Heartfield must be proud.

    But regarding your challenge – OK, Ronald McDonald (with an erect missile penis) laughing and strangling a Biafran baby, and Noel Edmonds (in a burnt tanktop with an ‘Exploited’ badge) gurning in front of a row of Enid Blyton-style schoolkids with vacant, zombie eyes and industrial-sized earphones chained to their heads. In front of a mushroom cloud (the base of which forms a dollar sign). Fuck all this, how did you come up with that Terry Wogan image? You’re a sick man, John.

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