Aural Sculptors - The Stranglers Live 1976 to the Present

Welcome to Aural Sculptors, a blog aimed at bringing the music of The Stranglers to as wide an audience as possible. Whilst all of the various members of the band that have passed through the ranks since 1974 are accomplished studio musicians, it is on stage where the band have for me had their biggest impact.

As a collector of their live recordings for many years I want to share some of the better quality material with other fans. By selecting the higher quality recordings I hope to present The Stranglers in the best possible light for the benefit of those less familiar with their material than the hardcore fan.

Needless to say, this site will steer well clear of any officially released material. As well as live gigs, I will post demos, radio interviews and anything else that I feel may be of interest.

In addition, occasionally I will post material by other bands, related or otherwise, that mean a lot to me.

Your comments and/or contributions are most welcome. Please email me at

Friday 19 March 2021

Beadles About Crass Style No. 1 - In Sickness and in Health (Sounds 13th June 1981)


In the summer of Royal Wedding madness (Charles and Diana, for the younger readers) Crass decided to have a bit of fun, after all fairly tale romance pervaded the very air of Albion in the summer of '81, a charming Prince, a demure princess to be.... what could possibly go wrong?

CRASS MAKE BID FOR NEW ROMANTIC CREDIBILITY SCOOP!: Proving that even recluses have a sense of humour (however devious), Epping Foresters Crass hatched a scheme whereby, just for a laugh, they should approach several romance magazines in the IPC empire to see whether any of them would be interested in putting out a flexi disc called 'Marriage', featuring the talents of young ' American ' songstress Joy de Vivre (sic).

The story goes that Loving magazine, having a bridal issue coming up, took up the offer and placed an ad in the May 30 issue, with Crass partially disguised as C.R .A .S.S. The ad (see above) featured the label of the flexidisc and a blurb written by Loving.

The magazine, not surprisingly, failed to notice the clues to their identity - Creative Recording And Sound Services (CRASS) , and 'A Penny Zenvy production' . 

They approved of the song - sung by Joy in an American accent - and originally wanted to include one disc free with every issue, but CRASS told Loving to wait till orders came in, then they'd supply further discs.

Several hundred orders had been received when the Daily Star rang Loving to inform them that Crass were behind the whole shebang. How the pioneering Star found out is a mythtery .... Loving then rang

C.R.A.S.S ….

LOVING: "Is this flexidisc to be released on an album? "

CRASS: "Yes!"

LOVING: "Are you anything to do with Crass? "

CRASS: " Yes! "

LOVING: "Is the name of the album what I think it is? ('Penis Envy') "

CRASS: "Yes I'm afraid it is!"

Loving groans in horror.

The rogue track is indeed from the forthcoming Crass elpee 'Penis Envy' . Quite why Loving mag approved of the song is unclear – perhaps the tongue-in-creek attack on marriage failed to register. But it's in keeping with the rest of the album, a more feminist statement than previous Crass attacks, with Joy and Eve Libertine providing all the vocals.

They've avoided a major disaster, but Loving are still worried that Crass, who are in control of sending out the flexis to their readers, might choose to despatch Crass propaganda with them. The band deny this and claim only to be sending out the discs - for which they paid for pressing and printing of labels ...

Jaws contacted the Editor of Loving magazine, who had this to say about the sorry affair: "We took the disc from Southern Studios in good faith . As far as we're concerned, the words of the of the song are not acceptable to our readers, but we were misled. We consider this sharp practice. It was a pathetic joke. We feel sorry for them if this is the only way that they can get publicity.”

Loving will not be taking legal action. Crass obviously had a good laugh.


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