Former punk-rock star now a crew member with Sea Palling lifeboat

Steve Ignorant lead singer of punk band Crass who is now a crew member with the Sea Palling Independ

Steve Ignorant lead singer of punk band Crass who is now a crew member with the Sea Palling Independant Lifeboat. PHOTO: ANTONY KELLY - Credit: Archant

Unlikely though it may seem, former punk-rock star Steve Ignorant thinks his old life and his current role as a member of Sea Palling's lifeboat crew have much in common.

Steve Ignorant in his days as lead vocalist with the punk rock band Crass. Picture: SUBMITTED

Steve Ignorant in his days as lead vocalist with the punk rock band Crass. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

From 1977-1984 Mr Ignorant was lead vocalist with the band Crass, once dubbed 'Lords of punk's extreme left,' who practised direct action including squatting.

Steve Ignorant in his days as lead vocalist with the punk rock band Crass. Picture: SUBMITTED

Steve Ignorant in his days as lead vocalist with the punk rock band Crass. Picture: SUBMITTED - Credit: Archant

He would stand on stage screaming out, with blood-curdling vehemence, songs with titles including Nagasaki Nightmare, Fight War not Wars and Bloody Revolution.

The band had a large following and its fans included Paul Weller, of The Jam. In more recent years actress Angelina Jolie and football star David Beckham have been photographed wearing Crass t-shirts.

Today Mr Ignorant, 55, is still angry at the world's many injustices and still throws soul and sinew into singing about them but, should his pager sound while he's at home in Chapel Road, Sea Palling, he's on his way to the lifeboat station before you can say 'anarcho-punk.'


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'In a funny way it's really similar,' he said. 'Sea Palling lifeboat is independent - it's not part of the RNLI - and punk was also one step removed.

'Punk rock also changed the lives of people who had a hard time, and the work of the lifeboat can also help people and change lives.'

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Born Steve Williams, Mr Ignorant, or 'Igs', and his Dutch partner Jona Hofman moved to Sea Palling in 2007.

Crass's gigs were all benefits, raising money for causes including CND and the miners during the 1984 strike. And when, in 2007, Mr Ignorant headlined a punk festival at the Shepherd's Bush Empire, he decided to donate £1,000 of the proceeds to the lifeboat station in his new home village.

As a 'thank you,' the crew took him out on the boat and eventually persuaded him to join them.

He clearly remembers his first 'shout', to rescue two tired swimmers who could not get back to land. They were clinging to a surfboard and starting to get hypothermia.

Mr Ignorant is proud of his role as Number Three in the boat but admits to finding it terrifying. 'When the pager goes I jump out of my skin,' he said. 'My heart rate goes up 1,000 notches. However calm I try and stay I always get a bit breathless because you just don't know what's coming. We all put our lives on the line.

'You definitely don't need drugs to get the adrenalin going. If only I'd known that all those years ago I wouldn't have wasted so much money - all you really need is a lifeboat pager!

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