By Bill Drummond

This book was printed in an edition of 1,000 copies to coincide with the first Ragworts Week which was celebrated in Sheffield between 30 April and 6 May 2012. 100 copies of the book are allocated for sale each Ragworts Week until all books are sold. Ragwort week is announced to the Penkiln Burn mailing list. To sign up to this please visit www.penkilnburn.com.  This year’s allocation are only available via Alimentation, and are strictly limited to ONE BOOK PER ORDER.




This book is about Sheffield, listening, seething rage, sparrows, bus journeys to nowhere, ragworts, The River Don, Tesco, pop music, wrong turnings in life, corner shops, kingfishers, Forgemasters, Bill Drummond, cultural quarters. The17, steel mills, graffiti, cracked pavements, facing retirement, Molotov cocktails, being 16 and the Norfolk Bridge Diner.

And contains the following words:

I loathe the word ‘regeneration’. Anytime I hear an area is up for regeneration my heart begins to sink.

I like the opposite. I like things falling to bits, crumbing and corroding.

I want more degeneration, not regeneration…

Great bands, music and art in general, are never sanctioned from above, they are never born out of Arts Council funding, or their equivalent. And they definitely never, ever blossom in the safety of designated cultural quarters. This is a sweeping statement on my part, a simple over generalization, but nonetheless true. The only art ever worth having is art that has not been state subsidised. As soon as it is state subsidised it becomes state propaganda. However subtle that propaganda is, it is still doing the states bidding. I am also aware that this kind of reductionist talk is bordering on the rhetoric of the American right.

This is something I have yet to square…

The flowering of a great pop practitioner is all too brief. It is usually only months between their first public stirrings and their greatest work. But that is the way it should be. Their later careers, spent trying to squeeze a living out of people’s hunger for anything that triggers nostalgia for their lost youth, should be ignored…

I would also argue, the survival instincts of any society only permit that, which will not bring it down. We in the free-market-loving, democratically governed west allow for political art because it bolsters and strengthens the systems that control our culture. By allowing it, the system we live under can demonstrate to the rest of the world just how inclusive and attractive our system is. Looking back at what I’ve been involved with over the years, I’m probably as guilty as anyone…

PENKILN BURN BOOK EIGHTEEN 2012 (Hardback, 51 Pages 130mm  195mm).