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KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money

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They were the best-selling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. They deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last million pounds in a boathouse on the Isle of Jura. And they couldn’t say why. This is the story of The KLF, told through the ideas that drove them. It is a story ab They were the best-selling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. They deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last million pounds in a boathouse on the Isle of Jura. And they couldn’t say why. This is the story of The KLF, told through the ideas that drove them. It is a story about Carl Jung, Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Ken Campbell, Dada, Situationism, Discordianism, magic, chaos, punk, rave and the alchemical symbolism of Doctor Who. Wildly unauthorised and totally unlike any other music biography, ‘KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money’ is a trawl through chaos on the trail of a beautiful accidental mythology.


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They were the best-selling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. They deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last million pounds in a boathouse on the Isle of Jura. And they couldn’t say why. This is the story of The KLF, told through the ideas that drove them. It is a story ab They were the best-selling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. They deleted their records, erased themselves from musical history and burnt their last million pounds in a boathouse on the Isle of Jura. And they couldn’t say why. This is the story of The KLF, told through the ideas that drove them. It is a story about Carl Jung, Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Ken Campbell, Dada, Situationism, Discordianism, magic, chaos, punk, rave and the alchemical symbolism of Doctor Who. Wildly unauthorised and totally unlike any other music biography, ‘KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money’ is a trawl through chaos on the trail of a beautiful accidental mythology.

30 review for KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money

  1. 4 out of 5

    Matteo Fumagalli

    Videorecensione: https://youtu.be/OPGX_JioiZQ L'assurda storia (vera) di un gruppo dance da milioni di copie dalla dirompente e controversa creatività che, nell'ordine: 1- Subirono un'azione legale dagli ABBA per l'uso di un sample e offrirono un finto disco d'oro ad una prostituta svedese sosia di Agnetha Fältskog, prima di distruggere in un rogo tutte le copie del loro primo album, scatenando le ire di un contadino che li allontano con gli spari. 2- Incisero un remix della sigla di "Doctor Who", Videorecensione: https://youtu.be/OPGX_JioiZQ L'assurda storia (vera) di un gruppo dance da milioni di copie dalla dirompente e controversa creatività che, nell'ordine: 1- Subirono un'azione legale dagli ABBA per l'uso di un sample e offrirono un finto disco d'oro ad una prostituta svedese sosia di Agnetha Fältskog, prima di distruggere in un rogo tutte le copie del loro primo album, scatenando le ire di un contadino che li allontano con gli spari. 2- Incisero un remix della sigla di "Doctor Who", spacciandolo come singolo d'esordio di un'automobile. Vendettero milioni di copie. 3- Storpiarono "All You Need is Love" dei Beatles, rovesciandola da inno della Generation of Love a inquietante brano sulla piaga dell'AIDS 4 - Vinsero il premio come miglior gruppo ai Brit Awards e, indignati, spararono a salve sul pubblico. 5- Scioccati dall'essere diventati ormai un prodotto macina-hit, ritirarono il loro intero catalogo discografico dai negozi inglesi e decisero di sparire, distruggendo tutte le copie invendute. 6- Presero il ricavato in denaro dei loro successi, un milione di sterline, e lo bruciarono. Nel mezzo, divagazioni sull'occulto, sulla storia, la politica, la musica. Ci sono Whitney Houston, gli Echo & The Bunnymen e Julian Cope. Il libro è una montagna russa e la scrittura è a metà tra Carrère e Fisher. Il miglior saggio che abbia letto quest'anno.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Innerspaceboy

    I'm 3/4 through this brilliant book and with each new chapter I am amazed how much this humble little paperback reveals about global events and cultural responses of the 20th century. For example, Chapter 12: Undercurrents examines the quiet death of 20th century culture - the forgettable early-to-mid 90s. The chapter summarizes the beginnings and endings of cultural climates, citing key events beginning with Darwinism's impact on the pillar of faith in the late nineteenth century to The Great War I'm 3/4 through this brilliant book and with each new chapter I am amazed how much this humble little paperback reveals about global events and cultural responses of the 20th century. For example, Chapter 12: Undercurrents examines the quiet death of 20th century culture - the forgettable early-to-mid 90s. The chapter summarizes the beginnings and endings of cultural climates, citing key events beginning with Darwinism's impact on the pillar of faith in the late nineteenth century to The Great War, the conflict of the 40s, the conformity of the 50s, the liberation of the 60s, the hedonistic self-indulgence of the 70s, and the shift toward material wealth in the 1980s. All of this lead to the 90s - the point where culture simply burned out. "They were out of ideas." Slacker became the iconic low-culture film of 1991. Nihilism peaked in 1994 with Kurt Cobain's suicide, the KLF's burning of a million pounds, and the death of Bill Hicks. And with these events, Higgs declares, "this was the point when the constant creation of new musical genres that had characterized the 20th century came to an end." Higgs refers to 1991-94 as the "Age of Extremes," bracketed by the end of the Cold War and by the birth of first popular web browser. The chapter also touches upon Surrealism, Situationism, Anti-capitalism, Communism, Fascism, Dadaism, The Cabaret Voltaire, Generation X, Tony Blair, George W Bush, The Spice Girls, and how all of these lead us to the new millennium. Other chapters are equally rich in content. Chapter 4: Magic and Moore, (specifically pp 80 - 89) examine the nature of consciousness, Carl Jung, Alan Moore's concept of "Ideaspace," and reality, itself. A thoroughly exciting book, I had to put it down mid-chapter just to collect my thoughts. One thing is for certain - Higgs' book will give you more insight into the mysterious entity that is the K-Foundation than you could ever have asked for.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Alex Sarll

    Staggeringly good book about how the KLF created the 21st century, and about how it's obviously absurd to suggest that the KLF created the 21st century. Requesting it, I had no idea that the author was also responsible for a Timothy Leary biography I very much enjoyed, but this is on a different level. Several, in fact. Properly explaining the KLF - or even beginning to attempt such a feat - requires extensive analysis of everything from Dada, situationism and the Discordians to Doctor Who and A Staggeringly good book about how the KLF created the 21st century, and about how it's obviously absurd to suggest that the KLF created the 21st century. Requesting it, I had no idea that the author was also responsible for a Timothy Leary biography I very much enjoyed, but this is on a different level. Several, in fact. Properly explaining the KLF - or even beginning to attempt such a feat - requires extensive analysis of everything from Dada, situationism and the Discordians to Doctor Who and Alan Moore; those interested in any of these topics should also find this fascinating. Those not interested in any of these topics worry me.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Steve Duffy

    Brian Eno says that what you put around a work of art can be as interesting as what you put into it; the implication being that context can determine response in ways that may not at first be altogether evident. This book offers a variety of framing contexts through which to view the actions of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty over a period of twelve years or so around the back of the last century. Some, if not all, of them may be rooted in the intentions of the artists; some, if not all, of them a Brian Eno says that what you put around a work of art can be as interesting as what you put into it; the implication being that context can determine response in ways that may not at first be altogether evident. This book offers a variety of framing contexts through which to view the actions of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty over a period of twelve years or so around the back of the last century. Some, if not all, of them may be rooted in the intentions of the artists; some, if not all, of them are, retrospectively at least, valid; all of them go to prove Eno's point. This book should not just be read by fans of conceptual trance music.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jo Coleman

    This was good fun! Not so much a book about The KLF as about all the ideas and oddness around them. I knew a lot of the early story from having already read up on Julian Cope and Ken Campbell, though I didn't know how much of The KLF's imagery came straight out of the Illuminatus! books. I liked how the book started off as a very matter-of-fact account of crazy activities, and then turned into a grand theory of everything that happened at the end of the 20th century partway through. All the stor This was good fun! Not so much a book about The KLF as about all the ideas and oddness around them. I knew a lot of the early story from having already read up on Julian Cope and Ken Campbell, though I didn't know how much of The KLF's imagery came straight out of the Illuminatus! books. I liked how the book started off as a very matter-of-fact account of crazy activities, and then turned into a grand theory of everything that happened at the end of the 20th century partway through. All the stories of synchronicity were good fun too, and I have my own to add: after reading a bit last Friday evening, I put the book down and switched on Radio 4, which was broadcasting a discussion of 'Head On' by Julian Cope! Spooky, eh?

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marisol García

    A veces es mejor que un libro sobre una carrera musical sea algo diferente a la disposición cronológica de datos, y que opte por abordar el desafío biográfico no tanto desde la cuenta de hitos y su contexto sino en la interpretación del sentido profundo de todo aquello; tanto lo que fue intencional como los efectos que aparecieron sin que sus protagonistas los buscasen. Todo el recorrido del dúo KLF desde fines de los años ochenta justifica por completo lo que aquí hace John Higgs, en un libro q A veces es mejor que un libro sobre una carrera musical sea algo diferente a la disposición cronológica de datos, y que opte por abordar el desafío biográfico no tanto desde la cuenta de hitos y su contexto sino en la interpretación del sentido profundo de todo aquello; tanto lo que fue intencional como los efectos que aparecieron sin que sus protagonistas los buscasen. Todo el recorrido del dúo KLF desde fines de los años ochenta justifica por completo lo que aquí hace John Higgs, en un libro que necesita vincular su música con corrientes de pensamiento amplias, herméticas y a veces delirantes. Por muchos singles que hayan vendido, el ascenso del dúo como proyecto pop no siguió el trayecto de éxito como suele entenderse; en parte porque su origen no tuvo una motivación puramente creativa (el grupo fue algo así como un experimento filosófico-político que usó las herramientas del pop) y porque su objetivo tenía un final definido (básicamente, su propia autodestrucción). Por eso este libro no es la biografía de una banda exitosa y polémica, sino más bien la explicación de las muchas corrientes con las que sus dos integrantes interactuaron a medida que avanzaban como profesionales de la música (situacionismo, illuminati, pensamiento mágico, discordianismo y otras), en una exploración concluida con un final gesto de gloria cuando, para perplejidad del mundo, toman todo el dinero ganado hasta entonces y se van a una isla escocesa a quemarlo (y así, ay, reducen a cenizas un millón de libras esterlinas en billetes). Ni performance, ni política ni locura. Me convence la tesis del autor que explica ese disparate como la liberación cultural perfecta.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Raymond

    I only have a passing knowledge of music group The KLF, and a side interest in Discordianism in general, so this short book ultimately does a good job combining the two in the best way it possibly could given the metric ton of deliberate misinformation strewn about by all parties involved. While this is billed primarily as about The KLF, it's really better as a basic primer of Discordianism in popular arts and culture, and that's not to say a larger piece would be more interesting, but as someon I only have a passing knowledge of music group The KLF, and a side interest in Discordianism in general, so this short book ultimately does a good job combining the two in the best way it possibly could given the metric ton of deliberate misinformation strewn about by all parties involved. While this is billed primarily as about The KLF, it's really better as a basic primer of Discordianism in popular arts and culture, and that's not to say a larger piece would be more interesting, but as someone who decidedly cannot take the time to become more obsessed with yet another weird arcane "thing," this was more than enough to satiate my overall interest. This is short enough to be engrossing and whet anyone's appetite, but might not be detailed enough to truly delve into everything people would like to about the topics within. For me, it was pitch perfect, and I'm glad I took some time to read this one.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Espen

    The bits about KLF were good. The meandering sociopolitical and philosophical segments became a bit too much.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Billy Biggs

    Surprisingly hilarious, interesting and bizarre. I have followed the KLF since the early 90s so lots of nostalgia. This book helped clear up some of their history, or maybe it didn't.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Diletta

    Storia sotterranea, nei limiti che non esistono (ovvio) dello spazio e del tempo. Magia.

  11. 4 out of 5

    P

    It is, of course, absolutely absurd to posit that Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond literally created the twenty-first century. Right? Right?

  12. 4 out of 5

    fonz

    Me ha parecido entretenido, incluso divertido a ratos, y con una premisa original (hay que reconocerle que como biografía de un grupo pop es única, aunque un poco tramposa, no me extraña que muchos fans de The KLF renieguen de este libro) pero no compro. Básicamente por prejuicios de persona maniática contra dos de los pilares en los que se apoya este libro; el pretenciosísimo tostonazo "Rastros de carmín", de Greil Marcus que relaciona a los Sex Pistols con el Situacionismo y el Dadá, y las teo Me ha parecido entretenido, incluso divertido a ratos, y con una premisa original (hay que reconocerle que como biografía de un grupo pop es única, aunque un poco tramposa, no me extraña que muchos fans de The KLF renieguen de este libro) pero no compro. Básicamente por prejuicios de persona maniática contra dos de los pilares en los que se apoya este libro; el pretenciosísimo tostonazo "Rastros de carmín", de Greil Marcus que relaciona a los Sex Pistols con el Situacionismo y el Dadá, y las teorías sobre la magia de Alan Moore (personaje que, he de confesar, me cae muy mal), es decir, explicar el mundo como una realidad procesada por el cerebro, un sistema metafórico y simbólico que se puede manipular mediante el acto artístico, según el cual las obras de arte, "objetos creados de la nada" (tal y como se afirma literalmente en el libro) quedarían liberadas en una especie de mundo de las ideas platónico hasta que alguien tropieza con ellas produciéndose una especie de efecto mariposa cultural, algo que suena a un cruce entre descubrir el Mediterráneo y artistas flipándose con su propio ombligo. Más interesante me ha resultado todo lo que tiene que ver con las fuerzas del caos, concretamente el Discordianismo y la obra de ROBERT SHEA y Anton Wilson, pero si has leído la trilogía "Illuminati!" o el estupendo "Las máscaras de los Illuminati" de Wilson en solitario, que publicó hace la tira de años Miraguano, todo lo que Higgs te cuenta aquí ya te va a sonar bastante. Y para el final, un poco en segundo plano queda la peripecia de The KLF, que no me ha parecido particularmente interesante, donde Higgs se entrega en demasía a la sincronicidad jungiana, fenómeno que se acaba descartando en aras de las enseñanzas de Anton Wilson, lo que diluye un poco la fuerza e incluso el sentido del libro.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Ser

    Forse la migliore lettura dell'ultimo anno, un libro sensibile e attento a masticare onnivoramente sincronicità tra differenti discipline. Questo libro è un racconto epico di una delle vicende più interessanti della produzione musicale pop della storia, ma è anche un manuale etico di orientamento nel mondo contemporaneo che non indulge nell'imporre qualsivoglia insegnamento. Soprattutto, "Complotto!" è narrazione che si fa realtà e nella confusione rivela verità che raramente siamo disposti ad a Forse la migliore lettura dell'ultimo anno, un libro sensibile e attento a masticare onnivoramente sincronicità tra differenti discipline. Questo libro è un racconto epico di una delle vicende più interessanti della produzione musicale pop della storia, ma è anche un manuale etico di orientamento nel mondo contemporaneo che non indulge nell'imporre qualsivoglia insegnamento. Soprattutto, "Complotto!" è narrazione che si fa realtà e nella confusione rivela verità che raramente siamo disposti ad accettare.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Athan Tolis

    My friend Matt recommended this book. Matt’s a quiet genius with very well-defined musical taste and he plays in a band. Also, he recommended to me “Le Freak” by Nile Rodgers which I read and loved, so I thought nothing of taking another recommendation from him. The book arrived and, to my pleasant surprise, a quote from Ben Goldacre featured on the front cover saying “By far the best book this year. Brilliant, discursive and wise.” Ben Goldacre is, of course, the author of Bad Pharma, which I al My friend Matt recommended this book. Matt’s a quiet genius with very well-defined musical taste and he plays in a band. Also, he recommended to me “Le Freak” by Nile Rodgers which I read and loved, so I thought nothing of taking another recommendation from him. The book arrived and, to my pleasant surprise, a quote from Ben Goldacre featured on the front cover saying “By far the best book this year. Brilliant, discursive and wise.” Ben Goldacre is, of course, the author of Bad Pharma, which I also read and loved and 2012 was a good vintage for books, so that made it two solid recommendations. Thus encouraged, I set about reading this little book and some seventy pages into it I thought it was utter drivel. Not just average, run of the mill, garden variety drivel, but drivel of the highest (lowest?) order. So I put it to one side. I got sacked from my job in February, but did not get around to organizing my leaving drinks till December. Matt turned up and I confronted him about the book. I even tried to couch my criticism by saying “I totally loved the Freak book, but I have no idea what that KLF book was all about, I’ve kind of given up on it some 70 pages into it.” “Ah, that’s the better book, actually, you just need to persevere a bit,” Matt advised me. I really really respect Matt’s views on all sorts of issues (mainly to do with bond trading and desk politics, admittedly, but also music) so I concluded it must be me. Also, my worst fears about the book, that it’s a compilation of quackery mixed with the odd musical reference, were assuaged by the fact that Ben Goldacre is quite possibly the best known British crusader against quackery. It had to be me. So I packed the book into my backpack for this past weekend’s trip to Greece. And now I’ve read it. I must confess it did not leave me totally unmoved. Rather, it transported me back in time, a good 25 years. It brought me back to my days in college. Not any days either. More like the nights, in fact. Those nights when I was unlucky enough to be semi-unconscious on a couch while an inebriated loser has been spouting cod philosophy inspired by the latest science class he’s taking and mixing it with the little philosophy he thinks he knows, more often than not for the benefit of some girl who decided an hour ago to give him the benefit of the doubt and is patiently waiting for him to be done talking and solicit her preference of his room or hers. Except this was worse, and there wasn’t a noble cause involved, so to speak. It was me on a plane and valuable reading time being wasted that will never come back. The book is a gauche attempt to weave together the story of a band (about which I actually learned very little, but perhaps and in retrospect more than I needed to) with an eclectic mix of incongruous, incoherent and poorly stitched together theories about art, psychology, alchemy, magic and (I’m serious) the world financial crisis of 2008. It is the worst book I’ve ever finished out of, don’t know, more than 500, perhaps 1000, I’ve never tried to count. I resolved to publish as soon as I got off the plane, to make sure my fury at having wasted my reading time is undiminished: The one star I am assigning to this book is a total insult to the other two books I’ve given one star to. This is a zero star book. No more Ben Goldacre books either. Might have to revise how I feel about Bad Pharma at this point. I guess Matt remains a good friend, but no more book recommendations from him.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Macrae

    This is a book about how Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of the KLF came to burn a million pounds in cash in the fireplace of a disused boathouse on the island of Jura off the coast of Scotland in 1994. Or, more correctly, it's a book that seeks to examine the significance of this event through the prisms of chaos and control, coincidence and synchronicity, magic and rationalism, epoch and historical moment, Situationism, Dada, Discordianism, the Illuminatus! trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson's concept This is a book about how Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of the KLF came to burn a million pounds in cash in the fireplace of a disused boathouse on the island of Jura off the coast of Scotland in 1994. Or, more correctly, it's a book that seeks to examine the significance of this event through the prisms of chaos and control, coincidence and synchronicity, magic and rationalism, epoch and historical moment, Situationism, Dada, Discordianism, the Illuminatus! trilogy, Robert Anton Wilson's concepts of the reality tunnel and multi-model agnosticism, the JFK assassination, Dr Who, Alan Moore's ideaspace and the collective unconscious, the devil, paganism, the 23 enigma, magical rabbit spirits, and the nature of art and the function and value of money. Higgs has used only secondary sources to construct his narrative, arguing that interviewing the protagonists now would only confuse things further. Instead he seeks to situate the event in a context. It is, fittingly, very weird, and very satisfying. I was aware of The KLF– they were in 1991 and 1992 one of the biggest selling bands in the world – and I remember subsequently hearing the story of how they burned a million quid, which to me seemed like a publicity stunt by attention-seeking arseholes (a conclusion the book leaves open). I'd also read Drummond and Cauty's The Manual: How to have a number 1 hit the easy way, a delightful tongue-in-cheek manifesto/critique of manufactured pop, so I had some idea of their anarcho-trickster ethos. But I was pretty much completely unprepared for the strange history and context of the money-burning event and its aftermath. Most intriguing to me is that it appears Drummond and Cauty were not themselves entirely sure what they sought to achieve by burning the money; nor were they prepared for how the energy they released in that act would haunt them. They made a film of the event, The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid, which was shot by a collaborator at the time. They spent a dismal month doing promotion and Q and A sessions after screenings of the film, which audiences greeted with horror, disdain, cynicism, bemusement, anger and incomprehension. As Drummond said at the time, they could have wasted the money on limousines and swimming pools and no one would have cared, but people were on the whole incredibly hostile to their action. By removing the money from circulation, they had violated its fundamental rules. This reaction seems to have shaken them, and they signed a contract with each other agreeing not to work together or discuss the burning for 23 years. The contract was written on the bonnet of a car and pushed off a cliff. At the heart of this story is the question of why they burned the money. Why didn't they give it away, or put it to some useful purpose in the world? The book weaves together multiple intersecting strands of narrative to provide dimension and context for these questions. And the thing is, they did put it to a useful purpose. By burning it, they negated it. As Higgs argues, burning the million quid was never about art. It was about the destruction of money, freeing oneself from the control of money. It was the enactment of the idea that money could be defeated. And through this act Drummond and Cauty demonstrate, to paraphrase a recurring adage from the book, that the trick of doing the impossible is to just go ahead and do it.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mark Love

    It says a lot about me, perhaps, that the two books by my bedside at the moment are John Higgs' new book on the KLF, and Julian Cope's stupendously cosmic magnus opus "Copendium". Or could it be exactly the kind of serendipitous collision in ideaspace that this book celebrates? The KLF's Bill Drummond and Julian Cope have been at loggerheads for nearly 20yrs, following Cope's "Bill Drummond Said" track, and Bill's "Julian Cope Is Dead" response (second line "I shot him in the head") which is iro It says a lot about me, perhaps, that the two books by my bedside at the moment are John Higgs' new book on the KLF, and Julian Cope's stupendously cosmic magnus opus "Copendium". Or could it be exactly the kind of serendipitous collision in ideaspace that this book celebrates? The KLF's Bill Drummond and Julian Cope have been at loggerheads for nearly 20yrs, following Cope's "Bill Drummond Said" track, and Bill's "Julian Cope Is Dead" response (second line "I shot him in the head") which is ironic, given how well these books complement each other. More of "Copendium" later, when I finally finish its dense and lengthy contents. Higgs' book couldn't be more of a contrast in that respect: breezy, whimsical, subversive and illuminating. When Ben Goldacre asserts that "it's the best book written this year" you really should listen. But I would have read this anyway. As a long time follower of Drummond and Cauty's exploits under various guises, (and even a collaborator on one occasion http://collectivedischarge.blogspot.c...) I nearly relented and read this as an ebook (something I've never done) when it was first published some time ago, as it was uncertain that it would be published as a paperback. Higgs' doesn't take the familiar biographic route of interviews and chronology, and this book instead relies on re-examining the "spectacle" of the KLF through their various stunts, inspirations and ideas. This is fortunate given Drummond and Cauty's well-documented reluctance to discuss their legacy, reinforced by the 23 year contract they signed to not discuss the burning of a million quid on Jura in 1994, an act that still provokes a mixed yet stunned response. Higgs argues, convincingly, that examining the "spectacle" complete with it's myths, lies and contradictions gets us as close to the "truth" as possible, for there is no single truth in a world where chance can often be mistaken for cause, and vice-versa. In this case Higgs examines the role of Robert Anton Wilson's "The Illuminatus Trilogy", the chaotic pseudo-religion of Discordianism (including the legendary "Operation Mindfuck") in creating the Justified Ancients of Mummu, who's purpose was to overthrow The Illuminati, a secret group intent on imposing order on humankind. The KLF's first incarnation "The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu" needs to be seen in the context of "The Illuminatus". Drummond had worked as a set designer on Ken Campbell's epic 12 hour 1976 production of the trilogy and so many of the reused KLF concepts were undoubtedly deliberate, but much more seems inexplicable, unless you subscribe to Alan Moore's "Ideaspace" view of the world. Higgs explores the connections, people and ideas that link these tales, and weaves a fantastic tale that jumps around and sparks the imagination. Definitely not one just for fans only.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Félix

    Muy resumido: es el libro más guay que he leído en mi vida. Ahora en inglés: the coolest book I read in my whole life.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Steve Cran

    The Rise and Fall of KLF. KLF was a British musical duo that I had never heard of until I read this book. No wonder because at sometime in the mid nineties they decided to call it quits and erase everything they had done from public record. They also went to Jura for the sole purpose of burning a million pounds and televising it. Jump back to the early 70's when Bob Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote a book called the illuminatus trilogy. The premise is about the illuminati trying to control the w The Rise and Fall of KLF. KLF was a British musical duo that I had never heard of until I read this book. No wonder because at sometime in the mid nineties they decided to call it quits and erase everything they had done from public record. They also went to Jura for the sole purpose of burning a million pounds and televising it. Jump back to the early 70's when Bob Shea and Robert Anton Wilson wrote a book called the illuminatus trilogy. The premise is about the illuminati trying to control the world and make everything super orderly. The Justified Ancients of Mumu want chaos and freedom. This was a influential book for Drummond even if he never read the whole thing. He would be involved with plays in this topic and then he would go to make singles with his own record company. His music took the direction of lifting entire segments from songs and remixing it. This lead to some lawsuits where he had to destroy the singles he had made. His next step was to form a band called JAM ( justified ancients of my mu) They had a run for several years and then morphed into KLF. KLF did rave music in the nineties and early part of the 21st century. Then they called it quits. They would form an art organization. Now why burn the money. Some say it was to Get their soul back from the devil. Other day it was a ritual against money s control over everything. None the less while this might not get read by many it is filled with synchronicity and coincident. You wil! See the philosophical input not only of Robert Anton Wilson, but also Jung, Alan Moore and Timothy Leary. Who know their big might have been a giant ritual from the collective ideaspace.

  19. 5 out of 5

    De Ongeletterde

    In dit boek over de popgroep The KLF weet auteur John Higgs heel wat interessante ideeën samen te brengen die de lezer op een andere manier laten kijken naar de wereld. Dit is dan ook geen gewone biografie van een popgroep, maar een boek vol uitweidingen dat eigenlijk over het leven gaat en over onze kijk op het leven. De invalshoek die de auteur kiest, zorgt dat het verhaal als een heel aangenaam en interessant narratief gepresenteerd wordt en heeft ook mijn interesse in de muziek die Bill Drum In dit boek over de popgroep The KLF weet auteur John Higgs heel wat interessante ideeën samen te brengen die de lezer op een andere manier laten kijken naar de wereld. Dit is dan ook geen gewone biografie van een popgroep, maar een boek vol uitweidingen dat eigenlijk over het leven gaat en over onze kijk op het leven. De invalshoek die de auteur kiest, zorgt dat het verhaal als een heel aangenaam en interessant narratief gepresenteerd wordt en heeft ook mijn interesse in de muziek die Bill Drummond en Jimmy Cauty maakten opnieuw aangewakkerd, of het nu de singles van The KLF of "Doctorin' the tardis" van The Timelords is... Zoek de muziek op YouTube en geniet nog meer van dit boek!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kathrin Passig

    Die erste Hälfte fand ich großartig und hätte fünf Sterne vergeben, gegen Ende war es mir dann ein bisschen zu "hier noch fünf weitere Themen, die mich auch interessieren". Schöner Rechercheansatz, davon auszugehen, dass die Protagonisten sowieso nicht über ihre Motive Bescheid wissen und man sie deshalb besser gar nicht erst befragt. Viele gute Zitate. "What should we make of this? We shouldn't make anything of it. We should forget it and move on. If it makes it any easier, this author can assur Die erste Hälfte fand ich großartig und hätte fünf Sterne vergeben, gegen Ende war es mir dann ein bisschen zu "hier noch fünf weitere Themen, die mich auch interessieren". Schöner Rechercheansatz, davon auszugehen, dass die Protagonisten sowieso nicht über ihre Motive Bescheid wissen und man sie deshalb besser gar nicht erst befragt. Viele gute Zitate. "What should we make of this? We shouldn't make anything of it. We should forget it and move on. If it makes it any easier, this author can assure you that there will be no other appearances in this story by giant invisible rabbit spirits."

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    There's something delicious about coincidence. Like when you read a book and Alan Moore is mentioned when he is someone you had, at one point, Googled obsessively for months. Or you log on to Twitter while humming Doctorin' the Tardis and the first tweet on your timeline mentions the TARDIS in a discussion about something else. Or when you finish one of the best books you've read in ages, put it down and pick up your phone and it's on 23% battery. Before picking this book up, I didn't know much abou There's something delicious about coincidence. Like when you read a book and Alan Moore is mentioned when he is someone you had, at one point, Googled obsessively for months. Or you log on to Twitter while humming Doctorin' the Tardis and the first tweet on your timeline mentions the TARDIS in a discussion about something else. Or when you finish one of the best books you've read in ages, put it down and pick up your phone and it's on 23% battery. Before picking this book up, I didn't know much about the KLF beyond the couple of hit singles they had in the 1990s. In this book, John Higgs dissects the entire lifespan of the group - their birth, their short-lived success, and their death (figuratively speaking). Was it all just a massive piss take? Was it all planned? Or was it all coincidence? Or part of an already engineered master plan? Is the world just full of shared ideas? This is worth a read for the chapters on Ideaspace and Money alone. It's incredibly well written, well researched (with sources, index and timeline at the end) and if nothing else you'll come away with a comforting (or frightening) sense that we are all a part of something bigger. "The world we actually live in is made of ideas that have left human minds and entered the physical world." I'll have that bloody Doctor Who song on a loop in my head for the next year, but it's a small price to pay for one of the best books I've read in years. Side note - it looks like it has taken me from November to read this, but I started it one night, put it down, lost it, then only found it again while cleaning for Christmas and immediately restarted it. I'll read it again, it's just brilliant. Highly recommended.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ronald

    Some people have nostalgia for a certain socio-cultural time, for example for the music and youth culture of the 1960s. For me, it was the late 80s and early 90s. I was attending college, meeting new people. The college I attended had a student run radio station, which played pop dance music not only from the US also from the UK, Canada, Australia, and even from Continental Europe. One of the music groups I enjoyed was THE KLF, the subject for this book. THE KLF had some hit songs. They were noto Some people have nostalgia for a certain socio-cultural time, for example for the music and youth culture of the 1960s. For me, it was the late 80s and early 90s. I was attending college, meeting new people. The college I attended had a student run radio station, which played pop dance music not only from the US also from the UK, Canada, Australia, and even from Continental Europe. One of the music groups I enjoyed was THE KLF, the subject for this book. THE KLF had some hit songs. They were notorious for some publicity stunts, such as burning 1 million British pounds. I read somewhere that when the KLF retired, they destroyed their back list of music, and said that they will not create new music until peace was declared throughout the world. Wikipedia has a pretty lengthy article about the KLF. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_KLF This book not only narrates the major events in the history of The KLF, but is also something like a history of ideas. A major focus is on the intellectual influences on the KLF, such as the Situationist philosophy; Discordianism; the Illuminatus! novels of Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea; chaos magic; Alan Moore's notion of Ideaspace. The book also deals with what might be called the philosophy of narrative. The book reads like some gonzo science fiction novel, and I highly enjoyed it.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nigeyb

    Do you believe in magic? John Higgs overlays a standard chronological history of The KLF (a wonderful, and very successful, pop duo active in the late 1980s and early 1990s who adopted the philosophy contained in "The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid/The Golden Apple/Leviathan") with all manner of interesting and provocative historical, cultural and philosophical ideas, movements and people: for example, Dadaism, Carl Jung, the Situationists, the Discordians, Doctor Who, Alan Moore an Do you believe in magic? John Higgs overlays a standard chronological history of The KLF (a wonderful, and very successful, pop duo active in the late 1980s and early 1990s who adopted the philosophy contained in "The Illuminatus! Trilogy: The Eye in the Pyramid/The Golden Apple/Leviathan") with all manner of interesting and provocative historical, cultural and philosophical ideas, movements and people: for example, Dadaism, Carl Jung, the Situationists, the Discordians, Doctor Who, Alan Moore and "Ideaspace", Generation X, Robert Anton Wilson, multiple-model agnosticism, and much more. If that list excites you then you are strongly advised to read this book as soon as possible. If not, move along, nothing to see here. It's a superb, stimulating and entertaining read that I will be returning to again before much longer. 5/5

  24. 5 out of 5

    Aengus

    On August 23, 1994, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty (the electronic band known as the KLF) drove to a deserted boathouse on the Isle of Jura in Scotland and burned a million quid. Their roady, a man named Gimpo later said he thought of killing them and stealing the cash. (As the author, John Higgs asked "Well you would wouldn't you?") Public reaction was primarily one of anger with a "pair of attention seeking arseholes." But when they were interviewed, they didn't come across as media manipulator On August 23, 1994, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty (the electronic band known as the KLF) drove to a deserted boathouse on the Isle of Jura in Scotland and burned a million quid. Their roady, a man named Gimpo later said he thought of killing them and stealing the cash. (As the author, John Higgs asked "Well you would wouldn't you?") Public reaction was primarily one of anger with a "pair of attention seeking arseholes." But when they were interviewed, they didn't come across as media manipulators; they were genuinely mystified at what they had done. They had just known that they had to do it. To get to the bottom of this mystery (WHY!!?), Higgs looks at the history of Dadaism, the Situationist movement, Discordianism, and Alan Moore's adoption of magic to make sense of this strange act. The result, "KLF Chaos Money Magic" winds up being a fascinating look at the power of art and fringe ideas. Did Drummond and Cauty change the course of history (Yes, a case can be made for that), or were they just a pair of attention seeking arseholes? Read the book to find out. You'll be glad you did.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    Best book of 2015. Accesible to those who are and are not familiar with the KLF's music, this is a winding counter culture novel that seeks to answer an unaswerable question - why did the KLF burn a million pounds? In seeking the truth the novel dives into the music industry, doctor who, magic, surrealism, dada, the situationists, the Illuminatus! trilogy, chaos, alan moore, carl jung and more. Like any good book, i learned alot from this and led me to persue new avenues and topics. Higgs doesnt Best book of 2015. Accesible to those who are and are not familiar with the KLF's music, this is a winding counter culture novel that seeks to answer an unaswerable question - why did the KLF burn a million pounds? In seeking the truth the novel dives into the music industry, doctor who, magic, surrealism, dada, the situationists, the Illuminatus! trilogy, chaos, alan moore, carl jung and more. Like any good book, i learned alot from this and led me to persue new avenues and topics. Higgs doesnt paint a complete picture nor does he write a traditional music biography, but he does make a bewildering novel as bewildering as the KLF themselves.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sasche

    Though this is a book about the KLF, it's so much more...I realize I know nothing about anything. Synchronicity is a beautiful concept and seems to creep into my life more than I thought. Is it real? Am I real? What is this reality I've found myself in? "The trick to doing the impossible is just to go ahead and do it." Ken Campbell's words to Bill Drummond resonate with me, too. I find I'm thinking more magical thoughts... Ok, this book has forced me to take a look at the world and I realize that Though this is a book about the KLF, it's so much more...I realize I know nothing about anything. Synchronicity is a beautiful concept and seems to creep into my life more than I thought. Is it real? Am I real? What is this reality I've found myself in? "The trick to doing the impossible is just to go ahead and do it." Ken Campbell's words to Bill Drummond resonate with me, too. I find I'm thinking more magical thoughts... Ok, this book has forced me to take a look at the world and I realize that I can make it out to be anything I want. I just have to choose to change things. Hope...that's ultimately what I'm left with after reading this book. I have hope.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Oscar

    An eminently readable take on the history of the KLF, and the author does point out that this is indeed just one take on it. There's been a great deal written about how the Situationist International influenced the punk (notably the Sex Pistols through Malcolm McLaren and the Clash through Bernie Rhodes) and post-punk (a lot of early Factory Records output through Tony Wilson) movements, but this is to my knowledge the first book that explores Discordian influences. Would love to find a similar bo An eminently readable take on the history of the KLF, and the author does point out that this is indeed just one take on it. There's been a great deal written about how the Situationist International influenced the punk (notably the Sex Pistols through Malcolm McLaren and the Clash through Bernie Rhodes) and post-punk (a lot of early Factory Records output through Tony Wilson) movements, but this is to my knowledge the first book that explores Discordian influences. Would love to find a similar book on Thelemic influences on popular music: Bowie, Zeppelin, Throbbing Gristle, Killing Joke, Current 93...

  28. 5 out of 5

    Simon Fellowes

    Rock books usually stink, being either hagiographies or tedious takedowns (cf. Albert Goldman). This however is a breath of fresh air. Respectful rather than reverential, what's great about this book is that author John Higgs writes as much about the world 'around' the KLF as the band themselves. Placing their work in a wider context allows it not only to make more sense, but also shows the author's understanding of what Bill & Jimmy have and continue to try to do in their various works and Rock books usually stink, being either hagiographies or tedious takedowns (cf. Albert Goldman). This however is a breath of fresh air. Respectful rather than reverential, what's great about this book is that author John Higgs writes as much about the world 'around' the KLF as the band themselves. Placing their work in a wider context allows it not only to make more sense, but also shows the author's understanding of what Bill & Jimmy have and continue to try to do in their various works and guises. It also shows how powerful Pop Culture can be if approached with imagination and intelligence. Recommended.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Godzilla

    Whilst i was no stranger to the music and some of the antics of the KLF and the K Foundation, this book goes much further in analysing the background to their formation, their influences and the cultural impact of their work. In approaching this book I'd assume that a reader has some basic interest in the characters of Drummond and Cauty, because if you haven't then it's going to be a dull read. I was vaguely aware of Dischordians, but this book put the flesh on the bones and there is a lot of tal Whilst i was no stranger to the music and some of the antics of the KLF and the K Foundation, this book goes much further in analysing the background to their formation, their influences and the cultural impact of their work. In approaching this book I'd assume that a reader has some basic interest in the characters of Drummond and Cauty, because if you haven't then it's going to be a dull read. I was vaguely aware of Dischordians, but this book put the flesh on the bones and there is a lot of talk about synchronicity, which feels very apt to me right now. I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and it certainly provoked a lot of thought

  30. 5 out of 5

    flannery

    Yikes, wow, uh, what a book. This is as expansive and eclectic as the Sun Ra bio but about ten times weirder because it's about the KLF, a band best known (?) for the novelty pop hit "Doctorin' the Tardis." The only Americans who remember the KLF are the same high concept contrarian weirdos that champion early Chumbawumba; that said, this is a hilarious book of extreme magnitude, a high concept analysis that includes figures as diverse as Tammy Wynette, Carl Jung, Frances Fukuyama, and Lee Harve Yikes, wow, uh, what a book. This is as expansive and eclectic as the Sun Ra bio but about ten times weirder because it's about the KLF, a band best known (?) for the novelty pop hit "Doctorin' the Tardis." The only Americans who remember the KLF are the same high concept contrarian weirdos that champion early Chumbawumba; that said, this is a hilarious book of extreme magnitude, a high concept analysis that includes figures as diverse as Tammy Wynette, Carl Jung, Frances Fukuyama, and Lee Harvey Oswald. Very perverse, extremely British.

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