The return of the KLF: pop’s greatest provocateurs take on a post-truth world

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It is 23 years since the KLF burned 1m and curdled their back on the music industry. They have now recalled with 2023, a piece of dystopian metafiction could it be just what our consumer culture desires? We take a first look

So why exactly did KLF determine PS1m on fire? It’s been a burning question for 23 years, as pop’s greatest provocateurs chose to let hearsay, assumption and myth around the publicity stunt- held on the Scottish island of Jura and pointing their job on 23 August 1994- whirl about unanswered for two decades. Until now.

The return of development projects constituted by Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty in 1987- which has dwell hibernating in a self-imposed standstill of 23 years- returned at 00.23 am on the morning of Wednesday 23 August. As Drummond and Cauty drove into a backstreet of Liverpool in an ice-cream van to originate three days of happens, their first brand-new slog- a trilogy of dystopian fiction, an” goal of daytimes fib”, announced 2023: A Trilogy– simultaneously descended online.

Yet this is not a record for those working go looking for simple reacts, and is obtuse as KLF, who have publicized it under their other name, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. It is a multi-layered, self-referential meta narrative, starting with two undertakers, Cauty and Drummond, who discovered a life-changing work announced 2023: A Trilogy on a inn bookshelf. It was written by “George Orwell”, the pseudonym for one Roberta Antonia Wilson, 33 years ago.” What you are about to read is exactly what predicted- well nearly ,” speaks the preface, adding that it has been translated from Ukrainian.

Book of palls … 2023 by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu. Photo: Faber& Faber

It is a tale which switches between the diary of the author, Roberta, in April 1984, and her fictional fiction set in 2023, in the tax oasi of Fernando Po, which is the last society commonwealth on earth( on a small island off the coast of Africa ).” It was immediately part of Equatorial Guinea, before Equatorial Guinea did their profitable deal with Wikitube ,” records the book.

It is littered with bastardised references to 2017 culture in a nod to the terrible future that could befall us all- the Big Five who settle the world are GoogleByte, Wikitube, Amazaba, FaceLife and AppleTree. Winnie, the main protagonist, has had an affair with Julian Assange in her younger times, and now utilizes an iPhone2 3; Michelle Obama has been the first girl chairman of the US in 2020 but now frameworks for Damien Hirst; Putin was crowned( ceremonial) czar of Russia; Simon Cowell was slaughtered by a former opponent live on China’s Got Talent in 2017. An alternative biography for the Beatles and their role in global peace is too offered. Yet for all the technological progress, today’s social flaws, peculiarly the degradation of women, remain unchanged in 2023.

KLF’s re-entrance into the world on Wednesday night in their battered ice-cream truck likewise almost exactly mirrors a transition of the book, which points to a tone scrawled on a repository wall in Liverpool.” I concluded myself in a dust-covered, sooty metropoli. It was darknes and winter and dark and rainy. Then I received an ice-cream van pull around a area and pull up beside a ramshackle construct .”

While the book is not specific about Cauty and Drummond, they crop up as self-referential personas, at one point referred to as” adults in their late sixties” who” meet up in a blood-red brick two up, two down terraced house in Northampton, alongside comic book generator Alan Moore. It is the first time they have been in the same room together since 1994.” In the book, these three adults withdrew PS1m in PS50 indicates and burn them in a bonfire in front of the Houses of Parliament. What follows is a text which is the closest to an explanation for the publicity stunt that the KLF have ever offered.

” Everyone hears it for what it is: the ostentations of successful rockstars with not enough money to burn … The three of them tried to save some kind of imaginative goodnes by claiming they were misinterpret and they were going to call a Twenty Three Year moratorium on their collective artistic undertakings. In their compute, these 23 times would give the hoi polloi, the artistry organisation and the international jet set enough time to assess the reasons why three ex-rock stellars find whim enough to burn a accumulation of money so large-scale it could have saved one million starving Ethiopian babies from particular fatality.

Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty arrive in Liverpool. Photograph: Richard Martin-Roberts/ Getty Images

The return of the KLF was stigmatized by a advertisement in the East End of London posing the issues to:” 2017: What the fuck is going on ?” Certainly it seems fitting that the pair, whose stunts far predated the absurdity of most internet culture, are making such a resurgence in the post-truth age- and at a time when Beyonce and Jay-Z are supposedly leaders of the Illuminati.

Few acts since are in a position to rival their anarchic, anti-commercial and mostly ludicrous profession in the late 1980 s and 90 s, and the book is an example of how they still have the power to protruded venomous loopholes through favourite culture. There was their shameless yet pioneering sampling of pa lyrics, which gave rise to dissents from Abba for the unauthorised help of Dancing Queen. The pair travelled to Sweden to convince Abba to endorse the record. Abba rejected, so they uttered the gold disc to a Swedish copulation work and burned the rest of the records in the groves.

There were their sceptre-wielding carries-on on Top of the Pops, and their form at the 1992 Brit awards with the band Extreme Noise Terror, where they shelled blanks from machine guns into the crowd, then dropped a dead sheep on the red carpet, adorned with the send:” I succumbed for you .” They subsequently submerge their Brit award at Stonehenge.

And let’s not forget their dramatic and, in the eyes of countless, self-indulgent decided not to burn PS1m of royalties in a final badge of their derision for the major labels’ repression of the music manufacture. Along with the deletion of their part back catalogue, it’s an act that seems as odious yet laudable today as it did back then.

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