KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money - new book out now

In 1994 Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty took a million pounds to a deserted boathouse on the island of Jura, and burnt it. I wish they hadn't, to be honest, but there you go.

I read about it afterwards in an article in the Observer, which I immediately clipped and put in a drawer. I've still got it somewhere. I'd never clipped an article before, and have rarely done so since. The incident lodged in my craw and has refused to leave, especially after it became clear that neither Cauty not Drummond knew why they had done it. The more threads of the story I tugged at over the years, the odder the whole thing became.

The result of all this is that I have written this book, which is available on Kindle from November 23rd:


It is, needless to say, not a typical music biography. It's a story about The KLF, Robert Anton Wilson, Dada, Alan Moore, punk, Discordianism, Carl Jung, magic, Ken Campbell, rave, Situationism and the alchemical properties of Doctor Who. It's a story about all those strange ideas and influences that were swilling around in those days but which accounts of modern history are already leaving out.

It is totally unofficial. I had initially intended to approach Drummond and Cauty and seek approval but the whole point of the book was to capture the spirit of those times and, the deeper into that spirit I got, the more apparent it became that 'doing it properly' went against the grain. When you're echoing people who took huge samples of The Beatles and ABBA without permission and just stuck them out independently, asking nicely seems to miss the point.

There is also an automated algorithmically generated online radio stream called Radio Eris, built by Shardcore. which will broadcast for 14 days from November 23rd and then be switched off for good. Radio Eris will synthetically broadcast one chapter each day, at 3am, 9am, 3pm and 9pm GMT, with automatically-mixed audio in between.

The whole setup is completely devoid of human control and it should burble away into the void. Radio Eris is intended as a response to the burning of a million quid by Cauty and Drummond in 1994.


The book, meanwhile, is available in the UK at £4.54 and in the US at $7.00, or thereabouts. A paperback will follow next year.

Readers of The Brandy of the Damned will notice a lot of overlapping themes, for these two books were written at almost the same time, and readers of I Have America Surrounded will be able to see this as a sequel of sorts, due to the focus on Robert Anton Wilson and Discordianism.

Comments

  1. Any idea on about what time next year the paperback will be released?

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    1. Hi Sean, it'll be in February, so not too much of a wait (and there's always Kindle apps for the highly impatient.)

      Best, jh

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  2. Looking forward to reading the book! Thanks John.

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  3. This looks interesting. I don't understand why the KLF burned that money either. This is the first time I have paid for a Kindle book too! :)

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  4. Just finished the book - read in one sitting. Really good stuff. Mind duly blown. Now deciding whether to buy another of your books or attempt the illuminatus trilogy. Maybe I'll spoil myself with both.

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    1. Spoil yourself, Anonymous! You deserve it. Actually Brandy of the Damned is, in my eyes, a sister book to the KLF one. They have more in common that you would first think. Definitely consider that one (also - it is dirt cheap).

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  5. Any chance of a non-Kindle ebook version?

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    1. There will be Kobo and iBooks versions in the New Year, Andrew. But note that there's no DRM on the Kindle version, if DRM is what is turning you against Kindle format.

      Hey, I really enjoyed your Sci-Ence! Justice Leak! ebook, BTW, and I speak as someone who has never read a DC superhero comic in my life. I particulaly enjoyed all the Grant Morrison stuff.

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    2. It's not the DRM, it's that Kindle software doesn't play nicely with GNU/Linux -- I'll look out for the Kobo version (Kobo ebooks are just ePubs, so if they're DRM-free they'll work with anything).

      And thanks! So few people have read that book that I'm amazed to chance upon someone who actually liked it. If you liked that one, you might like my book An Incomprehensible Condition, which is technically about Grant Morrison's Seven Soldiers comic series, but is also about medieval religious poetry, quantum physics, white appropriation of black culture, the nature of reality... you know the sort of thing.

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    3. I liked it, Andrew! Bought it from you at Thought Bubble and am still trying to work out how the Quantum Gun experiment works. My comics reading list has now doubled in size.

      John, I fear I must hold out for the paperback – & I look forward to it...

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    4. Check your email, Andrew!
      Cheers, jh

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  6. i'm very keen to have a look, at this and the others. however, I don't even HAVE a kindle, and I certainly don't intend to buy one, which means i am incredibly ignorant of format related issues. is there anyway I can buy a pdf of it from you? or will a kindle format run on software that I might have?

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    1. Hi Flipdog, yeah you can read it on almost anything via the free Kindle apps - see here http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000425503

      They're a better bet than trying to read a full book in .pdf format, anyway.

      Alternatively, if you can wait until Feb there will be those retro 'paperback' things available.

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  7. Just read it from start to finish this afternoon. Mind also duly blown, didn't know what to expect. Incredible.

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  8. Hi I can't get Amazon to sell me this!
    More specifically, I don't have a kindle (i have another e-ink device though). The drop-down box "deliver to" should have the option of sending to the Cloud Reader / Kindle / PC etc., but just displays a dotted line.

    Kobo hasn't got it yet (or at least it isn't showing up in their search) and I don't have any Apple things so iBooks is out.

    I'd really rather an ebook version than wait for the presumably dearer paperback too, as I expect to be moving house soon.

    Echoing Flipdog's request for a PDF to buy :)

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    1. Hi Anon - now that's weird, could it be that you're on a different Amazon site to your home country (ie, looking at Amazon.co.uk if you are in the US, or something like that?)

      It will be available for Kobo and iBooks within a month or so, though.

      I haven't made a .pdf because I find reading a full book on .pdf far nastier than in an electronic format that flows the text - but maybe that is just me?

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    2. "I haven't made a .pdf because I find reading a full book on .pdf far nastier than in an electronic format that flows the text - but maybe that is just me?"

      Nope, its not just you. Why people insist on this rather archaic file format is beyond me. Great book by the way

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  9. Can't wait for the book to come out, I don't do ebooks, I like to own a proper copy of a book, same as my music. Is Brandy of the Damned going to be printed?

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    1. Thanks Mandy. Brandy of the Damned is indeed in print - see here

      http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/0956416357/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1634&creative=19450&creativeASIN=0956416357&linkCode=as2&tag=jmrhiggscom-21

      KLF will also be in paperback in due course, if not as quickly as originally planned. Shall blog more details in a day or so...

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  10. Look forward to buying this through the Apple Book Store (as opposed to those Tax-dodging Amazonians). Any idea when it'll be coming out there?

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    1. Hi Stew - it will be a while, I'm afraid. More info here http://jmrhiggs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/update-on-klf-paperback.html

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  11. An update on where the bloody hell the paperback has got to is now up - http://jmrhiggs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/02/update-on-klf-paperback.html

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  12. Here in Holland you can buy the book from Amazon, not allowed for your country message.

    Please publish it in an Apple iBook or better: please on tradition paper.

    Greetings Ralph

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    1. Hello Ralph, fear not, it will be published on paper and iBooks in due course.

      Your "not allowed for your country message" is probably because you are trying to buy from my link to Amazon.co.uk. I'm not sure which store Amazon want people in Holland to buy their ebooks from, but it's probably either Amazon.de or Amazon.com.

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  13. Why even release on Amazon only? I closed my account as Amazon evades taxes in the UK and Germany and hired nazis to control migration workers among other reasons. Why not sell it from your own site in the epub format? You'll earn more too.

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    1. It will be available in epub in due course, Mikael, and also on paper from non-Amazon shops. Just bare with me a bit longer.

      Amazon are hiring Nazis??

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  14. Hi just finished reading this, really enjoyed it and think I'll have a look at you're other books too. Also much kudos for "the beeps" :-)

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  15. Thanks very much. It's a rare day indeed when I get kudos for The Beeps...

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  16. Here you go - concrete news on the paperback at last http://jmrhiggs.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/the-klf-paperback-september.html

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