Sunday, 25 November 2012

The Superman/Doctor Who/KLF Popstar Car - An Unseen Transvestite Pirate Nun Photograph

Here you go...

Okay, this picture might need a bit of explaining.

First of all, you may recognise the car:

As the car explains on its record sleeve, its name is Ford Timelord and it is the first car to have a number one record. This was in 1988, when the idea that an inanimate object could be a pop star was deeply controversial. Nowadays, of course, no-one would bat an eyelid.

Ford Timelord did not take to fame well. It started making bad decisions. It hung round with bad company.

Ford Timelord entered a self-destructive spiral that ended with a tragic final appearance at a stock car meeting.

But enough of the fall - what about the rise? How did this 1968 Ford Galaxy get from Detroit to Top of the Pops?

This is Christopher Reeve in the first Superman film. But look behind him - that's not the real Metropolis. No, that's a set in Pinewood Studios outside London. And those American cars had been shipped over from the US by Pinewood.

One of them was Ford Timelord.

Ford Timelord wasn't a cop car, then, though. It was all black - and it looked good. But the film industry is fickle and as soon as the car started getting on a bit, it was out. Pinewood sold it to my friend Flinton Chalk for a few hundred quid.

It was Flint who decided to turn it into an American police car. Here we see the car in mid-transformation. This is clearly in the mid 1980s, as we can date the photograph quite precisely by the jumpers on display.

Flint & Co proceeded to add the giant pirate flag and largely trash the car, pulling donuts in the fields around Godstone, Surrey. Frequently, they would do so dressed as nuns.

I quizzed Flint about this and he explains, "If you drive an American cop car around Surrey dressed as nuns, the police never stop you."

So that's his story, and he's sticking to it.

Flint later sold the car to Jimmy Cauty, Jimmy Cauty started making records with Bill Drummond, and the rest is history. You know it is history, because someone has made an action figure:

I think we can all agree, that's pretty fantastic. More details about it are online here, but what I particularly like is the way it comes complete with a tea-crate Dalek.

Steven Moffat boasted about a recent Doctor Who story that it would feature "every Dalek ever", yet that story failed to include the tea-crate Dalek. You can't believe a word that man says.

But enough of this blather, and let us remember Ford Timelord in its glory days:

As a footnote - anyone who wishes to hear how Operation Mindfuck, an attempt to undermine consensus reality by Californian Discordians in the 1970s, led to the profits from this single being squandered on an unfinished avant garde road movie staring the eighth Doctor Paul McGann should consult my new book, KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

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.