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KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money

4.32  ·  Rating details ·  1,356 ratings  ·  179 reviews
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
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published November 12th 2012
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Average rating 4.32  · 
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 ·  1,356 ratings  ·  179 reviews

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Dec 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Music junkies, freaks, Discordianists
Recommended to Innerspaceboy by: Abebooks
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
Alex Sarll
Dec 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Steve Duffy
Oct 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 ...more
Jo Coleman
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Jun 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is, of course, absolutely absurd to posit that Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond literally created the twenty-first century. Right? Right?
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it
The bits about KLF were good. The meandering sociopolitical and philosophical segments became a bit too much.
Billy Biggs
Feb 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: books-read-2014
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.
Don Jimmy
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. A great read.
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it
I can't really recommend this because it's so specific and tailored to a very particular kind of person. But I'm exactly that kind of person. I probably won't read a book this year that'll affect me as profoundly as this has in terms of how I view the world. Still, I'm not sure I can really recommend it. But I think I can recommend checking out some of their music (The KLM/JAMs). 3AM Eternal is a good one to start with.
Athan Tolis
Jan 12, 2015 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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
Andrew Macrae
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Mark Love
Oct 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Steve Cran
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Gary Fowles
Not so much a KLF biography, more an extended essay about various thoughts that loosely fit around a story in which The KLF have a starring role. In parts it's interesting enough, but Higgs meanders off topic for too long and after a while it starts to annoy. Higgs spends more time trying to explain Alan Moore's concept of magic than he does talking about The White Room. There are way too many gaps in and certain episodes are glossed over in order for Higgs to get back to his thoughts about ...more
Jul 31, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
What a stinker. I don't know who the hell Ben Goldacre is, but, quote attributed to him on the cover has to be a joke. I only read 21% of this book. it was a load of pretentious twaddle. I wanted to read about KLF, instead I guess got some author doing the written equivalent of free form jazz. which I also hate. I know this book has lots of 4+ star reviews but it ain't doing it for me.
Clifford Low
Dec 05, 2012 rated it it was amazing
One heck of a fun ride for people interested in music, magic, pop culture, fringe thought, conspiracies, comics, or just about anything else. I'm not sure I'm satisfied with the ending (for a variety of spoilery reasons) but it's definitely a rewarding read.
Andrew Nolan
If you've read Guy Debord, Jung, or countless others loosely referenced and dramatically bent in to shape to prop up this book you will most likely shake your head every few pages reading this.

If you haven't read them this book will probably be enjoyable.
Feb 27, 2017 rated it did not like it

A pointless waste of time full of unnecessary and uninteresting tangents concluded in the least satisfying and most deceptive (to the author's thoughts on the matter, it seems) way. Don't bother.
Richard K
May 10, 2014 rated it did not like it
Yawn - cod philosophy and mumbo jumbo......I gave up
Paul Ataua
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
‘KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money’ focuses in on the music phenomenon that was Drummond and Cauty, but really uses that to rewrite a history of the late twentieth and early twentieth first century in which order is not a property of the world but is something we project onto it . The ‘real’ world is a place where things happen not because of well worked out reasons leading to clear actions and then to desired results, but more the chaotic coming together of circumstances that lie beyond our rational ...more
Michael Legge
May 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shame he dies in the end.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
May 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Feb 11, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
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