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KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money

4.33  ·  Rating details ·  1,130 ratings  ·  149 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 ab
Kindle Edition, 192 pages
Published November 23rd 2012 by The Big Hand (first published November 12th 2012)
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Matteo Fumagalli

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",
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 War
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 A ...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 a ...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 stor ...more
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 ...more
Apr 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Storia sotterranea, nei limiti che non esistono (ovvio) dello spazio e del tempo. Magia.
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 ...more
Jan 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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.
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?
Jun 10, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Apr 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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 al
Andrew Macrae
Jul 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 iro
Apr 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Steve Cran
Jun 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
De Ongeletterde
Nov 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Kathrin Passig
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kathrin by: Ira / Goodreads
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
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 abou
Nov 26, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 noto
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 an
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Sep 23, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 bo
Simon Fellowes
Feb 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
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
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: music
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 ...more
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