Although I wasn’t ever a huge KLF fan—they had a couple of good techno songs, but I never bought their album—I LOVED the Dr. Who novelty song, “Doctorin’ the Tardis,” which the same artists released in the late 1980s when they were calling themselves The Timelords. So, when I saw that there was a book written about the band, I was immediately interested—and when I saw the word CHAOS in the title, I was sold. I grabbed the book for my e-reader, and read it rather quickly. (Reading this book inspired me to buy Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea’s conspiracy trilogy, The Illuminatus!) It was two or three years ago when I originally read this book, and since then, my fascination with the band has grown, and just recently The KLF have released a cryptic video suggesting that they are coming back! To be clear, this book is not just about that techno band who released “What Time is Love?” Get ready for totally insanity!
JMR Higgs – KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money (2012)
Twenty-three years ago, two fellows (Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty) had already been in the music industry for many years as performers and producers and provocateurs—they were involved with acts as diverse as the following: The KLF, The Timelords, The JAMS, Brilliant, Big in Japan, The Orb…and Drummond produced seminal works by Echo and the Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes, as well as starting the Zoo Records label.) These two guys, twenty-three years ago, took a million pounds (that’s British money) and burned it—on camera. According to Higgs’s book, they did it to try and get their souls back… How did they lose their souls? That’s a long story—better read the book.
This is a fantastically well written account of the lives of two maverick performers, which reads like a conspiracy theory novel and involves an unbelievable number of elements and actors: Discordianism, the goddess Eris, Lee Harvey Oswald, comic writer Alan Moore, a bevy of new wave and punk and alternative music performers, the Illuminati, authors Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, Abba, rave culture, magic, Satanic rituals, the Dr. Who t.v. show, chaos theory, the art world…and more. I’m not kidding when I say that I read this book TWO TIMES in preparation for this review because the tale is so complex (and the story is interesting enough that I didn’t mind reading the book two times in a row—I really needed to, just to get enough of a handle on all the concepts to try and say something intelligent… I said TRY…)
It’s a fun story and bizarre as hell (if any of it is true…) The coincidences and connections that had to stack up for Drummond and Cauty to have ended up where they ended seem unbelievable. I hope it’s all true!
I’m going to recommend this book for fans of conspiracy theories, fans of magic and magical thinking, fans of Alan Moore who want another perspective on his particular brand of genius, for fans of punk or post-punk or alternative rock or techno-dance music, for people who are interested in contemporary art, for fans of Dr. Who, for fans of The KLF, and for anyone who loves a page turning yarn! Higgs is an exceptional writer who finds connections in a sea of chaos, and this book is one of the best I’ve read in a long time… Let me repeat this: I’ve read it three times already, and I’m sure I’ll read it again!
—Richard F. Yates
(Commander in Cheap of The Primitive Entertainment Workshop)