FourFromFoodFriday #17.36

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Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things I’ve been loving in the last seven days. Old or new, whatever’s been on in the studio. From top left:

Blackash – Black Witch EP (Swordfish Records) 12″ – Freaky psych rock with meditational ambient tracks straight out of Birmingham

The Belbury Circle – Outward Journeys (Ghost Box) LP – Jim Jupp and Jon Brooks join forces with John Foxx again to whip up an album of early 80s inspired tracks.

Misha Panfilov – Kallaste Elektrooniline Muusika (aina lomala) 7″ – Superb hauntological / radiophonic / electronic 45 from prolific Estonian producer Panfilov

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard live session in the KEXP studio (YouTube) – I have to watch this about once a week, such fantastic timing and musicianship

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Pink Floyd at the V&A Museum

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It’s taken me an age to post these because life is currently getting in the way in the form of moving and renovating a new home. The Pink Floyd exhibition, ‘Their Mortal Remains’ at the V&A Museum, is very much worth seeing even if, like me, Pink Floyd don’t mean much to you. I swore off them for a long while due to ‘Another Brick In The Wall Pt.2’ being no.1 for so many weeks as a child and finding myself utterly sick of it.

But the fickleness of youth only lasts so long and I found myself gradually checking back through their back catalogue, picking up the odd cheap LP here and there and finally realising why everyone raves about ‘Dark Side Of The Moon’. This exhibition highlights exactly what a forward-thinking, visually aware band they were, adapting as their fame and venue sizes increased, their sleeve concepts becoming ever more outlandish as budgets made pre-photoshop surrealist montage possible. The amount of artwork and props present attest to a group with a very strong concept behind each album, courtesy of the Hipgnosis team of course.

Starting at the beginning and travelling chronologically through their career we enter a time tunnel and emerge inside a version of the UFO club circa ’67 complete with pulsating liquid light ceiling, psychedelic poster gallery and films. Rooms concentrating of Syd Barratt, Wish You Were Here, Dark Side of the Moon and more eventually give way to a stunning display of Animals and The Wall-era stage props and art. The 80s side of things were less my bag but the concepts were now reaching gigantic proportion and are impressive as last bastions of the sort of excess that just doesn’t happen any more now that we can do all these things digitally. The final room with a surround performance of their reunion at Live8 was very moving and a perfect way to end this retrospective. Go and see if before it ends on October 15th!

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Pierre Henry, Montreux Jazz festival, Switzerland 1998

Pierre Henry Montreux Jazz festival 1998

I finally found my Pierre Henry photos. Back in 1998 I was playing with various assorted Ninjas at the Montreux Jazz festival in Switzerland. Pierre Henry was also on the bill so we went along but were late and had to sit near the back as they were the only seats left.
Pierre came out and was introduced but there was nothing on stage, just black curtains. He promptly strode to the back of the room and played the gig from the mixing desk just behind us.
The gig was both terrifying and sublime- at one point i was so relaxed I think I nodded off. Right at the end, as he was receiving a huge round of applause, I turned round and snapped these two shots of him.
RIP Pierre Henry

FourFromFoodFridays #17.35

FourFromFoodFridays 17.35Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things I’ve been loving in the last seven days. Old or new, whatever’s been on in the studio. From top left:

Clocolan – Nothing Left To Abandon (BauSatz) 2xLP – Timely reissue of Clocolan’s debut album from January – then digital only – on two blue vinyl discs with extra tracks

Andy Votel’s Typewriter Jazz (Worldwide FM) Radio – Guesting on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide radio station, Andy plays songs that feature the original journalist’s analogue keyboard of choice as musical instrument.

Annabel (lee) – The Cleansing (Youngbloods) LP – The follow up to their timeless debut, ‘By the Sea… and Other Solitary Places’, this is just as good, out today!

Yves Hayat – Conversation Between the East and the West (Timing) LP – Finally found a copy of this at a decent price, from the man himself, it’s not all on the web but you can sample some of its delights. Someone reissue this please.

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Under the Radar – Underground Zines & Self-Publications 1965–1975

unterdemradar_de_object_0I was sent a copy of this fantastic book a few months ago and now i’ve seen it appearing in a few of the better books shops over here (Magma has them I believe).

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Designed in collaboration with students of the HfK Bremen it’s a 368 page B&W and colour publication from Leipzig, edited by Jan-Frederik Bandel, Annette Gilbert, Tania Prill and Prill Vieceli Cremers

unterdemradar_de_4_0unterdemradar_de_5_0Packed full of underground press magazines, fanzines and comics from West Germany, showing them in the context from which they emerged. A collection like this is priceless, you would never track down some of these publications even if you knew they existed.

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Editor Tania Prill will talk about the project at Printed Matter’s NY Art Book Fair this Saturday, September 23rd at 12:00 am, at MoMA PS1, 22-25 Jackson Ave, Long Island City, NY 11101

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Further goes to Spiritland

With great pride and a lot of effort Pete Williams and I played one of our Further sets last Sunday evening at Spiritland, complete with multiple projections. Thanks to everyone who came by despite the bad weather. We had a great time and are in talks to bring it back there. You can hear our 4 hour set below and sample some of the projections we discreetly added to the sumptuous surroundings.

The next Further excursion is in 9 days at the SYNthesis festival in South Norwood, we’ll be playing either side of The Heliocentrics at Stanley Halls preceded by an afternoon of street art painting, food stalls and a talk by designer, Swifty at 6pm.
Tickets here

(Video nicked from Spiritland’s Instagram, photos © Martin LeSanto-Smith)

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Electronic Sound issue 33

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The latest issue of Electronic Sound magazine is a cracker, a huge interview with Gary Numan, an appraisal of Trevor Key’s artwork and an opening page by me, showing the final Rite of Mu with The JAMs that happened in Liverpool recently. You can also get a great remix of Numan’s ‘My Name Is Ruin’ by Meat Beat Manifesto on 7″ if you buy the bundle direct from their website.

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FourFromFoodFridays #17.34

FourFromFoodFridays 17.34
Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things I’ve been loving in the last seven days. Old or new, whatever’s been on in the studio. From top left:

Quaeschning & Schnauss – Synthwaves (Azure Vista Recordings) LP – Very Tangerine Dream-flavoured synth errrr… waves in this 3rd release from the new ambient off-shoot of El Paraiso.

Gary Numan – My Name Is Ruin (Meat Beat Manifesto Poison remix) (Electronic Sound) 7″ – Only available as a special bundle online with the latest issue of Electronic Sound magazine – the beaty B side is a thing of beauty.

David Sylvian – Camphor (Virgin) CD – Inspired by revisiting Sylvian and Czukay’s work after Holger’s recent death I dug this out, a compilation of David’s ambient work with remixes of ‘Plight & Premonition’ on the second disc.

Rodinia – Ex Anima (Now Again) CD/LP – J.J.Whitefield is back with a follow up to last year’s ‘Drumscape/Dreamscape’ with more in the ambient/krautrock vein.

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RIP Virgil Howe

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I was stunned to learn of the sudden death of Virgil Howe today, a lovely, funny, mega-talented man who I had the pleasure to know for a few years. As a drummer he could straddle the funk, rock and psychedelic genres with ease and was also a mean keyboardist and producer in his own right. Anyone who followed him on Facebook was regaled weekly with anecdotes of his DJing adventures and battles with punters who didn’t want their envelopes pushed in the direction that ‘The Verge’ wanted to go.

His Sunday Hidden Level radio show on Soho Radio was always a smogasbord of funk, soul, rock, psych and everything in between and I’m very proud to have been a guest way back when. I only knew him for a while and can’t say I knew him well but we had loads in common the few times we did meet and I send my condolences out to his family for this awful loss. I feel so gutted for the members of Little Barrie too, on the cusp of a tour, a new album out and finally making it after all these years – I hope they find a way to get over this and carry on but Virgil’s drum stool won’t be an easy one to fill.

From his solo work (the Drums Series on Breakin’ Bread featuring other drummers like Malcolm Catto and Shawn Lee) to his material with The Killer Meters, The Amorphous Androgynous, The Dirty Feel to Little Barrie he was a versatile powerhouse of a drummer. He played drums on one of the greatest remixes ever, ‘The Amorphous Androgynous Exploding Psychedelic Bubble Mix’ of Oasis’ ‘Falling Down’ and recorded a ton of drums for me to use on my next record, which I still have – waiting to be chopped up and sampled – something that will take on a different meaning when I finally use them.
He was also a total dude, not in a corny way either, he just oozed warmth and cool. RIP Virgil Howe

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More (animated) covers by Henning M. Lederer

More Covers from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

More of these faboulous animated covers by Henning M. Lederer – Sourced from the excellent Julian Montague Projects instagram account

Also check out his mesmerizing video for OMD‘s track, ‘Isotype’– properly hypnotizing

OMD – Isotype from Henning M. Lederer on Vimeo.

FourFromFoodFridays #17.33

FourFromFoodFridays 17.33Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things I’ve been loving in the last seven days. Old or new, whatever’s been on in the studio. From top left:

David Sylvian & Holger Czukay – Plight & Premonition (Virgin) – One of my favourite ambient albums ever, RIP Holger

Acidalius – Acidalius (Acid Waxa) Cassette – Fantastic modern acid from 2014 on Newcastle label Acid Waxa

Videodrones – Nattens Haevn (El Paraiso) LP – Second album of 80s-inspired synth workouts from the Danish duo.

Various – DJ Food at Emotion Wave (Mixcloud) Mix – Live improv on two turntables, sampler and FX, an alternate ‘Chill Out’ if you will

Pierre Henry, Montreux, 1998

Pierre Henry Montreux Jazz festival 1998I finally found my Pierre Henry photos. Back in 1998 I was playing with various assorted Ninjas at the Montreux jazz festival in Switzerland. Henry was also on the bill so we went along but were late and had to sit near the back as they were the only seats left.
Pierre came out and was introduced but there was nothing on stage, just black curtains. He promptly strode to the back of the room and played the gig from the mixing desk just behind us.
The gig was both terrifying and sublime – at one point i was so relaxed I think I nodded off. Right at the end, as he was receiving a huge round of applause, i turned round and snapped these two shots of him.
RIP Pierre Henry

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Further at the Synthesis Festival and Spiritland

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Myself and Pete Williams have two Further gigs this month – firstly at Spiritland to celebrate their first birthday this week. On Sunday 10th we’ll be taking over in the evening – it’s a very limited ticketed affair but will be a perfect setting for what we want to do.

On Thursday Sept 28th we head to Stanley Halls in Norwood Junction to be a part of the Synthesis festival, a three-day happening of music, street art and food. We’ll be sharing the bill with the Heliocentrics so it should be a suitably lysergic evening.
The festival is run by Rob Swain, head guy at the Gamma Proforma label and just look at the line up. DJ Krush, Beak>, Delta, Mode2, Swifty, sheOne, O.Two, Will Barras, Mr Jago, Augustine Kofie, Howie B, Andrea Parker, Heliocentrics, Juice Aleem, DJ Food, Ofeliadorme and more TBA!

Tickets available here

Further at Spiritland

FourFromFoodFridays #17.32

FourFromFoodFridays 17.32
Four From Food Fridays – a weekly look at four things I’ve been loving in the last seven days. Old or new, whatever’s been on in the studio. From top left:

King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard w. Mile High Club – Sketches of Brunswick East (Flightless/Heavenly) (Pre-order) – Third album this year and another change of direction with a more jazz and downtempo offering, they’re on such a roll right now.

Queens of the Stone Age – Villains (Matador) – LP/CD/DL – Still not sure but better than expected considering Mark R*ns*n’s involvement, the first single was a grower so hopefully the album will be.

Gary Numan – My Name Is Ruin – DL – First single from the forthcoming album, ‘Savage’, excellent electronic pop.

Astral TV – Chrystal Shores (El Paraiso) LP – Superb ambient synth record from Causa Sui keyboardist Rasmus Rasmussen and Keith Canisius.

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Welcome To The Dark Ages Pt.4 – Friday: Toxteth Day of the Dead and MuMufication

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Friday – the day of The Great Pull North, the Day of MuMufication, the Graduation Ball and many other things. At 2pm I was to be at The Florrie, a community centre / flourishing arts lab in the heart of Toxteth to complete my task as ‘Skull Painter’. Trying to second guess what I’d be doing all week I’d run through several scenarios: they had built a huge skull effigy that needed to be decorated? Badger Kull needed a backdrop painting? The JAMs had 400 Toxteth Day of the Dead masks that we would wear that needed customising? I was almost correct with the last one, not masks though, faces – I and 22 others had to face paint skulls onto the 400 and we set to work transforming many friend’s and stranger’s faces alike.

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The Ice Kream Van was parked up outside, now with looped rope attached to the front and graffiti’d Dalek on wheels* behind – so that’s what we were going to pull North then, but what fate lay at the other end? (*Update: see comments below for Dalek origin)

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At 5pm we were ushered upstairs to a church-like auditorium with seating arranged either side, three vertical video screens framed by an arch above the stage at the far end. A ‘hymn book’ was on each seat which contained the words to ‘Justified & Ancient’ inside but on a quick scan some of the words had been changed. “They called me up in Sheffield town, they said ‘Jarvis, stand by The JAMs'” – surely not? Was Jarvis Cocker going to join the JAMs? The room fell silent and all phones were ordered to be turned off (hence no photos for this part), this didn’t deter some people as you may well have seen by now on the web but it did mean that one of the highlights of the week was captured at least in part.

We were treated to the 23 minute version of the film ‘2023’, a triptych of dark, menacing imagery and iconography that was beautiful, disturbing, baffling, unnerving and loaded with symbolism, the soundtrack mostly ambient industrial sounds and radio noise finishing with Nilsson‘s ‘Everybody’s Talking ‘Bout Me’ over the end credits.
I’ve yet to read the book so most of the imagery has little context at the moment but I noticed revolving grapefruit and Yoko Ono as the Starbucks logo (already seen on some of the merch and the free paper cups when you bought drinks at the Dead Perch). These are both surely a reference to Yoko’s book ‘Grapefruit’ and could allude to the ‘Grapefruit Are Not The Only Bombs’ book we all contributed to the day before, itself an allusion to Jeanette Winterson‘sOranges Are Not The Only Fruit’ maybe? The Shard blazed, black pyramids turned above seas and rolling corn fields, stormy skies filled with black clouds, a fox padded the London streets and four bullets from North, South, East and West collided in slow motion in the final scene.

What followed was a long presentation / sales pitch by ‘green undertakers’ Claire and Rupert Callender – a very dark, depressing, occasionally humorous but deadly serious meditation of death that served to bring the mood down to rock bottom. The assertion was not to be afraid but that we were already dead, that The JAMs were now in business with them as undertakers to the underworld and we were all invited to take part in ‘MuMufication’. In a nutshell this meant that they had engineered their own house bricks (stamped with the words ‘Mu Mu’) which each participant could have part of their ashes poured into when they died. These bricks would be collected annually on November 23rd which was now designated ‘Toxteth Day of the Dead’ and a ‘People’s Pyramid’ would be built, year on year, until it was 23 feet high. The pyramid will be situated in Toxteth (site yet to be determined) and it will take 34,592 bricks to build it. Participants who sign up pay £99 and get a brick plus Certificate of MuMufication – this is all real, anyone can do it, check out www.mumufication.com for more info. IMG_5118

The ‘MuMufication’ sticker I’d snapped a few days earlier on the side of the Ice Kream Van suddenly made sense, and the 99 Mu Mu Bricks, the signs had been there all along. This was the one point where the internet jokes that we’d all be committing some Jim Jones-style suicide pact by the end of things started to gain some credence and I started to wonder if there was anything in the face paint we’d just all applied. I pity anyone in the crowd who had recently lost a loved one or was preparing for a funeral. It was wrist-slashingly sombre.

But Lo! Suddenly a procession sweeps into the room, standard-bearers holding a Toxteth Day of the Dead banner, monks in Mu Mu gowns, coffin-bearers carrying two no-frills bare wood coffins, gravediggers, I also remember traffic cones worn on heads, a choir, there were more but it’s all a but of a blur. Also a blue robed, hooded figure in their midst, face concealed, who mounted the stage behind the congregation and started to speak; ‘They’re Justified, and they’re Ancient, and they drive an ice cream van’ in a soft northern brogue that could only belong to Jarvis Cocker. As the choir mournfully intoned the lyrics the cloak was pulled back to reveal the man himself, brilliantly hamming it up for all his worth in a slow, understated gospel version of their 1991 hit. The videos on the web don’t do it justice without the proceeding events described above, the song lifting the mood higher and higher as the incredulous crowd joined in with the end chant of ‘All Bound For Mu Mu Land’ before exiting the hall in a procession that followed Jarvis, the choir and all performers from the stage and out into the street.

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Outside the crowd spilled onto the road and a small gaggle of locals had gathered to watch, Gimpo quickly got the first team to man the ropes of the ice cream van and we were underway on the three mile pull North to The Invisible Wind Factory. Heading the procession were a bagpipe and drummer duo, standard bearers, the pullers, the van with Drummond & Cauty inside, the choir, assorted Mu in robes and sacks and then the rest of us spilling out on both sides and behind. Ragwort was thrown from shopping carts at the front and then collected by more carts at the back and run up to the front again.

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The police turned up within half an hour to escort us along the busy riverside road and contain traffic, at one point trying to stop the procession but failing – did they have a permit to march? FUUK knows.
Halfway along the route a car parked up and helpers proceeded to throw yellow kagools out to the marchers, emblazoned with the pyramid blaster and JAMs logos and the legend ‘Delivering Sustainable Death’. The sea of yellow with black and white skull masks moved forward at a brisk pace…

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Finally we reached a waste ground, opposite the Invisible Wind Factory, the sunset earlier was a blazing orange sky which would have framed the occasion all the better had we arrived an hour before. A wooden pyramid / pyre was erected in the centre of a circle and the wooden coffins in the back of the Ice Kream Van (I did mention those didn’t I?) were ceremoniously loaded into it. Bill and Jimmy, Mu Mu horns now on their heads, wasted no time, lit long torches and quickly set fire to the structure, it catching almost immediately, going up in a yellow blaze against the night sky as the robed 400 watched and cheered. I’m not going to lie, I was hoping they’d pile the Dalek, the T-Speaker and the van onto the pyre too, cleanse their past in one fell swoop and put the lid on it once and for all but it wasn’t to be.

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Some said the plan was to drive the van into the Mersey but I don’t think that happened. After this events got confused, Daisy Campbell, megaphone in hand, struggled to make herself heard to the widely assembled crowd, some of who wanted to eat and drink after the fun and games and some who made for the toilets nearby. The undertakers were in the Ice Kream Van signing up people for ‘MuMufication’, bricks on display, but now wasn’t the time for this on a dark patch of wasteland with the light gone and the temperature dropping. A huge queue formed but with only a small window to explain the process from they were fighting a losing battle.

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I retired to the club opposite to set up the decks for my set later on and grab some food backstage. Pete Wylie was there in the dressing room, having schooled Badger Kull half the week and we could see the gathering outside winding down from our high vantage point on the top floor. Punters started arriving at 10pm, a mixture of the 400 and paying public who could also buy tickets, you could tell who was who from the face paint. Greg Wilson was on stage whipping the crowd up with pumped up versions of electronic classics like Gary Numan‘s ‘Cars’, The Human League‘s ‘Being Boiled’ and ‘The Message’ and Kermit from Black Grape was dancing around in bunny ears.

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The T-speaker was behind the merch table, selling Badger Kull T-shirts to the faithful and the bemused and it was all about their impending one and only performance at 23 seconds past midnight, a fitting end to the proceedings. The mood was electric as they took to the stage, four guys, all on bass guitar, in face masks and robes with yellow and black warning tape decorations, playing their one note riff over and over to strobes, chanting ‘Toxteth Day of the Dead’ repeatedly, leaving the stage three minutes later to a squall of bass feedback. It was never going to win any prizes for subtlety but it was all the crowd needed.

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Lastly it was my turn, pretty daunting to step up to the decks after that performance to a club packed to the rafters with JAMs fans on a total high after what they’d just witnessed I can tell you (I took the photo above as I stepped up). When Jimmy asked me to play at the Ball my first question was, ‘Should I play any JAMs / KLF?’ and the answer was an unequivocal ‘no’, which was fine. Bill wanted ‘no revisiting of one’s acid house days’ and gave me a superb brief to play dangerously, wide and lateral. They also provided me with a glimpse at a page from ‘2023′ where it lists the line up for a fictitious Xmas day episode of Top of The Pops.

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(photo by George Stewart-Lockheart)
I took that list fairly literally and decided to source as many original samples that The JAMs, Timelords and KLF had used as possible, I wouldn’t be playing their records, just the records they’d played with. I opened with the MC5’s ‘Kick Out the Jams’ (of course) and proceeded through Abba, The Monkees, Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, various TOTPs themes, Tommy Vance spoken word, The Sweet, the Dr Who theme, The Human League‘s version of ‘Rock n Roll’, themes from Jesus Christ Superstar, Sly & The Family Stone, James Brown and more before dropping a ton of club classics and a full final hour of downtempo tunes including ‘Wichita Lineman’ and ‘War Is Over If You Want It’, ending with ‘In The Ghetto’ at just shy of 3am.

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(photo by George Stewart-Lockheart)
As gigs go, it was a milestone in my career that I’ll never forget. As an event it was a success on so many levels I doubt the participants will ever fully get their heads around it. As a comeback it was unparalleled, everything and more that a fan of this duo could have wanted but never dreamed up. As an exercise in the closing of one chapter and the opening of another, with the fans helping to write that chapter from the building blocks the JAMs had put in place, it was genius. That they closed the event with the opportunity to eventually place part of those fans and others inside the blocks and build a People’s Pyramid to commemorate the event on the very ground it took place in was another nice touch. Best graduation party ever…

 

Saturday, the aftermath:

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Some graduated early that night and received their certificates at the club, for most though it was one final trip to the Dead Perch Lounge on Saturday morning to be met by an unexpected series of posters that had been plastered up outside overnight. Someone had expressed their displeasure at the events in a very JAMs-esque way, enough to make most question if these weren’t an elaborate double-bluff by Drummond & Cauty themselves.

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Inside, The JAMs were handing out signed Certificates Of Graduation with stern handshakes and little banter and we stayed for a drink and an explanation on how exactly The People’s Pyramid was going to be constructed by the architect who had drawn up the plans, now displayed in the gallery. Finally we were ushered into a previously hidden back room where a tower of TV sets showed video loops whilst the choir’s A cappella from Friday’s ‘Justified & Ancient’ quietly played in the background.

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Whether Bill and Jimmy ever do another event, make another record or create any more art together ever again (and there were rumours that this could happen elsewhere in the future) doesn’t matter. They and the team around them pulled off an incredible experience that could have crashed and burned (pun intended) so many times and in the process must have inspired many of the participants to go forth and continue this kind of work and thinking in their daily lives from this point on. There were rules, there always is with Drummond, but these were also guidelines to break out of conventional thinking and you have to know the rules before you can break them – always accept the contradictions with The JAMs. Worth the £100 ticket price? Many times over. The experience was priceless and SO much more thought-provoking, entertaining and genuinely life-changing than most of what’s happening in current music, literature and art at the moment.

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Travelling back home, to ‘real life’, was surreal, what had happen constantly churning around in my head, the NEED to get this all down and make some kind of sense of it for my own selfish reasons of paramount importance. The desire to talk to people about it burns bright, to those that were there and friends who witnessed it secondhand via the web. The urge to look further into The Kindred of the Kibbo Kift, the Green Funeral Company and, of course, read ‘2023’ – things that were completely alien to myself and many others a week ago – is strong and will no doubt point to other people and places as The JAMs begin a new chapter…

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Welcome To The Dark Ages Pt.3 – Thursday: The Day Of The Book

ChurchThursday – dubbed ‘The Day Of The Book’ – started with drama. At the Dead Perch first thing I was passed by Jimmy who was holding a tin of white paint, his face and shoes flecked with spots of it. Upon arriving at 10am at the Bombed-Out Church (originally the Church of St Luke – a stone’s throw from the Dead Perch), word quickly went round that he and Bill had painted Phil Blake‘s Ford Timelord car white, erasing the JAMs and KLF logos, much the same as they did in The White Room film. Footage was already on YouTube, dubbed The Death of Ford Timelord’ in which a smiling but obviously mortified Phil turns up as they’re finishing and, seeing they mean to cover the whole car, drives off before they can quite complete the task. It was a strange way to start the day and one which wasn’t mentioned again save for one request for film or photos of the deed from those who’d witnessed it.

Later the web was aflame with keyboard warriors proclaiming it was a premeditated stunt, set up by those involved and that the paint was emulsion and could easily be washed off. I’ve known Phil for years and spoke to him later and I can assure you it was no stunt, he was absolutely gutted that two of his heroes were erasing his tribute to their past and it was not emulsion. He drove it away and immediately set to work with white spirit to undo the damage, managing to get most of the paint off before returning and making sure he parked well away from proceedings from that point on. Phil is one of the mellowest people I know, he’s just not the sort of guy to fly into a rage, especially at two people he admires so much despite what they were doing to his property. For all the armchair commentator know-it-alls out there watching from the outernet – he bought a ticket like everyone else and he’d have much rather not have had this happen despite the incident now placing him firmly within the Liverpool events for all eternity.

Why did they do it? Erasing their past maybe? Blotting out what they saw as an object that threatened to upstage them and didn’t fit into their plan? They certainly weren’t afraid to reference their past throughout the proceedings with the T-speaker, the Ice Kream Van, the Mu Mu gowns and the Dalek from the ‘Doctorin’ The Tardis’ video present at various points. The act left a bad taste in the mouth and I felt sorry for Phil, hoping it hadn’t ruined his enjoyment of the event. The JAMs have never shied away from pissing people off, defacing other people’s property or doing the unexpected and this seemed like a spontaneous but cruel reaction. For all the acts that they’ve perpetrated over the years there’s never been a direct victim in the way there was here. Perhaps Phil got off lightly as rumour went round that they were planning to steal it and drive it into the Mersey.

So, back to the plan for the day, we lined up either side of a central pathway inside the church and were given the designation ‘even’ or ‘odd’ by Oliver and Daisy again, depending on which side we were on. Drummond & Cauty arrived and then proceeded to tear out a page of their ‘2023′ book and present it to each of the 400, if you were in the odd line your page was the odd number and vice versa. We were instructed to respond to anything on our given page within the next eight hours and report back to the church at 6pm to present our findings. Whoever got the first page of the chapter you held the page from was the Chapter leader who we reported to and who would collate the creations for later.

Church inside
Drummond pageCauty page Mypage OliverChurchoutsidepano

At this point proceedings started to take on the air of an art project and I was getting flashbacks to the days of Camberwell college and an impending crit. People leapt at the challenge though and were creating posters and banners before we’d even left the church and we observed little clusters of ‘Chapters’ working out what they would do. I spent part of the day helping paste up my friend’s one-off single cover for a fictitious band, Flies In The Maelstrom. They were sworn enemies of Badger Kull (due to a love of badgers presumably) and who’s name, song titles, label and lyrics were all taken from page 205 of ‘2023′.

Flies coverFlies back cover

We pasted ‘their’ single cover over existing Badger Kull street posters and hash-tagged ‘KillTheKull’ on the web. The artwork was pasted over an existing Mike Oldfield record and sellotaped into a huge book provided by Daisy Campbell entitled ‘Grapefruits Are Not The Only Bombs’. This held descriptions and examples of the day’s work by all who decided to submit it and was later presented to The JAMs. But not before we’d convinced Ian Shirley – editor of the Record Collector Rare Record Guide and new KLF history ‘Turn Up The Strobe’ – that it was an original, one-off lathe cut single which we’d recorded and got pressed that afternoon. A message was even hand etched into the run out groove.

Etching
Flies postingFlies posting 2

Each chapter had to present their day’s work to The JAMs at 6pm inside the church grounds and some had really gone to town with the conceptual nature, factoring wordplay, numerology and symbols already present into their poems, plays, songs, conceptual pieces, posters and sculptures. At one point we all found ourselves throwing tangerines at an effigy of Donald Trump, emblazoned with the words Tangerine Nightmare – a fictitious group from the book.

TrumpTangerinesTangerine
TrumpthrowChoose poster Notice Soldiers Work begins

Some of the work was of course toe-curlingly cringeworthy, resembling the worst excesses of student juvenilia, BUT! everyone got into the spirit, got on with the task at hand and didn’t question the instructions despite no clue being given as to exactly what this was all for. In hindsight it had the effect that I imagine punk had, saying, ‘you can do this, NOW, don’t wait, get on with it, who says you can’t? get off your arse and make or do something, ANYTHING, and see what happens’. It was liberating, taxing and frustrating, it made you competitive, collaborative and use the resources to hand without worrying about the finish or making excuses. It made us, the 400, the focus of the day rather than the passive observers of the night before and, again, the work was done by others and then observed by The JAMs at the end of proceedings with little comment although Drummond seemed to be enjoying this a lot more than the hearing. It was becoming increasingly apparent that other people were making The JAM’s comeback happen after they had put the pieces in place.

JAMs 2 JAMs watch

Postscript: Speaking to Phil Blake about the car incident at length when I returned home, he told me this anecdote about the aftermath of the painting. After driving off he parked a couple of roads away and purchased bottles of white spirit and rolls of cloth with friends, then set about cleaning the car as best they could. Nearly three hours later they’d got most of it off and he drove back round the block to the bombed-out church where the proceedings were ending as people went off in their groups.
Suddenly he spotted Jimmy walking down the road so he put on the siren and shouted, ‘Thanks Jimmy!’ across to him whilst driving by. He said Cauty’s jaw dropped and he later heard that they thought he had a second car as a back up, not believing that he would have been able to clean it all off so quickly and thoroughly.

Part 4 here

Welcome To The Dark Ages Pt.2 – Wednesday: An Initiation and a Hearing

Constellations

Wednesday morning we were called to a venue called Constellations where we are given our tasks for the week by MC for the week Oliver Senton who played Robert Anton Wilson in the ‘Cosmic Trigger’ theatre production by Daisy Campbell, Ken Campbell‘s daughter. They seemed to be very much in charge for the whole week, under the direction of the JAMs most likely, but they made the events happen.

Oliver and Daisy
The buckets with numbers were on stage and names were withdrawn at random, the jobs were many and most were baffling. There’s already a webpage collecting all the different cards handed out to the 400 that day plus a few bogus ones that were created in response to events later in the week, I was given the job of ‘Skull Painter’ which I was overjoyed about.

Task card

This was the point at which the band Badger Kull were chosen and formed, the four members’ only requirement being that they could play the bass, who were then whisked away by Pete Wylie (of Wah! fame) to be indoctrinated into the ways of the rock world, rehearsed and readied for their performance that Friday. A choir was also formed, under the orders of Nick Coler, long time KLF studio associate (look on the back of the records) as well as ragwort collectors, Badger Kull street-teamers and grave diggers amongst many more. David Hopkinson from the Cube Cinema in Bristol was one of the 400 and hawking the last copies of my Million Mu notes for those that wanted them, the proceeds going to fund repairs to the building. He would come into his own later on in the week as a Badger Kull fan and the man he’s selling to here came along with his wife, son and daughter-in-law!

MillionMuNotes

At 7pm we gathered at The Black-E, a huge venue near the Dead Perch, to be greeted by the T-speaker again in the foyer and made our way into the upstairs space to bear witness to ‘A Hearing’ on why the K Foundation burned a million quid. *A screen in the main room showed a brick with the letters ‘HG’ and ‘M’ on it and then simply, ‘Why?’ What was this brick motif for? It seemed to have nothing to do with the burning episode. *UPDATE / correction courtesy of David Hopkinson – see comments below – in fact it was made from the ashes of the burnt one million pounds, fascinating that they made a brick back in 1997 and 20 years later continued the theme, as we will find out.

Black-E BlackET-speaker BlackET-speaker2 BlackEAudience BlackEPanel

Five different experts from different fields gave their angles on it and five independent witness were called to give evidence. Jeremy Deller gave an excellent presentation, complete with slides, at one point illustrating the decline and commercialisation of dance music with a gurning Norman Cook to much applause.

BlackEFatboy

Annebella Pollen made a fascinating comparison with the K Foundation/KLF/JAMs imagery and activities alongside the Kindred of the Kibbo Kift group from earlier in the 20th century and Ann Pettifor gave a perspective from the financial sector, surmising that they were destroying the promise to pay that money gave, reliving the banks of some of their financial debit.

BlackEKK2
BlackEKK1

Tom Hodgkinson
, founder of The Idler and Clive Martin, a journalist from Vice magazine also gave their takes before Gimpo and Jim Reid were called, both present at the Jura boathouse when the pair burned the money. Ex-publicist William Houghton and tour manager Craig McLean gave often hilarious accounts of the disastrous Glaswegian leg of the original ‘Why did the K Foundation burn a million quid?’ film showing tour as well as the Cape Wrath car episode, most revealingly telling the audience that Bill and Jimmy were both in the midst of having nervous breakdowns at the end of the KLF era.

I’ve often wondered if that was the case, in 1991 alone they released three KLF singles and an album, a JAMs single and must have been recording the beginnings of ‘The Black Room’ and ‘America: What Time Is Love’ plus making videos to go with four of the above and coming to terms with sudden massive success. Who wouldn’t crack up and pull off a performance like The Brits the next year under such pressure? Chris Brook who authored the book ‘K Foundation Burn A Million Quid’ in 1998 rambled on for far too long and members of the audience at the original film showing in Liverpool gave their accounts of the hostile reception they witnessed. Finally, with the event running an hour over time, author John Higgs all too briefly summed up his take with the assertion that it really didn’t matter why.

BlackEJohnHiggs

We were then called on to vote for who we thought gave the most compelling reason out of the original five on the panel and chaos descended again for 15 minutes as 400 people tried to place a one pound coin they’d been given on entry into a bucket with the name of their chosen candidate on it. Annebella’s presentation was the most interesting and original but I felt the summation of what she said (“the act was part of a ceremonial magick tradition of releasing material goods via ritual (& general weirdness!)) didn’t really convey the message well and sounded contrived. Nevertheless she romped home with a clear majority and the JAMs were brought in to hear the verdict to which they simply responded, “whatever”, Drummond looking particularly unimpressed. Had John Higgs been on the panel instead of a witness I would have voted for him by a mile.

BlackEJAMs

Part 3 here