Chaos, magic and the band who burned a million pounds
Now available in a 10th anniversary hardback edition, with added author’s commentary!
They were the bestselling singles band in the world. They had awards, credibility, commercial success and creative freedom. Then 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 not just the story of The KLF. It is a book about Carl Jung, Alan Moore, Robert Anton Wilson, Ken Campbell, Dada, Situationism, Discordianism, magic, chaos, punk, rave, the alchemical symbolism of Doctor Who and the special power of the number 23.
Wildly unauthorised and unlike any other music biography, THE KLF is a trawl through chaos on the trail of a beautiful, accidental mythology.
‘The best non-fiction book I’ve ever read. It’s magical. Stunning.’ (Dan Schreiber, NO SUCH THING AS A FISH)
‘ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL. My face is stuck in a ridiculous grin of amazement. The KLF is dense, intelligent, well-researched, silly and, yes, magically profound.’ (Terry Gilliam)
‘By far the best book this year, brilliant, discursive and wise’ (Ben Goldacre)
‘The book brilliant captures the anti-establishment attitude of Drummond and Cauty, and makes you wish the pop charts were full of such madness these days’ (THE BIG ISSUE)
‘Book of the Century. Most pop biographies are a dull patchwork of clippings – this is something else’ (Rob Manuel, co-founder of B3ta)
‘Might well be the best music book of the 2010s . . . eccentric, bizarre, confusing, hilarious and more than a little pretentious but utterly irresistible and totally brilliant’ (Cay McDermott THE QUIETUS)
‘This wildly entertaining thesis speculates on how the KLF arrived at a crowning act of transgression even they did not understand, drawing together threads including practical magic, strange patterns of coincidence and punk’ (MOJO)
‘A pop biography for people who don’t read pop biographies. Higgs approaches the short career of the early 90s top 10 provocateurs like Adam Curtis brainstorming with Thomas Pynchon, exploring all manner of magical thinking and conspiracy theories. Touching on Dada, DOCTOR WHO and Discordianism, it’s as playful and sui generis as the KLF themselves, which is saying something’ (Dorian Lynskey GUARDIAN)
‘John Higgs’s The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds succeeds by ignoring music for much of the story, in favour of the group’s philosophical and psycho-geographical underpinnings in Discordianism, situationism, art and magic. Sometimes, the music is just a means to an end – in their case, a million-quid bonfire that Higgs suggests may be “a magical act that forged the 21st century”. Well, maybe . . .’ (Andy Gill INDEPENDENT)
”John Higgs’s book about the KLF is – like its subject – a thing of endlessly fascinating, utterly demented genius” (Alexis Petridis)
‘I am going to bang on about The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds rather a lot. Fascinating . . . Enthralling’ (Robin Ince)