Why did I pay £100 to men who burned a million?
For the others attending the JAMS’ 23 Year Moratorium in Liverpool on the 23rd August 2017 the wait has been long…a near quarter century in length. For me, the wait has been considerably shorter.
For the others taking part in whatever destructive plans Bill Drummond and Jimmy Kauty have planned, this will be a chance to relive memories of the KLF’s rave and acid house releases of the late 80s and early 90s.
At twenty years old I have never been to a rave. I have existed for over two years less than the K Foundation’s million pounds has ceased to exist. I listen to the KLF’s music but mostly ‘Chill Out’ their 1990 ambient concept album describing a mythical night-time South American train journey. ‘Acid House’ as a genre is a considerable anomaly in my music listening taste. Not that there’s anything wrong with it but it does strongly contrast almost everything else I listen to. Whilst writing this article I’m listening to Philip Glass’s ‘Glassworks’, I also like ‘The Magnetic Fields’, ‘Radiohead’, ‘Can’, ‘The Beach Boys’, ‘The Fall’…perhaps these tastes go hand in hand with others attending the event, I imagine they probably do. However I find it strange that without any personal context, nostalgia, or interest in the 90s rave scene that I find myself, particularly as a student, being happy to part with £100 for an event with no details provided.
To those unaware the only information regarding event prior to ticket release on the 23rd July was the information linked above. No venues. No musicians. No free incentives
From here I am writing with the power of hindsight; 23 days after the event started but this article is more about why I took the leap rather than whether or not it was worth the money (it really was).
I feel as though I have a lot of ‘lost nostalgia I never had in the first place’. It’s not that I’m content with the culture and art of the modern day, I really am, but there’s something less romantic about finding out about new music by browsing Rate Your Music and reading Pitchfork end of year lists than by waiting for weekly magazines to take recommendations from and going round to your friend’s house to listen to a new record. Even hearing stories of my mum borrowing her friend’s Beach Boys records to record them onto tape so that she can play them in her Beatle…streaming services and 3.5mm aux cables satisfy my inner pragmatist but I feel as though I’ve been denied of something special through technological advancements. However The KLF aren’t old enough to give me ‘unexperienced technological nostalgia’ – they were digital tech pioneers themselves. Even heading with friends to a field in the middle of nowhere to dance all night (not to dumb it down at all; it really does sound great) isn’t really my thing, I don’t feel as though I’ve missed out on that scene too much.
One thing which does seem to have defied time and technological advancements is the idea of ‘creative circles’ – being in or with like minded people all working toward the same goal (whatever the fuuk that may be). I feel very fortunate to be in a friend group/circle who share my interest in the arts; I’d struggle if I didn’t have people to talk about music with or friends to wander around museums with, I even feel myself moving further and further into film making circles which is perfect for me both in terms of meeting others with similar interests and enhancing my career prospects. However these are all very general circles, being a part of ‘The 400’ is not. 400 people worldwide and 400 people only, and I have a chance to be one of them. Considering the things Bill and Jimmy have done whatever was going to happen was going to be interesting, but to share that experience with 399 others who clearly share some similar interests to me was an unmissable opportunity.
Prior to going I had assumed that the 399 other volunteers would have interests aside from raving and I was correct; people liked things I like, things I don’t like, things I’m not even aware of and this was entirely satisfying. For anyone to be passionate about anything makes me happy, there’s so many meaningless distractions in the world, it’s just good to see someone care a lot about something even if that something is of no interest to me. So many people appear to be entirely passive to everything and I love it when people aren’t, and again, this event didn’t disappoint on that front. One thing which I hoped would shine through was an interest in discordianism…surely everyone who signed up knew that they would be causing at least minor chaos throughout Liverpool for 3 days, it only makes sense. It’s my view that if we actually want to make a positive change to this planet that things have to be thrown in the air a little…that’s not to say that Brexit, Trump, North Korea etc (as obvious examples) are entirely positive but I think that most negative things do, in turn have a positive impact even much further down the line. I believe that throwing a little chaos into the mix is positive for political engagement both actively and passively; if you see something which appears to be a big mess then you’re going to be more inclined to make an attempt to fix it than if it was a small mess. I wanted to be involved in something fun, but something which I felt could have some kind of positive impact, even if only for those involved.
The fact that Bill and Jimmy burned a million only fuelled my desire to participate in the event; it was worth a £100 to me purely as support to people who have given me so much to think about. Why did they burn the million? Does it mean anything? Did I ever find out? Find out by clicking HERE.