Gay, Bill and the burn­ing mil­lion

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - PA­TRICK FREYNE

In 1995, Bill Drum­mond and Jimmy Cauty, aka the KLF, went on The Late Late Show to dis­cuss why they burned a mil­lion quid (pic­tured left). They ex­plained them­selves be­fore Gay Byrne, an an­noyed stu­dio au­di­ence (it’d be a few years be­fore the Ir­ish pub­lic got into the money burn­ing business), and, for some rea­son, Joe El­liott from Def Lep­pard.

The burn­ing took place on the is­land of Jura in the name of art. Their pal Gimpo filmed it and they were tour­ing the film ( K Foun­da­tion Burn a Mil­lion Quid) with an air of de­fi­ance and re­gret­ful melan­choly. It was their only mil­lion pounds and they weren’t ex­actly sure why they did it. It’s my favourite Late Late Show in­ter­view.

“Why are you here?” Gay Byrne asked after a while.

“I think we were in­vited,” said Cauty, look­ing a bit sad.

All of the KLF’s art stunts came with some very English doubt em­bed­ded. Their book on how to write a hit song, The Man­ual, ends sud­denly when they get sick of writ­ing it. Drum­mond’s col­lec­tion of es­says, 45, has him fre­quently won­der­ing if they’ve “gone too far”.

Cur­rently, Drum­mond has an artis­tic to-do list, ti­tled The 25 Paint­ings World Tour, that in­cludes: “dance on ta­bles”, “grow old” and “run away”.

He’s in Dublin on Satur­day (Marsh’s Li­brary 2pm) as part of the No Idle Day Fes­ti­val, for which he will “do some things” (see p14). He’s an in­ter­na­tional trea­sure, al­beit worth a lit­tle less now than he might have been.

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