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Last update: October 2004

This page is intended to tell the world what Bill and Jimmy did with all the money they earned in the music biz! :)

This text is based on material found at the KLF FTP archive...

In June '93 the K-Foundation began taking out full page mainstream national press ad's. At first they were full of Drummondesque about time running in, and kicking out the clocks, and five year journeys which included pop success and deep space travel. A 'further information address' was included.

On the back cover of NME dated 3rd July 1993 the following may be found, a direct transcription follows.

                        DIVIDE & CREATE



After five years of research that has taken them on a deep space safari via
pop-stardom to the furthest recesses of time travel, the K Foundation are
almost in a position to reveal to the world the fruits of their labours. For
too long creation has been a slave to rational time. A time governed by
nothing more thanobjective reality and measured by the incessent spinning of
the Earth on it's dreary path around the Sun. We all know somewhere deep
inside ourselves, that there is another time that doesn't correspond to the
comings and goings of a minor solar system. A time far older than the universe
itself. A time as fresh as the colours on a butterfly's wing. A time that is
both eternal and gone in the blink of an eye.

        A time that is any time
        A time that is this time
        A time that is your time
        A time that is K Time.

PO BOX 91,
HP22 4RS,


Then a fourth ad appeared, on August 14th, reading:

"ABANDON ALL ART NOW. Major rethink in progress. Await further announcements."

The next ad (28th Aug) read:

"It has come to our attention that you did not abandon all art now. Further direct action is thus necessary. The K Foundation announce the 'mutha of all awards', the 1994 K Foundation award for the worst artist of the year."

It then went on to detail how a shortlist of four artists had been chosen, and that they would be exhibited in the Tate Gallery. The first newspaper piece about the K-F appeared the following monday, correctly pointing out that the shortlist of named artists and the exhibition were actually both for the 1993 Turner Prize, the controversial annual award given by the UK art establishment to the best young modern artist, which came with a prize of 20000 pounds, but incorrectly assuming that the K-F prize was a hoax. Note the date that the award was to be announced (for the full significance of 23's see question 037 in the FAQ) and note the fact that it is the 1994 K-F award as opposed to the 1993 Turner award. Obviously this signifies that the K-F are more forward-looking than the Turner, but also try adding 1+9+9+4 together. If you think I'm being pedantic, adding the idividual numbers in years together is a standard Discordian thing to do. My theory is that Bill and Jimi were happy with their deliberately weird ads, when they heard that the Turner would be announced on the 23rd of November, decided that that was an opportunity to good to miss, cancelled their previous plans and never sent out any of the further information packs.

The next ad invited the general public to vote for the worst artist, either by going to the exhibition and using their critical faculties or by letting their inherant prejudices come to the fore. The final ad summarised the whole campaign, asked some questions back to the people that had written to them, and explained that the winner of the K-F award would be announced in a TV advert during the live Turner prize coverage on Channel 4.

The Observer Sunday 7 Nov 1993

Artists are not fulfilling their responsibilities to produce work worthy of the
very late 20th Century. Why?

                                WE LOVE YOU

But first there are 10 questions we are forced to ask you.

1. Why is the K. Foundation so much more sexy than any of the other art
   foundations ?

2. Is #40,000 enough ?

3. Why do you feel misunderstood ?

4. If you had a million pounds would you...
   (a) Pay off your debts ?
   (b) Start up your own art foundation dedicated to the advancement of
       creation ?
   (c) Burn it ?

5. Do the People get the Art they deserve ?

6. Are the actions of the K. Foundation...
   (a) Futile, novelty pranks ?
   (b) Works of genius ?
   (c) Other ?

7. Why is it worth struggling to promote public discussion in contemporary
   British Art ?

8. If this is an advertisement, what is it selling? Is any part of you buying?

9. Numerous non shortlisted artists believe they deserve The K. Foundation
   Award prize money. Are they thus implying they deserve the #40,000 cash
   more than Amnesty International, Oxfam, Shelter, Help the Aged, Save the
   Children, The Terrance Higgins Trust, Friends of the Earth or Battersea
   Dogs Home ?

10.Does the Artist with #40,000 in the bank produce a better or worse body of
   work than the Artist with 40p ?

11.What the F**k does The K. Foundation think it is ?

                  The Winner of the 1994 K. Foundation Award,
                  for producing the worst body of work in the       K
     Pyramid      preceding 12 months will be announced in a    Foundation      
      Logo        commercial break on Channel Four Television      Logo
                  at approximately 9.30pm, Tuesday November 23rd
Divide & Create   1993.                                            
           "Who has hidden the Agenda ?" THE 1994 K. FOUNDATION AWARD.  

Check out a Gurdian and a Face article about this event!

Rachel Whiteread was contacted by the K-Foundation and informed that she had won the 40000 pound prize. She refused to allow her name to be used in the TV advert. 25 witnesses (art critics, journalists, music industry figures, artists etc, there were 15 more people present: I presume they were photographers and video crews) were invited to participate and driven in a convoy of white limos (lead by a gold limo) to a service station where they were handed a press release and 1650 pounds in crisp new 50 pound notes. The accompanying press release stated that 25 x 1600 collectively made up the 40000 K-Foundation prize, and that the extra 50 was for the witness to verify its authenticity by spending it. The witnesses were dressed in fluorescent orange hard hats and safety jackets, and large quantities of champagne were drunk.

Eventually the convoy reached a field patrolled by two orange-painted K-F Saracen armoured cars, driven by Drummond and Cauty, broadcasting 'K Sera Sera' and Abba's 'Money Money Money'. Silver bearded Mr Ball, the compere with a megaphone directed the witnesses to nail their wad of money to a board inside a gilt frame, to assemble the K-F's prize. Unfortunately some of the witnesses pocketed all or some of their wad, and the prize money was 8600 short, which the K-F had to make up. Mr Ball also directed the witnesses to "view the art": A Million pounds in 50 pound note wads, nailed to a large framed board. The K-F's first art work, 'Nailed To A Wall'. All the witnesses were visably impressed by this sight. When an artist complained that it wasn't a work of art, as it wasn't signed, Mr Ball deadpanned "I think you'll find that every note is signed sir". The witnesses were made to hand over a 10 pound note as payment for an art catalogue. Half of each note was returned to the witness. The reserve price of the works has been set at half the face value of the cash involved. Nailed To The Wall - face value a cool million - is up for sale at 500,000 pounds.

The catalogue states:

"Over the years the face value will be eroded by inflation, while the artistic value will rise and rise. The precise point at which the artistic value will overtake the face value is unknown. Deconstruct the work now and you double your money. Hang it on a wall and watch the face value erode, the market value fluctuate, and the artistic value soar. The choice is yours."

The point is simple: art as a speculative currency, and vice-versa. To put it more bluntly: Art equals Money, and Money equals Art.

Meanwhile three TV adverts costing exactly 20000 pounds were being shown on Channel 4 in between the live coverage of the real award ceremony. Since Channel 4 funded the Turner prize, the K-Foundation were in effect paying for both awards. These ad's, se below, explain that the K-F are currently amending the history of art at a secret location. Rachel Whiteread won the Turner prize too, and absolutely no mention of the alternative award was made in the Turner studio discussion, an act of crass cowardice and stupidity by the Channel 4 programme makers which confirmed all the points about the modern art establishment that the K-F were trying to make.

Channel Four 30 second commercial - 23/11/93 - 21:00

                              STAND BY FOR
                               M A J O R
                              ART  HISTORY
                              IN 30 MINUTES

Channel Four 30 second commercial - 23/11/93 - 21:40

                              W A R N I N G

                          HISTORY OF ART FOREVER.

                         DOCUMENTATION TO FOLLOW.

Channel Four 30 second commercial - 23/11/93 - 22:00

                           FURTHER INSTRUCTIONS


                               AND DOCUMENT.

                       THERE IS ONLY ONE FLIGHT OUT.

The motorcade left the site of the ammending of art-history and headed back to London, where on the steps of the Tate, Rachel Whiteread was due to be handed the prize money. When she refused to accept the money, the K-F explained that it would be burnt. With the crowd of now very drunk witnesses looking on hoping the money would be burnt, a K-F operative fumbled with matches and lighter fluid. At the last moment Rachel Whiteread emerged from the Tate and accepted the money, stating that she would give it as grants to needy artists.

A huge amount of press publicity ensued, with all the major newspapers and press organisations reporting that Whiteread had won both awards. The K-F's spokesman, Mick Houghton, revealed that the voting for the K-F's award was supposed to produce a tie, to illustrate the hypocrisy of the Turner award committee, but that strangely the result had been a huge margin of victory for Whiteread. He speculated that the few thousand voters had just liked or rather disliked the sound of her name.

For the first six months of 1994 the K-F tried to get their art exhibition staged. The most likely gallery was the Tate in Liverpool, where Jayne Casey from Big In Japan now works. Unfortunately it didn't come off so they had to consider other options. They thought about taking the exhibition across Russia by train, but the cost of insuring a million pounds against robbery by the armed gangs that roam across the Stepps, was too high. They decided that the money was a millstone around their necks, that depressed them. They decided they would have to really burn the money.

They couldn't decide whether to make the burning public or not. They thought of putting a picture of 'Nailed to the Wall' with a flamethrower beside it, on a billboard in London. A week later the picture would have changed to ashes. Eventually Drummond decided that 'the shock value will spoil it really. Because it doesn't want to be a shocking thing; it just wants to be a fire'. However they still took a journalist along to witness it. They thought it was important that the public had faith that they did do it, so they (said they had) destroyed the video evidence.

They burnt the million pounds in an abandoned boathouse on Jura in the middle of the night of the 23rd of August 1994. It took just over an hour for Cauty and Drummond to pile the wads onto the flames, while K-F operative Gimpo filmed it, and freelance journalist Jim Reid witnessed it. The whole story is told by Reid in an article called 'Money To Burn' on the ftp archive. Reid admits to feeling at first guilt, then boredom while watching the money burn. The K-F's bank confirmed that a million pounds had been withdrawn, and picked up by a private security firm who also confirmed the amount. Some of the notes remained unburnt, were washed out to sea when the tide came in, and were later found by a Jura resident on a beach. He handed 1500 pounds into the police who traced the serial numbers and confirmed with Drummond that they were his and that he didn't want them back.

The film was shown to nearly half the population of Jura on the 23rd of August 1995. Unfortunately it was very badly filmed and all the dialogue is intelligible.

The film, Watch The K-Foundation Bum A Million Quid, was first screened on Jura two weeks ago and then at Manchester's In The City convention on Tuesday (September 5). The second screening followed a UKP6,000 full-page advert in The Guardian a day earlier announcing the film.

After the film was shown in Manchester, K Foundation members Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty held a question and answer session under the heading 'Is It Rock'n'Roll?'.

Drummond said: "It's taken us almost a year to come to terms with what we did. Now we feel we want to try and find out why we did it. Sometimes people make us think it's a rock'n'roll thing, sometimes that feels right but sometimes that feels like a bit of an insult."

Cauty added: "We didn't set out to make a film, we went out to burn UKP1 million. We're trying to find out why we did it and we're getting closer all the time. We're trying to get the list down to ten reasons as opposed to 5,000 reasons.

"We think burning the money was constructive because nobody's ever done it before. We were just sitting in a cafe talking about what we were going to spend the money on and then we decided it would be better if we burned it. That was about six weeks before we did it. It was too long, it was a bit of a nightmare."

When the film was shown in Jura on the 23rd of August 1995, many locals reacted angrily. Cauty said: "A lot of people thought it was really wasteful. They thought we should have given it away, and that wasn't very interesting to us."

The film begins with a short description of the event and then it shows Drummond and Cauty burning UKP1 million in UKP50 notes in a small stone building. Also present are a journalist and a cameraman. It takes roughly 67 minutes to burn the cash.

At the start, Cauty is agitated and says he doesn't think the money will burn because it is too wet. The camera shows 20 thick bundles of UKP50 notes, each bundle containing UKP50,000 in new bank notes and sealed in cellophane.

When the money ignites, Drummond starts to laugh as he and Cauty stand above a small fireplace throwing UKP50 notes on to the fire. Cauty constantly stokes the blaze with a large wooden plank and at one stage burns his hand on a flaming note. As the fire starts to dim, he scuttles around the floor sweeping stray notes into the flames. The cameraman shows a view from outside the building with charred UKP50 notes billowing out of the chimney.

Cauty said: "It's very indulgent. I was a bit worried about it at first, but I think it's probably the best thing we've done. It was all the profit we'd made from selling records, after we'ed paid off tax and stuff."

Drummond added: "We still get PRS when people play our records around the world and that's what we live on." Drummond said the duo had rejected a plan to tour the film and ask audiences to burn their money. But Cauty claimed they were considering showing the film at a Rwandan refugee camp to see how people would react.

Drummond said the Bank Of England fined them UKP500 when they staged their stunt of nailing UKP1 million to a board. Cauty said: "Defacing money is illegal, but we burned it."

The K-F took out an eighth press advert on the 4th of September 1995 saying that they would continue to show the film in pubs and awnser questions on it afterwards for the next 12 months.

All through their career the concept of burning a million pounds comes up. When they deleted their back catalogue it was described as being the equivalent of burning millions of pounds. They threatened to burn the K-F art award prize money (apparantly Gimpo was fumbling with matches and lighter fluid when at the last moment Rachel Whitread accepted the prize). And in the 7th K-F press advert they stated "What would you do with a million pounds? Burn it?"

Also they had made the decision that the money was not theirs, it was the K-F's. It had to be used for a K-F project, and couln't be given to anyone else. The money burning is in effect a massive, and very expensive publicity stunt so that Drummond and Cauty can go down in history as the men who burnt a million pounds. It is supposed to make you think about money, and its relationship with art. Really what is the difference between spending money on useless objects or publicity, and making the actual loss of the money the publicity. No one casticates Cher for spending her millions on 12 mansions worldwide and not giving them to charity. Why attack the K-F for spending their million and not giving it to charity.

If they have introduced an important debate about the nature of money, art and fame, then the money might have been used wisely. It's not even true that they are fools who have lost their money, as by having "he burnt a million pounds" on their CV's they will be interesting to the media for the rest of their lives, and able to make it back easily. Just like the first line in every biography and obitury of Divine was "he once ate dog shit on film" the names of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty will always be followed by "the men who burnt a million pounds".

Now what would the boys do with the ashes of 20000 notes? An article in "The Bucks Free Press" might give the answer:

Stars want £1m house brick

Former KLF pop stars are hoping to turn their profits of £1 million into a house brick with the help of Chesham brickmaker James Matthews.

It was the most bizarre challenge James, 23, ever faced when Bill Drummond and his Liverpudlian partner Jimmy Cauty turned up at Bellingdon Brickmakers, three miles outside Chesham, with a suitcase containing the charred remains of 20,000 £50 notes.

They are hoping to make a brick out of the ash after making the money in the music business when they belonged to the band KLF.

Bill, who lives near Aylesbury, said the reason for the request last Wednesday would be revealed in 23 years.

<-- Back to my KLF-page.
Last update: October 2004 CET by John Olsson

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