Vicky Pea joins the ranks of Book Two Chapter Four for The Day Of The Book.
I feel like I’ve forgotten how to write at anytime other than manically at two in the morning. Thankfully we were gifted with a relatively early finish to events this evening after an exhausting day made more painful by functioning on the two and half hours sleep I managed to get last night.
Some of the volunteers will not be required to return until around 4.30pm tomorrow, I however have to be back at The Florrie for noon in order to receive instructions from Gimpo which doesn’t exactly fill me with comfort. With this in mind I resisted the urge to return to the Dead Perch Lounge after the official end of Day Two and instead headed home for an early turn in.
Day Two began at 10am at the Bombed Out Church. A beautiful and iconic Liverpool building with its own history of art and community and one that would be propelled to new heights today.
We entered the church in pairs of which one would join a line to the left and one to the right that extended from the far end of the church to the back and snaked its way back around on itself. Those of the left would become odds and those on the right would be evens.
We were informed that today was The Day Of The Book. Enter The JAMMS. Today every volunteer would become a keeper of a page. A page from the book 2023. The page would belong to us for all eternity and we were told that in future printing of editions of 2023 our names would appear on our individual pages. The words upon the page would become meaningful to us in ways we did not yet understand.
Bill and Jimmy proceeded to, one by one, tear pages from a two copies of 2023 handing them to volunteers down each line. The odds would take the odd side of the page, the evens… you got it.
I was issued with page numbers 181 and 182 by Jimmy and as an odd I then became the keeper of 181.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) August 24, 2017
I immediately appreciated the irony of the first three words. “not getting confused“. The purpose of the page was to act as inspiration. To take the words and interpret them how we saw fit. We would be tasked with locating the other members of our chapter, mine being Chapter Four of Book Two entitled Shibboleth Now.
Somehow the chapters did seem to form into their groups within the grounds of the church after some general disorganisation. Each chapter would be responsible for a creation. The brief was minimal. Take the chapter and produce something. We could work individually to produce something from our own page or work together. Whatever the outcome would need to be recorded in a book entitled Grapefruit Are Not The Only Bombs that rested on the alter at the top of the church by 6pm. Each chapter would be given three pages to fill in the book and would be given 2 minutes and 23 seconds to present their work later that night. We actually all missed that last part and weren’t aware of the presentation element until much later.
For a long time we – hereby known as Book Two Chapter Four – stood around with fuck all idea about what to do. Eventually two left, off to do their own thing (which would actually result in nothing at all). The seven of us that remained decide to work together on a collaboration. We each shared the main themes of our pages which varied somewhat wildly considering they all came from the same portion of the book.
The immediate points we took were from repeated mentions of John Lennon (not that one), various mentions of religious groups, mainly The Peoples Front Of Judea and the fact the chapter ended in a bar. So we decided to head to the Cavern Pub.
Now a quick note – every review or write up or story of today is going to be entirely different. All I can do from here is recount my day with my chapter, it does not reflect the experiences of any volunteers other than myself. Also for the purposes of our chapter the year is 2019 and war is over.
On the way to the Cavern we educated ourselves on the meaning of Shibboleth;
a custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people, especially a long-standing one regarded as outmoded or no longer important.
We were starting to form ideas of what we may want to do. The ideas of an irrelevant and outdated group or society came to the forefront with the additional aspect that our chapter leader (the volunteer issued with the first page of the chapter) was one of those who left early on. We were leaderless, messiah-less.
The rest of the walk was a constant flow of ideas and interpretations.
After a productive pint in the pub and perhaps the creative magik bestowed upon us from walking across the infamous manhole cover we had our plan. We would become our own outmoded collective and search for our new messiah. One of the pages included three lines we would make our mantra.
You are the Messiah.
It is for you to reclaim The Promised Land
For the Children of God
We changed ‘you’ to ‘Mumu’.
After deciding any kind of collective would need a common trait or uniform of sorts we intently headed straight towards the nearest fancy dress shop and purchased seven identical white hats (and haggled a discount of 50p each). In fear of looking like the worlds worst stag party (we were on Mathew Street after all) we drew 2:4 on each hat followed by our individual page numbers and stuck our pages onto the hats like literary feathers.
We looked suitably weird, we knew this from the amount of strange looks we were getting. Doubting any of us would successfully remember all three lines we split them up with two people taking a line each and I would play the role of documenter which sneakily ensured I wouldn’t end up on camera. And so we dove right in.
Convincing the busker planted next to the statue of John Lennon to play Come Together was just as easy as you’d imagine and my six fellow chapter members began their first ritual. On their knees chanting at a statue of John Lennon outside the Cavern in cheap white hats.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) August 24, 2017
We were an irrelevant group praising an irrelevant messiah in an irrelevant location in the year 2019.
Then we went and just had a laugh with the Cilla Black statue before real magik struck. Three guys took an interest in what we were doing. One looked a little Jesus-y if you know what I mean so we made him our new messiah without hesitation. Only after he stood back up did we discover he was wearing a god damn Chill Out hoodie and was actually visiting Liverpool today because the KLF were in town and they were doing a Echo/KLF tour and photoshoot for Arena. It was meant to be, just mere yards away from the manhole cover.
With our videos sorted we thought we were done. Our original plan for the book was to enter a collage of photos including screen shots of the YouTube videos and the links to them. But it was only half past one and we were just getting in the mood.
My page references John’s dead body in a canal. It was obvious what to do next. We’d throw our hats into the Mersey marking the end of the outmoded society we had created just hours earlier. But it’s not really a KLF thing without fire so we amended that to setting the hats on fire then throwing them in the canal. Armed with some lighter fluid and a handful of free Metro newspapers we headed for the most secluded and accessible part of the canal behind the Open Eye Gallery on the waterfront. We set the hats ablaze, dropped them in and watched them smoulder, melt and warp.
We still weren’t done and this was around the time we were made aware of the presentation requirement via a phone call from another volunteer. We retrieved our deformed hats from the canal and made the bold decision to walk right into the Tate Gallery with our mighty work of ‘art’.
Outside the Tate we stacked up the hats and agreed on our method of delivery. We’d simply walk in, up to the front desk an bestow them with a gift from The Justified Ancients Of MuMu. To our surprise it was accepted. We even shook hands on it.
Upon leaving the bewildered employee picked up the phone and began gesturing towards the hats while glancing at us through the window. We have no doubt that they met the inside of a dumpster pretty quickly but for a few minutes, if you had gone in you would have seen our work on display front and centre at the Tate and therefore we achieved something the K Foundation could not. Our work was done.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) August 24, 2017
An ingenious and technically gifted member of our chapter scurried off to produce a website. www.2019warisover.com and spliced our footage together. This would become our presentation.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) August 24, 2017
Shortly before 6pm we returned to the Bombed Out Church to make our entry into the Grapefruit Are Not The Only Bombs book. Our contribution of the three pages went as follows;
Page One read WWW.
Page two read 2019WARISOVER
Page three read .COM
After some soup The JAMMS entered into the church and the presentations began in strict chapter order.
I can’t even begin to describe each one to you. They were fantastic. Funny. Creative. Impressive. Ridiculous. Over the top. Marginally dangerous. Most of all they were inspired.
The best thing was that a majority of the presentations were indeed conducted as a group effort. People who this morning had probably never met became cohesive and collaborative teams. It was an absolute joy to see the space transformed by so many creations of various media and everyone having so much enthusiasm. I sincerely wish I could give each one an overview and the deserved recognition but this really was one of those ‘you had to be there’ moments. I implore you to seek them out by any means you can.
Ian Shirley, author of Turn Up The Strobe, page keeper and one of the seven esteemed members of Book Two Chapter Four (if I say so myself) gave our presentation as the rest of us tinkered on our iPhone 23’s (another reference from our chapter).
He first started by asking the audience to produce their phones. He explained about how we lost our leader, that we were in need of a messiah and directed them to www.2019warisover.com. After a countdown and a quick dig at Messrs Drummond and Cauty for us having achieved something they couldn’t the audience would watch the video.
In all honesty it went far better than any of us could have hoped, especially a very stage frightened me. A reaction of giggles and laughter was a relief to hear and I even caught The JAMMS cracking a grin or two.
Departing the stage I also got the pleasure of someone mentioning to The JAMMS that I was the “girl with the tattoo” which they then asked to see and seemed surprisingly taken with even if Jimmy made the age old mistake of asking “did it hurt”. Bill even gave it a kiss which I assume he would immediately regret, I having only recently gave it a quick coat of bepanthen, sorry Bill!
It is remarkable what can be achieved when a group of willing individuals are given a simple push. By granting us permission to create each of us did something entirely our of our comfort zones and with little hesitation.
Without this experience I would have never, ever, ever had any desire to walk into the Tate and leave a bunch of damp burnt hats. In fact I would have shied away from anything even remotely close to anything we did today but somehow there I was walking around town in a shitty hat with sharpie on it.
Today we were given freedom. Total creative freedom and it bled into everything we did and how we did it. It was a gift and a day that all of us will treasure. I felt like a child again, when consequences was a word I didn’t understand and embarrassment wasn’t a trait I’d suffered from yet. Nothing was off limits except those thing we would find morally unacceptable ourselves. We ignored society’s rules and expectations and for one day ran about the city like absolute loons.
Don’t mistake me though. I have no illusions about what we did. It was no work of art. It wasn’t art at all. It was just seven people having an enormous amount of fun guided by the words of a different bunch on loons. But it was glorious.
I’d like to thank my fellow members of Book Two Chapter Four for being 100% sound people to spend the day with, talking with them and bouncing ideas off each other was wonderful and everyone bought a different perspective and skill set to the table. It was a pleasure folks and now we’re bound together for life within the pages of 2023 and Grapefruit Are Not The Only Bombs and I couldn’t have wished for a nicer bunch to be bound with.
On a final note, as all the volunteers sat upon the steps outside the Bombed Out Church for our group photo I witnessed another moment of genuine joy. The homeless charity set up outside came over to optimistically ask anyone for spare change, even pennies, as they’ve done countless times before probably not expecting much of a response. By the time the crowd had dispersed from around them the girl collecting was close to tears, filming it on her phone saying “I can’t believe this, this has never happened before.” She was genuinely overwhelmed.
Edit: Here is the video of said touching moment.
Fans of the KLF gathered at the bombed out church tonight just donated 175 quid in about two minutes to Collective Kitchen when we told them what we were doing. That's gonna go a long way to keep the kitchen ticking over for a while to come, can't believe it, some of us even had a little cry. Thank you to everyone who gave just a few quid. Power to the people!
Opslået af Collective Kitchen på 24. august 2017
Yes us 400 have caused a bit of chaos over the last couple of days that much of the city would prefer to ignore, we’ve probably disrupted certain things and annoyed plenty of people but I’m taking this moment to say thank you to the volunteers who so far have not just been generous with their wallets but with their spirit. For every person we’ve annoyed I like to think we’ve put a smile on the face of another or solicited a chuckle here and there. Scepticism remains regarding the type of ‘fools’ that would attend this event, I’m sure many of us have defended ourselves for being here on one or more occasion and to that I say ignore the fuckers.
Tomorrow the The Rites of Mumufication, The Great Pull North and the Graduation Ball await us. Lets carry on enjoying ourselves.
You can keep up to date with Vicky’s Welcome To The Dark Ages experiences on Twitter @vxpeax