Planet Slop’s Vicky Pea prepares to be welcomed to the Dark Ages by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
Welcome to the KLF Khronicles. With one month to go before The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu’s mysterious return to Liverpool I’ve decided to share my journey of discovery, overthinking, doubt, fear, curiosity, excitement, ignorance and speculation with you.
Entries will continue to be added over the next few weeks before the event itself takes place, at which time (assuming I have access to technology and am not actually going back to the Dark Ages) I will attempt to document my KLF experience.
Firstly a disclaimer. You’re going to despise me, get used to it. I’m not a KLF, The Jams, Justified Ancients of Mu Mu or The Timelords superfan. To say I wasn’t old enough the first time around would be an understatement as I was in fact just 5 years old at the time of the K Foundation burning and not actually born for most of their musical releases.
All of my KLF knowledge comes second hand, whether from John Higgs’ Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds, Wikipedia or a brief interview I conducted with Alan Moore.
I am however increasingly intrigued by the prospect of this event and the bands history. In addition to this my life revolves around music and the type of events that peak my interest enough to get my lazy ass off my sofa and out into the generally unbearable world.
So here I am. If that’s not an adequate enough reason for you then tough.
Now, a little history. I first became aware of The KLF during my teens via my obsession with the life and works of Alan Moore. It was at this time I first listened to Chill Out and Who Killed The Jams, but it was the bigger picture I found fascinating – especially for a teenager hell bent on being cool and niche as fuck.
With the added elements of conspiracy references and magical ritual it ticked all my boxes – and it is those elements that fuel my fascination. Not particularly the music or the art, but the ritual. Ritual I now have the chance to be a part of.
So the timeline goes;
A video appears online that sparks the first of the “return” speculation.
Posters appear confirming the return of The Jams and the imminent end of their Twenty Three Year Moratorium. The monkier K2 Plant Hire Ltd appears on the poster and is registered at companies house.
Vague details of a 3 day event to mark the end of the bands self imposed Twenty Three Year Moratorium are released titled Welcome To The Dark Ages. It totals 98 words.
The three days are the 23rd, 24th and 25th August 2017. The titles of each of these three days are:
Day One – Why Did The K Foundation Burn A Million Quid?
Day Two – 2023: What The Fuuk Is Going On?
Day Three – The Rites of MuMufication.
There will only be 400 tickets available.
There are no guest lists.
There are no press passes.
Every one of the 400 ticket holders will be expected to be Volunteers.
WARNING: The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu in any of their various past, present or future guises will not be performing music.
It is announced tickets will go on sale on July 23rd 2017 at 11.23AM.
This is where my journal begins…
July 23rd 2017 @ 11.17 – Ticket Sale Day
I’m awake. To my own credit I had set a calendar alert for 11.15am this morning several days ago as to combat my own forgetfulness and love of a lie in.
So. Do I actually go through with this? £100 for a three day event that I know pretty much nothing about. Facebook is awash with friends asking the same question, none of which appear to give a committed answer. Time to weigh up what I do know…
It will be in Liverpool. Good. No significant additional costs on top of the notes I’m already dropping. Or at least I hope.
It will be three days. I do not know if this is three evenings, three days, 72 straight hours. Not a clue. Potentially a need to book time off work.
I will be expected to volunteer or participate. I hate this. I purposely sit at the back of stand up shows, never raise my hand when asked to volunteer on any occasion. I once actually had a winning line at Bongo’s Bingo but never in a million years was I actually going to raise my hand. There is a good chance I may refuse to do something and be ejected early doors.
The KLF (or The Jams, or The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, or K2 Plant Hire Ltd etc) will not be performing any music. I can live with that. It’s not particularly what I want to see anyway. As mentioned, I want a ritual.
Other things I’m currently considering…
Is this already part of the performance? Making suckers cough up £100 for, at this point in time, an event that reads like a talk, a screening and a existential crisis. Am I already participating?
Am I an idiot? Quite possibly. I’m too young to have experienced anything to do with The KLF first hand and only retain an interest in it thanks to curiosity surrounding other subjects.
I have no personal attachment or memories of the KLF. Will I just end up walking around totally oblivious like a child being dragged around the
ASDA Waitrose (at these prices) by grown ups who know exactly what they’re here for?
Can I resist? Nope. I love shit like this. I live for unrepeatable, one off experiences and when one is convenient enough to be on my doorstep who am I to refuse? I need to be there, I need to know what happens or forever regret it. I put a ticket in my basket as well as a pre-order copy of the soon to be released 2023: A Trilogy. I checkout.
July 24th 2017 @ 14.02
I remember that I may indeed need time off work so mention this to my manager. When asked why I “might” need time I explain I’ve got tickets to a mystery event of timings unknown related to The KLF.
“Oh right” says my manager. “I didn’t know they were still knocking about. You could end up doing anything.”
This is the first time I feel the fear. I really could end up doing anything. Burning my own £100 would be a lucky escape. They could keep us in a tiny room for three days. Put us to work, even, heaven forbid, manual labour. Shit it. Maybe I won’t be able to have the time off and I’ll have to flog my ticket. Maybe that’ll be the best result anyway for my anxiety riddled introverted self.
July 25th 2017 @ 9:00
I decide it’s a smart move to re-read Chaos, Magic And The Band Who Burned A Million Pounds so chuck it in my bag on my way out the door. I also obtain the remainder of The KLF musical releases I don’t already have from unspecified sources and leave myself a note to do an extensive google search when I get home. If I’m paying through the teeth for something I damn well want to understand and appreciate all of it, so I commit to put in some research hours.
I hit Amazon with a KLF search and see what comes up. I add 45 by Bill Drummond and The Illuminatus! Trilogy to my basket before scoffing at the £100+ price tag for The Manual. I manage find and bookmark an online version of that for later reading before Tweeting a request other recommendations to aid in my Mu Mu education. I feel like I’m curating a course.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) July 25, 2017
July 26th 2017 @ 10.20
I’m already reaping the rewards of revisiting John Higgs’ incredible book. Having initially read it some 4 or 5 years ago and with my memory the way it is I may as well be reading it for the first time. That’s what it feels like anyway. Much of this is due to the fact I now have context.
The context of my looming attendance at their upcoming event is allowing me to submerge myself into the pages with a whole new purpose. Rediscovering the journey that led up to their 23 year self imposed silence on the subject of the burning fills me with excitement at the prospect of actually being there when it ends. Even more exciting is the idea of being a part of their mechanism for either finally figuring out why they did what they did, or at least communicating that elusive reason to the world.
Other aspects of the book I’m finding far too interesting and will no doubt shortly become obsessed with it that of Discordianism and the metaphorical role of us as characters in a story. You’ll be far from surprised to hear that I found myself immediately relating to that particular idea.
Is this my story or theirs? Who’s in control and are those involved even aware of their roles in the story, if there are any. Maybe there isn’t a story at all and we’re all of a sudden we’re back to the concept of Discordianism and the chaos that follows.
To follow Vicky’s KLF experience between entries and bug her loads follow her on Twitter and Instagram @vxpeax