Details. We have details. Just a few but enough to get Vicky Pea in a right old state.
We’ve hit reverse gear this week and are starting at the end because everything changed today, with an influx of new information hitting us from multiple angles. Time is pretty arbitrary anyway and our memories jiggle stuff around plenty, so a little timeline manipulation won’t do us any harm.
I’ve also cut a fair bit of my earlier ramblings from the week out as we’ve more exciting news to talk about, plus a lot of it was made redundant by the announcements. We’ll start with the biggest and most concrete development.
Tickets went on sale for an event titled Graduation Ball and the 400 volunteers received their first instructions.
— Bido Lito! (@BidoLito) August 8, 2017
The details of the ball are as follows:
The Graduation Ball
The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu will be throwing a Graduation Ball, following the events of Welcome To The Dark Ages.
This Graduation Ball will be for all of The Volunteers who have graduated to The Dark Ages.
This Graduation Ball will be at the Invisible Wind Factory.
The Invisible Wind Factory is many things.
One of those things is a nightclub.
The Invisible Wind Factory’s doors will open at 22:00 on Friday the 25th of August.
The address of the Invisible Wind Factory is 3 Regent Rd, Liverpool L3 7DS.
There will be guest DJs – DJ Food and Greg Wilson.
There will be the world premier screening of the 69 minute director’s cut version of the film 2023: What The FUUK Is Going On? by The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu.
There will be the one and only performance by Badger Kull.
Badger Kull will be performing their one and only song.
Their one and only song is Toxteth Day of the Dead.
Although this Graduation Ball will be free for all of The Volunteers who have graduated to The Dark Ages, there will be a limited number of tickets for the general paying public – £10 entrance fee.
On the guest list will be Vladimir Putin + 1, the Little Perch, The 23 Sparrows, and Tat’jana & Kristina. But no one else.
This Graduation Ball will last as long as it lasts. Or until the last of the Little Perch have been kicked out and thrown back into the Mersey.
Be there at the Birth.
‘Life is the gateway drug to death’
I’m not going to lie; I’m a little terrified. And a little proud that my suspicion of the Invisible Wind Factory being involved was correct – they will put on a hell of a production – but mainly terrified.
I was already dreading the whole volunteering thing and now you’re going to let the paying public in for some warped graduation ceremony? Although… on the upside, having (much to the disappointment of my family) never gone to University, this would actually be my first graduation, and guaranteed to be a million times cooler than the usual hat and gown affair. So I’ll focus on that being the positive and not the potential for public humiliation.
Most people have kindly attempted refuted my fears along similar lines of, “Why would they make you pay for an event you’d hate?” “They want people to be talking about how good it was for years”.
Do they? This is no ordinary gig. This ain’t no band on tour thinking about selling out the next arena, pandering to the press for a nice write up and a recommendation. They don’t give a shit about what I’m going to say about it, before, during or after. This is art and ritual. And if know anything about ritual it’s that your’ll invoke anything you require to make the ritual successful, so without knowing the purpose of the event and its desired outcome, we really can’t guarantee what we’ll be put though.
One tweet went along the lines of “If they were brave enough to burn a million quid and phone up Tammy Wynette then you can be brave enough to stand up in front of a crowd.”
That is a very reasonable point. Except to me those weren’t brave acts, they were impossible acts, stupid acts. I’d be more willing to do something like that than something so simple as to stand in front of a crowd. Ask me to get hold of George W. Bush and I’d give it my best shot, ask me to engage in any kind of public speaking and I’m likely to vomit on my shoes.
The growing number of theories as to what we may be doing across the three days and at the graduation only act to increase anxiety levels.
Speculating about such things however is incredibly fun. Gary Aster‘s theory (read his own KLF: Why Liverpool? article here) is that we will be Badger Kull – a 400 strong choir of sorts. Despite lacking all music talent and a singing voice that brings people to tears for all the wrong reasons this would actually be pretty awesome. An official member of a cult band? I like the sound of that. Someone start our wiki page.
The suggestion was made that perhaps Badger Kull would just be the new moniker of the KLF. This however can be partially disputed by the fact Tat’jana and Kristina appear on the guest list – two names that the 16 available pages of forthcoming book 2023: A Trilogy imply belong to the new ‘KLF guise’ (credit to Gary again for pointing that out, as I’ve yet to get my hands on a copy of the preface edition).
As to the identities of the Little Perch, The 23 Sparrows and Vladimir Putin’s +1 (assuming he’s not planning on no showing, not that we’ve figured out why he’s invited in the first place) is anyone’s guess at this stage.
— Michael Apter (@Michael_Apter) August 8, 2017
I won’t post the full instructions received by the volunteers but here are some of the highlights.
Welcome To The Dark Ages will encompass daytime and evening activities across 23rd, 24th and 25th August.
The events of Friday 25th August will involve a slow paced walk of around three miles. Bring suitable shoes and attire. If you use an umbrella, bring one.
All ticket holders for Welcome To The Dark Ages are volunteers. Volunteer jobs will be delegated at the Volunteer Initiation.
This will see the commencement of Welcome To The Dark Ages activities.
If you arrive after the initiation you will be designated a job in your absence. We would advise that you are present.
The key word I take from this is job (well after I check the weather and think about buying an umbrella). Job. I already have about four jobs and here I am paying for the honour of having another. Rest assured I’ll be there bright and early to sign up to something I’m not entirely opposed to. In fact here’s a list of preferred jobs I’d be happy to take if it could be arranged;
Dog sitter, dog walker, cat sitter, animal hugger, silent observer, silent girl who nods and waves, videographer, live tweeter, documenter, record keeper, ice cream tester, whimsical hummer, note taker, percussionist, Rubik cube solver, napper, nervous laugh-er, invisible woman, fire maker. Dibs on any of those.
Now, before we move back to our scheduled broadcasting – all these latest developments and more have been wonderfully added to Andrew Lee‘s Welcome To The Dark Ages map, carefully plotting out the locations that await us! You should also check out his impressive worldwide KLF map here. Now back we go *reminiscing harp music*
August 3rd 2017
I’ve been thinking more about the art investment idea raised in The Quietus’ article. The more I think about it, the more genius of an idea I find it to be.
Is it so preposterous to believe that they, consciously or not, used the burning as an investment that has resulted in a return 23 years later? Not necessarily a monetary return, but most certainly a return in reputation and awareness. And some money.
A return on an investment that would turn an oblivious four or five year old girl into an avid obsessive? That would increase the value of all existing products and merchandise and that would provide a platform for whatever they wanted to launch next, whether it be a retirement plan or a resurgence?
It’s like me having £100,000 that I could realistically live without and putting it away for 30 years until I predict I’ll have more use for it. The only problem with that scenario is the risk for loss. But with their gesture being so grand they mitigated any risk of loss, guaranteeing a return – even if only marginal – for a moment of their choosing.
It could all be bollocks but if not it is fucking genius. Ok, maybe not. Maybe they would have still been making better returns if they hadn’t deleted their entire back catalogue (the potential earnings have been estimated at around five million pounds). But where’s the fun in that?
August 4th 2017
I thoroughly enjoy the couple of days after I post one of these as I get messages from all sorts of people with all sorts of stories.
Considering my slow but consistent procurement of all KLF related books, articles, interviews etc it became natural the next step was the music, of the physical kind.
Twitter buddy @IanBevisMott was kind enough to share some of his collection with me.
Just look at it. I’m green with envy. Having browsed online to see if a record or two could make its way into my possession I’ve pretty much given up hope of starting a collection. Far too costly and once I start a collection of anything I rarely stop (see my pile of tarot decks for example). One would lead to another before leading to bankruptcy! Plus I’m not even sure I’d know the best place to start (the prettiest?)
Another original fan, Steve brought this to my attention. I just adore the manic scribbling.
— Steve Hanlon (@stevehanlon) August 2, 2017
One of the things I’m beginning to love about the KLF and their fans are the unique and often unexplained momentos they own, each as fascinating as the last. From letters and autographs to stories of someone borrowing Bill‘s own copy of The Manual only to post it back to him.
Weirdly though, labelling ya’ll as fans just doesn’t quite feel right. It feels much more than that. Like their is a genuine real involvement, a back and forth between both parties. Maybe that’s just what I want to believe – don’t all fans?
August 5th 2017
A couple of days ago I met with another of the KLF intrigued who unfortunately can’t make it to the big event, but we talk about John Higgs’ KLF book (which I’ve just finished) and 45 (which I’ve just started), before recommending me Stranger Than We Can Imagine to me. He also swears me to secrecy regarding the potential rumoured involvement of a certain venue in Liverpool.
Thankfully everyone now knows it’s the Static Gallery so I’m free to say so and we’ll never know if I would have bitten my tongue or let it slip out.
The thing is, Bill and Jimmy must be in Liverpool, or have been in Liverpool, a fair bit recently. Probably in the Static Gallery, but have so far gone under the radar. I’m intrigued to know how long the active preparation for Welcome To The Dark Ages has taken, how many people it has involved and to appreciate the silence of them all thus far.
We also speak about who else we believe to be involved – Greg Wilson was of course our first guess, followed by Alan Moore. * edit – One down one to go!
They’re easy guesses, I know that. I’ll be delving into their connections a little deeper if I can in the next journal – away from the obvious stuff such as the recent Super Weird Happening.
August 6th 2017
Towards the end of John Higgs’ KLF book he talks about the importance of the year 1994. I mentioned last week that many of the stories of individuals involved so far had thrown up coincidences in my own life, but none so more than this passage.
He portrays the year as a marking a significant change, especially for Generation X and the ideas behind the development of rational thinking. Three big events are given special significance here. Of course the burning is one. The deaths of Kurt Cobain and Bill Hicks are the others.
Until this point I would have never expected Bill Hicks’ name to have popped up. An artist that has shaped my way of thinking and outlook on life more than any other. I even have a Bill Hicks tattoo. Discovering him had an immediate and positive influence on my life. I could say the same about this little KLF adventure too. And of course you only really have to take one look at me to know that Nirvana are one of my most beloved bands, however I won’t pretend Kurt‘s death has ever had a profound effect on my life, nor do I hold him is such high esteem as Hicks.
At the time the year 1994 and the events that occurred had zero impact on my life. Or as far as I am aware. My memory doesn’t stretch that far back but I can safely say the peak of my critical thinking would have been along the lines of “Why do my fav banana sweets taste even more bananary than bananas?” or “Can I take the training wheels off my bike yet?”.
The fact that the effects of this particular year lingered long enough for me to grasp onto them, all the way to 2017, is quite remarkable to me. Especially when combined with what John believes the year to signify. The year “nihilism reached its peak“, that “the constant creation of new musical genres came to an end“, “a desperate need for a way out. Any way out.”
In case you don’t quite get the point here’s a photo of me circa 1994, actually looking quite nihilistic back even then. Would it have hurt to smile?
Bloody hell. I have never held any faith or membership to any religion, having identified as a nihilist since I was old enough to understand the word. These days I throw in a little sprinkling of satanism for good measure but if push came to shove nihilism would conquer. A lot of that comes from my early love of Nirvana and Hicks. That love was birthed from a desire for a way out.
A way out of society, a way out of the status quo, of the traditional pillars of civilisation – whatever stereotypical teenage angst statement you wish to use. We’ve all been there. I like to think I’ve hung onto it pretty well apart from having fallen into a half decent career. I’m still an overtly rational thinker and often daydream of my way out.
I am a product of 1994 and 1994 is still having its way with me today.
August 7th 2017
This little beauty was discovered by a member of the KLF Facebook group. Speculation is rife. http://mumuland.co.uk/
Of course, this could easily be a hoax, an operation mindfuck of sorts just as equally as it could be a legitimate clue. The photos do not appear to be of any one theme park, including features of many, but I can’t help but think about the abandoned Camelot theme park outside of Liverpool and the potential for a Dismaland-esque set up.
— Vicky Pea (@vxpeax) August 7, 2017
I especially loved this response to the prospect of Mumuland – the worlds first knitting theme park;
What do you knit? Wool. Where does wool come from? SHEEP!!!!!!!
— Mari Glitter (@MuMuAmerica23) August 7, 2017
My fifth pre-Welcome To Dark Ages journal will be published on the evening of Wednesday 23rd August. I’d very much like to include submissions from others in that edition – if you’d like to contribute please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with your thoughts on the following (and anything else you’d like to add!)
1) What is going to happen across the 3-5 days?
2) What is the ultimate purpose of the event?
I’ll also be doing one post event journal. The more reaction to the event the better so let me know if you’d like to join in with the post ritual analysis!
To follow Vicky’s KLF experience between entries and bug her loads follow her on Twitter and Instagram @vxpeax