FANTASTIC FEST: Who Killed the KLF? (2021)

Any time I think that this world is meaningless and doesn’t make sense, I remember that it should be meaningless and not make any sense. After all: “The belief that “order is true” and disorder is false or somehow wrong, is the Aneristic Illusion. To say the same of disorder, is the Eristic Illusion.”

So then, who are the KLF? The Kings of the Low(er) Frequency? The Kopyright Liberation Front? Kool Low Frequency? Keep Looking Forward? Kevin Likes Fruit? King Lucifer Forever? Or the JAMs? Or the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu” Or The Timelords? How about 2K, The K Foundation, The One World Orchestra or The Forever Ancients Liberation Loophole?

What time is love?

“In the year of our Lord Nine Ninety-Two, the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu set sail in their long boats on a voyage to rediscover the lost continent. After many months on perilous, stormy seas, their search was fruitless. Just when all seemed lost, they discovered AMERICA! The music you are about to experience is the celebration of the one thousandth anniversary of their founding of this great nation.”

Who would start a song like this? Who would claim that a car wrote their greatest hit, then get on Top of the Pops and then write a book that explained to other bands just how easy it is to make a hit record*? Who would spend all the money they made on an Italian western-influenced movie called The White Room** that was never released, but would lead to the evolution in their sound that would create the hits “What Time Is Love?” and “3 A.M. Eternal?”

And then the KLF became the biggest band in the UK. And maybe soon the world.

But was it what they wanted?

So after the Brit Awards, in which they took the stage with Extreme Noise Terror, the KLF shut itself down. A note would follow: “We have been following a wild and wounded, glum and glorious, **** but shining path these past five years. The last two of which has led us up onto the commercial high ground – we are at a point where the path is about to take a sharp turn from these sunny uplands down into a netherworld of we know not what. For the foreseeable future there will be no further record releases from The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The Timelords, The KLF and any other past, present and future name attached to our activities. As of now all our past releases are deleted …. If we meet further along be prepared … our disguise may be complete.”

They then deleted their entire catalog. Their Best British Group award was buried near Stonehedge. And thus followed art adventures, as detailed in the film, which I believe shows that they were completely in the right as to burning a million pounds. They also bought a submarine. Drummond also took Zodiac Mindwarp to the North Pole to bury a photo of Elvis to create peace in our time.

But anyway, there’s this documentary by Chris Atkins, who made Star Suckers, which was all about man’s need to be famous. Does he answer all the questions, which this piece is full of? No. And he shouldn’t. He doesn’t need to. KLF didn’t need to answer why they did their art projects either — they tried — and they still don’t.

Alan Moore says in this film that “Our best actions are those which are without lust of result. Our purest actions. Where you’ve got no result in mind. You’re just doing it because it has to be done.”

All I know was that I was six minutes into this movie and it had already reduced me to tears. At one point, Drummond and Cauty say that they would often step outside themselves and ask, “What would the KLF do?” And then they would do it.

Damn if that’s not the best advice I’ve heard in my life.

This isn’t just the best movie I’ve seen at Fantastic Fest. It’s the best film I’ve seen in decades.

*To wit: Drummond would write, “Basically it said you had to be on the dole, watch Top of the Pops every week and if you had any instruments you had to get rid of them.” Austrian dance band Edelweiss followed the lessons in The Manual and did it; other influenced bands include one-off artist Milton and the Klaxons, whose “Atlantis to Interzone” posits a next century-friendly version of the lessons of The Manual as member Jamie Reynolds would say that he “took direct instructions from it… Get yourself a studio, get a groove going, sing some absolute nonsense over the top, put a breakbeat behind it, and you’re away! That’s what I did! That’s genuinely it. I read that, I noted down the golden rules of pop, and applied that to what we’re doing and made sure that that always applies to everything we do. That way, we always come out with a sort of catchy hit number.” Chumbawamba member Boff Whalley was also photographed reading the guide; how else can we figure why “Tubthumping” is unlike any song they did before or since? Nobody really reads the real lesson Drummond wrote: “If you wanna have number one…you can have it. It won’t make you rich, it won’t make you happy, but you can have it.”

**According to the essential KLF Online site, the band received plenty of weird mail, the strangest coming from someone who referred to themselves as Eternity who wanted them to sign a contract that would determine the future of their career. This is not covered in the film, but the first term of the contract required the band to make some kind of art that showed the members on a journey to a place called The White Room. There were no rules other than that, but if they created this art, they would be given access to the real White Room.

So they made a movie.

And their lawyer worried — what the hell kind of contract did these guys sign?

Contracts are a big part of the KLF, including ones written on cars and shoved off cliffs.

Although The Contract was between The JAMS and Eternity, Eternity had no address and would not negotiate. Eternity did inspire lyrics and art; the so-called Liberation Loophole that their lawyer discovered would also free them from the contract which is in the movie.

Which is totally on YouTube.

This is the Inner Film. There’s also an Outer Film. There’s also a segment that connects the two films together.

Yeah, being a KLF obsessive leads one down some rabbit holes.

“Still I’m seeking something
And there’s something that I’m seeking”

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