Its the weekend, so rather than talk shop I figured it would be nice to take a break and instead recommend two music books instead, as both are utterly fantastic.
John Higgs’ “The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned A Million Pounds” is possibly the best music-related book of the last couple of years. Now admittedly, I’m something of a KLF obsessive (and for those who’ve not heard me spin the yarn, I once faked an entire KLF comeback with my friend DJ Food), but even if you’re so-so on Drummond and Cauty this is still a fine read. The book isn’t a biography of the KLF per se; its more a journey through their career told via their influences. Taking in anything from Situationism to the Illuminatus Trilogy through to the number 23 and Doctor Who, what I love about this book is that it reminds you that now and again pop music can be both incredibly catchy *and* rather subversive at the same time. It doesn’t mythologise the band either, happily admitting that at times the band were guilty of retro-fitting theories around their actions (for example, Drummond cops to never having actually finished the Illuminatus Trilogy – a tome which carries arguably more KLF-related symbolism than anything, including the source of their “Justified Ancients of Mu Mu” title). The faintly comical part for me was the degree to which synchronicity carried so much weight in the book, purely because I then realised there were no small number of synchronicities between myself and the KLF too, as I’ve now worked with various people who also worked with the band back in the day. But I digress – do check the book out, its ace.
My second recommendation is Julian Cope’s mighty “Copendium”, which Strictly Kev (aka DJ Food) recommended to me. This is a book that makes the Bible look lightweight, clocking in at over 700 pages and weighing about half a kilo. Why so big? Well, because it contains every “Album of the Month” review from Cope’s own (very excellent) Head Heritage site. Hence, whilst this is a book so large you could kill a man with it, the reality is that it is basically many, many reviews that you can dip in and out of. As per my praise for the excellent Quietus anthology, this is a book that makes you realise how much music journalism can draw you into music and get you checking out a band with a whole new perspective. His review of this Black Sabbath bootleg, for example had me scouring the web for ages (OK, about 15mins – a friend tipped me to a download) to grab it, whereupon I then played it for a week straight. Ditto the Boredoms’ “Vision Creation Newsun” – a work so insane it made me feel a need to head to the nearest field and consume enough psychedelics to make Hunter S Thompson himself break down. Bottom line? If you love music, this is absolutely a book worth grabbing.