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Saturday, September 28, 2013

John Higgs KLF book now out in paperback

John Higgs' The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds has been released in paperback in the United Kingdom.

If you've arrived late to the party, this is ostensibly a pop music biography. But the KLF was a very strange musical duo deeply influenced by Illuminatus! and the ideas of Robert Anton Wilson, and the book is about RAW as much as it is about pop music. (This isn't just special pleading by me. Higgs: "One of the main reasons for writing it was a desire to write about Robert Anton Wilson and Discordianism, because that was the obvious next step after writing a book about [Timothy] Leary.") There are many references in the duo's lyrics to the Justified Ancients of Mummu mentioned in Illuminatus! (The KLF book is to ordinary pop music bios as Gulliver's Travels is to ordinary travelogues. Indeed, the book is so odd and fascinating that Higgs recoiled a bit from the weirdness of it and briefly considered not releasing it.)

The new paperback is augmented with color photos, all the more striking for the perfectly straightforward cutlines explaining the odd events that are being depicted, e.g. " 'I Died for Ewe.' A dead sheep, which narrowly avoided being dismembered on stage and thrown into the audience, seen here dumped on the venue steps."

No U.S. paperback has been released, although in this day and age, that seems like a quaint complaint; Americans can order the book from Amazon UK, the Book Depository, etc.

My interview with Higgs  on the book — quite interesting, see for yourself — is here.


michael said...

I really want to read this book, and esp now that it's out in ppbk, but there are zero libraries in No. CA that have it (hell...Amazon still only lists it as a e-book as of...last night), so either I talk a librarian into buying it, or I finally "break bad" in order to get the money needed to buy all the odd books that aren't reviewed but which I desperately want to read. (Librarians often only buy books because they read a good review.)

Illiaminated said...

I read this book in the last week thanks to discovering it through this blog. Even writing this gets me excited - I remember reading about KLF in a Fortean Times in the 90's and wanting to know more. Little did I realise these guys were tied in with Alan Moore, RAW and Discordianism. @Michael: According to Higgs blog he was withdrawing the book for a few months before this re-launch.

I want to read his Leary book now. I just finished Confessions of a Hope Fiend last night.

gacord said...

I have yet to be disappointed with any of Higgs' books, and I've read them all.
@Michael, if you get the e-book I think you'll miss out on the new color photos. And you'll definitely miss out on the YELLOW (and the sheep sticker.)
@Illiaminated, I think you'll dig the Leary book. RAW makes some appearances in there, too.

John Higgs said...

Michael I'll send you a copy, I'd love to see what you make of it. Get me a mailing address somehow - DM me on Twitter might be the easiest way - and I'll get one in the post to you.

Cheers, jh

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