KLF: A Million Quid up in Smoke ..twenty years on!

27 Aug

An anniversary of sorts…20 years ago, 23rd of August 1994 Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty who were the KLF till they called it quits a few years earlier went up to the Isle of Jura and torched a £Million quid in the hearth of an old bothy. One million quid up the chimney and all filmed for prosperity by KLF collaborator Alan Goodrick and with a only a single journalist, Jum Reid to verify proceedings.


The low quality film was then toured with a Q and A session round various village halls and other odd places the year after to mixed results. Outright praise and total hostility. There’s still a view that it was a hoax using a small amount of real notes wrapped around false one, vehemiently denied by Drummond. Others suggest a direct assault on capitalism, counter views say it was an act of gross callousness given what a million quid could have done ten years after Live Aid achieved so very…little.

I’ve always been about 10% sceptical as to whether the full £million was torched. The picture below shows a gaunt Drummond and Cauty at Euston Station on their return and if you can then take a good stare at their faces. Both have said they will not talk again about the burning until after the 23rd anniversary (2017) but Drummond is on record from 2002 as saying he regretted the action…. more so because his own personal circumstances had changed!

My take is that as “pop stars” if they’d have bought BMW’s, houses and swimming pools or snorted it off mirrors or the pert arse of a groupie then no one would have batted an eyelid as that’s what musicians do but torching it in a derelict cottage cum barn on the edge of a sea loch…well that’s not on!

KLF Burn a Million Quid



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