Gifts would be destroyed in controlled explosions, books would be rubber-stamped and heaven help the foolhardy selfie-taker...
As the band who collected their Brit award for Best British Band armed with machine guns and a dead sheep and famously mistook a roaring Scottish fireplace for a 9 per cent investment bond that would see a healthy return on a £1 million deposit, The KLF were never going to do any old book signing. Not for them the painful reading, the geeky small talk about themes and plotlines, the gurning selfie and the innocuous dedications to wives and children who’ll never read the damn thing.
No, the ‘signing’ (or more like ‘stamping’) of their new book 2023 A Trilogy came with rules. Lots and lots of rules. As they rolled up to a Liverpool bookshop at midnight last night (August 22) in a knackered ice-cream van to glower at their public for the first time in decades, posters set out the strict guidelines by which they should be approached. They wouldn’t be picking up any pens for a start, and any gifts would be treated as suspected terrorism and instantly destroyed by something called the Dead Perch Menace. Here are all of the rules they laid out…
The Book Signing Rules Of Engagement
Punters queuing up to meet the Justified Ancients Of Mu Mu were informed by posters in the bookshop window that they would be getting their copies rubber-stamped rather than signed, but there were guidelines on how to engage with them akin to a visit from rock’n’roll royalty.
Traditional handshakes were allowed “but not hipster derivatives”, hugging was barred, but kissing was “tolerated but strictly no tongues”. “Idle conversation” was a no-no, particularly to “ask if they remember you from a rave in Chelmsford in 1989” or “remind them of a promise thy made to you”. Personal messages and dedications were out, and as for photographs, punters were warned not to snap or record the band and “do not attempt to take a selfie with the JAMS or with anyone else ever again”.
Brought a gift? Uh-oh. “Gifts will be accepted but destroyed in a controlled explosion later”, and if you’ve brought along any old merch to get signed, jog on. “If any historic memorabilia or relic is produced for autographs, Dead Perch Menace will confiscate that object and destroy it.”
Volunteer Rules And Regulations
In addition to the punter rules, 400 volunteers for the KLF’s mysterious three-day event called Welcome To The Dark Ages in Liverpool had their own set of guidelines to follow. Alongside health and safety info and a repeat of the ‘no selfies’ and ‘no idle conversation’ rules, assistants were told to be punctual and non-abusive, polite and respectful to the locals and “in the event of a mental health crisis, talk to Daisy Campbell or anyone in a high vis vest”. What sort of mind-melting, persona-demolishing activities were in store for these poor lemmings? No-one was sure, but for their bravery “at the end of the three days you will be awarded a Graduation Certificate”. Saves you going to uni and burning your very own £30,000 or so, eh?
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Dead Perch Merch Menu Rules
Never knowingly under-bureaucratic, even the KLF’s merch stand had its own rules. With every item priced at £20.23 until December 23 2017 – after which “the prices will either go up, go down or stay exactly the same” – the band reminded customers that “The JAMs do not sign any merchandise”, “the JAM’s do not make limited editions or multiples” and that “all merchandise will be screen printed” on whatever they like. “There will be no hierarchy as to what the screen print is on: a throwaway paper cup will be honoured as highly as first edition poster and vice versa”. Jeez, we only wanted an ‘I Burnt A Million Quid And All I Sold Was This Lousy T-Shirt’ for us and an ‘I’m With This Stupid Mu-F**ker’ for the wife…