Bill Drummond can do no wrong. Oh, ok – apart from not giving us that million quid, Bill Drummond can do no wrong. When we’re feeling down, a chorus of ‘King of Joy’ is all we need to lift our spirits. And that’s before we even have to get our Muu Muus out.
But it’s his always-on-the-money excursions into the printed world that elicit the greatest excitement from us: his off-kilter and frank memoir, 45, and his singular take on the death of music formats, 17 especially.
But go onto Amazon, and you’ll be momentarily disappointed that his new book, 100, is out of stock. Look anywhere you like and you’ll get the same reply.
That’s because Drummond has allowed Bold Street’s News From Nowhere to the only bookshop in the world to sell it, throughout July. The stack of hardbacks in the window isn’t just a pile of books, of course, it’s also an original Drummond statue. But it’s one he’s happy for you to chip away at.
The hardback book is a record of Drummond’s latest art intervention: the man has, wisely, decided to stop doing regular interviews and to answer just 200 more questions (50 people asking four each) between now and his death. The first 100 questions make up the 100 book.
“For the month of July, 2012, News from Nowhere, Liverpool will be the only bookshop in the world where 100 will be available for sale. Once all copies of 100 have been sold the sculpture will exist in the thoughts and deeds of the people who read the book,” Drummond says.
Drummond has, in recent years, been busy around these parts – baking cakes with the residents of Bootle and the Dingle, delivering soup and flowers, and last week in Liverpool, as the Lone Sweeper, he performed “Two Hours of Pushing Broom #3”, sweeping the streets of the city, during which he spent most of the time giving passers-by directions.
He still knows his way around the city he studied in forty years ago (Drummond was a student at the Liverpool School of Art), although his beloved Everyman, where he worked as a carpenter and set designer for Ken Campbell’s rambling and game-changing productions, has – temporarily – disappeared.
Drummond’s musical career began Big in Japan, before starting Zoo records with Dave Balfe, and producing Echo and The Bunnymen and The Teardrop Explodes. Since then, with the KLF and K Foundation, he’s been a mercurial, restless figure, part pop-art activist, part cultural agitator. Never less than on the money. And, talking of money…
“As for the money burning, Jimmy Cauty and I are still waiting to get a proper answer to the question that we posed some years ago – why was it necessary for someone to burn £1m? – before we make any further comment…” Drummond’s said, of that event on the Isle of Jura. It’s where George Orwell wrote 1984. And SevenStreets has always thought there’s a connection there.
In a flipping of the traditional author signing, Drummond has asked that everyone who buys a copy of 100 adds their signature to a special poster in News from Nowhere. So, get there quick, be a part of Bill Drummond’s latest artwork, support your local independent book retailer, and grab the fascinating next chapter.
We’re dreading the day he’s finished with answering all his questions. As an agent of change, Drummond has always reminded us that there is another way.
News from Nowhere,
96 Bold St, Liverpool
Bill Drummond, 100, £15 – you can buy it from News From Nowhere’s website too.