We didn't set out to make a film, we set out to burn 1m- Library of Mu
- Library of Mu record:
- Title: We didn't set out to make a film, we set out to burn 1m
- Date: 16 September, 1995
- Journal: NME
- Author: -
- Type of resource: News items
- Status: text
- No. views: 8152
- Description: NME's take on the Manchester film screening - good quotes from Tony Wilson.
We didn't set out to make a film, we set out to burn 1m
By - (16 September, 1995, NME)
THE K FOUNDATION, who recorded a track for the Bosnian 'Help' album,
have premiered their new film which shows them burning UKP1 million
on the Scottish Isle of Jura in 1994.
The film, Watch The K-Foundation Bum A Million Quid, was first
screened on Jura two weeks ago and then at Manchester's In The City
convention on Tuesday (September 5). The second screening followed a
UKP6,000 full-page advert in The Guardian a day earlier announcing
After the film was shown in Manchester, K Foundation members Bill
Drummond and Jimmy Cauty held a question and answer session under the
heading 'Is It Rock'n'Roll?'.
Drummond said: "It's taken us almost a year to come to terms with
what we did. Now we feel we want to try and find out why we did it.
Sometimes people make us think it's a rock'n'roll thing, sometimes
that feels right but sometimes that feels like a bit of an insult."
Cauty added: "We didn't set out to make a film, we went out to burn
UKP1 million. We're trying to find out why we did it and we're
getting closer all the time. We're trying to get the list down to
ten reasons as opposed to 5,000 reasons.
"We think burning the money was constructive because nobody's ever
done it before. We were just sitting in a cafe talking about what we
were going to spend the money on and then we decided it would be
better if we burned it. That was about six weeks before we did it. It
was too long, it was a bit of a nightmare."
When the film was shown in Jura, many locals reacted angrily. Cauty
said: "A lot of people thought it was really wasteful. They thought
we should have given it away, and that wasn't very interesting to
The film begins with a short description of the event, which took
place on August 23, 1994. It then shows Drummond and Cauty burning
UKP1 million in UKP50 notes in a small stone building. Also present
are a journalist and a cameraman. It takes roughly 67 minutes to
burn the cash.
At the start, Cauty is agitated and says he doesn't think the money
will burn because it is too wet. The camera shows 20 thick bundles
of UKP50 notes, each bundle containing UKP50,000 in new bank notes
and sealed in cellophane.
When the money ignites, Drummond starts to laugh as he and Cauty
stand above a small fireplace throwing UKP50 notes on to the fire.
Cauty constantly stokes the blaze with a large wooden plank and at
one stage burns his hand on a flaming note. As the fire starts to
dim, he scuttles around the floor sweeping stray notes into the
flames. The cameraman shows a view from outside the building with
charred UKP50 notes billowing out of the chimney.
During the screening, one delegate fell asleep while several people left the
room in disgust. Others described the stunt as pathetic and tasteless.
Cauty said: "It's very indulgent. I was a bit worried about it at first, but
I think it's probably the best thing we've done. It was all the profit we'd
made from selling records, after we'ed paid off tax and stuff."
Drummond added: "We still get PRS when people play our records
around the world and that's what we live on." Drummond said the duo
had rejected a plan to tour the film and ask audiences to burn their
money. But Cauty claimed they were considering showing the film at a
Rwandan refugee camp to see how people would react.
In The City director Tony Wilson told the duo that burning the money
was not rock'n'roll. He said: "See rock'n'roll, this should be
throwing a TV set out the hotel window. That's rock'n'roll. But the
point is that it's not your TV set it's the hotel's TV set. Whereas
this was your money and maybe that's why it's not rock'n'roll. I
think it's very art, but it's not popular enough. This was an art
event. Rock'n'roll is popular, rave is popular. All great rock'n'roll
Drummond said the Bank Of England fined them UKP500 when they
staged their stunt of nailing UKP1 million to a board. Cauty said: "Defacing
money is illegal, but we burned it."
The K Foundation may make a brick out of the ashes.
Drummond added: "It was a nostalgic thing for us. We grew up at a
time where UKP1 million meant everything, you talked about it in the
playground and said; 'What do you do with a million quid?' It held
such an electric thing, money."
New Order bassist Peter Hook, who was in the audience, criticised
the duo and said: "lt just seems daft to me."
At the end of the film, Drummond and Cauty asked for an audience
vote on who thought the stunt was rock'n'roll. Around eight people
out of about 150 said yes.
Later, Drummond and Cauty claimed they would never make any
more records. Drummond said: "What do you expect us to do, go and
make a jungle record?"
Cauty added: "Yeah, like a jungle novelty record with some strings on
it or something. It would just be sad wouldn't it? We're too old."
Drummond said: "It would be the same joke and we only have three
jokes." The K Foundation's contribution to the 'Help' LP is a junqle
The picture shows an old looking Cauty, greying at the temples, next to
a serious looking Drummond. The caption is "K-Foundation's Jimmy
Cauty (left) and Bill Drummond: silly old Mu Mus?"
The Public NME gossip section (page 9) adds some detail about the Peter Hook
exchange: "In a rather sad bid to attract attention to himself, NEW
ORDER's PETER HOOK stormed out of the seminar three times with mock
tears in his eyes (either that or his sexy lil' tan shorts were too
tight), finally returning to his seat to hold a lighter aloft and ask
BILL DRUMMOND what he considered to be rock'n'roll. "Certainly not
your haircut," snapped back "Bonkers" Bill in a pointed remark about
Hooky's remarkable similarity to a mange-afflicted hedgehog."
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