Bill’s baking a new stunt

JON WELCH Once he burned cash, now he bakes cakes. Artist and former pop star Bill Drummond, who once torched £1m, will make a rare appearance in Norwich tonight


If a man you've never met before knocks on your door and hands you a home-baked cake, don't be alarmed. He's not a nutter, he's an artist - although you might wonder whether anyone who has burned £1m in cash could be described as sane.

Prankster and former pop star Bill Drummond is among those taking part in an art "outreach project" in Norwich tonight.

Making a rare public appearance at PROVOPOLIS, part of the CAN.05 arts festival, Drummond will be baking a cake live on stage.

He will then encourage the audience to follow these instructions when they get home: "Take a map of your locality. Draw a circle on the map. The circle can be any size. The centre point of the circle must be your home.

"Then bake a cake. Travel to a home on the circumference of the circle. Taking the cake with you.

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"Knock on the door. If there is no answer, knock on the neighbour's door. If the door is answered, say: 'I have baked you a cake, here it is.' They may think you are mad or bad. You are neither.

"Give them the cake. Go back home. Bake and deliver cakes to different homes on the circle. Whenever you want. It is a friendly thing to do."

Drummond, 52, grew up in Scotland but visited Norwich twice a year as a child to stay with his grandparents.

In his autobiography 45, he recalls visiting Jarrold's and the Theatre Royal panto, and describes how his grandfather would take him to Norwich Castle.

There he was inspired by the dioramas depicting Norfolk scenes and of prehistoric man hunting and fishing, and paintings by artists of the Norwich School, especially John Middleton.

Drummond's current activities seem a far cry from his earlier career as a pop star and art 'guerilla'.

As a member of KLF, The Timelords and The JAMMs, he sold millions of records and had no fewer than seven Top 10 hits during the 1980s and '90s, including two number ones.

But he and collaborator Jimmy Cauty, aka King Boy D and Rockman Rock, were as well known for their scams and stunts as their music.

The KLF announced their retirement from the music industry at the 1992 Brit Awards.

Drummond, chomping on a cigar and wearing a kilt, fired blanks from a machine gun over the heads of an audience. They later dumped a dead sheep, with the message "I died for you - bon appetit" outside one of the post-awards parties.

In 1993 they emerged as the K Foundation, hijacking that year's Turner Prize by staging their own award for the "worst artist of the year" - with exactly the same shortlist as the Turner Prize, but double the £20,000 prize money.

Rachel Whiteread, winner of the Turner Prize, reluctantly accepted the K Foundation prize only after they threatened to burn it, announcing that she would give the money to struggling artists.

As part of the stunt, Drummond and Cauty unveiled their own art work: £1m in cash nailed to a board. They gave it a reserve price of £500,000, reasoning that its cash value would be eroded by inflation and would eventually be overtaken by its artistic value, which could only rise.

The following week the K Foundation returned the cash to the Bank of England, but pierced with nail holes the money was unusable. They were fined £9000 for damaging the money and charged £500 for the cost of printing a new batch of notes.

But Drummond and Cauty were not through with cash-related stunts. On August 23, 1994, they set light to £1m in banknotes at a disused boathouse on the remote Scottish island of Jura.

They later screened a film of them burning the money, entitled Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid, and invited members of the public to quiz them about their rationale for burning the cash.

Cauty and Drummond then made a pact that they would not discuss the burning of the cash until November 5, 2018.

Although many believed the burning was a hoax, a BBC Omnibus documentary obtained evidence from the K-Foundation's bank that £1m in cash had been withdrawn and picked up by a private security firm, which also confirmed the amount.

PROVOPOLIS, billed as "Performance, Screenings, Music & Happenings" will feature work by more than 30 artists in three rooms. They include Matthew Noel-Tod, a video artist working in Norwich and London.

He will introduce his most recent work, Atomic, a shot-for-shot remake of the video to the Blondie song, cut to a contemporary score for classic horror movie Nosferatu.

PROVOPOLIS takes place at the Keir Hardie Hall Working Men's Club, St Gregory's Alley, Norwich, from 7.30pm to midnight tonight. Tickets, priced £4 (£3 concessions), are available from Soundclash, St Benedict's; Outpost Gallery, Wensum Street; and Norwich Gallery, St George's Street.

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