In 1988, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, who would be later known as the band KLF published The Manual, a low print run guide on how to game the UK music industry without any musical skill, prowess, any music industry contacts or even industry experience to get a no 1 single in the UK charts beating major and minor labels, based on their own history with the no 1 single Doctorin’ The TARDIS as The Timelords.
Although authored as a satire on the music industry and stating that The Manual was “a book that will be completely redundant within twelve months. An obsolete artifact. Its only use being a bit of a social history that records the aspirations of a certain strata in British society in the late eighties” a number of people followed instructions and did indeed achieve chart success, including Edelweiss, the Pipettes, Chumbawamba and Klaxons. The book not only talked about creating a song using sampling, beats, and creating catchy lyrical nonsense, but also gaming the system to get radio airplay and buying your own records to gain chart success, which can then be self-sustaining.
I was reminded of this seeing much of the fuss around the YA novel Handbook For Mortals gaming its way to the top of the New York Times Bestseller List. There is nothing new under the sun.
Including the cover of the book.
Which might bear some relation to The Knife Thrower, sold as a best-selling print by Australian artist Gill Del Mace.
Looks like the sampling spirit of the KLF is still strong! Thanks to Rick Capone for the spot.
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