Millennium Matters


Q. Who are the KLF and why are they saying such nasty things about the millennium?

Two years ago, the very strange art shocktroopers the KLF took out full-page advertisements in a number of British newspapers. Under the catchy, singalong headline, F**K The Millennium, was a phone number which readers were invited to ring. When you got through, you heard a recorded announcement saying: "If you want to f**k the millennium, please press one, if not, press two".

Just 48 hours after the ads appeared, more than 20,000 people had dialled the number and more than 90 per cent of them pressed one. For anyone familiar with the KLF, it was a very typical gesture.

It first came to prominence at the turn of the decade when two post-modern pranksters, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond, decided that it would be the easiest thing in the world to write, record and release a number one record in the space of seven days.

As good as their word, their Rockin' The Tardis (featuring a sample of the Dr Who theme song) went straight to number one in the charts on its first week of release. Famously, they then went on to write the best-selling book, How To Have A Number One Single in Seven Days.

Bored with the pop world, they transformed into the K Foundation in 1995 and turned their attentions to the art world. After a few noteworthy stunts centring on the controversial modern art award, the Turner Prize, they pulled off their most audacious coup yet by burning £1 million of their earnings from music - they had independent witnesses to validate their actions and later made a documentary of the "event".

Now they've set their sights firmly on the hoopla surrounding the millennium. Two years ago they released a single, called F**K The Millennium, which featured a brass band and a chorus of unemployed Liverpool dockers chanting the song's title.

They then abandoned the K Foundation and dreamed up K2 Plant Hire. Their big plan for the millennium is the construction of a "Great Northern Pyramid Of The People". No ordinary pyramid this, though, it's going to be a shapeless mound of bricks, designed to stand 150 ft high on a 250 ft square base.

The amount of bricks in the pyramid is important - they want 87,250,000 because this will represent one brick for every person born in Britain in the 20th century. To this end, they have asked for the co-operation of the public, releasing a statement asking people to "find as many abandoned bricks as they may have lying around in their gardens, behind their dustbins or any of those other places where lost bricks may be found".

The resultant pyramid will, as the name suggests, be constructed in the north of England and towards the end of this year. "It'll be open 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, free of charge. You'll be able to do what you want with it. Climb it, paint it, polish it, eat your sandwiches on it or chip it away," say the K2 Plant Hire.

"It will stand for as long as any of it is left. It will promote nothing, be sponsored by nobody and be owned by everybody." As a critique of the sponsor-saturated multi-million pound Millennium Dome, the "people's pyramid" is unsurpassed.