After writing about The KLF last week I’ve been listening to their stuff again over the past few days, or at least the proportion of their stuff that I have on my iPhone. Which isn’t a fantastic amount; there’s vinyl that I think is currently located in Dundee in the care of Korruptor who, I’m sure, will get around to sticking it on his decks and making digital recordings for me one day, and there are a good few CD singles that I just never got round to ripping and really ought to. What I did manage to find online the other day was a download of Who Killed The JAMs?, and that’s had a good old play. As an added bonus it had extra tracks – remixes of The Porpoise Song and Burn The Bastards, one of which features the first clean version of the “Mu Mu” sample that I’ve ever heard. Could have used that three years ago when Yak had to make do with the version off What Time Is Love? for Space Giraffe; it’s now my ringtone.
Then as I was walking to the bus station this evening I bumped into my old editor, with whom I’d gone to the 2K Barbican gig back in 1997, and he wanted to talk KLF; I think he’s become a little disillusioned with them over the years and had decided that Chill Out and Space were just a couple of guys playing a bunch of records or something. Like, whatever. And then he asked me if I still had my copy of The Manual.
Which, obviously, I do. Can’t get it any more, he said; there are copies going on eBay for £150 or so. Which was interesting, but I had a bus to catch and wasn’t about to get suckered into walking with him back to the office.
Clearly these stupidly-priced copies of The Manual must have been first editions, and I don’t have a first edition. I picked mine up some record shop in the Bullring in Birmingham, probably around 1990, two years after it was published. Obviously a second or third edition. Still, though, I had a look online and found that someone’s selling a copy for £230. Trying to, anyway; seems it’s been relisted quite a few times. And it looked exactly like my copy.
So just out of interest I dug my copy out, eventually. It wasn’t on the bookshelf where I expected it to be, which was slightly worrying until I remembered I’d moved it into the dining room when we got a new set of shelves put up in there last year, along with my Absolute Watchmen and Dark Knight and other outsize volumes. Did a bit of ISBN checking, checked the KLF 009B catalogue number, checked the date, and it seems that what I have is an actual first edition.
If I’d realised that then I might have taken slightly better care of it, although amazingly it’s in very good condition; little bit of creasing on the corners and spine, ever so slight discolouration, but on the whole it looks bloody good for a 22-year-old book that I haven’t taken any particular care of.
I’m quite pleased about that; it’s a nice little piece of history.
And no. It’s not for sale. Get your own.