On 23rd August 1994, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond set fire to 1 million pounds (British) and completely destroyed it. What makes the story even weirder is the fact that nobody, not even the burners, knows the reason behind it.
The K Foundation
At the beginning of 1987, under many different names such as The Timelords and The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond produced many hit club singles, including Doctorin’s the Tradis. By 1991, according to the KLF(Kopyright Liberation Front), these two were one of Britain’s best selling music artists.
Before retiring in 1992, the duo had released a blueprint for producing a hit song, The Manual: How to create a number one single the easy way in 1988. “The Manual” provided guidance into the mindset of music artists.
Well, the book was so good that many bands, including Edelweiss, the Klaxons, and The Pipettes, all enjoyed success after reading this book.
Nailed to the wall
Although they stopped creating music, the duo continued to work together on some projects. By 1994, they had renamed themselves to the K Foundation and created “Nailed to the wall,” an art installment in which they thought to put one million pounds physically nailed into a pine frame.
They were not satisfied with the reception Nailed to the Wall got, the duo created a new plan. After getting rejected by Liverpool Tate Gallery, Cauty asked: “Why don’t we just burn one million pounds?” A question to which Drummond had no excellent reply than “sure.”
Burning one million pounds
With a small group, Drummond and Cauty went to a small isolated island of Jura in the Inner Hebrides with filmmaker Gimp and reporter Jim Reid on 22nd August 1994.
Before leaving for the island, the duo had arranged one million pounds. Since you withdraw so much money from ATM and no bank keeps that much money in small bills, the pair had hired a security company, Ratedale, to arrange one million pounds.
Driving into an industrial area near London’s Gatwick airport, Drummond and Cauty entered a warehouse, and a few minutes later came in two guards carrying suitcases full of money. They drove to Redhill Aerodrome, where they caught a plane to the Jura Islands.
They were staying in a hotel in Jura, and the troop went to see the burn site an old boathouse, earlier in the evening. And that was the place where the duo destroyed one million pounds for no reason.
Although Cauty had tried to destroy all photographic and video evidence of burning, Gimpo was able to retain a copy and produced the film called “Watch the K Foundation Burn a Million Quid,” which was a hit on the big screen a year later.
It was also reported that the burning haunted the duo. Although in the year 2000, Drummond said that he doesn’t regret doing it, but his children do.