1. I’ve just finished reading KLF: Chaos Magic Music Money by JMR Higgs and I enjoyed it tremendously. The book ostensibly attempts to explain why Jimmy Cauty and Bill Drummond of the early ’90s arch pop group The KLF burned one million U.K. pounds on the remote Scottish island of Jura in 1994. Cauty and Drummond themselves have both expressed bafflement over their actions in the years since their fortune went up in smoke. Needless to say, it’s hard to explain and justify such an overtly iconoclastic act, and I heartily applaud Higgs for an audacious feat of research, interpretation and writing as he manages to crunch the JFK assassination, the Illuminati, Doctor Who, actors Bill Nighy and Bob Hoskins, post-punk bands The Teardrop Explodes and Echo and the Bunnymen, graphic novelist Alan Moore and scores of otherwise unlikely characters and events into a compelling narrative that actually withstands Wikipedia fact-checking. If you like mulling over popular conspiracy theories and the dark forces behind them, then this book is definitely worth your while.
2.I had not laid eyes on arguably the best known painting in the Salisbury House permanent collection — Joseph Stella’s The Birth of Venus — until yesterday afternoon, as the massive, florid 1925 painting has been on an American tour since before I was working at the House. It was a delight to finally see this amazing work removed from her storage crate yesterday, and today to help get her restored to a spot on honor in the Great Hall, where the family who built the house originally displayed this important hyper-modern painting. Here’s a tease of what Venus looked like as we eased her back into her place; that’s me on the left on the scaffolding, doing my small part to make sure she was safe and secure, back at home, at last.