Jun 19, 2024

Just Stop Oil and The KLF: from protest paint to pyramid schemes

Just Stop Oil have thrown orange paint at Stonehenge, making the ancient stones looks slightly prettier than they were before. A BBC reporter said the paint attack left onlooking tourists "slightly bemused", which is how tourist look anyway, so I don't know how they spotted the difference.

The stunt was designed to highlight the UK's continuing reliance on fossil fuels. Personally I'd knock down Stonehenge and chisel the monuments into stone wheels so we can all drive around like Fred Flintstone.

A bit of colourful powder paint is not the greatest threat Stonehenge has faced. Let's not forget K2 Plant Hire, an organisation set up by art popsters The KLF for the specific purpose of demolishing the historic landmark. Yes. Demolishing it. With bulldozers and everything.

The band decided that their stone-crushing plan was unworkable. Something to do with the landmark being too close to military airspace so it would be too difficult to use helicopters to put Stonehenge back together again. You think I'm joking, but I'm not.

There is photographic evidence of the KLF up to no good at Stonehenge. Have a look at the 25th June 1988 edition of the NME. On the cover, you will see the KLF – known then as The Timelords – hanging out at the 'henge. In the foreground of the photo? Gary Glitter dressed as an evil magician. Yoinks! Lock up your grandmother and your children!

The demolition plan inspired a story Bill Drummond wrote for the 1998 short story collection Disco 2000. The story, called Let's Grind, or How K2 Plant Hire Ltd Went to Work, tells of an attempt to purchase the Rollright Stones, a less impressive structure somewhere north of Oxford. Tom Baker once shot a Doctor Who story there called The Stones of Blood, all about alien druids and stuff. 

Incidentally, as a protest against the costly and then-pointless Millennium Dome, K2 Plant Hire also promised to build a "People's Pyramid", which would be free to access and open to all kinds of abuse.

"Climb it, paint it, polish it, eat your sandwiches on it or chip it away. It will stand for as long there is any of it left," promised K2 in a statement on their website, while appealing to the public to donate bricks.

The KLF's arty agitations seem to chime with Just Stop Oil's various attempts at paint-throwing and supergluing and tomato soup tomfoolery. Remember the KLF's National Theatre paint daubing? Maybe the JSO gang need a hit single or two. Pop on some horns and prance around on Top Of The Pops. Hang out with Gary Gl-- actually, no, scrap that. Bad idea. BAD IDEA.

Further Fats: 

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