Top positive review
The religion of doubt
12 September 2017
The musical output of The KLF (and associated acts), particularly their Stadium House anthems, was a chaotic fusion of multiple styles and genres that somehow all came together perfectly in a cleverly ordered structure. This book is constructed in a similar way. It forms a smorgasbord of philosophies and political concepts thrown into an eclectic mix of literary styles that, somehow, just works wonderfully.
Set in the eponymous year, ‘2023’ looks back over recent future history, ie the next few years in real terms (something Ford Timelord might possibly describe as ‘timey wimey’). Within this parallel dimension history the exploits of Drummond and Cauty in the worlds of art and music are retold and re-envisioned multiple times, with many of their acts attributed to others such as The Beatles, the Utah Saints and former KLF collaborators Extreme Noise Terror. The inclusion of Discordianism and the recurring figure 23 are inevitably scattered about throughout the whole work as might be expected.
It is a mixed utopian dystopian ‘history’/account of the near future serving as treatise on the balance between order and chaos. In this way, it acts as a critique on the modern world/modern life; challenging what is happening in society in the present day.
This is an incredibly difficult novel to attempt to review. I certainly wouldn’t consider pretending to know what it is supposed to all mean or what its message is (and, I expect, nor could anyone, even Drummond and Cauty). The truth being (most likely) that there is no one message and meaning and no intention that there should be. But everyone should find at least something within its pages to make them think.
Aside from that it is written with great intelligence and wit, proving to be a highly entertaining read. Furthermore, it is not imperative that you need to be a fan of The KLF or the Justified Ancients of Mu Mu or any other personas of Drummond and Cauty to find this enjoyable or intellectually stimulating. Although obviously the more you know of the fascinating exploits of The KLF, the more in jokes and references you’ll find.