Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Money Burning at the Cube Cinema Bristol of the 23rd Nov's Eve

On Sunday 22nd November 2015, I was at the Cube Cinema event 'KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band Who Burned a Million Pounds'. It consisted of a screening of an art film about the KLF, a talk by John Higgs and some ritualistic money burning. I was there to help with the burning.

The film was excellent (by David AKA hoppo or @mr_hopkinson). The audience all wore white ponchos with the cube logo on them which added a whole extra level of weird to the experience. It was a one off so I'm not sure you'll be able to see it now but the trailer below gives a taste of what you missed. I was lucky enough catch half of John's talk, which was as engaging as ever (and involved a brilliant new tale about 'prison currency'* from John's adventures talking about his KLF book). I had to leave John to it though because I needed to set up a 'burning-space' in the garden.


Thanks to Chiz at the Cube, I was offering a ritualized money burning to those that wanted it. Basically the Cube gave back to the audience part of their admission fee. They then asked that people add their own money to it and consider burning it all with me in the garden (see this image from folkhogskola's Instagram). Many people took up their offer and they met me in groups of five around the alter to make their sacrifice, where I performed a brief ritual.

I haven't written about it on my blog, but I did a money burning recently that had a more profound effect on me than normal. I've mentioned before that I wanted the burnings to be more ritualized, and I managed to achieve this with the help of Angela at a burning in Overhall Grove, Knapwell in Cambridgeshire on 23/08/2015. It was the very next morning that I got an email from Chiz at the Cube cinema telling me about his money burning idea.

To cut a long story short, I set about writing (what turned into) 'The Money Burner's Manual' in the space between the 23/08/15 Overhall Grove burning and the Cube event on Sunday 22/11/15. I managed to get it finished on the Saturday evening 21/11/15. I'd found a printer that was open 24/7 and had made 23 copies of the 105 page document. I kept one for myself. Saved another few for people that I thought must have one. And I then gave most of the rest away randomly at the Cube event. I had two left at the end of the night. But they've now gone. I was going to publish it online. But I've changed my mind. I'm leaving it at the 23 for the moment. I will eventually make something generally available along the lines of a 'Money Burner's Manual' - (perhaps with a few ideas for rituals which this one didn't have) - just not right now.



It was a great privilege to share the money burning experience with the folks at the Cube. I'm pretty sure that people gathering together in small groups to burn money in a sacrificial ritual has never happened before the Cube burnings. I hope that I can be forgiven for the times I didn't get the ritual quite right. I learned an awful lot from the night about how best to perform it and what circumstances are most conducive to it. I hope I soon get another chance to put those lessons into practice. 

Prior to burning I asked people if they'd write down the serial numbers of their notes for me. I lent them my most precious pen to do this (not £ valuable, but given to me by my kids). It felt somehow appropriate; because folks were putting their trust in me with the burning, I should put my trust in them too. Lending out my pen was the way I found to do that. I'm pleased to say it was returned to me safe and sound.

I must apologize to the first three or four groups of burners. I got so wrapped up in what I was trying to do, that I forgot to hand out some of the 23 'Money Burner's Manuals'. So they missed out. I'd meant to hand out one or two to each group. I feel bad about this because the within the first few groups there were some very powerful moments. When everyone joins in with the chanting, and really focuses on the burning money, the feeling of self-consciousness slips away, and the ritual can become a profound experience. As I say, I'm not sure I'm going to publish it online, but if anyone wants a pdf of 'The Money Burner's Manual', drop me an email to jonone100 [at] gmail [dot] com and I'll send you one privately.

I've created a 'Record of all £ Burnings'. If you subtract Bill & Jimmy's £1 million, and my £220, and Mark Sampson's £10, and Angela's £20 - then the Cube burnings amount to £190 according to this. Personally, I think it was a lot more. If you did burn, please have a look to see if I've included your money (where initials were given, I've shown them). Any additions or amendments you think need making, please comment under this post (or email me) and I'll make all necessary adjustments. I know I saw one £20 go up, and that's not there. The serial numbers appear in the order they were written down in the little book. 

And thank you to everyone who burned and help create such an extraordinary and singular event. This is what remained of the money.


I'm happy to help with any other burnings, if I can; anything from a quick chat about how the ritual might work and supporting you in performing your own burnings, to coming and performing them with you in the presence of the Staff. Just email, and I'll see how I can help. 

Oh, and one last little bit of sneaky synchronicity. When preparing the record of burn I noticed that two sequentially numbered notes were burned separately MC71 184637 & MC71 184638. I didn't notice any batches of particularly new-looking fivers among the money, so this struck me as a joyfully random event with a high degree of unlikelihood. And if he's reading this, could THE BLACKSMITH get in touch to share with me a few tips on how he managed to burn his notes in the most extraordinary way I've ever seen. By some magical trickery not known to us mere mortals he made his hand act like a hearth, and his notes burned fiercely without injuring him.

Thanks everyone. It was wonderful.


*(Money geek note: 'Prison currency' and 'Cigarettes as Money' plays a significant role in the economic/academic conceptualization of money the most famous paper being R.A. Radford's 'The Economic Organization of a P.O.W. Camp' published in the journal Economica in 1945)

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