Paperback reader

45

Bill Drummond <em>Abacus, 356pp, £8.99</em>

ISBN 0349112894

Bill Drummond's 45 is the autobiog-raphy of a cultural maverick: a former pop star with the KLF; the inspiration behind awarding £40,000 to Rachel Whiteread for the worst body of work by an artist in 1993; a co-burner of £1m in the name of art in 1994; and much else. Drummond's catalogue of crazy adventures can become wearing, as he offers little insight into the motivation for his wild behaviour. In 1997, for instance, he hung two dead cows over electricity pylons; in another event that year, he gave away 7,000 cans of lager to rough sleepers in London.

His anarchic life seems to have been a revolt against his Scottish Presbyterian upbringing, but this is hardly explored by the author himself. Nor do we learn anything about his relationships with women, although he does mention his children. His philosophy - "Just say: 'Yes, things happen'"- feels limp and rather decadent, and the reader probes in vain for any deeper justification for all the creative stunts Drummond has staged in his life. None the less, this episodic memoir is both well written and amusing.

This article first appeared in the 04 February 2002 issue of the New Statesman, Revealed: how Labour sees women