Me and my blog

Follow me on Twitter @emma1hartley

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Who are the mysterious FLK?

OK. Someone calling themselves The FLK, who wear cow-head masks and generally go to some trouble to hide their identities, set fire to a stack of Fairport Convention's finest Leige and Lief LPs in the name of fun, boredom or crypto-fascist intention. One or the other. Then they put the film on YouTube.

So I was asking around and the first thing I heard, in a can't-reveal-my-source type way, was that The FLK are unlikely to be well-known folkies. Someone who knew someone who was on stage at their Cecil Sharp House gig back in May said that they'd met the two guys in the cows' heads through an extremely well-known artist some years ago.

This will come as a relief to Show of Hands who have had the digit of blame cast in their general direction, partly because they've dabbled in spoof YouTube material before (see earlier blog). Thanks to Harry Broad for the interesting information about "Phil Beer's very distinctive fingers", which he thought he'd spotted in the video. However, the bigger picture suggested otherwise. Wrong wrists, you see?

Then there was Simon Emmerson's contribution, which began by suggesting that the video was an 'omage to something done by the music/art outfit The KLF. They once set fire to a million quid apparently and the joke would be that no one on the folk scene would believe that, because there isn't a million quid in the folk scene.

Emmerson knows exactly who the FLK are because they were at Cecil Sharp House supporting him for his Lush gig and because he's clearly enjoying himself. He's also very keen to defend them, saying that setting fire to Liege and Lief was "nothing to do with having a go at the Fairports".

Not that it matters. Despite my best efforts to rouse the Fairports from their Arthurian slumber - I'm imagining a gigantic all-year-round luxury glamping experience in a field somewhere in Oxfordshire, empty bejewelled tankards scattered about the place - the most coherent response I could get was this: "The point is lost on me." That was Simon Nicol btw. Leave him alone. He's getting on a bit...

In the end it was the practical stuff that identified the LP burners, I think. The first thing on The FLK's Twitter feed is something produced by KLF Communications. Similarly there are retweets on The KLF's Twitter feed of The FLK's stuff. Plus the logos are similar - and frankly it's exactly the sort of thing that a former art-school muso of a certain age would do, isn't it? In the same way that DJs who were once prime time Radio One - Simon Mayo, I'm talking about you - have got in touch with their essential folkiness upon entering their middle years, and a musical comedian - Ade Edmonson, that's you - might start a folk band to do punk covers, setting fire to Liege and Lief would only seem funny to someone who knows what it is. A certain level of music industry knowledge is implied.

So I'm going to stick my neck out and say that I think the folk scene has attracted the attention of Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, aka The KLF.  The question is, then, what do they want? It's unlikely to be money, as they nailed their colours to the mast when they set fire to the cash - and, anyway, there isn't any. The Fairports spent it.

However, I'm feeling quite entertained. I've always liked my humour a bit on the dark side and whichever way you look at it setting fire to other people's creative output really is quite dark. Perhaps The FLK will be putting in an appearance at Cropredy? Just a thought...

* If it would please you to have posts from this blog landing directly in your Facebook news feed you could *like* its Facebook page.


  1. Oh wow. I'd never considered it might be the KLF. Where were the clues?

    But when you lay it out it seems obvious now. Have you told anyone else about your discovery? The truth needs to be told!

  2. Emma, I think the clanging silence from most quarters on this subject should tell you all you need to know, but it's not a conspiracy, it's simple disinterest. It's not that people aren't telling you who the FLK are, it's that people don't care. Forget the burning of (photocopied) album sleeves and what are we left with? A couple of carnival masks, a slab of turgid electronica and, er, that's it. There are far more interesting things out there to spend your time on.

  3. "If I may interject at this point:
    I’ve got a promo copy of the FLK album ‘We Know Where the Time Goes’, it’s due for release in the next few weeks... I reckon a few people may end up eating their words.

    I’ve heard it and I love it. I am not going to try and describe the album to you, that would be to spoil the surprise. Suffice to say it truly is, in the words of The FLK (KLF?) 'a revolution, not a revival'..."

  4. Result! Nothing like being part of someone's guerilla marketing campaign :-)

  5. It's not my campaign, I am merely on a mailing list, but I am certain the album will prove that The FLK are well worth spending your time on... :-)

  6. 4 years on and i'm sat listening to FLK's album Mummers (bought purely cos Lucy Ward features on 3 tracks) this is good stuff. I'm sure someone wants to disuss if this is folk or not (drunk i might enjoy that arguement with trad folkies :-) ) well worth cheking out. mainly trad folk songs re-worked and sung over experimental electronica.


Emma Hartley blog logo

24hourlondon logo

Did David Hasselhoff End the Cold War?