Sunday, November 18, 2007

No Music Day

Search out that anechoic chamber, coz November 21st is No Music Day.

Artist Bill Drummond has been lobbying for the recognition of this day, to battle the ubiquity of music, since 2005. It's hard to track the success of his campaign, but BBC Radio Scotland will play no music on the day (“no songs, no bands, no orchestras", they've pledged) and testimonials on his website ( offer similar abstinence. The date of November 21st was chosen because the 22nd is the feast of St. Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Antithetical observances often precede the traditional, as in the case of Mardi Gras, which is celebrated the day before Ash Wednesday.

Drummond is best known for forming the hugely successful band KLF, quickly retiring from the music business and deleting the bands entire back catalogue, and then publicly burning the last million (pounds!) he earned from the band. Other art stunts include the K Foundation Art Award for the "worst artist of the year", which was presented to Rachel Whiteread in 1993, the year she won the Turner Prize. The honour comes with a cheque for £40,000, twice the then-Turner Prize value. Two years later Drummond bought A Smell of Sulphur in the Wind by Richard Long, his favourite contemporary artist, for $20,000. In the year 2000 he tried to sell the work by placing a series of billboards around the country. A year later, unable to sell the work, he cut the photograph and text work into 20,000 pieces, to sell for $1 each.

Next year Drummond plans to commemorate No Music Day by organizing nationwide screenings of films without music soundtracks and to convince after iTunes to close for 24 hours. "This will be a challenge," he said, "but I’m up for it.”

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