These boys were hard b@st@rds!
Run by the one and only, Tony Thorpe…
The Dead Perch Menace were not to be messed with…
Guest Writer, security to Mr Drummond himself, Aden Bos gives us the lowdown on how he kept order at Welcome To The Dark Ages…
Follow Aden on Twitter.
The Dark Ages: Episode I – The Dead Perch Menace
Before I started my journey to The Dark Ages, I wasn’t really a JAMs super fan. I’d always enjoyed their music, probably since I was 10 years old, and knew that whatever they were doing in Liverpool would be interesting and exciting.
I’d seen several friends posting about the Liverpool event, so decided to try my luck getting a ticket. I didn’t think I’d have any chance at all, so was just having a try for fun… kind of like playing the lottery…
I got lucky and managed to get a ticket! At this moment, I thought I better do some more research into what I was letting myself in for, so I joined all the KLF Facebook groups, added all The Others on Twitter and over the next couple of weeks I read The KLF: Chaos, Magic and the Band who Burned a Million Pounds by John Higgs, I read The Manual and I re-read the Principia Discordia, which I’d bought years ago. I downloaded all the music The JAMs had ever made and watched every video I could find. I was now an obsessed fan!
After a long and arduous journey, I arrived in Liverpool. I then plotted my course for the Dead Perch Lounge and marched through the city, overflowing with excitement. My route just happened to go up Bold Street, so I saw the KLF speakers displayed in the window of News From Nowhere and the accompanying sign that said anyone who tries to get merchandise signed would have it confiscated by the Dead Perch Menace… Who is this person? Things were getting real! I arrived at the Dead Perch Lounge and nervously looked around, found the ticket exchange and picked up my wristband. I was then asked to select a skill from the list presented and opted for “People that can say ‘no’”, as I can’t sing, swim, play guitar and I am not 5’5″. I did kind of guess that this would mean some kind of security guard, maybe just standing around stopping people getting backstage or something…
Mission complete, I was now registered and wristbanded – time for a well earned pint! I got a drink and sat down at a table with another excited looking JAMs fan, who turned out to be none other than Badger Kull super fan, Andy Gell. He recognised me from Facebook, as I’d been giving a running commentary of my arrival. The table next to us was full of the JAMs and their entourage, with Bill and Jimmy walking in and out all of the time. We sat there giving them sly shifty looks, obviously too scared to talk to them. After a few pints it was time to find my hotel and drop off my bag.
Later on, a fair few of the 400 met up in the Kazimier Gardens and more pints were drunk. After a while, Andy and I decided to get our place in the News From Nowhere queue, via the kebab shop of course. We started lining up just after 10pm and were something like 9th and 10th place. Whilst waiting, I managed to get someone to go to the shop for me and buy a big bag of cans – I was pretty pissed by the time the Ice Kream Van arrived at 00:00:23.
The JAMs entered the building and started stamping books, the queue moved quickly and it was soon my turn. I decided not to say much when I met the duo, apart from thanking them. That was all pretty exhilarating! At this point I might have gone back to my hotel or I might have gone for more drinks, who knows, I didn’t get much sleep anyway.
The next day I was pretty hung over, woke up late and needed to rush out to get to Constellations. I stupidly thought that trying to walk off my hangover was a better idea than getting an Uber. Constellations was a lot further away than it looked and I only just got there in time – but still managed to grab a pasty on the way, for lunch.
Soon, we were all ushered into the hall, our names randomly picked out to select our volunteer roles and given our job cards. My job was “Dead Perch Menace”. The card stated, “You are part of Dead Perch Menace Security Services. You ensure security is maintained at all times. And look hard. Report to Tony Thorpe at the bar now.” I then queued up to put my name and number in the job book, next to another childhood hero of mine, Jeff Minter.
After the job book was signed, I walked around looking for Tony Thorpe. I asked a few people if they’d seen him and tried to find pictures of him on the internet… All the photos online are about twenty years old, so don’t look like him much now. After a few circles of the place, I plucked up the courage to ask if he was Tony Thorpe – luckily I’d got the right guy. He was a bit cagey at first “Who wants to know?” and waited until I’d shown him my job card before admitting who he was. He then introduced me to the legend that is Gimpo who was standing there at the bar too. Gimpo being Gimpo then stated that it was the rules that I had to buy Tony a drink, so I bought Tony and myself a pint of cider each.
As an apparent team building exercise, it was decided that we have a table tennis tournament – Tony Thorpe’s team vs. Gimpo’s team. We were all useless! I’m pretty uncoordinated even when I’m not hanging out of my arsehole. Tony’s reactions to how useless we were at table tennis were priceless. After a few pints we got slightly better, and I think our team won, but it didn’t really matter. Following the battle, Tony gave us all our Dead Perch Menace berets to wear.
Tony then took me to one side and said that he had plans for me for a special job. He said me and another guy (that turned out to be Kaim) will be the personal security guards to The JAMs, and that we should meet him before the ‘Why Did the K Foundation Burn A Million Quid?’ event at the Black E for further instructions. I guess I was picked because I was wearing my Fidel Castro communist cap and Gaultier sunglasses – plus, being a big bearded guy, probably meant I looked the part.
At this point I stopped drinking for a while, so I’d be sober for my big moment. I hung around at Constellations for a little bit longer, then headed to the Black E to gatecrash the Badger Kull super fan meet-up. After a little more hanging around, everyone else started turning up, but still no sign of Tony. Then as everyone started going into the building, he appeared. He went through the plan of what we had to do which involved waiting outside for the whole event for The JAMs to appear. Luckily, Kaim strongly objected to this plan so that we got to wait inside and watch the event. The £1 coins being counted after the vote was our cue to make our way outside to meet The JAMs.
We went outside and there was Bill Drummond, Jimmy Cauty, and Tony Thorpe. Tony introduced us to Bill and Jimmy and we all shook hands. We went through the plan again. Then it was time to go on stage. On our route through the building to the stage, Tony went up ahead then myself and Kaim followed up behind, at quite a brisk pace. It was all very exciting; it felt like a proper military operation, making sure the way was clear. Bill and Jimmy got onto the stage, and I had to stand there next to Jimmy. I was shitting myself! I think it was the first time I’ve been on stage in front of that many people. Initially, I was stood with my hands in my pockets, but then realised I should strike a more military pose, looking straight forward with my hands behind my back, shoulders back and stomach sucked in. This looked pretty good in the photos, I think.
After The JAMs were done on stage, we marched them back down, they then shook our hands and thanked us for a great job. We continued to escort them down the road a little further, with Tony and Gimpo. Eventually, we let them all disappear into the night and headed back to the Black E to meet up with the 400 again.
With our task completed, we all went back to the Dead Perch, stayed until closing time and drunk the bar dry, as I assumed my job had now been done. That was not a clever idea…
The next morning I was predictably hung over again and had a message from Tony Thorpe saying I had to meet him at the Bombed Out Church. I therefore made my way there and after a bit of waiting around was let in before everyone else.
It was at this moment that all of the Dead Perch Menace team were given our amazing DPM t-shirts. I guess they hadn’t been ready the day before.
Tony then told Kaim and I that as we’d done so well last night, our job for today was to shadow The JAMs for the entire day, following them everywhere they go and making sure they are secure, etc. Oh boy, how I wish I’d gone a bit easier on the beer the previous night! We then hung around on the stage area as everyone came into the Bombed Out Church and lined up ready to receive their pages. As the line was divided in two and Bill went one way and Jimmy went the other, I decided to follow Bill and Kaim followed Jimmy. Our fates were sealed. Bill was now my JAM, or I was now Bill’s personal security guard.
I then followed Bill along the line of the 400 as they received their pages. During this issuing of literature, Bill turned round to me and asked if I’d had my page yet, I hadn’t, he then proceeded to rip out page 334 and present it to me. Without reading it, I folded it up and put it in my pocket.
Once everyone had their pages and started to find their chapters, I think I located my group but told them I was abandoning them for more important things, or maybe I just ghosted them, I can’t remember.
Throughout the day while everyone was working on their book things I was going around on several missions with Bill. I can’t remember what order they happened in so I’ll just list them.
Buying kitchen implements for the soup makers. We walked down to the Dead Perch and got into the hire van outside. I was almost shaking I was so nervous, being alone in a van with Bill Drummond. OMG. Luckily Bill turned out to be a nice chap and soon had me at ease. He’s also the kind of gentleman that is comfortable with silence, so we didn’t feel the need to make small talk too much. I had to keep a look out for the shop as we were driving, and then I waited in the van watching out for traffic wardens. Bill seemed to enjoy parking illegally. Not sure what I would have done if there had been traffic wardens though…
Buying ingredients for the soup. We went across the road to Sainsbury’s. Bill opted to sit on the floor in front of the tinned beans and pulses and started grabbing them all off the shelf whilst I was then grabbing baskets and trying to catch them all. We bought almost all the tins they had, along with a bunch of spices, seasonings, bottles of water and other bits and bobs. We then just carried the Sainsbury’s baskets across to the Bombed Out Church, but we did return them afterwards.
Buying a mattress and bedding for Joe’s bed in the Ice Kream Van. We went for another drive around town in the van to find a mattress – I was navigating using my phone. On the way, Bill asked me if I’d read my book page yet. I hadn’t. He then asked me to read it aloud to him. So I did. He seemed to enjoy my reading. We then parked up in a pay and display car park. Bill started walking off without getting a ticket even though I tried to convince him to get one. However, the machine only took cards, so he couldn’t be bothered. The bed shop we were looking for was closed but luckily there was another one nearby. We took a seat with the poor sales guy and bought only a mattress, as they didn’t have any suitable bedding. We then carried the mattress back down the road together and luckily had not received a parking ticket. The next stop was Argos so that we could buy the cheapest bedding they had. Once acquired, we headed back and parked up at the DPL. The next task was to transport the mattress and bedding to the Bombed Out Church. I carried all the bedding and Bill single-handedly carried the mattress on his back. I managed not to make any Man Makes Bed jokes (I’ve now bought the book, but not read it yet).
Making Bishop’s hats. Bill asked me to saw the bottom off of a traffic cone. I started sawing across – which was evidently wrong. Bill showed me that I just had to saw though the black rubber bit to take it off, as if that was obvious and a normal thing that people do all the time.
Other than those missions, I was mostly just standing around while Bill was on the phone. Although the temptation was there to listen in, I didn’t want to spoil any surprises, so stayed out of earshot. Finally, we saw them off as they took Oliver and Joe away in the Ice Kream Van to go to McDonalds for a Big Mac with fries. At the end of the day, I was knackered. I don’t know how Bill has so much energy!
“Phew, my job is over now, I can relax” I thought, and proceeded to have a long sleep. The following morning, I was awoken by a call from an angry Tony Thorpe who wondered where the hell I was… Apparently we were meant to go to the Florrie in the morning but nobody had told us. I then got up and ready and went for a long walk to the Florrie. I got there in time to have my face skull painted, had a cider, then Tony found us and took us up to the church-like hall. Our job there was to usher everyone in, make sure they used up all the seats with no gaps, and turned their phones off. The smoke machines kept setting the fire alarms off, so we were standing around in there for quite a while not knowing if we should evacuate people or not.
The Callender’s then did their moving sermon, Jarvis and the 400 choir did their thing, I cried a bit, my skull paint was running down my face. We then ushered everyone out and the procession began. For the procession the DLM didn’t really have a job, we just followed along. I’m not sure if there was originally a plan for us, or why they wanted us to get there really early to start with.
All in all, the whole thing was utterly amazing and I totally lucked out with my job. I really got into character and so many people thought I was real security or one of the organisers, so I think I did an okay job.
Bill Drummond carrying a mattress Photo courtesy of: Gill Sabotig
All other photography from unknown sources. If you own any of these images, please contact us and we will credit you accordingly – thank you.