16.10.07

How To Have A Number-One The Old-Fashioned Way

Taking time to talk pop reminded me of something I meant to post a while ago, yet I never got around to. That something is The Manual: How to Have a Number One the Easy Way. Long out-of-print and impossible to find, this book was hugely influential on my early forrays into the music industry. The K Foundation's combination of discordianism, Illuminatus references and unabashed pop sensibility stuck with me. I've followed the further exploits, musical and otherwise of Jim Cauty and Bill Drummond. I've had The Manual in my Amazon wish list for years, never to see it actually "available". I loved it when I read a friend's copy in college, and always wanted to have my own copy. Now we can all have it.

A relatively recent BoingBoing post about the KLF links to a PDF version of the manuscript. So while you miss some of the illustrations and the tactile sensation of holding this adorable little case study, full of instructions (which were guaranteed to work, BTW, if you followed them to the letter), you can still read it.

It's worth knowing that The Manual did in fact work, too. The Austrian Euro-trash band Edelweiss found #1 hit status with "Bring Me Edelweiss" - a song they claim was created by following the instructions in The Manual. And this was some time before you could use a MySpace page to collect friends or distribute a new single. Of course, with theories like The Long Tail afoot, it's probably not so much about having a number-one anymore.

Does anyone feel like telling Kanye?

5 comments:

E said...

I didn't know you were looking for this. I would have loaned you my copy.

E said...

Or maybe it was my copy you read? If so, never mind.

Jason said...

I smell a hit in the making.

PYLB said...

I honestly can't remember who's copy I read... it may very well have been yours, E. Nonetheless, I was happy to find an electronic version of it.

keef said...

I just found a copy in my bookshelf. Really. I don't remember ever buying it, and I would have been 10 when it came out (it's an original printing.) Completely bizarre.