Thank you for the chocolates
Three ladies, one gentleman, all in their eighties, sit in the movie theatre. One of them thanks another for the chocolates. She likes nice chocolates.
They're ready to watch the K Foundation burn a million quid.
Wind chimes tinkle in the dark. A piano starts to play quietly, an improvised accompaniment to the K Foundation burning a million quid.
It feels like we're watching a historical record of a by-gone age, and, this being filmed back in the mists of 1994, I guess we are. Bill Drummond throws wedges of fifty pound notes into the fireplace of a deserted boathouse on Jura; Jimmy Cauty does the same. They stir the ashes with a big stick, and flakes of burning cash erupt from the chimney like a roman candle. The piano plays. The wind chimes chime. The three old ladies and the old gentleman sit and watch the K Foundation burn a million quid.
There's a small audience, and no-one talks. This is very different to most of the previous screenings of the movie, in 1995, when audiences heckled, made shadow puppets on the screen, cat-called and switched on radios to accompany the screening. In 2001 two people walk out after fifteen minutes, another one joining them ten minutes before the end. Maybe they've seen it before and know how it ends.
Everyone else, the ladies and gent included, watches, it appears enthralled, to the end. In silence. I watch the beauty of money burn, of the edges of fifty pound notes catch aflame and fold in on themselves, turning the Queen black and to dust. One lone note sits in a crag on the chimney, attempting escape, but of course there is no escape. This is the K Foundation burning their million quid.
I watch the shadows and silhouettes of perhaps the most successful of late '80s/early '90s Pop Acts (certainly the most intriguing Pop Mavericks of the era) burn their million quid. In my head I hear 'Build a Fire' and I wonder if we will ever see their like again.
The final bricks of cash flicker in the fireplace. Cauty stirs his stick around, seeming almost desperate for it to finally be over. And then it is. The screen is black. There's just wind chimes in the silence.
The K Foundation have burnt their million quid, and we have watched them. Eight years after the fact.
The Brick, as a sequel, is of course an anti-climax. People talk over the Brick, even though, visually, it is only marginally less interesting than the preceding film. It's still a million quid, after all, or so they say. A brick made from the ashes of the million quid, so they say. The piano plays some edgy jazz.
And then stops.
The lights in the theatre come up. A few people applaud, me included, but most people don't. Most people just sit and wait for... what? Bill Drummond to drop in and break his contract with Cauty that says neither will talk about the burning of the million quid for 23 years? Perhaps. Perhaps not.
I walk out into the night air, and it's cold. I wonder if the lady enjoyed her chocolates.
© Alistair Fitchett 2001