Throughout his career Bill Drummond has been something of a shapeshifter. He’s formed a number of bands (Big in Japan, The Justified Ancients of Mu Mu, The Timelords and The KLF) experimented as a solo artist, made an unusual choirmaster, had a stint as an A&R man and was also a record producer. That’s not even mentioning his paintings and other artistic work. Drummond is a born maverick, an idiosyncratic and whimsical one at that.
In 2014, Drummond announced that was going on a world tour, spanning twelve years, twelves cities and twelve countries. 25 Paintings sees the Scotsman spend three months in each one. Whilst there, he carries out regular tasks. These include setting up a baking circle, building a bed to give away and walking across the longest bridge banging a drum. For his documentary, Best Before Death, Paul Duane follows him to Kolkata, India and Lexington, USA.
Bill Drummond is somewhat of an enigma. Determined to be judged on the present and not the past, he produces art which is purposely financially worthless. The value of his work is debatable but there’s certainly the right intent behind it. Duane, who repeatedly seems to struggle to ‘manage’ his subject, has created a fascinating and lively portrait of a colourful character. Best Before Dead is never anything less than enthralling. A documentary which allows its subject to take centre stage.
Best Before Death screens in cinemas around the UK from 23 September.