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Last Updated: Wednesday, 21 November 2007, 06:27 GMT
How No Music Day struck a chord
BBC Radio Scotland has joined together with the former KLF frontman Bill Drummond to mark No Music Day.

Here, the musician, artist and writer explains why he decided people should take a 24-hour break from music.

No Music Day is on the 21 November. This is the third year to have one.

The first in 2005 was almost a private affair. Other than me sorting out in my head why I needed a No Music Day and why having it on the 21 November was a better day than any of the other 364 on offer, not much was done.

Bill Drummond holding a sign (Pic: Tracey Moberly)
Bill Drummond's idea is to imagine a world without music

The reason for choosing the 21st is that the 22nd is St Cecilia's day and St Cecilia being the patron saint of music, there seemed a logic that we fast from music on the day before we may traditionally have celebrated and given thanks for music.

The not much being done was the setting up of

This was a minimal site with a short statement and an invitation for people to complete the two following statements: "I will be observing No Music Day because:" and "I will be observing No Music Day by:"

The website struck a massive chord. Tens of thousands of folk stumbled across it, many leaving comments.

For No Music Day 2006, I went public by writing a piece for a monthly music magazine.

In this I laid out all my reasoning and prejudices as to why I thought we needed to address our culture's evolving relationship with music and why having a No Music Day would be a good way to focus that debate.

And yes I knew the world is already crammed with days for far more worthy causes than our relationship with music.

Resonance FM, the London-based radio station, elected to observe the 24 hours of No Music Day 2006.

'Snowball effect'

Their programme makers took to the challenge, creating airtime free of music.

Mind you, whole chunks of it would have been speech-based anyway, but the hours normally filled with music were packed with much discussion about how the role of music in our culture evolves and changes.

A snowball effect was happening. Hundreds of requests were coming in from radio stations around the globe for interviews.

So from being interviewed by James Naughtie on BBC Radio 4's Today show to talking with the drive time DJ on a pop station in Calcutta, I spread the word as far and wide as I could. At no point was I challenged as to the official legitimacy of the day.

Everybody I spoke to seemed to have more of an idea why we needed a No Music Day than I had.

People in Scotland give their reaction to No Music Day

So to No Music Day 2007, come early September, I was being reminded that it was almost that time of year again.

And I was thinking, how can I summon the enthusiasm for it? Do I still believe in the cause? Could I go out there to wave the flag and bang the drum one more time?

But then BBC Radio Scotland and all its regional stations decided they wanted to observe No Music Day 2007.

This a national radio station with several million regular listeners and not just the seriously committed but minority interest types who listen to Resonance FM.

Last week, while all sorts of mixed emotions were going around my head about it all, a phrase with a Stalinist ring to it popped up in my imagination - A Five Year Plan.

Relief I do not have to spend the rest of my years trying to breath fresh life into my convictions as to why the world needs a No Music Day, year after year after year.

And this being year three, I've only got two more to go. But I had better make the remaining two No Music Days good ones, focus the point and fan the flames.

'Scottish border'

What concerns me right now is the stunning and gleaming road sign that I have had made.

It measures almost 13ft long and 2ft deep. It is made from the aluminium alloy that road signs are made from.

On the front it is headlight-reflecting white with black edging and letters.

I tied it to the rack on the top of my Land Rover and then drove up the M1 and M6 to the Scottish border at Gretna Green.

There I fitted the sign to the posts holding up the huge Scotland Welcomes You sign. Then took a photo of my handy work before driving back home.

The message on the sign was simple, it said nothing more than NO MUSIC DAY: NOV 21.

As much as this sign excites me I am also afraid that No Music Day has now entered the public domain and me wanting to stop it after five years is not going to happen.

It will carry on and on for as long as there are people wanting to observe it. And seemingly there are lots of those.

KLF frontman marks 'No Music Day'
20 Nov 07 |  Scotland
Ex-pop star sets up soup kitchen
05 Jul 05 |  Merseyside
What Drummond did next
30 Apr 04 |  Northern Ireland
Reward for stolen expletive art
01 Oct 02 |  England


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