Best Before Death review – Bill Drummond’s intriguing art odyssey

Paul Duane’s documentary finds the former KLF man touring the world for 12 years of odd jobs

Captured over two years of a “12-year world tour” visiting 12 different cities, this intriguing portrait of artist Bill Drummond (a former member of the KLF) is an unexpectedly revealing character study. The work – Drummond travels to each town or city and performs a series of self-imposed tasks – is curiously inflexible. He imposes his list of activities – banging a drum, constructing a “cake circle”, building a bed, among other things – in each venue with an almost compulsive lack of variation. He engages in conversations with the locals, but we don’t get a sense of a dialogue.

It’s a project that lacks the chaos and organic quality of, for example, Andrew Kötting’s art films. This documentary stops short of interrogating Drummond about the point of it all, but director Paul Duane’s perceptive camera picks up on the moments when Drummond’s robust self-belief wobbles and he realises that some of his tasks, such as offering to shine the shoes of passersby in Calcutta, are not quite as innocuous as he originally thought.

Watch a trailer for Best Before Death.


Wendy Ide

The GuardianTramp

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