Burning Through Money

No one could spend money like Michael Jackson. His mansion in California had a personal zoo and amusement park that cost him $5 million a year just for maintenance and staff. Over the course of his life, he made 1.1 billion dollars, but he spent it all and then some. He died being hundreds of millions of dollars in debt.

While Jackson was famous for burning through money, some people have been known to actually burn money. Cocaine kingpin, Pablo Escobar, was at one time the 7th richest man in the world and was making 420 million dollars a week. Like Jackson, he was also a big spender with lavish houses and his own personal zoo. The final year of his life was spent on the run from police after escaping from prison. During this time he once burned 2 million dollars in cash to make a fire to warm his daughter.

At about the same time in the early 90s, British pop stars Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty of KLM also burned money.  KLM was a hit band in the late 1980s and 1990s. While they couldn’t hold a candle to Jackson in earning power, they made good money.

After four years, Bill and Jimmy retired from the music business to become artists. They had 1 million pounds left from their career as musicians. Their first work of art was taking that 1 million pounds and nailing it to a frame. The art world was unimpressed, so they decided to burn the money. In July of 1993, they went to Scotland, and one by one, they burned 1 million pounds worth of 50-pound notes. They actually burned about 900,000 pounds, while about 100,000 pounds blew up and out of the chimney. Villagers found partially burned notes around the island.

In an interview in 2004, Bill says that some days he thinks back and regrets it, but other days he doesn’t.

The reason why they did it is still unclear.  Bill says, “It was more for other people to take from it whatever they wanted, whether it be ‘they obviously didn’t do it’ or ‘it’s a terrible thing’ or whatever. It’s for other people to explore.”

While most people probably think they were crazy, they did have their admirers. One newspaper writer said they “may not have changed or challenged much, but they have certainly provoked thousands to question and analyze the power of money and the responsibilities of those who possess it. And what could be more artistic than that?”

The post Burning Through Money appeared first on Deep English.

from Blog – Deep English http://deepenglish.com/2016/10/burning-through-money/

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