Bill Butt has worn many hats in his career, from artist, writer and director to television producer thanks to his stint on the BBC’s Eyewitness nature and science series. But a long-running presence in it has been Bill Drummond, Scottish co-founder of art-pop provocateurs KFL and the man who famously burned £1 million in cash on Jura in August 1994.

Butt met Drummond through the latter’s early association with iconic Liverpool band Echo And The Bunnymen, for whom Butt would later shoot many videos, and he became a sort of unofficial third member of KLF when he joined them to shoot their unfinished road movie The White Room, intended to tie in with the duo’s hit 1991 album of the same name.

Butt also shot several KLF videos and alongside rare and previously unreleased material these and the The White Room have now been collected into a single DVD by the British Film Institute as 23 Seconds To Eternity – the first ever compilation of KLF Communication’s films.

What’s the last book you read?

Recently I’ve been reading music-based non-fiction books for research. A couple made the jump from just work to must-read: Will Sergeant’s Bunnyman: A Memoir and Echoes, and Mick Haughton’s Fried & Justified. It may be cheating to add an audiobook, but I’m currently enjoying listening to Pay Any Price, a 1983 BBC radio reading of Ted Allbeury’s spy thriller, on BBC Sounds.

What’s the last film you saw in a cinema?

Haha, easy. It was 23 Seconds To Eternity at the BFI National Film Theatre. To be honest, I’d seen it before, so it was a bit boring. But as the director I was obliged to stay for the Q&A after the screening …

What music are you currently listening to?

By order of my beloved, we wake at 6.45am to Radio Three. I do like Bach before 7am, and Croissant Corner just after 7am on a Saturday.

The Herald: Bill Butt filming in Belarus in 1991Bill Butt filming in Belarus in 1991 (Image: free)

What musical instrument do you wish you could play and why?

I have no wish to play any instrument. I’m always surrounded by people who are fantastic musicians, so I’ll leave it them. I’m too lazy.

Favourite KLF song and why?

They are all great. (Bill Drummond might read this, and I still remember the kick in the chest he gave me at Northampton Art School in 1970).

What have you watched recently that you think was completely over-rated and why?

I’m a BAFTA Film Awards judge, so I’ve watched 60 odd films in the last few weeks. Some great, some OK, some absolute stinkers. I know how much effort and risk goes into finishing a film project, though, so good luck to them all.

What has been your most formative cultural experience?

I didn’t know it at the time, but I reckon it was watching a hawker on Northampton Market in the 1960s. I was around eight years old and working on my Dad’s stall. Every Saturday a bloke selling gear out of the back of a van used to smack his children and make them cry. This attracted a disapproving crowd, and he would then start his sales patter, win them over and sell dodgy toys to the concerned parents. A brilliant lesson in performance and audience manipulation. Studying at Northampton Art School and Bristol Old Vic Theatre School come close seconds.

What’s your go-to YouTube video?

I confess I sometimes search for old films and videos I made for many and various bands in the 1980s and 1990s, to see if the films are as bad as I remember them. They usually are.

What was the most memorable recent theatre show you saw?

It was The Score by Oliver Cotton, a play about Bach and Frederick the Great. Bach was played by Brian Cox. Of course, the performances and the play were great, but what also impressed me were the set changes. I worked as a flyman at various theatres in my youth and later worked as a set designer, so I appreciate the complexities of dropping scenery onto a revolving set! To be honest, it’s often the craft side of film and stage productions that turns me on.

Who or what do you always turn off?

6.59pm is panic stations to switch from BBC local news to Channel 4 News without hearing the opening bars of The One Show … You’re in a station or airport shop ahead of a journey. What magazine do you grab?

Private Eye. Favourite film?

The 1951 Scrooge, with Alastair Sim as Scrooge – a joy, and ahead of its time in innovative film making. It’s also a household tradition as we screen it annually (with curry and whisky) for family and friends a week before Christmas. Some friends have bailed out after watching it six or so times. More fool them! We’re also just discussing starting a new tradition of Whisky Galore on Burns Night.

If you’re a gamer, what’s your current favourite game?

I’m nearly 70 so videos games are not my thing, though I do a couple of online Sudokus with my morning coffee to get the brain in gear.

Favourite actor and why?

I can’t answer that objectively. From 1977 to 1979 I studied and taught at Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. My contemporaries included Dan Day-Lewis, Greta Scacchi, Nicholas Farrell, Miranda Richardson, Amanda Redman, Tim Bentinck, Jenny Seagrove, Nigel Cooke and Alex Jennings. Many are still good friends. So, all of the above, and many more.