Footage of Damien Hirst smashing up busker’s records at Claridge’s will be turned into an NFT

He recently set fire to millions of pounds worth of his own paintings, but Damien Hurst got his first taste of destroying art 12 years ago.

At the time, he was enlisted by busker and musician Daniel Spiller (43) to help destroy his records right before his eyes in the name of art.

The couple spent hours smashing the records with a log and poker in his suite at Claridge’s – one of the most expensive hotels in the world.

Now footage of the historic day will become available for the first time – in the form of a non-fungible token (NFT).

Weeks after Hirst set fire to his own paintings, video of him destroying a CD by Mr Spiller’s former band The Broken Record Project is to be auctioned off as a digital artwork.

The couple spent hours smashing the records with a log and poker in his suite at Claridge's - one of the most expensive hotels in the world.  In the photo: Footage of the stunt

The couple spent hours smashing the records with a log and poker in his suite at Claridge’s – one of the most expensive hotels in the world. In the photo: Footage of the stunt

Weeks after Hirst set fire to his own paintings, video of him destroying a CD by Mr Spiller's former band The Broken Record Project is to be auctioned off as a digital artwork

Weeks after Hirst set fire to his own paintings, video of him destroying a CD by Mr Spiller’s former band The Broken Record Project is to be auctioned off as a digital artwork

At the time, he was enlisted by busker and musician Daniel Spiller (43) to help destroy his records right before his eyes in the name of art

At the time, he was enlisted by busker and musician Daniel Spiller (43) to help destroy his records right before his eyes in the name of art

An NFT is verified by blockchain, which certifies its originality and ownership. They can be bought with cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin and Ether – the currency of the Ethereum network.

Mr Spiller approached Hirst, along with several other celebrities including Boris Johnson and the comedian Hugh Dennis, about pulling off the controversial stunt.

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The British artist (57) was so taken by the idea that he invited the singer, who is now on Southbank, London, to one of the most expensive hotel suites in the world for a day.

The pair spent ‘wild’ hours together destroying the music, and Mr Spiller said Hirst was so enthusiastic about the stunt that he even dangled the broken disc to his nose as part of a ‘hilarious’ gag.

‘Damien was brilliant. His generosity with time and spirit was incredible,’ said Mr Spiller.

Mr Spiller approached Hirst, along with several other celebrities including Boris Johnson (pictured also taking part in the stunt)

Mr Spiller approached Hirst, along with several other celebrities including Boris Johnson (pictured also taking part in the stunt)

Hirst's recent The Currency collection saw 4,851 out of 10,000 of his A4 paintings set on fire and turned into NFTs

Hirst’s recent The Currency collection saw 4,851 out of 10,000 of his A4 paintings set on fire and turned into NFTs

‘Hours were spent talking, asking questions, providing beer, he was just incredibly welcoming. He loved the concept and seemed to enjoy the mischief and understand the artistic significance.’

Throughout the process of destroying the CDs, Mr Spiller said he ‘serenaded’ Hirst by singing and playing the guitar.

“The destruction of my art, as I created it in front of him … it seemed to affect him on an artistic level,” he said.

“I remember thinking to myself, ‘I’m a street hustler, but I’m sitting with the world’s most expensive artist, in his suite at the most expensive hotel, singing sweetly into his ear as he plays my music. crushed .how completely surreal”.’

Video footage from the day was almost lost until Mr Spiller found it in the bin he took to the point, only realizing when the bag ripped open and its contents spilled out.

Inside were fragments of the record and the log Hirst used to smash the CD he also signed.

Mr Spiller says Hirst’s recent The Currency collection, in which 4,851 out of 10,000 of his A4 paintings caught fire and turned into NFTs, reminded him ‘of the destruction of my art’.

“I thought of the great Claridge’s fireplace, the wood and poker used for the beating,” he said.

‘Destruction is a powerful image and typical of Damian’s brilliance.

“Since we shared that day twelve years ago, I’ve continued to float around London and he’s continued his reign as the world’s most creative and expensive artist – that tells you a lot about his magic.”

The digital artwork will be auctioned on the musician’s website danielspiller.com in the coming weeks, with those keen to get their hands on the unseen footage, and the signed log book, now able to register their interest.

Mr Spiller already had some ‘fun suggestions’ of alternative payment methods – including swapping his NFT for one from Hirst’s recent polka dot art collection.

“Destroying my art had meaning and value to me, as well as a shock,” he said, adding that he might one day display the other broken record videos in a gallery.

“There is something powerful about the dark and almost grainy visuals of my art being destroyed.”

Other celebrities also participated in the stunt throughout the same year. It proved a hit with Dennis, presenter Fearne Cotton and Boris Johnson, who years later would go on to become Prime Minister.

Mr Spiller revealed that he only managed to get the former prime minister on board after attending a party where Mr. Johnson was with a friend, snuck in.

“I stood next to him and asked him if he was going to destroy music, he thought it was a trap,” he said.

Mr Johnson said he did not want to be filmed destroying something because he was worried it might be taken out of context later.

But soon, Mr. Spiller said, he found Mr. Johnson’s confidence and the latter ‘got into the spirit of it’.

“He was having a lot of fun … He grabbed the music out of my hand, clenched his fist and finally announced to everyone that the record had been broken,” Mr Spiller recalled.

‘When the camera was switched off he whispered he enjoyed the whole thing and said it was a good idea.

“He was great.”

Mr Spiller now hopes the sale of the Hirst NFT will help reverse his ‘recent bad luck’ – after his businesses took a hit during the pandemic.

‘It’s been tough lately, buskers seem to be paying a heavy price – the pandemic has meant we’ve lost our performance spots on the Tube, footfall is still down, and a cashless society is making it harder now,’ he said said.

‘Tough recent times? Yes, but that doesn’t hide the fact that I love what I do – sharing music with people is the greatest joy – I see how it brightens their day.’

In 2010, Mr Spiller approached several artists to take part in his stunt

In 2010, Mr Spiller approached several artists to take part in his stunt

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