Sunday, January 22, 2017

RIP Jaki Liebezeit

The might, the majesty




Scoring 9.8 on the Motorikhter Scale




Five bodies, one mind.





Here, though, they come over not so very distant from Deep Purple




Back to the worship...


Absolutely rollin




The Meters of Mittel Europa





Postpunkfunk should have just not even bothered -  game over, six years previous




Cooking up your bodybrain




The politics of trancing




And last but perhaps most -  my favorites, I think

(Is this a tango?)




The unstoppable pulse




Liebezeit - translates literally as Lovetime.


Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Remembering Mark Fisher

Here's my more "official" tribute to Mark at The Guardian

The words came easy, although it was somewhat disorienting to be assessing the achievements and legacy of a friend who was also a public figure. 

That was his achievement, though  -  he was out there, making a difference in the world.  

Only real problem was struggling to fit all that Mark had done into the word-count. He was active on so many various fronts, came up with so many concepts and provocations.  

There's an increasing number of remembrances out there, with more promised.

Below are just some of the testimonials so far from friends and colleagues - touchingly personal, or touching on other facets of his work than I could cover.

Owen Hatherley's 

Jeremy Greenspan's 

Derek Walmsley's

Siobhan McKeown's 

Dissensus bods's 

David Stubbs's (+ and unpublished 2010 interview with Mark by Agata Pyzik)

John Foxx's 

Adam Harper's 

Robin Mackay's

Otolith Collective's

Paul Autonomic's

Dan Fox at Frieze's

Also a proper long study of his life and work from Alex Niven at Jacobin
There is also a fund now that's been set up to support Zoë and George.  Please give if you're able. In a little over a day, it reached its target amount and now has a new target amount. That's a lot of love there.


Later on I will probably pull together some links to favorite or epochal pieces by Mark. There's so many, though!

Oh and this is lovely - Magz Hall dug out a Resonance radio doc she did in 2004 on the early blogscene - you can hear Mark's voice, along with Woebot, Geeta Dayal, Luke Davis and myself. Happy days...

Saturday, January 14, 2017

RIP Mark Fisher

I expect most in this community will have heard the terribly upsetting news about Mark Fisher, aka K-punk.

My first encounter with Mark was actually unawares – in 1994 I wrote a piece for Melody Maker about a group he was in called D-Generation, in which many of the ideas and themes that would obsess him in his later writing were rehearsed. But the phone interview was with another member of the group, Simon Biddell. Years later Mark shyly revealed that I had actually written about him, in effect, and I went back and checked the piece and there he was, in the photo. With long hair! But then we all had long hair in the early Nineties.

I first met Mark when doing a profile of the Cybernetic Culture Research Unit, aka CCRU, in the late Nineties. He stood out - even in a milieu crackling with intellectual energy – for his eloquence and urgency. Already the hallmarks of his work were evident in his conversation and in the tracts he penned for CCRU publications: the lucidity, the rigour, the exuberance, the capacity and the compulsion to connect things across far-flung fields, the ability to focus in with vivid attention to aesthetic particulars and zoom out to the widest possible scope.

Then we became proper friends – and comrades – during the early blogging days of the 2000s.         K-punk was the hub of the community, fizzing with fervour and argument; Mark was a dynamo, hurling out provocations, ideas that demanded engagement. He became a cult figure. A catalyst.

With Matthew Ingram aka Woebot - the community's other hub, with a similarly effervescing comments box - Mark co-founded Dissensus.

That era then led onto to Mark’s brilliant books for Zero and Repeater - Capitalist Realism, Ghosts of My Life, the collections he edited and co-edited on Michael Jackson and Postpunk. And now his new book The Weird and The Eerie. Books that have cemented his standing as the most original and provocative writer about popular culture - and its interface with the political - of the last fifteen years.

The exciting thing about Mark's writing - CCRU era, K-punk era, in magazines like FACT and The Wire, the books - was the feeling that he was on a journey: the ideas were going somewhere,  a gigantic edifice of thought was in the process of construction. That Mark was thinking big, building a system, always aiming for the largest scale. And finally that this work, rigorous and deeply informed as it was, was not academic, in the sense of being done purely for its own sake: its urgency came from his faith that words really could change things. Reading Mark's writing made everything feel more meaningful, supercharged with significance. It was a rush. An addiction.

The last time I saw Mark in the flesh was at the Incubate music festival in Tilburg, Holland, in 2012. We had a long chat, intermittently soundtracked by a live performance by Raime. He talked about his plans for future books, and passingly mentioned – in a completely unassuming way – that Capitalist Realism had sold ten thousand copies. I’m not sure he fully grasped what an extraordinary achievement this was, for a theoretical book about politics and mental health on a small publisher. This was down to word of mouth, his own charismatic public appearances, the originality and timeliness of his ideas combined with the clarity and passion of the writing.

At the festival I gave a talk, relying as always largely on a pre-written text; Mark followed and spoke off the cuff, riffing away, leaping from subject to subject, making electric connections, in a performance that he later likened to a stand-up routine.



On page and in person alike, Mark was a brilliant communicator.

I can imagine he must have been an inspiring teacher.

The last time I communicated with Mark, a few months ago - during which he alluded to his struggles - I told him I had been wanting badly to hear what he had to say about Corbyn, about so many things at this present critical time – musical, cultural, political.

I shall miss all the writing that Mark would have done, the penetrating insights and surprising connections, always that sense of the big picture. The wit and the style too: his writing was always an entertainment as well as a challenge.

But I shall miss Mark the person more. He was kind, generous, sweet, funny – these are not always things that go hand in hand with genius.

Our hearts go out to his wife Zoë and little boy George; to his family and friends; his colleagues and students; and to his fans and readers.

^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Below is a photo from a party Joy and I (and Kieran) held during the summer of 2002, which was the last period we lived in England for any length of time. There’s Mark, and Kodwo Eshun, and Anjalika Sagar, and Steve Goodman aka Kode 9. A clusterfuck of genius!



A couple of Mark's favorite songs.