K-Punk

craner

Beast of Burden
I have a similar story to Rambler. I started a blog in 2003, having been inspired by Reynolds initially, then Mark and Luke, and at a creative and emotional loose end. I spent a few days writing a batch of posts about various things that caught my imagination and then tentatively emailed a link to Mark’s blog, not really expecting all that much to happen. I was surprised and delighted, then, to be given extravagant praise almost immediately, followed by consistent and not always warranted raves for the next year or so. As others who received this attention and were not used to it can attest, this was a massive boost for the confidence and inspired an unprecedented burst of activity. It could also be a bit mortifying: in his enthusiasm, his will to create a vibrant milieu out of whatever raw materials happened to be at hand, Mark had a tendency to overpraise and overrate. But the more I think about, the more I realise how much I owe him.

During 2003-5 I made a lot of new friends, some of whom I have kept, and had an exhilarating and productive time in ways that changed me completely. This all happened because of that initial contact with Mark. I regret that we didn’t stay on better terms after 2005, although he was always perfectly polite when we did bump into each other around London (which happened almost as commonly, and comically, as these sorts of things do in Anthony Powell novels). My favourite memory is from his birthday party in 2004, which he hosted superbly in his Bromley flat, surrounded by verdant greenery, having cooked a decent spread, intellectual and blogging peers (Reynolds, Kodwo and Matt among them) mingling with work colleagues and the odd piss-artist like myself. He was in his element at this moment; brimming with bonhomie, working the room, throwing words and ideas around, and still free of the slightly Messianic tinge that began to cling to him rather too soon afterwards. One of the things I liked so much about that evening was the healthy contrast it presented to the intense, cold world conjured up on the blog; in fact, if you read his stuff every day, in those days, you know that it was teeming, often inconsistent, not as disciplined as he would have maybe liked it to be (and eventually became), and more attractive and exciting because of it.

Simon Reynolds summed up the early years of K-Punk perfectly (in a quote I saw in the last couple of days, possibly on this thread) when he described it as “being like a one-man magazine, but better than any actual magazines.”

It was a miraculous feat.

RIP, Mark.
 

luka

Active member
Staff member
Well said mate. As I was saying to craner and stelfox mark really did do the bulk of the heavy lifting in terms of forging and maintaining what was, for a time, a genuine community, one that changed everyone involved with it, at one level or another and there's no doubt we owe him a debt of gratitude
 

Benny B

Active member
Nice tribute from David Stubbs here http://thequietus.com/articles/21572-mark-fisher-rip-obituary-interview

I especially like this bit that he quotes from his recent book;

“The feeling of the eerie is very different from that of the weird. The simplest way to get to this difference is by thinking about the (highly metaphysically freighted) opposition — perhaps it is the most fundamental opposition of all — between presence and absence. As we have seen, the weird is constituted by a presence — the presence of that which does not belong. In some cases of the weird (those with which Lovecraft was obsessed) the weird is marked by an exorbitant presence, a teeming which exceeds our capacity to represent it. The eerie, by contrast, is constituted by a failure of absence or by a failure of presence. The sensation of the eerie occurs either when there is something present where there should be nothing, or is there is nothing present when there should be something.”
So much of his blog would go over my head, but I still used to check it quite often and get stuff out of it. I was having a period of listening to the fall a lot before xmas, so I went back and read some of k-punk's blog posts about them - probably the best writing I've ever seen on that band. When he was good he was really good.

RIP and commiserations to all the people on here who knew him personally
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
I searched for threads started by Mark today and it lifted the lid for me on this whole (for me) prehistory of Dissensus that seems thrilling and full of full on blazing rows.
 

luka

Active member
Staff member
The rows took place on dissensus. Pre dissensus it was a mutual appreciation society essentially
 

Jim Daze

New member
My memories of Mark from those early bloggers meet ups are a happy haze of new friendships and a lot of staggering about the Lea Valley with carrier bags of Polish lager, I was intimidated by Marks intelligence but I remember he was generous and encouraging with his time and certainly got me started on books and ideas that I had previously no clue about. I still have a couple of books he lent me from that time. I will always look back on this time with so much happiness.
 

PiLhead

New member
The rows took place on dissensus. Pre dissensus it was a mutual appreciation society essentially
The Comments Box at K-Punk could get quite fractious. Heated.

And you did get some disagreements in the inter-blog back and forth. Mostly civil and constructive.

It was pally, for sure. Incestuous.

A virtual village.

Mark was like the host of the party. The perfect host who makes introductions and steers conversations in fruitful paths and keep refilling glasses.
 

josef k.

Dangerous Mystagogue
The moment that he lost me -

http://k-punk.org/viva-resentment/

I've been thinking about k-punk a lot during the past few days. Like many others, he was extremely influential on me at a certain point; later I began to think about this influence much more critically, to put it mildly. This post was a turning point - I knew I didn't want to argue for resentment. But I took him too literally - I didn't understand what he was trying to describe. Beneath his powerful rhetoric, and his sincerity, his dogmatism and his imagination, I didn't realize how sick he was, and how much that expressed itself in his thought, his demonologies, his phantasms, his paranoia. He was extremely sincere. I think that's what gave his writing so much power, and at the same time meant he felt the contradictions of his position so deeply and personally - especially the tension between his working class identity, which was a question of identity for him, marked by anxiety, and his position as a theorist, alienated from that background, speaking from a position of privilege, to primarily a privileged cultural elite, which he also felt alienated from, in fact deeply resented, but there was nowhere else to go, or at least he couldn't see one.

People are writing a lot sentimental things about k-punk now, which makes sense psychologically, but I don't think that he would have approved. Spinoza says suicide is impossible, because the self isn't coherent to make that kind of decision; there is a split between the killer and the killed; there was something tortured in his thought which led to despair, and I feel like there is a kind of critical duty that we (I?) owe him, not to idolize him, but to understand what that was, what his death means, what we can learn from it at the beginning of 2017. I think the thing that he fought against was also himself, I wish he'd found a way to fight for something instead.
 

luka

Active member
Staff member
Well there's an obvious layer of guilt and simple embaressment over the fact that every kpunk thread here consists of people (me mainly) abusing and belittling him. There was a split marked by cold rationalism. We all know that but that doesn't erase fond memories and gratitude for the interblog period nor does it modify the sense of loss, sadness and regret occasioned by his suicide.

Perhaps his shade would prefer us to hurl further abuse at his corpse but I'm not sure his shade takes precedence at this point in time. In the aftermath of a death what makes sense emotionally is really the be all and end all in my view.
 

luka

Active member
Staff member
Or, to put it another way, if there's ever a time for sentiment, it's in the aftermath of a tragic death.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
This tribute under the Reynolds piece is worth pasting here, I think:

pauljennisa 2h ago

Here is a small story that, I hope, gives a sense of Mark's character (I did not know him, we missed each at an event in Dublin once, much to my dismay).

Before even completing my PhD I had become obsessed with this fancy philosophical movement known as speculative realism. I'd seen all sorts of stuff about Zero Books and how they would take risks on young writers. I decided to send in a book of interviews that they published, a small edited collection, and this seemed as good as it gets for a pre-PhD academic. A while later it is floated to me to submit a book, these mini-books were all the rage, and I said heck, why not. So I send in what I now know to be this godawful little book - effectively a few chapters from my thesis - and they accept. Great!

So a few weeks later Mark wrote back and had lots of edited comments and I was dismayed. He insisted they looked worse than they are. So the book goes through. Not only this, but a few weeks later he offers me work as an editor there. As a struggling PhD, depressed as all hell, I went from no published work of my own to an "author" (not really, but technically) and an editor, with steady work. Much of this makes sense of what I know now. This was a guy who knew when someone was not doing well and would do what he could, no matter how small.

Now, I'm a million miles away from that book, but it set me off on a wild journey, one impossible to transmit to people, from philosophy to art to bitcoin. One that was sparked by being given this small legitimacy through that tiny book. In my PhD viva I can remember being asked about it and knowing it would help so much, that perception of being published, even if not with a major publisher. So, it's just one story of how a life can be defined by small acts of generosity.

For 2 long years after my PhD I entered a major depression, unable to leave the house, addicted, suicidal sometimes, just lost. And yet, that little building block, this little book, was a foundation for all my other work that, through twists and turns, helped me climb back up. To say I owe the guy a lot is an understatement. I'm an academic now, doing well, in the very heart of capitalist realism, the business school but always pondering what could have been, and there is a name for this, hauntology, a lost future.

Terrible loss.
 

Corpsey

call me big papa
http://k-punk.abstractdynamics.org/archives/004478.html

'Sex & the City was just Barbara Cartland with fisting'.

:crylarf:

Amazing to see him praising Coldplay too!

'I'd initially pegged Coldplay as Hated Generic Indie Enemy, but I've gradually found myself beguiled by them. I think it's the fact that they're piano-led which allows them to escape the R and Recapitulation-syndrome. There's a milky, watercolour diffuseness about their sound, a slightly out-of-focus impressionist haze to it that prompts me to imagine dubby remixes in which the space in their tracks was exploited and expanded. 'Clocks', as I think Jess said, is like a requiem for dance music; Matt spoke of 'rave comedown piano', and that's perfect. 'Clocks' is like Derek May on valium. There's a thrilling disconnect between the exhileration of the cascading piano and the desolate tone of Martin's voice.'
 
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Martin D

New member
I didn't always understand everything Mark talked about but I do know he could trigger so many ideas from just listening to him, I'll really miss that. He made a difference.
 
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