Sunday, February 19, 2017

glampunk salon

Next Saturday, 4.30 - 6.30 pm, Los Angeles  - I'll be discussing glam rock and punk rock with Steve Jones and Vivien Goldman.

It's part of the Happy Accidents salon series started by LA publisher Hat & Beard, in collaboration with LA venue No Name. Copies of Shock and Awe and Jones's memoir Lonely Boy available to buy signed, courtesy Skylight Books.

Address is 432 N. Fairfax Avenue, LA.

Admission is free with RSVP to

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Remembering Mark

Touching and painful - but also hopeful - now online are the texts of the tributes to Mark Fisher delivered at the memorial last Sunday at Goldsmiths - by friends, colleagues, comrades and mentorees: Tariq Goddard, Jeremy Gilbert, Justin Barton, Tristan Adams, and Robin Mackay.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Mark his words

Like many of you I'm sure, I have been dipping into the online Markhive - rereading favorite pieces and posts. Below are just a handful - well, a couple of handfuls - really an armful - of Fisher classics. Along with the fully-realised long-form work, there's a few more fragmentary things too - in some ways even more enjoyable and characteristic. Mark was in his element when pitching into the  fray - arguing, agreeing (but always building on his interlocutor's point, pushing it further along). Some of his best insights and lines emerged out of the back-and-forth of these fractious spaces - Dissensus threads, the K-punk comments box. Jewels, exuberant with the sheer sport of thought, that are hard to disentangle from the discursive thicket of their moment. But in a way it was in these innumerable brief exchanges and interactions that Mark's mind flexed itself most fruitfully - and merrily.

From the CCRU era, an early classic tirade against postmodernism, co-written with Robin Mackay - "Pomophobia".

On darkside jungle, in the New Statesman, in 1994! And a later Wire Epiphany about the impact of Rufige Cru on his young mind. 

Writing as Mark De’Rosario, for Hyperdub when it was a dance-theory-crit webzine not  yet a label, on Oxide & Neutrino as punk garage.

From early K-punk -  Sapphire & Steel and "time anomalies"

"Isn't hip hop the problem these days?" - a short thought from 2004

A classic K-punk surprise - his paean to Dido's Life For Rent.  (Earlier thoughts on her - and Girls Aloud here)

Far more K-punk kanonical - an appreciation of Japan's Tin Drum.  

Literally the K-punk kanon - his Top 100 British Albums

"There are dead times" - a swift salvo against poptimism's obligatory cheerfulness. See also the precursor post "Are We Living Through Another 1985?"

Another salvo anti-poptimism (but not, crucially, anti-pop), with an immensely long and fractious comments section.

The klassic piece on Burial - "London After the Rave"

And his interview with Burial for the The Wire

And the unedited transcript of the Burial dialogue. 

On Fleetwood Mac

Hauntology, ahoy! #1 

Hauntology, ahoy! #2 (Wire interview with The Caretaker / James Kirby)

Photo-illustrated posts on hauntology and landscape - Suffolk +  Norfolk

Quick riff on the UK music press and their long-gone power to "dream alternatives". And one on the emerging blog network as its replacement / fruition in exile. 

"Is Pop Undead?" - the klassic K-punk assault on Arctic Monkeys, in which he introduces the concept of nihilation (the negative drive to aggressively outflank and outmode rival forms of music, discredit and discard them - an energy fatally lacking in the contemporary scene) . Plus Mark's response to my response and his final response

"Nihil Rebound" - on Joy Division and the depressive truth of laddism. 

Glampunk Artpop Discontinuum. And more glam thoughts in this Glampirism post.

Pomophobia, Pt 2  (via Robbie Williams)

On Picnic At Hanging Rock

Posts on the wounds of class

On Michael Jackson

"Ontological rot" - a piece on the artist Nigel Cooke

There are too many Dissensus moments - but Mark was in top form in this thread he started about how he just didn't get Dylan. Made potent contributions (as did several others) to these more philosophically out-there pop-theory threads on pleasure and either/or versus plus/and (nihilation pt 2 really). And this - on why the name Dissensus for the forum he co-founded with Matt Woebot - is of historical interest.  As is his stormy exit from the forum a few years later.

A surprising piece from the briefly reactivated K-punk of several years ago - a revisionist celebration of The Jam as radical entryists

"Running on Empty" - a New Statesman essay about an energy crisis in pop culture resulting in declining rates of innovation. Most startling among many insights:"Technology has been decalibrated from cultural form. We can’t hear technology any more. There has been a gradual disappearance of the sound of technological rupture" (in favour of endless upgrades).  

Another New Statesman essay, this one on the connection between music and militancy. 

Mark returns to this theme - the relationship between political dissent and pop - against the backdrop the student protests and riots of 2011 - in this Wire end-of-year piece. (I always felt he was trying desperately here to avoid the utterly bleak conclusion that the mechanism that once connected music and the real world, social energy, issues, etc, had now broken down irrevocably).

His controversial intervention  "Exiting the Vampire Castle"  (containing a celebration / defense of Russell Brand)

On boredom  (via his archival blog Spectres of Mark - originally in Visual Arts News Sheet)

"The Secret Sadness of the 21st Century" - a piece on James Blake for Electronic Beats.

Secret Sadness, Pt 2 - on Drake. 

A definitive take on Sleaford Mods for The Wire

And a fantastic, ideas-packed, and wonderfully hopeful piece written immediately after the 2015 UK election and Labour's defeat - exploring the concept of  "political retromania" and arguing for the role of pop culture in creating a sense that change is possible, not through explicit politicized agitation so much as through the "indirect action" of generating new narratives, new images, new structures, new modes of feeling.

"leaving some signs / now a legend"