K-Punk

luka

Well-known member
I have these periods of contrition during which I strain every sinew in an attempt at good behaviour. Veins pulsing in the temples, desperate to stay on the straight and narrow.
 

poetix

we murder to dissect
(I assume you weren't attempting to persuade the assembled throng that true spiritual nobility in the innermost core of the personality was to be found by imitating the self-overcoming martial ethos of the SS...)
 

luka

Well-known member
Whatever had you done to occasion such a response?

Dedicating a whole series of blogs to explicating his neo-con agenda. Leo Strauss inspired mystagogugery. A delight in bombs exploding and the smell of napalm in the morning.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
I looked slightly askance at Toscano's Potemkin Village account of their recent trip to University of Tehran with Antonio Negri, if I remember. I think that's what triggered the episode.

I have to say, Nina herself was mortified by the whole thing.
 

craner

Beast of Burden
It was a Christmas Party and I'd helped to stir the mulled wine and everything, so I felt a bit aggrieved about it.

It was also around the time Mark was wearing his silver 'K' medallion.

Amazing times.
 

Mr. Tea

Shub-Niggurath, Please
Trying not to fart while a hot girl is sat next to him? Who knows. It's a brilliant photo anyway.
 

yyaldrin

in je ogen waait de wind
It was a Christmas Party and I'd helped to stir the mulled wine and everything, so I felt a bit aggrieved about it.

It was also around the time Mark was wearing his silver 'K' medallion.

Amazing times.

why are you celebrating christmas with some weirdos from the internet?
 

version

Well-known member
‘On Vanishing Land’ is legendary writer/theorist Mark Fisher’s deep topographical reading of the Suffolk Coast, conceived in 2006 for his former CCRU comrade Kodwo Eshun’s (and co’s) Otolith Group. The text is narrated by Justin Barton, who previously voiced John Foxx’s ‘The Quiet Man’, and set to suitably haunting sonic backdrops by the likes of Foxx, plus Raime and Baron Mordant. It’s issued as the first release on Flatlines, a sublabel of Hyperdub,which of course belongs to another of his CCRU comrades, Steve Goodman aka Kode 9. A must check!

“Hyperdub launch new sub-label, Flatlines, for the vinyl and digital release of On Vanishing Land, an audio-essay by Justin Barton and the late Mark Fisher. OVL evokes a walk along the Suffolk coastline in 2006, from Felixstowe container port ("a nerve ganglion of capitalism") to the Anglo-Saxon burial ground at Sutton Hoo. A walk under immense skies, through zones of deep time and within sunlit, liminal terrains, into the eerie.

Everywhere there are charged atmospheres, shadowy incursions, enigmatic departures. A derelict radar base, coastal heathland, drifting thistledown, towers of overgrown shipping containers - music haunted by wider levels of reality, narrations about rarely visited zones and potentials, voices of dreams and stories. Newly composed tracks by John Foxx, Gazelle Twin, Baron Mordant, Raime, Pete Wiseman, Farmers of Vega, Skjolbrot, Eerie Anglia, Ekoplekz and Dolly Dolly; and, alongside these, views toward M.R. James’s Oh Whistle and I’ll Come to You My Lad (1904), Joan Lindsay’s Picnic at Hanging Rock (1967), and Brian Eno’s On Land (1982).

Beyond the surface of the day something becomes visible, a way forward, an escape-path from capitalist reality. On Vanishing Land is about following the lines of terrains and dreams. It is about a micropolitics of escape, of disappearance. A micropolitics of waking the faculties.

“It is April, but it feels like summer. They turn left onto the seafront […]”

On Vanishing Land was initially part of an exhibition commissioned by The Otolith Collective and The Showroom in London, and after londonunderlondon (2005) it was the second audio-work collaboration by Justin Barton and Mark Fisher. The LP cover features photos taken by Mark Fisher and a short essay by Justin Barton.”
 

version

Well-known member
“Mark Fisher was the intellectual leader of a generation”

The early weeks of 2017 were traumatic for Alex Niven. His newborn son was not sleeping. His partner had suffered significant blood loss during a difficult birth. Then his friend Mark Fisher, the founder of the K-Punk blog and the “intellectual leader of a generation” as Niven describes him, killed himself. All this coincided with a period in which Corbynism seemed to be in retreat. Niven could scarcely sleep and, as he writes in his latest book, New Model Island, he began listening obsessively to Echo & the Bunnymen’s “The Killing Moon”. “It felt like a completely hopeless moment,” he told me. “A moment of total disillusionment and defeat.”

He writes about this disillusionment and how it eventually lifted in New Model Island, which mixes theoretical analysis about our disunited kingdom, polemic, memoir and cultural criticism and is influenced by the writings of Fisher. When we met recently at the New Statesman offices in London, I asked Niven about his friend’s legacy.

Fisher (pictured above) was 48 when he died and had spent much of his career feeling marginalised, as a writer and academic. “Mark was a kind of precarious labourer on the fringes of academia,” Niven told me. “He was marginalised in a very literal sense because apart from a year or two before he died he only ever had temporary fellowships in further education.”

Fisher’s experiences resonated for a generation of millennial students who were highly educated but did not have job security and could not afford a home of their own. “That, in a sentence,” says Niven, “is the basis of intellectual Corbynism. Corbynism is not really about Corbyn: it’s about this intellectual generation that was waiting for its moment to cross over and hadn’t been able to because of a precarious work culture.”

What Niven calls the “neoliberalisation of education” affected Fisher. He channelled his frustration into writing Capitalist Realism (2009), which explores, as Fisher wrote, “the widespread sense that not only is capitalism the only viable political and economic system, but also that it is now impossible even to imagine a coherent alternative to it”.

Niven admires what he calls the “almost spiritual dimension to Mark’s writing. Capitalist Realism is about how we are spiritually impoverished. We are trapped psychologically in this punitive, almost dystopian, work culture.”

One consequence is people’s feelings of powerlessness. Another is their inability to conceptualise a future that is different from the present. “The feeling that we can’t express alternative ways of being and ways of thinking – for me that’s the main thing Capitalist Realism does well by personalising the effects of neoliberalism.”

Niven is a lecturer in English literature at Newcastle University and he’s also worked as an editor on the imprint Zer0 Books, which was founded by the novelist Tariq Goddard and published Fisher. His latest project is editing the letters of the modernist poet Basil Bunting for Oxford University Press, but as an academic he faces a conundrum. “This is the book I want to write” – he points to a copy of New Model Island – “and it says all the things I want to say but I will struggle to get it on to the REF [the Research Excellence Framework] because it’s not an academic monograph. We have reduced academic labour to quantitative measurements, to tables and targets. Capitalist Realism, which wasn’t on a university press imprint, was marked low on the REF.”

This is regrettable. New Model Island can be dense in places. The language is often technical, in the style of academic cultural studies. But there are passages of arresting memoir, it makes a powerful political argument directly relevant to the constitutional moment, and it looks beyond the (inevitable?) break-up of the United Kingdom through advocating a new kind of “radical regionalism”. Above all else, it makes you think.

In person Niven, bespectacled and lightly bearded, is unassuming, even bashful. He speaks quietly and slowly and, for a polemicist, is not at all combative. Like Fisher – like me! – he became a reader because of the music press, particularly the NME.

“I was growing up in rural Northumberland and read the NME every week and it was a source of education. But around 2001, after having sections on dance music and politicised letters pages, it suddenly became very mainstream.”

The response of Fisher and others to the decline of the NME and the conservatism of the mainstream media was to start blogs and open up their own creative spaces. This, the architectural critic Owen Hatherley wrote of his friend Fisher after his death, was “writing of a sort that wasn’t supposed to exist any more”.

Or, as Niven puts it now: “The music press had sold out and we were the music press in exile.”

One of the ideas in Niven’s book is that Englishness is “defined by absence or hiddenness”. He struggles “to see a coherent basis for England and Englishness” and is sceptical of what he calls a unitary patriotism. “The only time I’ve really felt English is watching the England football team. We don’t exist as a national culture because we were an imperialist internationalist culture.”

The ultimate purpose of the book “was to try to imagine something beyond both Englishness and Britishness if that were possible”. He’s on to something – because creating a new national imaginary will surely be the defining challenge of the age of Brexit.

https://www.newstatesman.com/politics/uk/2019/11/mark-fisher-was-intellectual-leader-generation
 

catalog

Well-known member
Sounds like a good book, will look out for it. I work in a uni and I used to think I was doing the right thing, cos at least I wasn't a lawyer or accountant, but the turn in unis from what they were 20 years ago is fierce.

Mark Fisher philosophy keeps getting higher and higher profile. All the people I've mentioned him to have read him and had something to say. If they don't like 'capitalist realism', they do like 'the weird and the eerie'. The sheer range ensures something for everyone.

I've only dipped in to things myself, really liked a few bits, others passed me by.

This board probably contains a huge amount of hitherto unpublished k punk material that might be worth collating in some way, not that I'm going to do it, there are others more qualified.
 

version

Well-known member
I've been steadily working my way through the blogs from the beginning, also got a copy of Capitalist Realism on the way for Christmas. Have to say it felt a bit grim ordering a book like that from Amazon of all places.
 
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