Ahead of tonight’s event at the ICA, my curatorial partner-in-chaos Natasha Eves, in collaboration with our friends Archie Smith and Kitty McKay of INCURSIONS, have written a beautiful essay for Huck Magazine about why these nights are so important to us.
Mark Fisher taught us as undergraduates. In our second year, we spent weeks dedicated to his Popular Modernism module, which focused on moments of the “new” in popular culture. From the androgynous cyborg Grace Jones, to pop-collagist Richard Hamilton and the desire laden sounds of Roxy Music – the latter both Newcastle graduates. Mark’s teachings reached out to working-class kids and helped them bloom in their academic studies, as they realised that the culture they brought with them – film, music, comics, TV – deserved and commanded a critical place in the university.
His best moments were his angriest, when he would swear and seethe at the front of the classroom about the injustices of neoliberal capitalism. Mark knew what it felt like to not belong, and it was this sense of not-belonging that he shared with his students, creating a furtive bond of mutual support. At the end of the first year of his Popular Modernism class in 2015, he sent us the ‘No More Miserable Monday Mornings’ mix. He was proud of us, his Monday morning class, and demonstrated it in the best way he knew: by making a mix.
Check it out here.
All of this feels extra potent tonight, following the news that SOPHIE has passed away.
To reiterate a message left on Twitter, these nights have always been emotionally-muddled and complex reunions between friends and strangers, thrown together to remember someone who was both a friend and stranger to many, but who we all admired nonetheless. With that spirit in mind, let tonight be for SOPHIE as well as for k-punk.
If you want to come and hang out and be together whilst listening to tunes, you can join this temporary Discord server.
The main thing missing from tonight will be the smoking area and the walk home and the teary chats and the laughter and joy. By all means huddle around your friends and neighbours but if you want to come hang out in our virtual smoking area and celebrate and grieve with strangers, you can do that here too.