Today is Blue Monday according to the depression experts. Apparently, if you’re going to feel low any time this year, today’s the day.
I never set great store by such notions, more often than not such stories amount to nothing more than clickbait.
But the post festive gloom descended heavily upon me this morning when I woke to the sad and shocking news that music critic and modern culture guru Mark Fisher has passed at the ridiculously young age of 48.
I Googled for some indication of the cause of death and eventually found that he committed suicide on Friday 13th January. He has written about his battle with depression and evidently this curse proved too much in the end.
Fisher came to public prominence as K-Punk, a name deriving from his influential blog which, above all, brilliantly placed the Dubstep genre and Hauntology into musical and sociological context.
Blogging under this alias he showed that he was a populist at heart who had no wish to be tagged as an earnest critical theorist. Whether analysing Jacques Derrida or Dr. Who, he had the rare gift of casting an academic eye on popular culture and fixing a cynical gaze on academia.
In his essay entitled ‘The Past Is An Alien Planet’ in Ghosts of my Life (Zero Books, 2014) he wrote: “We are all living in a culture that has lost confidence not just that the future was good, but that any future is possible”.
On the subject of Retromania, a topic his friend Simon Reynolds has also written about extensively, Fisher summed up this phenomenon succinctly: “Everything is an echo of what has happened before”.
In the brilliant opening essay from this collection ‘The Slow Cancellation of the Future’ Fisher attempted to externalize the negativity but seeing the world without filter, as he did, means that its hard to find much cause for comfort.
Mark Fisher’s death is a great loss because we sorely need voices like his to expose the ugliness that lies hidden beneath the cloak of capitalism.
Today is indeed a Blue Monday.