Why am I writing about Philip Kaplan? Pud founded AdBrite and Fucked Company. In retrospect, Fucked Company may have best thing I ever experienced on the internet (perhaps except for 4chan, about which I cannot and shall not comment). This is perhaps astounding because FC was nothing like the internet of today.
FC was all text.
Were such a forum to exist today, one might exclaim: “Fucked Company is the well-spring of tomorrow’s poetry, yet also the definitive locus of the internet’s largest anarchist cesspool.” A bizarre prototypical social network. I spent what seems like a lifetime reading FC during its brief existence, whose era was pre-Y2k to post 9-11. The “Happy-Fun-Slander” board, purportedly authored by vetted employees, was a momentum trader’s wet dream. I found my tribe among the free-for-all non-elite mosh-pits – a treasure-trove of unbounded raw emotion. The rumor was many comics and writers both tested and gathered material from the message boards there. When Pud finally shut it down (there were tears, lawsuits, and worse), I asked him if it’d be possible to curate a Best-Of book. I don’t think anything was ever re-constituted from its ashes, though Pud did sell a book about the experience of running the joint.
To be clear: FC was the antithesis of web properties today – anonymity was essential to its existence. As such, it was an elaborate sock puppet theater whose sophistication has not been replicated in the transparent, post-Facebook era. The only openly verified in-real-life FC persona was Pud.
Cut to today. I just asked Pud about his newest venture, Fandalism. I told him I’m a fan and I loved the concept, but I’d like to talk about what happens after the “dates” hook up .. ya know: getting tabs, rehearsal schedules, lyrics, finding the right key signature for the singer, remembering your unique arrangement, and so on.
If something wonderful results, I’ll let you know, but I feel very confident about approaching the domain defined by the intersection of “practical technology” and “musical practice”.
- 2002 BBC interview with Pud behind his drum kit talking about the early internet (including FC) .. after he finds out they’ve been taping for an hour, he starts playing (nice chops there!)