I lived with Karkowski for nearly two years, when he first came to Holland. we did not part on good terms. actually, I was arrested, and he went to hospital. be that as it may, I would never wish such a painful death on anyone.
without going into specifics about who did what to whom, it is striking that the obituaries are all wrong. they contain numerous inaccuracies which unfortunately, I am in a unique position to comment on.
the written work Karkowski did was all taken, pretty much verbatim, from books he loaned from me. he joked about "stealing", because that's what "great artists do". his "studies" with the famous composers which have been trotted out were no more than a few hours at best. he was also a closet gay, who had "experimented" with such an orientation in Paris, but "gave it up" (his words) because he realised that most of the people he wished to be in contact with would not approve. that's what he told me, anyway.
his wikipedia page edits me out. he was involved in several projects with me.
my first meeting with him was a phone call, out of the blue - my number in Amsterdam had been given to him by C.M. Von Hausswolff. we went to some bar, where he proceeded to get very drunk, and told me how he was milking the Swedish state for money, and that it was a "paradise", as far as getting funds allocated to artists. he also spoke of how he was conning a vast amount of money from the Swedish government writing an opera that was never to be performed.
shortly thereafter, he moved to Holland, and began a long-ish association with STEIM, where he took up the apartment at the back of the building. it was this association that gave us access to their studio facilities, and that is where all of the collaboration we ever did was done. except for the "Cosmic Trigger" CD, which was recorded at Chalmers University on a Sunday afternoon, while Karkowski played a racing pigeons game on an early Mac while the rest of the work was done.
he was a superb communicator in some senses. people often accuse me of arrogance and related epithets, but to see Karkowski in full flow was to witness a master of the art. have a look at the interviews on the appalling bootleg tape of phauss/karkowski/bilting. if anyone was arrogant, it was him.
he was also very funny, and had a great laugh. this is what I will always remember.
but he was a rotten person. truly. he did some terrible things to the mother of his child, and to quite a few other people I know. not to mention me.
no, don't speak ill of the dead, they say. I always imagined he would outlive me. and he would have been just as castigating (but less pretentious) about me.
Karkowski would never go towards the light, because he would never listen to anyone. and that was his greatest failing. he thought he knew it all. he was as insecure and messed up as anyone. but he would not deal with it.
and now, perhaps he will.
I loved him, and I hated him. you can't ask better than that.
"Zbigniew died aged 55, just six weeks later on Thursday December 12th in the jungles of Peru where he had travelled seeking treatment with the Shaman healers of the Shipibo."
all I can say is that this, to me, shows his fear. originally, I was told he has asked that his body be "dumped in the jungle". wouldn't that have been such a macho, radical, devil-may-care über-nihilist thing to do?
if he went to all the trouble and expense of trying to save his carcass, he was still clinging.