TOUCHING FROM A DISTANCE - IAN CURTIS AND JOY DIVISION
While she tells what she can of the band's career, she was excluded, so this book doesn't really tell you much about the music or the band members and stuff like that you might expect. You get to read plenty about Ian and Deborah on a personal level, a lot of it is pretty shocking. Everyone looks upon him as a god, a tortured soul and all that. Even though the movie Control (2007) shows some of the ugly sides, this book gives you a lot of it. I knew I would be sad when reading this book, but not shocked and angry! I feel really bad for Deborah (and Natalie).
Almost immediately after his suicide the story ends.
But we're not finished yet! The end of the book lists Joy Division's entire discography, lyrics (Warsaw, Joy Division, unfinished and unseen), a list of all the gigs they did.
Bonus, the middle has a glossy insert with 16 nice photos! The rest of the book feels like the typical 90's paperback, you know, when the paper is kind of rough and dark?
The edition I have is the 2014 reprint (this book was originally published in 1995) with forewords by both John Savage and Stephen Morris.
I read it pretty much in one sitting. It's only a little over 200 pages, but I wouldn't say it's the lightest read. Therefore I would only recommend it for big fans, and of course, if you can take the sadness of it all. That and it's not so much about the music and band itself. So if you are a Joy Division fan, I definitely recommend picking this up! Great to have in your music book collection.
The title of the book is taken from this song.
JOY DEVOTION - THE IMPORTANCE OF IAN CURTIS AND FAN CULTURE
There is lots of talk about Ian Curtis' grave, how it is treated, and the tourism in Macclesfield after his death. There are also interviews with some people who went to the legendary Joy Division concert on april 8th 1980! You'll read about a graphic novel and play about the band, a beer called Unknown Pleasures, the movies where Ian Curtis is revived, tribute bands and much more.
It also includes a very in-depth discography, and an insert in the middle with tons of color photographs from Ian Curtis' grave. The book has lots of photos, but in black and white.
Preface by Stephen Morris and foreword by Kevin Cummings, published in 2016 in various formats.
The book is barely over 100 pages, so it took me the duration of Unknown Pleasures (collector's edition) and Closer to finish it. I have to admit some of the parts in it were very dry. But I did enjoy most of it, reading about how the band has affected people and how the scene was at the time.
But I still feel the book is missing something. I can't quite put my finger on it, whether it is the academic approach to some of the content, the multiple contributors writing very short texts each, or if it's something else. I'm not sure what I expected, but this wasn't quite it.
I would only recommend it if you are a big fan of Joy Division, and definitely if you're the type who would write about them at university and likes that kind of reading material.
My favorite Joy Division song, probably. It's not on Unknown Pleasures, so wrong art.
Have you read these? What did you think? If not, will you? And have you read other books about artists and their respective scenes? I would love some recommendations!