About Me

My photo
I'm Chris. I'm 22 years old and I'm into a large variety of music, from Metal in its many forms (mostly the extreme ones) to Goth and Postpunk, Reggae, Jazz, Prog, Techno, Ambient and Film Scores. This is where I rave about albums I really like, and other stuff.

Sunday, 27 April 2014

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook

Keep on demolishing those myths

Joy Division was without a doubt, one of the most important bands of the modern day. They practically invented goth, for better or worse, inspiring legions of clones who could only ever imitate them at the superficial “gloomy” level. Over the years, much has been written about the tragic story of this group and its late singer Ian Curtis. Films such as Anton Corbijn’s “Control” ( a fantastic piece of film making, it must be said) only serve to perpetuate the myth of Curtis being this T.S. Elliot type, a brooding poet who stood apart from his friends. That he was, but only to an extent. Peter Hook’s “Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division” does much to paint a far more realistic and believable portrait of the man as “one of us”, and offers probably the most vital account of Joy Division’s short career yet. He was the bassist, after all. I haven’t even finished reading this book yet but over the last 3 days I haven’t been able to put it down, and I just had to praise it.

Having found myself hooked on his “The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club” I knew this one would be just as essential. Hooky takes us from beginning to end, growing up, meeting Bernard Sumner, founding the group, success, and the sudden jolt of the end while they were on the edge of a breakthrough American tour. This, apparently, was all that Curtis wanted all along, but as anyone who knows this band is aware, his personal circumstances became too much to handle. Given the fact that Hook and the other members of Joy Division/New Order are currently bitterly estranged (a frankly sorry state of affairs for what once was one of the very finest British groups), Hook does make a few personal criticisms of Sumner and the others throughout...however, he’s always quick to balance it out by praising them (especially Sumner) as musicians. He’s clearly proud, and rightfully so, of being a groundbreaking bass player with lines such as “She’s Lost Control” practically re-inventing the instrument in the context of modern rock, and its great to see his appreciation (in hindsight) of Martin Hannett’s genius production of their music. He also gives an intriguing track-by-track commentary to the albums which is like gold dust to fans like me.

However, what I admire most about this book is Hooky’s down to earth nature. Just as with his book about the Hacienda, reading “Unknown Pleasures” is like hearing him reminisce casually, yet thoroughly, about those times as if you were sat having a conversation with him. Despite their austere public image, these 4 guys got up to plenty of mischief on the road just like any other band and there are plenty of funny antics to read about. Its so refreshing to see the band’s story being told this way. There’s been so much pretentious nonsense written about Joy Division over the years, we really don’t need any more, especially not from one of the guys who was actually in Joy Division. I’m looking at you, Paul Morley. Now all that's left for Hook to do is publish the New Order book alluded to in the pages of this one. Can't wait for that.

No comments:

Post a Comment