Ian Curtis killed himself on the eve of a U.S. tour.
Archive for June, 2009
Seli implores me: Come to New York! I shouldn’t, but do, and I’m glad I did.
Pinwheeling through Panic! the skinny tie reaches terminal velocity.
I’ve got to get out of this place.
We can dance, and we like to, and our arms pump from the elbows while feet slip-shuffle over fragments of dropped glasses and still-sticky ice-cubes. It’s an alternative canon, some lexicon of ‘men with guitars’ that prides intellect over testosterone – just. The Velvet Underground as valid as The Beta Band as valid as Baader Meinhof as valid as Titus Andronicus as valid as Josef K as valid as A Certain Ratio as valid as Deerhunter as valid as Gang of Four as valid as the next new noise same as the old new noise.
Where is the sunshine sound in the centre of the city? Joy Division came close, but “Sorry For Laughing” comes closer.
Forty feet above St Johns Street I slept on a rooftop, vegan sausages plump on a barbeque of tinfoil. People died in that heat while I sipped rum and swapped stories, not much younger but a lifetime ago.
Seriously, once and never again: That level of bullshit isn’t worth repeat visits.
Pete lost big. An echo of a conversation with Kieron, who I had not yet met: How would you feel if The Libertines reformed? They would not be The Libertines, I tell him.
There is a always a girl at the crossroads. She forces you to commit to directions, nudging you along paths you might not otherwise take.
Morley pauses for breath, supping from a strong coffee over breakfast at Veselka’s. He says “Ian Curtis was the ageless voice of reason, despairing in the night as the towers man built up threatened to block out the sun. He was the question, static, hanging unasked. The answer could only be found in a place far distant from material concerns, which is why his music became a topography of dark pop, embracing machines to tell a vast and base story about lonliness and longing and love and liminality and literature and light.”
“And we can daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaance!”
Formative years: the kaleidoscope settles on a prim vision of grey, epaulettes and skinny ties topping Converse and skittish movement.
E: I thought you didn’t like him?
M: No, I loved him. You can’t not like someone after that.
Yeah, but it cut me up when polo shirts and football fans knew the words to “Albion”, because that foggy sound was mine. Loose lipped whispers, muddy drunk in gin and mine, fucking mine.
It’s in the cry of “No Love Lost” when it crackles through speakers.
Ian and Pete were tall, the dream versions of both even taller. They ____________ grappled. The fight awkward. ____________ It was all elbows and limbs and style. In one you found terse tones and history, in the other gin and fables.
Bitterly drunk, he tells the family that he can’t remember the name of last night’s girl. His sister, though amused, tells him to get his shit together.
There was a period of about five months where I was seldom sober and utterly heartbroken. I listened to a lot of Joy Division and found myself in a self-destructive non-relationship with someone I met through a music-industry contact. I try to let elements of that leak into my writing, pretty much as an exorcism.
“Matt, I think you need to get counselling.”
I’d count the stops to myself.
“Stop taking things so seriously!” she said, but – by god – I’d only just started.
“Look, I made you a mix-CD” and of course I fell in love.
The girl at the crossroads sent me by way of Interpol, Franz Ferdinand, Bloc. Party, The Futureheads, jerky guitar pop of the noughties. They were beautiful days, with notions of authenticity and fidelity dismissed hastily. But that fell apart when I started working backwards.
Biographically, you’ll see, I found Joy Division at exactly the right time, which is to say at a bad time.
I could talk around E- forever
Isolated, full of cold, freezing, sad, sleeping in skinny jeans, duvet augmented by a winter coat, no heating, occasionally leaky ceiling, mice, five months drunk.
There’s that photo of Curtis looking back at the camera, escaping the confines of greyscale for an instant, searching for the man muttering “This is the way, step inside”
He was tall, wore his hair practically but scruffy and had it cropped shorter as he got older. The suburbs dissatisfied him. Pages of notebooks and blank sheets began to be filled with his handwriting, taking the vistas of his idols and writing himself into the cracks.
Unknown Pleasures builds you up and knocks you down and nobody else can hope to understand it, especially the ill-advised one-night-stand who shivers beside you under the sheets before leaving for the nightbus.