Wednesday, 6 August 2008
Ian Curtis Torn Apart.
A beautiful young man performs the old combination Albert Camus jacket and Jimmy Dean cigarette trick.
“And we would go on as though nothing was wrong.
And hide from these days we remained all alone.
Staying in the same place, just staying out the time.
Touching from a distance,further all the time”.
Transmission. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
Now here’s the thing. When I was twenty three, it was a rather peculiar and relatively pleasant year. We rehearsed our ragged band by the beach, I had a French girlfriend and we knew that maybe we had something, but things can tend to collapse rather harshly for naïve and innocent young men. And they did. And my, my, the feeling one gets when you believe that with a guitar, a beat, a pen and paper, a camera, ideas, expression, a few dreamy warm friends and a car etc, you can maybe walk with the immortals someday. And sometimes we do.
Thus I often like young men and not merely because they remind me of me, and they do. But my little son too, is me in some ways and even more so, himself. As yet unfulfilled promise and potential that only the sparkling young have as they flash by, dread with amusing posturing and a natural raw endearing openness. And their frightening vulnerability to despair and potential for self-destruction. Ah yes, I’ve just watched Control, the near perfect film on Ian Curtis, the talented, charismatic, interesting singer and successful suicide of the band Joy Division. He had plenty to offer and say. I also dug the doco too, also very good. First of all, I wish none of these talented people or otherwise were dead, and certainly not for something as ephemeral as music.
Though Ian most likely died from depression brought on by epilepsy; the pressures of a young marriage; pop music and Hell, growing up in the unbelievable first world poverty of England’s Manchester. And Jesus, who can be sure in the end? Hey, the English working class brand of bleakness is rather hard to conceive of, unless like me, your parent’s were working class English. For my folks as kids, ten to fourteen kids per family and half of them dead before their teens was the er, norm. My Father being booted in the stomach by his Scottish bastard miner of a Father, until my old man was rolling in his own piss... With no one to complain to and no real idea that maybe it’s a crime against children. My Lord.
“Was the same next door, like, lad...”
Thus the immediate effect of the lyric, feel and beat of the Curtis and Joy Division sound. Bleak as all get out but defiant and cathartic at the same time. Yeah, I dig it. Hey, don’t think I was a hip teenager or even in my twenties. I was a confused mess, and entirely unsuccessful, though things have picked up since Wednesday!
I like Curtis because he seemingly had little faux geopolitics and easy rebellion against the establishment drivel in his stuff. Maybe I missed it or he didn’t have enough time to be another clichéd pop rebel in which any real totalitarianism never registers a blip. That’s the fashion now to attack gee, George Bush and gosh, Christianity! Wow, live in fear, uber rebels... Er. No. The first pop or film misfit to say lets liberate North Korea and stop the murder of women in Islam or end corrupt cannibal fiefdoms in Africa etc, will be first to strike a note of sincerity. Until then, rebel, rebel, your fake rebellion is largely a mess of tinsel...
"I'll always touch you". Jimi Hendrix.
I like that Ian appeared to stay grounded within the human condition kinda, mostly. Something he knew about, being focused as they say in the doco, on human suffering. Odd and miserable, ordinary and a good laugh all in one was our Ian. Sure, plenty of his bits were naff young mans doggerel, but certainly he could really strike a perfect seam of lyric, compressed, stripped and raw. He was only twenty three, after all. I believe I had learnt to almost tie my own shoelaces at that age. Ah, so beautiful when this happened and was then performed. Like in the largely unnoticed first verse of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'. Most folks know the chorus only. Very fickle ya pop fans. Maybe every relationship should come with this warning attached....Na. Then we'd most likely have no art or nuttin'. What do I know?
"Now hear this!"
“When routine bites hard, and ambitions are low,
And resentment rides high, but emotions won't grow,
And we're changing our ways, taking different roads,
Then love, love will tear us apart again”. Love will tear us apart. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
A great and beautifully tailored summation of a rather common and human level event. Hard to avoid and he was only 23. Bloody great stuff, Curtis my boy. What a terrible thing that a young man should be so ill equipped to deal with life? But then he did have that ‘effing epilepsy. Jesus Christ. It must have been worse than Depeche Mode. In Control, the film on Ian Curtis, Sam Riley plays our man in Manchester, circa late 1970’s. What a great piece of work by him as the lead. Dutch director Anton Corbijin shot this magnificent achievement. One does not need to like Joy Division to dig the film. It is a very cool and nuanced human drama, hepcats.
“Walk in silence,
Don’t walk away, in silence.
See the danger, always danger,
Endless talking, life rebuilding,
Don’t walk away.
Walk in silence,
Don’t turn away, in silence.
Your confusion, my illusion,
Worn like a mask of self-hate,
Confronts and then dies.
Don’t walk away.
People like you find it easy,
Naked to see, walking on air.
Hunting by the rivers,
Through the streets.
Every corner abandoned too soon,
Set down with due care.
Don’t walk away in silence,
Don’t walk away”. Atmosphere. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
Rather reflective of a certain mind set dare I say, of the Left inclined? Hell yeah!
Here’s one on a seemingly curious mix of the aftermath of an Obama rally and a terrorist attack. I could be wrong. Ian also recomends psychiatric care for Left Liberalism. I told ya Ian thought a lot about human suffering. Theirs and ours!
“I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand,
Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?
These sensations barely interest me for another day,
I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, take the shock away.
It’s getting faster, moving faster now, it’s getting out of hand,
On the tenth floor, down the back stairs, it’s a no mans land.
Lights are flashing; cars are crashing; getting frequent now,
I’ve got the spirit, lose the feeling, let it out somehow”. Disorder. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
How did he know? Well there ain’t nothin’ new...Here Ian foretells the limp memory and non-existent morals of the post 9/11 "what me worry?" crowd. There's some great return of the son of the hippie touches too.
“Procession moves on, the shouting is over,
Praise to the glory of loved ones now gone.
Talking aloud as they sit round their tables,
Scattering flowers washed down by the rain.
Stood by the gate at the foot of the garden,
Watching them pass like clouds in the sky,
Try to cry out in the heat of the moment,
Possessed by a fury that burns from inside.
Cry like a child, though these years make me older,
With children my time is so wastefully spent,
A burden to keep, though their inner communion,
Accept like a curse an unlucky deal.
Played by the gate at the foot of the garden,
My view stretches out from the fence to the wall,
No words could explain, no actions determine,
Just watching the trees and the leaves as they fall”. The Eternal. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
Amazin’! It’s like Ian was standing on the kerb watching a Berkley Code Pink and MoveOn march! And finally, Ian goes searching for meaning, sense and rational actions at Columbia U and comes away empty handed, leaves the Democrats and joins the P.J. O’Rourke Chapter of the Republicans.
“Let's take a ride out, see what we can find,
A valueless collection of hopes and past desires.
I never realized the lengths I’d have to go,
All the darkest corners of a sense I didn’t know.
Just for one moment, I heard somebody call,
Looked beyond the day in hand, there’s nothing there at all.
Now that I’ve realized how it’s all gone wrong,
Gotta find some therapy, this treatment takes too long.
Deep in the heart of where sympathy held sway,
Gotta find my destiny, before it gets too late”. 24 hours. Ian Curtis and Joy Division
“Got nowhere to run to baby, got nowhere
to hide”. Nowhere to Run. Martha and the Vandellas.
What is a Vandella anyway? Naturally, I think that if Ian joined today’s Republicans, he still may have hung himself. I wish he hadn’t and that the bugger was still around. God Bless him.
“Why is the bedroom so cold? You've turned away on your side.
Is my timing that flawed, our respect run so dry?
Yet there's still this appeal that we've kept through our lives
Love, love will tear us apart again.
You cry out in your sleep, all my failings expose,
There's a taste in my mouth, as desperation takes hold.
Just that something so good just can't function no more.
When love, love will tear us apart again”. Love will tear us apart. Ian Curtis and Joy Division.
Hey, if anything contains an art, one can find resonances for many things within it. That's why it thrilled us the first time. Ian Curtis. A beautiful young man, as all the young kind of are.