You will be hard-pressed to find an Ian Curtis fan greater than myself and so this past Tuesday did not come and go as just any ordinary Tuesday. Tuesday for me was a day of great remembrance, a day of gratitude for the power of music, and a rare occasion to listen to unlimited Joy Division.
I don't usually listen to a bunch of Joy Division music all at once nor do I just hit shuffle on the ipod and let their music play mixed amongst other music. Listening to Joy Division is just not like that.
Although grim, because Tuesday marked 30 years since the passing of Ian Curtis it felt right to listen to him differently than I usually do. Tuesday I listened to Joy Division on the train, at work, while eating dinner, with other people around, and mixed amongst other music. And it felt okay on that day. Listening to Joy Division for me is a very personal experience; best done alone and never mixed with any other artists. Listening to Joy Division is unlike anything else and also very hard to describe, yet Toby Kebbell as Rob Gretton was able to do so perfectly in Control when he said, "I hold my hands up! I am a believer in Joy Division! Fucking hallelujah!"
Prior to performing Joy Division's classic album Unknown Pleasures in full on Tuesday evening, Peter Hook paid an emotional visit to the grave of Ian in Macclesfield, Cheshire.
Hook told nme.com, "I went to see Ian's grave this morning as it was such a beautiful day that I thought I'd go and say hello to him and see how he was. It's really odd after all these years, that when you go and do something like that, that you see all these tributes (at the grave) and it's really nice."
Hook and his band The Light performed later that evening at Manchester's FAC 251 in a fitting tribute to Curtis; performing Joy Division's debut album Unknown Pleasures in its entirety. Hook led his current band through a host of classic Joy Division songs, kicking off the night with a rare song, "A Later Date."
"It's been a long time since that got a f******* airing!" Hook said before launching into a typically punchy version of "Warsaw," followed by the rest of the 1978 EP An Ideal for Living.
From bbc.co.uk: The surprises kept coming with the opening riff from "Digital" drawing the loudest cheers of the night.
When Hook finally got around to the main event of playing Unknown Pleasures track-by-track, he and his band surpassed all expectations.
The opening bars to "Disorder" were enough to make the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and Hook was clearly taken aback at the response the track generated, saying: "You’ve just made an old man very happy."
Former Happy Mondays singer Rowetta took over vocal duties for "Candidate" and "Insight," before Hook took centre stage once again to deliver stunning versions of "She's Lost Control," and "Shadowplay," highlighting the fact that nearly every track on the album is a classic.
Hook encored with "Transmission," and reappeared to end the night with an extended version of the track most associated with Curtis, "Love Will Tear Us Apart."
Manchester's Northern Chamber Orchestra announced this week that a symphony has been composed in honor of Curtis. From guardian.co.uk: "Joy Division's style of music is quite sparse and simple," explained Helen Quayle, education co-ordinator for the Manchester-based ensemble. "The kids can understand and take elements of that and write for a string quartet using the same technique."
The project, the Joy Division Symphony, is a collaboration between the Northern Chamber Orchestra and two schools in Macclesfield, and will be part of a Macclesfield summer tribute to Curtis.
Curtis' hometown of Macclesfield will be hosting Unknown Pleasures which takes place from July 29 until August 7 and will be the first exhibition to feature the music and lyrics of Joy Division, and personal exhibits inspired by their music.
The exhibition will also include a walking tour of Joy Division's Macclesfield, a key stop being 77 Barton Street where Curtis lived, wrote many JD songs, and ultimately took his own life. The walk will continue to Curtis' memorial site where his headstone bears the words Love Will Tear Us Apart.
Other stops on the tour will include Joy Division rehearsal spaces, pubs where they performed, and the Travellers' Rest and Krumbles nightclub - where Joy Division first played.
A guide map will be available throughout Macclesfield during the festival to help fans walk in the footsteps of the band - including the Armitt Street labour exchange, where Curtis worked, and King School where he and JD drummer Stephen Morris attended.
The exhibition will also include other events around Macclesfield, including design sessions, percussion workshops, and guided photography tours. Macclesfield Museums Trust director Richard de Peyer said: "Macclesfield has never had the opportunity to celebrate Ian Curtis's work in a way which benefits the communities of the town and also attracts music fans from far and wide. This summer seemed like the right moment to do that."