Wednesday, February 6, 2013


To the centre of the city where all roads meet, waiting for you,
To the depths of the ocean where all hopes sank, searching for you,
I was moving through the silence without motion, waiting for you,
In a room with a window in the corner I found truth.

- Shadowplay by Joy Division (1978)

Joy Division was one of many British bands, such as The Clash and The Buzzcocks, inspired by The Sex Pistols.   The band, started by four kids from Manchester, became one of the forerunners of what was called the "post-punk" movement using more melody and employing changes in sound dynamics to build tension (for a later use of this technique see Nirvana on songs such as Smells Like Teen Spirit).  At the time I was not listening to their music and, in fact, only heard Shadowplay for the first time a couple of years ago.

Joy Division's short run was ended by the 1980 suicide of its lead singer, Ian Curtis, whose marriage was dissolving and who had been recently diagnosed with epilepsy but continued performing despite doctors advice.  The remaining band members eventually formed New Order which had some popular success in the 1980s.

The band has remained a point of fascination for music fans and been the subject of two feature films, 24 Hour Party People (2002) and Control (2007) as well as a recent documentary, Joy Division.

Here they are in all their brooding magnificence on Granada TV performing Shadowplay.  Interesting dancing moves by Ian Curtis and a compelling, yet stark and simple, guitar riff.

1 comment:

  1. So that's what I heard back then, dm