Putting The Joy Back Into Joy Division

It's been fifteen years since Joy Division's Ian Curtis put Iggy Pop's

The Idiot on the record player, took his daughter Natalie's

photograph from the wall, retrieved his wedding photo from a drawer,

and sat down to write his wife a suicide note. The next day Ian's wife

Deborah and Natalie returned home from a visit with Deborah's parents to

find Ian hanging from a rope in their kitchen. Now Deborah has broken

her fifteen year silence about what occurred on that awful day of May

18, 1980, in Touching From A Distance, published by Faber and


The book is a painful yet graceful look at the brooding, emotionally

adrift young man who was her husband. It also chronicles the

evolution of Joy Division­­a band whose influence is thought to have

been as potent and seminal as anyone since the Velvet Underground.

Many of the reminiscences in this book are heart wrenching and

painful, and have never been revealed elsewhere. There is a segment

devoted to Joy Division's concern about Curtis' increasing manic

episodes and violent epileptic fits, and the contingency plan that the

band members devised, a year before the suicide, about what they would

do if Curtis left the band.

The book also reveals that Curtis unsuccessfully attempted suicide on

April 7, 1980, because he was depressed about his state of his

marriage after he had admitted to having had an affair with Annik

Honore. According to an article in NME, that sticky situation

remained unresolved when Curtis killed himself a month later, and is

widely assumed to be the inspiration for Joy Division's hit, "Love

Will Tear Us Apart," released a month after Curtis' death, and the

words Deborah chose for her husband's crematorium stone. Besides this

brief look we've given you here, there are many more events that will

transfix you. Especially harrowing are the accounts of Curtis's

teenage years, when he continually expressed with an unshakable

certainly that he would never live beyond the age of 25. It's a

chilling, blunt account of a man and an era, and how they impacted

upon each other, and how that was transmuted into the starkly

beautiful music of Joy Division.