Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture


“Joy Devotion is a multi-faceted look into the life and hype of Joy Division, covering angles you would not immediately think to consider when looking at the four-year lifetime of the Mancunian band.”


Joy Devotion is a collection of essays that range from warm, heart-felt narratives from fans; to concise, captivating analytical studies are carefully edited and collated by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike.

Curiously captivating chapters of the book include investigative comparisons of the two starkly opposed biopics 24 Hour Party People and Closer, which amusingly concludes that the two Ian’s from either film would not necessarily get on with each other. Another segment, taken from Jennifer’s own PhD research, is certainly a striking moment in the book. Here she elaborates in ‘Dark Tourism’ on the rite of passage that is attained by some fans when visiting the memorial stone of Ian Curtis.

Added extras include a lightly provocative interview from legendary photographer Kevin Cummins as a Foreword and a note from Stephen Morris as a Preface.

If you’re interested in Joy Division, we also recommend: Unknown Pleasures by Peter Hook and Torn Apart: The Life of Ian Curtis by Mick Middles and Lindsay Reade

Jennifer Otter Bickerdike is a self confessed anglophile from Santa Cruz. Working as a lawyer in the Record Industry until epiphany struck- and she decided to pack it all in, pack it all up and pursue her life-long dream of achieving a PhD in the U.K. She decided to place Joy Division at the centre of her investigation.

Punk had burst onto the scene with its aggressive raw energy, confrontational lyrics and rhythm guitars spewing out arrangements that were just unorthodox. It was that moment of revolutionary art, overturning what had gone before. Punk has not run its course. It continued, and continues, to this day with its music, spirit and attitude. But it fell on the next wave of bands to exploit the change that had been bought about. So here comes Post Punk – the refining of the raw art form of punk. Lyrics don’t shout protest but more like explain, discuss and contextualise political and social issues. Overwhelmingly independent, usually experimental, often Avant Garde, mostly monochrome, artistically diverse, continually moving forward and always Post.

Pere Ubu had been turning out a post punk sound even before punk had turned up and Bowie and Iggy Pop had been playing in that world too. We can probably point to Public Image as being the first true Post Punk outfit. Following on from PIL came a wave, or more like a tide of bands that were Post Punk. Joy Division and XTC, the Cure, the Slits, the Psychedelic Furs, Adam and the Ants, Durutti Column, Killing Joke, the Membranes, Visage and the fall. Fast forward to now, Interpol, The Killers, The Horrors – all with a lineage that can be traced back to Post Punk.

Our Post Punk Book collection includes Torn Apart the biography of Joy Division vocalist Ian Curtis by Mick Middles and Lindsay Reade, A fantastic photo account of New Order by Kevin Cummins, the story of Joy Division by Peter Hook and the acclaimed Rip it Up and Start Again by Simon Reynolds.

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