‘So This is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks’ by Ian Curtis

‘His lyrics tell much more about him than a conversation with him ever could’ – Deborah Curtis, Foreword.

So This Is Permanence is a hallowed scripture that is permeated with the haunting musings of the great poet, song-writer and singer Ian Curtis. The book draws upon Ian’s personal notebooks; carefully deconstructing and assembling together a piece of art from the legend’s relics. It features hand-written lyrics, revised drafts of songs and some otherwise unpublished pages from his notebooks. The finalised lyrics are typed and set out like miniature poems: they become their own evocative artefacts that echo a man and a band that once was. At the beginning there is an insightful foreword from Ian’s widow Deborah, as well as an extensive introduction from the punk connoisseur Jon Savage.

Joy Division were a band steeped in mystique: their approach to music making was borne off of the tail of punk, but was reconditioned under a spell of despondency, fatalism and melancholy. Ian was known to be battling with his own inner turmoil: he suffered from depression, epilepsy and intense stage fright that alienated him from the mainstream. Music was his artistic outlet, his way to somehow make sense of himself in a place that he was otherwise lost in. Ian tragically commit suicide in 1980, and he, and the band, remain in post-punk folklore forever.

Some may question why you’d want to own a book filled with lyrics that are erroneous or perhaps futile without the music, yet it is the intimacy that you gain in this book that makes it truly magical. Every fault, every crossing-out, every addition is displayed in Ian’s handwriting; lyrics that are now lost, lyrics that are now fortified in Joy Division’s catalogue are laid bare. The book sheds light on both Curtis’ beautifully mythical and melancholic creativity, as well as his intimate mental turmoil. He turned his demons into powerful art, and this book is a piece that beautifully pays homage to that.

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