‘Unknown Pleasures / Inside Joy Division’ by Peter Hook

‘Guess what? We brought him round, he said he was all right, and we carried on. I should call the book that, shouldn’t I? He Said He Was All Right So We Carried On.’ – Peter Hook

Post Punk outfit Joy Division have been relentlessly romanticised: their cruelly brief existence; the tortured poet as front man, the dark, brooding sound, have all ensured the band have written themselves into musical folklore. Peter Hook – the bassist – offers in his entertaining memoir Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures the demystification of a band that are steeped in melancholy and mystery.

Whilst Peter, of course, cannot ignore the suicide of one of his best friends, saying that Ian Curtis was the ‘glue that held them together’ and that the guilt that the other band mates felt was a byproduct of their ‘selfishness, stupidity, [and] wilful ignorance’, Peter is keen to re-present and re-render the tormented singer:  ‘he was still a guy in a band and he liked to do what guys do in a band. Which is to cop off with girls and have a laugh.’ Having a laugh, in this case, manifests itself in Ian’s juvenility with him pissing in ashtrays and pranking the Buzzcocks with ten pounds of maggots.

Peter literally shows inside – and outside – Joy Division; from their formation at the infamous first Sex Pistols gig to Ian’s affair with Annik Honore; from the ogling of girls, through to the production of Unknown Pleasures and Closer, Peter captures the essence of an elusive band from a 360 degree perspective. The book also contains Through his unaffected, sometimes humorous, sometimes guilty, sometimes hyperbolic style, Peter is not hindered by any literary finesse. He therefore tells the story exactly as it was and how he wants it, and it comes from a man who is perhaps one of the only people who can lay claim to really knowing Joy Division.

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