Unknown Pleasure / Inside Joy Division


“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.”


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.

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.

In Unknown Pleasures/Inside Joy Division by Peter Hook, the inside – and outside – of Joy Division is shown in details; 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.

If you’re interested in Joy Division, we also recommend: Joy Devotion: The Importance of Ian Curtis and Fan Culture edited by Jennifer Otter Bickerdike.

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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