...The glittering surfaces, and the shattering depths. Marc BoIan stuck stars onto his skin, and that was pretty excit- ing. Joy Division pierced their skin - put a hole in their being - with their cracked and cracking obssessiveness, and that was pretty exciting as well. Twenty years on, Marc BoIan reminds me of my past. He is, alas, behind me. Joy Division still point me towards my future. In many ways (entertain the ways) they're still to come.
   And so, what. I could say (count the coulds) speaking as a damned virtual rock critic that Joy Division as a rock group are an interesting case, if not the most interesting case. This is speaking historically (whoever does the speaking, metaphorically speaking) and so does go some way (watch the way) towards creating some kind of shape to rock things, some order, but please feel free to remove the traces as soon as they seem to appear. In no time at all, just a sliver of no-time at the no-end of the '70s which in many ways (discount the ways) is as far away as the '50s, the sick boy band eventually named Joy Division after an auntie or something - boy oh boy - made up quite a myth with the help of themselves and a vain desire for purity.
   The myth of the group quickly ghost-rolled hip-deep around their music: you thought that you could never see through this spilling myth, and yet somehow (count the somehows) you could see all the way through. To. (the other side). They had only been going a matter of months before the evidence was plain to see and hear; here was a strange out of nowhere out of place out of it rock group
who were opaque and transparent, visible and invisible, straightforward and dissident. They changed all the time. They shed all manner of inner and outer skins monthly; some disconcerting musical menstruation saw them change inside a couple of seasons from chubby punk babes to mean rock'n'roll cockroaches implicated in some absurdly grand mission to take over the world, or bits of it.
   And so they did it all - all of what they did - with two lp's a handful of singles and some shows (shows that showed how fast they were going however steep the cor- ners were. Occasionally they slowed down, but that was only for some blood shedding). Ah, and talking of blood, there was a suicide (count it; you can't miss it; it's just round the corner) that manufactured for the group the ultimate end, a sudden stop to what had begun so unsud- denly and so slovenly, and this sheer shiny pointed end at the opposite end to their ragged quite pointless beginning created this great shape (count the shapes), this missile, and we now see and hear how this missile was launched into the light and then within a matter of time it exploded into the dark and so the story of Joy Division had the per- fect 20th Century (leg)ending. And so the myth so soon so scandalously was neck high and climbing. And tightening.
   And so, speaking to order, The Interesting Case OF Joy Division as a rock group (or as we shall see in this order of things, THE rock group). For a start, they had these values, this stubborn need not to sully their worth. they took
themselves very seriously, which suggested that deep down they might be comedians as much as tragedians. The two lp's they made didn't contain any of their singles, so there was no over-familiarity to back-pollute the com- plete and separate works that the albums were. The singles were from different worlds. Joy Division defied commercial conventions with such shrugging care and inattention because they know, really, that in the long run - and perhaps they were in it for the long run, the steep climb - it would pay off. the deliberate distinction they wnated to maintain between their albums (the two ener- gised masterpieces, 'Closer' with its soft and hard 's', 'Unknown Pleasures' with its spaced out s and s, different but connected, one icy and jumpy, the other thawed and graceful, one out of the womb, the other into the tomb) and their irresistibly overemotional singles was their way of achieving the aloof splendour enjoyed by the likes of Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd. Groups far too grand and supe- rior to fret about the grubby worlds of hard sell and instant gratification: their glamour came from their anti-commer- cial perversity, a wonderful mixture of laziness, arrogance and self-confidence. Some anti-social need to preserve integrity, to play on reclusiveness, to back into the lime- light. (They were independent: but never 'indie.') This was for Joy Division - long term style not short term fashion. From the very beginning, they thought big.
   And so their music had to be big too, and rebellious, and they had a lot to go on: in may ways (keep counting)