And they didn't know what they were doing.
And so ite came from somewhere and nowhere
and they didn't like to think about it too much just in case it
And so they just let it happen.
And so they bIanketed the sky with orange sheets that
turned to a diaphanous white chiffon before sweeping
upward into instant oblivion.
And so time and time again reality burnt through to the
surface of this wicked and deep adventure.
(And so what about their record company, Factory, not
so much a record company, more a state of mind, or a
state, with mind, who pushed them and pulled them. And
so who encouraged them. And helped them. and hindered
them. And indulged them. In some ways, they drove Joy
Division, and in some ways, Joy Division were very driven.
Sometimes, Joy Division drove Factory, they drove each
other up the wall. Together they erratically defied the banal
rock gravity of following certain rules of presentation and
promotion. Since when has a record company - not so
much a record company, more and existential minder -
been a combination of villain, pantomime dame, benefac-
tor, wicked step-mother, clown, lover and butler? Factory
and Joy Division are the perverse proof of that old choco-
late pudding of a saying that there is no business like
show business. And of that old banana split of a saying
that there are more quests than panthers).
(And so, also, they had a manager, Rob gretton,
who loved them, like a child, like a brother, like a friend, like a
fan, and who watched over them sith such belief and
commitment. He followed them to the ends of the earth
and then, funnily enough, beyond).
And so all of this bled fed wed and headed dead or
alive into the drastic mind and body of Joy Division (who
were outgrowing their mind and body and packing more
time into the time they had than they had time for) and all
of this, all these coincidences and transmissions and tran-
sitions and (r)apt moments and exotic settings and mild
distortions, it all added up, and put them into this unique
position where they were both the last ever great rock
group (after The Velvet Underground, The Stooges, MC5,
The Doors, Television, the Sex Pistols) and the first ever
great rock band (before The Pixies, My Bloody Valentine,
Nine Inch Nails, Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead)
... they were some twisted turning point some tunnel of
light and dark and love and hate that you must journey
through from one era to the next if you are to make any
new sense... Joy Division summoned up in a rocket shell
in their time and place all the great rock - surface and
substance, pose and power - that there ever was and
ever will be.
And so somehow (and what are the odds of this hap-
pening) they drew into themselves all the greatness of
rock's past and rock's future and received all this interfer-
ence and information from fact and fantasy, absence and
presence, that transformed their music into an epic of
timelessness. Say what you want, time never seems to
corrupt the music of Joy Division: the actions, sensations,
images, movement all seems to fit into the next moment,
the noises and agitation, the courage and diligence, always
seems to be happening for the first time. Their music so
feverishly conjures up insecurity, malign gods, moral chaos,
human lostness, caged energy, loss, shifting meaning and
danger that it could never slip back into some cosy version
of itself. It could never be stripped of its harrowing power
because its crystallisation of moody form and seething
content is so classic and universal.
And so where was I?
Joy Division are, in this order of things, the centre of the
(rock) universe. They even ended up being as dug up and
compiled and re-compiled and re-mastered as Hendrix -
and so here we are finding ever more ways to extend the
brief moment(ousness), to spin it out, to hold on, searching
for clues in the out-takes and the bootlegs for how this
might have happened, knowing all along that it's mystery,
and within that it's accidental, and within that it's futile, and
within that it's over.
And so there was a death in the family. And rock and
roll, the very real greedy myth of it, the sly shifting life of
it, loves early death and gaudy sacrifice. The rock and roll
myth, the sensation of it, loves death as the lions loved
christians. Death in rock and roll chronically cosmically rep-
resents rocks vain mad mock mocking. As if there
is such a thing after all. It makes it all worthwhile, all the