He crooned anguish. He delivered sullen commotion. He expressed his restlessness and soul – sickness with a dam- aged insouciance. Even when he was charged, and brutal, he seemed resigned. He sang his sharply apprehensive songs in the spirit of:
   I’ll get this off my chest
   and then get my chest off me.

   This music that rocked – that could go the distance, from here to there and beyond – hung inside a sense of sadness and waste and emptiness. And so, more and more, a mental and physical exhaustion, as if Curtis was transferring himself into the very body of the music, slip- ping over the line from where the music was for him to where he was for the music. The music was taking him away. Taking him over. Needing the drama of his life. And so more drama. And so more. And so the sin always rises.
   And so Ian lived his (rock and roll) life intensely to such depths. And so the love and alarm of ‘Love will tear us apart’. And so you can tell exactly – around an unknown centre – when his life started to end. (And, somewhere else, when it started to begin. You can even hear when he started to believe in death. It’s right there in the way his voice forms and reforms).
   And so there was Ian Curtis leading the band who were all playing their instruments as if they were leading. Three lead instruments – the glass and capering Sumner guitars,
the cold and anxious Morris drums, the iron and lurid Hook bass – plus spare and marooned noises off and noises in that acted as if they had an (ectoplasmic) ego all of their own and were leading ... plus Ian with his tragic voice and his antic dancing and his leading the group and us into ...
   ... his space.

   A space that hung around the music like a tarnished halo, a space that seemed to fill the music out from within, a space that kept itself buttoned up even as it spilled the beans and lost its marbles.
   The space in Joy Division’s music has always been intriguing. Somehow (one more time) the group could leave such emptiness in the middle – and at the edges of their music – without weakening it. In fact, it added to the strength, the resonance. Perhaps it came out of the space they were all leaving around themselves – even as they came together to make this music they kept themselves to themselves, they stayed trapped inside their own splendid isolation, stuck inside their own young minds. They all played and sung inside their own worlds. Privacy X 4 – and beyond.
   And so their music is, sure enough, about isolation, and the difficulties of keeping in touch with other human beings as we create for safety’s sake a reality around us that works for us as much as it can. It’s about the mind – as far as my mind is concerned – and the tricks that it plays on itself, it’s about the way (one way) the mind can find all sorts of ways (link the ways) to prize apart illusion
and reality and then cobble them back together and then start all over again and so on.
   And so to the songs, again and again because they just do not wear out whatever you take from them, wherever you take them. Somewhere in there, amidst other more secretive and even more catastrophic narratives, you can just make out Ian’s battle for self–preservation, a battle that he was winning and then he was losing. These songs were lifted beyond themselves by being somehow – as far as it can go, if this isn’t too far fetched – set inside the enclosed, abstract and echoing space of a mind which enveloped the songs from all sides like a prison. This is some illusion. And so some reality. Ian's mind somehow – how this is so is on the tip of my tongue – held the songs in volatile place. And so I suppose, this time, that I’m say- ing with the music, we can see inside his mind. And we see him just beginning to think ideas he only has so much time to formulate, ideas and thoughts that are about, with such boyish bravado, everything and then nothing.
   And so he re–enters the shadows of his living night, the overnight that strangled his everything and then nothing. And so ideas, forgotten, abandoned, miscarried.
   And so Ian Curtis. He gave Joy Division their life and their death. He gave Joy Division his life and his death. He gave them their specialness. He actually risked his neck. And so what was the fucking point of that. (The point: not the point). He was under – crisis and he passed this sense of crisis – real and imagined – right into the