"good evening, we're joy division"

       Jon Savage
       London/Bethesda May & June 1994

August 27, 1979 Joy Division are headlining a ridicu-
lous festival in a field outside Leigh, halfway between
Liverpool and Manchester. The leading independent
labels of both cities – Zoo and Factory – are meeting
to showcase their talent: A Certain Ratio, Orchestral
Manoeuvres In The Dark, Echo 8 The Bunnymen,
The Teardrop Explodes. To the local police, this is
tantamount to an alien invasion: they’ve closed down
the town and are searching everyone on entry for
drugs. One of my carload is already in custody.

   In the twilight, Joy Division start their journey. What you
get is this: at the back, a Ianky drummer who pounds out
rhythms at once intricate yet simple. At climatic moments,
Stephen Morris attacks a syndrum for those ‘pou pou’
noises that you’re starting to hear on disco records like
Ring my bell. On the left, a slight person with the face of a
debauched choirboy and the clothes of a polite young man
– Bernard Dicken as he is then called – hunches over a
guitar which is issuing rhythmic, often distorted blocks of
noise. The sound scythes through the air.
   On the right is the bearded bass player with his dyed
blond thatch, engineer boots and double – breasted jacket:
bent at the knees, he swings his instrument round like an
offensive weapon. Peter Hook's basslines are prominent in
the mix: Joy Division use them to carry the melody as so
much else is texture. In the centre stands the singer: very
pale, sometimes sweaty, tall, dressed in different shades of