It would help to put this period into some kind of per- spective. Punk was primarily libertarian, anarchist even, but there was a persistent right – wing trace that came from its opposition to the power politics of the day – the end of consensus socialism. In both English and American avant– garde rock – whether it was The Ramones or Throbbing Gristle – it had become important to say the unsayable, to examine the right – wing, to try to come to terms with the darker side of the human psyche. This is not a wise thing to do in pop culture, which is notorious for flattening out complexities.
   Ian Curtis was a bundle of paradoxes; he was a Tory, yet he liked the writing of bohemian authors like JG Ballard and William Burroughs. At the same time as he wrote haunted lyrics and gave mesmeric performances, he was a great practical joker. He could be both a charismatic leader and highly suggestible; he hated confrontation and could be all things to all men. Even the people closest to him will disagree; according to Peter Hook, "Ian was inter- ested in the occult”. Summer says he wasn’t.
   During 1978, Joy Division left their naivete behind; they started to get good. In January, they played the infamous Bowie/Roxy disco, Pips; “That was the first time I saw Ian being onstage”, says Stephen Morris. "I couldn’t believe it: the transformation to this frantic windmill”. Their appear- ance at the chaotic Stiff Test/Chiswick Challenge battle of the bands in April brought them to the attention of their future manager, Wythenshawe native Rob Gretton, and
their most persistent propagandiser, Tony Wilson.
   “Every band in Manchester played that night", Wilson remembers. “I sit down and then this kid in a raincoat comes and sits next to me and goes, You're a fucking cunt: why don’t you put us on television? That was Ian Curtis. At the very end of the night, Joy Division went on and after about 20 seconds, I thought, This is it. Most bands are onstage because they want to be rock stars. Some bands are on stage because they have to be, there’s something trying to get out of them: that was blatantly obvious with Joy Division".
   During the spring of 1978, the group recorded an 11–track album for RCA under the auspices of Northern Soul DJ Richard Searling, but they were moving so quickly that it was obsolete almost as soon as it was recorded. “There was suddenly a marked difference in the songs”, says Peter Hook. "We were doing a soundcheck at the Mayflower, in May, and we played ‘Transmission’: people had been moving around, and they all had stopped to listen. I was thinking, what’s the matter with that lot? That’s when I realised that was our first great song’.
   Everything was coming together. Rob Gretton took over the group’s management: his first act was to commis- sion a sequence of designs from Better Badges – this was era of the badge as underground communication. Tony Wilson put them on Granada Reports, a local news show (their performance of Shadowplay was overlaid with negative footage from a World In Action documentary
about the CIA), and had them as headliners when the new Factory club opened in Hulme. After the group had sweated out their contract with RCA, they went into the studios with Martin Hannett to record what would become the Factory Sample.
   “I’d seen them in Salford Tech”, Martin Hannett told me in 1989; “They were really good", It was very big room, they were badly equipped and they were still working this space, making sure they got into the corners. when I did the arrangements for recording, they were just reinforcing the basic ideas. They were a gift to a producer, because they didn’t have a clue. They didn’t argue. The Factory Sample was the first thing I did with them: I think I’d had the new AMS delay line for about two weeks. It was called digital; it was heaven sent”.
   “Joy Division had a formula, but was never premedi- tated”, says Bernard Sumner. "It came out naturally. I’m more rhythm and chords, and Hooky was melody. He used to play high lead bass because I liked my guitar to sound distorted, and the amplifier I had would only work when it was full volume. When Hooky played low, he couldn’t hear himself. Steve had his own style which is different to other drummers. To me, a drummer in the band is the clock, because he’s passive: he would follow the rhythm of the band, which gave us our own edge. Live, we were driven by watching Ian dance: we were playing to him visually”. “Ian used to spot the riffs”, says Peter Hook. ‘We’d jam: he'd stop us and say, That was good, play it again. We