didn’t have a tape recorder then: imagine! He spotted ‘Twenty four hours', ‘Insight’, ‘She’s lost control’ – all of them. If it hadn't been for his ear, we might have played it once and then never again. You didn’t know you’d played it half the time. It’s unconscious, but he was conscious”.
   “Ian was a writer”, says Bernard Sumner. “He would always have file box with him, full of lyrics. He'd sit at home a just write all the time, instead of watching telly. He’d stay up: I don’t know this, I’m just surmising, because he’d come in with reams and reams of lyrics. He never wrote any music but he was a great orchestrator. I’d arrange the songs and we all wrote the music, but Ian would give us the direction; He was very passionate at those moments: if we were writing a song, he’d say, Let’s make it more frantic!”
   While the ‘Factory Sample’ slowly sold out its 5,000 copies, Joy Division proceeded apace – in traditional industry terms. In late December 1978, they played their first London date, at the Hope And Anchor, Islington. The next month they recorded their first, four–song session for John Peel. In March they did five demos for Martin Rushent, preparatory to their signing to Rushent’s com- pany, Genetic, a subsidiary of the WEA–owned Radar Records. It never happened.
   "The more we went into it, the more we realised that it was going to be very difficult to work with these people", says Peter Hook. "Genetic were offering us a lot of money, like, £40,000, which was flattering, but so far out of com-
prehension that it didn’t matter. Rob just decided that to– ing and fro–ing with Tony was a) more interesting, and b) more frustrating, but c) ultimately more rewarding. He decided it was better to work with someone you could walk down and get hold of. Factory, for all its failings, if you had a beef, you could walk in and yell”.
   The group were busy recording with Martin Hannett at Strawberry Studios in Stockport When they’d finished ‘Unknown Pleasures’, they took it to Factory. There was no contract, but, as Peter Hook says, "We had a sheet of paper saying that the masters would revert to us after six months if either of us decided not to work with each other. That was it. It was amazing the agreement lasted so well.
   This was Joy Division’s first breakthrough: “Unknown Pleasures was our first outing into the real world”, says Bernard Sumner. "I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand", Ian Curtis sings on the opening ‘Disorder’, and the following nine tracks are a definitive Northern gothic statement: guilt–ridden, romantic, claustro- phobic. On ‘Interzone’ the group take a Northern Soul riff, NF Porter’s Keep On Keepin’ On, but blast off to another place entirely: “Trying to find a way/Trying to find a way/ To get out".
   The standout song was 'She’s Lost Control’, a live favourite with its stooges guitar and swooping bassline, quickly covered by gay disco diva Grace Jones. “It was about a girl who used to come into the centre where Ian worked to try to find work”, says Bernard Sumner. “She
had epilepsy and lost more and more time through it, and then one day she just didn’t come in any more. He assumed that she’d found a job, but found out later she’d had a fit and died".
   I’d just moved to Manchester the spring, and ‘Unknown Pleasures’ helped me orient around the city. I reviewed it for Melody Maker in typically over–heated style: “Joy Division’s spatial circular themes and Martin Hannett’s shiny, waking dream production gloss are one perfect reflection of Manchester’s dark spaces and empty places: endless sodium lights and semis seen from a speeding car, vacant industrial sites – the endless detritus of the 19th century – seen gaping like teeth from an orange bus...”
   ‘Unknown Pleasures’ is one of the strongest debuts ever, defining not only a city but a time. Martin Hannett: “Ian Curtis was one of those channels for the Gestalt: the only one I bumped into during that period. A lightning conduc- tor.” As Biba Kopf wrote in 1993: “No other writer so accu- rately recorded the corrosive effect on the individual of a time squeezed between the collapse into impotence of trad Labour humanism and the impending cynical victory of conservatism".
   The group hated the record. “We played the album live”, says Bernard Sumner; "The music was loud and heavy, and we felt that Martin had toned it down, especially with the guitars. The production inflicted this dark, doomy mood over the album: we’d drawn this picture in black and white,