admin On settembre - 22 - 2010

“Touching From A Distance”
– Debbie Curtis –

Who loves Joy Division can not be attracted by Ian Kevin Curtis.
That enigmatic singer has left an indelible mark on rock history. An incredible personality, of a young romantic poet lived in the North West of England in the late ‘80s. Born in Manchester, but lived just on the south, in Macclesfield, the place he hated, dull and gray, surrounded by heather. A reality come from post-industrial revolution that has contributed to his inner torment to suicide.
Much has been said about Ian’s life, but “Touching From A Distance” is a book able to reveal new untold aspects. A witness raw and close to the artist, full of anecdotes that probably only his wife Deborah could know, and so, even more touching. A love affair started in the early life of them. It was 1972 when for the first time Ian asked Debbie out. And she was seventeen. Three years later the marriage, from which in 1979 was born their loved daughter, Nathalie. Premature and unwise decisions despite the economic conditions in which they were living.
But Ian was not used to analyze the facts in a logical way, and the mistakes of those years started his inner torment. The awareness of not being a good husband and a father, then, consolidated into him soon. And also epilepsy, that weakened him more in his mind than in the physical. Ian, starting from youth, suffered from mood swings, and the constant intake of drugs made them more extreme. In a little he changed from elation to pain and tears. For Bernard Sumner the drugs were the reason, more than anything else, to his unhappiness. But, on the other side, this inner conflict created the most beautiful lyrics of Joy Division.
He could often appear quiet, but on stage he was able to transform himself into a delirium- front man. The blank eyes and his dance, that seemed to emulate the seizures, were a significant catalyst element for the public. Soon Ian’s disease became an attraction, while he was growing the fear that he could perish at any moment to evil. The live tours, though not particularly long, were extremely hard for an epileptic patient. The attacks of his great evil, not predictable, were like a dark presence that hung on his every day life. And then meeting Annik Honoré, who initially seemed to benefit Ian, led him down a blind alley. The Belgian journalist, became the official mistress of Ian, and often followed him on tour, accepted by the band for the good of Ian and Joy Division themselves.

The marriage began to founder, but was not the overriding presence of Annik to failure Deborah and Ian love. Doubts about the error committed years before, languished him for some time earlier. Annik gave him brief moments of happiness, but not the way out. The die was cast. Ian had experienced since adolescence its appreciation for those artists have become big and then died young. When Joy Division recorded “Closer” in Britannia Row Studios, in London, Annik was there, and affected by the emotional state of Ian, she said she hated that record. “Touching From A Distance” tells us that Curtis in those days seemed to be in a trance, tense and feverish. So, it is simple to imagine that the words used to write those songs come from the exasperation and the conflicts of his private life. Maybe he read his guilt.
And perhaps it was a warning for the imminent future. Of course they are only speculations, because Ian had never expressed the intention to commit suicide. This beat his wife, band, lover and Factory Records as a bolt from the blue, just when the American tour was imminent. Nobody could imagine what would have happened that spring day, May 18th, 1980. The character that Tony Wilson and his Factory were trying to create became a myth even before they became aware of it, and it happened by the hands of Ian himself.

by Marco Mantovani

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3 Responses so far.

  1. Very enlightening and beneficial to someone whose been out of the circuit for a long time.

    – Kris

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