Miniblog 3 – Joy Division documentary

I went to see this at the Prince Charles cinema in Soho – it didn’t get much of a release.  I thought this film was great, telling a now well-known story simply and effectively.  What struck me anew was how Ian Curtis sang such distressed, bleak lyrics without any of the other band members wondering if anything might be amiss – they said ‘we didn’t really listen to the lyrics’ – while others thought the lyrics were ‘just art’ and did not view them as a genuine representation of his mental state.   In hindsight……

My favourite bit was a recording of John Peel’s radio show, where he put on ‘Atmosphere’ at the wrong speed.  The combination of the comedy speeded-up voice of Ian Curtis, and the homely, non-pretentious apology from John Peel did a great job of pricking the bubble of pretention and weightiness that inevitably surrounds Joy Division. 

The documentary also did a good job of capturing the grimness of post-industrial Manchester.   I was in Manchester just this last weekend, and despite the facelift and general saturday night joie de vivre, there were still plenty of reminders of Manchester’s less glamourous past.


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