Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division
The only in-depth biographical account of the lead singer of Joy Division, written by his widow.
Revered by his peers--Bono described his voice as "holy"--and idolized by his fans, musician Ian Curtis left behind a legacy rich in artistic genius. He was a mesmerizing performer on stage, yet also introverted and prone to mood swings. Enigmatic to the last, Ian Curtis died by his own hand on May 18, 1980.
Touching from a Distance describes Curtis's life from his early teenage years to his premature death on the eve of Joy Division's first American music tour. It tells how, with a wife, a child, and impending international fame, he was seduced by the glory of an early grave. What were the reasons for his fascination with death? Were his dark, brooding lyrics an artistic exorcism? In Touching from a Distance, Curtis's widow, Deborah, explains the drama of his life and the tragedy of his death.
Includes discography, gig list, and a full set of Curtis's lyrics, some of which appear in print for the first time.
socialized in Macclesfield for some time, but now we were able to meet Steve and his girlfriend Stephanie and visit our old haunts. Luckily for me, Ian used his knowledge of the Manpower Services Commission and the following September I began a TOPS course at the local college, learning shorthand and typing. Life began to improve during this time and we were very contented together. I was enjoying my college course and the Giro they gave me every week. Ian was still working for the Civil Service
no mention of the problems epileptics could cause within the family. There was no talk of depression or other behavioural difficulties with adult sufferers. Bernard Sumner had been aware of Ian’s manic personality; his moods would fluctuate between ultra-politeness and blind rage. Now that Ian was taking medication for his illness, these mood swings seemed more extreme. One minute he was high and the next, he wanted to cry. It crossed Bernard’s mind that the tablets were making him more unhappy
were dampended even further when a girl was rumoured to have had a cigarette stubbed out on her face after foolishly kissing a Certain Ratio who didn’t belong to her! Used to being more flamboyant on New Year’s Eve, I asked Peter Hook for a kiss but he refused. In the event, the closest I got to anyone at that party was when I pinched Richard Boon’s bottom! After stopping off to visit some relatives of Donald Johnson (A Certain Ratio’s drummer), Donald and Tony Wilson drove Ian and me back to
again, even to save his marriage. The pages were full of contradictions. He asked me not to get in touch for a while as it was hard for him to talk to me. By the time he had finished writing, he told me, it was dawn and he could hear the birds singing. I crept into my parent’s house without waking anyone and was asleep within seconds of my head touching the pillow. The next sound I heard was: ‘This is the end, beautiful friend. This is the end, my only friend, the end. I’ll never look into your
Ballroom, London 8 September 1979 Futurama ‘79, Queen’s Hall, Leeds 15 September 1979 ‘Transmission’ and ‘She’s Lost Control’ broadcast on BBC 2’s Something Else 22 September 1979 Nashville Rooms, London 28 September 1979 The Factory, Manchester 2 October 1979 Mountford Hall, Liverpool 3 October 1979 Leeds University 4 October 1979 City Hall, Newcastle 5 October 1979 Apollo, Glasgow 6 October 1979 Odeon, Edinburgh 7 October 1979 Capitol, Aberdeen 8 October 1979 Caird Hall, Dundee 16