“Water E plead that you might stay
And every day, in every way
E can see you die
And E could never go away
And E could never tell you a lie
And E can see you scream and E can see you cry
And all the stories and all thee hate that all-ways coum to you”
(In 1990, Psychic TV released “I.C. Water”, a song dedicated to Ian Curtis)
Il 15 luglio 1956 a Macclesfield, vicino Manchester, nasce il cantante che inciderà profondamente nel rock degli ultimi decenni del secolo scorso. Morirà suicida a soli 23 anni. Lo ricordiamo con 5 brani storici della sua band, i Joy Division
Ian Curtis è una di quelle figure iconiche che attraversano la storia del rock per poco tempo, lasciando una traccia indelebile dietro di sé. Nel giro di poco più di tre anni e due album in studio, i Joy Division, la band di cui è cantante e paroliere, inventa letteralmente un nuovo suono, così personale e riconoscibile da assurgere a marchio di fabbrica. Dilatando la furia del punk e innestando squarci di desolazione in brani freddi e geometrici, la formazione di Manchester crea un lessico scarno ed emozionale, che verrà ripreso e rimaneggiato da schiere di epigoni. Una cifra stilistica che prende il nome di dark e che flirta da vicino con la morte, convitato di pietra nelle composizioni di Ian Curtis: il cantante, malato di epilessia, si toglierà la vita nel 1980, all’indomani dell’uscita del secondo disco della band, Closer. Ma l’arte di Curtis, per quanto oscura, riflette un’energia strabordante: la capacità di trasfigurare anche la prospettiva dell’esperienza più estrema, rendendo dolore, amore, solitudine e morte i poli d’emanazione di una poetica e di sonorità agghiaccianti e al tempo stesso palpitanti.
In occasione dei 60 anni dalla sua nascita vogliamo proporvi 5 tra i migliori brani del gruppo mancuniano: pietre miliari che resistono allo scorrere del tempo, conservando immutata la loro urgenza espressiva.
Primo singolo dei Joy Division, Trasmission è anche il brano che contiene molti degli elementi che caratterizzano il suono della band. Riff taglienti su un basso cupo e ostinato, il cantato di Ian Curtis marziale e incalzante; la band ricorda il brano come la loro “prima vera grande canzone”.
Pietra miliare del primo album dei Joy Division, Unknown Pleasures del 1979, She’s Lost Control affornta il tema dell’epilessia, in particolare della perdita del controllo dovuta alle convulsioni. “È impressionante come riesca a mettere in parole una sensazione che anche io ho provato”, recita un commento di un utente del web sotto al testo della canzone.
Un altro “anthem” del post punk: Disorder è la traccia di apertura dell’album Closer (1980). Bastano una manciata di secondi per distinguere la linea di basso, gli incastri con il pattern di batteria e il riff di chitarra che fanno da tappetto all’inconfondibile melodia di Ian Curtis.
Per molti una riflessione su cosa significhi vivere in una condizione di depressione, la canzone Atmosphere, a otto anni dalla sua uscita, viene accompagnata da un video, girato nel 1988 da Anton Corbijn. Famoso fotografo, videomaker e regista olandese, Corbijn viene profondamente toccato dalla vicenda di Ian Curtis, tanto che nel 2007 girerà Control, film biografico sulla vita del cantante.
Love Will Tear Us Apart è il brano più famoso dei Joy Division e forse quello dove la commistione di morte, dolore e pulsione vitale riescono a bilanciarsi meglio, restituendoci un affresco in cui gli opposti si conciliano, in una pienezza di sfumature e tonalità emotive capace di scuotere chiunque nel profondo
© Daniele Bova
“There was a boy
I almost knew him
A glance exchanged
Made me feel good
Leaving some signs
Now a legend
The dream was wrought
Where thoughts were heard
Love is reserved
From previous times”
(The song is a tribute to Vini Reilly’s friend Ian curtis)
“Today would have been Ian curtis’s 60th birthday. Been playing interzone on repeat in honour of an incredible artist”. (Tibor Jones & Associates)
To celebrate Ian Curtis’ 60th birthday, DJ and electronic producer Dave Clarke takes us back to his teenage bedroom, where the “secret cult” of Joy Division changed his life.
July 15, 2016 would have been the 60th birthday of Ian Curtis (1956-1980), the iconic poet, singer and Joy Division frontman who chose to leave the world when he was only 23. Although his recorded legacy barely exceeds a couple dozen songs, Curtis’ work with Joy Division has remained beloved by many throughout the years and still echoes in today’s music. We’ve asked DJ, electronic producer and Waves artist Dave Clarke for his personal perspective on Curtis and Joy Division.
Waves: What was Joy Division’s importance for you, and for your generation of music fans and musicians?
Dave Clarke: “It is hard for me to separate most underground music at that time from [BBC DJ] John Peel: I heard of this group because of him. There was also quite a big cultural north/south divide in England: for a kid from Brighton, the chance of hearing music from northern England was quite small without someone like Peel. So hearing this on crackly radio transmission was very special, like a secret cult, with a mono ear piece underneath the blankets. It shaped me immensely.”
What, in your opinion, made Curtis such an influential character?
“I always separate music from the cult of personality. I take music at face value, and also information was not so easily found in those days unless you actively sought it or read fanzines, so I just listened to the music. Only later in life did I find out about his life and why some of the songs were written. I think ‘She Lost Control’ was written from his perspective of working in situations that brought him close to a woman with epilepsy (I wonder if Grace Jones who covered the song ever knew). So for me, his life story only became apparent way after he passed away, through documentaries and films. But his lyrical ability was exceptional and fit the zeitgeist of post-WW2 England. Yet it still rings true today. I saw [Joy Division bassist] Peter Hook play Joy Division’s music live the other week, and the lyrics still touch nerves.”
Where do you hear the echoes of Joy Division in today’s music?
“All over the place, sometimes in bands like Interpol, Soft Moon, She Wants Revenge… When you have such a great reference, it’s hard not to ingest it and pay homage.”
And how important do you think was producer Martin Hannett’s contribution to Joy Division’s work?
“He made their sound in my opinion. A true catalytic convertor in the artistic sense. I think he may have had a deeper understanding of their sound than perhaps they did. Joy Division under Hannett’s guidance was a complete entity, a whole package – how rare is that?!”
Bafta award-winning writer of The Royle Family died at home in Manchester after suffering from cancer, says publicist
Caroline Aherne, the award-winning actor and comedian, has died at the age of 52 after suffering from cancer, her publicist has said.
Aherne, who co-wrote, directed and starred in The Royle Family, revealed two years ago she had been undergoing treatment for lung cancer in her home city of Manchester. She was born with a rare form of retina cancer and later received treatment for bladder cancer.
“Caroline Aherne has sadly passed away after a brave battle with cancer,” her publicist Neil Reading said. “The Bafta award-winning writer and comedy actor died earlier today at her home in Timperley, Greater Manchester. She was 52. The family ask for privacy at this very sad time.”
Aherne created some of British comedy’s best-loved characters: lazy daughter Denise in The Royle Family, acerbic chat show host Mrs Merton – which first aired on BBC2 in 1995 – and memorable Fast Show characters such as the Checkout Girl and Poula Fisch, a TV weather girl in an unnamed country where the sun was always “scorchio!”
The Royle Family was created after she and friend Craig Cash, who played gormless Dave Best in the show, threw themselves into their work after a suicide attempt by Aherne, which she described as her lowest ebb. The show won four gongs at the 1999 British Comedy Awards including best actress for Aherne.
The Mrs Merton Christmas Show won the best talk show Bafta in 1997, while The Royle Family collected best sitcom award in 2000 and 2007. Aherne was nominated for Baftas for her performance in both shows, as well as her directing of The Royle Family in 2001.
Tributes from those Aherne worked with have been flooding in.
Sue Johnston, who played Aherne’s character’s mother, Barbara, in The Royle Family, said: “I am devastated at her passing and I am numb with grief.”
Debbie McGee, the widow of magician Paul Daniels, said that Aherne’s death was “very sad news”. McGee was on the receiving end of one of Mrs Merton’s most famous lines, when she was asked in a 1995 episode: “What first attracted you to the millionaire Paul Daniels?”
McGee tweeted: “Just heard the very sad news about Caroline Aherne, she was wonderful especially as Mrs Merton. My interview will be a treasured memory RIP.”
BBC director general Tony Hall said: “She was a brilliant, award winning comedy writer and performer, much loved by audiences – especially for The Royle Family and Mrs Merton and for her wonderful voicing of many shows. Our thoughts are with her family and friends.”
Noel Gallagher of Oasis, whose song Half the World Away was used as The Royle Family’s theme tune, posted his tribute on Instagram.
The daughter of Irish immigrants Bert and Maureen, Aherne grew up on a council estate in Wythenshawe, Manchester, and her first job was answering phones at BBC offices in the city.
Both Aherne and her older brother Patrick were born with the rare form of retina cancer which she was treated for into her 20s. She then underwent treatment for bladder cancer, the same disease that later took the life of her boyfriend Matt Bower in 1997.
The actor’s illness first came to light in 2014 when she agreed to take part in an appeal in Manchester that was asking patients and carers to help improve standards of care. In pledging her support she said: “I’ve had cancer and my brother’s had cancer and we know how it affects people.”
Aherne, who had been a smoker, also spoke of her battles with depression and alcohol, following the breakdown of her marriage to former New Order member Peter Hook, the death of her father, and struggles with fame. She spent time at the Priory clinic before moving to Australia to escape the public eye.
She made her return to TV in 2014 as the narrator of popular Channel 4 show Gogglebox. She was forced to take time off from narrating the show earlier this year while she received treatment for the disease.