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A miserable experience:
This was Joy Division's first London gig. Bernard
Sumner had the flu and was dragged from his sick bed
to perform in what turned out to be a cold damp
basement with no heating.
After a long drove to London the band had lower
their equipment down through a trap door and only
performed for about 30 people. They spent £28.50 in
petrol and earned £27.50 from the door.
In the car on the way home the mood was grim with
talk of people leaving the band. Bernard was trying
to keep warm under a sleeping bag and Ian grabbed
it, ripping it away from him, and after a tussle, he
wrapped it tightly round his head so Bernard
couldn't get it back. Shortly afterwards he suffered
his first recognizable epileptic seizure, lashing
out and punching at the windows.
Stephen pulled the car over and he Bernard and
Gillian restrained Ian on the hard shoulder before
taking him to a nearby hospital where he was given
phenbarbitone tablets and referred to his doctor.
After this Ian suffered three or four violent
seizures s a week before being diagnosed with
epilepsy by a specialist at Macclesfield District
and General Hospital the following January.
(C) Jonathan Crabb and used here with permission
Jonathan Crabb took the photos above using an
instamatic camera with an uncontrollable flashgun -
so he only took these five out of respect for the
|Sounds review by Nick
Joy Division try to be a grim group, but I just
They stutter on-stage wearing sulky, long looks.
The vocalist, Ian Curtis, seems intensely
irritated but he doesn't say anything between
songs other than to remark the band are going to
The music is matt coloured, fast HM, often flat
and usually undistinguished. Guitarist Bernard
Albrecht plays some looping minor chords but the
monotonous rhythm charge of Peter Hooks (bass) and
Steve Morris (drums) invariably over-rides such
frills with sledgehammer grit. The perfect
vehicle, it would appear, for the doom-laden slant
of the lyric.
This retracted grimness is alienating, but not for
intended provocative or creative reasons. I found
Joy Division's 'tedium' a blunt, hollow medium,
comical in its superfluous angst.
Hardly harrowing gloom, but facile parody of such,
illustrated by the polite response from the
festive few here tonight. Whereas say Gang Of Four
poke genuine and disturbing bitterness through a
subtle and refreshing approach, Joy Division
communicate little of this tenseness or expansion
via depression, since their angle is awkward,
contrived and mundane to the point of being
They may have gathered a tight following in home
town Manchester but they failed to ignite a
similar impression in front of a new (though not
necessarily more objective) audience. An off-night
maybe, but Joy Division's lack of an enlivening
approach could be improved by an all-round sharper
articulate stance and musical method.
Joy Division could be a good band if they placed
more emphasis on poise than pose.