SO THIS IS PERMANENCE
This is a superbly presented book containing the personal writings of one of the most influential songwriters and performers of the late 20th Century – Joy Division’s Ian Curtis.
So this is permanence is a collection put together by Jon Savage and Deborah Curtis from Ian’s surviving lyrics, notes, fan mail, fanzines and book covers from his personal library. As a huge Joy Division fan and an admirer of great lyricists, I could not wait to get my hands on it.
In the late 1970s, Manchester was an industrial city in decline. During this time, Ian Curtis isolated himself with his books and his writing. His songs were groundbreaking and his band became the iconic sound of that time. All the product of the scribbled on office paper he used to carry around in a plastic bag.
In my opinion, his lyrics presented here don’t just reflect his personal struggles with depression, epilepsy and stage-fright, but are also proof of how influenced he was by literature. He read widely from Holocaust fiction to Oscar Wilde.
“The words are untouchable, unreachable, perfect, unsettling, unique, beautiful. They are poetry but I want to claim them for rock.” (Nicky Wire, Manic Street Preachers)
“When Ian found his direction, the notebooks, the scraps of paper, the plastic carrier bag became and extension of his body…his lyrics tell much more than a conversation with him ever could.” (Deborah Curtis, wife)
I listened to Unknown Pleasures and Closer as I read his dark, heartbreaking words. I knew them anyway, being a fan, but to see everything compiled in one place really makes you realise how staggering it is that this was the work of a young man aged 21-23 years old! I really poured over every bit of the 40+ songs, notes, fragments of prose and alternative versions. I particularly liked those written on Macclesfield District Council memo paper!
The feel of the cover, central position of text, type and font, minimal clean appearance and uncluttered presentation are a fitting tribute to the book’s contents and the work of a true troubled genius.
No failings exposed here.
SOUTHSEA BOOKWORM RATING: 10/10
Alternative titles considered for Unknown Pleasures:
- From the wilderness
- Symptoms of collapse
- Will of the underworld
- Cause for anxiety
- Convulsive therapy