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Blackpool Imperial Hotel 27.7.79
"It's dark on the stage, a solitary spotlight shines over a microphone stand. Three guys in dark clothes enter and the audience whistles. Without a word they begin to play.

The music develops from being low-voiced to become almost deafening. It's restrained and very precise, the drummer works like a human drum machine and he is so confident, it almost gives you a sense of unreality.

And then the singer enters the stage. Slowly he walks up to the mike, apparently unaware of the audience, and gets carried away by the music.
In some way the music and his stiff, jerky movements become an integrated whole. Nothing would have worked without the other.

His song is filled with power without being high-pitched, it's rather calm, but you can sense the lull before the storm, that his outburst will come at anytime…But it never comes.
They play for about half an hour, then disappear without a single word.
I had difficulties myself to recover, the experience had been total, as if nothing else existed.

A week later, the LP Unknown Pleasures by Joy Division, which was the name of the group, is released, and it portrays many of those dark feelings I felt when I saw them play.
The sleeve is black and on the white inner sleeve, there is a small picture, which shows a door who is about to be opened. Opened to reveal something…Exactly what, is up to the listener to decide.

For me personally this record has meant a lot. It's not a record you play at anytime, but just at certain occasions. When I'm depressed or low-spirited, it is Unknown Pleasures I put on.
Not to be cheered up, because it's not any happy music, but it captures your mood in a weird way and gives you the strength back. Maybe because it's a depressive record, you feel better when listening to music that reflects the feelings inside yourself.

The 29th of February this year, I met Joy Division before their gig at the Lyceum in London. They were all very quiet and they didn't want to do a proper interview.

Ian Curtis : "There's no point in interviews. I want to be free to have one opinion today and change opinion tomorrow. Besides that, we are completely uninteresting as individuals".

Lars: "So, was that why your names weren't printed on the LP" ?

Ian: "Yes it was. The music is the most important. It's by the music we work and it's by that I get my thoughts and ideas out".

Lars: "Why didn't you print the lyrics on the inner sleeve, I mean they seem to be very important for you" ?

Ian: "The lyrics has one meaning for me, but doesn't necessarily have the same meaning for somebody else. If you only hear the lyrics, it's more up to your own imagination".

After I'd met them, they were heading back to Manchester, to go into the studio again and record the follow-up to Unknown Pleasures. If it's completed or if it only resulted in the two singles that came, I really can't say.
In late May I found out that Ian had committed suicide. Although I didn't really know him, it felt, as if a close friend had passed away. Maybe it's because his music has meant so much to me".

Funtime #13 1980
Text&Pic by Lars Sundestrand

Translated by Björn (thanks Björn).