Matthew Dancona

Unknown pleasures of the post-punk scene

Unknown pleasures of the post-punk scene
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As this is the last week of my thirties, I feel entitled to indulge in a spot of pop culture nostalgia (or more than usual, at any rate). In tomorrow’s Spectator, I review Paul Morley’s masterly book on Joy Division, which I recommend to anyone who is interested in the music, ideas and social currents of the late Seventies and early Eighties. Looking back on three decades of writing about the Manchester band, Morley explains why the group, and the Factory records label pioneered by the late Tony Wilson, were so important in the history of rock and the redevelopment of the North. Absolutely terrific.

And while I am at it, the DVD of last year’s Control is out soon and is similarly indispensable (even if you don’t care much for post-punk music). Anton Corbijn’s film about Ian Curtis – the Joy Division singer who committed suicide in 1980 – is mesmerically shot in black and white, with strong performances all round led by Sam Riley as Curtis and Samantha Morton as his wife, Debbie. There are some nice extras, too, including a “Making Of” mini-documentary which reveals the lengths to which the actors went so that they could actually play the band’s songs live (a cornerstone of the film’s authenticity). Perfect viewing for a man about to turn 40. As Curtis put it in one of his songs: Is this the start of it all?