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Deborah Curtis - 'Touching From A Distance' Cover

Touching from a Distance ( Touching from a Distance (
Author: Deborah Curtis

Product Description
This is the only in-depth biographical account of the legendary lead singer of Joy Division, written by his widow. Revered by his peers and idolised by his fans, Ian Curtis left behind a legacy rich in artistic genius. But although mesmerising on stage, in his private life he was introverted and had desperate mood swings. In "Touching from a Distance" his widow pieces together why - despite his impending international fame and young family - Curtis took his own life on 18 May 1980. Regarded as the essential book on the essential icon of the post-punk era, "Touching from a Distance" includes a full set of Curtis' lyrics, discography and gig list.


Toad illustration

Directed by Anton Corbijn
Reviewed by Cardinal Cox


DVD of this film available from Amazon

Joy Division CDs

Write Dope on Pnuk part 50 (written in 2010) 

Thirty years on and Joy Division still have a power to enthral. This is a film about a band heading for the top, but stopping at a precipice before reaching it.

Sam Riley stars as troubled Ian Curtis who joins a band spawned from the audience of a Sex pistols gig in Manchester. With their own first gig featuring John Cooper Clarke (played by himself) and an initial EP, they got themselves on to Tony Wilson's regional TV show. Yes, they flirt with Nazi imagery - the EP had a drawing of a member of the Hitler Youth, and the band's name comes from the enforced prostitutes of the concentration camps - but that was as much a wind-up as a reaction.

Alongside the success though is the failing relationship between Ian and his wife Deborah (played by Samantha Morton), upon whose book the film is based. Perhaps they married and had a daughter too young. Perhaps it was the success that soured it.

This is a bleak film, shot in black and white that gives a timelessness to the story. Parts of the late 'seventies were just like the 'sixties, or even the 'fifties. There is also humour in the film. At one point, after Curtis has had an epileptic fit on stage, his manager tries to console him. "Look on the bright side. At least you're not the lead singer of The Fall. Plus Bernard and Hooky come acrosss as barely out of their childhoods. Bernard laying out his clothes in preparation for a tour, Hooky making knob jokes. But the real people must have liked the movie, as New Order contributed three new instrumentals to the soundtrack.


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