Saturday, December 20, 2008

On The Journey To Joy (Division)

*****Preamble: So i know im late to the party, but I just finished watching the mesmerising film Control. It completely drew me into some sort of late 70's British rock vortex. Joy Division made some insanely good music. Im not sure how true to life the story itself was, but the characters were magnetic, and their sad plights somehow hypnotic. Ian Curtis seemed a beautifully intense person, unable to replenish what he felt the world drained from him in the name of art. The susceptibility of youth to the paralysis that is hopelessness made for a moving theme. Cinematically, the scenes were like stunningly compositioned photographs, yet the film remained unsentimental and raw despite being in black and white (which can sometimes be corny). Audibly, im completely besotted with the soundtrack. I.e., with the music of Joy Division.*****

Back sometime in 2007, Giancarlo accidentally left some newly purchased Joy Divison and New Order CDs at my house. I remember he had had a sudden urge to thoroughly educate himself in their music. So we went out and bought all 5 or 6 they had at the record store. I, to his horror, confessed i didnt know 'em. He assured me that wasnt possible, in the same tone of genuine disbelief one uses when someone between the ages of 20 and 28 claims to never have seen the film Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind.

Every day that i babysat the CDs, i eyed them scattered across my desk. I didnt know much about the bands or their music, but i had gathered, from GC's enthusiasm and that of the sales assistant at the record store, that they were worth knowing. And thats all i needed to know to know that i needed to know them.

Everyday, i contemplated listening to them, but didnt. I knew i needed to seize the opportunity to do my own educating before GC arranged for their collection, but there was something about their physical aesthetic, all 5 or 6 of them scattered across my desk, that mildly repelled me.

Their covers, even now thinking back, seemed eerie. Maybe not all their covers, but the one that seemed to stand out, and became the others' ambassador for me, was this one cover-- its colours were white, black, and traffic-light green. No illustration. Just text and solid colour. It was strangely lifeless, clinical, depressing. I hadnt even realised i was shallow enough to judge music by its cover. But i apparently i was (intentionally a statement of past tense).

I concluded i wouldnt force myself to like them just cos GC did and cos i had felt somehow culturally obliged. But then i realised i didnt even know if i really didnt or did, cos i hadnt ever listened.

Then one day, GC came back to recall the CDs as their rightful owner, and the whole drama that was (and wasnt) Joy Division, ended.

I figured, if they were THAT good and im meant to hear and know them, then i will.

1 comment:

Marilyn Roxie said...

Just stumbled on your blog from searching Joy Division posts on Google blog search actually..always interesting to hear how people come to uncover the music of certain bands. The first time I heard Joy Division (I think?) was in 2006, and then I bought the excellent Substance compilation, though I had heard New Order for years beforehand. I continued on listening to Substance occasionally, though it wasn't until January that I ended up hearing Unknown Pleasures and Closer in full which are two of the most darkly moving albums I've ever heard. I've got to see Control, after all I've heard about it!
~Marilyn Roxie