Deborah Curtis interview 2005
Interviews conducted by email can be a hit and miss affair - with short closed questions producing short closed answers. In order to overcome this we are grouping our questions into topics and covering one topic in each email - inviting Deborah to respond however she feels appropriate.

Each email and response will be posted here


Topic 1: The lyrics
Joy Division Central email to Deborah Curtis November 2005.
I think Iíd like to start off with an initial group of questions which are based around Ianís lyrics and the conundrum of how ďdeepĒ the man was. We all know the myth that has developed of Joy Division as an intense and dark experience and it would be interesting to gain a greater insight from your perspective if thatís OK.

I have tried to ask open questions where possible but thatís not easy in a typed interview format Ė so please feel free to respond to the spirit of the question or put across anything you feel is relevant rather than being constrained by my wording!

OK, here we go:

Ian's plastic bag of notebooks and scribbled bits of paper has become something of a legend and a source of much speculation among Joy Division enthusiasts and Iím sure itís one of your treasured possessions. Presumably there is a lot of unpublished stuff in there?

In TFAD you said he had a file called "Novel" in his bedroom as a teenager and supposedly he constantly wrote all the time, does this mean a lot of Ian's written work has never been seen?

Have you ever considered publishing it all, or putting it on display?

Our readers are very interested where the lyrics for Ceremony and In a Lonely Place in your book come from Ė and whether the versions that were finally recorded by New Order were amended or finished off by the remaining members of the band. Do you have the original hand written lyrics for these songs - and were these the source for the lyrics in your book?

Some writers painstakingly put down their innermost feelings and revelations on life down on paper while others dash off any old lyrics that fit with the song.

How important do you think the lyrics were to Ian Ö and did this change as time progressed? Do you think we read too much into what he wrote, or perhaps too little?

Did Ian talk to you about the music they were doing? The lyrics, the sound he wanted etc. I find it very tempting to imagine him pottering around the house humming a new song and asking you what you thought of it, or perhaps he locked himself away and kept things very much to himself? I guess this is coming back to the theme of just how intense Ian was in his songwriting and what he was trying to convey via the band.

Sometimes people involved in the Joy Division story point out that they were a bunch of young lads having a laugh. For you, what event or story would illustrate this best?
Topic 1: The lyrics
Deborah Curtis's response November 2005.
Yes - the clunk of a plastic carrier bag on a door - it was quite some time before I stopped looking up, expecting to see Ian walk in the room. Of course plastic bags have more of a rustle these days. Those little note books and sheets of paper are treasured. I wouldn't say there was a lot of unpublished stuff in there. Some of it I included in the book and much of it was stuff that he had reworked. If he liked an idea he would keep rewriting until he was a happy with it.

The 'Novel' file wasn't crammed full - I took it as an indication of his ambitions and desires in life that he bothered to label it. He spent a great deal of time thinking and planning and then when he began writing he was very industrious.

No, I haven't considered publishing it all and though it's been suggested I put it on display, I've decided against it.

As far as I know New Order had a rehearsal room recording of Ian singing Ceremony and In a Lonely Place. But I don't know how much of the lyric they had to complete themselves. New Order's finished recordings were the source for the lyrics in my book. You'd really have to ask them about that.

Ian's lyrics meant everything to him, other people's lyrics were always important to him too . He did lock himself away in his room and I wouldn't say his lyric writing ever spilled out of that room. I respected his 'muse' or 'zone' whatever you want to call it. So, no there was no pottering around the house humming a new song.

Most of the stories he told me of the fun he had with the lads were those kind of stories where you just 'had to be there' as they say. They were all laddish tales, kind of toilet jokes (literally). He was amused by someone in another band picking their nose and flicking bogeys at their girlfriend, and still laughed about it weeks afterwards. My fondest memory of being with the band was the night we set off for a take-out after setting up the gear and Hooky let me drive the van. We all had a meal from a Greek take-away before they went on stage. It was falling into place and I really felt happy and part of it.
>Part two - 2005/2006

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