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Indoor Raincoat

Lavinia Greenlaw: Joy Division

22 April 2015
So This Is Permanence: Joy Division Lyrics and Notebooks 
by Ian Curtis, edited by Deborah Curtis and Jon Savage.
Faber, 304 pp., £27, October 2014, 978 0 571 30955 9
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... lyrics with poetry, they expect pop to feel flattered and sometimes it is. So This Is Permanence reminds us that lyrics can reward close attention without being recast. The book collects the words of IanCurtis, the singer in Joy Division, who committed suicide in 1980 at the age of 23. Joy Division belonged to the scene that emerged into the space left behind by punk. They are now part of the global ...

77 Barton Street

Dave Haslam: Joy Division

3 January 2008
Juvenes: The Joy Division Photographs of Kevin Cummins 
To Hell with Publishing, 189 pp., £200, December 2007Show More
Joy Division: Piece by Piece 
by Paul Morley.
Plexus, 384 pp., £14.99, December 2007, 978 0 85965 404 3
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Control 
directed by Anton Corbijn.
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... was commissioned by the NME in January 1979 to take a series of portraits of Joy Division inside the grotty warehouse where the band rehearsed; most striking are those showing the band’s singer, IanCurtis, pale and brooding, lit by dusty light. Cummins also photographed the band standing in the snow down by the cathedral, and on a bridge overlooking Hulme, a huge 1960s housing estate. The four ...

At the Design Museum

Andrew O’Hagan: Peter Saville

19 June 2003
... cartoons (currently appearing in the LRB). Walking in the Design Museum, you get the impression that Peter Saville never closes his eyes, that he is never quite asleep. As Joy Division’s singer, IanCurtis, dies and the group becomes New Order, as the 1980s and then the 1990s encroach, you see the covers of the records change as the music changes. The work moves from minimalism to advertising ...
2 February 2017
... morbid, or Gothic. A poet who exclaims ‘I lost all my bets/on the living/and the dead-for-now’ may well share something with earlier singers of the unhomely and uncanny, from Thomas De Quincey to IanCurtis. His Earth, like theirs, is a purgatory where anything can happen and no one can leave: ‘My brother is hanging from the branches/Hanging or swimming/Our T-shirts absolutely blaze.’ He ...

Guilt

Andrew O’Hagan: A Memoir

5 November 2009
... too: those fresh-faced, post-industrial boys who dyed their hair grey and wore a gold stud in their ears were full of androgyny and working-class escapism. We listened to Joy Division and wondered if IanCurtis, the band’s singer, hadn’t died from too much guilt and too little time to put it right. When I hear their album Closer, I think of the Winter of Discontent and the layers of frost on the ...

Secret Purposes

P.N. Furbank

19 September 1985
Defoe and the Idea of Fiction: 1713-1719 
by Geoffrey Sill.
Associated University Presses, 190 pp., £16.95, April 1984, 0 87413 227 4
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The Elusive Daniel Defoe 
by Laura Curtis.
Vision, 216 pp., £15.95, January 1984, 0 85478 435 7
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Dofoe’s Fiction 
by Ian​ Bell.
Croom Helm, 201 pp., £17.95, March 1985, 0 7099 3294 4
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Realism, Myth and History in Defoe’s Fiction 
by Maximillian​ Novak.
Nebraska, 181 pp., £21.55, July 1983, 0 8032 3307 8
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... We owe a large debt to the famous chapter on Robinson Crusoe in Ian Watt’s The Rise of the Novel. Watt really made us use our wits about that novel and forced us to relate it to our most serious interests. Reread after twenty years, moreover, the chapter still has ...

God wielded the buzzer

Christian​ Lorentzen: The Sorrows of DFW

11 October 2012
Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace 
by D.T. Max.
Granta, 352 pp., £20, September 2012, 978 1 84708 494 1
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... which probably doesn’t augur real well for my longevity’, he would tell an interviewer – ‘not entirely credibly’, to Max’s mind. After debating suicide with one of his friends (when IanCurtis of Joy Division hanged himself was this an artistic statement?), Wallace left Amherst again. If the story had a different ending – if Wallace were still around – we might see each breakdown as ...

Not No Longer but Not Yet

Jenny Turner: Mark Fisher’s Ghosts

9 May 2019
k-punk: The Collected and Unpublished Writings of Mark Fisher 
edited by Darren Ambrose.
Repeater, 817 pp., £25, November 2018, 978 1 912248 28 5
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... office, every day, every week, for a year, with maybe three weeks’ holiday a year. The horror enveloped me.’ And then there was the Polaroid that surfaced on social media last December, of IanCurtis at the Macclesfield Unemployment Benefits Office’s Christmas drinks in 1978, a year and a half before he killed himself in May 1980. ‘The solitary urinal of male subjectivity’ is a wonderful ...

Wolfish

John Sutherland: The pushiness of young men in a hurry

5 May 2005
Publisher 
by Tom Maschler.
Picador, 294 pp., £20, March 2005, 0 330 48420 6
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British Book Publishing as a Business since the 1960s 
by Eric de Bellaigue.
British Library, 238 pp., £19.95, January 2004, 0 7123 4836 0
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Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Viking, 484 pp., £25, May 2005, 0 670 91485 1
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... one of these phones – Maschler’s achievements as a general trade publisher rank him with Archibald Constable, George Smith, John Blackwood, George Routledge, Frederick Macmillan, David Garnett, Ian Parsons, Allen Lane. It was one of the most highly regarded of today’s younger publishers, Peter Straus (now an agent), who commissioned the book. None of these coat-brushers of genius is a ...

Termagant

Ian​ Gilmour: The Cliveden Set

19 October 2000
The Cliveden Set: Portrait of an Exclusive Fraternity 
by Norman Rose.
Cape, 277 pp., £20, August 2000, 0 224 06093 7
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... team’ in South Africa, who became an investment banker and remained easily the best of the set; Geoffrey Dawson, editor of the Times for 26 years, who almost worshipped Neville Chamberlain; Lionel Curtis, like Brand and Dawson, a fellow of All Souls, but unlike them often a grinding bore, who pursued impossible ideas such as the unification of the British Empire, and dreamed in Shanghai ‘of all ...

Going Flat Out, National Front and All

Ian​ Hamilton: Watch your mouth!

14 December 2000
Diaries: Into Politics 
by Alan Clark.
Weidenfeld, 389 pp., £20, October 2000, 0 297 64402 5
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The Assassin’s Cloak: An Anthology of the World’s Greatest Diarists 
edited by Irene Taylor and Alan Taylor.
Canongate, 684 pp., £25, November 2000, 0 86241 920 4
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The Journals of Woodrow Wyatt. Vol. III: From Major to Blair 
edited by Sarah Curtis.
Macmillan, 823 pp., £25, November 2000, 9780333774069
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... Do you have a friend who keeps a diary, a journal intime? If so, you’d better watch your mouth – indeed, watch everything about yourself, the way you dress, the way you eat, and what you eat, how much you drink, who pays the bill, and so on. Be careful, but be careful not to seem too careful: Dec. 14: Lunch with IH. Shifty fucker, absurdly self-conscious. Ate next to nothing and pretended not to ...

Vigah

Elizabeth Drew: JFK

20 November 2003
John F. Kennedy: An Unfinished Life 1917-63 
by Robert Dallek.
Allen Lane, 838 pp., £25, September 2003, 0 7139 9737 0
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... With his advisers divided, and fearful that inaction on his part would bring political attacks, Kennedy finally sanctioned the invasion. Dallek points out that Jack and Bobby were great fans of Ian Fleming’s novels, and thought the key CIA operative pushing for action in Cuba a James Bond-like figure. This fondness for swashbuckling characters was to bring the Kennedys to grief more than once ...

Brief Shining Moments

Christopher Hitchens: Donkey Business in the White House

19 February 1998
Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years 1963-65 
by Taylor Branch.
Simon and Schuster, 746 pp., $30, February 1998, 0 684 80819 6
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‘One Hell of a Gamble’: Khrushchev, Castro and Kennedy, 1958-64 
by Aleksandr Fursenko and Timothy Naftali.
Murray, 416 pp., September 1997, 0 7195 5518 3
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The Dark Side of Camelot 
by Seymour Hersh.
HarperCollins, 497 pp., £8.99, February 1998, 9780006530770
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Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson , Bobby Kennedy and the Feud that Defined a Decade 
by Jeff Shesol.
Norton, 591 pp., £23.50, January 1998, 9780393040784
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The Year the Dream Died 
by Jules Witcover.
Warner, 512 pp., £25, June 1997, 0 446 51849 2
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Without Honor: The Impeachment of President Nixon and the Crimes of Camelot 
by Jerry Zeifman.
Thunder's Mouth, 262 pp., $24.95, November 1996, 9781560251286
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The Kennedy Tapes: Inside the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis 
edited by Ernest May and Philip Zelikow.
Howard, 740 pp., £23.50, September 1997, 0 674 17926 9
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Lyndon B. Johnson’s Vietnam Papers: A Documentary Collection 
edited by David Barrett.
Texas A & M, 906 pp., $94, June 1997, 0 89096 741 5
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Taking Charge: The Johnson Whitehouse Tapes 1963-64 
edited by Michael Beschloss.
Simon and Schuster, 624 pp., £20, April 1998, 0 684 80407 7
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Abuse of Power: The New Nixon Tapes 
edited by Stanley Kutler.
Free Press, 675 pp., $30, November 1997, 0 684 84127 4
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The Other Missiles of October: Eisenhower, Kennedy and the Jupiters, 1957-63 
by Philip Nash.
North Carolina, 231 pp., £34.70, October 1997, 0 8078 4647 3
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... in history that such clout had ever been employed in that way. He threw away much of this gain by pursuing Kennedy’s fantasy of standing tall in Indo-China (where the military Neanderthals like Curtis LeMay, who had wanted pre-emptive nuclear war over Cuba, were allowed to test their strategic bombing theories on live subjects). He had to be ever-watchful of the pro-Kennedy fanatics who refused ...

Serried Yuppiedromes

Owen Hatherley: What happened to London?

20 August 2014
Guide to the Architecture of London 
by Edward Jones and Christopher Woodward.
Phoenix, 511 pp., £16.99, July 2013, 978 1 78022 493 0
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... t merely the century of Lubetkin, Ernö Goldfinger or the LCC’s Architects’ Department, but also that of Lutyens, Giles Gilbert Scott, Charles Holden and lesser lights such as Edwin Cooper or W. Curtis Green. Practically every Georgian terrace they can find features in the book. They disapprove of the City’s ‘untidy and expanding cluster’ of skyscrapers, and are more pleased with the beaux ...

The smallest details speak the loudest

John Upton: The Stephen Lawrence inquiry

1 July 1999
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry 
by Sir William Macpherson.
Stationery Office, 335 pp., £26, February 1999, 0 10 142622 4
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The Case of Stephen Lawrence 
by Brian​ Cathcart.
Viking, 418 pp., £16.99, May 1999, 0 670 88604 1
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... come from an article of Gary Dobson’s clothing. Dobson, having refused to co-operate, was committed for trial. The trial began at the Central Criminal Court on 17 April 1996, in front of Mr Justice Curtis, and ended eight days later due to the unreliability of Brooks’s evidence. The reasons why the case against the three men progressed no further than an initial legal argument held without a jury ...

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