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An Ideal for living book review

Magazine: Record Collector (UK)

Publication date: July 1984


 

AN IDEAL FOR LIVING

An Ideal for living: An History Of Joy Division (by Mark Johnson, Proteus, 5.95) has apparently been eagerly awaited by fans of the cult band to end all cult bands. One hopes that they are pleased with the finished result. From the Peter Saville-designed cover to the admittedly impressive selection of black and white pictures that furnish its pages, An Ideal for living is less a rock biography than a work of homage. The text is dominated by an almost daily account of the group's activities, listing gigs, recording sessions and other major activities both before and after the death of Ian Curtis in 1980, and covering the band's metamorphosis into New Order, the thinking rock fan's favourite chart band
Slipped in between, like slim wafers of ham in a large-slice sandwich, are the contributions of Paul Morley, whose reputation as the NME's hottest wordslinger appears to have clotted up his pen. His personal account of the influence which the band had on his own life makes fascinating, moving reading; but in his attempt to find a suitable style to convey the majesty and significance of this timeless rock band, he slides towards incoherence: Was RH the bridge between psychic Man-Leader extremity and inevitable D-Solution; the vacuum inherited from defeating the psychic attach, only then to live with it forever; or had their early film been showing how the YoungMen were now vulnerable to the final extreme, even though it is still kept to factor-possible?" The rock band that inspires such lucid thought must be mighty indeed