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Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy…

Touching from a Distance: Ian Curtis and Joy Division

by Deborah Curtis

Other authors: Jon Savage (Foreword)

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Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
I read this quite a while ago. I have a first edition copy of this somewhere. Unlike my more heavy reading habits, I don't feel like this subject matter needs to be fresh in my mind to write a review.

I just started listening to Joy Division again after many years of not listening to them. I often go through periods of genre listening. I suppose what sparked a renewed interest in Joy Division and Post-Punk was the fact that I just started listening to The The and I've been pretty impressed. I'm not sure if I should be glad or disappointed that The The somehow passed by me as a kid; but it has caused me to revisit other bands I liked from this era (e.g. The Cure, early New Order, The Smiths etc).

Anyway, this was a really good biography. Some reviewers hate it because they idolize a very flawed human being and are disappointed by his foibles. More than likely many of them are floored that Ian Curtis was a Tory conservative--GASP!!! I think Deborah Curtis did a good job representing her husband. Is she unbiased? No. Does she know him better than his legions of blissfully ignorant adorers? Undoubtedly! ( )
  Erick_M | Aug 27, 2018 |
This definitely gave a new perspective on things. I'm not sure I'd go so far as to say he was an abusive boyfriend/husband, but I was surprised at how controlling he was about her clothes, who she spoke to, etc. and then went on to cheat on her like he did. I feel really bad for Deborah.

I read [b:Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division|15818498|Unknown Pleasures Inside Joy Division|Peter Hook|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1355530496s/15818498.jpg|19109358] before I read this, and I had to laugh at the mention of the giant poo they saw at a festival in both books. ( )
  earthforms | Feb 2, 2014 |
In Touching From a Distance, Deborah Curtis retells the life of her husband, Ian Curtis - the lead singer and founder of the British punk band Joy Division. Deborah chronically Ian's tragically short life from childhood antics, to secondary school indifference and the start of his obsessions with striking it big and dying young. Curtis, with the help of quotes from several others paints a picture of a man determined to be a legend.

I started Touching from a Distance with no idea who Ian Curtis or Joy Division were. This was one of several assigned readings for this semester that I was more than a little skeptical about, particularly because it was a biography of someone I'd never heard of. I was surprised with how interested I became in Ian's life. Even ignoring his fame, Ian Curtis lead an interesting life. He was a smart kid who was obsessed with music. Deborah makes sure her voice is heard in every pages. She tries to give Ian a sympathetic audience but his controlling behavior, apparent schizophrenia, and inability to see how his antics effect those closest to him makes Ian more of a monster than helpless angel. It is obvious that Deborah loved her husband, even through his affair. In more ways than not this is her story as well. Her early life is so intertwined with his that it leaves the reader a chance to take sides.

I didn't many issues with Touching from a Distance. Deborah's timeline tended to move in inconsistent chunks, focusing on events that may or may not have actually been important and skimming over everything for the next several months. This happens a lot with performances. Several performances are highlighted, and there are so many that it becomes hard to keep track of venues, television personalities and groupies. My only other issue was the quotes. It is obvious that Curtis did her research, talking to everyone else involved with Ian and Joy Division. While they are informative, and sometimes refreshing to get a different perspective they often take away from the flow Curtis has created.

Overall I was very impressed. Though I'd love to hear what actual Joy Division fans thought of the biography. ( )
  Letter4No1 | Oct 10, 2010 |
Deborah Curtis presents a brief biography of the man- or maybe the boy- she married and gives the reader a glimpse at the very human side of her husband Ian Curtis. Deborah presents the good and the bad and some may not want to think of an idol like Ian Curtis behaving the way he did. This is a frustrating and sad story--like many that deal with suicide. There aren’t really any answers to why here and I didn’t expect them. One does get a sense that Ian’s epilepsy and numerous prescriptions may have played a strong hand in much of his turmoil and subsequent decision.

This book feels like a great sigh, like Deborah Curtis felt a weight off of her after she told her story. Though readers not familiar with Joy Division and others in music at that time in Manchester may be a bit lost with all of the names and places mentioned, I think this story can hold up without that knowledge.

Ian’s lyrics and unfinished writings as well as Joy Division gig lists and discography are provided. This book inspired the film Control (2007). ( )
  audramelissa | Aug 20, 2010 |
I think that this book succeeded in illustrating Ian Curtis not only as an artist and poet, but as well as a real person. In a way it lifted the romantic and mysterious veil off him unlike the biopic Control. There is no doubt that he was an excellent poet and musician, but also he was the person who put his loved ones through a lot of pain.But he would not be as excellent as he was without his sickness and unique personality.
Deborah is obviously a very patient and understanding woman. She really is the best person to write a book about Ian and she did a great job. ( )
1 vote marta2303 | Nov 20, 2009 |
Showing 1-5 of 9 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Deborah Curtisprimary authorall editionscalculated
Savage, JonForewordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed

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Ian Kevin Curtis was born in the Memorial Hospital, Old Trafford, Manchester, on St Swithin's Day, 15 July 1956, although at the time his parents, Kevin and Doreen Curtis, lived in Hurdsfield on the outskirts of Macclesfield.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0571239560, Paperback)

The only in-depth biographical account of the lead singer of Joy Division, written by his widow.

Revered by his peers--Bono described his voice as "holy"--and idolized by his fans, Ian Curtis left behind a legacy rich in artistic genius. He was a mesmerizing performer on stange, yet also introverted and prone to mode swings. Engimantic to the last, Ian Curtis died by his own hand on 18 May 1980.

Touching from a Distance describes Curtis's life from his early teenage years to his premature death on the eve of Joy Division's first American tour. It tells how, with a wife, child and impending international fame, he was seduced by the glory of an early grave. What were the reasons for his fascination with death? Were his dark, brooding lyrics an artistic exorcism? In Touching from a Distance Curtis's widow, Deborah, explains the drama of his life and the tragedy of his death.

Includes discography, gig list and a full set of Curtis's lyrics, some of which appear in print for the first time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:21 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

This is an account of the mesmerising life and tragic death of Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, told from the perspective of his wife Deborah. It contains a discography, gig list and a full set of lyrics.

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