A cry for help, a hint of anaesthesia
I think it's interesting, actually, that Hannett is the one who got Curtis to pitch his voice lower than natural - and I use that word very deliberately - for Closer. I've mentioned in passing the distinction between Joy Division's two albums a good account of their live show at the time (the best us young'uns can do, sadly) like the Les Baines Douches album (of which Stewart Voegtlin's hallucinatory, political account may be my favourite). It's actually for Stylus I addressed the halt/go thing most directly, but I don't really tackle the live show. Surely part of this is the interior conviction that, as someone who has not and can not (and could never have) actually experienced Joy Division live, the territory is too treacherous to navigate.
Mark also highlights something I wish I'd thought about more as I wrote the essay: "In his lyrics Curtis dwelt on the theme of being-a-prerecording, of living life as if it were a film, of being the only living entity in a world of zombies - a sense interred and distilled in the glacially fatalistic cata-tone of his voice, about which Ian writes so eloquently." I think with Closer I'm so mesmerized, smashed, hurt (in a way) by the sound that I only tend to come around to analyzing the lyrics in any sort of meaningful way later on. One of the most interesting things about the experience of writing the article (here, by the way - still haven't got a chance to fix the links) was searching out lines from Closer for the section titles and the title of the essay as a whole. Except for "Here are the young men, where have they been?" and "So this is permanent" the others were ones I wasn't really consciously aware of in the sense of being able to start talking about what Curtis sings about as opposed to how he sings it. I think I owe myself some re-listenings with that particular phrasing in mind, actually, because the use of the phrase "being-a-prerecording" strikes a chord with my normal experience of the album.
I'm also rather grateful that when Mark links me in his post he uses the best post from TMW,TMW rather than my usual rather telegraphic blatherings here. Things like "Anon" are what I was hoping to get from the 'oeuvreblog' experience, and it's paid off a few times already.
(PS I've already been meaning for literally years to track down the Pop Group, but Mark's description here of it as "the fire to Joy Division’s ice" is persuasive and evocative enough I think I might need to track it down myself, if any readers wanted to help...)