It’s important to hold onto both of these Joy Divisions – the Joy Division of Pure Art, and the Joy Division who were ‘just a laff’ – at once. For if the truth of Joy Division is that they were Lads, then Joy Division must also be the truth of Laddism.
It’s a good artlcle, but there are another two Joy Divisions – is there a term for this particular rhetorical strategy, of splitting a thing into two antithetical versions, and then saying “hah! flipsides of the same coin!”? – anyway, there are Joy Division the Most Important Band Ever, the one that gets reverential Mojo issues and long theory-laden blog posts devoted to it, and there’s also Joy Division the Band Sad Teenagers Listened To In Their Bedrooms, the one fans will make self-deprecating jokes about (Smiths fans do this a lot too) concerning their spotty angst-ridden phase, the target of Ian Curtis jokes etc.
And (here comes the flipsides thing) they were a really good band but they also had some awful, stagey moments. I never liked “She’s Lost Control” and “Shadowplay” has that ridiculous line about assassins dancing on the floor.
In summary, when I first listened to my copy of Unknown Pleasures I misheard the opening line of ‘Disorder’ as “I’ve been waiting for a guy to come and take me by the hand”, making it much more like a Lou Reed song, and all the better for it.