Touching From a Distance
Faber & Faber
Among the most heavily scorned categories of the world's people are the wives and girlfriends of rock music heroes. Photos of the gun Kurt Cobain used to kill himself were released and released along with that was a general geekazoid hate for Courtney Love for allegedly killing an idol. Yoko Ono obviously. I've heard rock-geeks of all ages say horrible things about Nancy Spungen, a teenage girl, for apparently destroying the career and life of the precious and innocent Sid Viscious, probably worst musician to ever have lucked into a major recording contract.
I remember picking up a copy of Substance by New Order from a pawn shop back when I was probably 15 or 16. I was attracted to the names of everything: the band, the album, the songs, and I was attracted to the simple black and white cover. I loved Substance and through learning about the band that made that music, I learned about Joy Division and their own Substance compilation. Aside from their music there's only really two things to know about them: their singer Ian Curtis had epilepsy and his seizures became spectacles, and he died tragically by his own hand.
Ian Curtis died when he was 23. He was a husband and father, his daughter was one year old when he passed. Fifteen years later his widow published Touching From a Distance to speak about her experiences of living with a young and emotionally intense lead singer. Her portrayal of her husband is largely negative and, unfortunately, completely believable. I've read some commentary on her book, mostly written by typical rock dorks who can't stand that a woman, who was once a 22 year old widow with an infant daughter, might be justifiably angry about her husband quitting on her. She portrayed Curtis as controlling, jealous, prone to rages, and egotistical. She mentioned anecdotes I'd rather not have known - Curtis could be racist and he was right-wing in some of his views - which I don't really want to hear in regards to a band I like that associated Nazi imagery with their music. One reviewer of this book stated that Deborah Curtis is just wrong about her portrayal of her husband. I can't imagine knowing someone longer and more intimately than anyone else and then be told that my perceptions of that person are incorrect simply because they conflict with that individual's public image and the fantasy that geeks want to preserve.
Curtis included all of the lyrics for released Joy Division songs as well as many words for incomplete songs.