Saturday, October 27, 2007

song of the week: digital - joy division

Darling Vicarage is at a crossroads in her life...

Walking up Caledonian Road on my way to see Control, feeling restless in the extreme, I stuck on some Joy Division to try and reset my mind before the film. When that steadfast, confident, weirdly upbeat bass kicked in, my stomach settled, my pace quickened, and dragging on an illicit cigarette, I felt vaguely closer to being in control.

As a teenager, Digital was battle music. When they played Digital or Transmission down at the indie nights at the Corn Exchange the floor would be crammed with drunk, underage bodies self-consciously bumping up against one another, eyes averted, affecting an aloof stare. This was dance music I felt I was permitted to dance to. This stuff used to make me feel adult and invincible.

As I pounded the pavement, the tripping guitar riff and trembling, deep, deep slur of Ian Curtis lifted my spirits as it cracked into a frustrated, spitting yell. So I sung along, as you do with songs you’re blindly familiar with, quite mindlessly and innocently in my head; ‘day in, day out, day in, day out’. There was something strangely comforting about having those words in my mouth again. And then I remembered exactly what I was singing.

Here’s this casually infectious three minute piece of stripped back post-punk. It doesn’t give me nightmares like Dead Souls, make me cry like Atmosphere or bring me to my knees like Love Will Tear Us Apart. But my God is it a nasty, insidious piece of work.

For a very intense moment, I felt sick, panicked and fatigued and all that sick, panicked, exhausted tension in the song hit me like a crash-test dummy in a government advert. I tripped on the pavement and stopped to take a deep breath. Then I kept on walking, trapped in the hypnotic, menacing, bass riff, aware that I had to keep moving because you can’t simply stop on the street and scream. As Ian Curtis belted out that final, bullying, triumphant/desperate plea ‘don’t ever fade away, don’t ever fade away’ I calmed down and felt less sketchy, especially when it finished.

I’ll probably always dance to Digital with teenage abandon, all the while feeling queasy as that’s part of its horrific charm – I’ve always recognised that. But in true thunderclap style, my head, my circumstances and my i-pod synched up on Friday night, and suddenly, listening to a three minute pop song felt a helluva lot like looking in the mirror. And when that song is by Joy Division, I hope I could be forgiven for freaking out on Caledonian Road.


At 20 November, 2009 05:54 , Anonymous Ron Mexico said...

Wow way to tie it back to the beginning with the Caledonian road reference. I'm impressed.


You ever want some real post punk listen to The Sound or the comsat angels. Joy division is overrated

Ron Mexico

At 01 February, 2010 16:34 , Blogger Anna said...

Hey Darling! :)

I just googled Joy Divison on pictures and came across this pic. It is awesome!!
Is it yours? Do you have the original? If yes, I would loooove a copy so that I can put it on canvas over my bed. It would look amazing. Do you think it is possible? I would be forever grateful!!

Take care!



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