For years I had wanted to travel to Macclesfield and visit the grave of Ian Curtis. If someone can hold such an emotional influence and ability over you then surely to physically acknowledge that would only enrichen the experience.
The film ‘Control’ by Anton Corbijn was due for release on October 5th and I decided that would be the day to visit the cemetary, for the film was going to alter perceptions and the myth of Ian would change in the mainstream conciousness forever. It was an auspicious event and I wanted to be with the reality as opposed to the myth.
Standing under the focusing cloth of my Linhof 5x4 camera I could hear a distressed woman shouting and crying and the voice was getting nearer. The voice was soon beside me and I pulled the cloth from over my head..It was diffcult to process everything that was happening for I had been in such a peaceful moment..to this..
She was shouting ‘I’m sucidal!’ and ‘look at my wrists’ We tried to calm her down and she told us she had just gotten out of jail and while she was in there her husband had died..he was epileptic. I passed her the bottle of Armagnac and she started guzzling it down so fast I had to snatch it back.
With a very abrupt thump I was woken to the problems of Macclesfield..frankly it was depressing in a profound way.
(This story is in note form for the purpose of this website entry. The book ‘Bathing Whiskey’ which I am still producing will feature this story in detail).
During our time in Macclesfield we asked many locals if they knew who Ian was or of his band Joy Division..no one did..we went to the pubs and I was constantly looking for graffiti or any telling signs in toliet cubicles or under railway bridges etc…there was nothing.
Returning to London there was several events that related directly to the experience.
There are now guided tours in Macclesfield which will serve you the ‘Ian’ experience with maps of his favourite haunts posted on street lamps and a shiny new gravestone.