The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world

The Rock Pit - Hard rock, Metal and Blues Interviews, news & reviews from Australia and around the world















A couple of the things that immediately grab you about Peter Hook and his book of the life and times of Joy Division are that firstly he may not have the most scholarly approach to the subject and secondly that he seemingly has an endless supply of anecdotes. The former point however is rendered immediately redundant by the fact that Hook is a very endearing narrator bursting with great stories, that even in the first few pages draw you in: whether it’s his clearly affectionate notes on Salford or his story of the origins of the name ‘Joy Division’ or even the tale of their first ever gig (something every new band should read).




Clearly the Joy Division faithful will get a lot more out of this read than the casual acquaintance, but if you want to read an engaging story about a band that clearly influenced a lot of important musicians that followed, all written with wit and insight, then this is pretty hard to put down.




At times ‘Hooky’ is just plain amusing, and if truth be told he’s great for anecdotes. I love the fact that the band got so excited about their first rider – even though it was a case of Brown Ale and none of them drank Brown Ale. At other times though you can clearly see that he loves to add a few “of course I got much more famous later with New Order” stories like the casual mention of getting a ‘million or so a show’ with New Order years later in the Mid-West. On the lips of others it might seem as bad a sin as name dropping but you sense that Hooky does it just for a laugh rather than any real need to boast about it.




If you are an aficionado of late seventies/early eighties Manchester bands I’m sure that a lot of the names that adorn the pages will mean a lot more to you than me: if you’re not then irrespective, the characterisations of certain persons and bands are certainly colourful. And I suppose that is what the book is all about – the creation of the band and the important relationships around Joy Division. No one really gets out unscathed and by the end of the book you’ll be amazed that Sumner and Hook lasted Joy Division together let alone formed New Order! 




The rest of the book is pretty funny faithful collection of stories about being in a band– Driving the motorways, no girlfriends in tow, freezing in the back of vans and playing shows around the north-east. Ther’s chance meetings that turn into lifelong connections and there's the discovery of Ian's epilepsy. Some of the gems include the show in Huddersfield when one person turns up.



If it’s anything more than a band bio ‘Unknown Pleasures’ is a tale of self-belief, disbelief and determination. It’s also a tragedy as the band ‘Just carry on ignoring Ian's condition’ as they get more popular (as everyone else at the time seemed to). There are gripes from Hooky about being the only driver of the van, and being knackered and falling asleep at work. But then the ‘Peel Session’ (that everyone in the UK will be familiar with) ends up being a turning point that ultimately leads the band to triumph and tragedy. And if you want to know more, let Hooky guide you. It’s a page-turner.





By Mark Diggins