Book Review: Twisting by the Pool

Rock & roll summer reading

Twisting by the Pool

Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division

by Peter Hook
It/Harper Collins, 416 pp., $27.99

Proto-electro, proto-goth, post-punk; whatever you called Joy Division, bassist Peter Hook seemed the leather-clad outrider. He was also their rock and biggest fan. From when their best reviews were for Hooky's hat to the transformation into New Order, he kept every receipt, ticket, and set list, pouring them from the tour bus onto the page. The death of Ian Curtis inevitably hangs over the tale, but Hooky doesn't attempt revisionism of the artist legend. Instead, he shows both sides of Curtis' coin, tortured genius versus the Northern English working-class kid who laughed at farts. The real meat is in the never-ending tension with his oldest ally and bitterest adversary, guitarist Bernard Sumner, aka Barney Rubble. The Lennon and McCartney of the Eighties, they were the band's basis and downfall. That's what Hooky understands: that Joy Division was all contradictions. The sound was exquisite but untrained. They couldn't always stand each other, but they'd smack anyone who crossed them. Keyboards were their success and downfall. Even how he wore his bass – slung low, in rock-god style – was accidental. It's what the Sex Pistols taught them: You don't have to be good to be great.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Joy Division
Reissues
Joy Division
Unknown Pleasures, Closer, Still (Record Review)

Audra Schroeder, Dec. 14, 2007

More Music Reviews
<i>Me & Mr. Cigar</i>
Me & Mr. Cigar
Butthole Surfers singer Gibby Haynes debuts a deeply weird and wonderful young adult novel.

Alyssa Quiles, Feb. 21, 2020

Revenge of the She-Punks
Revenge of the She-Punks

Rachel Rascoe, Dec. 6, 2019

More by Richard Whittaker
Fall
It's a great view in this vertigo-inducing survival thriller

Aug. 12, 2022

A Love Song
Dale Dickey paints a meticulous portrait of hope and love

Aug. 12, 2022

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Joy Division, Peter Hook

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Behind the scenes at The Austin Chronicle

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle