The Austin Chronicle

Music Gift Guide: Books

Move over Kurt Cobain Journals

Reviewed by Neph Basedow, December 5, 2014, Music

So This Is Permanence

by Ian Curtis
Chronicle Books, 274pp., $40

"His lyrics tell much more about him than a conversation with him ever could," writes Deborah Curtis of her late husband Ian in the foreword to So This Is Permanence. Sourced by the Joy Division frontman's notebooks, this clothbound hardcover spans the British quartet's brief career, reproducing handwritten and previously unseen song drafts spanning 1977 until the singer's suicide in 1980 at 23. Two appendices expand upon Touching From a Distance (1995) and box set Heart and Soul (1997), one section containing unreleased works, while appendix two reprints handbills, fanzine pages, and fan mail – a delight for Joy Division devotees. Eerie intimacy ensues in Curtis' scratch-outs and amendments, swapping titles or modifying phrasing in hit "Love Will Tear Us Apart," among others. Like Kurt Cobain's posthumous Journals (2002), Permanence offers rare personal insight on an artist otherwise basked in mystique. His poetic brilliance, ominous and beautiful, remains startling even when stripped of its aural component and regardless of a familiarity with the group's chilling post-punk.

Copyright © 2024 Austin Chronicle Corporation. All rights reserved.