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Donovan1

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So I've heard vague statements about Ian Curtis being interested in the occult and on some reading lists of his that I have seen Aleister Crowley pops up. I know for certain that Ian was friends with Genesis P Orridge and an avid fan of Throbbing Gristle, which magick and the Occult seem to be a major, if not the major factor of Genesis P and TG's work.
My questions are, does anyone know to what extent Ian was involved with the occult if at all , at what stage he became interested , and what practices interested him? Thanks!

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PatTeasdale

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Excluding the occasional sacrifice of a groupie over Barney's AC30 during the soundcheck or the routine slaughter of a goat onstage before 'Atrocity Exhibition' .... or 'Halal Exhibition' (as it became known to the bands inner circle), then no.

In all seriousness, i just think Ian had an interest in some of the more left or right of field options in life ..... including the likes of Burroughs, JG Ballard, TG, WW2, GPO, hypnotisation, etc. Wouldnt personally class those as being part of the occult tho ....

I think im right in saying that other members of JD have been asked the same question over the years, and there was nothing that they were aware of.
350125

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Strictly speaking I only deal in facts, but I think this is a load of doggy-plop. I'm pretty sure Ian, like most of us in our late teens and early 20s, had a passing interest in the bizarre. Crowley was possibly the singularly most tedious and uninteresting individual to have captured the imagination of many a distracted youth, bald and sad as a scrotum and about as hip as Facebook, Jimmy Page bought his house, what more can one say - but I did read somewhere Ian liked 'The Devils' with Oliver Reed & Vanessa Redgrave. Well, I did too. As for 'practices'....this was a Macclesfield herbert who jested over chunky oily faeces with a big black crack running right up the middle. I don't really see him, even in his darkest moments, gurning at a 'ouija' board muttering "are you there?". Correct me if I'm wrong, but I really don't.
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dmxi

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Reply with quote  #4 
i agree....if so,debbie would've mentioned it!
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PatTeasdale

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350125 - Have to laugh at your comments about Crowley ..... my thoughts entirely, Pagey spent a fortune buying up anything connected to him .... but i can only picture 'Spinal Tap' style scenario's being invoked .... as opposed to powerful magick.

Thought the following online comment summed things up pretty well IMO .....

"Of course Crowley was a charlatan. The only thing magical about Aleister was his great ability at separating credulous and impressionable people from their money to support his sybaritic, cocaine-fuelled, narcotics-addicted lifestyle. Aleister Crowley never did an honest day's work in his life. Now, there's a conjurer for you."
350125

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Pat: Who said that? Very good, whoever it was. I like it!
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imkc1

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Reply with quote  #7 
I think Ian lead a very compartmentalized life and you've asked a question no one may be willing or able to come forward to answer. So naturally speculation runs rife.

Certainly adds to the mythic aspects though, don't it. "Everything is by design."

But I would think someone who wrote lyrics about guides and fear of whom I call and "mocking toads" ringing thru halls etc would have had at least a passing interest / nodding aqaintance in things occult.
PatTeasdale

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"Mocking toads" ???!!!  [smile]
imkc1

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Disc 3 "heart and soul" on "dead souls"-cracks me up every time :-)
PatTeasdale

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Like it !! [smile] 

Never picked up on that before .....as that Central Sound early version of 'Dead Souls' isnt a session I listen to very often ... clearly i need to pay more attention
PatTeasdale

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Pat: Who said that? Very good, whoever it was. I like it! 

350125 : I just Googled 'Crowley Charlatan' ..... and that was one of the comments listed in Yahoo Answers  ...which i thought rather apt
order79

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The only story I have which is more or less straight from the  horses mouth concerns a gig  Joy Division played with killing joke.Appologies if I get some names wrong, pig youth  was Bassist?.Any way they were all into black magic and even had a black magic dog. Before the gig they drew a series  of black magic circles, triangles to get off on,Anyways Ian walked through the circle which is supposed to be a big no,no .

Afterwhich all the Band members say Ians health  took a turn for the worse.

The only mistake.

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imkc1

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Reply with quote  #13 
^^^ comparing gig dates I only found two: February 20, 1980 (town hall , high wycombe) and February 29, 1980 ( the lyceum, london). In between was Preston with its massive equipment failure and from what I inferred from Peter Hook's book was when Ian cut himself , and a bible chapter, with a knife. Then only a few more gigs and indeed things became progressively worse for Ian and then The End.

So, wow. That's pretty heavy story. Especially since a bit of web sleuthing turns up other stories of things not going well for others who pissed off KJ.

Will The Circle Be Unbroken/By and By Lord, By and By-has a whole different meaning in light of all this......
350125

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Reply with quote  #14 
No offence meant imkc1....but does anyone here actually believe this utter hokum? 
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TJ_Davidson

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Reply with quote  #15 
That's not an open question, but your opinion in the guise of a question.
Fact is that Ian once did this regression therapy with Bernard, so apparently he was not such a stern rationalist, or shunning anything that can't be scientifically explained. In the snippet of the tape recording Ian mentioned he was studying a book about "laws".
Personally, I think he may have hinted at one of Aleister Crowley's best known books called "the Book of the Law".
He was interested in the occultist-charlatan Crowley, as evidenced by a small quote from another book called "The book of Thoth" used in Transmission.
Alledgedly, and forgive me for not knowing where I read this precisely, Ian once suggested to stop doing music and begin a bookshop.
I think it would've fit him well to let it be an esotheric bookshop, not a shop with books about traveling or cooking.
As for Killing Joke, and especially Jaz Coleman: He has always been very positive about Joy Division, but his intense personality is grim as hell.
If he'd tell someone they'd be bound for bad luck, it would not be easy for everyone to dismiss it as superstitious nonsense. I'm sure he must have made some impression on Ian in February '80.
350125

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Reply with quote  #16 
Let's get a few facts straight. Back in the day Killing Joke were...well, a joke. I remember being stopped in the street late one evening by a carload of suave-talking ponces who rudely demanded to know where York University was; KJ were playing there that night....I happily pointed them in the opposite direction. It's a strange thing; everyone I knew who was into Killing Joke was a total poseur, they'd be anybody but themselves. So hip it honked. Oh, and then we had the Damned fans and the lank-haired tosspots into wanky middle class American 'punk' like Black Flag and The Misfits, all of whom were simply a laughing stock. Believe it or not, Joy Division were yesterday's men in all their eyes; I used to get sneered at for the Unknown Pleasures graphic and Fractured Music logo on my dirty rucksack. Yet I'll wager today they claim to have been fans 'all along', which makes me detest them even more. And it's always riled me how Killing Joke happily got away with their omnipresent and deeply offensive Fascistic ideology while Joy Division, having very briefly flirted with the imagery, ended up taking music press stick right into the early days of New Order.

And I still maintain this 'occult' theory is a sack of knackers.

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dmxi

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Reply with quote  #17 
not to forget that occult topics were quite popular in the seventies which was used in a vary of entertainment shows,arthur c. clarkes books & shows were top-sellers & films like 'rosemaries baby' or 'amytiville(-nitrate?-lol)' were quite shocking at the time & series like 'tales of the unexpected'(now,that was show for kids at night!) or 'sapphire & steel',satisfied the widespread interest of that time.ian maybe had a casual curiosity but i doubt it went deeper than that.
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ravachol

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Reply with quote  #18 
"Listen to the Silence..." from Transmission is definetely a quote from Aleister Crowley's "Book of Troth". Whatever this means...
Not a lot I guess.
https://www.dmt-nexus.me/Files/Books/General/Aleister%20Crowley%20-%20The%20book%20of%20Thoth.pdf
page 226.
I've read this so many times without a source being quoted that I spent 2 useless minutes of my live to check the source...
Dirk

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TJ_Davidson

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Reply with quote  #19 
Dirk, Thoth was the Egyptian god of knowledge, hieroglyphs and wisdom. The Book of Thoth concerns a particular deck of tarot cards (one of the best-selling ever worldwide, alledgedly). The Egyptian pantheon of deities is very interesting, but maybe something as specific as the Thoth tarot is probably not the best introduction to it. After all, it's a legacy that is so far removed.
Maybe Ian hinted at Toth again later on when singing about "God in his wisdom made you understand" (but I guess we'll never know just why or understand).
imkc1

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Reply with quote  #20 
Quote:
Originally Posted by 350125
No offence meant imkc1....but does anyone here actually believe this utter hokum? 


It's not so much what we believe but whether Ian believed . That's the question. You just don't like the question :-)
imkc1

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Reply with quote  #21 
Here's some grist for the mill that was news to me, not really being into Wm Burroughs at all: he almost bought the Crowley house that Jimmy Page ended up buying ;he lived with Gen P O and apparently they both got off on the cut up/word virus / chaos magic thing; he was also thought at one time scientology was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Now what am I always reading: that Burroughs influenced a generation and that would include Ian Curtis. Who dug TG. And if you believe Gen PO they were like best buds and all. So don't you reckon at some point Ian had at least a look-see at whatall they were into. And maybe tried it. And maybe liked it. Or maybe trying it was The Only Mistake and those Dead Souls wouldn't go away..

Conjecture. Speculation.

On the other hand this thread gave me the idea to go back over Mick Middles book and underline every "occult" word and after feb 20th there's like "haunting," "ghostly," etc. Not to mention the whole hypnosis thing with Lindsey is got me sayin " now wait just a darn minute!!" If Ian was *that* easy to hypnotize who's to say there wasn't something wonky going on somewhere at some point(s). After all we have only what the victors writing the history tell us. Yeah I'm pretty sceptical. The 70's were a wild time. A lot of weirdness abounded. Shit did happen and it wasn't all pretty.

Aaaaand.....I'm old and the train of thought just left the station again. Gah!! :-P

Well maybe some get the gist and can carry it on?

350125

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Reply with quote  #22 
When I said 'utter hokum' I wasn't referring to the initial topic of Ian's supposed interest in the 'occult'. I mean this ludicrous theory his downward slide was due to annoying those non-intellectual buffoons in Killing Joke. I used to love upsetting wankers at parties by violating the 'magick' circle, and I walk under ladders every day. Nothing's ever happened to me. The world is pure biology, nothing more. Anyone who believes otherwise is living in a dream. An ancient dream of fools.
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PatTeasdale

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Reply with quote  #23 
IMCK1 - Would you really say Throbbing Gristle were interested in the occult ? I personally just consider them more interested in the extremes of life  ..... 

I could be wrong but i cant think of too many direct occult references in TG tracks - where as I recall alot more imagery / references etc by GPO during his time in Psychic TV .... and in hindsight, I consider GPO a charlatan in the same vein as Crowley .... and certainly no 'master media manipulator' etc. 

Maybe Ian just liked the 'extremity' of TG .... or maybe the DIY / Anti rock star approach .... or maybe just the 'music'  ??

Regarding Ian being easy to hypnotise, was that just due to being Ian's state of mind generally or the medication he was on ? 

Ref this topic as a whole .... the following quote possibly sums things up :


“For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who don't believe, no proof is possible.”

imkc1

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Reply with quote  #24 
Well that quote is right on the money.
In trying to answer the OP question, the best I can come up with is guilt by association which is no proof of anything as bands of that time, er, "fillied about" as little Alex would say, with all sorts of uh, "pleasures and wayward distractions."
I was quite shocked what I've been reading about David Bowie, he certainly made no secret where he was coming from.
I canna answer anything about TG because I never listen to them; it's all what I've read from sources I consider reputable. Same for Bowie. I was way into led zeppelin and didn't hardly listen to anything but . And those guys are not all sweetness and light neither lol.

But in general, and especially in light of the current pedophilia scandal rocking Britain, particularly the Jimmy Savile part, combined with several things in Debbie's and "torn apart" books, that don't add up, and just what I know from experience, I'd say yes, Ian was into something and in part it was most likely of an occult nature; that is solely my opinion and should be read as such. That people don't want to discuss it is not too surprising-there seems to be no definitive proof in the pudding.

One can watch any Deren Brown video and see how easy it is to hypnotize people and get them to do all kinds of things. I would reckon a person full to the brim with mind-altering drugs who seems to already be very imaginative/creative would be very very susceptible to suggestion.
SB

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Reply with quote  #25 
That stuff in the Middles / Reade book where a guy predicts the deaths of Wilson's dad and IC himself is quite spooky.
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