Thursday, June 26, 2008

Sinking Radio - Joy Division's "Transmission"

This is my weekly reminder to point your internet browser to Little Radio tomorrow for the Sinking with Sylvia and Todd show. The show airs from Noon to 2:00 PM PST. There’s no musical guest tomorrow, just lots of witty banter and tons of tunes.

Each week on the show the show they play an official You Set the Scene pick and I write about it here. My pick for tomorrow’s show is Joy Division’s “Transmission.” I picked Joy Division this week, because in the past week I watched two films about Joy Division: Control and Joy Division. Control is essentially a biopic that makes Ian Curtis look like a huge asshole (which is pretty understandable when you consider the source material – Touching from a Distance – a book by his wife). The film basically strings together about 10 classic Joy Division stories with clunky dialogue. It’s all a bit heavy handed. I will say that first time director (and photographer) Anton Corbijn made it in beautiful black & white. And the lead actor, Sam Riley, does a good job.

Far more interesting was the documentary, Joy Division. Although I do have some complaints. First off, too much information on Manchester – we get it, post-industrial, no prospects for future. Second, Curtis’ wife Deborah is not interviewed. You do see a lot of his mistress, Annik. The anecdotes from Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook and Stephen Morris are all strong. You hear most of the stories that are portrayed in Control first hand. There’s also some great interview footage with the late Tony Wilson. The two films work well as companion pieces, but if you’re only going to rent one, I’d go with Joy Division. Tons of extras too.

Let me add, that I was never a huge Joy Division fan. They’ve only got about five songs that I really like. While I find the production of their records really interesting, Curtis’ voice is too goth-y and the lyrics are just so dark. I love what the rest of the guys did in New Order though....

Listen to most of my favorite Joy Division songs (but not “Transmission”) on their Myspace page.

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