Ecstatic To Be There: Joy Division’s Peter Hook Gig

By: Catherine Browne (Latitude Radio)

Quotes gently given by: Giulia Ciurleo

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Photography by Bryan Parker

The venue was a glorious old opera-house come theatre with amazing guilded ceilings. Upon entering The O2 Forum in Kentish Town (may I say it was a breeze avoiding the queue and saying I was on the guest list – quite a moment to savour!), we had to drop our protest signs from the ‘Refugees Welcome Here’ march of that day at the security office and afterwards we climbed the stairs to the swanky private bar with the £8 pints. #NoThankYou

I would have joined the standing crowd down below, but I was knackered so took a seat up in the circle.

A half-hour-late Peter swaggered on stage and shut up the techno-DJ (thank God) and launched into his first number with his bass guitar hanging below his knees. Several days later I was talking about it to a guy who saw Joy Division back in the day and his first question about Peter was: “Does he still play his guitar at his knees?”.

The aging crowd was screaming and cheering – at some points attempting a bit of moshing! It was so packed, my glasses steamed up when I went to the standing section, where I found some of the nicest bunch of old rockers I’ve ever met: all grisly, smoke-puffing, alcohol-consuming, tattooed and ecstatic to be there.

UP DOWN TURN AROUND PLEASE DON’T LET ME HIT THE GROUND

From a fan: ‘People sometimes say that Peter’s music, Joy Division music, is sad and depressing. To me it’s all the contrary! It gives me the opportunity to express all the emotions that otherwise would just be stuck in my throat. He shapes them in words and melodies. Peter’s music is not only to be listened to… You need to inhale it. To breathe it and hold it as long as you can to let it soak into your soul.’

OH YOU’VE GOT GREEN EYES OH YOU’VE GOT BROWN EYES

I’ve always known of Joy Division but I am one of those people who belt out a song, knowing all of the words, but I forget where I’ve heard it, so I was screaming ‘Oh you’ve got blue eyes’ at the top my lungs along with the crowd.

I had to leave early but the vibe was running high and everybody you could see was ecstatic to be there, reliving their youths and revealing the people they once were. And maybe still are, underneath years of adulthood.