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Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division [Hardcover]

Peter Hook
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
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Book Description

27 Sep 2012
Joy Division changed the face of music. The sound of music. The meaning of music. Godfathers of the current alternative scene, they reinvented rock in the post-punk era, creating a new sound -- dark, hypnotic, intense - that would influence U2, Morrissey, R.E.M., Radiohead and many others. The band's image, once subversive and alienating, has become an internationally renowned 'look' well documented by photographers Anton Corbijn, Kevin Cummins and graphic designer Peter Saville. Inspired by the attitude, energy and sound of Punk, particularly the Sex Pistols, Peter Hook and his old school friend Bernard Sumner started a band which continues to influence popular music 35 years later, uniting with a gifted lead-singer and lyricist, Ian Curtis, and a brilliant drummer, Stephen Morris. With some cobbled together instruments and a clapped out old van, four young lads from Manchester and Salford shared the same vision and created their own unique sound in pubs and clubs first across the north-west, then across the whole of Britain, until in 1980 they had released two albums and were on the cusp of touring America. Then Ian Curtis committed suicide leaving everyone around him bereft. Best known for the propulsive bass guitar melodies of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' Hooky was at the heart of the sound that came to define an era and inspire a generation. In the frank, no-holds-barred style that has seen his previous book The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club hailed as one of the best music books of 2009, Peter 'Hooky' Hook gives us the inside story of life with Joy Division. He talks with eye-opening candour and reflection about the suicide of Ian Curtis: often seen as the "intellectual one", to Peter and the band he was just "one of the lads" and the burden of balancing his epilepsy and the demands of his domestic life only really emerged when it was too late. He covers the band's friendships and fall-outs; their rehearsals and recording sessions; and the larger-than-life characters who formed a vital part of the Joy Division legend: Tony Wilson, Rob Gretton, Martin Hannett, and more.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK; 1st Edition edition (27 Sep 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0857202154
  • ISBN-13: 978-0857202154
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 18.6 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 63,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Hook writes with real enthusiasm about the unlikely lads who ended up forming two of Britain's most influential bands... he is genuinely funny - Sunday Times

An immense account of Joy Division's rise, cataloguing the group's struggle for recognition... Having read Hook's book, you'll feel like you were he fifth member of the band - GQ

The most colourful and intimate account of Joy Division ever written... explaining the creation of his band's remarkable music with all the passion and insight it deserves - Mojo

This is an honest, enthusiastic account of the life and times of the band... It s a window like no other into the reality of life in this most aloof of bands Metro

This memoir is a bittersweet, profanity filled recollection of their brief existence, delivered with much, often indiscreet detail. If you like Joy Division, you really have to read it - Q Magazine

A lucid and unromantic account of the band's short life and a veritable treasure trove for those aforementioned fans... truly heart-wrenching - Live4ever Ezine

A memoir of the recording of that legendary first album and an insider's look at a band that has moved into myth... He's frank, incredibly funny, and isn't shy about talking about his book - Artrocker

Peter Hook's Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division is refreshingly no-nonsense account of the band's brief career - Uncut

Hook has restored a flesh-and-blood rawness to what was becoming a standard tale. Few pop music books manage that -Guardian

The Joy Division story often appears misleadingly neat in the telling: two near perfect albums of unusual grace and gravity, then a human catastrophe which forced the surviving members into a new life as New Order... Hook's mission is to relate the chaotic day-to-day existence of four young men kids, really before it was smoothed into legend --The Observer

The current, bitter feud between Hook and Bernard Sumner...simmers throughout, with frequent airings of what Hook views as the guitarist's meanness and laziness, tempered with admiration for his playing. As is to be expected from a northern man of a certain age, the past is viewed as another country they did things better there, pet --The Observer

This memoir is a bittersweet, profanity filled recollection of their brief existence, delivered with much, often indiscreet detail. If you like Joy Division, you really have to read it' --Q Magazine

About the Author

Peter Hook was born in 1956 in Salford. He was a founding member of Joy Division and New Order and DJs internationally as well as touring Joy Division's music with his new band The Light. He lives in Cheshire.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
26 of 26 people found the following review helpful
By Runmentionable TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Here we have the first memoir of Joy Division by someone who was actually in the group, which, given their importance and achievements, should be greeted with huge enthusiasm by anyone who appreciates the group's work or with an interest in the post-punk era. Sadly, it's been greeted with accusations of "rip-off" or "cash in" in some circles, pathetic knee-jerk reactions that say more about those making them than they do about Hooky and his book. Any surviving member of Joy Division not only has the right to relate their side of the story, they should be encouraged to do so. Though it's hard to picture Barney or Steven coming up with anything more entertaining and revealing than this.

Let's get the negatives out of the way first. Hooky's own account of his life up till the death of Ian Curtis is no-one's idea of great writing. It reads like transcriptions from conversation rather than written prose, and would benefit from some judicious editing to remove repetitive phrasing, vague phrases and lazy cliches. Had such minimal amounts of polish been applied, this would be a five-star review.

Now here are the positives. It may need some editing, but too much would be a disaster, because there's no doubt (unlike previous hack-jobs like the autobiographies of John Lydon and Mark E. Smith) that no ghost-writers are involved. Apart from a few contextual notes to set the scene, this is clearly Hooky's unadulterated voice, and while there may be repetitions and lazy cliches, they're HIS repetitions and lazy cliches. Which means the tone of the book is relaxed, amiable and amusing, and outrageously rude, in all senses of the word (and with particular regard to his former pals in New Order, though he's always quick to praise them as musicians).
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Dislocation 1 Oct 2012
Everyone has a right to tell their own story. They have the right to give their point of view of their own life. I loved the Hacienda book (which I once saw in a bookstore under the section True Crime). Unknown Pleasures is filled with humour and regret. It's well balanced and shows almost a third-person singular admiration and shock at what happened. It has a collector's obsessiveness and an undercurrent of detective work. It's as if, if you could only figure out the mystery of your past, you could find the moment that would have made it all different. This makes Unknown Pleasures more than a book about a band; it's a book about trying to make a coherent narrative of your own life. Your adult self asks so much more than is possible from your younger and more foolish self.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A damn good read! 27 Sep 2012
Unknown Pleasures - Inside Joy Division - Peter Hook

Peter Hook - Unknown Pleasures -Inside joy division, the ultimate, all-encompassing definitive guide into one of the most influential bands of a generation.
Written in the same forthright, tongue in cheek, tell it as it is vein as his previous book "The Hacienda - How Not to Run a Club "Hooky starts this epic tale with stories from his early life to meeting Bernard Sumner at Salford Grammar School, to the formation of the band, from the original recording of An Ideal For Living, the recording of the Unknown Pleasures LP on Factory, right until the untimely death of one of the most charismatic lead singers in the last 40 years.
The book is split into five parts. Timelines are provided at the end of each part with specific dates and years which were pertinent to the band and Peter Hook. The timeline at the end of part one lists the dates and years of birth of anyone important to the Joy Division story. The timeline in the epilogue covers the final two years of the band.

Throughout the book the scene is set with paragraphs about what was happening with the band at that particular point. This is then followed by Hooky's narrative on what was happening from his own perspective. This helps the reader to understand what was happening in terms of gigs, record sales and management and what was happening on the road and behind the scenes with the band themselves.
Closer and Unknown Pleasures are dissected track by track. This gives the reader an insight into Hooky's memories of recording the track and his thoughts on the tracks themselves. This in itself is interesting reading for any Joy Division fan that already has their own thoughts on the albums and individual tracks.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars one for the fans I think... 31 Dec 2012
It has to be said that Hook's revisionist take on the Joy Division story is refreshing. Don't be misled by the typically moribund image on the cover - this is basically Hooky and the boys go mad across Europe. All the purported sturm and drang of the Ian Curtis story is brought down to earth with the sound of pint glasses thumping on bars. And then there's the fights. And the pranks played on other bands (showers of maggots anyone?).

It feels a little mean-spirited to criticize something that is so obviously heart-felt and genuine, but it does ramble on a bit, and yes, while it is touching to see Curtis transformed from the rain-coated doom-monger of legend into a human being (and a bit of a jack-the-lad, despite the Kafka and William Burroughs fixation), a little more depth here and there would have been nice.

Hook intersperses the narrative with a series of time-lines, which basically read like filler: and then we played this gig which was ok but the playlist could have been better and then we played somewhere else and my bass string broke and then we released this flexidisc etc. etc. Much of the detail is repeated (more effectively) in the main parts of the book.

Similarly, Hook's blow-by-blow breakdowns of 'Unknown Pleasures' and 'Closer' are almost autistic in their almost total focus on the technical details of the recording process, with little or no emotional comment on the songs themselves (other than 'great song this one', 'I thought this was too slow when we did it but now I think it's ok'). In fairness, he does give a little anecdotal detail about Curtis' inspiration for 'She's Lost Control', but I suspect most readers will know the background already.

Of course, If you're a Joy Division / New Order fan, you will lap all of this up.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly amusing and insightful
This is essentially an auto-biography of Hooky, although as the title suggests it concentrates on the Joy Division era with only occasional mentions of New Order, and it cuts... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Chris Wareham
5.0 out of 5 stars Book
Brought as a Christmas present, on their wish list. Is crazy about joy division, he will enjoy reading it, great
Published 3 months ago by stephen hessey
5.0 out of 5 stars Like a chat with the great man himself!
I love this book! It is written in a style that makes the reader feel that there sitting in the local boozer having a chat and a pint with the great man himself!
Published 3 months ago by Steve Wad
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful
Very interesting and easy to read. Any JD NO fan will love it. PS See Hooky & the Light live, sensational !
Published 4 months ago by ALAN FENN
5.0 out of 5 stars Great band, great book!
Not one for those seeking cerebral or literary reflections, but essential for those interested in hearing how life really was inside the band that still set the standard for... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Amazon Customer
4.0 out of 5 stars Very frank insight into life in an iconic band
This comes across as a very honest account of life in Joy Division by Peter "Hooky" Hook, the bass player. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Liam D. Ferguson
5.0 out of 5 stars Inside tale
I am a bit of a Joy Division geek, so hearing the tales told by someone who was in the heart of the band gives them a new and real feel. Read more
Published 8 months ago by Tim Simmons
5.0 out of 5 stars joy division treat
if you are a fan of new order or the preceding joy division you get an in depth read into peter hooks story of what was really going on behind scenes very upbeat entertaining read
Published 9 months ago by hotchick
5.0 out of 5 stars hookeys on the ball
got to know about joy division from somone who was there . no nonsense and deliverd with a deadpan sense of humour
Published 10 months ago by fred watson
4.0 out of 5 stars Should have been called Hindsight
Did enjoy it. Read a lot on Joy Division and it is good to read the story from someone who was there. Read more
Published 10 months ago by William Adams
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