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This review is from: Bernard Sumner: Confusion - Joy Division, Electronic and New Order Verus the World: Confusion - Joy Division, Electronic and New Order Versus the World (Paperback)
(Suitably New Order title)
It seems an odd choice to single out one member of Joy Division/New Order as their unique sounds were down to all members, not just one individual (even the dead one). Nevertheless, there is no denying Bernard's contribution to modern music with his band's welding of dance electronics to rock sensibilities.
While there have been at least two semi-fictitious films and a handful of lengthy documentaries that have covered this story, what this book excels in is the minutiae. Long-forgotten Manchester places are remembered as we follow Bernard from grim Salford on the road to the Lesser Free Trade Hall revelation and far beyond. For somebody who the author accuses of "pulling down the shutters" on his personal background, the subject is honest and forthcoming in his little interjections. He gets annoyed when somebody is being misrepresented (especially the late Ian Curtis) and you can picture him smirking at some of the more unlikely claims. He even tries to clarify some of his earlier foolish flirtations with Nazi imagery which dogged both bands for years.
I suppose when you've had so much crap written about you over the last 30 years, you wouldn't be blamed for becoming mistrustful of prying journalists. But Bernard is not so much enigmatic as a decent bloke with a sense of fairness who doesn't suffer fools gladly.
Maybe you don't quite find out who Bernard Sumner (proper name) is, but you get to find out plenty of what he and his colleagues did. And that alone makes for a compelling read.