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Joy Division: Piece by Piece

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  139 Ratings  ·  16 Reviews
Paul Morley knew Joy Division intimately. He not only wrote extensively and evocatively of the “mood, atmosphere and ephemeral terror” that enveloped the group and their doomed front man, Ian Curtis, but he was present when Curtis suffered his life-changing epileptic seizure following a London concert in April 1980 and was the only journalist permitted to view Curtis’ corp ...more
Paperback, 384 pages
Published January 28th 2008 by Plexus Publishing (first published January 28th 2007)
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Ben Winch
Apr 13, 2012 Ben Winch rated it liked it
Shelves: music
Sometimes it's hardest to write about the things you love best. Joy Division, for me, is one of those things - 'ground zero' in my comprehension of rock music and the most life-changing band ever, comparable to Kubrick's Clockwork Orange or Borges' Labyrinths as an artistic epiphany. I will never get over this band. 23 years ago I first saw them (via late-night Australian TV) doing 'Transmission' in Manchester's BBC studios and I still remember my mounting shock as the footage unfolded: the rawn ...more
David Manns
Jul 21, 2011 David Manns rated it really liked it
In a sense this is the book about Joy Division that everyone was waiting for. Paul Morley had been their chronicler since the earliest of early days, back up North in wet, miserable mid-70's Manchester when they had almost been called Stiff Kittens but ended up being Warsaw before they became Joy Division. He was there at the Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976 when the Sex Pistols played there and set in motion the chain of events that would lead various members of that audience to bend the world ar ...more
Max Renn
Feb 12, 2009 Max Renn rated it really liked it
Persistent...audacious...unafraid...

Paul Morley writes about Joy Division... sometimes it seems all he's ever written about is Joy Division...well that and propaganda for Frankie Goes To Hollywood and the Art of Noise. This collection does nothing to dispell that notion. Its an odd project really... a collection of old writings by one man about one band...presumably of interest only to fans who know the story only to well... so why do it?

Because Morley's writings on Joy Division over thirty year
...more
East Bay J
Jul 11, 2008 East Bay J rated it liked it
Shelves: music-bios
Whenever I read a bio about a band, I like to listen to the music to set the mood. It serves the function of pulling me more completely into the story I’m reading. However, due to recent events in my life, I found listening to Joy Division incredibly difficult. So many times, since discovering their music sixteen years ago, they have been the soundtrack to my despair. And the reason for this, I think, is summed up rather nicely by Morley. “And so their music is about, finally, isolation. It is a ...more
Spiros
Jun 14, 2013 Spiros rated it liked it
Recommends it for: obsessives
Shelves: borrowed, punk
Paul Morley wrote a zine in Manchester in the mid 1970's called "Out There", focusing on the burgeoning punk movement taking place in exotic locales such as New York and London.

A zine is a primitive form of a blog.

Local television celebrity/wanker/visionary Tony Wilson introduced himself to Morley, praising the zine, anointing Morley as the voice of the movement.

Morley would later discover that it was Wilson's friend/partner in disruption Alan Erasmus who had discovered "Out There".

On 4 June 197
...more
Wm
May 19, 2010 Wm rated it really liked it
It was somewhat startling, but not really surprising that even though as far I can recall I had never previously read anything by Morley, my writing style is kind of similar to his. Not quite so post-modern. But the use of paired adjectives, the overreliance on the conjunction 'and' and sentences that begin with conjunctions, the slightly off verbs, the circling around a subject, the repetition, and perhaps most of all the lapses into the mystical and gnomic followed by undermining those effects ...more
Xisix
Jun 28, 2013 Xisix rated it liked it
Started strong . ... got bit dry . ... then finished strong. Enjoy as title suggests how fragmented and meaning different things Joy Division as group portray. How their live/death performances had a ferocious intensity that were channeled by Martin Zero into spaced out existential isolation on record. Ian was a confused and troubled and sick bastard that Hookie and Bernard and Stephen wanted to be blokes wit and conquer the world. Being just anutha Warsaw punk group and fade into obscurity was ...more
Rachel
Jul 03, 2013 Rachel rated it liked it
Paradoxes, paradoxes, paradoxes. Intriguing at first, but an easily exhausted trick when reading 50 pages at a time for a class. I imagine Morley's writing is much more digestible when actually read 'piece by piece' as designated in the title.

Despite that, there were a lot of insightful gems. Although I reveled in the insider knowledge about Joy Division, I mostly enjoyed reading Morley's personal reflections about coming into his own as a writer and how Joy Division inspired and propelled this
...more
Laurensius Anggha
Nov 09, 2012 Laurensius Anggha rated it really liked it
What if the pistols came to Jakarta?

a 'not so brief', fictional cum realistic, description of early manchester post punk scene history that is a bit elusive and close, unbelievable but factual, leading to the birth of warsaw, Joy Division, and the end of it, affixed (and linked) with Paul's story of his father's death. i don't want to spoil the party any further because i don't have any capabilities of doing it.
Kristin
Nov 14, 2014 Kristin marked it as unfinished
I guess if I wanted to plow through this it might've gotten better, but the beginning is more about the Buzzcocks than Joy Division. Why include that stuff? Also, this guy is pretentious and he writes just like most rock writers, in a style that tries to show more how much he knows and how well he thinks he writes than in a way that actually illuminates anything of substance.
Diane
Feb 15, 2010 Diane rated it liked it
Interesting perspective on the Manchester scene. A bit too much about the author and lots of repetition, but unusual approach to an outrageous time. If you don't know the names from the English punk and post-punk scene, if you haven't watched the Joy Division documentary or 24 Hour Party People, you're going to miss a lot of reference. Still - Lightning in a bottle.
Jeffrey Thiessen
Jan 01, 2013 Jeffrey Thiessen rated it it was amazing
Morley is one of the best rock journalists I've read, and this is his flagship. Incredibly comprehensive, and due to this might be a tough read for anyone who isn't a huge JD fan.
Andrea
Jul 17, 2008 Andrea rated it it was ok
I was expecting the articles to be a bit more entertaining. Found myself skimming after only 50 pages...
James
Nov 30, 2008 James rated it really liked it
slowly reading this...Too much Morley, not enough JD. Not enough Gretton and Erasmus.
George
Jan 21, 2009 George rated it it was ok
Enjoyed the book ......didn't really add anything to what I already knew.....
Per Westby
Jul 31, 2011 Per Westby rated it really liked it
For specially interested - like me.
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Paul Morley is an English journalist who wrote for the New Musical Express from 1977 to 1983, during one of its most successful periods, and has since written for a wide range of publications. He has also has been a band manager and promoter, as well as a television presenter.
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