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Peter Hook Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division (Harper Collins)
There may be a concern that when the most outspoken member of Joy Division, Peter Hook, writes a memoir about his time in the iconic group, it may turn out to be 300+ pages of Hook bashing former bandmate Bernard Sumner. While Hook’s account, Unknown Pleasures Inside Joy Division has its share of digs at Sumner—about every two to four pages—it is an unparalleled insider look into the legendary band. Unknown Pleasures keeps its focus on Joy Division and only Joy Division. It is not Hook’s autobiography; it does not reach before or after the three years of Joy Division’s existence. Tracing its members’ musical inclinations and bringing them together, Hook recalls how he ended up playing the bass and outlines the development of his particular style, as well as that of the band’s other members. He details the creation of timeless Joy Divisions songs and albums as well as life-altering live gigs, recalling the energy of the time and the dynamic between the members. He explains the work of producer Martin Hannett and the management style of Rob Gretton, both deceased at the time of the book’s writing.
Hook’s hoarding tendencies have served him well. His collection of ticket stubs, set lists, photographs, all bring a tangibility to Joy Division’s story. The tale is told in Hook’s conversational tone, peppered with Mancunian expressions. One of his primary intentions in Unknown Pleasures is to bring Curtis to life as a flesh-and-blood human, one that was not that different to the rest of the working class in his sense of humor and attitude. But, as is always the case with the departed, they make so few mistakes. The end of each section features a timeline, which while it becomes redundant, it’s a handy trainspotting tool for the obsessed. Another reward for the obsessed and even the more casual listener is a track -by-track breakdown of both Joy Division albums with 20/20 hindsight and insight. The recount of every single practical joke—of which there seem to be an endless amount—does become wearying. In the end, however, you feel like you have a piece of Joy Division for yourself. A must-read for even the most casual of fans.