Would You Have Been Ian Curtis's Pal?
Thirty two years ago last Friday, Ian Curtis, the lead singer of Joy Division and the poster boy of gloomy post-punk, hung himself in the kitchen of his house in Macclesfield, England. We don't know for sure, but maybe he snuffed it because he didn't have any friends. Things tend to seem way shittier when you don't have anyone around to tell you to chill the fuck out and have a mint-flavored ice cream cone. So, we decided to ask some people on the streets of London if they would've been friends with Ian and what kind of slap-happy adventures the two might have had together.
VICE: Would you have been friends with Ian Curtis?
Marc, 50, writer: He wasn't a particularly friendly guy, he suffered a lot of problems.
Would that put you off from being friends with him?
Obviously the guy was very fragile. He was one of those artists who really burned for what was within. I don't think he was the kind of person who would embrace the touchy-feely culture we have now.
So you wouldn't be friends with him?
Of course! If I found a connection with him, if we found something that tied us together, then we would build our friendship on that.
So what do you think you'd do together?
I think it would be a case of sitting in a bar and righting the world.
Would you give him any advice?
Don't do it man, don't off yourself!
If Ian Curtis was still alive, would you hang out with him?
Michael, 21, tattoo shop manager: Yeah, probably. What did he die from?
He killed himself.
Oh, probably not then.
Not even go for a beer?
Well I'd see what he has to say to me, but I don't really want to be in a depressing conversation with a depressed guy to be honest.
If Ian Curtis was still alive would you be his friend?
Steve, 27, works for a bank (left): Yeah I guess so, he seemed like a pretty cool guy. I mean he obviously had his problems.
Would you help him deal with his issues?
Yeah, I'd be there if he needed to have a cry and I'd let him buy me a beer.
Craig, 27, salesman (right): Yeah.
What would you do together?
Steve: Probably have a beer.
You already said that.
Craig: Have a drink, have a chat, talk about music.
If Ian Curtis was still alive and wanted to hang out, would you?
Jack, 22, writer/ sales assistant: Yeah, fucking too right!
What would you talk about?
I'd ask him about his music. He had a lot of demons, didn't he? From a lot of the stuff he saw as a young man? He's a fucking icon, right?
How do you feel about his depression?
I'd embrace that, of course.
Get wasted, man. People open up after a few drinks.
Would you be friends with Ian Curtis?
Tina, 22, sales assistant: Maybe. He was a little bit crazy.
Does that matter?
Hmm... I wouldn't spend more than two hours with him.
You could try to cheer him up?
Do you think he was that down?
Well he killed himself.
Yeah, I guess so [sigh]. But he seemed liked he was alright. He didn't seem overly pissed off. He was a good entertainer obviously, so…
What would be your perfect day with him, what would you like to do?
Squat party. Seems that's what he'd be into.
If he was alive today, would you be friends with him?
James, 25, copywriter: Hmmm yeah, why not? He seemed like a pretty cool guy. We'd probably get into some philosophical, sad debate about life.
What would you do?
Probably stay at home, smoke some joints. Get tripy.
What if he burst into tears?
Well I'm a positive person, so yin and yang. I'd probably be there for him.
If he left his tear-stained T-shirt at your place, would you sell it on eBay?
No, we're friends! I’d keep the T-shirt for the next time he needed to cry.
Previously - Where Do the Cool People Hang Out?
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The VICE Podcast - Hilton Als on Writing and Race
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The VICE Reader: The Best Books and Non-Books of 2013
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Weediquette: Stoned Kids