And so onto the final destination of my tour into the heart of northern darkness...the pretty little town of Macclesfield 15 miles south of Manchester - home and final resting place of Ian Curtis.
I wasn't sure what to expect after the horrors of Blackpool but Macclesfield proved to be a charming little village full of quaint workers' cottages set off by gentle green rolling hills behind the town. Named Most Uncultured Town In Britain by the Times in 2004, Macclesfield seemed to have upped its game since then with a cute retro cinema (where the Sumner/Hooky interface clearly found lyrical inspiration on one of their pilgrimages to chez Curtis) and a hip art show at the local library (below).
Ian Curtis lived at 77 Barton Street, Macclesfield (below bottom) with his wife Deborah and daughter Natalie in the three years preceding his suicide. It was apparently in the kitchen of this house, after watching Warner Herzog's film 'Stroszek' and listening to Iggy Pop's 'The Idiot' that the Joy Division singer hung himself on the eve of the band's first American tour. There is nothing remarkable about the house - it looks like a nice, comfortable first home for a young couple in a tranquil leafy street. Standing outside the house, it seemed easy to imagine the difficulty Ian experienced in reconciling this pretty, homely normality of family life with Deborah to the the intense relationship he had established with Belgian journalist Annik Honore and the international success Joy Division were beginning to experience.
Curtis' memorial stone lies in the leafy grounds of the Macclesfield Cemetery, the attractive, worn original stone unfortunately stolen in July 2008 to be replaced by a more modern version (below). People as far as Canada and Japan had visited the site to pay their respects and leave talismans and other precious objects in tribute. Don't walk away in silence...Ian Curtis 1956-1980 RIP.