27 Apr 2005
Transmission - Remembering Ian Curtis 
BBC 6 Music celebrates the life of the former Joy Division singer Ian Curtis, with 'Transmission' - a very special event in Manchester marking 25 years since his tragic death.

The band, originally called 'Warsaw', formed in 1977 and quickly gathered respect from influential people in the industry including Factory Records label owner Tony Wilson who signed them to his label. In 1979 they released their debut album Unknown Pleasures but rumours began to spread of Curtis' ill health: his epilepsy - reflected in his on-stage jerkiness - was becoming an increasingly difficult problem to manage. The group began recording their second album Closer and released the single Love Will Tear Us Apart but on 18 May 1980, just two days before they were due to leave for their first US tour, Curtis took his own life.

Now, 25 years after Ian Curtis' death, BBC 6 Music is holding a very special event at the BBC's Big Screen in Manchester City Centre. They are screening the Fact 37 'Here Are The Young Men' video which includes their performances at Manchester Apollo on 27 and 28 October 1979, and at the Effenaar in Eindhoven, Netherlands on 18 January 1980.

In addition they will be showing the band's full performances of 'Transmission' and 'She's Lost Control' for their only national TV appearance on the BBC's Something Else programme.

As well as these rare performances, BBC 6 Music will also be showing the Fac 211 Wired Joy Division feature, a documentary originally made for Channel 4's Wired TV programme in 1988, looking back at the legacy of Joy Division and the effect Ian's Death had on the remainder of the band, who went on of course to form New Order. The documentary includes interviews with Alan Erasmus, Tony Wilson, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Steve Morris, Paul Morley and the late Rob Gretton.

The event is being held on Wednesday 18 May at 7pm. It will be a chance to remember Ian Curtis and the legacy he left for music both in Manchester and beyond, as well as an opportunity to see rare performances from the band's tragically short two year career.

BBC 6 Music will also be remembering the life of Ian Curtis on air throughout the day. This will include the band's classic Peel Sessions from the BBC archive; showing the huge legacy the band left with unusual cover versions of Joy Division tracks, as well as talking to key figures in the band's career including Tony Wilson and Anton Corbijn.

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

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