31 Aug 2019
FACT 37 Joy Division 'Here Are The Young Men' 
FACT 37 - Joy Division - Here Are The Young Men

I was late to discover Joy Division. I'd heard 'Love Will Tear Us Apart' on the radio and vaguely remember hearing 'Transmission' but it wasn't until a slightly older friend, learning that I had liked New Order's then recent output leant me a copy of the 'Ideal For Living' book, sometime in late 1984, did I join the dots between the 2 bands.

The book was extremely detailed regarding gigs and releases and built up a mystique around the band and 'the myth' which has been somewhat dismantled over more recent years with the number of biographies and autobiographies produced that cover the lifespan of the band

One of the most interesting discoveries being that a video existed with footage of the band... although I had no way of knowing how or where to get it. This was 1984, however, and to a 14-year-old living in the West Midlands surrounded by Duran Duran and Frankie Goes To Hollywood fans just knowing the name Joy Division and a little of their legacy felt like being a member of a secret club.

The following year I moved back to Manchester, albeit the suburbs, and enjoyed trips into the city centre with friends. Although initially venturing into the likes of HMV or Virgin at the bottom of Market Street, or Our Price at the top. After buying what official releases I could find I was quickly turned on to the bootleg stalls in the Underground Market and the Corn Exchange.

I was amazed at the hundreds of tapes available of gigs (this was slightly before CDs were a thing) from around the world, but was dumbstruck when I saw the massive lists held by the traders of Joy Division and New Order recordings. It was when looking through these that I remembered this VHS release.

I asked around and eventually got an address to order it from, from memory it was less than £20 including postage, which was a lot, but worth it for what would be my first 'view' of Joy Division (other than a rare sighting of 'Love Will Tear Us Apart'.

When the video arrived the first thing that struck me was the lack of detail (other than band name and song titles) but the same stylish design of other Factory Releases, this time a simple gold lettering on black. It wasn't for many years I learnt that the Fractured Music logo was the band's publishing company and not a Factory Records logo. Pouring over the song titles I recognised some but not all and eagerly put it into the bulky top-loader for the first viewing...

Hopefully I'm not speaking out of turn but my first impression was that I'd been sold a dud, at worse a bootleg. The quality of sound and vision was not what I had naively expected. These were the days before the Internet so other than being able to speak to someone who had heard or seen something there was no way of googling through online customer reviews or just searching YouTube.

Inside the box (the plastic one and not the original flip top) there was a piece of paper with the name of 'IKON Video' on... and a phone number... 061 928 7387.

I'll never know who answered the phone the day I called, possibly it was Malcolm Whitehead* who was responsible for much of Factory's video output... whoever it was, when I questioned the quality of the tape I'd received initially laughed. I guess they must have sensed some disappointment in my voice, and for the next few minutes explained the background to the material and how it'd had been shot "amateurishly" and in all honesty I should be grateful for what footage existed (in hindsight that may have been more of a "fuck off and leave us alone" than the way I took it).

Watching it occasionally now (albeit from a copy I have transferred onto DVD) I am indeed extremely grateful that an hour of Joy Division performing live does exist alongside the few TV appearances.

I wish they were clearer, I wish the sound was better, I wish there were more...

No matter what has been written by band members or associates over last 20 years or so, for me 'Here Are The Young Men' returns some of the initial mystique that surrounded Joy Division through the shadowy, blurred footage, and for the majority of us who weren't old or fortunate enough it's one of our only opportunities to see Ian Curtis in action.

We should all be extremely grateful.

- Iain Key for Cerysmatic Factory

* - Brian Nicholson (ex-Ikon) comments: "I've heard similar tales of woe before. There was a return VHS marked up "poor quality" with a covering letter from Harrods that was displayed proudly on the office wall (sadly I can't find it). It wasn't Malcolm on the phone and it wasn't me either. In 1984 Ikon still occupied the large middle room at Palatine Road, the room with all the boxes of vinyl! (That's another story) It may have been Tim Chambers but more likely Mike Scott who did all the office work. There's a great NME review, referring to it as FAC 23 Here Come the Young Men, "...they're (Factory) still marketing the sort of stuff that most people would throw in the bin."


Catalogue entry details via factoryrecords.org [->]

VHS: UK 1982 (Factory FACT 37) [PAL/NTSC]
BETA: UK 1982 (Factory FACT 37)

3:10 Decades
6:12 Dead Souls
3:37 Love Will Tear Us Apart
3:33 Shadowplay
4:28 Day of the Lords
2:25 Digital
2:24 Colony
2:23 New Dawn Fades
3:00 Auto-Suggestion
3:07 Transmission
4:46 Sound of Music
3:42 She's Lost Control
2:28 Walked in Line
8:30 I Remember Nothing
3:26 Love Will Tear Us Apart *

* Official promo video

FACT 37 Joy Division 'Here Are The Young Men'

Many thanks to Iain and Brian.

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