PAYPAL for IAN MAP

Wednesday, 27 February 2013

NEW ZEALAND IAN MEMORIAL GETS A FACE LIFT...

yet still used the wrong dates!
http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominion-post/news/wellington-central/8357202/New-life-for-Ian-Curtis-memorial

Friday, 22 February 2013

New stuff?

I am constantly interested by how folks continue to create content for artists that are no longer making their own art.

A big interest of mine is writer and poet Sylvia Plath.  I am in the midst of forging a project with a friend of mine who is a Plath scholar- she will take on Ian Curtis and I will do a piece on Plath.

What is interesting to me is how both of these figures are at once tragic and inspiring- and, in part because of their endings, they are inspiring.  I recently stumbled upon a blog called "Loving Sylvia Plath."  The woman who curates the site finds new stuff all the time to write about Plath- a writer who has been gone for over 50 years.  Is this what a true contribution to pop culture is- the ability for a text to be used as history needs it to be- as society needs it to be- changing in meaning through time?

Will Joy Division and Curtis have the same sort of lasting legacy?

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Creepy or cool?

I get so many e-mails about Joy Division.  For a band that had only two albums and have been disintegrated for over 30 years, it is tribute to the JD story, as well as the music, that people still find them so interesting.

I had this morsel come in a couple days ago- a 'mask' of Ian Curtis's face that an artist is creating.  He wants people to bid / donate money to help him finish it.  It looks really creepy to me, as if it is a death mask taken from a face frozen in horror.  But is it just me?  Maybe there is some cool homage here that I am missing...

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Act now or someone else will!

Several years ago, before I even lived in the UK, I was visiting my cousins.  One of our favourite shows to watch is called Master Mind.  It is a quiz show, each program featuring four ordinary people being asked in rapid succession questions about their chosen topic.  These topics are usually so specific and niche- like "blue and orange butterflies native to Memphis Tennessee."  Unless you have studied obsessively the topic, you will have NO clue as to the answers.  The prize?  The glory of being a 'mastermind' and a glass trophy.

My cousins and my husband have joked that I should go on Master Mind for Joy Division.  I have a flipping PHD almost completed in the topic for goodness sake.  It has been a thorn in my mind- YES I WILL APPLY as soon as I am officially a "Dr" of Joy Division (should be this fall).

Imagine my grief, disappointment and HORROR when I found my inbox filled this Am with SOMEONE ELSE doing JD on Mastermind!  I watched the clip 3 times in horror, thinking IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN ME!  I knew all but one answer!  BEH!!!!

DO IT TODAY don't wait on 'it,' or someone else will be walking away with your glass trophy.
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Wednesday, 13 February 2013

What would be the Sylvia Plath equavalent of 'Joy Devotion?'

This past weekend, one of my best friends and I went away for a girls weekend.  Both being doctoral students, avid thinkers, readers and feminists, we decided to go (again!) to the Yorkshire area which provided us with the fabulous Bronte sisters and the grave of the constantly inspiring Sylvia Plath. 

I have been to the Bronte Parsonage several times already, and am literally a card carrying member of the Bronte Society.  But I am still constantly amazed and humbled by the whole story of the family, the adversity, and truly, their art.


My new favourite quote from a Bronte is from Anne- who has many wonderful sayings- but this is among my fresh discoveries:

“But he who dares not grasp the thorn
Should never crave the rose.”



WONDERFUL!
If you have never been to Haworth, the tiny village where the Brontes grew up, it is so worth a visit, even if you have NO interest in them.  It is literally dropped from a fairytale, having cobbled streets, independent shops and beautiful stone buildings.  It was very cold and dreary on the day we went, which only added to the atmosphere.  I could vividly imagine the sisters tromping about the misty moors, the green fields stretching seemingly forever.


The second day, we awakened to a horrendous snow storm.  THIS WAS NOT STOPPIN' US, oh no!!
We took the bus up to Heptonstall, a town that makes Haworth appear like Manhattan.  Heptonstall is literally about ONE BLOCK on a very very steep incline.  If it had been London, the public transportation would have surely ground to a halt.  But this was the NORTH, so it was business as usual.



As soon as we got off the bus, a local immediately asked if we were there to see Sylvia Plath.  I guess being such a small town, it is really obvious when someone who is an outsider pops up.  We said yes, and were given directions to her grave. 


As we started up the icy path, we were stopped by a short, middle aged woman holding a fancy camera.  She asked the same thing- "Are you here to see Plath?"  Again, we replied yes.  She took it upon herself to escort us back to the innocuous grave, talking the entire time about her project.  She has been taking pictures for over two years of the various people that come to pay tribute to Plath.  Of course, I was totally intrigued and wanted to know more.  It sounded similar to the Joy Devotion project, in terms of how people make their way to an obscure location to get as close as possible to their icons, to someone who helped shape their way of thinking or being. 


Yet there were some striking differences between our projects.  I only had the time and money to work on Joy Devotion for a year, and even then scrimping and pitching here and there with help from friends who went to Ian's grave or worked at the Macclesfield Cemetery (thank you Robert!!).  This woman made multiple trips from her native London to Heptonstall on a monthly basis, which seemed like both a luxury and a touch obsessive.  She also had a telephoto lens on her camera, so she could snap pictures of fans without their knowledge from across the graveyard.


She expressed tangible anger at the way that the 'memory' of Plath has been maligned and not celebrated as much as she felt appropriate.  She also was upset about a local Heptonstallion removing objects from the Plath grave.

All of these things really brought up the question of voyeurism, who has the right to 'curate' memory and truly, is the grave / memorable place of certain famous people a 'new' found area for curation- much of these ideas culminating in a sort of tug of war for rights and identity? That of the town, the fan, and, in this case, the documentarian?  Where did Plath really fit into this mess- it seemed as if she had been almost if not completely lost in the brew-ha-ha.  There was also a sense of watching someone elses drama and wanting to write yourself into the story- whether as a native of the town where Plath is married saying that having certain objects on her grave were "Unchristian" to a consumed fan feeling she had the right to choose what others left / removed.

My friend who was with me on the trip really made a good point.  She commented, "I can just see poor Sylvia lying there, sighing, going leave me alone!"

This sentiment reflects the exhaustion of the myth, memory and perhaps of trying to continue to beat the same old stories into a new shape.  Interesting enough, on our Bronte adventure, our guide to our "Passionate Bronte" tour really highlighted these very ideas.  I asked him why people continue to be interested in the Brontes.  He said, "because the story keeps changing and growing."  How can people that have been dead for almost 200 years continue to grow and change?  Maybe we like to look back so we can create our own story from those that came before.



Thursday, 7 February 2013

I am totally fascinated by the various evolutions of "Love Will Tear Us Apart."  My new favourite, randomly tipped to me by my optician, is the cricket fans "Swann Will Tear Us Apart," which they sing when the player Swann take a turn.  How did this song and a sport anthem come together to be mashed up? 

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Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Joy Division to "Let's Dance?"

I was kindly asked to be interviewed for an upcoming documentary of 30 years of David Bowie's LETS DANCE album.  For me, a native Californian growing up in the 1980s, this was my first introduction to Bowie.  I have such a visceral memory of going to one of my first unchaperoned parties - wine (from a box) was flowing, the hot tub was stuffed with hormone fuelled teenagers- and "Let's Dance" was on the turn table.  That album- from the red cover with Bowie shadowboxing- to the vibrant Cuban flavoured video- immediately takes me back to that moment, the teetering between young adulthood and childhood, when everything seemed possible and the world was wide open.  Bowie with his bleached quiff exemplified this possibility, the exotic, with his well tailored suit, different coloured eyes and English accent clearly coming through the singing.

When revisiting this album and this song in particular, it is hard to separate nostalgia from the art of it all.  But really, in some ways, as Joy Division gave Bowie the nod as to their inspiration, I see it could be argued that Joy Division could have gone Let's Dance-esque if they had continued.  The timeless visual style, the different take from earlier Bowie, a POP and mainstream Bowie- all of elements of the band that would be New Order.  Ian Curtis shared Bowie's non-traditional but alluring looks- you cant look away, they draw you in- both from the speaker and the still image.

Take a look at the Lets Dance video- I dare anyone to not be completely drawn in, hypnotised by its beauty.

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