One of my lovely supervisors, Kevin Cummins, warned me about putting on a tribute festival. I guess I should have listened. He said it would be hard, a lot of people would give lip service to their support, but when the proverbial chips would be down, I would be left holding the bag, ALONE. So had been the last, oh, NINE months, dealing with the Macclesfield Towne Council, various business owners in Macclesfield and other Northern "luminaries."
I like to keep things local. I like to give back to the community. Did I listen to my supervisor, who has intimate knowledge of the area and the players? NO. I wanted to have the small town celebrate a local hero.
Apparently, it was like trying to shove ipacak down the throat. The towne council did not understand why they should "celebrate" the person who brings more than 2500 tourists a year to their village (um, I may be a socialist at heart, but I do live in the real world of pound notes, people). They are sitting on a proverbial oil well of cash! Like James Dean in Giant, before the black gold blows from the ground, the Macc Council just wants to toss Ian away. For MONTHS I tried to find a venue, sponsors, ANY ONE who would buy into my idea of a tribute to the place and the person who produced post-punk. NOTHING.
I stalked, via e-mail, phone calls, texts, banging on doors.
I spent pound notes o' plenty, what added up to DAYS listening to the ramblings of various Macclesfieldians chattering on about why NOT Ian, blah blah blah, politics this, and politics that.
Here is the deal: throw some money down. Have a decent festival for the band. Promote it in a classy manner. NO ONE CARES about who created silk blah blah- at least at this moment. Maybe if you lead some people into Macc VIA the FEW people who still remember Ian Curtis and Joy Division (and there are less and less of them EVERY DAY!), you can turn them on to some old Codger from 1678 who founded Macclesfield.
I heard today on the news that children think Winston Churchhill is the dog who sells car insurance.
What does this have to do with pop music? And Ian Curtis? And Joy Division? And some old codger who used to make silk?
In a universe of X Factory, instant celebrity, microwaves and cell phones, nothing is permanent, meaning is diluted and history itself is unstable.
Once this terrifying notion can be grasped, we can start trying to dig our ways out of this mess by drawing people of all ages back to engaging with history, whether it be a faux nostalgia for post-punk or silk.
Joy Division is an (more) accessible entry point for (more) people.
Hence it was disappointing, very disappointing to not gain the support or enthusiasm from the home town of Curtis.
I wanted to totally throw in the towel on the festival. SCREW THIS. Kevin was right.
But my other two non-Cummins supervisors insist on me doing it.
So what am I to do?
I am totally doing an American-ism, which is hilarious, as I am an anglophile to the bone (a mix of Cali-beach girl/ Manchester worshipping Amglophile that is).
Pulling myself up by the boot straps, and getting to work.
I met with the head of the graduate school at Goldsmiths- he is very supportive, offering me help in obtaining any room on my campus for the event, and some help funding it.
I am meeting with a bunch of friends, many who work in the "industry," to reach out to possible sponsors and get the event rolling.
At the end of the day, I was waiting and hoping to help a community (Macclesfield) that I had idealized in my mind since I was 11 years old. I need to start helping myself, and getting IT done.
If you want to help, be involved, or want to come to the JOY DEVOTION festival, please e-mail me at email@example.com