The male lust for death had always been a subtext in rock, but before Joy Division it had been smuggled into rock under libidinous pretexts, a black dog in wolf’s clothing – Thanatos cloaked as Eros – or else it had worn pantomime panstick. Suicide was a guarantee of authenticity, the most convincing of signs that you were 4 Real. Suicide has the power to transfigure life, with all its quotidian mess, its conflicts, its ambivalences, its disappointments, its unfinished business, its ‘waste and fever and heat’ – into a cold myth, as solid, seamless and permanent as the ‘marble and stone’ that Peter Saville would simulate on the record sleeves and Curtis would caress in the lyrics to ‘In a Lonely Place’.
Today, we can visist Ian at Macclesfield Cemetery. His final resting place was originally marked with a beautiful hand-carved plate. In a style typical of British vernacular (and rather similiar to Albertus) it is almost as austere as the music he once wrote.