Today at lunch I made one of my periodic sojourns to The Beat in downtown Sacramento, something not quite as easy to do now as it was when I worked downtown, just a few short blocks away. Now, with my office on the other side of the river in West Sacramento, it's a drive, albeit a short one. It's always worth it.
The Best of Joy Division quickly caught my eye - the packaging looked new, and since all of my Joy Division is on vinyl, I snapped it up (for $11.98; great price). The packaging is spare - no history of the band; no track listing with instrumentation noted; just one simple picture on the cover, with the band in the distance. For all I know, it could have been staged.
But inside, a unique set of liner notes, titled Answers: Some answers to some questions. And over the course of 13 pages, the answers tell the story. Not all of it makes immediate sense; some of it seems wordy; but all of it is fun to read, even stimulating and dare I say it, poetic.
because Ian sang as though he'd already written the words down, on lined paper, in a cheap exercise book, with a wonderful, ragged right hard margin, keen to get it all out before the ruin, and something was giving him the heebie-jeebies
because of the connection between the order of things and the strange intersection of events in the world
because life is a means of extracting fiction
because each life makes its myths
and my favorite:
because [producer Martin] Hannett emptied the space of a song in order to let the listener inhabit it
To find one's way through a Joy Division record, that's the secret - inhabit the songs.