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Episode 36: Deborah Curtis

Updated: Apr 22, 2019

Ian and Deborah Curtis on their wedding day, 1975

“This book also tells us something that is ever present but rarely discussed. The role of women in the male often macho world of rock. Deborah Curtis is the woman who supported her husband but got left behind”.  -John Savage

Today we discuss the book written by Deborah Curtis, widow to Ian Curtis of Joy Division.

In an interview with Cameron Crowe for his Rolling Stone cover, Harry Styles talks about the “tortured artist”. He says, “That’s why it’s fascinating when people go dark- when Van Gogh cuts off his ear. You romanticize those people, sometimes out of proportion”. Ian romanticized Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin and James Dean, so have many people idolized and idolize Ian Curtis. Debbie gives us an intimate look into their life and marriage, providing insight and experience into Ian’s enigmatic and tortured persona.

In Debbie’s memoir, Touching From a Distance, she tells of Ian’s very early disinterest in living beyond his early 20s, hoping that he would some day mature out of it. She breaks down some mystery into the life and mind of this mediumistic artist and explains with sadness in sincerity about how he was not the only tormented soul in their relationship. From his inexplicable temper tantrums to his thoughtful sincerity and his relationship with the “Belgian Boiler” Annik Honore, the Muses bring you another episode from the perspective of a woman who was there for it all.

We talk about Ian’s obsession with David Bowie and Lou Reed and how Ian’s life played into his art which played into his life which played into his art. Since this episode does discuss mental illness and suicide, listener discretion is advised.