Joy Division's Ian Curtis at an office Christmas party is strangely wonderful

17 December 2021, 20:00

Ian Curtis performing with Joy Division in January 1980
Ian Curtis performing with Joy Division in January 1980. Picture: Rob Verhorst/Redferns/Getty Images

Check out these rare photos of the Love Will Tear Us Apart singer taking part in the festive season in the 70s.

Radio X

By Radio X

2020 marked 40 years since the release of Joy Division's second and final album, Closer.

One of the darkest records ever made, it's gone on to be a post-punk classic and was overshadowed by the suicide of singer Ian Curtis in May 1980.

But in contrast to the tragic, doomed figure he's remembered as, some photos have emerged that show the singer in a completely different light.

The snaps show the man who sand Love Will Tear Us Apart enjoying himself at what appears to be an office Christmas party.

The rare snapshot of the iconic Joy Division frontman's life was shared by presenter Geoff Lloyd, who saw it on a Macclesfield Facebook group called Macclesfield ExPats.

Explaining its provenance on Twitter, Lloyd wrote: "This is great! I'm in a Macclesfield group on Facebook, and someone put up a picture of his dad's work Christmas drinks from the 70s. He worked at Macclesfield Unemployment Office and Ian Curtis from Joy Division is one of the colleagues."

The job centre in question was based at South Park Road in Macclesfield, mere yards away from Ian's house at 77 Barton Street. There he worked as Assistant Disablement Resettlement Officer, helping find work for people with special needs.

Jake Rudh shared more photos of the star in a response to the tweet, which confirms it's not a one-off, seeing Curtis larking about with his colleagues of all ages.

The response to the image has captured the imaginations of Joy Division fans, with many calling it the best thing they've seen on Twitter, while some Macclesfield natives have claimed to visit the same dole office in later years.

Oldpuddle wrote: "I signed on in that dole office in around 86-87, a few years after this pic was taken, bloody depressing place it was too. Brought our first house on the same road years later."

Despite this account, the Manchester icon - who is known for being a serious figure - seems to be laughing and posing happily.

READ MORE: What is Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart about?

Last year saw the members of Joy Division and New Order discuss their decades-long career in a podcast titled Transmissions - The Definitive Story.

Listen to Transmissions - The Definitive Story on Global Player

In the first episode, guitarist Bernard Sumner recalled that Curtis "was a good laugh - a really good laugh.

"But he was unpredictable - he'd say one thing and do another, which was a bit annoying at times. He could be a bit volatile. Which is fair enough."

Radio X has teamed up with the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM), to bring you a series of short podcasts, hosted by some fantastic names, to help with advice and real stories about mental health. Listen via Global Player - or wherever you get your podcasts.

The Radio X Mental Health Tool Kit with the Campaign Against Living Miserably
The Radio X Mental Health Tool Kit with the Campaign Against Living Miserably. Picture: Radio X


Liam Gallagher Performs At Knebworth Park, 3rd June 2022

Hear highlights from Liam Gallagher's Knebworth shows on Radio X

Florence + The Machine - Dance Fever track by track

Florence + The Machine - Dance Fever Track By Track

Oasis played two huge gigs at Knebworth in August 1996

Oasis at Knebworth: the story behind their biggest ever gigs

Listen to Radio X on Global Player: Podcasts, Live Playlists and more!

Songs from 2001... but which ones?

Only an expert can get maximum points on this 2001 lyric quiz!