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

20 December 2019, 19:00 | Updated: 20 December 2019, 19:01

Ian Curtis performing live onstage at the Lantaren, January 1979
Ian Curtis performing live onstage at the Lantaren, January 1979. 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.

2019 marked 40 years since the release of Joy Division's seminal debut album, Unknown Pleasures.

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 emerged recently 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?

Meanwhile, Richard Ashcroft has revealed the huge impact that Ian Curtis and Joy Division had on his solo career.

The former Verve frontman took part in a special conversation with Radio X's John Kennedy at London's Hammersmith Club last year and discussed everything from parenthood to the inspiration behind his biggest tracks.

In a section where audience members wrote questions for the singer, a couple who were due to get married and use Song For The Lovers as their first dance asked about the inspiration behind his famous track.

Ashcroft explained: "I was in a hotel in London. It was a pretty shoddy hotel and back in the day there was still some of those bedheads with built-in radios.

"I was in a love situation," he continued. "Had a bit of a love affair thing going down and I turned the radio on and [Joy Division's] Love Will Tear Us Apart bizarrely came out of this radio on the bedhead.

"It kind of triggered this 'play Misty for me' thing of "DJ play a song for the lovers" because the timing of this tune and Love Will Tear Us Apart coming out of this bedhead seemed perfect, you know?"

Watch Ashcroft tell the full story in our video below:

READ MORE: The 50 greatest songs from Manchester