My sad British love. everything he wrote took its toll
Curtis was born in the Memorial Hospital, Old Trafford, Manchester, in 1956. He grew up in the Hurdsfield area of Macclesfield and from a young age he exhibited talent as a poet. He was influenced by the musicians David Bowie and Iggy Pop.
Curtis married his girlfriend Deborah Woodruff in 1975, while they both were still teenagers. They had one child, Natalie (born 16 April 1979). Curtis had a lover, Belgian journalist Annik Honoré, whom he met after a concert in an interview.
In 1976, Curtis convinced himself his destiny was as a performer. He eventually met two young musicians, Bernard Sumner and Peter Hook. Sumner and Hook mentioned to him they were trying to form a band and he immediately put himself forward as a vocalist and lyricist. The three of them recruited and sacked a succession of drummers before settling on Stephen Morris as their final member. Initially, the band was called Warsaw before changing its name to Joy Division in 1978, due to conflicts with the name of another band, Warsaw Pakt. The name "Joy Division" stemmed from the sexual slavery wing of a Nazi concentration camp in the 1955 novel The House of Dolls.
While performing for Joy Division, Curtis became known for his quiet and awkward demeanor, as well as a unique dancing style reminiscent of the epileptic seizures he experienced, sometimes even on stage. The resemblance was such that audience members were sometimes uncertain if Curtis was dancing or having a seizure; there were several incidents where he collapsed and had to be helped off stage.
Many of Curtis's writings were filled with imagery of emotional isolation, death, alienation, and urban degeneration. He once commented in an interview that he wrote about "the different ways different people can cope with certain problems, how they might or might not adapt".
Curtis' last live performance was on 2 May 1980 at Birmingham University, a show that included Joy Division's first and only performance of the song "Ceremony", In the early hours of Sunday, 18 May 1980, Curtis hung himself in his kitchen after having viewed Werner Herzog's film Stroszek and listening to Iggy Pop's The Idiot. Many rumours surround the possible reasons for his suicide, with his poor health (due to the drugs he was having to take for his epilepsy, an exhausting performing schedule and related epilepsy problems) and failed marriage most often suggested. He was 23 years old.
Tony Wilson speaking about the death said, "I'd been warned on a train to London two weeks earlier by Annik Honoré, Curtis' lover. I asked her, 'What do you think of the new album.' She goes, 'I'm terrified.' I said, 'What are you terrified of?' She replies, 'Don't you understand? He means it.' And I go, 'No, he doesn't mean it - it's art.' And guess what? He fucking meant it."Curtis was cremated, and his ashes were buried in Macclesfield Cemetery. The inscription on his memorial stone, "Love Will Tear Us Apart", was chosen by Deborah Curtis, and is a reference to the Joy Division song.