Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Heaven Knows, It's Got To Be This Time.

Last week the seriousness of staff meeting was gloriously punctured by this:

...oops, someone forgot to turn their phone to silent.

One of my younger colleagues leans over towards me and makes a derogatory comment while laughing at the 'euro-trash' beat.   Whoa, whoaaa.  That's New Order he was dissing.  How?  I can't even imagine a world where New Order is less than the absolute pinnacle of cool.  Apparently it turns out I am crusty, old and out of touch with the musical tastes of the under 25s.  Folk if you aren't sitting down yet please do so because I have bad news to break to you; apparently New Order is no longer cool.  Someone please alert the 1980s.  I'm absolutely devo.

I think like most people my age I stumbled onto New Order in 1988 when Blue Monday was re-released.  It may be hard to be believe but to my fluoro short sporting, "Hang Ten" t-shirt (yes...) wearing, rolled down socks rocking self you'd think I was already too cool to listen to such manner of synthpop from a band from "En-ger-land" but no, apart from Michael Jackson's Thriller, Blue Monday was probably the coolest thing I'd ever heard.  Looking back, it was the coolest thing any of us in Mrs H's Grade 5 class of '88 had heard to be honest.  Now I much prefer the original track (duh) but back then BM '88 was a new sound to ears that had until that point been mostly attuned to bubblegum pop popularised by Australian soap opera star pseudo-musicians.

Of course Blue Monday wasn't even a new sound in 1988, it was already a 5 year old living, breathing child by that stage; New Order had already acquired The Ha├žienda, bridged the gap between dance, Post Punk/New Wave and well and truly etched a path into musical history.  I never knew any of this. I was 10 in 1988 and my biggest mission in life was to learn how to use the hair crimper without burning a hole in my forehead.  How was I to know that by the time I was 20 I'd be pressing my face against the bus window listening to Joy Division and New Order on repeat on my Walkman while on the way to change the world one film studies tutorial at a time?

It's hard to articulate what it is about New Order that is special and it seems reductive to say that they 'just are brilliant' (it's not even true, some of their songs are shite) but sometimes words are an inadequate medium to describe a truth that you feel somewhere deep inside.  Isn't that why we listen to music in the first place?  Doesn't it fill in those spaces we can't quite express through words?  How can you articulate the perfect strum of a guitar?  How can you describe the moment when you listen to a song and feel yourself completely disappear in to the vibration?  How can I do this justice?  I can't.

My favourite of theirs is Ceremony. There is still some conjecture in my own mind as to whether this is still officially a Joy Division track or whether it was truly New Order.  It's officially touted as New Order's debut track but with lyrics written by Joy Division's frontman Ian Curtis and originally recorded with his vocals before he tragically took his own life.   It seems the perfect mixed up choice - a sad goodbye to Ian Curtis and hopeful hello to a new kind of music that ended up changing the world.

It is by no means the only song of New Order that I love and I've posted it before on this blog but many years ago now when I made a list of my top 100 songs of all time this was #1.  Right now, it's midnight on a terrifyingly windy night in old Melbourne town.  I'm on my 10th listen.  Indulge me while I fill in the spaces I can't quite articulate as I go for 11.

Ceremony - New Order

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