Ian Curtis would have been 58 years old today.

This draft is part of a sidebar project on which I’m collaborating with artist Jeff Edmunds. The project is a collection of illustrated biofictional shorts we’re calling “Evocations” because they seek to evoke the spirit of their subjects. For those not among the cognoscenti, you can learn more about Ian Curtis here.

Ian Curtis

When the rope does its work there is a moment of regret, but only a moment. Chemistry decides and chemistry don’t lie. No use fighting it, so accept. Doctors fumble, mix trial-and-error cocktails from substances ending in “ine” and “ide” and “ate,” but don’t account for insomnia, strobe lights, overwork, nicotine, and too many Boddies and Old Bush. Stress, too: a chemical factory running all three shifts at maximum output. And please don’t discount the product of an inclination torn in equal measure among duty bound civil servant, sanguine dreamer, awkward daddy, digital rocker, dopey homebody, stroppy philanderer, obstreperous poet, and unrepentant Man City supporter. Never was a man just one thing, but sometimes reconciling the many gets dangerous in the presence of unstable compounds percolating grand mal as if in beaker over Bunsen. No way to live, that. Big sickness. And so the rope. Not to wallow in the mush of a veteran guinea pig, but, let’s face it, one letter separates man–well, this man–from mal. In this kind of life, every moment pulses with thonged dread: Suffer the need to please so many, diffuse in the effort, then disappoint everybody. After the fact, people will throw around adjectives like brilliant, manic, troubled, passionate, alienated, morose, and, no kidding, jocular! A more accurate syntax would have relied on nouns: neurotransmitter, hippocampus, Gamma-aminobutyric acid, glia, ligand-gated ion channels, and uber-Manc. But, there’s nowt you can do: There will always be demmicks more than happy to theorize a mathematics for dividing joy into molecules rising on the smoke from Macclesfield crematory. All those geniuses willfully ignore the seed of hope planted in “Love will tear us apart … again.” Chemistry prevented the reconciliation that line implies, but in the end I worked a rope trick to tame it. Now, though unreconciled, I am fixed. I am eternal. Liberated to transmit pure electricity. Waiting for you. Waiting for you.

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