And it's a global phenomenon. There's a romanticism, people growing up in America, elsewhere, have for Manchester culture and music.
Manchester does hold such an unusual place, like in America you have Seattle, and New York, and these places that were influential at a time. And Manchester does seem to have held it longer than any city — please correct me if I'm wrong — in the world. The people of Manchester are what helped shape it and what helped make it last, and I must admit that I'm very proud to be an ambassador for Manchester, and to travel around, I'm very proud of our heritage, and what we achieved.
It always used to make me laugh when Bernard would say, "Oh you're so melancholy." As if it was a fault, and I thought, "Oh you don't cry at sad films?" I am mightily proud and when I finished the book there was still a sense of guilt over Ian and losing a great friend and colleague, someone you'd grown so close to and so quickly, because you were so passionate and enthusiastic about the same things. The book sort of closed a chapter, but it did make me an expert, I must admit [laughs] by playing the music, on all things Joy Division.
These characters: Martin Hannett, Tony Wilson, Ian Curtis, Joy Division manager Rob Gretton; there are almost mythological figures to those who weren't there. I mean, where would Ian Curtis fit in here in 2013, were he alive today?
That's is one question I would love to know the answer to more than anything, because toward the end of the book it was one thing I started to realize: what a great life I have because of Joy Division. And the eternal frustration would be someone like Ian, who helped you so much, and has become such an icon, since his death, is not here to enjoy the stupid things like walking a dog in the snow in the park, taking your kids for a walk, driving your car, speeding down the motorway. Things like that we all take for granted because we're alive, and you know you live with every day.
I have a picture of Tony on my desk, and every morning I sit down at my desk and go, "This is all your fault!" [laughs] And you know what? He always smiles in the picture. Rob Gretton is such a huge character, and when I think when Rob came to manage us, he was the same age as my son is now. He was 23, and my son is the same age as I was when I was in Joy Division at this time, it's a bit freaky.
But when you think that Rob Gretton stormed into our lives, came into our rehearsal room and said "Alright I'm managing you now, we're gonna sort this out" -- and we looked at him like he was the authority figure. But he was such a huge character, and Tony Wilson and Martin Hannett. And it makes you think that music today is lacking these figures, people like that, whose first raison d'etre isn't money, it's about pride, and about belief and enthusiasm for music.