Touching From a Distance
is perhaps the key primary source for one of the 20th century's richest, most complex bodies of music (namely Joy Division, but perhaps Manchester post-punk in general). Also, along with Morley's Nothing
, it's one of the most honest and revealing biographies of the English punk era. Nothing
sits on my chairside shelf waiting to be read, so I can't compare the two yet.Touching
, in addition to adding to the psychological insight behind Joy Division's music, also, perhaps for the first time, tells the story of an astoundingly successful rock band from a wife's point of view and manages to irreversibly color the legacy (I believe Cynthia Lennon released a book, but it is lost in an ocean of Beatles-related writings). Ian Curtis does not come across as a very nice person, but it doesn't make me like him any less as he was clearly a very disturbed person living in a society that had no idea how to help him. I would recommend it whole-heartedly, but when it comes to the Manchester music scene, I'm fairly easy to please (I loved the much-hated 24 Hour Party People
, for instance).