05.24.2017 07:42 AM

Ceremony for Manchester

Ceremony, as those who know me know, is the Joy Division song – not the New Order song – that will be played at my funeral.

It was never properly recorded by Joy Division, because Ian Curtis hanged himself in May 1980. There are only three versions of the song in existence.  If a rock song can be perfect, Ceremony is.  The first time I heard it, and heard the words, I could feel actual shivers in my back.  Still do.

Radiohead, who I usually regard as Pink Floyd for baby boomers, did a version of it that almost – almost – captures its power (a full minute in, be forewarned).  I offer theirs, because Joy Division’s did not happen in time.  Time ran out.


Joy Division was a Manchester band, and I have been thinking a lot about them since the atrocities of the night before last. What would they say? How would they react? I think, maybe, they’d play Ceremony. It fits.

This is why events unnerve me
They find it all a different story
Notice whom for wheels are turning
Turn again and turn towards this time
All she asks is the strength to hold me
Then again, the same old story
World will travel, oh so quickly
Travel first and lean towards this time

Oh, I’ll break them down, no mercy shown
Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time
Watching her, these things she said
The times she cried
Too frail to wake this time

Oh I’ll break them down, no mercy shown
Heaven knows, it’s got to be this time
Avenues all lined with trees
Picture me and then you start watching
Watching forever
Forever
Watching love grow, forever
Letting me know, forever

5 Comments


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    whyshouldIsellyourwheat says:

    Isn’t Ceremony on Joy Division’s “Still” LP/CD.


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      Warren says:

      Yep. But a really shit recording of the one of three times they played it live.


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    Derek Pearce says:

    Totally agree it’s a damn shame there is no decent JD recording of this (and I say that as a big New Order fan) but one quibble- Pink Floyd is the Pink Floyd for baby boomers. Radiohead is perhaps the Pink Floyd for Gen Xers (is that what you meant to type?), but Thom Yorke is such a fucking genius they are just the Radiohead for Everybody. Without Floyd there would be no Radiohead but I think Radiohead is better, as near-impossible to measure as these things can be.


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    Innocent III says:

    The Guardian is reporting that after this morning’s memorial, the crowd broke into singing a song by an even greater Mancunian band than was Joy Division – ‘Don’t Look Back in Anger’ by Oasis:

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/video/2017/may/25/manchester-crowd-sings-dont-look-back-in-anger-oasis-video


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    Andrew says:

    Pink Floyd for baby boomers???

    Baby Boomers would have grown up in the area of Pink Floyd.

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