Living with…Joy Division…for a week

Joy Divided by Tragedy: Tuesday night –  a story of two dads

Craig Noone’s

On Tuesday night I stood next to Craig Noone’s dad for 90 minutes.

Craig Noone, I should explain, is one of Brighton and Hove Albion”s star players – a wiry 23 year old who hovers just behind the forward line, jinxing and teasing the opposition.  One of those players who instantly raises the crowd volume when he gets the ball.  Definitely a fan’s favourite, he started as a school boy at Liverpool but was then released and for some time dropped out of football and trained to be a roofer.  One of his jobs was on Liverpool captain Steve Gerrard’s house.  In September he had the opportunity to play Gerrard in a League Cup game against Liverpool at the Amex.

I’m standing next to his dad courtesy of a random act of generosity which saw us enter the turnstiles at Watford’s Vicarage Road for free.  In gratitude I placed my 50p bet on Noone to score at 7/2.

As we chatted about Craig, it was so obvious how proud his dad was.   As anyone would be. As the game progressed I watched it through fresh eyes – a little group was focused on one player.  Every move every touch.  We felt the thrill, the disappointment.  We swelled with pride as the crowd chanted their idol’s name.  Nooney.  Nooney.  Craig had a couple of excellent runs and moments but overall the game was disappointing after forty five minutes. Nil all.

At half time we chatted more about the magic football moments that come from being Craig’s dad.  Watching his son score at the new stadium 10 minutes in to a game and then run across to where his family were all sitting and salute in celebration.  Sooo proud.

Sadly, Tuesday was not to be the Seagulls’ evening as the game fizzled out in to a scrappy affair, the team clearly out of sorts and Watford sneaked a late messy winner.  So no magic moment as Craig’s dad that evening, beyond being part of a crowd that cheered on and rose every time his son got the ball.

I lost 50p, but I’ll have another go this weekend- you never know.

Billy Sharp

Travel 155 miles north of Vicarage Road, Watford and you reach the home of Doncaster Rovers who on Tuesday were playing Middlesborough.  Leading the Doncaster Rovers side that evening was Billy Sharp.  Sharp and Doncaster Rovers will always hold a special place for Brighton.  Doncaster the last team to play at the Goldstone, the first at the Amex.  Sharp the first player to score in the drama of that very first game at the new home in August.

But this time he is playing out his own tragic drama.

His two-day old son Luey Jacob had died only a few days earlier, and yet Sharp had phoned Doncaster’s manager to say that he wanted to play and he wanted to score a goal for his son.

And so he led out his side and stood there while both teams and the whole stadium united in a minute’s applause for his son.

14 minutes in to the game Sharp turns and volleys to score the opening goal.  No one will begrudge him that moment, and no referee could ever book him as he reveals the emotive t-shirt.



I wonder if there was another father in the Doncaster stands cheering his son’s goal, his heart swelling with pride while hurting for the lost grandson.

Joy divided by tragedy.


Joy Division: Closer (1980)

I’ve only moved on a little in time since last week with The Undertones, and yet musically they could be a million miles apart. Whereas The Undertones took punk and parked it back in 60’s simplicity – thundering choruses, sheer simplicity – Joy Division took punk and added complexity to move music on.

Joy Division arose as a band in the punk era only producing two albums in their short career, success curtailed by the suicide of their lead singer Ian Curtis in 1980.  The seminal album, Closer, was released after his death to almost universal acclaim.  It’s not an easy or joyful sound.  The style is morose and at times eerie accentuated by a distinctive drum and bass sound over which Ian Curtis’ low baritone ranges.

For me, this album was a grower.  I never knew Joy Division’s music at the time and have grown up more with their sons and heirs – obviously New Order (formed from the remaining members after Curtis’s death) and the Sisters of Mercy.  But the more time I’ve spent with it, the more I’ve loved it especially the second half.

Heart and Soul is glorious – a hypnotic bassline hammers through the track that just has to be turned up and enjoyed.  Twenty Four Hours has more space but is unrelenting in it’s inner journey.  The Eternal is just plain sinister with its hissing ominous cicada backdrop.

Having said that, I’m not sure how much more time I could spend with this album.  Some say Ian Curtis is foretelling his own death – I don’t know about that – but it can drag you down in its somberness.  But then again an occasional search of the soul is good so revisits will I think be needed.

Although not on the album, the video of the week is Joy Division’s biggest hit Love Will Tear Us Apart.  Sense the joy.


Twotes of the week

@linetotake: “Jesus had nothing to do with politics.” Apart from being executed as a political agitator & subversive #bbcqt

@TedInJest: “I don’t believe in astrology; I’m a Sagittarian and we’re skeptical.” ~ Charles Schultz

@Its_Death: I hate Halloween. It generally goes like this – Them: “That’s a really good costume!” Me: “Oh dear. This is going to be awkward.”

@GlennyRodge: George Formby’s wife often surprised him when purchasing biscuits. He’d often be heard to call from the kitchen “Ooh, turned out Nice again”


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