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‘Moving Through the Silence’ Celebrating the Life and Legacy of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis

ian curtis

On Monday 18 May, music and mental wellbeing festival, Headstock will be taking over the United We Stream platform to host a special evening of music and conversation to remember the life and legacy of Ian Curtis, and will be joined by two of the Joy Division singer’s bandmates, New Order’s Bernard Sumner and Stephen Morris.

‘Moving Through the Silence’ has been curated to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of the Joy Division frontman, as well as the start of Mental Health Awareness Week here in the UK – both of which fall on 18 May.

Throughout the evening Sumner and Morris will be sharing their thoughts and memories of Ian Curtis – their friend and bandmate. The interviews with the former members of Joy Division are part of two hours of live and exclusive conversation, music and poetry curated by Headstock and Manchester-based DJ/ writer Dave Haslam. The event aims to encourage more positive conversation and action on tackling poor mental health whilst raising vital funds for the delivery of mental health services across the city-region.

In tribute to Ian Curtis, The Killers frontman, Brandon Flowers, will be talking about the influence of Joy Division on the band. There will be further tributes from Manchester-based singer-songwriters Jennifer Hardy and LoneLady, and poet Oliver Lomax, as well as a special performance of Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart ft. IORA, Untold Orchestra and The Northern Session Choir, led by Dan McDwyer.

Headstock’s broader mission to ‘use music to change the conversation on mental health’ will be further supported with contributions from Manchester bands Elbow and The Lottery Winners, as well as acclaimed Irish rock band Kodaline, all of whom are adapting to lockdown by finding new ways to engage and support their fans.

Dave Haslam will also be speaking to record producer, Mark Reeder – a close friend of Curtis’s who hosted Joy Division’s first and only Berlin show – as well as Tamsin Embleton, founder of MITC (Music Industry Therapists & Coaches) who will be discussing mental health issues in the music industry and during lockdown.

Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, said: “Headstock deserve real thanks for this wonderful tribute to Ian Curtis, who continues to influence and inspire us today. The conversation that will take place on United We Stream Greater Manchester on Monday with those who worked with him promises to be fascinating and will help people now through raising funds for Manchester Mind. It’s so important that we discuss mental health openly, particularly at this time when we can’t enjoy live music, performance and the company of others in the normal way. But we can still get together online – as hundreds of thousands of people have done already by taking part in United We Stream Greater Manchester – and provide the support we need to each other.

Headstock Founder, Atheer Al-Salim says: “Through the power of music and shared experiences, our goal is to create change by changing the conversation around mental health. Music has a huge role to play in our physical, mental and emotional wellbeing and that applies now, more than ever.
Lockdown has forced us all to adapt, individually and collectively and that creates new pressures on our wellbeing. So we’re extremely grateful to both Andy Burnham and Sacha Lord for giving us the opportunity to use United We Stream as a platform to open up the conversation around mental health at a time when it’s needed most.”

United We Stream Greater Manchester is live every weekend, with a donations page where viewers can watch for free but can buy a ‘virtual ticket’ for whatever price they choose to enjoy the channel.
All proceeds from May 18th’s event will go to Manchester Mind (70%), and the city-region’s night-time economy, cultural organisations, Nordoff Robbins and the Greater Manchester Mayors Charity (30%)
Performances take place in artist’s homes, gardens, or from selected host venues around the region, making sure all performances adhere to government advice around isolating, distancing and infection control.

United We Stream executive producer, Sacha Lord said: “It’s a fact that statistically, people who work within the night time economy are more susceptible to mental health issues. When Headstock Festival first approached me regarding a United We Stream GM collaboration, everything seemed aligned. During this lockdown period, I am sadly confident that many people will be fighting with their own mental health. I just hope that this event can raise awareness, entertain and perhaps most importantly, raise funds to help those suffering.”

“This is a difficult time for everyone at the moment, but we will all get through it together. It’s important to look after your own health and wellbeing and take time to look out for the mental health of others. We need to act together to combat social isolation and find ways for people to connect or interact. I would encourage everyone to keep in touch with their friends, families and neighbours via phone or video calls and to get in touch with any of the support services available.”

Elizabeth Simpson, CEO, Manchester Mind says: “We know now, more than ever, people are struggling with their mental health. We know that some people may be experiencing poor mental health for the first time, or existing conditions may be exacerbated. We appreciate this opportunity to strengthen our partnership with Headstock during Mental Health Awareness Week. We would like to remind the people of Manchester that we are here and ready to help. Please help us share this important message.”

Dave Haslam saw Joy Division live on several occasions and comments; “Ian Curtis was one of the greats; an amazing songwriter, and a charismatic performer. Bernard and Stephen’s thoughts and memories will paint a picture of him offstage too, as a bandmate and friend. It’s an honour to have a part to play in this celebration of Ian’s talent and his huge effect on so many lives.”

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