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Wednesday, May 19

Dance to the Radio Pt. 2

Started to post this in comments, but you can't do fun stuff like pix and links there, so...I'll comment here.

I had the good fortune to spend a couple of years working at Wax Trax! on Lincoln Ave.

We had a purple neon sign that hung in in front behind the counter. The story I remember from Jim was that Wax Trax! was promoting Joy Division's first show in Chicago, at Tut's on May 27, and they had had the purple sign made to embody their undying love for their favorite band and label. It still looked badass and had helped publicize to the upcoming show.
Unfortunately, Ian finally gave in to his demons and hung himself at home on May 18, on the eve of their first US tour and almost heaping amounts of new found fame. All by itself, the neon was a draw. People from all over the world had heard of it and for years had come into the store just to look at it, even though Ian had never been within 3,000 miles of it. His energy was that strong.

When I started, I noticed a dusty cardboard box on the top of a shelving unit in the back room that said Bournemouth. Curious, but feeling like the coincidence was impossible, I said, "Hey Jim! What's that?" "Oh, those are the extra jackets for some old Joy Division fan club pressing we made." Because I'd bought my copy of this album at Endless Horizons in Midland, TX, I was stunned at the coincidence. I quickly learned never to underestimate the potential oddities that I might run into every single day of my employment there. One of the best things I got out of it was confirmation that I hadn't been completely insane falling in love with this band in high school, or at least completely alone in my insanity. I was the only person I knew who loved them—truly! deeply!—when they were one of only two bands that really spoke to how I was feeling for those few rough early 80s years. (The other was X.) When I got to college in Austin, there were occasional signs that others felt this way, too. The first time I walked into Wax Trax! and saw that sign, I knew in my heart I had never been alone with this love.

Overwrought? Yep. But I think most of us frequently are between 15 and 25, when intense emotions are all new and so huge we can't possibly see the other side of them because we never have before. But this band, and especially Ian, spoke to a part of me that nothing else did or ever has. And finding a community of others who felt, if not the same, at least as deeply as I did about this special band, well, it empowered me to relax and enjoy the moment just a bit every day.

Poor Ian. We are better for his suffering, but clearly he wasn't, and certainly isn't.

He is still missed.

Thanks Ian. Thanks Jim and Dannie.

And I'd give almost anything to know where that neon is right now.

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