Wednesday 7 January 2009


I have one wisdom tooth. Every few months or so it pains me by shredding the inside of my cheek and my gums. However, regardless of whether or not my mouth is rapidly filling with blood, I thought it important to reflect on the differences between Joy Division and Roxy Music.

In the song Re-Make/Re-Model, the opening track on their eponymous 1972 debut album, Roxy Music chose the chorus "CPL 593H", which was the numberplate of a car. Quite what car, or whose, is the subject to so much conjecture and apocrypha that it's just not possible to say with any confidence any more.

In the song Warsaw, the opening track on Joy Division's Substance 1977-1980 collection, the group chose the chorus "31G". This was the prisoner number of Rudolf Hess during his time as a PoW in Britain during WWII.

This is a fairly clear difference. Both groups choose collections of numbers and letters to make their point, but with radically different agendas and intentions. Roxy Music probably emerged from this duel as the act with the widest popularity, although Joy Division are perhaps the most critically celebrated as of 2009. Whether or not this is because none of the band member's offspring are pro-hunting, I don't know. I suspect it's more to do with their phat beats. And the benevolent guiding hand of Hess. Good old Hess.

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