PETER HOOK: VAN STORIES

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“Anyone who’s ever written a book or made a film about Joy Division, unless they were in that van or car with us, they don’t know anything about it.” – Peter Hook

While his new project called Peter Hook and the Light has not been convincing, his gregarious personality makes his new definitive statement on the Joy Division experience a persuasive read. Hook seems like a guy ready to talk anyone’s ear off about his part in the Joy Division story and aims to showcase these stories with a bit more of a joyous feeling than previous versions. I suspect that the book wasn’t written so much as transcribed from him chatting away about it all over a few pints of beer.

Some of the highlights include Hook explaining his true and ultimate role in Joy Division, being their DRIVER. There are 4 van stories in all (“yes it’s another poor-old-me-in-the-van-story coming up, but it’s my book”) that point to the fact that he was the only one who owned a van, so he transported all the equipment. PAYED to get it fixed when it broke down and PACKED all the equipment while everyone else was drinking, having a good time and chatting up the girls after shows. This is the last of the van stories.

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I was worried about the van not making the journey. Knackered it was. We’d lost the petrol cap and someone not me – had replaced it with a rag to stop the petrol evaporating. Trouble was, the rag was merrily disintegrating and every so often would block the filter on the carburetor and stop it working. I could always tell when it was going to happen because the van started to slow down gradually, which it had been doing on the way to London that day.

I was seriously doubting the van would make the trip. It was going really slowly, about thirty miles an hour top speed. We were pottering home. Next to me Terry fell asleep. I looked in my mirror and could see Steve but he’d dropped quite far behind; there was just me and him on the motorway, as it often was in those days, especially in the early hours of the morning.

We’d just joined thM5 when I started to feel sleepy. The next thing I knew there was this huge bang and the van suddenly shot forward so hard that my head hit the divider and for a second I was seeing stars, just barely aware of thinking that the carb must have suddenly cleared because our speed suddenly increased, at the same time feeling the van spin around and the pain. That and squealing tires.

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I must have been dazed. Because when I got my vision back we were sitting on the hard shoulder, facing the right way and I thought I was dreaming because a forty-foot lorry was sliding down the motorway past me, sideways on its tires screeching as it drew to a stop right across the motorway, blocking all three lanes. The next thing I saw was Ian Curtis running down the motorway chasing a drum that was rolling away – a drum that should have been in the back of my van. My head was still learning when Ian arrived at the window carrying the tom. Are you all right, Hooky? Are you all right?

Turned out the forty-footer had hit us at about seventy miles an hour, shunting us and sending us spinning in two complete 360s; it had taken out the back of the van, snapping the back axle and flattening the rear doors. My cab bass had come shooting out the back like a comedy coffin, straight under the wheels of the forty-footer.

I spent the rest of the night being held back from punching the lorry driver, who was from Manchester but wouldn’t give us a lift back there. It wasn’t really until the next morning when I woke up – that the reality of it all hit me: the van was history. It was an ex-van. It had ceased to be. No more driving the van for me. From then on Twinny, Terry or Dave Pols drove a hired van, and every night after a gig I lived it up with the rest of the band in the bar boozing and trying to pull girls. On one hand, it was absolutely magnificent. On the other hand I ended up an alcoholic.

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