Artist News

Peter Hook calls for permanent Ian Curtis tribute, following mural controversy

By | Published on Friday 19 August 2022

Joy Division

Peter Hook has said that the uproar over a mural of his late Joy Division bandmate Ian Curtis being painted over with an advert earlier this week should spur on the campaign to put in place some kind of permanent tribute to the singer in Manchester. And, while we’re at it, a permanent tribute for the boss of Joy Division’s label Factory Records, the late Tony Wilson, would be nice too.

The Curtis mural on Manchester’s Port Street, which was unveiled in 2020 to raise mental health awareness, was replaced with an advert for Aitch’s debut album, ‘Close To Home’, earlier this week. Reacting to the outrage directed at him, the Mancunian rapper said that he had been unaware of the plans to replace the mural, and that he would get it “fixed pronto”.

But Hook says that it should be unsurprising that the Curtis mural was replaced, as it was never supposed to be permanent.

Speaking to the BBC, he said: “We have to bear in mind that it is an advertising site, it was paid for by Mental Health Day for a certain period. Business moves on and so it’s no wonder Aitch didn’t know about it, as it was probably done by the company who looks after his advertising. I feel sorry for the guy because he was so hurt by the obvious reaction, it was a terrible situation for him”.

However, says Hook, the controversy around the removal of the mural should highlight the need for a permanent tribute. He’s been campaigning for years for statues of both Curtis and Wilson to be commissioned by and placed in the city of Manchester.

“That mural did stand for a lot”, he said. “I wouldn’t have liked to have been the guy painting over Ian knowing that area of Manchester, it is just a sad occurrence. I suppose in a funny way maybe it will spur someone on to celebrate these people in Manchester or Salford”.

It’s still not clear how or when the original mural will be restored.