The former home of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis is to be turned into a museum dedicated to the late singer after a fan of the band purchased the property, it was revealed last month. That fan is Tel Aviv-based businessman Hadar Goldman, who’s promising to turn the place into a centre for creativity. Here’s what he had to say about the project and claims by Curtis’ former band mates that turning the house where the frontman hung himself would be “ghoulish”…
“The first Joy Division song that really hooked me was ‘New Dawn Fades’. It must have been around 1985. I was about 18 and had moved to London to pursue a career as a violinist, so I went to Camden Market to buy the ‘Unknown Pleasures’ t-shirt. That song is so hypnotic, so mesmerising, so beautiful and so complete. Joy Division are brilliant because they’re a band for other musicians. I now read interviews with young bands who are 22 or 23 and they say, “Joy Division were our inspiration.” That’s tremendous.
A month ago I was listening to the radio in my car approaching Paris. The DJ explained that the fans had tried to raise £150,000 to buy Ian Curtis’ house in Macclesfield and turn it into a museum, but only collected £2,000. I jumped on the idea and chased it like a lunatic. I was really aggressive about it. When I contacted the estate agents, they said the house had found a buyer – “a lovely northern lass”. I told them, “Fuck the buyer! What’s the point of it being just somewhere to drink, eat and sleep when it’s a special place?”
I had to reverse the transaction by paying three people; the whole thing created such turmoil that I didn’t sleep for two weeks. The house was originally listed for £115,000 but in the end I spent £190,000. The seller had to compensate the buyer with £5,000, so I told him: “Look, I’ll pick it up and top it up with another 20K in your pocket.” If we compare it to football, I came in after the penalty shoot-out, after the crowd had already left.
Looking back, I made one mistake in all of this. When I was carried away I messaged Ian Curtis’ daughter, Natalie, via Facebook. She ignored me – I think she blocked me – and I respect that. She was only a year old when he died. I now realise that it was trespassing to ask for her help.
But I just had to grab the house. Now I can collaborate with the fans and turn it into the place it should be. You can call it a museum, but it could also be a gallery or somewhere for young musicians to record. Not everybody can travel to Macclesfield, so I want to get it connected online somehow. Bernard Sumner, the Joy Division guitarist, has said in the past that a museum in the house could be “ghoulish”, but I don’t agree. I don’t want it to be a memorial. I want it to be a living thing; a factory that produces – a catalyst for art and creativity, not a gothic shrine. That’s how you take tragedy and create something positive.
Sign up for the newsletter
I have received so many warm Facebook messages from people thanking me. Some of them are architects in London offering to volunteer, just so they can participate. This is something I have discovered about myself and others: if you really love an artist, you are called for duty. I don’t want to sound pathetic and new age, but things happen for a reason. The crowdfunding did succeed. Ian Curtis’ house is going to be a creativity centre, and that was the aim.”