THE MEANING OF BEAUTY
DECEMBER 6 2008
I have discovered the meaning of beauty in two things - a chord from Joy Division's "Disorder", and the name of Celia-Jane Ukwenya.
The former is probably my favourite song of all time already in its Martin Hannett-produced, bassy, whooshy, spacey Unknown Pleasures splendour, but the chord I refer to, the greatest moment in the entire recorded history of Joy Division as far as I've heard, opens a seven-second tune-up before the soundcheck of "Disorder" on the live CD accompanying the 2007 deluxe reissue of Still. Bernard Sumner's exquisitely extruded guitar leans forward to kiss, and simultaneously, Peter Hook's muscular bass approaches gently from behind to caress; I, the delirious object in the middle, swoon. Annoyingly, this delicious moment, that has me reaching for the repeat and high-speed dubbing functions of my mp3 player, comes at the very end of one of my least favourite Joy Division tracks, "Ice Age", throughout which Ian Curtis's voice falters (the track was subsequently omitted from the final setlist - a riled Curtis can be heard later saying "We're not playing it, no"). Probably a good thing, because the soundcheck of "Disorder" is one of my very favourite Joy Division tracks, behind only the album version, the revelatory (wall-of-)soundcheck to "A Means To An End" from the same disc, and several versions of "Isolation"; if it was, as it should have been, included as the introduction of the "Disorder" soundcheck, I would quite certainly play it to death (executive producers do sometimes need their heads testing when splitting and ordering tracks). I would perhaps even go as far as to fake my own death so as to hear it played at my funeral.
The latter refers to BUCK Magazine's Junior Fashion Editor. I have no idea what the girl herself is like - I might be endorsing a complete bitch - but she has an absolutely glorious name. From the moment I saw it on the Masthead of the first issue in November , it has remained in my head, and on occasion since, involuntarily slips off the velvety tongue of that deep little voice in my head. I read once that someone suggested the most beautiful sound in words to be "c'est la d'or", or "cellar door"; I would suggest "Celia-Jane Ukwenya" for its broader range, replete with the smooth edge of the "juh" and shimmering, dark emerald gloss of the "kwuh". It is also, to my mind, the first time the name Jane sounded sexy since whoever first wrote about Tarzan.
In conclusion, whenever I feel like I want to die, I shall think of these two things and hopefully, all my depression will dissipate, unless I actually want to be depressed, which is another subject for another day.
Having met Celia-Jane Ukwenya since this stub was written, I can gladly say that she is a woman as beautiful as her name.