Alexis Petridis on Joy Division merchandise

Certain artists always seem immune to the possibility of the corporate tie-in, maintains Alexis Petridis, not least the legendarily gloomy post-punk band Joy Division. That has changed.

We live in a world of Jimi Hendrix-branded energy drinks, U2 iPods and John Lennon glasses. Nevertheless, certain artists always seem immune to the possibility of the corporate tie-in, not least the legendarily gloomy post-punk band Joy Division. That has changed with the news that sportswear company New Balance has commissioned two pairs of trainers inspired by the band.

One features the cover artwork and the catalogue number of their 1979 debut album Unknown Pleasures, while another displays the Factory records logo and the cryptic slogan One of One Made in Macclesfield. They are the work of Dylan Adair, perhaps the only man in history to listen to Joy Division and think of sports-casual footwear: he previously designed a similar trainer for Nike featuring lyrics from Atrocity Exhibition, the harrowing opening track from the band's second album Closer.

The trainers are likely to remain prototypes but they are not the only improbable Joy Division-related product available. Yo! Sushi currently offers its takeaway customers the Love Will Tear Us Apart salmon and tuna box set, a selection of sashimi, nigri, maki and salad with tangy sunomono dressing, the latter presumably ideal for ridding yourself of "the taste in your mouth as desperation takes hold", as the song's lyric had it. The box set forms part of a menu on which every item is named after a classic song, including the Relight My Fire prawn yakisoba and the Sexual Healing salmon sashimi.

"Some of them are a little more tangential than others," explains a spokeswoman for Yo! Sushi, when asked what the link was between Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis' agonised meditation on the break-up of his marriage - originally released a month after his suicide in May 1980 - and coriander-seared tuna and beetroot-marinated salmon. "It's not so much that we're making an affiliation to Joy Division, it's just that it's a great song."

If nothing else, the products are timely. This year sees the release of Control, photographer Anton Corbijn's long-awaited Ian Curtis biopic. Rumours that it will be accompanied by a tie-in with McDonald's - involving a new jingle based on the lyrics of Decades ("portrayal of the trauma and degeneration, the sorrows we suffered and never were free ... I'm lovin' it"), and the Ian Curtis Happy Meal - remain unconfirm-ed at time of going to press.

Have you spotted any more Joy Division merchandise? Email us at G2@theguardian.com

Contributor

Alexis Petridis

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
How does it feel ... to treat me like you do? Those New Order squabbles in full
Peter Hook says he is taking his former bandmates to court over royalties and ownership of the group’s name. It’s not going to come as a surprise to anybody who has followed Hooky and Barney’s barnies over the past decade

Dave Simpson

01, Dec, 2015 @5:26 PM

Unknown Pleasures: The life and work of Ian Curtis

Today is the 30th anniversary of the death of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis. To celebrate his life, Peter Hook and Chris Hewitt have curated an exhibition of photographs and memorabilia, which is open until Wednesday 19 May on the top floor of the Factory Records building. Peter Hook will also perform songs from Unknown Pleasures at the venue tonight (photographs by Michael Eastwood)

guardian.co.uk/music

18, Jun, 2010 @1:24 PM

Article image
My teenage fixation with Ian Curtis

James Hopkin: Growing up in Macclesfield in the early 80s, I attended the same school as the late Joy Division singer. But my passion for their music soon became an infatuation

James Hopkin

18, May, 2010 @11:25 AM

Article image
How we made: Ben Kelly and Peter Hook on the Haçienda club
‘We even had an inflatable pool in there one night – and it burst’

Interviews by Dave Simpson

02, Jul, 2012 @11:51 PM

Article image
Factory outlet: the art inspired by Joy Division and New Order
From an Ian Curtis doppelganger to works by Barbara Kruger and Scott King, the exhibition True Faith explores the Manchester bands’ visual legacy. Co-curator Jon Savage selects some of his favourites

27, Jun, 2017 @3:49 PM

Article image
New Order: a marvellously unexpected rebirth
Bernard Sumner and Gillian Gilbert reflect on Joy Division, Peter Hook and 30 years of chaos

Dorian Lynskey

06, Sep, 2012 @4:10 PM

Article image
Peter Hook: ‘If my son joined New Order at least they’d get the bass played properly’
The Mancunian ace of bass on hate mail from fans, refusing to be hypnotised, and trying not to have a barney with New Order

Tim Jonze

19, Mar, 2015 @5:52 PM

Article image
Bernard Sumner: ‘I hypnotised Ian Curtis … to try and shake him out of his death wish’
Chapter and Verse, the New Order singer’s autobiography, is full of genuine surprises – from his relationship with Ian Curtis to taking vomit through airport security

Dave Simpson

06, Oct, 2014 @9:06 AM

Article image
Joy Division's Ian Curtis commits suicide
18 May 1980: Number 22 in our series of the 50 key events in the history of indie music

Peter Hook

13, Jun, 2011 @11:29 PM

The songs our parents gave us

The music we grow up with shapes our tastes in later life, according to a study by Cornell University. We asked Guardian writers to tell us about the songs that take them back to their childhood homes

Alexis Petridis, Rebecca Nicholson, Dorian Lynskey, Michael Hann, Tim Jonze, Lucy Mangan, Tim Dowling, Bim Adewunmi, Nosheen Iqbal, Paula Cocozza and John Crace

10, Sep, 2013 @6:02 PM