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Music journalist and promoter. Born: October 12, 1957; Died: July... [Derived headline]

July 7, 2014

Music journalist and promoter.

Born: October 12, 1957; Died: July 3, 2014.

ANNIK Honore, who has died aged 56, was a secretary at the Belgian embassy in London when her life and history became entwined with that of an English post-punk rocker called Ian Curtis, lead singer of the band Joy Division. It is often said that she was the inspiration behind the band's greatest hit Love Will Tear Us Apart.

Some say their relationship played a role in Curtis's suicide in 1980, when he and the band had just become the next big thing in British rock music. Curtis's wife Deborah blamed Honore for being his lover. The Belgian kept a low profile for the rest of her life but eventually insisted she and Curtis had only been platonic friends, that their relationship was music-based, and that his epilepsy had been her main concern.

"It was a pure and platonic relationship, very infantile, very chaste," she said many years later. "I didn't have a sexual relation with Ian. He was on medication for his epilepsy which, I think, made a physical relationship impossible. I'm fed up with people who cast doubt on my word or his. To this day, I wish Ian's daughter (from his marriage to Deborah) will ring my doorbell so that I can tell her the true story."

Honore went on to become a music journalist and promoter, always trying, to her credit, to avoid the link with Ian Curtis. Most neutral observers believe Curtis was always the master of his own fate - in his songs, in his life, and in his own kitchen the day he died.

Honore's name became widely-known in the British music media and the tabloids, mostly after Curtis hanged himself at home in Macclesfield, Cheshire, at the age of 23. He had been married for several years, apparently happily, and had an infant daughter. Why kill himself when he appeared to be on the verge of being a global superstar? Who was this Belgian girl he had been photographed with? We now know that the girl was Annik Honore but we are none the wiser as to why he hanged himself. The answer may lie in his lyrics. Lyrics such as: "You cry out in your sleep, all my failing exposed, and there's a taste in my mouth, and desperation takes hold, just that something so good just can't function no more. But love, love will tear us apart ... again."

Whatever the case, Honore was generally billed as a femme fatale or even a devil woman in subsequent films and documentaries about Curtis. These included Control (2007, directed by Anton Corbijn) in which Honore was played by German actress Alexandra Maria Lara. Another was the film 24 Hour Party People, (2002, directed by Michael Winterbottom), starring Steve Coogan as Tony Wilson, the man who first signed up Joy Division for his new label, Factory Records. (After Curtis's death, of course, Joy Division did not have the same ring to it and the band changed its name to New Order).

Honore was born on October 12, 1957, in the Belgian city of Mons, famous for the first battle of the Great War in 1914. Her father was a local police inspector, her mother a cadastral surveyor of property boundaries for the local council. As a teenager, she was a rock chick, into rock but also the passionate troubadour songs of her compatriot Jacques Brel.

After graduating from what was then the University of Mons- Hainaut in Mons, she became increasingly swayed by her love for English-language pop music-- notably the Stones, Patti Smith, The Stranglers and Bowie. She wangled a job in London in 1979 as a secretary at the Belgian embassy in London's Grosvenor Crescent, spending every evening at music concerts, often at the Roundhouse, the former railway shed in Chalk Farm, London. When she first saw Joy Division, she was completely, in her word, "scotchee" (dumbstruck). "I found out they were earning pound(s)5 a night each. They couldn't afford hotels. They were staying with mates."

Having decided that music, rather than diplomacy or typing, was her first love, she returned to Belgium and began promoting concerts at the Plan K club in Brussels. She had seen Joy Division in Manchester, had been somewhat mesmerised by Curtis's performance, and the band appeared on the opening night of the Plan K on October 16, 1979.

The gig gave the band an expanded width and confidence, with people screaming for them in multiple languages, but for Curtis perhaps a growing fear of where he was headed. Largely on the basis of Joy Division's appeal, Honore and her business partner Michel Duval founded what they called Factory Benelux, a Belgium- Luxembourg offshoot of Joy Division's Manchester label Factory Records, as well as another independent label, Les Disques du Crepuscule (Twilight Discs).

After the band appeared in Brussels, Honore wrote: "They are very amiable, very nice, flattered that a foreign magazine has shown interest in them. In Ian, I found a human being very rare, exquisite, polite, everything I love. It was my first love story. Until then, I'd lived only for music. I'd had a flirt or two ... Ian had beautiful eyes, a soft gaze. I sensed a person who was suffering, fragile but at the same time gentle with me." There is no doubt that the pair fell in love: whether physically or platonically, only two people know and both are now dead.

Honore retired from the music business in the 1980s and used her language skills to work for the European Union in Brussels. She died after a long illness. She is believed to be survived by two children.

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Source: Herald, The (Scotland)

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