Peter Hook book: Substance

Substance: Inside New Order, is Peter Hook's new book
Substance: Inside New Order, is Peter Hook's new book

Simon Donohue

Peter Hook book: Substance: Inside New Order

No-one should dismiss former New Order bassist Peter Hook as the “daft tw#% from Salford” that he describes himself.

He may have risked both ridicule and long-term back pain with that low slung guitar arrangement, but Hooky is one smart cookie. 

The evidence? Hooky’s first book. The Hacienda: How Not To Run A Club was a modern masterpiece IMHO. How many other authors can claim to have effectively merged so many seemingly disparate genres into one tome? Waterstone’s should stick it in their Sex, Drugs, Rock ‘n’ Roll, Crime, Economics, Psychology… section. You get the picture.

He followed that up with 2013’s Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division, which I haven’t read because I feel as though I know as much as I need to from Control, Anton Corbijn’s powerful 2007 Ian Curtis biopic.

Substance: Inside New Order

Which brings us to Hooky’s new autobiography, Substance: Inside New Order which claims to be, and most likely is, the most definitive writing from within New Order itself. The Guardian gave it a great review, saying the story that unfolds is “as debauched as Led Zep”.

I haven’t read it yet but I can’t wait. What I do know from the headlines is that he’s been brave (or reckless) enough to commit an act tantamount to sacrilege in these parts, with a passage devoted to his hellish marriage to Caroline Aherne. This is difficult territory. Not only was she a brilliant comedian, she was Mrs Merton. And she died of cancer. None of us were there, she isn’t around to give her side of the story. I’m willing to believe they were both difficult to live with.

Class clown

Let’s face it, music books can be dull. New Order (wonderful as they are) are a bit joyless as an act, born of a era when Manchester still took its music very seriously. I have an image of Hooky as class clown, refusing to take it too seriously and enjoying the good times. Can’t wait to find out if I’m right.