Volcanoes (and love) will tear us apart, againMay 21, 2010
Several days ago I put together this video to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the death of Joy Division singer Ian Curtis and the Mt. St. Helens eruption on May 18, 1980.
When I was little we lived about thirty miles from the mountain. On that morning the sky turned dark, everything shut down, and grey ash snowed from the sky. Schools around us were called off for the rest of the year and ash had to be plowed and shoveled like snow. When school started we practiced volcano drills wearing paper breathing masks and getting under our desks the way previous generations prepared for nuclear bomb drills.
The mountain had been known for its symmetry; the most beautiful mountain in the Cascade Range, the “Mount Fuji of America.” And so it felt like some mythological vengeance or jealousy when the prettiest mountain exploded, destroying itself and everything around.
On the same day singer Ian Curtis of Joy Division killed himself. Only a month before that the band released the single Love Will Tear Us Apart, and it is probably the song most associated with lead singer Ian Curtis’ suicide. I like the way the song sounds as the mountain destroys itself, they feel the same, coincide, and remind us that indeed: volcanoes (and love) will tear us apart, again.