Joy Division & The Smiths tour: Manchester Music Tours! Factory Records, Salford Lads Club, Ian Curtis grave.

salford lads club, the smiths manchester

I’m wearing Joy Division tights, and posing like Morrissey — in Manchester, England!

For years, I’ve wanted to make a pilgrimage to this British city, which is one of the birthplaces of Goth and Post-Punk. But as Ian Curtis sang in “Disorder” — “I’ve been waiting for a guide to come and take me by the hand / Could these sensations make me feel the pleasures of a normal man?”

The answer is yes, yes, yes. Manchester Music Tours took me on the perfect customized Joy Division / New Order / The Smiths journey…

factory records manchester building

… which included stops at Factory Records (above), Ian Curtis’ grave and home, Salford Lads Club, and Manchester Cathedral. Read on for the photos and stories!

(UPDATE – RIP Craig Gill, whose kindness I will never forget… it was truly a special day. His tours are still being run by his family, and I encourage you to support them.)

manchester music tours bus, craig gill

Manchester Music Tours is run by Craig Gill, drummer of rock band Inspiral Carpets. I couldn’t have found a more passionate and knowledgeable guide. Craig has lived and breathed the local music scene since he was in his early teens. All day, he riveted me with stories of the Mad-Chester rave days, Noel Gallagher auditioning for his group (and getting rejected), and personal tales of growing up in this gritty city.

Craig offers both bus and walking tours, themed around famous Manchester bands including the Stone Roses and Oasis. He also does bespoke tours, and customized one for me around my personal favorites: Joy Division and The Smiths.

afflecks music tiles, famous manchester bands

We started at Affleck’s, an alternative fashion center in the Northern Quarter (I’ll take you inside, in an upcoming post).

The exterior has tiled murals dedicated to Manchester luminaries. On the far right is a tribute to Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures album cover — notice it’s the same pattern on my leggings and skirt.

manchester music walk of fame

Nearby, there’s a Manchester musical walk of fame. I’m standing on a tribute to the Twisted Wheel Club, a 1960s and 70s nightclub for Northern Soul. (Craig’s band has a triangular plaque on this street too!)

joy division outfit, leggings, shirt

We hopped back on the bus, and drove to Factory Records — the label of Joy Division, New Order, Happy Mondays and other British indie bands. (I did my makeup in 80s Goth style, to commemorate this era!)

● Outfit Details ●

– LovelySally leggings and skirt, featuring the Unknown Pleasures album cover print. This brand has many unique prints, including forest scenes and galaxies.
– Skull t-shirt from Iceland’s Dead Gallery. In an upcoming post, I’ll take you inside artist Jón Sæmundur’s studio.

Shop for Joy Division fashion and accessories below.

mr manchester street art, tony wilson

Nearby, we found a stencil of “Mr Manchester” by street artist Stewy. That’s the nickname of Tony Wilson, founder of The Factory and energy force behind the Manchester music and nightlife revival.

Tony Wilson is portrayed brilliantly in the movie 24 Hour Party People — I encourage you to watch it, if you haven’t already.

the factory nightclub uk

Today, this is building is home to FAC251, or the Factory Manchester nightclub. It’s co-owned by Peter Hook, bassist of New Order and Joy Division.

joy division manchester tour

Thanks to Craig’s distinctive yellow bus, we were able to visit many famous spots in the course of a day. Photographer Joey Wong and I wanted to re-create famous visuals of the bands, so we stopped by Epping Walk bridge for a quick photoshoot.

joy division manchester bridge photoshoot

This is the footbridge where Kevin Cummins took the iconic photo of Joy Division (above), in the late 1970s.

unknown pleasures shirt, leggings, skirt

So cool, to be standing in their footsteps! The feeling of the bridge remains the same, over 40 years later.

(Although for some reason, the city replaced the original streetlamps and placed them on the other side. It appears they’ve added a safety hand rail too.)

the smiths salford lad clubs, morrissey

Next, we drove to Salford to pay tribute to this famous photo, from the sleeve of The Smiths – Queen is Dead album.

smiths fans music tour, coronation street

Since 1903, the Salford Lads Club has run sports and recreational activities for young men (and now women). Today, the community is still going strong thanks to volunteers.

I did my best to imitate Morrissey‘s smug mug for the photos.

salford lad clubs smiths landmark

Located at the corner of Coronation Street, the Club has become one of the most famous musical landmarks. Fans from all over come to pose between the rounded arches.

smiths exhibition, fan club

Inside, I saw an old wood door marked with “The Smiths.” Inside, I found Leslie Holmes putting up photos and notes from devotees! 

In 2004, Leslie led a project to turn the weightlifting room into a shrine for The Smiths. He loves meeting visitors from around the world, and puts his heart into maintaining this room for them.

ian curtis mural, tiles

He invited me to send in my photo taken outside the Salford Lads Club, which he’ll add to the wall. (Look for La Carmina, if you visit…)

The wall includes album covers, signed photos, and the original Affleck’s mosaic featuring Morrissey.

salford lad club smiths room, tshirt

So happy to have Craig as my enthusiastic guide. He was fantastic at answering my questions, and sharing stories of the bands.

wizard of edge inn, restaurant

Since this was a customized tour, we could move at our own pace. We stopped for lunch at The Wizard Pub at Alderley Edge. What a special place: the inn dates back to the 16th century, and the surrounding countryside is the site of Merlin legends.

wizard alderley edge restaurant food

Still dreaming of that ricotta and spinach pie… (In an upcoming post, I’ll show you how Manchester’s food scene pleasantly surprised me, and defied stereotypes about British cuisine.)

Macclesfield Cemetery, joy division graveyard

It took about 45 minutes to reach Macclesfield, the town south of Manchester where Joy Division’s vocalist grew up. I loved seeing the peaceful, green countryside outside my window as Craig drove us to Macclesfield Cemetery, where he is buried. 

ian curtis grave location, memorial stone

Ian Curtis was cremated here in 1980. Fans continue to visit his curbstone, leaving photos and gifts for this beloved musician.

(The original memorial stone had a more Gothic font, but it was stolen in 2008!)

ian curtis crematorium, cemetery

Perhaps you recognize this view from the movie Control. The final scene pans out to show the chimney where he was cremated. 

Macclesfield graveyard, manchester

This Victorian-era graveyard is beautiful — the perfect resting place for the man who many consider to be the first Gothic musician. 

ian curtis home, Macclesfield house

Manchester Music Tours also took us to the Macclesfield home that Ian Curtis shared with his wife (and where he ultimately committed suicide, in the kitchen). The house was recently sold to an unknown buyer. Let’s hope he or she is a Joy Division aficionado, and will preserve the rose-stained door

control movie, hate jacket

Also in the movie Control, you’ll see the actor playing Ian Curtis walk from this exact home to his job nearby, as an employment agent. The back of his jacket reads “Hate.”

juveniles ian curtis workplace

While working here, Ian witnessed a woman suffering a seizure, inspiring the lyrics of the Joy Division song “She’s Lost Control.”

Craig Gill and I posed in front of the Juveniles sign (there’s a plaque for the band on another wall). We seem to be imitating the “dancing girls” emoji pose.

joy division manchester cathedral photoshoot

For our last stop, we drove back to Manchester and stopped by the cathedral where the band took these shivering pictures

goth travel, gothic music landmarks

That’s as Gothic as it gets. (If you dig what I’m wearing, below are links to Joy Division shirts and more).

manchester cathedral architecture, gargoyles

Love the Gargoyles perched on the pillars.

manchester music tour, new order band

Manchester Cathedral has a history that dates back centuries. Today, it holds poetry readings, musical performances and more.

joy division fashion, clothing, outfit post

I can’t thank Manchester Music Tours enough for this inspiring journey! Goth / post-punk music fans, I urge you to join one of Craig’s tours. Having a passionate, easygoing guide like him was invaluable, and let us visit multiple locations in just half a day.

(Below is a bonus photo of The Hacienda, Tony Wilson’s happening club and music venue. Today, it’s an apartment complex but the name remains.)

echo and bunnymen tour, hacienda apartments

Craig’s band, Inspiral Carpets, recently released a new studio album that you can pick up here. Psychedelic organs, spoken word, and dark beats — I’ve been listening to it on loop in my car.

Manchester’s music scene continues to rock hard. Inspiral Carpets is performing with Echo & The Bunnymen, Gang of Four and other indie bands on May 23rd at Manchester Academy (I wish I could be there.) Tickets are available online.

morrissey tour, the smiths salford

I leave you with a final shot of the Morrissey room at Salford Lads Club. “Farewell to this land’s cheerless marches / Hemmed in like a boar between arches…”

Wouldn’t you love to go on Goth music adventure like mine? Thanks to Visit Manchester for making these travels possible.

(For a taste of the bands featured in this tour, click on the player below.)



  1. nelia
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:13 pm | Permalink

    Para quienes tienen buen gusto bestialisima!

  2. Barbarella
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Eek! If I had known ur there I would have tried to come over and meet you. If you´re ever in Madrid or Barcelona, let me know!

  3. Sandy
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    are you still in the uk? im.gonna be in London tommorow til.monday we both travel alot we need to cross paths one day!!

  4. Suz
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    It’s always fascinating to see ourselves as others see us – the things in the UK that we just take for granted . . . .I’m seeing our everyday magic with fresh eyes . . . .

  5. Adaora
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:18 pm | Permalink

    Oh, the one place that is on my list to venture, for sure

  6. manny
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    so cool!! Love this!

  7. Dhani
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Fab!! :) :)

  8. Ray
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:19 pm | Permalink

    Yeah, nice pics!!!

  9. Dart
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink


  10. Stephen
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:36 pm | Permalink

    Cheers Chris, appreciated #CoolAs x

  11. Carlos
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:38 pm | Permalink

    Awesome La Carmina I’m jealous

  12. Jonas
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:40 pm | Permalink

    Very nice! La Carmina. :)

  13. Momtaz
    Posted May 9, 2015 at 10:42 pm | Permalink

    Epic blogpost! #LoveIt

  14. Joi
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 12:49 am | Permalink

    Excellent choice!!

  15. Eimear ♥
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 6:30 am | Permalink

    That spinach and ricotta pie does look yummy! On an unrelated note, please tell me you went to the Phallological Museum during your trip to Iceland? Or maybe it’s just me who has an interest in these weird places! I especially love your outfit in this post too ^_^

    • lacarmina
      Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      Ahaha we stopped by the penis museum, but it was closed :( All we got were a few pics from the window… but next time!!

  16. Joanne
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Is that the one that goes from the Dry Bar? If so I’m gonna be doing that on May 18th

  17. Gian
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink


  18. O'pen Mural
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    A very important date the 18th May

  19. Seung
    Posted May 10, 2015 at 11:26 pm | Permalink

    Ive seen the pictures totally brilliant. Im definitely going on this. Really is incredibly that the band are still loved to this day.

  20. Brouwer
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm | Permalink


  21. Charlotte
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 6:56 pm | Permalink

    I like your Joy Division outfit .

  22. Edward
    Posted May 11, 2015 at 10:31 pm | Permalink

    Excellent! These tours are always interesting. Did one with, the now defunct, Urbis museum in Manchester about five years ago. Though that covered a wide range of the music scene, New Order, Stone Roses, Smiths, Oasis etc.
    Hope you had a nice time and it stayed sunny!!

  23. Phlis
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 9:14 pm | Permalink

    I lived in Manchester for 3 years, been to so many of those places. Some very good memories of Manchester but also some bad ones. Lovely musical and industrial heritage has Manchester and its definitely worth a visit

  24. Thalia
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Hey La Carmina is in Manchester

  25. Darren
    Posted May 12, 2015 at 11:56 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting to read your Manchester adventures :) If you get chance in the future try a visit to Nottingham “Rock City”

  26. Anil
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:09 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the all the info, very helpful xx

  27. tanja
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 4:10 am | Permalink

    You was there, how cool,i want to go to this festival once in my live too… I envy you a little bit for all your travel…
    I was lucky enough for see Abney Park in germany..

  28. Raivyn dK
    Posted May 14, 2015 at 8:34 pm | Permalink

    OMG, you get to take the best trips! This one looks like so much fun!! I’m a fan of all these bands.. Btw, your outfit is adorable here!
    Please take a sec to stop by and say hi, I’d love that ;)

    • lacarmina
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 7:43 pm | Permalink

      Awww I would love to see you at a festival like this! <3 I love these bands too, it was a dream come true!

  29. lacarmina
    Posted November 23, 2016 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    Update – rip Craig :( i’ll always remember his kindness, and his genuine passion for music.

  30. Eleni Faltaka
    Posted May 3, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

    Hello, there!just saw your article and i am truly amazed! Can you, please, share some details about the whole trip?I would really like to do the same trip as you did. You said it is customized. What did you asked exactly to the tour operator? Thanks in advance!


Post a Reply to lacarmina

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked with *