November 30, 2023

Manchester rapper Aitch has apologized after an advertisement promoting his new album Close to Home was painted overtop a beloved mural of a late hometown hero, Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis. The advertisement, which is located on Port Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, went up today, August 16 ahead of the rapper’s album release this Friday. Aitch tweeted a statement following a social media uproar, promising to “fix” the mural.

“It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork,” he tweeted. “This is the first time I’ve heard of this, me and my team are getting this fixed pronto. No way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian.” The rapper also claimed he wasn’t consulted about the location of this advertisement.

Curtis’ bandmate Peter Hook responded to Aitch with this tweet: “Thank you @OfficialAitch great gesture.”

The Ian Curtis mural debuted in October 2020. It was painted by the graffiti artist Akse P19, and is based on an image of Curtis taken by Belgian photographer Philippe Carly. It was painted as a mental health awareness initiative with support from Manchester City Council. “[The mural] had become a cultural landmark and meant so much to people from Manchester and beyond,” Akse shared on his official social channels. “It doesn’t take much common sense to understand that this mural should have remained for what it represented and stood for.”

Pitchfork has reached out to Aitch, New Order, Peter Hook, and Akse P19 for comment.

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