An interview with Annik Honoré by Philippe Cornet was published at the site here back in 2010 - many thanks to nextmusic for the information.
Here is a rough translation:
"On 18 May 1980, Ian Curtis hanged himself at his home in Macclesfield, triggering the process of the mythification of Joy Division. Thirty years later, Annik Honoré, his Belgian girlfriend, is willing to talk for the first time in detail about her dazzling history with Ian, and a time which was extraordinary in all senses of the word.
"I always expect that Natalie, Ian's daughter, will ring the doorbell of my house ... I would like to tell her my side of what happened." Annik pauses for a moment and offers a smile that gives her face a look of both charm and melancholy.
Since the publication of the book Touching From A Distance by Deborah Curtis in 1995, which largely vilified Annik, and all the more so since the biopic Control by Anton Corbijn in autumn 2007, Annik has emerged from her private shell. Corbijn's fiction would trigger a resurgence of questions about her role in the tragedy of Ian Curtis, who committed suicide two months short of his 24th birthday. Annik would rather see a shrink than a reporter, refusing to confide in the media who, especially in Britain, portray her as the evil mistress causing the fatal rupture between Ian and his wife Deborah. She would make an exception for the fine book Torn Apart by Lindsay Reade, wife of Tony Wilson, who received Annik immediately after the death of Curtis.
Having known Annik since the glorious punk years, I approached her with a strong desire to become acquainted with the flip side of this saga. One night in early June, I meet her at her home for pasta with vegetarian sauce and a marathon discussion lasting four hours.
Born 12 October 1957 into a middle-class family - her dad was a police inspector, her mother a land registrar - Annik is a child of rock music. After the Stones at Forest in 1973, the first major impact came on 16 May 1976 at a Patti Smith and Stranglers concert at the Round House in London. The language student in Bournemouth was similarly thunderstruck when she saw her hero to this day, David Bowie, at Wembley Arena the same year. The ritual of English fans, the British devotion, the "fabulous look", all of this DNA leaves its mark on the "sensible girl, clean across the board, who has always worked hard at school."
After a "crap job" at the Tour des Pensions in Brussels (...), Annik leaves for London in early summer 1979, where she tracks down a job as a secretary at the Belgian Embassy.
Annik Honoré: There I was writing for En Attendant (Belgian cultural magazine) and I am going to concerts every night. Everything seems simple, accessible, inexpensive, the era is terribly exciting. In August, I see Joy Division at the Nashville Rooms: I had listened to Unknown Pleasures which I found to have a violence and extreme intensity. I am totally grabbed by it: after the concert, my friend Isabelle and I approach a guy near the console and ask for an interview. This is Rob Gretton, the manager, who says yes - next time. This happens, shortly after I land with my questions to Bert Bertrand (Belgian journalist) like "What is your favourite colour?" (she smiles). The musicians of Joy Division earn £5 each per concert, do not have any money to stay at hotels, and thus stay with acquaintances, just north of London. They are very nice, very friendly, flattered that a foreign magazine would be interested in them. We listen to Bowie's Low, and little by little, everyone falls asleep, except Ian and me ... Corbijn's film recounts the scene well.
You fall in love ...
It is my first love story. Until then, I've only lived on music, I have had a flirt or two and then I found a rare, exquisite, polished being, everything I love. It's stupid to say it, but Ian has beautiful eyes, a soft look, I feel a person suffering, fragile, right now being nice to me.
Joy Division is a musical jolt, a new feeling!
It is often bad in terms of sound, but with an intensity, a beauty ... it is a suspended moment, besides the concerts never last long. The reviews are glowing, I am sure they will become huge. As I also work on the programme at Plan K in Brussels, I quite naturally ask them to come and play twice, 16 October 1979 and 17 January 1980. At the time, the group were on around 250 pounds (equivalent of 400 euros) per concert.
So there are two Ian Curtises: a guy on stage, literally in a trance, and then the private person, introverted, confused?
On stage, he leaves himself as if exorcising all his demons, he is a volcano erupting. After the concert, he is exhausted, mentally and physically. He becomes that excessively sweet and shy person, withdrawn, full of questions about the group and his life. He has immense potential but the honesty of not realising it. He has no cynicism, no pretension.
Why this deep anguish?
He is overwhelmed by his own talent. I very much liked the others in Joy Division and their exceptional energy, but Ian was one metre above them. The fact that Ian has been epileptic since adolescence makes him particularly vulnerable. When he has his attacks, it makes him surreal, terribly frightening, I have seen him practically airborne. But it's also something magical as a contact between the conscious and unconscious. Suddenly, he would enter a world with no relation to reality. I understand that he needs a female presence, as it is the group's policy not to have women along with them at the concerts. Somewhere, I break this circle because Ian is in great need of being comforted. It is ever so difficult to read, later on, about horrors of "deceit", or some such ...
But you were lovers, right?
It was a completely pure and platonic relationship, very childish, very chaste ... I did not have a sexual relationship with Ian, he was on medication, which rendered it a non-physical relationship. I am so fed up that people question my word or his: people can say whatever they want, but I am the only person to have his letters ... One of his letters says that the relationship with his wife Deborah had already finished prior to us meeting each other.
What was your reaction to the film by Anton Corbijn, Control?
This is not Annik Honoré appearing in the film, but Ian's girlfriend, it is a fiction. If I speak out today, then only to protect a biographical authenticity; I have no other interest other than to talk about Plan K, Disques de Crépuscule which I did with Michel Duval. That said, Anton is someone who is immensely respectable, and came to speak with me several times, but Annik does not exist, it is Deborah Curtis who exists ...(The latter co-produced Corbijn's film, based on her book - ed.). I only saw her once, from a distance at a concert in Manchester. I was very uncomfortable because at that time, she already hated me deeply. I was Ian's "little girl", his girlfriend, not his mistress or "an affair", a hideous and vile word.
You've found yourself sucked into a story which has passed you by, a story which has grown with the incredible posthumous success of the band!
I still think his death was a pure moment of madness. I had spoken with him the night before, and everyone knew he was happy to go to America (the day after his death, for a tour - ed.) He was taking 20 pills a day, he mixed this with alcohol ... On Saturday 17 May, I was at a James White concert at Plan K, and Ian called me to say he wanted to see me at Heathrow before his departure to the USA. When I arrived in London on Sunday morning, I felt there was something ... Since I did not see him there, I called his parents - he had been living there for several weeks - and then Ian's father said "Ian is dead", and hangs up. I could not go to the funeral because Deborah Curtis was, as she writes in her book, "afraid I would make a scene" - something which makes me laugh, but she agreed I could go and see Ian's body at the chapel in Macclesfield ... I was devastated. Tony Wilson (Factory bosses, Joy Division's label, Ed) and his wife hosted me for a week, then Tony bought me a plane ticket to Brussels as "Annik Curtis" ... I went to live with my grandparents for three months in the country, and the embassy, where I had not returned to work, pursued me for "betrayal of the Belgian State" ...
For years, you were left with this heavy burden. You said your parents and your brother did not know that you had this liaison with Ian Curtis, why keep it to yourself?
My parents and I, we do not share our stories (...), they along with my brother did not know who Joy Division or Ian Curtis were. I also had a lot of guilt inside me, a married man, a suicide, I gave up my super job at the embassy, so I kept a low profile. I appreciate that my parents respected that. At the time, I had experienced a big story, and I wanted it to remain secret in a little box: it made me weak, afraid to hurt people, to fall in love. Only in 1995 -15 years after the death of Ian - that people started talking about me because of the book by Deborah Curtis. Contrary to what she wrote, I never phoned him every night "for months", on the contrary, she phoned me to threaten to "kill" me because I was seeing her husband ... as for emails and invitations that followed, I said it was a private matter and that Joy Division was about the music.
Night has already long since fallen. Annik takes me to her attic where posters of Plan K and a bit of New Wave memorabilia are stored. She shows me Ian's letters - a dozen - one of which contains a poem by TS Eliot. Tonight, she has opened the floodgates of a profound history which lasted less than a year, three decades ago. Despite the impression of this meeting, Annik has not become a black widow. She has rebuilt her life, had 2 children - now adults - and has worked since 1985 in the same international organisation. She never ceased to roam concerts and is enthusiastic about the next visit of Benjamin Biolay. She would like people to be more interested in her work at Plan K between 1979 and 1984, or for Twilight Records, a label rather snobbish but also inventive, founded in Brussels in 1980. The next day, Annik sends an SMS wishing that "things too personal" not be revealed. But where do the borders of intimacy lie in such a story?"