Aitch left ‘fuming’ after ‘iconic’ Ian Curtis mural was painted over with advert for his new album 


Rapper Aitch said he felt like the ‘most hated person in Manchester’ after an advert promoting his new album was painted over a mural late musician Ian Curtis.

The mural of the Joy Division frontman, which was painted on the side of a building on Port Street in Manchester’s Northern Quarter, was created in 2020 as part of a mental health campaign. It was seen being painted over last Tuesday.

Aitch became aware of what happened the next morning and was ‘getting this fixed pronto’ after an outpouring of anger.

The musician, who released his debut album ‘Close to Home’ on Friday, said he was left ‘fuming’ at the mix-up and vowed to have the situation ‘fixed pronto.’

He noted he was upset for Mr Curtis and ‘what that mural stands for,’ as well as for himself. The rapper said he went from having ‘such a good week’ to being the ‘most hated person’ in his hometown.

Rapper Aitch said he felt like the 'most hated person in Manchester' after an advert promoting his new album was painted over a mural late musician Ian Curtis

Rapper Aitch said he felt like the ‘most hated person in Manchester’ after an advert promoting his new album was painted over a mural late musician Ian Curtis

The original mural of Joy Division frontman Ian Curtis
The advert for Aitch's upcoming debut album which replaced the Ian Curtis mural

The original mural of Ian Curtis (pictured left) was painted over with an advert for Aitch’s upcoming album (right) last Tuesday, prompting an outpouring of anger

Aitch, real name Harrison James Armstrong, said he learned about the situation on social media after outraged fans slammed him as ‘stupid’ and ‘absolutely disgusting’ for ruining the ‘cultural landmark.’

‘I seen it on Twitter… when there was an outrage burst of like: “What’s Aitch doing putting his album over Ian’s mural?,” he told BBC Breakfast on Tuesday. ‘Then I was like, “oh god, what’s this?”

‘I don’t pick and choose where I put my billboards or album promo. I just wake up and drive past it, or see it on the internet, just like everyone else.’

The rapper said the mix-up left him ‘fuming’ for two reasons: ‘I was fuming for Ian, and his people and what that mural stands for, and then I was fuming for myself, because I was having such a good week.

‘I was like, “the album is coming out in a couple of days, I can’t wait, everything’s going so well,” and then next minute, I was the most hated person in Manchester for about 40 minutes.

He reiterated claims he previously made on social media, explaining the decision to paint of the mural – created by artist Akse P19 – was made by outside parties, not himself.

‘It was out of my control and there was nothing I could do, apart from put a stop to it and get it fixed,’ Aitch, from Moston in north Manchester, told the news outlet. 

‘Obviously that’s exactly what I’ve done, so I think everyone is my friend again now.’

Work on restoring the Ian Curtis mural on Manchester's Port Street has now begun, with Aitch's advert being erased

Work on restoring the Ian Curtis mural on Manchester’s Port Street has now begun, with Aitch’s advert being erased

The wall where the mural of Ian Curtis once stood on Port Street in Manchester is now empty after it was repainted with an advert for Aitch's artwork

The wall where the mural of Ian Curtis once stood on Port Street in Manchester is now empty after it was repainted with an advert for Aitch’s artwork

Amazon Music had asked an ad agency to commission the a promotional mural in Aitch’s hometown.

The company, in a statement to BBC, said: ‘Unbeknownst to us or to Aitch, the wall the agency chose… already had mural on it.’

‘As soon as we learned this, we ordered the production to stop and are working with Aitch to restore or replace the original. Our apologies to all who are justifiably upset.’

The company did not immediately respond to Mail Online’s request for comment. 

Meantime, work on restoring the mural has now begun, with Aitch’s advert being painted over. It is unclear exactly when the restoration will be complete.

However, many people were furious after discovering the mural, which was originally been painted in 2020 to mark a mental health music event in Manchester, had been erased.

Aitch took to social media to reassure fans he was 'getting this fixed pronto' after hearing that a mural of Joy Division's Ian Curtis had been painted over with his album artwork

Aitch took to social media to reassure fans he was ‘getting this fixed pronto’ after hearing that a mural of Joy Division’s Ian Curtis had been painted over with his album artwork

The artist behind the mural, Akse P19, hit out at the repainting last week, saying that the original ‘had become a cultural landmark and meant so much to people form Manchester and beyond’.

In an Instagram post, he continued: ‘It doesn’t take much common sense to understand that this mural should have remained for what it represented and stood for,’ after stressing it had been painted to raise awareness for mental health.

Peaky Blinders director, Anthony Byrne, said: ‘This is such a stupid move but unsurprising.

‘The Ian Curtis mural should be reinstated and left there permanently. If there’s someone to contact and petition regarding this let me know.’

Headstock Festival, the mental health and wellbeing event the mural was in aid of, said: ‘Absolutely gutted to see our Ian Curtis mural painted over.

‘Such a shame when @AmazonMusicUK had pretty much any other wall in Manchester to choose from.

‘Especially when it was created by@Akse-P19 to raise mental health awareness in support of @GiveUsAShout.’

Manchester-born rapper Aitch, 22, denied any involvement after a mural of Ian Curtis was painted over, saying 'no way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian'

Manchester-born rapper Aitch, 22, denied any involvement after a mural of Ian Curtis was painted over, saying ‘no way on earth would I want to disrespect a local hero like Ian’

Another person said: ‘Absolutely disgusted to hear the @akse-P19 Ian Curtis mural in Manchester has been painted over.

‘It isn’t important what has replaced it but simply that it has been replaced.

‘This should have been a tribute to a legend for as long as that building remained. Angry ain’t close.’

Others lamented the removal of the mural, saying it was a ‘stunning piece of art’ and the ‘ad could’ve gone anywhere’.  

The rapper, responding to the out pour of frustration, tweeted last week:  ‘It’s come to light that the iconic Ian Curtis mural on Port Street has been painted over with my album artwork.

‘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,’ he added.

Amazon Music had asked an ad agency to commission the a promotional mural in Aitch's hometown. The rapper's album 'Come to Home' was released on Friday

Amazon Music had asked an ad agency to commission the a promotional mural in Aitch’s hometown. The rapper’s album ‘Come to Home’ was released on Friday

In a separate tweet, Aitch said he does not ‘choose locations for billboards’ and ‘this is the first time I’ve seen it myself. Getting fixed as we speak’.

Joy Division bassist Peter Hook thanked Aitch for his response and said it was a ‘great gesture’.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, responded by saying ‘it should never have happened’ and said Aitch ‘shouldn’t have been put in this position’.  

‘Ian is a true icon of our city. He must be fully restored and left in his place for time in memoriam. Thanks to everyone for showing what Ian means to us,’ he tweeted. 

Labour councillor and city centre spokesperson Pat Karney told the Manchester Evening News: ‘People will have wanted this mural to stay there for a few more years, and my view is that the artwork should have stayed there too.

‘If it is being replaced by an advert, they can be displayed anywhere around the city.

‘Of course, we are proud of Aitch as another artist from Manchester who is successful, but many people will be upset by this.

‘Personally, I felt it was such a special piece of artwork. But at the same time, nothing is permanent and musical culture is always changing.’



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