Joy Division - Three One G ????????

In the classic late 70s end-of-punk/beginning-of-new-wave song WARSAW by Joy Division… Ian Curtis exclaims

“Three-Five-Oh-One-Two-Five (350125) GO!”
Upon first listen one might think this is just a singer playing with the set-up count for the song (ie… 123-AND… and then the band plays)… but the sequcne appears again in the same order at the END of the song “3-5-0-1-2-5”

The chorus also contains a curious sequence: “Three One G (3-1-G)”

Does anyone know the significance?
I seem to remember someone telling me yeaaaaaars ago, and have since forgotten, or didn’t even care at the time but now it bugs me everytime I hear the song. Here’s the full thing if it helps:

Three, Five, Oh, One, Two, Five, GO!
I was there in the backstage when first light came around
I grew up like a changeling to win the first time around
I can see all the weakness - I can pick all the faults
I concede all the faith tests - just to stick in your throats
3-1-G - 3-1-G - 3-1-G

I hung around in your soundtrack to mirror all that you’ve done
To find the right side of reason - to kill the three lies for one
[or on the Preston live album:
It’s on the right side of reason - to nail the three lies for one]
I can see all the cold facts - I can see through your eyes
All this talk and no contact, no matter how hard you tried
3-1-G - 3-1-G - 3-1-G

I can still hear the footsteps - I can see only walls
I slid into your man-traps, with no hearing at all
I just see contradiction - had to give up the fight
Just to live in the past tense - to make believe you were right
[or on the Preston live album:
I can see contradiction - I can see only lies
All I want is a just love - just to free my pride]
3-1-G - 3-1-G - 3-1-G
3! 5! 0! 1! 2! 5!

i did a search and came up with nothing…but its a great song by a great band…im playing a greatest hits cd of joy division…power of suggestion working its magic

By the way, have you seen “24 Hour Party People,” the film about Factory Records? (sort of?)

I was told long ago that it somehow relates to the book The House of Dolls (Das Hoys fun di Lalkes), which is about Nazi concentration camps, and inspired the name Joy Division, and also contains material that was used in the song No Love Lost. I haven’t read the book and don’t know if this is true.

BTW, Warsaw was Joy Division’s original name.

I’ve always wondered about this myself, so your OP made me sniff out theories. As best I can determine, 350125 is a prisoner number taken from or influenced by a book called “The House of Dolls” by Karol Cetinsky. From what I can determine, this is a corruption of another pseudonym, Ka Tzetnik 135633 (literally, “Concentration Camp Prisoner 135633.”) The book itself is apparently about prison camps where Nazis would take young women to be forced into prostitution.

From what I gather, the name “Joy Division” is itself drawn from this work, being the colloquial name for these camps.

Initial clue found here: I dredged Amazon to no avail, but eventually found this:, which contains a plausible analysis and several responses, as well as a link to an essay about the book.

I have absolutely no clue about “31G” (or if truth be told, a definitive explanation of “350125.”) But it seems to fit.


sorry I again found nothing on 31G but


Perhaps you should check out that book for any clues.

Seriously… thanks for all the insite.
I havent seen 24 Hour Party People. I CANT FIND IT ANYWHERE.
I’ve heard it’s great… I’ve also heard there’s a movie that came out around the same time about Curtis himself… anyone know anything about that?

24 Hour Party People was great, I’m tempted to watch it again soon. One question it rose, though: So after Curtis killed himself, the former Joy Division band members eventually reformed to be New Order. Now, one Nazi-inspired name is disturbing, but can be viewed as morbidly ironic. But TWO Nazi-inspired band names? I know they had a skin-head following, but were they neo-Nazi sympathizers? Anyone?

Unlikely. Their manager was Rob Gretton from the start. Who was black. He stayed with them until his death in 1999.

SwimmingRiddles wrote

Uh, no. It’s cool. Happy dance music with “I wanna kill myself” lyrics. The very ugly source of a name combined with it’s happy words (Joy Division) only increased things to mega-cool.

Also, as a big fan, I can’t say I’ve ever seen any larger than average showing of skin heads at shows or such.

It was the time. All the cool kids had Nazi-ish band names.

Well, all the cool kids and Spandau Ballet, anyway.

No, their original name was Stiff Kittens. They changed it to Warsaw just before their first gig.

As for “New Order”, there are a couple significant things about the name. It was a name that a couple former Stooges (as in “Iggy Pop and the …”) had used for a project that never really got off the ground. Remember, Joy Division had been big Stooges fans - you can hear that in their early recordings.

In the 70s a lot of punk bands toyed with Nazi symbolism, not because they were sympathisers but simply because of it was taboo and punk was all about breaking down taboos. It was spectacularly ill-advised and unfortunate, but in most cases it shouldn’t be seen as anything more sinister than that.

Back to the OP … I have a feeling in the back of my head that the origin of “31G” is explained in one of the many Joy Division books I devoured in my obsessive teenage years (all of which books are currently inaccessible to me), but I just can’t quite remember what it is. I have read House of Dolls, but I don’t remember if that’s where it comes from.

ruadh wrote