|Real bassists sweat|
Two years ago, I doubted I would ever actually want to see Duran Duran live again. Not because they were any kind of disappointment, quite the opposite. I simply doubted that I would ever see them so ‘up close’ again, and I’m no fan of the stadium rock gig. Then Simon Le Bon came down with a very scary-sounding throat infection this summer. It postponed all of their UK gigs, but luckily for me it meant that they decided to ease themselves back into gigging with a handful of small, intimate gigs in some slightly obscure venues.
My ladies Senti and Charley were my trusty companions for the third, and penultimate, gig at the Trinity Centre in Bristol; a venue so unassuming it was almost unbelievable. I can safely say that I NEVER thought I would EVER see Duran Duran in a tiny, grubby, sweaty little venue in a dodgy part of Bristol. Sweaty, seriously sweaty. As Le Bon himself said when he came blinking onto a tiny stage, which was once the altar of this former church, they haven’t played gigs like this since 1981!
|Despite standing still most of the time, this was the only non-blurry Nick shot I got. I apologise. He has also attempted to blend completely with the background. Perhaps to avoid being attacked with badges and shoes…|
As much as I wished to coo over my third favourite man in the world, John Taylor, I was also aware that the poor guy has some seriously scary fans and I feared for the safety of my hair and my eyes. So I opted to stick with my girls over on the right hand side of the stage. We decided that it was right and proper that Nick Rhodes had three stylish girls to look out at (although Charley and I were still talking about attacking him with badges and shoes as revenge for our whole Lovebox experience) and we ended up being right at the front, bags and coats on the stage. No barriers? At a Duran gig? Are you serious?
|Actual view without zoom and without flash.|
|Proximity to Duran equipment and slight Bowie-fangirl moment…|
It was definitely one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to and I’m praying that they decide small warm-ups are worth continuing with. I feel very fortunate.
|Sweaty Le Betty|
Painful as it might be to realise, Live Aid happened 25 years ago today. Even more painful, I imagine, for those who remember it more vividly than I do. I was certainly aware of it, and I remember attending some bring-and-buy sale possibly on the same day, but I wasn’t really old enough to properly appreciate the talent (both musical and totty) on show that day.
Yes, yes, of course I’d like to go back to the Blitz Club. But, me being me, I would make sure my first stop was The Rum Runner in Birmingham. The mirrorplex walls, neon lights, zebra print upholstery….and those five gorgeous boys who became the house band. Amongst other things: Nick Rhodes was a DJ, John Taylor was on the door, Andy Taylor flipped burgers and Roger Taylor collected glasses. Do we detect a somewhat cushier job for Mr Rhodes there?
The Berrow brothers (later managers of Duran Duran) relaunched the club in the late Seventies, inspired by Studio 54 in New York, and it became the New Romantic heart of Birmingham (via the Roxy and Bowie nights, mirroring the genesis of Steve Strange’s Blitz club). Martin Degville, the Durans, John Mulligan, iconic designers Jane Kahn and Patti Bell….hell, even Pete Townshend and Boy George paid them a visit.
Rhodes and Taylor created an amazing compilation album, Only After Dark, from their favourite tracks of the time. I’m horrified to see it’s now selling, second hand, for £90-odd on Amazon. Keep an eye out on eBay, or just download what you don’t already have from this amazing playlist they created as well. That is the kind of music which makes me want to cry with its fabulousness. Both Ends Burning? Adolescent Sex? Just mop me up…
“The Rum Runner menagerie was typically English, small, innovative and eccentric, filled with drama and humour. It was warm and friendly with a big personality.” Nick Rhodes
Sounds like my kind of place. Sadly, it was torn down in 1987. Now where IS that time machine?
Duran Duran – Planet Earth – shots from their days at the club.
The Beat – Mirror in the Bathroom – filmed at the Rum Runner.
The news that Roxy Music are headlining the Lovebox Festival in July (you mean I have to go through all that AGAIN?? I’m packing spiky clothes this time around…) reminds me of the dastardly Nick Rhodes. Senti pointed out to me that he’s probably been telling the BryanGod that Lovebox is a great idea. Honestly, BryanGod, you can’t wear Manolos and Antony Price dresses to a park in East London. You can barely keep your shoes ON, let alone clean and out of the mud. Sigh.
Rhodes is the ultimate diabolical mastermind. He’s usually tempered somewhat by old chum John Taylor, but occasionally is allowed to roam free with his wicked plans, and irritatingly beautiful hair and make-up. Curses.
Take Arcadia, for instance. It took a little longer for me to get into them, mainly due to lack of BassGod involvement, but I was able to access them successfully via The Flame – and now I rather love their So Red The Rose album project. (There’ll be a Special Edition CD and DVD set out later this year, I understand).
This is a truly brilliant video in many ways, and sadly was one of the project’s last works. So it wasn’t even vaguely successful. But what’s not to love? Haunted House scenario. Simon Le Bon being goofy. A brief, very sexy, cameo from Mr Taylor (the Mr Taylor who was returning, rather than silly, silly Andy) with his very bewitching eyebrow shenanigans.
By this point, Master Nicholas Bates has gone blond again. Which gives him an even creepier look than the black hair of the early Arcadia output. The black was just a bit Elizabeth Taylor, especially teamed with candy pink pout and gargantuan eyebrows.
There’s got to be some kind of link with that video and Lovebox. Nick Rhodes secretly enjoys watching people suffer whilst they desperately try to retain some semblance of glamour and propriety? Will he be watching Roxy from a rose-filled plastic bubble suspended ten feet above the crowd? We all know how much he adores them, so perhaps he’d like to come and stand in the crowd and see what he put us through last year?
Yes, I know this post is very silly. But I’m in that kind of mood today…
One of my favourite ‘misheard’ lyrics ever, though sadly not one of mine, from Electric Barbarella by Duran Duran. Because it is darling Miss Senti’s birthday today, and because this blog has been lacking Durans lately, I’m allowing the only acceptable non-John Taylor video onto my blog. If only life could be as nice as doing housework in a pink corset with Durans on hand to primp and prod you a bit….
This whole sexy-woman-as-robot-doll thing seems to pop up from time to time [see also Basement Jaxx - Plug It In] and, fascinatingly, doesn’t seem to be as repellant as it probably ought to be. I’m not enough of a po-faced feminist to mind, and I suppose when the majority of woman seek to resemble something of a walking, talking Barbie doll most of the time anyway (hello Cheryl Cole) then it would be a smidge hyprocritical to complain about these videos.
I generally ignore what’s going on in the High Street, and seem to have acquired an incredible Kate Moss-blindness, but Senti has been raving about the Yasmin Le Bon Wallis collection lately. I’m a devoted Durannie, and Yasmin is the bestest rock star wife you could ever wish to entrust your favourite to [unfortunately I have chosen John Taylor as my favourite, and Juicy Couture brings me out in a curiously pepto bismol-shaded rash], so I was prepared to take a gander with an open mind….and a careless memory.
There’s nothing radical in there, but it’s less obviously ‘ripped off’ (aside from the Careless Memories white blouse and black leather kecks look which Senti has blogged about already) and I must admit to being rather in love with this blouse. At £65 it’s too rich for my blood right now, but I can admire from afar and perhaps hope to nab one in a season or two.
(Although please, please learn to spell peridot before I punch something….)
I have a confession to make; I’m afraid I go weak at the knees for guys in stripes. Not any old stripey thing, I hasten to add, but nicely tailored Sixties or Seventies numbers (and a bit of early Eighties stripey shirt action, Duran-style). I’m not sure where it came from, or why it has such a strange effect on me, but I’m not sure I really care. I’m just enjoying the view…..
Several years ago, when I was in the first throws of my New Romantic love affair, a friend told me about something she’d seen on ITV a few years prior, called Hunting Venus. It starred Martin Clunes as the floppy-shirted bassist and Neil Morrissey as the flamboyant lead singer of a New-Rom group called The Venus Hunters, who are kidnapped and blackmailed into reforming the group. Danny Webb appears to be doing a mighty fine impression of Andy Taylor, I’m not quite sure which drummer Ben Miller was inspired by but I’m fairly certain Mark Williams is only channeling Nick Rhodes sartorially. Either that or he’s seen some interview I missed out on….
She loved it so much that she bought the soundtrack and recently gifted it to me in a clear-out. By now I’ve got most of the tracks on there anyway, but it’s still a nice thing to have. I never did see it at the time, and I still can’t find any evidence of it having been released on DVD. I desperately want to see it now, of course, especially after finding it on YouTube. In poor quality and with the soundtrack disabled for several parts, I’m not sure I want that to be the first time I get to see it.
Anyway, because the title track (Starburst; co-written by Jools Holland no less) has been stuck in my head ALL day and making me laugh like a drain every time (yes, I have a childish sense of humour) I thought I would
inflict share a clip with you. Watch out for Simon Le Bon, Tony Hadley AND Gary Numan making cameo appearances. Why has this not been released? Why??
Okay, maybe I can only summon three to mind whilst writing this [will add more if I can think of them] but still…they do seem to be ageing rather well, don’t they? Recent concert photos of Mr Martin Kemp got me thinking about how dishy he and Mr Nigel Taylor still are – and then I remembered that Mick Karn isn’t doing too badly either. I’m more of a Sylvian kinda girl, but Karn comes a close second with interesting hair and make-up….