The Boys Are Back In Town


Tuesday 25th January 1994

I’d been waiting for this day with a mixture of excitement and anxiety.

I woke up with my stomach doing somersaults. Food? Not a chance. Somehow, I had to keep the anxiety under control otherwise I’d end up talking myself out of leaving the house and I’d regret it for ever. I had to do this. For once in my life, my debilitating anxiety wouldn’t be robbing me of another experience, so armed with a miniature bottle of whiskey, I headed off in the car with the former Mr Shambles towards Birmingham.

I clutched the tickets in my clammy hand, checking and re-checking the date. Did I have the right date? Oh my God, what if I’d got the date wrong! Had I remembered to put some emergency loo roll in my bag? What if I fainted? What if I threw up over myself. Or worse, someone else?

We got to the NEC early to avoid the crowds but my anxiety was rocketing. I headed to the toilets and did some breathing exercises on the loo. I could hear the noise building up outside and was in danger of legging it out through one of the fire-exits but managed to calm myself down. It was now or never so I propelled myself through the door, elbowing a couple of women out of way on route.

My heart was clattering like an old tin drum and my legs were buckling as I took my seat.

Three months of anticipation almost at an end…

This was it.

Music blasted throughout the arena and I screamed as I saw three familiar faces appear on the stage. I waved my arms in the air and danced away and when I say danced, I mean awkward upper body movements with the occasional rib-shot to the unfortunate sod seated next to me. I must have been at the back of the queue when coordination was being given out – as anyone who has ever seen me try to do step-aerobics will testify to. I was 24 years old, but that night I was 13 again. Much to the former Mr Shamble’s amusement. Or was it embarrassment?

It suddenly hit me..

I was in the same room (albeit a very large room) as Duran Duran – my teenage idols! Well, three of them, anyway, as this was the 1994 line-up of Simon, John, Nick and Warren Cuccurullo.

The memory is fallible but I seem to remember them starting with Too Much Information and Simon Le Bon was prancing about wearing a pink suit, though I could be wrong. I’ve gone through the menopause since then and my memory, along with the rest of me, is a bit shit. So maybe someone else who was there will read this and say “Actually, he was wearing jeans and a t-shirt – you deranged old cow.”

The details might have become hazy but I’ll never forget seeing the band which stole my heart. Dad was the first man I loved, then it was Nick Rhodes.


Still have the ticket!

The early 80’s was an exciting time music-wise. In the wake of Punk came the New Romantics with their puff-sleeved blouses, frills and lip-gloss and that was the blokes! Dad’s reaction to seeing Duran Duran perform Planet Earth on TOTP in 1981 was to roll his eyeballs, tut, and say “Just look at the state of them. I give those poncy buggers 12 months”. And with that pearl of wisdom, he tucked the paper under his arm and headed off to the loo. 15 years later he had to concede that he’d been wrong. In fact, they’ve been together in various line-ups for the last 30 odd years and show no sign of retiring to Shady Pines anytime soon!


Rollin rollin rollin keep those eyeballs rollin!

Duranie = A devoted fan of Duran Duran. Or someone who would happily gouge your eyes out for one of Nick Rhodes’ lipstick stained fag ends.

The Duranies of the 80’s are now forty and fifty-somethings, like me. Menopausal maniacs (and those hurtling towards it) who only have to hear the intro to Save A Prayer to be nostalgically catapulted back to 1982 when hair was 50% peroxide and it was fashionable for blokes to wear lip-gloss and eyeliner. Nick still does. And why not? He could share mine any day. Gorgeous boy.

I felt very grown up when I was wearing make-up, thank you very much. Nick Rhodes

Duran Duran were mostly about image. They were good looking, made great videos and their songs were catchy with lyrics that made you think. Simon was quite the poet in the early days. I played the Rio album that much that I actually wore it out and Ma bought it for me again one Christmas, along with the newly released Seven and the Ragged Tiger.

DD went up in Dad’s estimation when they released the uncensored video of Girls on Film which was a saucier version where attractive girls wearing rollers (and little else) straddled a shaving cream-covered post and flashed their nips. Seems the boys hadn’t been as squeaky clean as Jackie et al had portrayed them to be. It was a bit of a culture shock for me, like when Kylie went from being the curly-haired girl next door to the pert-bummed vamp we’ve come to know and envy.

Watching them play live was one of the biggest thrills of my life and the fact that I saw them in Birmingham (the place where it started all those years ago in the Rum Runner) just added to the occasion. The boys (minus Andy and Roger) were back in town and my beloved Nick was there in all his magnificent pouting glory.

Duran Duran provided the soundtrack to my youth. Their music helped to make life more bearable – giving me breathing space from my troubled school life. Escapism was only a click of the turntable away, therefore, they’ll always have a place in this old Duranie’s heart.




23 thoughts on “The Boys Are Back In Town

  1. I love this post, I was such a Duranie! You couldn’t see my bedroom wall for the posters of them I’d got in Smash Hits. JT was my favourite though, it’s funny to think his daughter and Simon Le Bon’s daughter are now twenty something party animal model types. It makes us all feel old. I watched a Duran Duran TOTP 2 special recently and you’re right – the band were very much about image. Their clothes and look were amazing – so well perfected (if somewhat laughable now). The Wild Boys was my favourite look. And they did have a very good string of hits too. Sadly, I never saw them in concert, I’m jealous.

    • JT seemed to be the favourite with most of the girls. I always had to be different.. I watched them in concert (as they are now) on TV the other night and they are same as me…middle-aged lol But they are still performing and making records, so they’ve stood the test of time. Can’t fault them. 😉

  2. What you’ve captured here is that feeling that goes so directly with the teenage years. It’s great to be reminded of that. I was also thinking back to all the posters I used to have on my wall, collected from magazines. For me it was Wham – George in particular. Don’t you miss TOTP as well (minus all the pervs though!).

    • They make a one off TOTP at Christmas don’t they? Or is my memory playing up again. lol TOTP was part of my childhood. Every Thursday, Dad was out voted 3 to 1 so he grudgingly watched it…think it might have been something to do with Legs & Co 😀
      Totally gutted that so many of the stars from my childhood have been outed as perverts. 😦 Makes me shudder to think that I actually wrote in to JIm’ll Fix It to meet Duran Duran!

      • I know, it’s awful. We wrote to Jim as an English asignment in school. I asked to go skating with Torvil and Dean, even though I’d never done ice skating before!

  3. Absolutely love the nostalgia in this post! And I love your 80’s hair 🙂 You’ve described how I felt when I saw Take That for the first time when I was 16 (at the Smash Hit Poll Winners Party). I’m glad Duran Duran provided you with a much needed escape. Music is amazing like that isn’t it. Fab post xx

    • Thanks Lovely, I think I was about 12 when that was taken so it was tame as mullets go…got the streaks in though. 😉
      Ahh you’d have seen our Robbie then? I’m possibly the only Stokie never to have seen him, well, not that I know of. I lived at the top of the road from the Red Lion (the pub his parents ran in the 70’s) and passed it most days, so maybe our paths have crossed, who knows? 😉 Xx

  4. I had that t-shirt!!! And that magazine too I think. My hubby is a Brummie and saw them at the Rum Runner – sometimes I hate him.

    Did I tell you about the time when me and my pal Tracey (another one) screamed so loud in a quiet bit at Wembley that Nick looked up and waved at us? Wish it had been you instead of her now, as you would have appreciated it more (she was a Simon girl)

    Love love love this post! They’re still the absolute cat’s pyjamas 🙂

  5. Ah, this takes me back. I liked Duran Duran, but my first proper band crush was A-Ha 🙂 Had leather wrapped round my wrist for rather a long time! Reading Renee’s comment made me smile, at Uni, my flatmates and I developed a bit of a thing for Take That, and I have now seen Robbie in concert three times and was like a teenager when I managed to get tickets to see Take That at Hampden 4/5 (?) years ago! You’re never too old, eh? Thanks so much for sharing with #ThePrompt, wonderful post to reminisce to xx

    • Thanks Sara, I like Robbie, not just because I’m a Stokie. He’s a great entertainer and I loved his swing stuff. I liked the older version of Take That – the Rule The World stuff. You’re certainly never too old. 😉 Xx

  6. I sort of missed the Duran fever, too old, but about 10 yrs ago my cousin and I had a chance to go to see David Cassidy, who we had both been fans of as teenagers in the 70s when we had both been too young to go. We basically laughed our way through the show, because he was about as sexy as a used Brillo Pad!
    I am very glad that you conquered your fears and got yourself a memory that really resonates. And I’m glad that they haven’t let you down as you’ve got older and so have they…I’m somewhat like that with Bruce Springsteen and Sting…they’re both on my list!

    • Poor old David…time hasn’t been kind but maybe it’s because he was SUCH a heartthrob that the contrast is too much? He was gorgeous. He had a couple of hits in the 80’s which I liked. First Kiss was one, I think.
      I liked the Police, I love Sting as a solo artist. He’s one of my faves.
      I’m glad I did it too, I’ve missed out on a lot of experiences due to my issues. It actually took me weeks to come down from that concert and my ears were ringing for days but it was worth it. A great memory! 🙂 Xx

    • I bet it was special! It felt weird not seeing Andy & Roger to be honest, as that’s the line up I’d grown up with. There’s always chance for Andy to come back again though. 😉 X

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