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.
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!
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.