Back in March I had an idea.
Well, I should codify that statement, I probably had several ideas, but most of them involved what I should have for lunch.
Here it is:
Good isn't it?
I write about it here, if you are interested.
Anyway, I wondered if anyone had ever got John to sign a copy of that magazine he was reading in his solo bit.
Then a plan hatched in my brain. John Taylor tweeted that he was writing his autobiography, so he must be going to do a book tour, right? Ah...
Well, I was straight off to the Internet to find out about the comic.
"Fightin' Army was a bimonthly war comic published by Charlton Comics from 1956–1984 (though it was primarily a reprint title from 1978 to the end of its run). Telling fictional stories of the United States Army, it was a sister title of the other Charlton war comics Fightin' Air Force, Fightin' Marines, and Fightin' Navy."
Brilliant, right which one was it though? When did they film the 'Rio' video?
Hmm.. Off to the Duran Duran timeline.
Excellent. Lets try looking for the April '82 edition on E-baythen, shall we?
Found it, bought it, got it.
Now all we have to do is wait.
Now here is where @jamievjb comes into the picture.
He, being the lovliest man in the world, buys me a ticket to see John do a reading in Manchester.
Here we are, waiting.
We make a cute couple, huh?
John Taylor's book, In the Pleasure Groove, is well worth a read. You should definielty get it if you like Duran Duran or '80s music in particular.
Well, it was made clear that John would not sign any memorabilia, which is fair enough, Waterstones needed to get 500 odd books signed, and if everyone got him to sign a tee-shirt too, it would take all bloody night. So that part of my plan didn't come off.
But what did happen was probably even better.
I showed him the comic and asked which page he was reading. He laughed, and asked where I'd got it from. He then said that he'd just had it pushed into his hands and he coudn't remember what was inside.
I put the comic down next to him whilst he signed my book, he looked at it, grinned and said 'I should look like this'.
They say never meet your heroes. Rubbish, just make sure you choose ones like John Taylor.
Bloody nice bloke.
Remember back in January I noticed what a lousy year 1980 was in terms of UK number one hit singles. I was wondering today, whilst watching the Olympics, in what year music became good. So I went on to the Internets and looked up 1981.
What do we see? Well, it was a year which was a little like the curate's egg (good in parts).
John Lennon "Imagine" 10 January 1981
Number one soley because he got shot by Mark Chapman the previous month, conclusively disproving the saying 'life begins at forty'.
John Lennon "Woman" 7 February 1981
At least Imagine was a good song, this one is a bit more problematic as it was written about Yoko. Still, Lennon was an important and talented musician whose main failing was allowing Ringo to join the band.
And was way better than Mick Jagger.
Joe Dolce Music Theatre "Shaddap You Face" 21 February 1981
Dreadful, but best remembered as the song which kept Ultravox's Vienna off the number one slot in the UK. It could have been worse, Andrew Sachs nicked Joe Dolce's idea prior to release and did a version as Manuel (from Fawlty Towers). A small lawsuit ensued and Joe (rightly) won.
Thank you lucky stars for small mercies.
Roxy Music "Jealous Guy" 14 March 1981
'A Tribute' Pah. A cash in more like. No Eno, no good.
Shakin' Stevens "This Ole House" 28 March 1981
This become number one the day I became a teenager. You can imagine my horror.
Bucks Fizz "Making Your Mind Up" 18 April 1981
Hey, you may mock, but they pulled off girl's skirts and won bloody Eurovision. A bit of a classic really and not nearly as bad as their later singles. Best sung in the style of Bob Dylan (try it).
Adam and the Ants "Stand and Deliver" 9 May 1981
Now you are talking. A great video, great song and Adam as the dandy highwayman. Great song, well executed.
Smokey Robinson "Being with You" 13 June 1981
I had to look this up, I remember it but it didn't really impinge on my consciousness the way Adam Ant did.
Michael Jackson "One Day In Your Life" 27 June 1981
I never really 'got' Michael Jackson. I have no opinion on this vaguely mawkish offering. I have plenty of opinions of Michael Jackson though.
Bloody awesome. The summer of 1981 was marked by race riots, protest over unemployment and violence in Northern Ireland. The UK was in the clutches of a Conservative Government that had no empathy with many of it's people.This song summed it all up. A brilliant peice of social commentary disguised as a pop song.
Plus it appeared in Father Ted.
Shakin' Stevens "Green Door" 1 August 1981
Oh dear. Who the hell bought this? I want to find them all and fine them retrospectively. The original was bad but this is just inexcusable.
Aneka "Japanese Boy" 29 August 1981
This song was played at every nightclub, disco and party from 1981 until the mid 1990s by my reckoning, and rightly so. A great cover of a great song, Marc Almond delivers a seedy, almost proto-goth ambiance to this electropop anthem.
Adam and the Ants "Prince Charming" 19 September 1981
Good Lord! Things are looking up. Great song, great video with Diana Dors as a fairy god-mother and Lulu of all people as a damsel in distress.
My only observation would be that it turns out that ridicule is something to be scared of, especially if you have a very public breakdown and get arrested for it.
Dave Stewart and Barbara Gaskin "It's My Party" 17 October 1981
More electro-pop. This time a simple cover of an 1963 Lesley Gore song. I really like it.
The Police "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" 14 November 1981
Past their peak but still deleivering stonking songs. Again, memorable for being good.
Queen and David Bowie "Under Pressure" 21 November 1981
What do you get if you combine two of the world's greatest front men? This.. A great bass line combined with a less memorable song. Vanilla Ice and Jedward did it better.
Julio Iglesias "Begin The Beguine (Volver A Empezar)" 5 December 1981
How did this get in here? Not good, not good at all.
Sheer electronic bliss.
So there we have it. I'd have to say that compared to the previous year, 1981 was a positive triumph.
Willkommen, bienvenue, welcome, c’mon in…
It’s time. Yes, I insist. We’ve put it off for long enough, we can put it off no longer.
It is time for The Wild Boys.
Yes, I insist.
Duran Duran’s twelfth single, released back in the early autumn of 1984, was obne of their biggest world-wide hits. Now, here’s a bit of information for you. Russell Mulcahy, director of many of the better videos, wanted to do a full length feature film based on the William Burroughs novel, The Wild Boys, a book of the dead. Which sounds fair enough until you actually read the book and realize two things.
I know I’ve just listed three things there, but I think the third one is worth making. It really isn’t very good, it’s OK. If you like that sort of thing, which I do, but just not enough to really like this sort of thing, if that makes sense.
Moving on. Russell wanted to make a feature film, he suggested that Duran Duran might like to do a soundtrack, much like he did with Queen in his 1985 cult feature Highlander.
n.b. There is only one Highlander film, in much the same way there is only one Matrix film and 2.3 Star Wars films. That is all there is and you’re not going to convince me otherwise.
So, the band started writing and came up with a pretty good song, by all accounts. Mulcahy planned the video, which was meant to be a sort of teaser for the feature film he intended to make.
It was filmed at Pinewood on the 007 sound stage at a cost of over $1,000,000. A staggering amount of money compared to what they spent on the Sri-Lanka/Antigua videos. Was it worth it? Well, the feature never got made and it must be doubtful that they made their money back on the video, but yes, yes it was worth it.
Today we are looking at the single version of the video, not the one that appears in Arena, an Absurd Notion. I will do Arena, but I really need to psych myself up for actually watching it.
Anyway, we begin.
The scene is a dusty, bluish grey-scale space with 50 or so desks, arranged in an off-set grid pattern. Six people are sitting in apparently random positions as the thumping drum beat starts. This gets them all riled up and they start chucking things about in the first 4 seconds of the video.
It is probably a circus school with a poor disciplinary record, judging by the willful and wanton destruction of property and the fire-breathing. Yes, fire-breathing. What of it? You are telling me you never breathed fire in a dull history lesson? No?
By the way, I used to upset my headmaster (Mr Christopher W Redwood, G.T.C.L.. L.R.A.M.) by reading the communist party manifesto in English lessons, he objected to my politics and so to mollify him I took to reading Mein Kampf. He never really understood my sense of humour.
Well, here comes someone in a big cape which is being blown artistically to the left of the screen by a fortuitous gale. As he walks closer, we get to see tantalizing glimpses of scaffolding. If scaffolding can ever really be described as tantalizing. I think, perhaps, it cannot.
Mind you, he can breath fire too, monochrome fire, ‘tis true, but fire none the less. We are in for a treat, ladies and gentlemen, a treat. We are only a headband away from Duran Duran perfection; I can feel it in my waters. All we've got to do is work out what is going on. Easy, we are experts at this game now, aren't we?
OK, there’s a weird robotic head thing. It is breathing fire at a television screen that apparently has a cameo appearance by Chef/Actress/Musician/UKIP politician (in no particular order) Rusty Lee. Is it really her? It really does look like her, but my on-line searches have, alas, come up with nowt.
As an aside, a million dollar budget(best Doctor Evil impersonations please) and that crappy nodding head is the best they could do? REALLY? I reckon at least $999,000 must have been spent on ‘special powdered supplies’ for the cast and crew. The must have been snorting something to think that the nodding rubber head was fit for purpose.
While we’re at it, what’s with the fire-breathing? What the hell has that got to do with anything? I’m only 24 seconds in and already I’m baffled.
Someone is approaching, flexing his be-gloved hand, although the glove is missing some fingers and would not pass BS EN 374 (Standard for Safety Gloves) so I hope he’s not going to do any work with chemicals.
Rubber head is nodding away to his TV screen. Ah... I've got it! This entire video is a homage to the Channel Four programme Count Down. You can see the clock ticking away whilst rubber head does a more than passable impersonation of the late and great Richard Whiteley.
Rusty Lee is obviously meant to be Carol and the painted man with Animal stenciled across his heart is the cute one from dictionary corner. Simon and John are seen in their Reflex era garments miming away to the song in front of a curtain onscreen. They are the contestants. Now I get it. But they haven’t shown us what the letters are yet?
Well, there’s all sorts of shenanigans going on in the countdown studio today. Scaffolding, painted men and ladies, fire-breathers and that man with a cloak. No wonder Rubber Richard Whiteley is looking so confused. I’m sure it will all become clear when we can see what the letters were.
We are getting a few shots of the contestants, John, Andy and Simon but there’s no real way of telling what they had scored as yet. We have started a very long tracking shot towards, wait for it, scaffolding!
If this is the dystopian future of mankind, it would appear that the business to get into is that of scaffolding, as it appears to be the primary method of constructing everything in this sore, afraid, new world. Well, scaffolding, beautifully torn curtains and metal pyramids.
Holy crap on a cracker!
Yes, ladies and gentlemen, colour has arrived, along with painted acrobats and flame throwers. Does this mean we are going to get a shed-load of Dance-Fighting? I do hope so!
So, it’s time to see what words the contestants have come up with. Rubber Richard Whiteley obviously is a bit cross in this extreme edition of the sleepy afternoon game show for the venerable. He’s deployed his minions and tied Simon to a windmill.
Even Windy Miller, the perennially pissed miller of Camberwick Green would have balked at this, although Rod Hull and Emu may have stolen some of these ideas for their Pink Windmill show.
Simon is being tortured for not really coming up with any good words, his head is being dipped in the water frequently and he is singing in defiance of Rubber Richard Whiteley’s attempts to defeat his indomitable spirit. But it’s indomitable, so he won’t be able to.
Aside: Rumour has it that Simon nearly drowned filming this. Nonsense, you can see he’d only have to lift his head slightly to avoid getting wet at all.
Although can you imagine how many takes they insisted on doing? I bet it was more than a few. "Sorry Simon, love, we need to get that again, the camera didn't quite get the bit where you head was completely submerged in the brackish water..."
Simon has both his arms free, which begs the question: Why doesn’t he untie himself instead of waving his arms about singing about how bloody great it is to be wild? Answer – erm…
I do like the bit where the camera’s rotation is synchronized with the windmill’s though. I really, really like that shot.
It’s a bit brilliant.
Whiteley’s strange painted, horned minions are approaching. Nick, who was obviously in Extreme Dictionary Corner is imprisoned in a cage surrounded by his books and computer type stuff. Nick is in bejeweled Leather. Why doesn’t this surprise us? He’s trying to work out whether Simon’s word is valid. I don’t know, but I bet Simon’s word was ‘PIES’. A minion passes him a small pie and backs away. Nick looks impressed or constipated.
There’s a lot of Whiteley’s minions giving Simon a complicated hand-jive representation of the internationally recognized symbol for ‘Up-Yours’. One is doing a passable impression of Mick Jagger doing the funky chicken (I believe that’s effectively the limit of Jagger’s talents anyway).
Let’s see how John got on. He is strapped to an automobile and it seems he came up with two words, ‘CARS’ and ‘GIRLS’. Both are acceptable but not high scoring. Minions bounce over Nick’s head as he struggles to keep score.
A Hang gliding minion who looks a lot like Martin Gore from Depeche Mode whizzes about the place as the dance fighting truly kicks off. Dance-fighting is one of my favourite things. It’s brilliantly crap and a completely ineffectual way to settle disputes of any nature unless you are deciding a 'who does the best jazz-hands' contest between Bruce Forsyth and John Barrowman.
The minions are becoming increasingly agitated as it turns out ‘PIES’ was not a winning score for the Le Bonster. Off the Windmill and into the jaws of the sea-monster for you then Simon.
What does the sea monster signify? It signifies fame, man... Yeah, like fame is like totally the monster, right... Heavy...
Andy Taylor is strapped to a busty figurehead. Frustrated at not even being allowed to run about on the scaffolding, he is reduced to swatting at passing minions with a guitar.
Simon escapes from the sea monster thing and fends off the minions with a clenched fist.
The fight dancing has stopped, it has been replaced by formation dancing. Exciting.
Simon reaches out the hand of friendship to one of Whiteley’s minions and the boys are treated to a good, old fashioned tickertape parade to celebrate John’s victory over Simon in the futuristic extreme Count Down competition. John wins the day and the Count Down teapot with ‘GIRLS’, edging out Simon’s ‘PIES’.
Given that we can assert that the series of letters provided at the start of the game must have been PESGCRLIA, they could have done better with REPLICA GLACIERS or CALIPERS.
So what can we learn from this?
Art wins again.
I’m back! Sorry, life got in the way, but happily I have just enough time left over in my incredibly hectic, hellz-a-poppin’ schedule to bring you this, my latest dissection of Duran Duran’s video output from the 1980s.
Today we do their biggest hit, The Reflex.
What do we need to know about The Reflex before we start?
It was their second single to top the UK singles chart, and was their last UK #1. It was also Duran Duran's first single to hit number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 (for two weeks) on 23 June 1984 (see 1984 in music), and it was a huge hit internationally.
By the way, the remixes for both the 7" and 12" singles were done by the legend that is Nile Rodgers, of Chic fame, so he is responsible for the frankly astonishing 12” Dance Mix which features in the Arena (An Absurd Notion) concert video I will cover this in the weeks to come.
The video was shot during the Sing Blue Silver tour at Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, Ontario, so them’s Canuck’s dancin’ in them isles. Russell Mulcahy is back in the helm for this one. I've kind of missed him, I know we've had lizard people and light-sabre waving horsemen, but nothing says Duran Duran like Russell Mulcahy and his crazy antics. Well, I say that, you actually need headbands, pretty ladies and Simon over acting and doing that crazy intense stary thing he used to do.
Having said that, this is a concert video, so there probably isn’t that much to say really. Like most videos of the oeuvre (do you like that word? I like that word, I’m going to use it a lot next week) it concentrates on giving the fans a good view of their favourite band members, so lots of honey shots of Simon & John and lots of happy bouncing fans.
So we start with some electronic noise, backing singers doing the ‘Ta-na-na-na’ bit and some interestingly lit completely hairless models superimposed on the big video screen suspended like the sword of Damocles over the stage. We also get some shots of Simon illuminated by a slit-lamp, like in those early videos like Planet Earth and Careless Memories (Just like Angelica Houston in Addams Family Values). Good pouting from the Le Bonster and he’s doing that intense crazy eye thing again. I wonder why-eye-eye-eye (I'll stop that right now) they told him to stop doing that? It looks great, Simon, really.
So, to sum up the intro:
Simon is wearing one black glove, I assume been shot by Boba Fett whilst trying to rescue his twin sister from Jabba’s sail barge.
One other thing, Simon. How many belts do you need to keep those trousers up? It looks like you are wearing about seven.
We get our first look at Nick, his Fairlight CMI II and his Jupiter 8. Nice. We also see Roger. We don’t get to see much of Roger, so cherish this moment of drumming goodness.
Simon’s pointing and looking cross. He’ll cross that bridge when he finds it, AND NOT BEFORE!
Now, Andy’s hair. That is the most extreme mullet this side of Billy-Ray Cyrus. It is a crime against mullets, really. I know he takes himself fairly seriously these days, but he should be shown this mullet regularly in order to remind him why he had trouble being taken seriously after he left the band.
Simon seems to be mocking the Geordie guitarist with his ‘Why-eye-eye-eye-eye don’t you use it?’ singing. Cruel, but strange. It is rumoured tha t the band wanted The Reflex to be the lead single from Seven and the Ragged Tiger, but their label didn't like Simons singing during the "why-eye-eye-eye don't you use it" segments. What did they know? Eh? Labels.... Pffft... (and so forth).
We are getting glimpses of John at this point, but not the full effect. A shame because the full effect of John here is quite stunning. We also get glimpses of the backing singers and the percussionist (Raphael De Jesus) but very, very little Roger. Poor Rog. Rog sad....
We do get the classic John – Simon – Andy line up across the front of the stage, and some pretty crazy split screen editing thrown in to boot. Nice, it’s like proto-stereographic mullet-watch. I bet Kate Humble is developing a Mullet-Watch Live programme for BBC as I write this (Joke for the UK based only, I’m afraid).
"...whenever I hear that steel-drum part it always brings a smile to my face because it's so out of tune. Steel drums always are, but it was exactly right in terms of rhythm and tone. So a wood-block sound was mixed in to make it even more percussive and, successfully, it did the job."
Thanks Ian. That’s great.
In the run up to the chorus, we get Simon dancing and jumping. You know that star jump that they freeze frame there didn’t really end well, don’t you? Watch Sing Blue Silver for the raw footage, it’s funny. Though admittedly, probably not for Simon. Or the stage. Or the peoples of the Pacific rim whose lives were destroyed by the ensuing tsunami.
So Chorus – Dancing fans, Dancing John wearing nylon curtains straight from the pages of the 1983 Littlewoods Catalogue and, incredibly, a garter, pouting Nick, drumming Roger, mulleted Andy and frowny intense Simon. This video just lacks something, it is funny, but there isn’t a plot. There’s no hook to get you involved. There’s only the passing flash frame of a back-lit poster-painted nipple to keep you engaged.
So, we hit a section of shots of Nick, John and Roger having a pout-off. John wins from Nick in second place and Roger a distant third. Kudos to Nick for the shoulder action, though.
Simon is being lit by blue lights, so he does a little twirl! Right there, on the spot. And he claps. Isn’t he sweet. By the way, does anyone have the faintest notion as to what the hell this song is on about? It makes Nik Kershaw seem coherent (almost).
OK, we hit the next chorus and get to the stammering Geordie bit (‘why-eye-eye, wh, wh, why-eye-eye’). It’s a bit underwhelming, there’s painted, well-lit bondage models, chains, sadomasochism and a dancing Simon, but no real reason for it.
The crowd seem very happy though.
Hang on, the screen’s going fuzzy and a painted man covered his eyes. The fans do the same, why? Well, remember that tsunami caused by Simon's ill advised jump earlier on, well it’s become a massive computer generated tidal wave which is about to engulf them and kill them all! That’s made them stop their dancing.
The effect when it hits the crowd is similar to having a small cup of water drizzled on them from a medium height. A bit underwhelming, really, much like the rest of the video. And that’s it, it’s never mentioned again, never referenced, in no way does it appear again in any form. SO WHY WAS IT THERE, RUSSELL?
It just fades out after that. God knows why.
One last quick question. What is Simon doing in ths shot?
I’m sorry, just let me off this one (keep saying that), I’ll do Wild Boys next. That’s funny and weird. It’s even got Rusty Lee in it.
Well, I've been all over the shop so I haven't really had as much time as I'd like to write snarky reviews of music videos most people would have rather forgotten about in the first place.
I'll make it up to you.
One of my problems has been that the next video in the sequence of Duran Duran videos is The Relfex, which just isn't funny at all. I was hit with a large case of writer's block. That is until I watched Arena, an Absurd Notion. Duran Duran's concept video. Now we have some source material.
So, on I go, I'll be writing it up over the next few days and posting it here, complete with pictures. It'll probably be in two parts, firstly concerning the concert footage and secondly The Wild Boys. That will conclude my meanderings into Duran Duran music videos and I shall probably move on to other artists. Nik Kershaw looks like a likely target.
Have fun (just not as much fun as the chap in this picture).
I received the following from one of Occulomency's readers:
"Tech question. In "Hungry like a wolf" why does Mr Le Bon have bright yellow hair under his hat for some of the video and not for the rest? I'm glad he did keep it under a hat because it looked pretty tragic ... just wondering, you obviously have the answer."
I think I covered it well enough in my post Straddle the Line, because basically, I don't know. However, I guess this begs the question: "can Simon's hair ever look truly tragic?"
Well, lets find out.
Not so bad. I tried this look back in 1973.
Obviously I had a much cooler nylon jumper, though. Result: Neither of us look 'Tragic'
Hmm, not a bad haircut, but I'm not sure about the sunglasses. I'm really not. Mind you, I'm not one to talk. I have sported unsual accessories myself on occasion.
I'm saying not tragic, more unfortunate and that's down to poor accessorizing.
Erm.... It was 1984. We all looked a bit odd in 1984. I looked like this:
Result: Not tragic, more a product of the times.
Ah. That's not good, is it? He has my sympathy.
Holy crap on a cracker.....
Result: Tragic, happy now?
Simon, if you read this, here's a quick fix for those very bad hair days:
It's 'The Reflex' next time. I bet you all can't hardly wait.
Do you remember Secret Army, on the telly? You know the serious dull version of 'Allo 'Allo that starring Bernard Hepton as Albert Foiret. We named a cat Albert, he was very large, cross-eyed and ginger. The cat, not Bernard Hepton.
My father was incredibly fond of this programme. Still, he was also incredibly fond of the bacon counter at ASDA, but that's a completely different story. I digress.
This video is meant to be similar to that programme, but it isn't. It's so much better, but not necessarily for the obvious reasons.
My theory is Duran Duran decided 'New Moon on Monday' sounded a bit like a spy code word thing, and had themselves cast as revolutionaries, intent on overthrowing an oppressive regime. After all, we've had Simon as Indiana Jones, so what could possibly go wrong?
Well, lets find out.
First of all, in common with many Duran Duran videos, there are oh so many versions, so, so many.
The longest is a 17-minute "movie version" which includes excruciatingly bad dialogue and ham acting set to an extended remix of the song which isn't the 12" Dance Mix (which you couldn't dance to). Although it is particularly funny, it's hardly fair to expect you to sit through it in it's entirety.
This is the shorter version, but not the Dancing on the Valentine one. No, because the Dancing on the Valentine one removes almost all of the Nick's dancing and replaces it with quite good vignettes of the band.
No, you are getting five minutes of Duran Duran at their peak. Andy Taylor in his book is a more than a little scathing of this video. But I think that's unfair. It is irredeemably stupid and pompous, but my God it's fun.
Plus I really love the song, my favourite from Seven and the Ragged Tiger. I wish they played it live a bit more often.
So, the video was directed by Brian Grant, he had previously directed classics such as Olivier Newton John's Let's Get Physical. So we are probably in for a treat. The video was filmed in Noyers, Bercy and Paris, France when it was very, very cold, so I am given to understand.
We kick off with a French actor, obviously rehearsing for a play.
Simon walks up and the French Actor narrates a little tableau. In French it sounds quite good, artistic, even. But when you get your grandma to translate it for you, you find it says:
"Ladies and gentlemen, how are you doing? Welcome here tonight to see the strangest, the most beautiful show on earth. Hey you, you know this, right? Let us go see the wedding. Let's go see the baroness, the newlyweds, the mistress…."
Simon looks on in an almost otherwise otherwise deserted theatre. I say almost, there area couple of nasty evil not-a-nazi-but-obviously-a-nazi guards, also sporting natty little logos, but this type all tough and swordy. They are clearly malevolent but also seem to be under the control of a very pretty lady. She has noticed Simon.
What I really love though is Simon's badge. It's a sort of "not a swastika but still a symbol that's obviously meant to mean something as it's appearing on all branding for the Album and the subsequent singles" thing that I would have as a tattoo if:
a) I didn't have a significant needle phobia, and
b) Tattoos of symbols depicting your favourite band on middle aged, middle-class men never fail to attract derision.
Simon gets his papers checked, whilst pretty lady slips away. If that is a secret rebel symbol on Simon's jacket, he's taking one hell of a risk actually displaying it, don't you think? If I was involved in a secret organisation that was probably illegal and subject to repression, I would:
a) assume that the organisation was known to the oppressive regime as such regimes tend to have well developed domestic security networks
b) not advertise my membership of said organisation by wearing a badge.
Maybe that's just me.
This bit is a little confusing, Simon has his papers taken off him by the nasty evil not-a-nazi-but-obviously-a-nazi guard who beckons him to follow. So you are thinking long term incarceration and imprisonment for Le Bon, but no. Simon is lead into a dark passageway behind the theatre where he spots the pretty lady on a motorbike.
So, is Simon on the side of the nasty evil not-nazis-but-obviously-nazis? I would not have thought that likely.
Simon gets on the back of the motorbike and off they go.
It's dark, misty and slightly sepia toned. The nasty oppressors are beating the shit out of some poor bastard by a push-bike. We are in France, remember, so he probably was found to be outside, after dark, without a beret, stripy sweater and string of onions.
Sorry, I must try harder to avoid national stereotypes, mustn't I?
Anyway, Roger gets into an old Citroen. He's not going to be going very far then.
The oppressors are seen beating Banksie with a stick. In fairness, I'm beginning to come round to their way of thinking.
Nick has an underground lair. It was only a matter of time, was't it? I'm only slightly surprised that he didn't locate it in a hollowed out volcano. Sadly, it's in an old cellar. He is passing boxes of stuff to John who is wearing a magnificent coat. I'm partial to a coat. Oooh, the stuff in question has been thoughtfully marked by Nick as 'Explosives'. Cool, there's going to be one hell of a big explosive payoff at the end of this video then. You wouldn't spend such efforts on setting all this up without having an awesome pyrotechnic display, would you?
Why John has decided to use a horse and cart is a bit beyond me, because I would have though such an anachronistic mode of transport would actually attract attention in a world which uses motorcycles and old Citroens. Anyway, I'm not one of these creative types, so what would I know?
It's good to see him use the correct pulling away from the curb procedure.
Andy is printing leaflets, Roger has dropped into the underground lair to say hello, which is nice. These leaflets, they bare Simon's symbol, the words 'This Time La Luna" (displayed at the same time Simon sings it, very slick boys, very slick) and a monochrome stylised image of what appears to be a kite and a crescent moon, set against a moody sky.
You have to hope that the kite is a red herring, don't you? We want the explosives.
Simon goes blasting off down a tree lined avenue while unfeasibly fast clouds billow overhead. It's a bit post-nuclear, this image. Anyway, we are soon distracted by some helicopter shots of Simon & pretty lady racing along a country lane on the motorbike. Simon does a single arm raisy thing, but obviously it makes the bike wobble and they sensibly stop such antics at once.
Roger and Andy manage to socially engineer themselves past the oppressing guards. These guards are shit. Roger and Andy look totally suspicious and although the guards, being ruthless oppressors, could search them, they don't bother. I would search anyone wearing red boots in these circumstances. Nice to see the oppressive regime have put out flags and braziers though.
Simon arrives on the bike, Nick and John arrive on the horse and cart. Yes, folks, Nick Rhodes driving a horse and cart. Amazingly, this is the strangest thing we'll see Nick do in this video. Under normal circumstances, Nick driving a horse and cart would be worthy of much ridicule, but not here. Here it merely raises an eyebrow.
We can only imagine how much Nick hated doing this. He may be in France, but he's in rural France, driving a horse and cart. Do the maths.
Anyway, Nick and John leave the horse and cart containing the much anticipated explosives unattended while useless guards mill about the place. It's like the band had watched 'Allo 'Allo and though - we could make a really cool video about this, and then realised they actually couldn't. Great matching scarf and gloves from John though, and kudos to Nick for pretending to care about horses. Not so sure about his coat, however.
Anyway, the band and the pretty lady (she is stunning) meet in a cafe to discuss their plans. Simon really needs to take that badge off. Someone will notice, surely? That shifty looking old lady for a start.
The band go out onto the street with pretty lady and start surreptitiously distributing the leaflets we saw Andy with earlier. They are certainly planning something. The problem is, they are not being terribly discriminating as to whom they give the leaflets too. I'd assume that at least a portion of the local populace are collaborating, and so between the ham-fisted handing out of printed materials and the badge Simon is wearing, I would have expected even the most useless guards to have twigged something was afoot and picked up the band by now.
Somehow I find it comforting that the regime has not started rationing hair gel or peroxide. Maybe it was the threat of this that kicked of Duran Duran's insurrection. We will never know. Still, it's always funny to get a screengrab of Simon looking constipated, isn't it?
How the hell did these useless bastards get to be in charge of the cheese eating surrender monkeys? Hang on, I've answered my own question haven't I?
Did I slip into national stereotyping again? Sorry, I must not do that. It is rude and not funny, big, grown up or clever.
Anyway, the clouds go all fast and weird again and a badly superimposed moon appears unconvincingly. It's a bit like watching Scooby Doo meets the Nazis, only with less convincing acting.
Well, it's night time again, pop fans. The all-France formation lamp swinging team is out practicing while Roger and Andy go and play with a kite, John and Nick park the horse and cart. It's hard to see how this can end well, isn't it?
Remember kids, Duran Duran are trained professionals. They are able to open boxes marked 'Explosives' with a sodding great big axe without excessive risk of blowing themselves and half of France to kingdom come. Don't try this at home.
Roger and Andy have launched the kite from the top of the town church's tower. It's a magic kite. It shoots lightning.
I really can't think of anything to say about that. Who came up with that bright idea and why weren't they told to leave the creative meeting immediately and never come back?
Simon runs in to help with a flag. Following by oppressed masses carrying flags. You see all you revolutionary types out there in the internets, all you need to do to overthrow an oppressive regime is have flags.
The magic lightning kite is apparently getting it's magic powers from the moon. Lightning from the moon is travelling to the kite and being distributed down into the town square. To what end I hear you ask. no idea I am forced to reply
OK... The riot police have turned up. On horseback. Carrying light sabres. Yes, light sabres. So this means, by my logic, the oppressive forces actually are Jedi and Duran Duran are representing the evil Galactic Empire. I've been supporting the wrong side all these years....
But it's OK, John and Nick brought lots of explosives... Oh wait, no, they went down to the local paper shop and picked up some fireworks.
Anyway, the rebels and the light-sabre equipped riot police seem to be engaging in a gigantic bout of tarting about in a market square. It's not conveying 'rebellion' to me.
Simon is holding off an entire mounted brigade with a flaming stick. So, in Duran world, flaming stick trumps light-sabre. If that's the case, Duran Duran gigs of the 1980's where everyone held up lighters during save a prayer must have practically constituted a weapon of mass destruction.
Andy holds his arm aloft in triumph. Probably happy that for once, he's not limited to running about on scaffolding. John and Nick have got sparklers, so the forces of democracy are bound to win out over oppression. If only Che Guevara had access to sparklers....
The sparklers have frightened off the riot police, the town is free! The oppressive regime has fallen, through the power of magic kites and sparklers. Oh now is the time to celebrate. Now is the time to rejoice, rejoice.
We move into a phase of this video which is beyond belief. It contains my pet peeve, band members pretending to sing backing vocals, coupled with people who can't dance, dancing.
The shots of the five of them dancing in front of the not-a-swastika firework is hilarious and heartbreaking. It is so very, very wrong. So very, very bad. So profoundly unintentionally funny, yet not the funniest dancing in a Duran Duran related video. No, for that honour, you will have to wait for Arcadia's Election Day.
While the boys dance, the magic kite spits out electricity, the fireworks burn bright, the populace rejoice.
And Nick dances on....
Roger was once asked "if you could go back in time and meet yourself is there any advice you would give yourself and do you think you would listen?"
He responded ".... the dancing at the end of New Moon on Monday!"
As Marlon Brando said in Apocalypse Now: the horror, the horror....
Just as an aside, I've been writing this on and off all week, I've watched the video maybe a dozen times in that period, I've only just noticed the fundemental flaw with this video as I'm putting the pictures in.
It's not a new moon, is it? It's a waxing crescent. If it was a new moon, you wouldn't be able to see it.
In order to celebrate another year of his illustrious and benevolent rule over humanity, The Dear Leader has granted all of his subjects 3 minutes off in order to attempt to ply him with genuflections.
You are most welcome, mankind.