This song was the UK number one on my 15th birthday. Very nearly 29 years ago as I write this. Yes, that's right, 29 years.
So, anyone who can still remember this from the first time around is officially past it and should go and buy something beige.
29 years. Bloody hell.
Another Russell Mulcahy video, this one, but very different to the previous few, being mainly studio based and full of Quantel trickery. This video is certainly not a literal interpretation of the song, nor does it feature the band playing instruments. It does however feature my bete noir.
Yes, right from the opening frame. Nick can be seen pretending to sing the opening lines, along with Roger (initially only viewed from the forehead up, for some bizarre reason). It never occurred to me before, but doesn't Nick look very like David Sylvian in this clip?
Anyway, we get a shot of John, pretending to sing and one of Simon waving his arms about in his best 'I've been to drama school' way, and then you get to a strange thing.
If I was a creative type (I'm not) and wished to direct music videos (I don't, being snarky about them is too much fun), I would have lined the band up in the following order from nearest to farthest:
This would mean that we could actually see the whole band in one shot at they gaze meaningfully up at the spotlight pretending to sing. However, the choice was made to go with:
So we get to see Roger's ear, most of John and Nick's orange fluffy fringey thing. An interesting artistic choice, I think you'll agree. Mind you, you do get some interesting low-angle up the nostril shots of the type that Russell Mulcahy made his own.
So, Simon is not with the boys on this one, but they are all dressed the same. Blue shirts with white tucked in ties, black trousers and black suede boots. If you want to know how I dressed when going to nightclubs (I was tall, I got in) around this time, look at this video.
So, we get lots of split screening, similar to "My Own Way", but so, so much cooler. There are exciting orange pyramids, grey steps, breaking glass spheres, floodlights concealed within apertures high in faceless grey walls.
For some reason, the atmosphere of this video reminds me of the 1967 classic TV series The Prisoner, in particular an episode called Once Upon A Time.
Again, Duran Duran are seen to be experimenting with the occult sciences. Simon has been cloned, and Roger gets caught out whilst apparently having a crafty pee in the corner. He is relieving himself without seemingly being distracted by the red ball, bouncing impudently up the stairs in violation of the laws of Newtonian physics when he suddenly materialises in front of himself. Ah, Roger and his teleportation shenanigans. Will he never learn? Every one knows that you shouldn't cross your own time-stream, you'll blow a whole in the universe exactly the same size as Belgium.
Being in Duran Duran must have been a bit weird at this point, people bending space-time, making clones of each other and teleporting themselves back in time. Rock and roll, kids, but not as we know it.
Simon finds himself in an environment which reminds me of a Braun razor commercial from about the same period. He is singing and acting simultaneously. He looks slightly puzzled, probably trying to work out why Russell Mulcahy has put him in an environment that looks like a highly magnified version of John Majors chin after 3 days growth. It does look kind of good though. I know it doesn't have the glamour of Rio, but I still like it.
The observant amongst you will have spotted the Simon finger pointy pistol thing making a welcome return. Pointy pistol fingers and up the nose shots. Chuck in headbands and we are in for a bumper Duran Duran meme overload.
By the way, I wonder if that elephant from the Sri Lanka shoot has stopped stalking Simon yet, they never forget you know.
Simon climbs the stairs, John plays with a sextant. Here's a hot tip for any of you planning a sailing jaunt. Don't let John be your navigator. That is not how one uses a sextant, it is upside down and John is indoors. Both of these things lead me to believe that John knows nothing about the art of seamanship. Given Duran Duran's record on boats, I'd steer well clear of them when considering anything to do with the life aquatic. Otherwise you wouldn't enjoy Le Bon voyage (too much?).
That red pyramids back though. Must mean something. Not sure what. Remind me later, I'll try to get you an answer.
The lighting is very Morticia Addams again isn't it?
Now, there's a heap of blue sand, some navigational parallel rulers and a projection of the giant glitter spraying flamenco women from My Own Way. What is going on? I'm feeling a bit lost.
OK, Simons doing some on the spot stroll dancing (we'll see more of that later), while a black and white boy holds a red ball in a greyscale wood. That red ball must mean something. Not sure what. Remind me later, I'll try to get you an answer.
Simon does his pointy finger pistol dancing, he does it well. Then he starts asking the concealed floodlight questions. It is a little bit like Once Upon A Time, isn't it? Or is it just me having two obsessions and trying to meld them down into one. It's just me, right? Right.
More of the band pretending to sing whilst Simon emotes. Lots of big gestures from Le Bon. Big, big gestures.
Now, someone is messing about with that pile of sand whilst a projection of a baby watches a projection of children dancing about in Sri Lanka. There must have been a meeting at some point where someone suggested the storyboard for this video, and the band, instead of throwing Roger's drumsticks at the person in question and saying 'bollocks to that, we want to go somewhere with nice weather and pretty ladies' they said 'yes, OK, we'll film this in a shed at a former World War 2 airfield'. Idiots.
Also, why is Roger's shadow projected onto that wall? Was he just hiding in the background and a spot-light caught him off guard? Weird.
Simon's hand gestures are now so profound, the editor has started highlighting them with handy yellow boxes. Nice work, Mr Editor! Now, there seem to be a load of blokes, in full civil service bowler hats and suits, buried waist deep in a grey room. Simon is there too.
But we don't get time to work out what's going on because it's time to look at a sad old man, sitting in an absurdly large chair and an absurdly large table, covered in pink sand which is being blown about by a mysterious indoor wind. With him is a young boy, who is watching a projection of Sri Lanka on the wall behind him. This must be profound, surely? I mean, only a mad man would create this sort of image and not have it mean anything.
The little boy is drawing a map though, and I must say he seems pretty good at it.
Just watch Andy Taylor in this next bit. He is having far too much fun. Roger, Nick and Andy are dressed as old-time soldiers. You know, if I could be bothered I could probably find out what army the uniform is based on, but I suspect it doesn't matter and it's nearly tea time and I must crack on. Anyway, the three boys are standing in front of an old time microphone and the have to pretend to deliver the 'You're about as easy as a nuclear war' line whilst making a pointy hand gesture thing. As I say, Roger looks slightly embarrassed, Nick looks angry, Andy looks like he's having a fracking ball, in a camp hand-on-hip sort of way.
Even Simon looks surprised.
The little boy is staring at that red stoney thing. He looks round in surprise too, I don't blame him, that's the first time we've seen Andy happy in a video since he was talking to his hairdresser in Careless Memories. Maybe they should have dressed him up as a soldier more often and given him additional lines to deliver, then he wouldn't have left.
Naked child next to a computer. There are several very crude and obvious jokes that I'm sure you are expecting me make at this point, but I won't. This video is from an age when showing the arse of a 11 month old child on television didn't raise an eye-brow.
This kid is now about 30.
Think about that.
I do wish I could identify the model of computer though. It would be hilarious if it was a Wang.
More projections of giant glitter-spewing spinning women of yore.
Now we get a shot of the band arranged on steps, helping Simon to deliver the chorus. Watch John. John has no idea what to do with his hands. Simon knows what do do with his, so he waves them about. John hasn't got a guitar to hang on to, so he sticks his hands in his pockets.
But he knows it doesn't look right or feel right so he's made that fatal error, he's taken one hand out of his pocket and he does a bit of a pointy thing with it. It's not up to Le Bon's gesticulatory magnificence though, is it?
Oh, God, some one stop him.
Andy is standing in a corner, wishing he was still dressed as a Quality Street tin, Roger and Nick have artfully arranged themselves on the stairs.
John is still trying to dance, sort of. The camera mercifully pans away.
Simon's still climbing those stairs, but the triangle has gone! Replaced by a cubey thing. The one off the cover of the single. Must mean something. Not sure what. Remind me later, I'll try to get you an answer.
Whoa, hang on! We've gone on location. London! Lots of men in bowler hats looking at paper charts (maybe the one drawn by the boy). Simon looks puzzled. I know how he feels.
There is a shot of a dog eating something from a briefcase. Seriously, what the hell does that mean? Really, I need help here.
Nice telekinesis from Simon with that glass orb though. Classy physics defying action there.
There are also shots of the all-London Synchronised Times Crossword team. Simon seems spooked (nice dolly-zoom shot there, just like the one in Jaws).
Mad people running after little boy with red ball while men in hats measure trees, erm..... They find the Magical Pyramid which shows only images of Simon and his clone army. It had been hidden by trees and branches, now it has been uncovered what will become of us?
That kids is still running off with that ball, and there is a magic line which makes people disappear. Love the funny shot with the man's legs. Classic. Simon looks, well, constipated, to be honest.
OK, the middle 8 is over, time to get into some serious band montage sequences now. Lots of the band pretending to sing, lots of Simon waving his arms about, no sad old men near giant tables, surprisingly little coloured sand.
Many, many shots up the band's collective nostrils. Actually, does Andy look a bit Bowie in this one too?
Intercut are scenes of men measuring things and scenes from the Sri Lanka shoot. Including the bit where Simon gets dumped in Save a Prayer. Ha!
Ending this we have the honey shots, Nick, looking earnest.
John looking like Sam the Sheepdog from those Warner Brothers cartoons.
Andy, giving it some (shame about the hair in the gate, again!)
Roger, looking like he'd rather be on Mars than having to do the pretend singing bit.
Finally Simon, giving it 10% Le Bon.
So what did we learn?
Nothing, other than despite the nonsense, this is a video that works. You see lots of the band and the song is very good. What more do you want?
By the way, the answers to the questions were:
Q. What does the red pyramid symbolise?
A. No idea.
Q. What does the red ball symbolise?
A. No idea.
Q. What does the cubey thing symbolise?
A. No idea.
Hope I helped.
Next we get to go crazy. Yes, it's Union of the Snake time.