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.