Tag Archives: Duran Duran image

Like A Hypnotic

Hey, everybody. Welcome to…Wednesday. This is Wednesday, right??

If you’re following along with our Daily Challenges, today’s is your favorite DD video. It has been fun seeing what people post! My own favorite DD video, for today, is Rio. Truth be told, there are a lot of DD videos I enjoy, but the one I tend to always come back to – chances are, it’s because it was one of the first I watched – is Rio. Whenever I think about Duran Duran, MTV and videos, Rio comes to mind, and specifically, the scene I think about most – for some odd reason – is when Simon is underwater and drinks that brightly colored neon pink cocktail. I have no idea why, only that I always think about that scene first. Silly, right?!

I do have a confession though, and that’s when I reposted this challenge yesterday, I quickly scrolled through the list of challenges and didn’t even bother updating them. I was in a hurry, and knew I’d have to schedule a bunch of tweets and Facebook posts to make the whole thing work for everyone, so I just copied, pasted and was done with it. In hindsight, as I was scheduling tweets, I realized that I could have easily revamped and reframed some of these questions to breathe a bit more life into them for 2020. Anyway, as I read over the list of challenges, I started thinking about their videos. If I had to come up with a short list of things that seem to pop up in Duran Duran videos again and again, I’d probably say things like: exotic locations, the band (duh), models, and storyboards (meaning video plots). I’m sure many of you could come up with other things, but those are the three things I notice right off the bat.

Out of those things, I come back to models. Why is it that Duran Duran used models so many times in their videos? It feels so overdone. Yet, here we are. Even Falling Down and Girl Panic used models. I suppose I partially expect them in any Duran Duran video these days, and I’m pleasantly surprised when they’re not included.

Amanda and I have written about the models in their videos before. We’ve touched on the subjects of sexism, and whether or not videos like Girls on Film infringe upon that boundary, or address the exploitation by the modeling industry. I know that many fans have their own opinions as well.

When I was a kid, especially in middle school, but even beyond into high school – I didn’t have a very high opinion of myself. I was a late bloomer when it came to boys, and part of that was because I just didn’t think I was worthy. Even now, when I see photos of myself from that time period from 6th to about 8th grade, I cringe. High school wasn’t a lot better, but I’ll give myself a little credit there, at least. I had frizzy, wavy hair that I had layered (badly), and it gave my entire head a sort of Q-tip type appeal. I had no idea how to dress, how to act, or how to do that thing the other girls did when boys paid attention to them and they acted dumb in response. I can remember proudly announcing to my friends that if that was how I needed to act in order to get a boyfriend, I didn’t need one.

That is when Duran Duran entered the picture. In 6th grade, when other girls my age were throwing themselves at any boy that would pay attention long enough to ask her to “go around”, (in my day that meant walking around campus holding hands, although I don’t remember PDA beyond that being discouraged, either), I found a favorite band. Posters to hang on walls. I could disappear into the fantasy world in my head where I could be myself and never be rejected. Duran Duran were my “boyfriends” before any boy knew I existed, outside of being that weird girl in class. It was WAY safer than dealing with actual, real-life boys.

That was all fine and good until videos came along (so basically, it wasn’t long before my dreams were crushed). In the videos, as we all know, there were models. From Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf, to Girls on Film, The Chauffeur, and so on. Sure, I fawned over Roger, Nick, Simon and John. (no, I didn’t fawn over Andy. I just loved his guitar playing.) It was just very hard not to notice the girls. The women, I should say. I would sit and watch those videos, and somehow, I gleaned the message of “You’re not worthy”. The only women this band (or any band for that matter) would ever be interested in, would be supermodels or similar. l was never one of those teens that thought the women were being exploited. I didn’t think of Duran Duran as misogynists or sexist. Instead, I saw that they were attracted to women who were thin, beautiful and perfect, and I was, well, not any of the above.

At the time, seeing any of them date models, and of course Simon marrying one, did absolutely nothing to squash the feeling I had in my belly. People like me did not end up with men of their dreams. They settled for what they could get. Rockstars were ABLE to date models. Models were practically expected to date, and marry, rockstars. Girls like me were lucky to be paid attention. I was average, and maybe a bit below that given that I was a clarinet player in my high school marching band and a good student. Smart? Sure. Beautiful? Don’t make me laugh. On any given day I would think about the women in Duran Duran videos, and know that I was pretty much the polar opposite in every way.

As an adult, I think I still struggle with the same messaging. Let’s be honest, everywhere we – then teenage girls – looked in the 80s, there were leather mini-skirt clad girls, rolling around on cars or models of perfection in every single music video around. I don’t think I ever said the words “I’m nothing like them” to my friends back in the day—we didn’t discuss such things—but I know I felt them. I said the words to myself all the time. We grew up with the images of what we were supposed to aspire to look like all around us. I don’t think I ever got past it. It isn’t entirely a surprise when I still feel less-than. I think the difference now, is that I feel that way even with fellow fans.

I’ll be fine at a show, and I might even feel good about myself. But then, I’ll see something that immediately drags me back to how I felt in front of the television the first time I saw Hungry Like the Wolf. Maybe I’ll see the high-heeled glamour girls running after a band member who immediately turns and gives them his undivided attention for a photo. They giggle with glee and pose flirtatiously. I might try to tell myself that the women are trying too hard, or that they are “so sad” for chasing after the band member, but the TRUTH is—I immediately put myself back in the box marked “Not good enough”, and that’s without a single person saying a word to me. I inevitably want the floor to swallow me whole, because I know I don’t fit in. I don’t approach band members because, unlike posters on my wall, the guy in front of me is real, and the last thing I want is to be rejected. (and trust me, these days I’m not asking for anything more than a “hello!”) The fantasy is safer. I don’t have to worry about not being a model, or not being perfect.

I don’t actually blame Duran Duran here, although it likely seems that way. I just wanted to write about how messaging affected a woman – then a teenager – like me. They didn’t do anything different from anyone else back then, though. It just happens that the messaging from this band affected me most. I still adore them though, and quite frankly – I married the right guy anyway. Duran Duran, videos, and models go together. I never quite got why it was so important for them to prove—to a predominantly female audience—that they were worthy of the attention of females. We kind of already knew that, didn’t we? I mean…didn’t we?? I’ve had male fans say “Well, they were men. Of course they wanted models in their videos!” Yes, that does make sense. Except, that back in the 80s, it wasn’t men or even boys watching most of the time. It was girls, like me. Some of us not only watched Simon, John, Nick and Simon, but also paid attention to what was being communicated, too.

-R

DD Echoes in Halston

By Nat Mingo

This viral pandemic has caused me to spend more time at home. Regretfully, instead of reading more or starting a meditation habit, I’ve been streaming television shows and movies. I finished the Matrix film trilogy and one of these films makes a reference to Alice in Wonderland’s “going down the rabbit hole.” This is exactly how I feel after watching two back to back documentaries about fashion designer Halston. I first watched Ultrasuede made by the reality show star, Whitney Sudler-Smith (who strangely could dress as SLB for Halloween). Afterwards, I watched Halston made by Frederic Tcheng. My head was abuzz with Duran references post viewing.

Halston was popular in the 1970s. He was a frequent Studio 54 visitor alongside Liza Minelli and Andy Warhol. Of course, I thought of when the band met Warhol. Nile made a pleasant ‘Ultrasuede’ appearance as
he recounted the origin story of “Le Freak”. Chic has been invited to Studio 54 by Grace Jones but was refused entry, whereupon Nile & Bernard got drunk and sang angry lyrics which morphed into “Le Freak”. From Nile’s words, Grace sounds like an interesting character. This is certainly manifested in her appearance on “Election Day”. Watching clips of the Studio 54 revelers reminds me of Simon’s quote that “Duran is that band that makes you want to dance.” I’m also reminded of my joy at seeing John playing the keyboard on “Danceophobia” during the Paper Gods tour. In retrospect, “Danceophobia” does have that pseudo-electronic disco vibe. It’s certainly not a song to dwell on; it forces you into the present.

Halston frequently wore suits with clean lines. His models were multi-ethnic and wore bright colors. The Hungry Like The Wolf, Violence of Summer and Girl Panic babes are indicative of a Halston runway. The
band’s night photo featured on the Secret Oktober 12 inch record reflects Halston’s 80s aesthetic. The crispness of Halston’s personal appearance reminds me of the early Rio period. Part of the Rio video’s allure are the brightly colored suits the band wore. Duran created an iconic suit image on the cover of Notorious. The band also created a unique suit moment during the Red Carpet Massacre tour. Those suits were striped and paint smattered. In 2016, Duran sang at the reveal of a Mazda car; the promotional pictures featured the band in iconic suits. The ZZ Top “Sharp Dressed Man” lyrics reveal the timeless appeal of suited men. Duran has certainly capitalized on this trend.


Halston decorated his New York showrooms with heavy doses of black, white and red. The New York locale seems to be important to the band. John lived there during his “I Do What I Do” period. The band had their
only “Members Only” fan show at the Hammerstein Ballroom in NYC. Duran tends to use the red, black, and white palette as well. I thought John referenced this color trio during his college year. This trio is heavily
featured in the “My Own Way” and “The Reflex” videos. The band has revisited these three colors on their new items in the web shop. I desperately want the white 2020 baseball cap. It will be interesting to see if these colors appear on the upcoming album.

Unfortunately, Halston lost his rights to his company and name. At the time, he thought a commercial deal would enlarge his fashion impact. Duran doesn’t retain complete rights to their earliest music. I have mixed
emotions when I hear an early Duran song in a movie or a commercial. It’s great to hear a favorite song in an unexpected manner. It’s not so great to hear good music being used to hawk unrelated products. Fortunately, Duran has retained their rights to their contemporary music. I trust Mr. Rhodes will guard their music licenses accordingly.

I’m probably overthinking the Halston-Duran relationship. This is what happens when you’ve been inside for too long! Thank you for reading this mental “rabbit hole” blog. I hope you and yours are thriving indoors and out.

Nat

There’s a Vampire In the Limousine

Once upon a conversation, I had a light bulb moment.

I know with 100% certainty that I’ve tried to ask, and answer…I mean guess (mostly incorrectly) why the band is not really on social media these days. That’s right, I’m writing about that. Again. (and this time, I’m not even angry.)

Yesterday in the midst of a conversation, something hit me that I thought I’d post here, and for the sake of this blog and the fact that I can’t find another good word…I’m going to liberally borrow a word used by someone else yesterday: the word mystique.

Since the inception of Daily Duranie, both Amanda and I have talked about the proverbial pedestal that the band firmly resides upon. You know, that perch fans look up to, aspire to reach, and hope to receive acknowledgment from. For some fans, the band simply cannot do any wrong, which is why for each (perceived) misstep mentioned on Daily Duranie, a certain percentage of fans recoil in horror, then lash out in anger, letting us know we’ve crossed that line for them. Right, wrong or indifferent, fans protect the band, their perceptions thereof, and the mystique that surrounds.

So what exactly is mystique? Not quite image, not quite brand…mystique tends to come along with both as a willing partner. To begin, I looked up the word in the good old-fashioned dictionary: a framework of doctrines, ideas, beliefs, or the like, constructed around a person (or band, adds Rhonda…) or object, endowing the person or object with enhanced value or profound meaning.  

It goes on to also describe it as a mystery or aura. So how does that really apply to Duran Duran? Easy. Think back to Rio, Last Chance on the Stairway, Save a Prayer. You know that feeling you get when you watch, that you could never get close enough to them to actually meet them? Funny how that creates the demand in wanting to do just that!  What about the very idea that they just seem so unattainable, so sacred and untouchable?? That’s mystique, and it is probably what keeps fans driven to reach the band.

For what I think is likely the vast majority of fans, that mystique is what has kept the fan base going for years and years. It never brings closure, it always keeps us reaching and dreaming, and for all but the very select few, it continues to be the carrot we chase.

That said, not everyone needs that mystique to remain a fan. Amanda and I tend to be in that group. We don’t have issues pointing out when they’ve disappointed us (obviously), and for the most part I don’t think we have any grand designs on how we think the band should act or should be offstage. I’ll go one further and say that the whole “sex god” mystique thing annoys the hell out of me anymore. I would love to just sit down with them over a vodka tonic, a glass of wine, a cup of tea or coffee…or even a damn bottle of water, and just have a freaking normal conversation about anything from a favorite painter to music. (and not their music, mind you) I don’t need them to BE “Duran Duran” or my childhood heroes in those moments. (At least not after I take a long, cleansing breath and admonish myself to act like a normal human being) Assuming of course, that I in fact have those moments. Which I do not. (Dreams are still free)

Personally, I’m OK knowing the good, bad and downright terrible. I don’t know why that is. I think maybe in my case it’s because I gave up on fairy tales a long time ago. Even so, that doesn’t make Amanda, nor I, better fans. Not by a long shot, actually. It makes us weird. Why wouldn’t we want to continue seeing Duran Duran the way we did when we were younger? The way we did even ten years ago?? Good question. I have no answer. In fact, it probably makes Amanda and I a bit dangerous because while both of us are the type to stomp in and throw back the curtain of Oz to see who is really working the machine…it also means we could ruin it for everyone else in the process, and I don’t want to do that. I know Amanda doesn’t want to do that either. Yet, if I’m being fair, it’s sort of what we’ve been expecting the band to do, by insisting they mingle with the public…isn’t it?

I’ve often said, including yesterday among friends, I don’t understand why the band doesn’t engage with fans. Are we really that horrible?? (rhetorical question, thankyouverymuch) Is the band really that old school that they don’t see the value? Is it just too hard to handle??

I still don’t know for sure. It was mentioned to me that maybe the band is afraid that if they stop being those pin-ups we know, love, and adore, and become just another “face” on Twitter, the whole mystique that has been built up around them for the past 30 years would vanish. Maybe that’s OK for me, or for Amanda…or for a few others…. but is it really OK for fans who have the band on a pedestal? I’ve said it myself: Duran Duran is my escape. Why would I want to take that away from people?? Would it help or hurt “Brand Duran” if you saw the band as attainable, reachable, touchable people? That sex-appeal and pin-up status might very well change if anyone could chat with Nick any time we wanted. Would you still see him as “The Controller”?? If John chatted any time we wanted, would Duranies see him differently? Even if the difference were welcomed and accepted – would fans miss being starry-eyed fans who cared about nothing but the music in the process?

I can’t speak for everyone else, and I wouldn’t dare try. At one point when we started writing, the very last thing I wanted was for the band to read our work. I told myself if was because I was writing the blog purely for fans and I didn’t care what the band thought. But really, I think it’s because I knew – if they broke the fourth wall and really acknowledged me as a person, it might change me, the way I saw them, and maybe even the way I write. I don’t really know if the band reads (I hope we amuse the hell out of them if they do because that makes it fun for me!), but I realize that my point of view changed regardless. My fandom has changed. I’m not a wide-eyed innocent, anymore…but I’ve come to the revelation it is not my job, my goal, or responsibility to completely ruin or damage anyone else’s view of them. I want to protect the pedestal, guard the image, value the mystique…but still call them out on the carpet when they’ve gone into the third fucking year of recording an album or complain about hearing “Hungry Like the Wolf” or playing the Greatest Hits Set List for the 50,000 time because otherwise, why blog??? Agreeing with everything all of the time is boring. If I stopped writing those “angry” blogs, people might think I’d gone soft or lost my edge. I simply cannot have it.

Oh hell no. I might be getting (a little) wiser, but I’m still Rhonda underneath it all. What you see is what you get.

-R