Earlier this summer, a very kind Duranie asked me if I would be interested in some old magazines featuring Duran as he needed to make some space in his house. Uh…is the sky blue? Grass green? Of course, I would be interested! A couple of weeks later they arrived from Europe. In this package of magazines, there were three Smash Hits Magazines and ten No1 magazines. The date range for these magazines were October 1984 to March 1986. In looking at them, it feels like a time capsule of sorts as they capture what was going on with the band and their side projects at that time. Heck, they are like a time capsule of the 1980s really.
In looking at these magazines, I was pretty familiar with Smash Hits magazines as they were available here in the States at some point under the name, Star Hits. I remember that there was one store in my hometown that carried the magazine. I would plop myself down on the floor of the magazine section and read as much as I could while my mom wandered the store. In some cases, I would have enough allowance money to buy the latest edition.
I was not as familiar, though, with No1 magazine. According to the Wikipedia page, The magazine was published weekly and ran from 7 May 1983 to February 1992. It was intended as direct competition to Smash Hits, which was at its peak at the time. Although No. 1 contained fewer pages and less colour (at a similar price), the magazine claimed “our strength is our weekliness”. One of the most popular aspects was that it published the singles and albums charts every week (obviously not possible for the fortnightly Smash Hits). Interesting.
Let’s take a look at the oldest one (October 27, 1984–Simon’s birthday!).
The cover, obviously, features Nick and Simon with a headline entitled, “Wild Boys”. Looking through the magazine, it looks like Smash Hits. In fact, if I didn’t know what I was looking at, I would have assumed it was a Smash Hits. The table of contents shows that there are five major articles on Duran, UB40, Culture Club, Paul Young and Style Council. Regular features included “News,” “Songs,” “Colour,” “Video,” “Plus,” and “Competitions.” The news section had just blurbs of info on various artists. In this case, Depeche Mode, Tina Turner, Spandau Ballet were the main events. Songs included an image of an artist and lyrics to a song. “Colour” makes me laugh. They were literally pictures in color. Video focuses on the making of various videos like Elton John’s latest. Plus included a lot of various extras like gossip, puzzles, charts, letters, penpals and more. Last but not least was competitions.
So, how is this October 27, 1984 edition in terms of Duran Duran? The big article is 4 pages long with one page just photos. Apparently, Nick and Simon were at the video festival in St. Tropez when this interview/article was written. What was going on with Duran then? They were working on Arena, the film, while getting ready to release Sing Blue Silver and the Arena album. Oh, they also had Wild Boys out as a single. The interview was not anything special as the band received few important questions and responded as such. Besides the interview, Wild Boys was one of the “songs” and there were ads for Wild Boys and Dancing on the Valentine.
Was there a lot of substance here? Not really but it was super fun to look through, nonetheless. I look forward to reading the rest.