While Arcadia was definitely the more “artsy” side project for Duran Duran, the videos from The Power Station were stylish and groundbreaking in their own way. The video for “Some Like It Hot” remains a red-hot slice of 80s guitar rock with some stunning imagery and a gorgeous Bond girl named Caroline Cossey (who went by Tula at the time). The importance of the video was lost on me at the time but as we grow older, we also learn a lot more about life. Hopefully.
Last month, the world celebrated Transgender Awareness Week and I found myself mentioning Tula at work to a fellow music aficionado. Not only was I talking about the wrong video (“Get It On (Bang A Gong)” was playing), I misspoke with my use of pronouns. The irony of it being Transgender Awareness Week was lost on me at the time but it’s a good reminder that even the best-intentioned ally might need to work a bit harder.
Regardless of my own stupidity, I saw Cossey a few days later as my annual Bond pilgrimage (where I watch the films in order) reached 1981’s For Your Eyes Only. Upon release of the film in which she appeared, the UK media was ruthless in exposing her past and it unfairly and heartlessly derailed her career and life. But she continued to fight. In 1990, she became the first trans woman to appear on the cover of Playboy and her work as an activist and writer has been important to the movement. Her legal cases helped pave the way for the Gender Recognition Panel in the UK which allows for the legal recognition of acquired gender.
Looping back to 1985, none of that was known to me. I’m curious if older Duran Duran fans knew who Tula was when she appeared in the video. Not that it mattered. John and Andy weren’t the only two captivated by the stunning Tula and “Some Like It Hot” remains one of my favorite video projects any member of the band was ever involved with.