The fab four

Du­ran Du­ran on tour

The Daily Telegraph - Telegraph Magazine - - CONTENTS - Du­ran Du­ran from left Si­mon Le Bon, John Tay­lor, Nick Rhodes and Roger Tay­lor. Styling by Aure­lia Don­ald­son

the front

12 Wildlife Preg­nant with mean­ing 15 The world of Hugh Corn­well, mu­si­cian and song­writer 18 Appy snaps Laura Cuth­bert­son, prin­ci­pal with the Royal Bal­let; Celia Walden fnally goes with the

Cal­i­for­nian fow 21 Fash­ion and beauty Pores for thought; jew­eller y note­book; men’s coats

fea­tures

26 Cover ‘It’s im­por­tant to stay true to my­self’ Vic­to­ria Beck­ham talks fash­ion and fam­ily to Vic­to­ria Moss 34 Frank words Fifty years ago Gay Talese wrote a profle of Si­na­tra that has at­tained leg­endary sta­tus. He rem­i­nisces about this and other ex­ploits with Mick Brown 44 The things they car­ried Refugees in Aus­tria show Me­gan Gib­son the pre­cious pos­ses­sions they have man­aged to cling on to 52 Still hun­gry Those wild boys Du­ran Du­ran are in their 50s now but their de­sire to en­ter­tain is undi­min­ished.

Craig McLean joins them on tour 62 Close to the bones Lisa Grainger goes on the trail of di­nosaur fos­sils in Zim­babwe 68 Im­pe­rial splen­dour A daz­zling col­lec­tion of jewels from In­dia’s Mogul em­pire is re­vealed at the Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum. By James Stour­ton

food & home

73 De­sign note­book Posh ply­wood 74 Leg­end has it Gi­ant myth­i­cal sculp­tures meet Cotswolds charm in So­phie Ry­der’s home 83 Food news Win­ter com­forts 84 In good spir­its Gen up on gin with the her­itage dis­tiller Sip­smith 96 Travel Four houses for fam­ily gath­er­ings

112 Horo­scopes What the week has in store 114 Flash­back Sandy Rower re­mem­bers vis­it­ing his grand­fa­ther, the sculp­tor Alexan­der Calder, 1965

Cover Vic­to­ria Beck­ham wears tai­lored coat and trousers by Vic­to­ria Beck­ham (vic­to­ri­abeck­ham.com). Fur­ni­ture by Pinch (pinchde­sign.com). Pho­to­graph by Matthew Brookes

In the bow­els of New York’s Madi­son Square Gar­den, 57-year-old Si­mon Le Bon, re­splen­dent in tight white jeans and ft­ted black leather jacket, is grind­ing his crotch into the thigh of John Tay­lor. The bass player, 55, is lean­ing back, pout­ing fu­ri­ously as he plays his in­stru­ment with vig­or­ous in­tent. Be­hind them Nick Rhodes, 53, is do­ing what he’s been do­ing for well over three decades: stand­ing at his key­boards, pick­ing out melodies and zoom­ing syn­the­sizer rifs with an air of ur­bane im­pas­siv­ity. To his right, 55-year-old drum­mer Roger Tay­lor, bar­ri­caded be­hind an im­pres­sive kit, is keep­ing the beat with rock­steady con­vic­tion.

This is Du­ran Du­ran at play, per­form­ing their 1982 hit Hun­gry Like the Wolf, giv­ing their all to a room packed with fans. Those fans – mid­dle-aged women, their daugh­ters, a fair con­tin­gent of twen­tysome­things, and not a few men – are scream­ing, singing along and scur­ry­ing to­wards the stage for selfes with the per­form­ers. The at­mos­phere is one of giddy, communal let­ting-down of hair.

‘It is ac­tu­ally great be­ing able to look out and see an au­di­ence hav­ing an amaz­ing time,’ Rhodes will say later. ‘I feel grate­ful that we’re not one of those bands that just wrote a lot of really mis­er­able, de­press­ing songs. ’Cause that would make look­ing at the au­di­ence not nearly as much fun.’

‘It’s such a big kick,’ Le Bon agrees. ‘Peo­ple come to our con­certs to have a good time. To get a lot of par­ty­ing out of their sys­tem. We have that efect.’ In early Septem­ber Du­ran Du­ran re­leased Pa­per

Gods, a record shep­herded into ex­is­tence by a pro­duc­tion team that in­cluded Mark Ron­son and Chic’s Nile Rodgers. The band marked the ap­pear­ance of their 14th al­bum with a fes­ti­val head­line show at Bes­ti­val on the Isle of Wight. This month they em­bark on a UK arena tour. Fifty mil­lion al­bum sales, 17 Top-20 hits and 37 years af­ter forming in Birm­ing­ham, Du­ran Du­ran are still very much hard at work – and very much a go­ing con­cern. But how, and why? I went in search of some an­swers.

It is the frst week of June, and Du­ran Du­ran are holed up in the shad­owy op­u­lence of the base­ment of Blakes ho­tel in Kens­ing­ton, west Lon­don. Di­vorced fa­ther-of-one Nick Rhodes, a man with an im­pres­sive, decades-strad­dling com­mit­ment to the wear­ing of what is com­monly de­scribed as ‘pan­stick’, is the thought­ful cu­ra­tor of Du­ran Du­ran’s legacy. Over a strong cofee he is de­scrib­ing how the band alighted on their mu­si­cal part­ners for the hugely en­joy­able Pa­per Gods.

‘Col­lab­o­rat­ing with peo­ple is a very mod­ern thing,’ he be­gins. As well as Ron­son and Rodgers,

Pa­per Gods fea­tures ac­tress/singer Lind­sey Lo­han and hip Amer­i­can fu­ture-soul star Janelle Monáe. ‘Look at your pop and ur­ban artists – look how many guests there are on ev­ery­thing they do,’ he con­tin­ues. ‘And be­cause we like to try to keep our sound con­tem­po­rary, but still keep our in­tegrity, col­lab­o­ra­tions are easy op­por­tu­ni­ties to do some­thing really difer­ent that does sound mod­ern, but can work with our stuf.’

Nile Rodgers frst worked with the band when he remixed 1984’s The Re­fex, an Amer­i­can No 1 that catal­ysed their MTV-era, arena-sized mega-star­dom in the US. Mark Ron­son, the Grammy-win­ning pro­ducer of Amy Wine­house’s Back To Black, and the artist be­hind this year’s global smash Up­town Funk, pre­vi­ously pro­duced All You Need Is Now (2010). A life­long Du­ran Du­ran fan, Ron­son thinks that last al­bum ‘seemed like a re­turn to form but didn’t nec­es­sar­ily set the pop charts alight. So it prob­a­bly gave them a taste of “we can really have this if we want it – but how do we go that ex­tra length?”’

They went that ex­tra length by work­ing long and hard on Pa­per Gods, mostly in their record­ing stu­dio in a far-from-plush neigh­bour­hood in south Lon­don. For the three mem­bers who still live in Lon­don, this was no huge stretch. But John Tay­lor has been res­i­dent mainly in Los An­ge­les for the past two decades, so he was obliged to re­lo­cate all over again.

As if on cue Tay­lor sweeps into the room. He com­pli­ments Rhodes – ‘Nice hair, man’ – and plonks him­self heav­ily down. The ex-hus­band of TV pre­sen­ter Amanda de Cadenet (with whom he has a 23-year-old daugh­ter), he also has two stepchil­dren with his sec­ond wife, Gela Nash, co-founder of the

fash­ion la­bel Juicy Cou­ture. Tall and lean, he is a fzzing pic­ture of long-stand­ing tee­to­tal en­ergy (he en­tered re­hab for drink and drugs in 1994).

He has barely started talk­ing up Pa­per Gods when there’s an­other hub­bub. Le Bon – rangy, broad and with not a lit­tle swag­ger – rolls up. ‘Hey, Char­lie!’ Tay­lor beams, us­ing Le Bon’s in-band nick­name. The pair promptly have an in­tense de­bate about the bonus tracks that will ac­com­pany the dig­i­tal version of Pa­per Gods. Le Bon (the fa­ther of three adult daugh­ters with his wife of 30 years, model Yasmin Le Bon) up­dates him. ‘So there’s the main three, and then there’s ex­tra ex­tra bonus tracks?’ Tay­lor asks, puz­zled. He ex­presses mild frus­tra­tion at such mar­ket­ing hoopla. Du­ran Du­ran spent two years making Pa­per Gods, ‘and then some­body says, “Now, we just need a lit­tle bit at the end…” We don’t want three tacked-on – what would we have called it back

in the day? – B-sides,’ he says with ev­i­dent dis­taste.

This con­stant at­ten­tion to de­tail high­lights one key mo­tif of their story: Du­ran Du­ran is no nostal­gia trip, a bunch of Lud­dite 1980s sur­vivors hark­ing af­ter the good old days when they sold mil­lions of (phys­i­cal) copies of albums like their self-ti­tled de­but (1981), Rio (1982) and Seven and the Ragged

Tiger (1983). Nor are they hop­ping on the cash-in carousel that is the re­union cir­cuit.

Yes, there has been con­sid­er­able line-up backand-forth. Roger Tay­lor and orig­i­nal guitarist Andy Tay­lor both left in the wake of the band’s ap­pear­ance at the Philadel­phia leg of Live Aid (1985), burnt out by the suc­cess and the ex­cess that at­tended one of the most lusted-af­ter phe­nom­ena of the high 1980s. Chart-top­ping pretty-boy princes in the UK, Du­ran Du­ran were gods in the US, where they spear­headed the decade’s Bri­tish in­va­sion of popvideo-en­hanced bands. A decade later, John Tay­lor also quit, even more fried. In last year’s au­to­bi­og­ra­phy In the Plea­sure Groove: Love, Death &

Du­ran Du­ran, the bass player lifted the lid on years of sex, drugs and yacht-go­ing de­bauch­ery. Only Le Bon and Rhodes doggedly kept the faith, plug­ging on with re­place­ment mu­si­cians. Then in 2000, all three Tay­lors (they are not re­lated) re­joined. In 2006 Andy Tay­lor and Du­ran Du­ran parted ways again.

The reso­lid­ifed four­some have re­mained in­tact now for four albums and 15 years. They see them­selves as back for good, and as a mod­ern, pro­gres­sive band. And they are pre­pared to put in the leg­work to un­der­pin their rel­e­vance and vi­tal­ity.

So, July fnds the four­some back on the pro­mo­tion trail. One rainy af­ter­noon in Maryle­bone I watch Rhodes be­ing in­ter­viewed over an ex­pen­sive Ital­ian lunch, for a food mag­a­zine. Later on he tells me he doesn’t mind singing for his sup­per. The al­bum rep­re­sents the frst fruits of Du­ran Du­ran’s new deal with Warner Bros, whose am­bi­tion, he notes, matches his own. ‘We could have re­leased the record our­selves – we ac­tu­ally did the last one more in­de­pen­dently,’ he says of All You Need Is Now. ‘But I didn’t like the way it turned out. I missed hav­ing the in­ter­na­tional level of the la­bel’s in­volve­ment.’

Two weeks later, at the end of Au­gust, an­other Ital­ian restau­rant, this time in Kens­ing­ton. Now Du­ran Du­ran are talk­ing to the world’s press. The en­coun­ters, both in per­son and on the phone, come thick and fast. ‘That was quick,’ says a re­lieved Roger Tay­lor, hang­ing up on an Amer­i­can ra­dio

DJ. ‘They only want a sound bite,’ he shrugs. Al­ways con­sid­ered the band’s quiet one, he has three older chil­dren with his ex-wife, and a four-year-old son with his sec­ond wife, Gisella Ber­nales.

John Tay­lor, hav­ing spo­ken to sta­tions in Des Moines and Bos­ton, re­in­forces the drum­mer’s point. ‘It’s like be­ing in an elec­tion cam­paign. You’re efec­tively say­ing, “And can we count on your sup­port for ra­dio play?” ’

A cor­re­spon­dent for a hand­ful of Aus­tralian news­pa­pers is here in the fesh. He ex­plains that the coun­try em­braced the band be­fore even the UK, giv­ing them their frst Top-10 hit with de­but sin­gle

Planet Earth (1981). But the last time Du­ran Du­ran toured Aus­tralia they were re­duced to be­ing a sup­port act, to Rob­bie Wil­liams. He predicts, though, that Pa­per Gods will see them back on top.

Two weeks later, at Bes­ti­val, Du­ran Du­ran are just that, head­lin­ing the frst night. They have fown to the Isle of Wight by he­li­copter, and are ac­com­pa­nied by var­i­ous fam­ily mem­bers. Be­fore the band take the stage, Bes­ti­val co-founder Ben Turner ex­plains that he has been try­ing to book the band for fve years. This seems sur­pris­ing given the event’s tar­get de­mo­graphic (early- to mid-20s) and its mu­si­cal pref­er­ences (cut­ting-edge elec­tronic dance mu­sic, mainly). Turner replies that the band are un­fairly over­looked in the history of the de­vel­op­ment of elec­tronic mu­sic, dub­bing them ‘leg­endary, iconic pi­o­neers’. Plus, ‘They’ve al­ways man­aged to make them­selves rel­e­vant to con­tem­po­rary mu­sic.’

On­stage a couple of hours later Le Bon, clearly buoyed by the en­thu­si­as­tic re­sponse to the hit­packed set, yells to the crowd, ‘This is the most im­por­tant gig of our ca­reer!’ Later I ask him why he said that. He says that Bes­ti­val is known as a key tal­ent-spot­ting arena for agents for other, big­ger fes­ti­vals. ‘So the per­for­mance there was go­ing to afect the next year for us, I thought.’

Post-gig, the at­mos­phere out­side the band’s dress­ing-room Por­tak­abins is ex­citable. A sweat­ing Le Bon is mobbed by his daugh­ters and their friends. Still, I won­der if the girls are ever mor­tifed by the old man’s pranc­ing about? ‘Well, ac­tu­ally they were nearly in tears, they loved it so much,’ he says. ‘Safron, my mid­dle one, she’s the most crit­i­cal – she’s study­ing mu­sic at Lon­don Col­lege of Mu­sic. She said, “Daddy, that’s the best show I’ve ever seen Du­ran Du­ran per­form.”’

Four weeks later Du­ran Du­ran are in New York, the last stop on a short Amer­i­can tour. The day be­fore they per­form at Madi­son Square Gar­den they visit the mid­town Man­hat­tan of­fices of Sir­iusXM, a satel­lite ra­dio sta­tion whose var­i­ous chan­nels have some 30 mil­lion sub­scribers in the US. The four­some spend a couple of hours at the sta­tion, split­ting into pairs to guest on difer­ent shows. They meet Aaron Sorkin. He is also vis­it­ing the sta­tion on pro­mo­tional du­ties, in sup­port of Danny Boyle’s Steve Jobs biopic, for which he wrote the script. ‘Big fan!’ he beams as he shakes John Tay­lor’s hand. Af­ter­wards the band pile into a mini­van. As we drive to­wards the next en­gage­ment, an in-store sign­ing, I ask Le Bon his views on hav­ing to sell them­selves in such myr­iad ways. ‘I’ve got a fnite amount of in­ter­est,’ he ad­mits. ‘You’ve got to me while I’m still in­spired to do it. But the thing is, we love this record. And given how much work we put into making it, we have to do ev­ery­thing we can to get that record into as many peo­ple’s con­scious­ness as pos­si­ble.’

We ar­rive at the Cen­tury 21 depart­ment store, next to the 9/11 me­mo­rial. There’s a small crowd out­side, and crush bar­ri­ers, and po­lice cars. The PR from the store tells the band that they’ve closed the whole city block. ‘Great!’ beams Le Bon. ‘We love clos­ing blocks.’ Up in the store’s ofces they pose for pho­to­graphs with ex­cited top brass. If Le Bon’s in­ter­est in such chores is fnite, he is making a good fst of ek­ing it out. ‘There are things that really keep you liv­ing in the mo­ment. Sport is one of them,’ afrms this keen sailor and mo­tor­cy­clist. ‘It’s no good hav­ing your head stuck in the past or the fu­ture when you’re on the foot­ball pitch. Mu­sic is very sim­i­lar, es­pe­cially when you’re on stage.’

‘See, Si­mon likens it to foot­ball and I liken it to paint­ing oils,’ Rhodes in­ter­jects. ‘If that stroke is in the wrong place, you could ruin a mas­ter­piece.’

Th­ese four men have been to­gether (and also apart) long enough to be com­fort­able with their com­ple­men­tary, and con­flict­ing, per­son­al­i­ties. Roger Tay­lor is the ‘fat bat’ who never gets too ex­cited, ‘or too de­pressed’. John Tay­lor doesn’t like dis­cord, ‘so I’m a bit of a jester. I like peo­ple to be happy.’ Rhodes is the aes­thete, Le Bon the adrenalin junkie. They seem easy in each other’s com­pany, pos­sessed of both a re­laxed, time-served in­ti­macy but also a busi­nesslike aware­ness of the in­di­vid­ual roles the four of them need to fulfl to keep the show on the road.

Still, an ar­gu­men­ta­tive streak they char­ac­terise as ‘healthy’ runs through the en­tire band. They will form strong, difer­ing opin­ions on the mu­sic, ‘but it won’t afect us per­son­ally; we won’t fall out with each other,’ says Le Bon. ‘And it makes our mu­sic stronger, bet­ter. It serves to re­mind you that you’re in a group. It’s not go­ing to be all your own way. And we’ve all com­pro­mised a hel­luva lot.’

Presently the band are ush­ered by beefy se­cu­rity to the base­ment mu­sic depart­ment. They sit be­hind ta­bles, heft their Sharpie pens and stare down the bar­rel of a meet-and-greet-and-sign­ing with 400 ar­dent fans. Eighty-fve in­tense min­utes later they are done. They have signed pre­cious 12in sin­gles kept safe since the 1980s, pho­to­graphs from the days when their hair was as tall as it was wide, and (they are pleased to note) plenty of copies of Pa­per Gods.

It’s time to part. I say I might see them 10 days hence, back in Lon­don, at the an­nual awards cer­e­mony held by mu­sic mag­a­zine Q. There’s talk of an award, but they seem un­der­whelmed at the prospect of at­tend­ing, in part be­cause they are busy the next day flm­ing Later… With Jools Hol­land. ‘If Iggy Pop presents it, I’d be in­ter­ested,’ notes Rhodes.

Du­ran Du­ran duly at­tend the cer­e­mony in Lon­don’s Grosvenor House Ho­tel. They are given the Icon award, but they have to set­tle for 23-yearold pop star Charli XCX as pre­sen­ter. No mat­ter. They sol­dier on smil­ingly, even at­tend­ing the postcer­e­mony drink-up in the pub. I walk there with Roger Tay­lor, a mid­dle-aged woman with pen and pa­per nip­ping at our heels. ‘She’s been fol­low­ing me for 35 years,’ the drum­mer says, not un­kindly.

Back in New York, in the ofces of the depart­ment store, I had asked them all: here, now, well into their fourth decade to­gether, what does the Du­ran Du­ran brand stand for? ‘Well, we all be­lieve in it,’ said Rhodes. ‘As much as we ever have. In fact, with this al­bum, more.’

‘Sur­vival!’ Le Bon shouted. ‘And I think there’s a bit of glam­our at­tached to the band.’

Roger Tay­lor men­tioned a fan from the sign­ing. ‘She said, “Oh God, I came to see you when I was 12 years old, and I’m still a fan.” So there’s that sense that we’ve been part of peo­ple’s lives.’

John Tay­lor stood up. ‘It’s this!’ he said, heft­ing a 5ft plac­ard that he has found propped against a wall. It was a left­over from some cor­po­rate pre­sen­ta­tion. To howls of laugh­ter he read out the team­build­ing buzz­words. ‘Re­spect… Com­mu­ni­ca­tion… Team­work… Hon­esty… Growth… Pos­i­tiv­ity… And,’ he con­cluded with a four­ish, ‘Amaze!’

‘Yeah!’ shouted Le Bon again. ‘We’re still around, and we’re still do­ing it, Du­ran Du­ran-style!’ Pa­per Gods is out now. Du­ran Du­ran’s UK tour stars on Novem­ber 27, du­ran­duran.com

‘Peo­Ple come to our con­certs to have a good time. to get a lot of Par­ty­ing out of their sys­tem. We have that ef­fect’

Above on stage at the o2 arena in lon­don in de­cem­ber 2011. Right at the pre­miere of A View to a Kill in June 1985. they were said to be the favourite band of diana, Princess of Wales

From far left Le Bon and John Tay­lor shoot­ing the video for Rio in An­tigua, 1982; the band leav­ing Heathrow for Aus­tralia in July 1983 ‘we ALL Be­Lieve in THe du­rAn du­rAn BrAnd. As mucH As we ever HAve. in fAcT, wiTH THis AL­Bum, more’

‘i feel grate­ful we’re not one of those bands that just wrote a lot of really mis­er­able, de­press­ing songs’

Above du­ran du­ran in 1983: roger tay­lor, john tay­lor, nick rhodes, andy tay­lor (who left the band for the sec­ond time in 2006) and si­mon le bon. Right on stage in france, 1984

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