Did you come of age in the 1980's by any chance---listening rapturously to technopop bands like Duran Duran, the Cure and Daryl Hall and John Oates? Were you in high school when MTV and Canada's Muchmusic networks had just come into fruition and had taken the world by storm? Were you a fan of "Miami Vice", with the two pretty, pastelled cops foisted drug lords and high class pimps to the tune of Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight"? If you answered "yes" to any or all of these questions, then you are a bona-fide, unadulterated "Child Of Commerical Chaos."
But the 1980's weren't just about music and hip television dramas---they were a decade marked by global warming, the rape of the rainforest, the alarming arms race between the United States and the USSR that sent many of us scurrying off to such anti-nuke action groups like "Ploughshares" or, here in London, Canada, "Youth Against War." We lived under the threst of total nuclear anhillation, powdering our noses, sporting big hair and Jane-Fonda-work-out bodies, pretending that materialism would and could give us a safe way out of the hell on earth about which we'd been introduced and cast into, like trash into the neighbourhood dumpster.
This site is a work-in-progress, as are my other pages, so please bear with me while I get myself organized for this somewhat daunting undertaking. I am going to make a bold attempt to create a series of stories and a cybernovel, based upon the five original members of Duran Duran, the supergroup from Birmingham, England who had North American kids eating out of the palms of their hands. We were hungry, salivating wolves, eager for any morsel of attention from lead singer, Simon LeBon and his four bandmates: The enigmatic and ultra-glam Nick Rhoades and those three Taylor boys who were all completely unrelated, even though their names were John Taylor, Andy Taylor and Roger Taylor. Their success story kept us spellbound throughout a good portion of the 1980's and their infectious music wrapped our weary souls in a combination os soothing rhythms, hard-driving tunes with a definite edge and a series of ballads that heralded the five young magicians as spectacular creators of rock anthems. They were unique, impossibly gorgeous and multi-talented. And they were my favourite band from the Live Aid era.
Duran Duran burst upon the music scene during the decade sandwiched between the disco fiasco of the 1970's and the grunge-infused 1990's. Just as "American Graffiti" defined the era of the early sixties, as young people stood unsteadily on the precipice of a life spent either studying at universities or heeding the "Greetings" letters sent out by then-President Lyndon B. Johnson.
"American Graffiti" was just that----scenes, accompanied by energetic rock music and Wolfman Jack. Kids were spending the last night of their summer, after which grown-up decisions had to be made. But for one brief and shining moment, they were invincible, excited, loving teenagers with the whole world at their feet---or so it seemed.
My writing projects will attempt to capture the spirit and the glitzy atmosphere of the eighties, as the five members of Duran Duran are seen as talented and charismatic performers whose public persona stood as a stark contrast to the private lives of Simon, Nick, John, Andy and Roger. The stories feature the band members, both seprately and together as they cope with a series of crises, life experiences, love affairs and less pleasant subjects as drug addiction, eating disorders, shyness, personality clashes and attempting to find a sense of meaning and purpose as rock gods. Duran Duran never set out to become subjects of teen adulation---they fancied themselves in the late 1970's as a band which would, in essence, fuse The Sex Pistols and Bryan Ferry. Were they happy and satisfied at being adolescent superstars, or would they have rather cleared another path on which to travel? The answer to that question may or may not be found in my fan fiction.
Many bands, on the other hand, seemed to lose their focus by the end of the eighties. Bands like Duran Duran and Daryl Hall and John Oates, seem permanently fused to their own decade and helped to define its uniqueness. Duran Duran were one of the pioneer alternative rock bands and paved the way for many more acts with prodigious talent.
But how does one DEFINE this era? Is it simply a collection of electronic sound, cocaine parties, Jane Fonda workout tapes and really strange haircuts. As the last decade's punk bands, like the Sex Pistols, faded and died, they opened the door for a more positive sound, instead of singing about disillusionment, rage and rebellion. The "New Wave" movement was cut dramatically short after a scant few years, but did produce bands like Blondie, The Talking Heads, Devo and Elvis Costello, to name a few.
But there was so much more to this era than music and MTV. We were riding on the coattails of a born-again economy and for once, there was money to spend. Of course, as is the case with human nature, we spent it like mad fools, on concerts, clothes, albums and recreational drugs. I realize that the drug problem has certainly showed no signs of abating in the year 2001, but the eighties was all about snorting Cocaine and freebasing. Cocaine was the drug of the white collar workers---the hip indulged----business people along with street junkies and the price of this drug soared to new heights now that lawyers, CEO's and business managers inhaled that "happy powder" were over-indulging. Hey, do you know where your parents were in the 1980's?
Television proved to be a transient medium as well. As aforementioned, "Miami Vice" was the hottest series on television and as I recall, the late Brandon Tartikov, when he was considering a police drama, he told his talent scouts to get him "MTV cops" and they did. Dressed in soft pastel colours and slick as slick can be slick, both Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas were riding high on the phenomenal success of a drama that was first called "Gold Coast." I can see why they decided to change it.
So, we have music, political issues, which included being aware of how close we were to being vapourized, as well as slick, colourful television programs, geared more as eye candy than anything more substantial. Films of that decade did nothing to put them on the hisorical map for future generations to ponder. Whereas the seventies brought us the controversial "The Exorcist" and the mega-flicks like "The Godfather", the eighties were defined with films that were either extremely popular and ambitious, such as the final installment of "Star Wars,", "ET: The Extraterrestial" and those highly over-rated sleeper flicks such as "Dirty Dancing" and "Footloose." These last two installments embodied a rather superficial and shallow aspect of the eighties, as if singing and dancing well would buy you a ticket into heaven or something.
Dismal films such as "Less Than Zero" warned of excessive drug use, but did nothing to begin fixing the problem. These were simply movies to entertain only, because the movie-going public of the time wanted pure entertainment, not any project that might spur people to really think about the world we are leaving our children. Sting and The Police burst on the scene at the closing of the seventies and, along with their delicious mixture of reggae and pop, infused the public's consciousness by singing and talking about environmental catastrophes. Sting is still going strong and has never forgotten his crusades. Here he is as a solo artist. He sure gleaned a prodigious future with that smart move, didn't he?
There will never be another decade like the eighties and many would be quite heartened by that. In many ways, it was cold and barren--must have been all that snow blowing around. We all had just a few scant years before the horrifying spectre of AIDS loomed on the sexual horizon, putting a quick kybosh on casual sex. People back then ranked aerobic workouts higher than their job performance, their home life and leaving some positive elements behind other than rock-hard abs and steel buns. The "Me" decade didn't get its label by accident. Everywhere, people were indulging in excess and feeling no sense of remorse for it. Once kids saw their aging hippie parents using drugs, they took it as a green light to go ahead and experiment.
But the purpose of my Duran Duran stories isn't going to be about eighties-bashing. That would be somewhat nasty and unfair. But by the same token, I am not going to romanticize those very unique years and sugar-coat the problems that arose when yuppies were viewed as royalty and crass commercialism and a materialistic outlook had a chokehold on the Western world.
Okay, enough of that crap. You want Duran Duran fan fiction, right? Not me spouting off my urban-shtick and pontificating ad nauseum about a totally self-absorbed ten-year period in our history. So I will shut up. There.
Now, in the Duran Duran cybernovel, of which chapter summaries will be posted shortly, I am taking great liberties to embark the five-man electric band on some pretty weird and malignantly strange journeys. Please do not take anything you read here as gospel. It's FICTION, plain and simple. So don't go e-mailing me letters of distress and mental anguishing----this stuff is not really happening and did not actually occur---at least, I don't think they have. Anyhow, let's just dive right in, okay?
I'll give you a bit of a rundown on some of the plotlines I'm developing for this site:
In one story, the guys find that the pressure to be "teenybopper fodder" is overwhelming and they take drastic measures to remedy the sad situation. This promises to be quite dramatic.
Another tale involves Simon's troubled childhood with his ambitious mother, someone he once referred to as "The British Terri Sheilds" who is, of course, Brooke Sheilds' mom.
Something terrible happens to John and Andy when some really sick and depraved "fans" make their lives a living hell.
Roger does his best to come to terms with mega-superstardom and has to elicit some pharmaceutical assistance. Look for spectacular fireworks when Simon and Nick find out.
Simon and Nick, who'd always been like closeknit brothers, have a major parting of the ways when Simon's bizarre behaviour during a concert in New York City causes a rift between the two.
As for the cybernovel, it will centre around the intense public pressure which was placed on all five members of Duran Duran and how it tragically plays out. In other words, I am creating a situation whereby the musicians have such a tumultuous and dramatic reaction when it finally sinks in that they will never be what they call "legitimate musicians," but rather, bubblegum stars with a limited future. In other worlds, I'm depicting just how destructive and damaging a reputation they received because they wanted "instant fame" without having to work very, very hard to get it, as Sting and R.E.M. did. The book is graphic, disturbing and hopefully, something that fans of Duran Duran will want to read from the first page to the last. See you soon, guys.
Want to write? I'm right here:
May 23rd, 2004.