Posted by: Vanessa Barneveld | May 21, 2009

Careless Memories

Simon Le Bon

Simon Le Bon

Back in primary school, I had a major crush on every member of Duran Duran. With the exception of Andy Taylor. I knew just about everything about the band – vital statistics, what their favourite colours were, what kind of underwear they preferred, everything. Some of these things remain trapped in my brain, never to be erased. Like, Simon Le Bon is 6’2” and was born in 1958. Nick Rhodes used Australian-designed Fairlight synthesisers. John Taylor originally played guitar in the band but switched to bass. The band name was derived from a character in Barbarella. The collective noun for Duran Duran fans is Duranie. While these factoids could help me rack up trivia contest points, it’s pretty tragic that I’ve retained such useless information.

But, really, that’s not tragic. This story is tragic:

In Grade 6, my group of friends convinced our teacher to let us put on shows to ‘entertain’ the class on dull Friday afternoons. In these shows, we’d dress up as members of DD, do a posturing, choreographed dance and mime to songs such as The Reflex. (That’s not an easy song to lip-sync to, believe me.) White jazz shoes, oversized jackets and gel-spiked hair were essential. Real instruments? Um, non-essential. I always took the role of Simon, ‘singing’ into an imaginary mic, never missing a lyric. Some of us (cough, cough) thought the shows were great practice for when we had a fully functioning pop band of our own.

Oh, why-hy-hy-hy didn’t anyone try to stop us?! Now I have to live with these horrible memories.

I never did get a band of my own. That’s because I can’t sing, nor can I play an instrument. Not that lack of ability stops some artists from getting a record deal. These days I live vicariously through my husband’s band, the Model School, and make it a rule to never wear white jazz shoes.

Did you want to be a rock star when you were growing up? Who did you model yourself after?

Careless Memories by Duran Duran circa 1982

The late Princess Diana was a Duranie. Simon's hair is eerily similar to Di's in this shot.

The late Princess Diana was a Duranie. Is it just me or is Simon's hair eerily similar to Di's in this shot?

Princess Diana

Princess Diana



  1. Oh, the 80s what a time. I remember singing with my ‘cousins’ (cousins of cousins really), songs by Wham, Culture Club, Michael Jackson, Madonna. And do little choreographed dances. LOL! I haven’t thought about that in years. And yes big hair and big shoulder pads and jackets were considered stylish. eek! I used to sing in the class band in high school but never really thought of becoming a rock star!

  2. Hi, Eleni! Glad to know you, too, were a performer! I remember dressing up in ragged clothing a la Madonna or Boy George and jumping around the lounge room. Did you and your cousins of cousins do these routines in public?

  3. Well only at family get togethers – and there were plenty of people there. But not ‘out there’. I did perform with the class band at fetes and assemblies though. We sung Bon Jovi, The Beatles, Van Halen… cr*p, I can’t remember what else.

  4. Wow, Van Halen at school assemblies?!

  5. Ah yes, we did Jump! And it was hard because I could see my friends in the audience and I tried not to look at them as I would have laughed. We had a fantastic band (ie the musicians playing the instruments), so the guitar player was able to pull of a great guitar riff.

  6. OMG – I loved Duran Duran. But have to admit – I dressed up as Boy George (i feel so dirty). I like the Hungry like a Wolf best. that was my favourite.

  7. My cousin, who is 2 years older than me, used to have ‘Madonna parties’ where she and her friends would all dress up as their idol. One of them would wear a Walkman and listen to a Madonna song, then mime-dance it for the rest of us. We had to judge how good she was (no music for us…) and guess which song she was doing.

    I never quite got that game, but these girls were way into it.

    I never wanted to be a rock star. Being non-musical runs in my family…

    Nice spot on Lady Di’s hair there!

  8. I never had any huge delusions about being a rock star though I probably would have wanted to be Pat Benatar. I think you’ve got to have a certain type of personality to want to be the front person of a band.

    We did have some interesting wannabe bands at school including a strangely named one called ‘Harold & the Bananas’ – a would be punk-group whose repertoire included a ‘song’ titled ‘Jimmy’s an abortion’ (principal’s first name was James) plus a rewrite of ‘Dream Lover’ which went something along the lines of ‘Rolf Harris, where are you? I want to suck your didgeredoo’.

    How scary is it that I can remember these lyrics?

  9. How inventive of your cousin, Kiki! Dressing up as Madonna was so easy. Just load on every piece of costume jewellery you could buy from St Vinnie’s. We used to make tube skirts from cotton knit that required very little sewing.

  10. Diane, I thought Pat Benatar was awesome. I loved the video clip for ‘Love is a Battlefield’. Funny what sticks in your mind after all these years, huh?

  11. No one ever wanted Andy Taylor, the poor guy must have had a totally bad experience.

  12. Andy had the worst hair out of all of them. It seems he’s been ostracised from the band yet again, but I haven’t bothered to find out the whole story.

  13. so the sex appeal was all about the hair? Andy probably had a groupie or two anyway.

  14. Tracey, fantastic to see you here. Congrats on the release of your Harlequin Spice story! I’m trying to picture you in Boy George’s early dreadlocked hair. I’ve heard his dreadlocks are kept at Singapore’s Hard Rock Cafe.

    Hungry Like the Wolf is infectious, isn’t it? # Do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do-do. # (That’s probably way too many ‘do’s.)

  15. Diane Diane, I’m sure *someone* out there had a thing for Andy. Oft times, his hair was his most prominent feature. I’ve been trying to track down a shot of him when he had platinum locks styled much like those fluffy-headed chickens. I think it was around 1985.

  16. OK, I found one example of Andy’s flamboyant hair, but the article that accompanied it was rather enlightening – it’s an excerpt from a memoir he wrote released last year.

  17. I remember dancing to Wham and Michael Jackson and doing the Locomotion in the playground with my Kylie-mad friends. Even getting down to a little bit of Bobby Brown, or singing “When Will I Be Famous?” like Bros.

    I think I may be a little younger than you guys because New Kids on the Block were the bees knees when I was in HS. Although us ‘Blockheads’ got hassled about it a bit, I’m sure that every gal liked one of the boys! Lol.

    The only ‘boy band’ I’ve been a fan of since NKOTB would have to be the wiggles 🙂

  18. Ah, NKOTB. Mon! Can you believe they’re back together again? My best friend knew them. She met the guys when she moved to NYC for a year as an au pair. (Not an au pair to the NKOTB, mind!). I seem to recall something about her going on tour with them.

  19. Argh! How lucky is your friend? Tell her I was a die-hard Blockhead and Joe was my fave. I luuurved him (my friends used to call me Mrs McIntyre at my insistence. How sad!).

    Oh, and tell her I have tickets to their Sydney show this August. It’s been 17 years, but I just couldn’t resist. I want to see if they’ve aged gracefully or disgracefully… and I want to scream and carry on like a teenager one more time before I’m too old to 🙂

  20. LOL! Actually, most of them have aged quite well.

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