Cherry Lipstick returns from a month’s break to several days of Duranie celebration. The special 140-page magazine edition of Classic Pop has hit UK shelves and is making its way out around the world. On 10 August we all had an excuse to show off our favourite photos / records / memories for Duran Duran Appreciation Day. A festival of nostalgia and good feeling.
Yet just one month ago, on 11 July, things were rather different. There was a 48-hour world-wide news blitz with the unwelcome / disturbing / thought-provoking (delete as applicable) allegation that Simon committed a sexual assault in 1995. The #MeToo campaign had seemingly added another high-profile, aging, entitled male to its roster of shame.
After these 48 hours, everything seemed to settle down on social media rather quickly. Perhaps this was to be expected, or perhaps it was the only option in the absence of anything else to discuss.
As the editor of a Duran fanzine that wants to be considered as engaging with the fan community, and, to a certain section, representing it, I am aware that Cherry Lipstick has made no direct comment about this matter. We have supported and publicised some excellent, thought-provoking responses from the Daily Duranie (12 July) and Ruth Galvin (22 July).
It is appropriate for Cherry Lipstick to reflect on those 48 hours before moving on to celebrate the band and our rich history together.
So, let’s return to 11 July.
After 12 months of #MeToo revelations, accusations and denials, we have seen how debate has become polarised and has affected so many of us on a personal level. We have had to ask ourselves where we have encountered, tolerated, excused, or contributed to similar incidents.
Now we were confronted with the unfortunate fact that the man who has been such a central part of our lives for all these years had been sullied within these same allegations.
The question now was what the response was going to be – by ‘Duran Duran’ as a corporate entity, by you and me as individual fans, and by us as a fan community.
For the band, this was serious stuff, and Simon released an assertive, absolute denial the same day. Katy Krassner, in a personal capacity, followed up with her personal dismissal of the incident and defence of Simon as a person.
And that was that.
Since then DDHQ has progressed with a ‘business and usual’ approach to social media and publicity. Simon has surfaced once on Twitter with some inane, non-specific nonsense (though this is his usual interaction with that platform).
The lead from the top was clear – acknowledge, deny, move on.
Which left us, the fans, seeking guidance from within ourselves for any deeper response.
What was your initial response? How did we react as individuals and as a community? Did you declare #IStandWithSimon? Did you communicate with the accuser? Have you changed your behaviour towards the band or other fans? How do you feel now? Is it all just something that happened and we should just get on with being fans of the band we love?
All these questions are for us personally to consider – and for Cherry Lipstick, as something of a prominent part of the Duran fan community, to ask.
So, there is a fan survey about this issue at this link. I hope you can find a minute or two of your time to complete it.
The results will be shared in a couple of weeks. It is still the summer holidays after…