Life begins at #DD40, 41, 42...
Cherry Lipstick is about to celebrate its 3rd birthday back in the Duran Duran world. We restarted in April 2017 – and there was one big question that dominated the year: Would Duran Duran’s celebrations of #DD40 in 2018 be completely massive or just totally huge? Imaginations started to run wild with possibilities. New albums, exclusive reissues, reunions were all mentioned and campaigned for. On 28th December 2017, a throwaway phrase by Nick revealed all. He mused, “It will be a limited number of performances in 2018… we have a lot of things we are planning for the 40th anniversary, which is officially 2020 but will start in 2019.” I think you know the punchline to that joke.
The band seem to have given their name to some events. In 2018, the excellent BBC documentary ’There’s Something You Should Know’ came out, trailed with the message that they were 40 years strong, and Classic Pop released a ‘40th Anniversary Special’ issue on the band. But no coherent strategy was being observed, more a rolling series of one-offs dotted about the calendar.
2020 finds Duran back in the public eye with a high-profile one-off show at Hyde Park, London. Initially trailed excitedly by Nile Rogers as a special show with Duran, DDHQ kicked into gear a few hours later with the official announcement.
This show on July 12th 2020 is, of course, pretty close to one of the key 40th anniversary dates – the first show with the classic line up. That, though, was on 16th July 1980, which seems to be close enough for The Times journalist (12th March 2020*) to declare, “the band are celebrating [their 40th anniversary] in style [with] the plan to perform at Hyde Park exactly 40 years after their first gig.”
The main hype from Duran’s Twitter account has not linked the Hyde Park show with the 40th anniversary, though Simon, in passing, said "This concert is a particularly special one because it's the closest gig to the very first one we played at the Rum Runner club in 1980.” A kind of, close-but-no-dog-end-cigarette approach to what could have been something more special. It also, of course, takes a free-and-easy approach to the whole thing which makes it easy to spread into 2021 should they so wish. No one need gather for any signature event – the whole thing, whatever that might be, is open to all. Even if that turns out to be ‘just’ the new album and tour.
But while the band has been meandering through these months and years, watching other people do the heavy lifting of celebrating their 40th, something else has been stirring from the deep – the missing piece of the Duran shaped jigsaw.
Late in 2019, an Andy Taylor Facebook page opened up. Was this a fake or the real thing?
Career: “1986 – left job at Duran Duran” the horribly clunky language informed us, as if he’d moved from working the tills at Tesco to the packing centre on the other side of town. Of the renewed contract with Duran Duran from 2001 – 2006 there was no mention. He was also the ‘former guitarist at The Power Station 1983-1986’ which confusingly ran the original incarnation forward by one year from 1985, and ignored the reformed band’s second wind from 1996-97.
Was it real? A sister Twitter page, which was even sparser, started up. Us tweeters peered in, but remained unsure of its veracity. Followers remained under 200 for some time.
Then the one-off 100 Club gig was announced, where he cheekily and joyously played Hungry Like The Wolf and Wild Boys.
In January 2019, it all kicked into gear. Cherry Lipstick received confirmation on January 29th from Andy’s manager that the Twitter page was genuine. His May 2019 mini-tour dates were announced, and ‘Andy’ started tweeting Duran-related content.
There was a comment on the Funko dolls thing, then followed up with a pic of himself at Birmingham 2005. He made reference to playing on Addicted To Love, and then tweeted a pic of the Power Station, designed to elicit a response it duly got. [The personal nature of the tweets can be queried from this from 6th March: "Some Like It Hot turned 35 this week. The single ended up peaking at number 6 on the Billboard charts and was the first single released on the eponymous album." Hmmm.]
From the private man who has shied away from all Duran-related activity and content, he is actively courting it.
And, lo, the inevitable question arose: was Andy about to make a triumphant appearance for – YES - #DD40? Even three years on, the power and yearning of that hashtag was undiminished.
But as one door opens, there’s always the chance someone will step through and smash you in the face. Enter Nick: “I don’t really have any relations with Andy. I haven’t seen him for many years since he left last time. I was not even slightly surprised when it fell apart. I was relieved. As much as Andy is a great musician, he is not an easy person to play with.” John is more accommodating but adds, “The reunion was enormously difficult, actually.” (both The Times 12th March 2020*).
How does this end? With the band doing what they are going to do. As ever, enjoy the debate but don’t get too invested, and enjoy the shows, whenever and wherever they are. And, please, in 2027, don't be that person that tries to get #DD50 trending...
*With thanks to ‘fouronthefloor’ from the Duran Proboards for posting the article