Boys on Twitter: Duran Duran Cyber-Woos Generation X
I’m fourteen again.
Thank you, Duran Duran. The old adage is true that we said in the 1980s – once a Duranie, always a Duranie. But who knew the obsession could reappear like a bad drug habit?
I blame the band for this renewed fascination. Brilliant work, guys. They have struck at the heart of Duranies everywhere with a new album — All You Need Is Now — that sounds like their first self-titled album mixed with the best songs of “Rio.” It’s synth-heavy, sexy and seductive. I’m smitten all over again.
Perhaps in a savvy marketing strategy, Duran Duran senses that Duranies are having a collective Generation X mid-life crisis. We need escapism from everyday life. Ta da! Enter Duran Duran to take us right back to the dreamy days of yachts with handsome men on board that we must marry.
What Duranie doesn’t still long for the days of endlessly watching “Save a Prayer,” dreaming of being held by Simon Le Bon as he sings about how it was all more than a one-night stand? Should I get out my John Taylor fedora and wear it to brunch? Maybe dye my hair Nick Rhodes orange?
Duran Duran, you sly devils.
I’ve spent hours of my life following this New Romantic British band. And here we go again. Thanks to this new album, Duran Duran is everywhere. They just completed a tour of North America that included the States plus a show in Mexico and a few in Canada. They played a show, directed by David Lynch, that was broadcast live on YouTube. I soaked in every minute of its surreal artiness. When it repeated right after the first broadcast, I watched it again for another fix of Simon – older and bearded. But who cares? It’s Simon Le Bon.
Duran Duran hit the festival circuit playing South by Southwest in Austin and Coachella in California. I missed the airing of the Coachella festival, but have caught clips on YouTube. With thousands of arms waving, it took me right back to 1984 when Duran Duran played filmed “Arena” in Oakland, Calf.
Certain advantages exist in the 21st century for Duranies. Sure, back in the 1980s, we stayed glued to MTV waiting for the next video, recording live concerts on VHS and cassettes, buying every magazine that mentioned Duran Duran and studying their love lives more than we studied algebra.
But now, Duranies have social media. And so do Duran Duran.
Simon and John tweet religiously to their fans about their lives. They even answer questions and return tweets. (Hmm, I’m still waiting for a return tweet, Simon or John. Must I beg?) Drummer Roger Taylor prefers Facebook. Nick Rhodes, the night owl keyboardist, is missing in action on social media. Can someone clue him in?
On any given day, I can follow John giving up cigarettes, buying vinyl or tweeting the playlist for the latest concert. Simon’s tweets range from political about Osama Bin Laden to his trippy dreams. He can be snarky, but those who love Simon love his sarcasm.
Simon recently tweeted that he burned a potato in his apartment’s kitchen in the Dominican Republic when the band played a show there. Confession: It was a little disheartening to learn that Simon cooked his own food on tour. I envisioned a chef catering to his every whim. Then again, it’s not the high-rolling’80s anymore. But it’s nice to know that he can cook a potato about like I can – not very well.
Twitter offers instant gratification for Duranies as well as Simon and John. To some extent, Simon and John appear to have a few cyberstalkers, but a stalker or two is good for the old ego, eh?
Simon and John tout the rock star lifestyle – private jets, posh hotels, back stage passes. Duranies absorb these tidbits like Rio soaks up the sun on a yacht. They occasionally even talk about their wives and children, some of who also tweet. Nick Rhodes’ ex-wife, Julie Anne, is on Twitter, and, surprisingly, has a loyal Duranie following. That was not the case in the 1980s when many fans cried about her marriage to Nick. Some Duranies move on eventually, I guess.
Oh, to have had social media in the band’s heyday. Then again, the band probably wouldn’t have had time to tweet for enjoying groupies and indulging in expensive champagne in the back of limos.
Whether it’s 1981 or 2011, Duran Duran knows where to stroke a Duranie’s weak spot. As Simon sang in “The Red Carpet Massacre,” “Maybe you think you’re above this, but baby we know that you love it.”
Yes, I do.