Jenny Colgan

What is the secret of Duran Duran’s durability?

There’s a cracking story to be told of the teenybopper band who refused to lie down and die, but sadly Stephen Davis’s book isn’t it

Left to right: Roger Taylor, John Taylor, Nick Rhodes, Simon Le Bon and Andy Taylor in 1984 [Getty Images]

In my second year at secondary school we were all deeply envious of a girl named Judi Taylor because, obviously, her name was only three letters away from John Taylor, the world’s most beautiful man, which meant she probably had the best chance of marrying him. I was thinking about this the other day just after I’d checked to find out if there were any VIP tickets left to see Duran Duran next year in Hyde Park (there aren’t), when one of my daughter’s friends jumped in the car.‘Hi, ‘she said. ‘I’m Charlotte Derulo. Well, I will be one day.’ Never underestimate the eternal passion of a tween girl.

As it turns out, Nigel John Taylor, a scrawny beanpole in thick glasses who only revealed himself as a god when he got contact lenses and joined a band, was far from good husband material, spending much of his time in Duran Duran absolutely off his box, numbing everything happening to him with extraordinary amounts of cocaine and alcohol. The fact that at 62 he still looks as handsome as ever is just one of those magic pop star things.

When Nick Rhodes was told he was £2.5 million in debt he went straight out and bought another Picasso

But a passionate fandom — and Duran Duran are still a cracking live band, full of fun and mischief, with alternately rousing or sinister songs that have held up infinitely better than the turgid musings of their arch-rivals Spandau Ballet — has its drawbacks: viz, thrown together cash-in books such as this one. When you think of how interesting music books have become — the morbid disgust of The Dirt by Motley Crue, the brilliant, life-affirming honesty of Elton John’s Me and the marvellous mosaic of Craig Brown’s One Two Three Four Please, Please Tell Me Now feels even more disappointing.

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