Duranalysis: The Making of Arena, Part Two

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details-later said…
I may have quoted this before on this blog, but Andy's crack about "being sick he couldn't wear jeans, being told he had to wear eye makeup" (paraphrase) is pretty much brought to life in your recap! Yes, I feel the delayed joy of Andy on his jean freedom years after the fact!

Hey, did you John's daughter with Amanda de Cadenet is doing that Paris debut ball thing? I saw it in the current issue of Vanity Fair. As a little girl, Atlanta looked exactly like John! In her photos now, it doesn't seem so much anymore. I wonder if John attended…
Morgan Richter said…
Poor Andy. Only in Duran Duran could wearing denim be seen as this huge taboo. It seemed like a huge personal triumph for him that he got to wear jeans in Wild Boys...

It's so bizarre that some of the kids of the various Durans are now older than the boys themselves were when they first became famous. I haven't seen the photos of John's daughter, but between her mom and her dad, she sure inherited a whole lot of great genes.
Tracy said…
I love these guys, but they go all Spinal Tap at this point. They talk about this video as if they were creating Great Art, when in reality their work had become overproduced and overdone and, too often, cringe inducing. I remember watching it with my siblings when it premiered, and we kind of sat there afterwards, looking puzzled and going "huh." (Though we felt that way after Union and New Moon premieres as well.)

It was interested hearing them explain the narrative because, until I watched the "Making of" video today, I never understood it.

I think that what got lost was the fun in their earlier work, and that makes sense given the intense pressure of success, the crazy touring schedule, and their being in the bubble of celebrity, which is where you lose perspective. It's also where you start to take yourself and your work too seriously, especially when your minions tell you how great you are, and it's where people like Russell Mulcahy can use you to finance a crappy dream project.

Thankfully, their recent live shows have been so energetic and, yes, fun. They still play with video on stage and bring their own D2 sensibility to their work, but the focus is on the music, where it belongs. Their live shows these days are amazing, and they've really grown as a band.

All that said, there are some pretty cool things about the video, from some of the weird creatures to the dancing. And yes, I agree that the motorized head is still creepy as hell.
Tracy said…
Oh, and let me add that your observation about the change in Andy couldn't be more spot on. Again, it's clear that he's not having fun anymore. Actually, in the interview footage no one is -- except for Nick the Bedazzler. And I assume John isn't in the interviews because he was too much of a mess at the time. (Thank God he got clean and sober.)

All that talk about evil jeans made me think that what poor Andy needed was the modern take on them, where you can wear a nice pair with a dark wash and look good. Morgan, when you talk about how they should have just let him be a bit more himself, I found myself thinking that a family therapist would have said the same thing. "So, Andy, tell the guys how you feel when you aren't allowed to wear denim."
Morgan Richter said…
Tracy, absolutely -- they're all very Spinal Tap at this point. I still get frustrated with Arena, because there's a germ of a great project somewhere in there, but none of the ideas are developed nearly well enough, and it ends up being just sloppy and pretentious. And yeah, certainly Andy and Roger appear to be having no fun whatsoever.

I made a GIF of Nick the Bedazzler to celebrate your comment. I know by most reports he was totally drug-free by the time Arena came out, but holy hell, it's just easier and kinder to think he was stoned off his gourd during those interview segments. (One of my favorite quotes, from frequent Duran photographer Denis O'Regan: "The thing with Nick, it was difficult to tell whether he was on drugs or not.")

Should've let Andy wear his jeans, guys. It would've saved you all a lot of trouble down the road.

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