The Duran Duran were the symbol of my youth so as soon as I discovered that John Taylor had written his autobiography I really wanted to read it.
Why John Taylor's book not Andy Taylor's. Well simply because there was a poster of John on my bedroom wall along with one of Marian Gold of the “Alphaville”. I even went to the local hairdresser with a picture of John and asked for my hair to be done like his. I also looked at all the local fairs for black rubber bracelets like the ones he wore. He was my favourite Duran Duran.
Along with my Alphaville records the Duran Durans were the ones I listened to most, first on my father's 70s record player then on my own modern stereo in my bedroom. I remember being the first in the Tuscan village where I grew up to wear the Duran Duran T shirt, the first to wear chiffon, the first to collect anything to do with the handsome John. Why was I such a pioneer at that time, well because my mother is English and I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in Dorset and my aunts in London. It was in England that I bought all the records up to Duran Durans “Arena”. I then transferred them on to tapes for my “walkman”, another 80's icon!
But let's talk about the book. What did I enjoy most about it. I think first of all the description of his teenage years when he discovered an interest in music. Sundays at home with the family listening to old records or listening to pirate radio in his bedroom. The family car, a Ford,my grandfather had a brown Ford. The description of his family home. These things all reminded me of my English grandparents. Reading on, things become more intriguing as he was a fan of lots of artists and imitated their “look” He spent time looking for new material in the record shops. I did that too. I discovered the boy behind the star with all his defects and fears. The rise and fall, the re-birth. I admit I did shed a little tear reading about that! We always saw the public persona smiling in the videos and on the posters but we had no idea what was going on behind all that. We didn't know about the boy, the constrictions that go with fame, the superficiality, the egocentricity when you have everything you ever wanted but have lost any connection with reality. I was surprised at his tenacity visible to this day on stage. He loves to make music. He loves what he does. Todays stars lack professionality and sometimes even talent. His weaknesses are talked about in the book. The time in rehab, the devils behind the public face.
There were some brilliant photos in practically every chapter. There was even a bit dedicated to their visit to Italy, though I was still young when they came, I remember seeing the concert on RAI 2.
I had trouble putting this book down once I started to read it and savoured every word. I don't agree with the critics who say that the second part of the book seems written in haste. I think where he wanted to make a point he did so in depth and well. Now that I have finished this “immersion” into “80s” pop culture I feel I now have an insight into what it was really like to be so famous.
I would thoroughly recommend IN THE PLEASURE GROOVE: LOVE, DEATH AND DURAN DURAN to all who lived this era either through their parents or who were themselves “Duranians” but not quite old enough to go to the gigs at the time that “Wild Boys” became the anthem of the “Paninari” We opened the doors to future generations of pop fans and I am so pleased to have lived the 80s to the full. The hysteria, the tears when Simon broke his foot but came to San Remo with the Duran Duran anyway. I remember Pippo Baudo was the presenter at the time. It was great and in this book we have John Taylor's version of what it was like to be an 80s icon a real insight into life as a pop star.