I am not a die-hard Durani. You know – the forty-something woman who still has a poster of John Taylor at the back of her wardrobe behind the power suits. The one who gets butterflies in her knickers every time the kids put on Shrek and that trannie wolf sings Hungry Like the Wolf ; the woman who falls asleep with a packet of Tim-Tams on her chest dreaming of being naked on a pole with a girlfriend, having a pillow fight and then falling into a vat of jelly while Simon le Bon dances his metronomic sway in the background.
I reject the Durani (wannabe) label because unlike most of them, I actually bonked one of the band when I was seventeen, in 1983.
I am now the mother of five, with a law degree in my bottom drawer and a racy memoir just released. My whorish groupie days are in black and white for everyone to read about. Australian Crawl, Cheap Trick, Cold Chisel, The Angels. Others that remain nameless but guessable. People are always asking me to name names and give blow by blow accounts. I am becoming an expert, a historian of my own youthful conquests. I set out to be a writer, but in my first book, I have become a Groupie. ‘Look at the lovely way I’ve crafted that metaphor…’ I bluster, but no-one wants to know much more than who was the best/the kinkiest/the worst rock-star lover I ever had. When I answer Justin Beiber to all of the above, they just snort and walk away dissatisfied or frankly disturbed by my answer.
And now, just as I have pulled my FM boots out of the closet to use as a kind of trophy hanging on my office wall, those pesky boys from Duran Duran decided to have the Australian leg of their tour coincide with the release of my book. (I like to look at it that way).
Did I go to see them dance like desktop toys once again, all cheekbones and shoulder pads? No. I put aside my girlish fantasies and stayed at home playing Scrabble with the kids. And yet I look at the tour poster and wonder how the years have been to those boys, now clearly middle-aged men. They still look good, dare I say, better. A few whiskers on their formerly smooth cheeks, a scratch of wrinkles at the corners of heavily kohled eyes. Men, even rock-stars, do improve with age up to a point. (Stop it Mick Jagger!) I suspect the Duran boys know this and are making the most of the days they have left. But the groupies? There is something about a salivating forty-something year old woman that can never be pretty. Cougars don’t scream and faint, we growl.
I got an email from a middle-aged current groupie the other day who read about my book and said –‘At least you got them when they still looked good and had more energy!’ Ha. The eighties were such a drug-fuelled time that some backstage performances were a bit…well…lame.
In the eighties the thrill of the chase was half the fun. Talking your way backstage, making seedy promises to eager roadies, getting down on your knees, begging, please, please…but my big sister is friends with the drummer…really…she is! Rockstars had sex appeal – salty brawn (James Reyne); camp glam (Brian Mannix); sultry intelligence (Steve Kilbey) and screeching siren (Michael Hutchence). We had our backyard of tasty talent but imports like Cheap Trick, Simple Minds and the piece de résistance, Duran Duran, we invited over for slumber parties and they did not disappoint.
Now I look at teenagers and wonder where the wonderment of rock-stars went. Is Justin Beiber as good as it gets as far as hysteria goes? His oldest fans are twelve years old and God forbid that they are at the backstage door making grand promises. Urgghhh. It’s wall to wall garage bands these days. The only big smokin’ tours are from the boys of old. Rod Stewart just toured. He is my God but he’s doing blue rinse covers these days. U2…be still my heart. Foo Fighters are about as new-school as I can get.
Duran Duran, God bless them, still give a damn about looking good. Sexy suits. Goatees and Mediterranean tans. They look a darn sight healthier than when I met them.
Cold Chisel are back with a healthy and sober lead singer. Jimmy’s all grown up and still sounds great.
Brian Mannix is still popping up on tele…like some creature that stepped out of a time machine.
The only good rock-star, I’ve decided, is a comeback rock-star. What goes around comes around. But I'll be happy to sit at home and listen to the CDs...