Review- In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran

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My workmates know me well for my 80’s tragic status and my fandom to all things Duran Duran. They alerted me to this book which was published last year, which is the autobiography of John Taylor, bass player of Duran Duran.

Yes, there are the obligatory photos, but it is much more of a wordy book than I imagined. I had heaps of books about Duran Duran in the 80’s which were really just merchandise/photo albums designed for teenage tastes, so it was a great to hear his voice in the book, albeit a ghost written voice.

The childhood and teenage photos were quite revealing, showing a little boy, growing up into an awkward bespectacled teenager who looked to older cousins and friends,  and of someone who was more comfortable just to the left of the spotlight.

In many ways his story jogged so many half-forgotten memories, of interviews in Smash Hits that I had read over 30 years ago. He changed his name to John from Nigel (Nick Rhodes, was originally Nick Bates), his love of cars (inherited from his father) and the beautiful models/actresses with whom he shared his life.

In other ways, reading the book makes you realise how filtered the message was about your favourite band in the 80s, without the full on glare that is now present with the Internet and social media. Seen through the pages of a magazine, all you saw a bunch of guys living a hectic, hedonistic lifestyle, surrounded by models and driving fast cars.

What you didn’t see was the effects from a jump from unemployed would-be muso still living at home to world famous pop star,  combined with the stress of touring constantly, and recording with a chronic lack of sleep. Taylor’s prodigious consumption of drugs and alcohol and his sex addiction (to deal with loneliness on the road) is documented extensively in this book, as well as his entry into rehab in the United States.

It is an autobiography, but it not a warts and all exposé of his relationship with the other band members. He speaks of them with love and respect, and alludes to periods of strife, but doesn’t go into detail. His marriage with Amanda de Cadenet is dealt with respectfully, yet frankly acknowledging the breakdown of the marriage to a series of factors, including age difference, and his substance abuse.

It’s an enjoyable read, and with its short chapters, you seem to power through it quite easily. Am now off to put Rio on…

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