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Guilty Pleasure: Seven and the Ragged Tiger – an Ode (and an Obscure Reference) to Duran Duran

Written by: Jonathan Shipley, Special to CC2K


ImageSome Thoughts, and a Tiger, In Regards to My Infatuation with Duran Duran

1)

I was in a Duran Duran cover band. We totally rocked. It was me, Geordie Romer, his little brother, Keith, and my oldest friend, Dario de la Rosa who was Hispanic and whose parents were quite possibly running an illegal lhasa apso puppy mill (shameful). We were about 10-years-old.

We had bikes. Some of us had cool bikes. I was not one of those people. I had a sky blue Schwinn that was slightly rumpled after Geordie and I decided one afternoon to joust using our bicycles. My bike got a little smashed up and, oh, my thumbnail was ripped off. That hurt. What didn’t hurt was that we had bikes and could look like bad asses upon them (if you consider a bespeckled greasy-haired pimple-faced goon with a missing thumbnail atop a sky blue Schwinn bad ass. Let’s, for the sake of this story and my tenuous self esteem, say it does). So, we had bikes and we had cameras. This was before digital cameras (circa 1983) so each picture was precious due to the fact you only had 24 pictures per roll, and expensive, due to the fact that they had to get developed at a photo processing store. Anyway, we had kick ass bikes and kick ass cameras, so we were all set, because what a Duran Duran cover band first needs (before actually making music) is doing some promotional photo shoots.

Picture #1: Me, emerging on my bike from a big green shrub, looking bad ass.
Picture #2: Geordie, popping a wheelie.
Picture #3: Keith, popping a wheelie.
Picture #4: Dario jumping a jump. Side note: Sad news for Dario. He jumped off a jump once on his bike and broke up his face pretty bad. It was bloody as all hell. Undoubtedly, more bloody than the de la Rosa garage after they destroyed some of the genetically inferior lhasa apsos they were breeding.

Next (before actually making music, duh) was the name of our band. Oooh, The Chauffeurs. That’s bad ass. One of Duran Duran’s best songs was “The Chauffeur” so what better way to celebrate Duran Duran than by naming ourselves after one of their songs? Bad ass. Better than Wild Boys. Too literal for our budding minds. Better than Girls on Film. The bike photo shoot would just be dumb if we had to be in drag, too.

Next (before actually making music) was to name our first album. So, what goes with chauffeurs? Hmmm…sweet, how about “Out of the Garage” and have the cover image be of a limousine?! Bad ass.

Finally — the music. We rocked. Dario de la Rosa literally rocked because he was our percussionist and so he pounded a little rock on a bigger rock. Geordie played air guitar. Or perhaps his cello? I don’t recall. Keith did backing vocals while I rocked the mic. The mic — hmm…we didn’t have one, but we did have a little tape recorder that my dad kept in his den (the den bedecked with images of Civil War battles that I had scribbled all over with red pen to make it look like all the soldiers were bleeding profusely). So, in the backyard, near the crow I had rescued from certain death (we named him Edgar Allan Crow), we recorded our versions of Duran Duran classics.

I don’t know where that tape is. Perhaps the Romer boys took it home? Perhaps Dario played it for his parents afoul in lhasa apso gore? Sad to think that that musical milestone is lost to the mists of time, just like my self esteem.

 

2)

The only reason I went to see the James Bond movie A View to a Kill was because Duran Duran sang the theme song. I don’t remember much about the movie other than a) it sucked, b) it had Grace Jones in it, and c) it sucked.

 

3)

We weren’t allowed to watch MTV as children. My dad had a black and white television set in his den. Most of the time, when I turned the channel to MTV there was just static. Sometimes, though, when the sun was just so, and the moon was in a certain phase, and the antennae were in a particular position, the static would coalesce into an image — an actual moving image. That said, the first video I ever watched on MTV was Duran Duran’s “The Reflex.” I hate my dad for not allowing me access to MTV. He probably hates me for cartoonishly drawing blood all over his Civil War posters. I guess we’re even.

 

4)

One should not call Duran Duran one hit wonders and/or has-beens. They have kept up playing music and producing albums since they hit it big a couple decades ago. Take, for instance, their Medazzaland album. It was produced about the time I got married. I still listen to it. I do not listen to my wife, because we’re not married anymore. She is no longer my wife. The reasons for our divorce are many but perhaps the main factor was because I insisted we listen to new Duran Duran albums when they came out. I don’t recall if we ever made love to, say, the Astronaut album. Certainly not Red Carpet Massacre. A massacre is not romantic. Damn you, Duran Duran, for ruining my marriage. Damn you.

 

5)

John Taylor is the best of the Duran Duran band members. If you don’t believe me, talk to the giant button (as in dinner plate size) of John Taylor that I had affixed to my acid wash jeans jacket. Case closed, yo.

 

6)

 

B. Dalton Booksellers. That was the place to go to get your thought provoking periodicals. That’s where I went, anyway, to find Bop and Teen Beat magazines if there was ever any mention of Duran Duran within them. Oftentimes, I’d go with Andy Golub, my friend across the street who had the bad ass hedge I emerged with my bike from. He liked Duran Duran, too. In fact, he liked Duran Duran so much that he would buy every magazine that mentioned Duran Duran within them. I’d merely read the publication there. Not Andy. No, he would buy it and take it home. In fact, his home became, I later learned, a museum of Duran Duran stuff. In (further) fact, Andy, I later learned, became “Durandy.” Durandy, I later learned, became the foremost authority on Duran Duran in the entire world. Andy, needless to say, is weird.

 

7)

 

I once dressed as Michael Jackson for Halloween. This was when he was still black. Black, and alive. I dressed exactly like the poster I had in my bedroom of said King of Pop. He was smiling and had on white slacks and a yellow sweater and, if I remember correctly, a silver brooch. I don’t think I’ve ever worn a silver brooch since, though, once, I wore a brooch during my theatrical turn of King Arthur in a 6th grade production. Kings wear brooches — King Arthur, Michael Jackson. I’m pretty sure King Leopold had a brooch, too. Makes total sense.

Michael Jackson wasn’t my only poster I owned, nor the only famous person I considered dressing up like on Halloween. Next to my Jackson poster was my Duran Duran poster. It showed all of them on a darkened street looking bad ass. At their feet, a tiger. How bad ass is that? Oftentimes, I would imagine how my life would have turned out had I always had a tiger at my feet. My guess is I would be inside a tiger.

The Ragged Tiger

I never owned a tiger, but I once had a Paddington bear stuffed animal I threw up on.

Author: Jonathan Shipley, Special to CC2K

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