Monthly Archives: April 1986

April 13th/15th/19th 1986 – DD go Westside then States side?

SUNDAY

Went to Westside Studios again. Waited for a bit and saw JT and Renee. She looked really pretty (as usual) and she was shivering! JT was really nice to us again. It was really cold today and it was Sunday so not much was happening!

Nick came out and I took the last of my pictures of him. He was really nice too – stood talking to us for ages even though it was raining. Tracey and some lady called Pat was there. Pat had some amazing pictures of Simon & Yasmin and Nick & Julie-Anne. We also met some ‘Known Fans’ today – Amy and Sam – who have met the band loads and Duran know them. (SO WHAT!!!)

Nick arriving in the rain at Westside April 1986

Nick arriving in the rain at Westside April 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS

TUESDAY

We couldn’t do nothing as we had school. But Terri went to Westside again as she lives nearer than we do. She saw Nick and JT (BITCH!!!) She got Nick’s autograph and she asked John about the teddy that we gave him the other day. At first he apparantly said ‘Huh?’ Then she said.’We gave it to your mum last Friday.’ So he then said ‘Yeah thanks it was sweet.’ So Terri says.

SATURDAY

Had school all week and mock exams to revise for so not been around this week. So we went to John’s and Nick’s today to see if they were around. Both houses look all shut up like no-one was there so we went to check out EMI. Nothing happened there either. Maybe they have gone to New York? But it was fun hanging out.

NOTES ABOUT THIS ENTRY

I put three entries together as not much happened this week! I obviously had more important stuff to do as I concentrated on school work so didn’t go to Westside that week.

I also noticed the bitchy side of me coming out for the first time! I always was polite to people, I was a nice girl!! But I obviously started to get a bit of a jealous streak around this time. On meeting the ‘Known Fans’ Amy & Sam and putting in brackets ‘SO WHAT’ – now that right there was total jealousy! I didn’t like the fact that I had been around for weeks going to see Duran and not seeing many other fans, then Sam and Amy turn up and Duran chat to them like old friends and knew their names and…..grrrrrrrrr! I was miffed! Funnily enough Sam and Amy are my closest friends now 25 years later! Funny how things turn out!

I started writing ‘swear’ words then too. BITCH was the rudest word to date that I had written – well I had written that JT was a GIT before, but that was about it! I didn’t feel the need to be rude until this point I think. I was still friends with this Terri – I had written the word to show my annoyance that she had gotten to see Duran and I hadn’t. See, jealousy!

We always assumed that if Duran weren’t at home then they would be in New York. Don’t ask me why, we just did. I think that we thought that London and New York were the ONLY places pop stars would be so therefore if they weren’t in London they’d be in New York! Who knows where they went. I know that my next entry isn’t until May – and it was a BIG entry. Something to do with some big yacht and a big shot lead singer……..

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April 12th 1986 – South West By Westside

SATURDAY

Today, after waiting ages for Terri, Rae and I decided we had waited for her long enough so we went from Fulham to JT’s to check it out. But nothing happened. So we left. Just as we crossed the road near the shops JT’s dad looked at me and chuckled, realising who we were!

Anyway, Rae and I then went to Westside again. After hanging out for a little while we saw John and Nick go in. We think John recognised me and Rae. He was with Renee and she looked nice. Nick came after John and he asked us ‘Is Johnny in yet?’

John Taylor at Westside April 12th 1986

John at Westside April 12th 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS

We waited at Westside, we being me, Rae and this girl called Tracey, for three hours. Me and Rae decided to go, we got bored and it began to rain. Tracey kept being sick everywhere and non stop chatted in between bouts of puking. GROSS! I took only 4 pictures, 2 of Nick and 2 of JT.

Going back tomorrow……

NOTE ABOUT THIS ENTRY

I used to love Saturday’s as we could get up in the morning and if we knew where Duran were we could spend all day there, just hanging out and chatting. This particular day obviously wasn’t that good a day to hang out. Reasons being that there were only a handful of us there, (one of whom being this vomiting girl Tracey, who we had just met for the first time, who wasn’t that great company that day!), it was raining and Duran were in the studio and not coming out for a while!

Duran’s hours in the studio usually meant arrived around mid afternoon and leave by around 9 or 10 at night for this album. Nick was always last! It was a very rare occurrence if Nick came before anyone else! So it was a silly question when he asked ‘Is Johnny in yet?’ as usually EVERYONE was in by the time Nick arrived! (Nick didn’t/doesn’t drive and always arrived by taxi or chauffeur unless one of the others picked him up.) Nick oftern called John Johnny and they all call Simon Charley. It was always sweet to hear it!

John and Renee magazine cover circa 1985

John and Renee magazine cover circa 1985

Renee Simonsen was John’s girlfriend at the time and she was not only beautiful but a lovely girl too. She always seemed to be smiling and she always chatted to us – even if it was raining. Sometimes when she came to the studio’s she would have a driving lesson! She would chat to us, then her driving instructor would pull up and off she went! I used to ask her about her driving whenever I saw her. I wonder if she ever past her driving test!


April 11th 1986 – The Lucozade Luck Ran Out!

Friday

After being half an hour early, Terri, Sharon (a girl we met at Saturday Supersotre as well), Rae and I sat outside JT’s house. About half an hour later again JT’s mum came out and said ‘You can’t stay here today girls. People are coming to view the house next door to buy it’. So I said ‘Could you give John this teddy. He has been really nice to us this week and we wanna thank him.’ (The present was a dog soft toy with big floppy ears and I put my keyring on it that said ‘YOUNG’). We said to her ‘He’s really nice your son, he’s been lovely to us’. And she thanked us and said she was glad he was nice to us.

Then we went to Westside Studios. It’s a recording studio. John said they were starting there. We got there and waited for around two hours. And guess what. We missed them! Terri stayed and later phoned Rae from a phone box to say JT turned up literally 5 minutes after we left!!

But his mum & dad were nice and we hoped he liked his teddy.

Nobody home! John's Aston and House in Knightsbrigde 1986

Nobody home! John's Aston and House in Knightsbrigde 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS

NOTES ABOUT THIS ENTRY

Can you imagine living next to or anywhere near John Taylor in the 80’s  – and having to sell your house? How do you explain to potential purchasers ‘Yes we have an amazing roof garden with views over London, stunning shops such as Harrods a stones throw away. Oh and a hoard of girls hanging around, all times of the day and night. They sometimes sing too.’ NIGHTMARE! Good job John’s mum was on hand to shoo us off to aid the neighbours in their house sale!

It was a beautiful area that John lived in. A cobblestoned street the houses kind of  the same but with slight quirky differences about them. It was quiet and private. So when a deluge of Duran fans turn up in your exclusive courtyard terrace it had to be a bit of a shock to the private residents, most of whom were very well-to-do extremely well off people. This was Knightsbridge you know! It was miles away from what I was used to in my council house in Hackney, in distance as well as class and taste.

Getting the phone call that we missed them was gutting. But funny remembering phone boxes! Phone boxes back in those days were our only way of communication. You had to have a stack of 2 pence pieces, then it moved up to 10 pence if I recall, if you wanted to make a call. They were bright red kiosks and all that was in them was a phone and a couple of phone books hanging under a little shelf,  which often got used as a seat!  The pages were always ripped out of the phone books, there was graffiti on the walls, empty beer cans on the floor and calling cards stuck everywhere for prostitutes & taxis. They stank of men’s toilets and cigarettes and quite often didn’t work! Sometimes you would walk literally miles, making yourself later and later, trying to find a phone that worked. This was so your could call your mum to say you were going to be late! This was how we communicated in the 80’s. Feels like the stoneage thinking about it.

Westside Studios were in an area of London that at the time wasn’t the best of places to hang out. It was in an area of London called Ladbroke Grove which at the time was pretty run down. It wasn’t far from the lovely houses of Holland Park, but Ladbroke Grove was a seedy, dark place back then. Yet we spent hours there – often quite late – and didn’t really think of the consequences. Coming from Hackney it seemed just like home from home to me to be honest.  Both Hackney and Ladbroke Grove are now pretty expensive areas to live in.

We spent quite some time at Westside. It was great because it was out of the way, we didn’t disturb anyone and we could hang out in a big crowd. But that’s to come…


April 10th 1986 – Guess Who’s Back?

THURSDAY

Met JT again!!! This time he was going out. He came out of his house and walked over to us and said ‘What you lot doing here?’ and we said ‘Yet again!’ and he just smiled. He put a bag into the Aston Martin and tried to start the engine and it didn’t work! A chauffeur had earlier pulled up and knocked at John’s but hadn’t answered so he drove away. John must’ve have called him because he came back. (Same chauffeur Nick had the other day). Anyway we asked him where he was going and he said ‘Haven’t you girls got anything better to do?’ So I said ‘Nah, this is more interesting.’ Anyway. He then said. ‘Well, I’m going for a spot of lunch and then onto EMI.’ So guess where we went after John left? EMI!!!

John going into EMI in 1986

John going into EMI in 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS

When we got there about 3/4 of an hour later we met Nick! Me & Rae missed JT going in but Sylv & Terri saw him and took a pic with my camera for me. They said he recognised them and looked around as if to look for me & Rae. Back again tomorrow!

Nick at EMI April 10th 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE-COLDWEL-SIMONS

NOTES ABOUT THIS ENTRY

Looking back now he must have got so sick of fans sitting outside his house day in day out. But he was always courteous and polite when in fact he could have been annoyed at the constant invasion of his privacy. He came over to chat, told us his plans and off he went. And there it is. If you wanted to know what Duran were doing at any given point and be told the truth, ask a member of Duran! We didn’t ask where he was going for lunch because he had told us where he was going AFTER lunch, which gave us time to jump on the tube from Knightsbridge to Bond Street to see John! Missing him that day wasn’t a problem because we got to meet Nick. (Awwwww. How sweet were our friends saying John looked around for us. HE DIDN’T!!! He got out of a cab, smiled and waved and went into EMI! But those little things, like thinking John WOULD be wondering where we were what made our day!)

I must have just stood in the crowd meeting Nick because I didn’t write much about him in the diary. I just stood and listened and took pictures I imagine. I always felt very shy around other Duran fans. It was around this time we started meeting who I would term the ‘Known Fans’. These were a bunch of fans that had been around since ’84, that Duran knew by name and that I felt extremely intimidated by! Some of them later on became my really good friends who I now class as my closest friends today. But back then, they scared the hell out of me. And they could make up a story or two to throw us off the scent too! But read on to find out about that!

One more thing to say is look at Nick’s shirt and remember it. It may crop up in other pictures on other Duran members too! Oh and John’s  Aston Martin was ALWAYS breaking down!


April 9th 1986 – DeJa Vu John’s House

Wednesday

Met JT again. This time he just came out to talk to us. He didn’t have a car to go to or anything. He talked to us, signed stuff – a poster to me – signed ‘To Michelle With Love, John Taylor’. Cool! I got his autograph too for my penpal in Canada, Carmela. Anyway I took more pictures and I got some with me in them! Terri told me that she took a pic of me looking up at him and him looking down at me! Wow!! Sweet!!! I know I ran down John in an earlier diary entry, but he WAS a git then. But now I have met him he’s really great!

JT & I - The Lucozade, the clothes, the LUCK!

JT & I - The Lucozade, the clothes, the LUCK! COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS

He talked to us for about 10 minutes. There was one other girl there we didn’t know – her name was Debra I think. She wanted to talk to him about a band called INXS (Aussie Band) and she asked him whether it was true that he was offered the part of James Bond. JT said ‘I got offered an audition and I turned it down.’

John looked amazing. Really amazing outfit. He said he was going to a premiere of a theatre show called Time. I think it’s something to do with Cliff Richard????

BRILL! WONDERFUL!!! Sorry about the writing – I am so excited. We are going back tomorrow!

JT

John Taylor, outside his Knightsbridge home with his Aston Martin, suited for a premiere (COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS no use without permission)

NOTE ABOUT THIS ENTRY

John quite often liked to just come and chat with fans. I have always thought that most of the time he enjoys the banter. He was obviously all dressed up with somewhere to go and he just told us he was going to a musical called ‘Time’.The Wikipedia entry says this :  “The  West End production, directed and Choreographed by Larry Fuller (assisted by  Arlene Phillips), had a world premiere on  April 9, 1986 at the Dominion Theatre in London England, where it ran for two years.  Cliff Richard starred as Wilder.”

As I said in a previous entry, if you asked people that worked for Duran what was happening, they wouldn’t tell you. Ask a member of Duran – and they would! He was quite happy to tell us that he was going to a premiere, he was quite happy to answer questions that we had. It was interesting about the playing Bond question as that one seemed to crop up all the time in the press – presumably because Duran had done the theme for A View To A Kill a year or so previous. That and the fact that John had said a few times that he was a big fan of Bond. Well, he could have made an amazing Bond – we all know that he has acted quite a bit nowadays!

When he was talking about INXS they were relatively unknown in the UK then. He had chosen a song of theirs called ‘Original Sin’ for his ‘My Top Ten’  – a Radio One show where pop stars would put together a top ten list of their favourite tracks and they would play them on air. I have this recorded off the radio somewhere  – although who know’s where! I don’t remember many tracks he chose, but ‘Original Sin’ by INXS and ‘Life On Mars’ by Bowie were definitely two that I do remember.

Obviously as we had seen him that day – it meant that the whole ‘lucky’ routine had to be repeated. Same clothes. (John must have thought I was homeless or something!) Same Lucozade. (Can’t stomach the stuff now!) And of course the obligatory Twix bar. We were going back tomorrow….!


April 8th 1986 – Let’s See If John’s In!

TUESDAY AFTER SCHOOL

Today we went to John’s house and after waiting for a bit he came out!

He leant on his brown Aston Martin car and said ‘What you lot doing here?’. No one spoke! So I said ‘ Waiting for you Mr Taylor!’ I tried to speak sarcastically but it turned out really posh sounding! Then I took loads of pictures and John said ‘I’m going now’. So Sylv said ‘Wait! Can you sign something? Please!’. And JT just smiled and went ‘COME ON THEN!” So I have now got his autograph. Then he asked ‘What you lot doing now then?’ and I said ‘Taking more pictures of you, John!”

It was brill! He was really nice to us  and walked straight out of his house and started talking to us! He was so great to us we will be going back tomorrow!

John outside his house taken 8th April 1986 COPYRIGHT MICHELLE COLDWELL-SIMONS No use without prior permission

NOTE ABOUT THIS ENTRY

I remember this day so well! I was wearing black leggings, black top and a black coat. I had red socks on and black suede loafers. I went to the local shop to John’s house before we got to his street and bought a Lucozade and a Twix bar. Why do I remember this so much? Because for the next few days I had to wear/do the same things as I had that 8th of April – it was LUCK! That way it was guarenteed we would see John again!

A lot of fans had some kind of ritual to perform so they could see Duran. If you were a smoker and you were hanging around, you lit a cigarette so that when they it had burnt halfway down they were bound to turn up! Or like me you wore something lucky or stuck to a routine. I remember for the next few days I had to get roughly the same time tube. Go to the same local shop. By the same drink and chocolate bar. After all  – this was the first time I had actually SPOKEN to a member of Duran.

The addiction had began!

(NOTE ABOUT THE PICTURE: John’s hair was very long then and no blonde streak! He was wearing leather trousers and boots with what looks like a bit of a heel on them. He looked like he had just woken up – but this must have been around 4.30pm as this was around the time we would have got there from school!)


Saturday April 5th 1986 – Three Duran’s Houses and Three Types Of Weather

We went to Nick’s house again. We were the only ones outside his house and a nice looking limo and a nice looking chauffeur pulled up. So Rae asked him who he was picking up. The chauffeur said. ‘Just him’.

Anyway we waited a while, with cameras and then Nick came out. His hair is now gingery blonde. Rae said ‘Hi Nick’ and he said ‘hello’. He looked like he had just got up as he had dark glasses on and everything.

Nick Rhodes House 1986

Nick's House in Fulham 1986

We then went to John’s and his mum came out. She said ‘You can’t stay here today girls, sorry. We’ve had a bit of trouble here lately with some fans. Sorry.’ So I asked ‘What Duran fans?’ But she just said ‘Just fans’. I said under my breath ‘probably Whammies’. So she waved to us and said goodbye.

Then we went to Pinner. It was snowing, sleeting raining – everything it could chuck at us. Simon was in and we were cold and we hoped he would come out but he didn’t.

NOTE ABOUT THIS ENTRY

My comment about Nick looking like he had just got up is probably right. After going to see Duran for a while we all quickly cottoned on that Nick wasn’t an early bird AT ALL! If a car had come to collect him at 2 o’clock – chances are he HAD probably just got up! And he was never very talkative when you first saw him – I suppose because 2 o’clock in the afternoon was HIS early morning!

This was also the first time we met John’s mum. We also met his dad too over the years. They were always lovely to fans, as were all the Duran parents that I have met. I remember walking towards John’s street one day with another friend – chatting away oblivious to the gentlemen walking towards us. As he passed he chuckled. I turned and he waved – it was John’s dad! We obviously had the look of a Duran fan, he knew where we were heading! He always had a twinkle in his eye, did John’s dad. He had a lovely sense of humour.

Me outside Simon's parents house in Pinner, Middlesex Summer of 1985

Me outside Simon's parents house in Pinner, Middlesex Summer of 1985

I had been to Pinner before,  in the Summer of ’85. That summer we had managed to get an address for Simon and went there a few times to see if we could find him. This wasn’t actually Simon’s house, but his parents. His house and milkman had been on a tv show earlier that year called The Late Late Breakfast Show. Noel Edmond’s interviewed ‘Les The Milkman’ – and chatted to him about the fans constantly coming around. When we went there in the summer of ’85 Les the milkman was doing his rounds. I wrote in one of my Duran scrapbooks about it. I put ‘Went to Simon’s house in Pinner and met Les the Milkman. He let me deliver Simon’s milk and even take the empties back!’ I even got Les’ autograph! Bless!

Going to Pinner was a trek and a half. My journey would nearly always start at Mile End tube station on the central and district line. This was in the east end of London. Most of Duran lived in South West London. Most of the tv studios and recording studios were West or South West  London. My tube journey’s were normally at least 50 minutes long. And to get to Simon’s parent’s house from Mile End in 1986 could take several tube changes and hours! I put on here a map of the tube from around 1985 so you could see the distances travelled. Thank god for very cheap train fares those days.

We used to battle all kinds of weather in those long days trying to meet a member of Duran. It was one of those days that we could have quite welcomed Simon opening his front door and letting us warm up and dry off. That wasn’t that rare an occurence. I have heard several stories from fans about Simon letting them in for a chat and a cuppa. Sadly, that day didn’t happen for me and my wet cold friends. We just trundled back home having not properly met a member of Duran yet. Defeated again!

(The reference to Whammies was to Wham fans. Back then there was a rivalry between most bands fans! George Michael lived round the corner from John, and sometimes fans would do something to wind other fans up and vice versa. I remember going to John’s once and there on his white garage door was the lipstick traces of writing slagging John and Duran off and that Wham! was better! I am sure some Duran fans reciprocated with their own daubing too!)