Neil Gaiman on Duran Duran
Now that the newly revised edition of Duran Duran: The First Four Years of the Fab Five is finally in stores everywhere, Neil Gaiman looks back at his greatest literary achievement*.
When I’m signing books, fans inevitably ask me the same questions, such as “Was Sandman based on you visually?”, “Will you sleep with me? Or at the very least hold me tight for more than five minutes?” and “Where can I find a copy of that Duran Duran book?”
I wrote this book in 1984. This was back when I was a young journalist, not a #1 New York Times bestselling author, and certainly not the rock star you know today with more Twitter followers than the population of Estonia (you’re next Qatar!).
What my fans don’t know is that Duran Duran was the most satisfying book I’ve ever worked on. In fact, I had so much fun writing it, I wrote an outline for two more books to make a Duran Duran trilogy — the Lord of the Rings of band biographies. For 25 years, I’ve had the outline framed over my desk, in fact, where it haunted me like the song of the Sirens. Sometimes I found myself staring at it for hours and my fingers fondled the keyboard as if to say, “Come on, Neil, you know you want to do this. You can’t hold back the rain.”
The only way to distract myself from taking on the project was to travel as much as I could. This had worked splendidly, that is, until last year’s trip to Rio — which was like entering the lion’s den. Everything there reminded me of the band. At a book signing, one of my fans gave me a copy of the biography to sign and I immediately began weeping. All of the women in line put their breasts back in their shirts and tried to console me. But it was too late. Once I returned to my hotel room, I locked myself in. Alone and frightened, I carelessly tweeted a pun of tragic proportions that had my agent questioning my sanity and my fans doubting my perfection. Distraught and disappointed, I overdosed on chocolate milk. I was found the next morning and sent to the emergency room where I had my stomach pumped. I remember the bright light of the hospital and the sound of the pump removing the seemingly infinite lumps of undissolved Ovaltine from my body, and that was when I had my epiphany: I must finish the Duran Duran trilogy. This will be my Dark Tower series. My Curious George saga. My legacy.
While I clearly get sexier every day, I’m not getting any younger. This is why I immediately sat down and revised the original Duran Duran, which is what you’re holding in your hand right now. For those comparing the original edition with this one, you’ll notice some small changes. For instance, this one is 500 pages longer. I added key scenes between Le Bon and Sting to better foreshadow their future rivalry. This will make sense in volume two when their respective children, Le BonBon and Sting Abit, fight the ultimate battle between Good versus Evil. I’ve also made Robert Palmer’s role in the book much larger to accommodate his future appearances in the saga as the wise soothsayer surrounded by his army of lookalike goddesses. I’ve removed any mention of Andy Taylor and Nick Rhodes because there are too many characters in the book already. I’ve removed Boy George’s scenes from the book, because while I confidently tackled gender and identity in A Game of You, even I find Boy George to be terribly confusing. And I’ve also removed all the lyrics because that shit is expensive.
I do hope you enjoy this book. I plan to spend the next seven years working on this trilogy exclusively. This means the new Sandman book, Talk to the Sand, is on hold, as well as the Stardust sequel, Stardustier. While I know you may be disappointed by this news, I’m certain once you’ve finished this book, you will be hungry like a wolf for the continuing epic adventures of Duran Duran.
I can no longer hold back the rain.
*None of this is true, by the way.
Christian A. Dumais is the only American writer, humorist and public speaker living in Wrocław, Poland. His most recent book is SMASHED: THE LIFE AND TWEETS OF DRUNK HULK. Follow him on Twitter: @PuffChrissy.