1985 is a year I am forever fond of.
I was the flower girl at my Auntie’s wedding that brutally hot Southern California summer. (An event I almost ruined by bawling my eyes out during the ceremony– terrified the rites meant I would never see her again.) It was the year of Marty McFly, We Are the World, Punky Brewster (yay!), New Coke (boo!), Nintendo, bad perms and great flipping music.
It’s also the year that my favorite band of the ’80s, Duran Duran, split for what was to be the first in a long line of splits.
But it was a good split. Not one of those narly, messy Tiger Beat soap operas that had teenage girls in black sackloth and candlelit vigils. (That came a few years later.) No, this was quite different. An amicable split to explore the natural curiosities and urges that intrigues 20-somethings the world over. It was in fact less of a split and more of a side-project. Duran Duran’s Simon LeBon (swoon) and Nick Rhodes (faint) explored the phantasmagoria of deeply gothic synth rock while John Taylor (thud) joined ranks with rocking Robert Palmer’s Power Station.
They called themselves “Arcadia” and the Mad Max-ish Soft-pornish erotica of their epic video, Election Day, gave way to what is the point of this particular post: a delightful, whimsical homage to 40s screwball whodunnits. The Flame is a gem hidden beneath Duran Duran’s glossier, bigger budget big-brothers. Murder on the Orient Express, The Thin Man, House of Horrors and even Bringing Up Baby are sampled– Simon LeBon channeling a convincingly slapsitck Cary Grant, while Nick Rhodes is, as ever, the elegant omniscient puppeteer.
The reason for this admittedly random post is quite simple. At the age of six I was in love with the band, but also the style and fun of this video. As an adult, looking back, it’s wonderfully amusing to realize that even at six, my fate was sealed: the romance and mystere of classic film was already in my blood.