Nick Rhodes – “Fáshiön were an inspiration on the Birmingham scene. John (Taylor) and I used to go and see them at The Barrel Organ in Digbeth virtually every week over a six month period. They were a great inspiration. We played our last gig with Stephen Duffy as our vocalist at Barbarellas supporting Fáshiön.”
John Taylor – “Fáshiön were definitely doing something new. You really had to be there with Fáshiön, but they were very important to Nick and me. It was like New Sounds New Styles, all about mixing things up. Fáshiön took a punk ethic, fused it with white reggae and there was a synth pop element. And clothes were important, posters were important, typeface was important. Birmingham had never really been known for style, we needed something. And Fáshiön did something different every week. They were pretty glamorous.”
(From Duran Duran Unseen … Paul Edmond –Photographs 1979-82)
Fáshiön Rehearsing At Rum Runner Club, B’ham 1980
We hack through some of our old singles Steady Eddie Steady, Citinite, The Innocent, and Silver Blades just to get warmed-up. Then we try to bludgeon the new material (Emotional Blackmail, Artificial Eyes, and Do it in the Dark) into some semblance of a hit record.
We decide to take a break from a rehearsal that’s going nowhere fast. Mulligan is just starting a game of Space Invaders on the wardrobe-sized machine by the door, Dik and I are standing behind him watching, when a silhouette carrying a guitar case appears in the doorway.
“’Scuse us, like, you Duran Duran?” a Geordie wants to know.
“Not exactly, no.” Dik says.
“No. Not at all, in fact.” I agree.
“I’m here for the audition. Just off the train. Name’s Andy.”
“Alright, Andy. We’re Fáshiön. Bits of it anway.” Dik says and grins.
Duran Duran’s gear is just through there.” I say, waving back into the darkened bowels of the club. “Go on through. I expect they’ll be here in a bit.”
“You’re welcome mate,” Dik says. “Just look for a pile of right tatty, old, road battered gear with steam coming off it. That’ll be ours. The brand new stuff opposite it is theirs.”
Dik and I go outside for a smoke. We hop around trying to keep warm while we add to Broad Street’s carbon monoxide.
“Here, they’ve been on at me, y’know.” I say.
“What? Who has?” Dik leers at a couple of passing office girls and they giggle.
“The management brothers.”
“They want to know if I think that new bloke can sing?”
“What did you tell them?”
“Well, not the truth.”
“No. Why start now? Said he was alright did you?”
“Well, he’s not bad.”
“His shirts look a bit grubby though.” Dik adds, “Someone should tell his Mom about that new biological Persil, eh?”
Is he any good, they want to know. Does he have what it takes to be a star? Why would I even care, and how the fuck am I supposed to know? I’ve lost my way, I’m no longer convinced of the inevitability of my own stardom. I’m on a treadmill, going through the motions, it feels like I’m trapped on a stairway to nowhere.
“Looks like they’re looking for a guitar player as well, then.” I say, turning to stare back down the alley at the club entrance behind us.
“Oy. Don’t get any ideas, lanky, you’ve got a job.”
“You must be joking.” I say, “Me? Play with that lot of Mulligan worshippers? They think I’m some kind of oik in eyeliner.
“Well, you are.”
“I know. But I do have lovely eyes.”
“Come on, let’s go and see if we can persuade the god Mulligan to skank up the bass line to Do it in the Dark.”
We beseech him, but our prayers fall on deafened ears.
A couple of weeks later, Annette tells us that the newly furnished Duran Duran have finalized their line-up and want us to play a showcase gig with them at The Rum Runner.
“They’ll open up the show.” she says.
“Yes, and I’m sure we’ll manage to finish it off.” I add.
On the night, Duran Duran bang through their set with lots of dash and fresh-faced enthusiasm. The new guitar player, Andy, turns out to have just the right touch of funk to his playing to spark their sound.
I, on the other hand, play the whole set collapsing back against the mirrored wall, staring out at the crowd with a bored, fixed expression. Who knows how our show goes, most of the poseurs there probably weren’t even listening. I know I barely was.
And suffering the swings and roundabouts of outrageous fortune there at the end of my so-called career, just a couple of weeks later we are down in London opening two shows at The Rainbow Theater for The Stranglers and I’m having the time of my life again!