ZANG TUMMM TUMB ARTICLES “the first draft of history”

Swiss franks

Finally, FRANKIE relaxed and invited Helen FitzGerald to chase them round picturesque Montreux. So what did happen in that brothel in Frankfurt? What do Frankie and Duran get up to behind closed doors? Who wants to be a millionaire? From the heart of Switzerland, this delirious report… Candid cameraman: Tom Sheehan

“WHOS girlfriend are you then, love? I see youre travelling with them. Listen, weve heard theres going to be a party later, sit down with me for a minute, can I get you a drink?”

Everything you imagine about the low-life press is distressingly true. And Suddenly The Sun Say: Pop Sells Papers—and grown men and women are sent to all corners of the globe with the sole intent of exaggerating and, if necessary, lying about the everyday trivia of someone whose name we all recognise. No morsel is too absurd—and its getting worse. The fact that Simon Le Bons new-shorn “shock” hairstyle (“I can never feel the same about you again,” signed “your number one fan”) didnt make the front pages is probably down to the Bradford fire disaster—which is a bit frightening.

Simon was instead relegated to an inside downpager, but would you have been surprised to see them share prime billing? Remember Andrews nose job, Boy Georges mansion, the Duranies coke habits? Its all here in your glorious, friendly, family newspaper…

And theyre all here. Camped in the foyer, eyes glued to every entrance, some trying to blend in, others too blase to bother, they pester Frankies publicist like determined desert flies. Hey, you understand, we have a job to do as well. Were only human. By the way… is it true Holly spent three grand on leather gear in Ibiza last week? Whats the story on Nasher wrecking those hire cars? (Nash crashed one car, by accident of course. “Frankie quit Ibiza leaving trail of wrecked hire cars” ran the story.)

Is Hollys boyfriend here? The two guys from People magazine came knocking on our door at 4am. (Party noises were too much for their nosy constitution.) “Wed like to see Holly please.” Hes asleep. “Well maybe a few pictures just, yes?”

This is all true.

EVERYTHING IS POSSIBLE (One Night In Montreux)

Ah, one night in Montreux in this company and what more could you want? The Casino that hosts this tacky Golden Rose Festival is just like your local Mecca Bingo hall—right down to the worn brown and orange check carpet.

This is not opulence but, of course, its the company you keep thats important.

(cont.)
Theyve all come to mime to their records in front of an audience who are mainly irrelevant. They just make the festive aura. Its the four and a half million TV audience thats the bait. Most of them dont want to be here but they know the score.

Besides, you get to meet a few old chums—Elton dahling, havent seen you for so long. Most are just here to do their jobs and move on. Tears For Fears and Depeche chum it up at the bar. Howard Jones and his wife chat in a corner.

Sting makes a grand entrance, nose in the air, projecting that splendid air of complete indifference while the eternally pert Agnetha is getting rattled cause shes being overlooked. Noel Edmonds is buzzing around somewhere, but no-ones quite sure exactly why hes here.

The Frankies, of course, are on form. The last 12 hours have been strange and the best is yet to come. Last night we travelled 10 miles up a mountain to a non-existent party (Claude Nobs, where do you live?), drank everything including Kirsch and even smashed the bottle to eat the pear inside, listened to Pink Floyd all night at Mark and Nashers insistence and dispersed only when Nash had puked in the lavatory and Ped had reluctantly muttered: “Its not that Im blueyed, I really want to go to bed.”

This morning we were buying diamond earrings with Mark. The sombre Swiss jewellers had never seen the like.

“Do you think theyre dead ostentatious or what?” hes giggling.

“Nah, Ill take the smaller ones, these ones are girls earrings.”

A dozy waiter resigned all over the lunch at the hotel. His slothly pace provoked a “Wheres the soup, dickhead?” from our table. Unfortunately the guys English was less elementary than first suspected. Frankie make a Lifestyle of putting their foot in it. Everything youve seen and heard is true.

Holly: “We provide a distraction, an entertainment, a fantasy. Oh, you could definitely say that its the cliché of wanting to escape your surroundings were unhealthy or bad, but they were poor, you know what I mean?” He laughs.

“Theres nothing unrespectable about being poor. We still are—believe it or not… we still are.”

Paul: “I can understand now, being on this side of the fence, how people get cold and aloof, that whole trip yknow? Cos it is a lot to deal with, the way people treat you and everything. You get very cushioned, cut off from reality.”

There is no hierarchy, there are no divisions. No social or sexual stereotyping here. Exaggeration is funny, a “vibe”.

Holly: “If it does peoples heads in, I like it.” And if you cant see the point… youre not trying hard enough.

Hollys very crafty in the nicest of ways and droll beyond belief. He is impossibly likeable. “What do you think of these kegs, then? Theyve got a special seam to make me bum stick out.”

Paul feels like hes watching a permanent film, only its a brilliant film, one you dont want to end. Paul is possibly one of the dearest men alive.

“Were all into very different things and yet were all into the same things. I played a Mozart tape on the bus the other day and the lads had hysterics. They made me take it off. But the whole thing is totally mad. The five of us were walking down a beach in Ibiza the other day and it was like, what the hell are we doing here? You really do forget where you were the day before yesterday. Its very strange.”

Nasher acts the wild boy, but hes a little boy let loose in the biggest toy-shop hes ever dreamed of. But Nasher knows what nihilistic means, dont let the Van Halen and Led Zep tapes fool you. He may well hove a better grasp of the real world than you or I.

Mark is thinking about everything. Seeking things outside his previous terms of reference but not wanting to lose touch with the grounding influence of “Lad” cameraderie.

“Im just growing up. I wouldnt want to be totally cool—but I wouldnt want to be a total lad either.” Hes got his head together.

And Ped. Peds the dark horse and on acknowledged cornerstone. He doesnt say a lot but hes alert to whats going on before it even happens. El Presidente knows a lot more than hes telling.

“Its just a word, sex… its the word ‘sex that the lads like to mess around with, not the actual act. I dont know, it gives us like, a mad front. I suppose.” (Peter Gill from “And Suddenly There Came A Bang”)

LET YOURSELF BE BEAUTIFUL (People Think Youre Weird When You Tell Them The Truth)

THE People people are skulking in the foyer which, to the trained eye, means that Frankie are partying it up again. This time Duran are the sole invitees and from behind closed doors I can exclusively reveal -…aaargh, its catching.

Andy “King Weed” Taylor and Nasher are soul-mates and drag a fridge across the room to investigate its contents. If beer does not arrive in minutes, veiled threats hove been made concerning the in-house TV and video console. Mark and JT are slogging each others hearthob status, Pauls chattering with Nick and Julie-Anne, the champagnes arrived and Holly and Simon are both looking ravishing.

Someone has scattered Duran fan mail all over the bathroom floor and Martin Gore just sneaked in wearing that strange black skirt. A very memorable evening all round. Beyond that, my lips ore sealed.

OH, DO WE HAVE TO BE SERIOUS NOW?

MARK: “The new stuff weve done is great. Some of it is dead poppy and some of it is a bit weird.”

HOLLY: “Put it this way… our relationship with ZTT is a purely business relationship, purely business. More than that I cannot say. Except they never had more influences on us than we had on them. Though they might think that they had. Trevor has given us a very individual sound, we always had an individual sound but hes made it technically flawless.

“In fact were a very rough bond,” he laughs. “Thatll show itself in the new records.”

Paul: “The new songs are harder, a bit more rock ‘n roll maybe, but then theyre very Frankie as well. ‘Watusi Love Juicy! Listen! Were the silliest bunch of fuckers around but thats healthy, to me its healthy to have that.

“Playing live has done a lot for us—its still, like, a big thrill. Even when youre not feeling up to it or have a hangover or something, you forget about it when youre up there. I think musically speaking, playing live has been very good as well. Weve learned a lot.”

Mark: “You lie awake sometimes worrying about writing more songs and that. You lose touch with friends. Ive only really got one mate left whos been great about it all. Hello Paul Barry. Hell be dead chuffed it he gets a mention.”

Frankie, in fact, have a lot more in common with John, Paul, George and Ringo than mere geography. This statement is potentially outrageous and possibly true. But before their bell tolled the Fab Four certainly werent averse to a little, ahem, fun.

Frankie are consummate realists, yet they are judged to be absurd. This in itself is very amusing.

“Ooooh—do you think she means were psychedelic, boys?”

Frankie are for people who read Tom Robbins and gaze at the sky. Also Frankie are for everyone. This is a very equitable arrangement indeed. Closet hippies and Cosmonauts, theres room for us all.

That is the official Frankie vibe.

…THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS

PAUL: “I dont attach too much importance to any of it really. Im glad were being treated more like a band now. I think the press have got over the shock of it all. I love it but I know its transitory, nothing to get excited about.

(cont.)
That sounds very facetious but its not meant to.

“I just mean that its not the be-all and end-all. Youre constantly being brought down to earth like meeting sick kids and that. Youre glad to have given them something… but you feel dead weird that meeting you has made even a tiny difference to their lives. Sometimes it really does my head in. Id never leave though, never ever…”

The partys over and the debris is quite impressive. Mark and Simon are lingering over a bottle of port and swapping stories that are getting more and more vulgar as time wears on. What are the most important qualities in a good minder. What its like to feel invulnerable sometimes. What Paul and Mark did in a Thai restaurant in Brussels. Why Simon needs to do that boat race. The story of the Frankfurt whore-house. All totally unbelievable, all wonderfully true.

“Theyre alright, the Duran boys, arent they?” Mark jibes. “An you thought they were going to be right bastards.”

Simon says hell do an interview with me if I show him my tits. The offer is declined, gracefully of course, and we come to on amicable arrangement. Simons asking Mark if it would be okay for him to get up on stage with him in New York, “just for a couple of numbers”.

Frankie Goes To Hollywood are special—everybody knows that. They are also quite a conventional rock ‘n roll band. This is what annoys people, I think.

Paul: “I know people think were dead uncouth but its all a game really. Mark and me got slung out of a Thai restaurant in Brussels a while back for having a fight with them hot towels they give you. It got a bit out of hand. We were over there doing a TV appearance. The studio wrote a letter to Island saying they never wanted us to come back there.

“We got a bit cocky with them cause we got this dead scabby dressing room and they were drooling all over Jermaine Jackson. So we ordered hundreds of sandwiches and stuff and then chucked it all over their corridor. They werent very pleased about that.

“That sounds dead rock star, doesnt it? Were not like that really. Were always having a laugh with Duran about them having bigger limos than us.”

Holly endeavours to look elegant in the cruel light of morning but even he is subdued. They fly to Boston this morning for the first date of the American tour. Mark has been up all night and Nasher cant remember where he is.

“Oh, its always like this,” Holly grins, “especially when we meet Duran. Its like, clear the aisles.” Wolfgang looks a tad pissed off. Its just another town, another airport for him and America stretches far over the immediate horizon.

“Im dreading it,” Paul groans groping around for the tapes he was playing last night. “Has anyone seen me ‘Aladdin Sane?. America is a bit much, even for us. Its a bit of a head trip—you know what I mean?”

Frankies minder is a 17 stone skin head with a colourful past who breeds tropical fish and is a perfect gentleman. Hes giving Simon quiet tips on the art of self-protection. Hand to hand combat. Simon was almost roughed up in Paris and hes still a bit shook up. Mark and Simon are having a hug in the hall and Fleet Street have missed their big moment.

No stamina, these hacks, theyve all tracked off to bed. “Back to their lairs where they belong,” Hollys giggling. “We really led them a dance this time. We did a photo-call for them but we wouldnt all go out at the same time, we went out in pairs so they couldnt use anything for a poster. Oh, we have them well sussed.”

Cars arrive to ferry us all out to Geneva airport. Holly makes me sit between him and Wolfgang and then goes to sleep on my shoulder. Holly is a bad boy.

“Was it how you thought wed be?”. Oh indeed sir, everything and more.

(cont.)
“Holleeeeeeeeee…” the girls were screaming outside last night and he smiled that enigmatic smile. “It gets them every time…”

Frankie are an education and a blast. “Alright there gerl, well see you again an dont forget—Viva El Presidente!”

  • HOLLY: “First I wanted to be a ventriloquist, then an archaeologist… Then, oh God, I wanted to be Gene Kelly. I really liked him. I wanted to be in those films where life is stunningly happy and there was always a totally wonderful ending.”
  • NASHER: “I think were the most unlikely teenybop idols that youll get in the next 20 years, never mind the 20 years just gone. We thought wed get all these fan letters and all that, and its a bit strange.”
  • PAUL: “I loved Bowie when he was Ziggy and thinking there was something very daring about liking the guy. There was a sense of him getting away with something and that in a way is what Frankie is about as well. Thats why we did it in the first place really.”
  • PED: “I was playing around on drums in a couple of bands and I used to say ‘Please God, make something happen.”
  • MARK: “Its a bit of a Lewis Carroll here but if it stopped tomorrow Id just think well, that was a blast, and carry on. Theres no rules here ‘cept for one. Everyone we meet, we wind-up, and if they can take the wind-up, theyre alright, if not, they get the full treatment.”
  • Nasher: Give us a hug Nasher. “Piss off woman.”
  • Paul Rutherford: “I couldnt decide on the ties so I had to wear them both. Why dont you like the Prince album? Its dead good.”
  • Ped: El Presidente inspects the troops. Do you think shes sound Ped? “Shell do.”
  • Mark OToole: A scallywag in Yamamoto drapes. “The last book I read was that one about the Kray Twins. It was well heavy.”