Talking Careless Memories with Denis O’Regan

April 17th, 2015

Denis O’Regan is a rock legend. The tour photographer on some of the key tours in music since the 1980s, this week Denis was in Birmingham to launch his new coffee table book, ‘Careless Memories‘, which chronicles his time on the road with Duran Duran on their Sing Blue Silver tour in 1984. The book is also accompanied by a wonderful exhibition of his Duran Duran tour photographs at Birmingham’s Malmaison, which starts on April 23rd.

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Denis at Malmaison, where we talked about the book, exhibition, and all things Duran Duran (and, as a Duranie, please allow me a swoon at this moment.) I also got a sneaky look at the exhibition as it was being hung – quite a moment.

Duran Duran backstage 1984

Fashion-Mommy: Can you set the scene for Careless Memories?

Denis O’ Regan: Careless Memories is a high end, coffee table book covering the Sing Blue Silver tour of Japan, America and Canada. Seven and the Ragged Tiger had been released just before the tour, and in the middle of the tour The Reflex was released and went to number one in America. The band became huge, this was exactly 20 years after Beatlemania had hit and the band were christened the Fab Five by the American press. It was also the beginning of the MTV era and Duran Duran were one of the first video bands – both press and fans went crazy for them.

FM: The story starts in 1984 when you joined the Sing Blue Silver tour – what had been your rock background before then?

DO: Well, the previous year to this tour I had toured with David Bowie on his Serious Moonlight tour in Europe, and before that I had also toured with the Rolling Stones on their Tattoo You European tour, so I had experience of the rock tour.

FM: 1983 was the height of Duran Fever, how did it feel to be part of that?

DO: Incredible. Of course, none of us knew that this was going to be the pinnacle at the time.It was just an incredible time. I was a Beatles fan when I was younger but was too young to have experienced Beatlemania, but this felt like something similar. It was 5 star hotels and private jets and huge crowds and audiences all the way.

Duran Duran's Roger Taylor & John Taylor USA 1984

FM: You followed the band to Japan, North America and Europe, where were the fans the worst/most hysterical?

DO: The UK tour came before Japan and America, and at the end of that there was a press tour of Italy. It was completely crazy, everywhere the band went they were followed by hoards of fans on their little mopeds. It was hysteria. But of course the band should’ve gone onto bigger stadium tours in North America as they were huge there. Maybe it was a direct result of the pressure, but it never happened. There were the splinter projects, and then Simon almost died on Drum which made the band ask a lot of questions. It also caused friction with the management as one manager had suggested and encouraged the Drum trip. So the big stadiums they could’ve played in the USA never happened.

Duran Duran Vancouver 1984

FM:You say you clicked with the band pretty early on – why do you think that was?

DO: I was used to being around famous people and when I first started to photograph Duran they were bigger in Europe. At that time most UK music press was black and white, but Europe had colour magazines which were great to showcase New Romantic bands, so these sorts of bands were attractive to the Euro press. I shot the band quite a few times for European publications, and then started to bump into them socially and we got friendly. Plus I had shot their hero David Bowie, and also punk which the band were also into, so all this helped.

FM: Which member of the band do you think you got on with best?

DO: John Taylor. We just clicked the first time I shot them. They weren’t that big at the time, I think they were supporting Hazel O Connor, and I was shooting them for the NME. John just came over and started talking about different images I had taken of bands that he liked and had remembered. We remain big friends and still meet up. My nearest neighbour now is Simon, and on the tours I went out most with Andy to party. So lots of different relationships.

Duran Duran's John Taylor live USA 1984

FM: Nick Rhodes talks about the ‘constant humour we survived on’. What did he mean by that?

DO: A tour is a really pressurised environment, especially with the extent of adulation Duran Duran was experiencing. You just have to have fun sometimes, but still need to look after the things that need doing, but there was still a lot of sitting around and laughing.

FM: You describe yourself as a ‘packrat’ what do you mean by that?

DO: I just hung onto everything. Rooming lists, tour itineraries, phone numbers for rooms from the days before mobile phones, even the pseudonyms that band members had to use in the days when they certainly couldn’t use their own names. I remember on the Rolling Stones tour Keith Richards often used the name Dr Ugs as his pseudonym – spelling drugs! I just decided I could put this stuff into a really special book.

FM: You talk about laughing a lot, but what about the downside – the downtime?

DO: For me personally it was the soundchecks. Sometimes you would be literally flying in that morning, and all you would really like to do is get to the hotel room and sleep, or have a meal. Instead it could be right to the venue for a soundcheck – no chill time, no sleep time, and a lot of hanging around. Sometimes it was made worse if, after the show, you were literally flying back out again to the next venue. Charlie Watts once said when asked about 40 years of the Rolling Stones that is was 8 years playing, 32 years hanging around – that’s so true.

FM: Heading back to Careless Memories, how do you feel about giving away some of your own personal memorobilia with the special editions?

DO: Good question. I’m giving up some of it, but hanging onto some, so may put it in a book for myself and my son. Simon Le Bon said he wants a copy to show his children that he does actually work, and if you look at the images in the book they do show the band working, hardly any images are just off duty enjoying themselves.

FM: Do you have a fave memory from the tour?

DO: My fave moments are usually during shows, you can get a certain vibe from the audience. It could be a certain song where the audience just erupts – I just love those moments. It is the combined sense of community that you just don’t get anywhere else. But there were some great moments. The American tour mostly took place during Winter, it was terrible conditions, going from strange place to strange place. They played New York in 10ft snow drifts, but then moved onto Florida and it was 80 degrees heat. That was a nice moment, you can see that from the pictures in the book. But then it was back to snowy Detroit or wherever. There was also great moments with people who turned up on the tour, like Andy Warhol who turned up unexpectedly.

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FM: The band seem to love the book, that must mean a lot?

DO: They were involved. Nick was heavily involved, and they provided extras and made a video etc. I think they are pleased, it’s part of their legacy and sums up a moment in their lives.

FM: You’ve chosen Malmaison for the launch and exhibition – why Mal?

DO:We actually approached Mal – we thought they were a cool brand and we wanted a brand that we thought fitted the ethos of the book. Malmaison is a luxury brand and this is a luxury product so it fits together so well. We also wanted a hotel that we could visit in other UK cities like Manchester and Leeds as we continue the tour. It’s a good fit.

FM: Do you have a fave Duran Duran track?

DO: I love Hungry Like a Wolf. It’s a rock song and I remember them saying the riff was inspired by Marc Bolan and T-Rex ‘Get it on’. I also love New Religion. Careless Memory is not so well known but it is a great title for the book – the perfect title. I think it’s great we can use the name of a song.

FM: And finally, you’ve worked with some of musics best – from the Rolling Stones, David Bowie, Pink Floyd and Queen, right up to Coachella – how does your time with Duran Duran rate?

DO: Well, each of the tours was great for different reasons. The Stones was my first big tour, David Bowie was someone who I think is just amazing. Duran Duran were not a band I’d grown up with, but it was like experiencing Beatlemania with all the hysteria. All the tours were so great for different reasons, because Duran Duran were younger, it felt like we were all in it together. They didn’t know they would become so big on that tour. The press and fans just went mad.

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A sneak preview of the amazing exhibition

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Denis O’ Regan with Careless Memories at Malmaison

*With thanks to Denis O’Regan for his time and memories, and Tara Tomes from East Village and Lisa Smith from Prepared PR.

 

A little more from High Street Outlet

April 16th, 2015

Yesterday I blogged about a fabulous beauty event I had attended in Birmingham before Easter, and today I’m blogging about the pretty gorgeous dress that I wore to the event. It is another piece from High Street Outlet, which means it is another dress that is both lovely and an absolute bargain.

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High Street Outlet, as I mentioned in a previous post, is an online company that sells clothing from a range of High Street brands at discounted prices. Many of the pieces are overstock or previous season, and once they have been detagged, they are sold onto the lucky customers with savings that can total 70%. I previously reviewed a stunning dress from White Stuff (you can read that review here), this time the dress I am loving is the ex Dorothy Perkins scuba floral black/pink dress.

Ex Dorothy Perkins Ladies Scuba Floral Black Pink Dress £17.99 click to visit High Street Outlet

Ex Dorothy Perkins Ladies Scuba Floral Black Pink Dress £17.99 click to visit High Street Outlet

11091486_741473369284100_3550408669688000804_nI am a huge fan of dresses in scuba material, I think the fit is always great as the material cinches you in, but is always super comfortable to wear. Now, I know fashion bloggers should never mention comfort as a clincher when making style choices, but it really is important if you are wearing dresses for a long period of time (i.e a wedding) or if you are going to an important occasion where you want to look and feel your best. This dress is a pull on design and basically fits like a glove – what’s not to love?

DSCN6572[1]This dress is my Desperate Housewives/Carrie Bradshaw dress. It has a retro style to it, a sort of prom queen feel, as the scuba material makes the dress have a 50s style skirt. The print is just so pretty and means you can add accessories of many different colours. It was still cold when I wore the dress so I added tights, but I can’t wait to wear this with baby pink heels to pull out the colour of the flowers. In the meantime, I did add my fave yellow coat which I think contrasted quite well with all the blues in the dress.

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The dress is true to size so I would recommend your own size, no need to size up despite the fabric. I think this is a great buy for £17.99, I have since worn this to a trip to the theatre so it is already earning its place in my wardrobe.

High Street Outlet have added to their fabulous range of dresses, so check out the rest of the range here.

 

Beauty Confidential at House of Fraser

April 15th, 2015

Just before I took some time off for an Easter Break, I attended an event at Birmingham’s House of Fraser (which I still affectionately know as Rackhams!). The event was Beauty Confidential, which promised to be an evening of demonstrations, great Beauty and fragrance discounts, and all round beauty fun.

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There were some great promotions going on throughout the store. Bobbi Brown were giving 5 minute smokey eyes sessions or the 15 minute secret to smokey skin. Chanel were indulging guests with a flash lip make-over with the iconic Rouge Coco, and there were complimentary samples available with every purchase. Dior were sharing the secrets of backstage makeovers, whilst Guerlain were showing you how to achieve the sort of sun-kissed look that usually involves a lot of time in the sun. (The wonder product is here) It was a busy night, but a welcome glass of fizz meant that it was also very glamorous and enjoyable.

The highlight for me was a very special session hosted by my lovely blogger friend Emily Jayne. This was a colour workshop that showed how you can use colour to bring out the best in your look, through both your wardrobe choices and your make-up, but also showed how personality can also be very important when making personal colour choices. The workshop was really informative, and Emily had a gorgeous rail of key, colourful picks from House of Fraser’s current collections to help highlight her message.

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Emily Jayne Struts her stuff.

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With Emily Jayne and Brummie bloggers Ting, Tasha and Alev.

I really enjoyed my night at House of Fraser, it set me up perfectly for the rest and relaxation of my upcoming holiday. A rather lovely goodie bag full of samples from the likes of La Prairie, Clarins and Sisley, along with more perfume samples than you can imagine in one bag, and a very cute beach bag also from Clarins, was the icing on what had been a really lovely evening. I’m really looking forward to my next House of Fraser beauty event.

Beauty Confidential continues online until Sunday. You can get £10 off any of the Beauty Faves, and there are other money off offers running too. Click here to visit House of Fraser.