Music Review: Duran Duran: Danse Macabre

It’s been a while since I did a music review. I don’t think I even did one for Duran’s last album, Future Past, which was released two years ago. But the excitement was high for the new Hallowe’en-themed album, so it’s time to get back into the habit! Thoughts listed track by track…


This re-recording sounds even eerier than the original, and sort of more epic. Like a film soundtrack. It does lose some of the punk energy I loved in the 1981 version, though.

Black Moonlight

This is more of a banger every time I hear it. A ‘dancing around the room’ kind of song! Love that funk bassline. I also love that it’s been all over the BBC this Hallowe’en week.

Love Voudou

A funkier and less spiky update of the original ‘Love Voodoo’ from 1993. I think I prefer this version!

Bury A Friend

My favourite Billie Eilish song so I was excited about this one. It did not disappoint. Fully Duranised and nicely rock-infused.


Loses none of the disco feel of the original Cerrone version. Love the backing chorus at the end.

Danse Macabre

Probably the most Hallowe’en-y song on the album. My favourite lyrics (I am a Hallowe’en girl so frankly I was sold from the opening) and it’s another one that’s highly danceable.

Secret Oktober 31st

I always found the original slightly dirge-y (I wrote a piece for Cherry Lipstick to that effect) but this version is a bit better – it has a twinkly lightness about it at the start and then gets a bit filmic by the end. Much more interesting.

Ghost Town

A classic from the Specials back in the day so I wasn’t sure what to expect. They’ve injected it with a lot more fun and it made me smile (and then laugh when it got extra reggae in the middle). A more serious cover would probably have fallen flat but this one struck the right note.

Paint It Black

Another personal favourite from childhood. What I love about the Rolling Stones original is its harsh spikiness and that was lost here. However, it does sound spookier (and the guitars are pleasingly ’80s) so I think it’s a version that will grow on me.

Super Lonely Freak

Duran played this mashup of ‘Super Freak’ and ‘Lonely In Your Nightmare’ when I saw them in Leeds earlier this year. I hadn’t realised it had originated from the Hallowe’en 2022 Vegas gig, but I did enjoy it in concert (even if I was worried for a moment that it had replaced the wonderful ‘Girls On Film’/’Acceptable In The ’80s’ mashup that I love! But they kept that in too so yay). Glad to see it immortalised on record… and the sax section is fantastic.


Being a recovering goth, I am a huge Siouxsie and the Banshees fan. The original has been played at every goth club night since 1981 and so I know it intimately. This version lacks a little of the punk energy, but it would fit in very nicely with later goth rock from the second half of the ’80s.

Psycho Killer

A smoother and more epic version of the Talking Heads original. Gorgeous double bassline (the second provided by Victoria De Angelis of Måneskin, complementing John Taylor) and lovely instrumental work all round.

Confession In The Afterlife

A slow and serious ending to what has otherwise been a fun and danceable album. Pretty tune and a nice guitar solo but it feels like a bit of an odd duck on this record.

Gig Review: Duran Duran at O2 Academy Birmingham, 14th September 2021

It’s been two and a half years since I last did a gig review on here! I’m a bit out of the habit…

Like many other things in my life post-pandemic, going to gigs is not as frequent an occurrence as it used to be. I like my evenings at home on my sofa and it has to be something special for me to buy tickets these days. However, I have been to a few since the world started returning to normal (nine, by my calculations) and have one or two lined up for the future. It’s probably time I start catching up with some reviews again.

It was, of course, highly appropriate that my first post-pandemic gig back was my first time getting to see Duran Duran. They’ve been my favourite band for years now but for various reasons I just hadn’t had the chance to see them. When a couple of surprise dates were announced in September 2021, I grabbed the opportunity with both hands.

I reviewed this gig for both Daily Duranie and Cherry Lipstick at the time, so my much fresher thoughts are out there already and I won’t repeat those. Really it’s just nice to look back, in hindsight, at a really special experience – the suddenness of the announcement, heading down to Birmingham for the evening, the incredible atmosphere at the O2 Academy (a much smaller venue than the arenas Duran usually play) and the overwhelming feeling of experiencing something for which I’d waited a long time. Not to mention excitedly livetweeting the gig (see here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here) 😀

Duran Duran

Now, for the first time in nearly four years, I shall update my Band Aid baby bucket list:

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 11/37 (29.7%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 13/44 (29.5%).

Off adventuring again

I’ve got another outdoor Duran Duran gig to attend this weekend so I’m off down to London tomorrow (timing could have been better, looks like it’s going to be impossibly hot down there) while Geth holds the fort at home. This will be the very last of my pandemic-postponed events (not counting the two that never got rescheduled – I’m still holding out hope for them but it’s looking unlikely now!).

Once I was finally able to break free of the endless news-watching trap in which I had become entangled due to this week’s events, I had a really good go at Bravely Default II yesterday. I got the game when it came out in February 2021 and have been playing it on and off for over a year, but hadn’t actually opened it up since last October – I’ve been far too busy with other things since then! Hopefully this summer I will actually finish it.


Flying visit to Dublin in both senses! We flew out yesterday morning, enjoyed a wonderful Duran Duran gig in the north of the city (review to come soon) and flew back this morning (a lot later than intended but let’s not dwell on that). It was really strange at first to be on a plane again after four years, but it felt normal again very quickly. I’m finding that with a lot of things.

With yesterday’s flight, my record streak of time spent without leaving the UK came to a welcome end. My new record is 1,418 days: I did not leave the UK between arriving into Edinburgh from Toronto on 25th July 2018 and leaving Newcastle for Dublin on 12th June 2022. I do not wish to break this record again. While home is far and away my favourite place, there are lots of far-flung things in the world that are worth poking my nose out for.

Duran day

Just a quick post this morning as I’m travelling today for a concert. Going to see Duran Duran again – a gig that was booked for 2020 originally and has been postponed twice. It’ll be lovely to go finally.

Quite a lot on this month but I’m focusing on one thing at a time as it’s a bit overwhelming otherwise!

A month of two halves

The first half of September has been almost back to pre-pandemic levels of Being Out And About! Weddings, races, gigs… it’s been a busy time, but so joyful to be able to see people and do normal things again. I even finally got to see Duran Duran this week! They announced a couple of short-notice gigs about a fortnight ago and I jumped at the chance… especially seeing as I already had a ticket for Andy Taylor on the Wednesday and so it was set to be the best coming-out-of-the-pandemic return to gig-going week I could have hoped for!

I’ll review the gigs in depth here eventually but I’ve also written pieces on them for a couple of fansites/publications so I want to wait until those are out first.

Anyway, the second half of September, in contrast, is empty, and I plan to make the most of that. I will only be leaving the house to do parkrun and an occasional long-ish run (my short daily runs are now all being done on the treadmill to reduce my risk of injury in the lead-up to the marathon) until I leave for London, with the one exception being the day I’ll be helping Geth unpack boxes in his new office. I am guarding that time very carefully as I want as much physical and mental rest as possible over the next sixteen days!

I am also getting organised for Hallowe’en so that I’m not rushing around with that in October. Some exciting things coming in the post soon…

Gig t-shirts
T-shirt collection well stocked up this week! Love both of these 🙂


The Wombles – ‘The Wombling Song’
Duran Duran – ‘Come Undone’


Mika – ‘Grace Kelly’


Mark Knopfler – ‘Local Hero’
The Running Channel – ‘Run With Me’


Meat Loaf – ‘Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through’
Duran Duran – ‘Invisible’


Duran Duran – ‘Tonight United’
Andy Taylor – ‘Bringing Me Down’
Gloria Gaynor – ‘I Will Survive’
Duran Duran – ‘Friends Of Mine’


Duran Duran – ‘What Happens Tomorrow’


Tom Jones – ‘Delilah’
Duran Duran – ‘Ordinary World’

1,096 days

I broke a record today.

Faroe Islands, 1986
In a Faroese town centre with Dad, July 1986.

My previous lifetime record for consecutive days spent in the UK was 1,095 days. With Mum and Dad, I sailed back from our holiday in the Faroe Islands to Shetland on 7th July 1986. I then didn’t leave the UK again until 6th July 1989, when I sailed from England to France with Mum, Dad and Malcolm. During that three-year period we did get on a lot of ferries – we were visiting my grandparents in Shetland a lot as my grandmother was poorly by then – but it wasn’t until that French trip in 1989 that we went abroad again.

France, 1989
In a French town centre with Mum, July 1989.

Growing up in the 1990s I was lucky enough to travel a lot with the family. We went abroad almost every year, usually to continental Europe but sometimes to North America too. In my late teens I often went on holiday abroad with friends, and after I met Geth, while most of our travelling was UK-based, we typically ventured out to other countries once a year or so, usually to coincide with one of his academic conferences or work trips.

2018 was the last such trip to date. Geth was meeting international colleagues in Toronto, and we decided to combine that with a holiday as it was an opportunity to visit Malcolm and Steff. Mum and Dad were able to match the dates for their planned trip to Toronto too, and so it was a lovely get-together with the family. I flew back from Toronto and arrived in Edinburgh on the morning of 25th July 2018. That was 1,096 days ago – exactly three years. I haven’t left the UK since.

Canada, July 2018
In a Canadian city centre by myself, July 2018. Mum and Dad were around somewhere though!

I had no idea it would be my last trip abroad for such a long time. Breaking this particular record was obviously not my plan! I passed on joining Geth on a work trip to Oslo in June 2019, as I was really busy with work and other things at the time, but I had a ticket to see Duran Duran in Dublin in June 2020, and we planned to go back to Toronto in summer 2020, and we wanted to have a couple of city breaks in Paris and Amsterdam in autumn 2020…

Yeah. 2020.

It’s funny how much I took travelling for granted before. There were lots of places in the world I wanted to see, and the only things stopping me from seeing them were time, money and the anxiety I always have around travelling due to mental issues with routine. It never occurred to me, pre-pandemic, that the world would ever be in a situation where I simply wouldn’t be allowed to go to these places (or that it would be so logistically difficult and/or risky that it wouldn’t be worth it). Nowadays, as I sit in the house watching cities like Sydney and Tokyo and New Orleans and Johannesburg and Barcelona and Rio de Janeiro fly by, in documentaries and films and videogames on my screens, and in the pages of the books I read, and the academic works I edit, and the stories I write myself… I always think the same old thing I always did. ‘I’ll go there someday!’ And then I feel sad, because I don’t know when that will be possible again in the same way that it was before. Years away, perhaps.

I had a ticket to see Duran Duran in Dublin in June 2020. Then I had a ticket to see Duran Duran in Dublin in June 2021. Now I have a ticket to see Duran Duran in Dublin in June 2022. I hope it happens. I hope the world won’t make me go a whole quarter of a decade or more without seeing my brother, whom I last saw in person on my birthday in January 2020. I hope I’ll be running parkruns in Paris and Amsterdam next year. But the last year and a half has taught me that I can’t be certain.

I can hope, though. I really, really hope that the world will go back to what we once thought of as normality.

Until then I will just keep patiently counting days. And hope that I am setting a record I will never break again!

Playlist Pick: Duran Duran, ‘Invisible’

There was only one song that was ever going to make my Wednesday playlist pick today. It’s ‘new Duran Duran single’ day!

I woke up early to listen to it on Zoe Ball’s Radio 2 show this morning, and have been enjoying it on and off all day. I really liked it on first listen, which is unusual, as most songs take some time to grow on me.

The new album (which is coming out in October) also became available for pre-order at midnight last night. I may have ordered both the signed CD and the green vinyl. New Duran albums don’t come along very often.

Now off to listen to the single again…

Gig Review: Andy Taylor at the 100 Club, 27th November 2019

It’s been a while since I did a gig review… mainly for obvious reasons! I do have a couple of outstanding events to review from the pre-pandemic world, though, so I’ll get those posted while I’m waiting for life to return to the point where I can go to gigs again.

I reviewed this gig for Daily Duranie at the time (though the page is down at the moment as the Daily Duranie folks are currently in the process of sorting out their archives), so I won’t repeat myself too much, but it was a wonderful show. Some background context: my lifelong ’80s pop obsession narrowed to a Duran Duran sub-obsession in early 2017, but for various reasons the band (who since 2006 have been the classic lineup sans Andy Taylor) have not played any public gigs in the UK during that time, and so I have still not seen them in concert (or been able to cross them off my Band Aid baby bucket list as a result!). I was meant to see them twice in 2020… but then life stopped, as we all know. I now have tickets to see them twice in 2021, but we’ll just have to wait and see if that can happen. I’m not very optimistic, sadly; I expect it will probably be 2022, along with all the other 2020 gigs for which I’m still holding tickets.

However, I was lucky enough to get a ticket for the Andy Taylor gig in London in November 2019! Andy was scheduled to release a new album in 2020 (now scheduled for summer 2021 apparently), and this gig at the 100 Club was the first chance to hear some of the new material (along with favourites from 1987’s Thunder and the occasional crowd-pleasing Duran track!). Andy is also a touring member of Reef, and so Reef singer Gary Stringer was on hand to help with vocal duties.

Andy Taylor at the 100 Club, November 2019
My usual standard of gig photography, I’m afraid! Perhaps it will improve post-pandemic…

It was great to be able to get down to London for this (and meet up with other Duranies for the first time). I was so excited to do it all again in Cullercoats in May 2020… but that is another gig that has yet to see the light of day. Whenever it eventually happens, I’ll be there – Cullercoats is Andy’s hometown, so it should be a fantastic atmosphere, and it’s just a short trip on the Metro for me here in Newcastle. A bit easier than travelling to London!

Updated Band Aid baby bucket list progress: song artists 7/37 (18.9%); message artists 2/7 (28.6%); total artists 9/44 (20.5%).