Duran legend’s past life was a drag

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By ALEXANDER LAWRIE

DURAN DURAN legend Simon Le Bon is bringing his million-selling band to Scotland next week for an historic gig at Edinburgh Castle.

But the frontman has revealed the first time he ventured north of the border was as part of a DRAG act almost 30 years ago.

Le Bon was a young, struggling drama student when he was forced to don a mini-skirt and a pair of sexy fishnet stockings for the lead part in a university Fringe show.

At the time, the blonde Birmingham University drama student had recently joined the newly-formed New Romantic group, and was still unsure about which career path to take.

But, within a couple of months the band was back in the capital supporting punk princess Hazel O’Connor at the city’s Odeon cinema as part of her 1980 Breaking Glass tour.

A year later Duran Duran were well on their way to world domination of the pop charts with debut single Planet Earth shooting into the UK Top 20 and their eponymously-titled debut album reaching the Top 10 both here and in the US.

Short skirt and fishnets

Recalling that first visit, Le Bon, 50, said: “I was at university doing drama at the time. I had just joined the band – we’d played a couple of shows but I wasn’t yet sure if I wanted to leave university.

“The show was called Dragoman. It was rubbish, but it was fun.

“I played a ringmaster who halfway through changed out of his ringmaster outfit and put on a dress, hence the title.

“It was actually a tight little wooly cardy and a short skirt and fishnet tights and I loved it.

“Acting was as dream but the reality was that, at the time, I could write my own songs and get up on stage and have it all ‘now’ as long as I dedicated myself to it.

“And acting was just a dream. I’d got used to the disappointment of not getting the auditions and all that stuff, and here were people who wanted me, so I thought, ‘I’ll go for this’.”

Duran Duran were named after a character from the Jane Fonda sci-fi movie Barbarella and were part of the first wave of New Romantic pop groups who emerged in the early 1980s.

Now a four-piece after the departure of guitarist Andy Taylor, the group, who have sold 70 million records worldwide, are appearing at Edinburgh Castle next Thursday and will be supported by DJ/producer Mark Ronson.

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