John Taylor of Duran Duran has put pen to paper…
by John Taylor // September 18th, 2012 // Biography
John Taylor, author of In The Pleasure Groove: Love, Death and Duran Duran writes exclusively for Tesco about his new book, his literary inspiration and what he has learned in the course of setting down his memoirs on paper.
Almost three years ago, I lost my father. As I was clearing out the house I had grown up in, I found a great deal of memorabilia – photographs and documents from the early days of the band, which my parents had lovingly preserved.
The idea to write the book really started then. I’m a naturally self-reflective person, and I do believe in the benefits of mental ‘stock taking’ anyway, so I felt that writing the book would be part of the grieving process – for my dad, for my mother, who had died several years earlier, but also, in a way, for my own childhood; their passing disconnected me from the place I grew up in, the suburbs of south Birmingham.
I read a lot. I like Jonathan Lethem and Jennifer Egan, who have written beautifully about the music business, and I have read some fantastic music biographies over the years, such as Peter Guralnick’s Last Train to Memphis about Elvis’s early years. I loved Bob Dylan’s autobiography and always loved, and still do, the writers from the NME in the seventies: Nick Kent, Charles Shaar Murray and Ian MacDonald.
I have come to really enjoy creative writing myself over the years, contributing to blogs and articles for the band’s tour programmes and the occasional music magazine, so I felt that writing my own book was something I wanted to do. I was actually surprised, when I sat down to write, how much fun the experience was. It is amazing how much laughter there was, even in the darker moments of my younger adult life.
I did quite a lot of damage to myself as a young man, but enough time has passed now for me not to be too hard on myself. I was writing about another guy, someone who, I see now, thought he was very shrewd but was actually quite naive. If there is a subject to the book, it is: ‘You would have done this too, if you had been there!’
As a result, it’s an extremely frank and open book that is very revealing about my feelings. Fame gave me a lot more than I bargained for.
Writing the story of my life made me realise that everything that has happened to me happened at the right time. I wouldn’t change a thing. I had to experience a certain amount of misery in order to want to make major changes to the way I was living my life.
There are certain things you can only find out through experience. I have found that that the key to happiness lies within me, not in the attainment of any amount of ‘stuff’. My relationships – with family, friends and workmates – take a lot of maintenance and mindfulness, but it’s worth it. Wanting to be happy seems like a simple enough desire, but one has to go after it quite aggressively.
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