What I’ve Learnt: Simon Le Bon

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‘Angry young man is quite cool. Angry young man becomes a grumpy old git isn’t so attractive’

With the band Duran Duran, Simon Le Bon, 54, has sold more than 100 million records over a 30-year career, including hits such as Rio and Hungry Like the Wolf. He lives in southwest London with his wife, the supermodel Yasmin Le Bon, and their three dogs and two cats. They have three daughters, Amber, Saffron and Tallulah.

I’m quite surprised that I’m not gay. Dressing up was one of my first and most cherished games. I had a jockey outfit, a policeman’s outfit, a cowboy’s outfit and, of course, an Andy Pandy outfit.

If I didn’t do this I would pay to do it. One of the things we’ve been saying for years and years is that we’re all incredibly grateful to be doing what we love and getting paid for it. I still feel this way.

The most important thing for me is my girls. And the love of my life, Yasmin. Then there are my mum and my brothers. And the band. The people and relationships in my life are what I cherish.

Punk taught me how to sew. I used to turn my clothes into punky stuff. Punk taught me that you could go out and have a go. But I grew up in a very middle-class environment. I went to a Sham 69 gig at the Roxy [the seminal punk club in Covent Garden, London] and Jimmy Pursey said, “This one’s for little rich kids – like you!” and he pointed at me. I wasn’t rich. I wanted to know how he knew. Was it my hair? My shoes? Or because I bought a drink at the bar?

If you pick someone you stick with them. Even if things go wrong. So I don’t play around and switch women; I will stick to Yasmin. We married for the right reason and we’ve still got it. We’re not with each other because we need each other but because we want to be and I think that’s very important. When you need something, part of you rebels against it.

Angry young man is quite cool. Angry young man becomes a grumpy old git isn’t so attractive.

We have to put this economic slump into perspective. Even though the recession might be tough on us in the West we have to get through it and should remember how people live in Africa and India, where they have absolutely nothing but family, love, music and fun.

You can get a lot of grief from Teddy boys. I used to go from Pinner to Baker Street, and had to go through Harrow, national centre for Teds. I had to lie down on the seats to hide from them until they got off.

Duran Duran are friends and that’s more important than personal ego. We support each other and we’re very determined. If there’s a problem we get it out in the open. A lot of bands don’t and that’s probably their downfall.

I like the water, the sunshine. I love sailing. I get a thrill out of using the wind to get me from A to B. Scuba diving is like being in a different world and when you’re deep underwater it’s like you’re flying.

I did the cover of Hello! magazine when Amber was born, and we didn’t like what we saw. It institutionalised and homogenised us and made us look like everyone else in the magazine. If you do that sort of thing, you’ve given up your privacy. You see people who you thought were quite cool and had credibility and you just look and you think, “What? God! It’s ugly, it’s materialistic and it’s about wealth. There’s nothing spiritual and moral about them; it’s just about what shoes they’ve got and what stuff they possess.”

I live by a few basic maxims. Never complain, never explain, never say would have, should have or could have, always judge a book by its cover and never mix your drinks.

Duran Duran’s A Diamond in the Mind Live DVD is out now

Photo courtesy of Jake Chessum

Courtesy The Times of London