Durandy: A super fan of Duran Duran 'Reflex' on 20 years
By ATHIMA CHANSANCHAI
By day, Andy Golub is a conscientious, hard-working, mild-mannered researcher at a Seattle law firm. At night, he transforms into his alter ego: Durandy, the punster in touch with his "inner Duran-imal," a fast-talking Duran Duran devotee whose mother sometimes worried if he wasn't taking it too far.
He passed avid fan a long time ago.
Golub, 35, has a Duran Duran collection unparalleled in the world, with a fraction of it already displayed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland. DJ's are on a Durandy-name basis with him. He has been the star of alt-documentaries.
His collection occupies a Bellevue storage unit and includes more than 1,500 posters, nearly 10,000 magazine articles and pinup photos, 150 books and thousands of other memorabilia of one of the flagship bands of the '80s. The New Wave boy band and MTV darlings helped shape the distinctive look and sound of the decade and permanently infected a young Magnolia boy with Fab Five Fever, making him the man who calls himself Durandy.
Just start with the "D" word and he's off.
"Duran Duran have helped me find my place in the world. I have learned so much from following an irrepressible passion and finding my own voice. I was never among the 'in' crowd, blending in and being one of many. I usually stood out and stood alone," Golub said. "Duran Duran have shown me that standing out from the crowd is a good thing. This realization transformed me. It's almost as if the birth of Durandy unlocked the very best of me: confidence, inner strength and a personal conviction that I've never known."
Would someone please explain, the reason for this strange behaviour?
-- "Skin Trade" by Duran Duran
Golub's first Duran Duran memory: hearing "The Reflex" on the radio.
Soon, he had the album, "Seven and the Ragged Tiger."
"I listened to it until it was ragged."
He was about 12, a sixth-grader who had moved to Olympia, leaving everyone he'd grown up with in Magnolia.
"I was really busy just struggling to fit in with my new environment, making new friends. It was a volatile time. Duran Duran became an oasis of calm in the storm," said Golub.
He was there for only a year before the family moved back to Magnolia. But this time, Duran Duran's Simon, John, Nick, Andy and Roger came back with them, in all their makeup-wearing, trend-setting, spikey-hair-sprayed glory.
Golub's mother, Corie Golub-Borish, found out the lengths to which her son was willing to go. During one of the family's weekly grocery trips, Durandy followed his usual MO: a beeline to the magazine section, where he went through BOP, 16, Tiger Beat and other teen staples. When Mom came by to check out, he handed her a super-stuffed magazine into which he'd consolidated all the Duran Duran pages he'd torn out of other magazines. Mom made him do the right thing and pay for all the magazines.
Growing up with an English-teacher father who collected books honed Golub's burgeoning curatorial instincts, which have evolved into his self-appointed role as the band's unofficial archivist. In his 10-by-20-foot rented storage unit, he keeps boxes of memorabilia, all individually encased in plastic sleeves. He has a poster doctor who regularly does restorations for him.
His heart still races when he happens to hear one of the band's songs in a department store. Sharing highlights of his collection brings a smile to his face that lasts for hours.
Everything is arranged in order, whether it's chronological, by country or by band member. He keeps track of everything: oversize 60-by-40-inch posters rolled in canvas, photos stored in special Mylar sleeves, a board game, a vinyl pencil case, jackets, buttons and stickers.
"I'm collecting memories," he said, "not just posters." Only once has he been able to see what even a portion of his collection looks like displayed -- at a 2001 exhibition he put on at the Art/Not Terminal Gallery called, "Duran Duran -- A Retrospective" with 160 posters taking up three floors.
You must realize my obsessive fascination is in your imagination.
-- "I Don't Want Your Love" by Duran Duran
Specialists say they know when a fan has crossed the line.
"One of the key things you always look at is functional impairment -- what sacrifices are being made that would raise a red flag?" said Dr. Craig Sawchuck, who specializes in anxiety disorders and medical fears at Harborview Medical Center. "Is there dysfunction with relationships?"
Golub's collecting has never plunged him into debt. He graduated from Franklin High School, then from Western Washington University with a sociology degree. He's been considered a valuable employee at his firm for seven years.
"When he's working, he's focused," said Dolores Evans, who works in the human-resources department at the firm. "That's why he can do the Durandy stuff. I don't know anybody who can collect like he does and set that aside."
He does not dress up in Value Village '80s outfits. Although he lives with his girlfriend of nearly six years, people think he's gay. Not that he thinks there's anything wrong with that. But the idea of a hetero guy collecting pictures of other guys raises the question. (Apparently it's OK when it comes to shrines for sports heroes or "Star Trek" characters.) Former MTV VJ-turned-radio-talk-show-host Kennedy ribbed him about it incessantly over the air in the late '90s.
"I couldn't believe there was a grown man who professed his love for Duran Duran so emphatically and so deeply, and no matter how many ways we came at him and no matter how many times we questioned his sexuality or his love or really tried to put him on the spot and test him, the guy came through solid every single time," said Kennedy, speaking in a student-produced documentary on Golub called "Ordinary World."
It hasn't been shown outside of a small circle of friends, family and this reporter.
Politeness in his persistence means Golub receives positive reinforcement. Local radio station Star 101.5 FM knows him as the guy who sends gifts to the station to celebrate Duran Duran band members' birthdays. Once, he delivered a pizza, rearranging the pepperoni on it to spell DD. Another time, he sent balloons with messages such as "Hitting the Rhodes Again" (for keyboardist Nick Rhodes) and "Have a Taylor-made Day" (for bassist John Taylor).
"We've adopted him as part of our family at the station," said DJ Alan Budwill, who has known Golub as Duran Duran's "professional cheerleader" for a decade. He met him at a jingle contest in Kitsap County where Golub sang one of their songs -- in a shower.
"He's so over-the-top crazy, but he's a manageable nut."
I've been now sauntering out and down a path sometime. Come on, it takes me nowhere which I knew. Faces everywhere pulling grins and signs and things telling me not there man it's no go.
-- "New Religion" by Duran Duran
At times, his Duran-mania was so all-consuming, it worried his mother.
"The big concern for me is that I wanted him to develop socially in a normal way," said Golub-Borish, a therapist who divorced her children's father and remarried. "I didn't want that to impede him."
Even Golub has his doubts.
"I could look back in 20 years and wonder, what have I accomplished? There are days when it feels like an albatross around my neck," he said. "Ultimately, I have to be ready to stand alone and defend myself. I have put far too much of myself into this not to have that kind of conviction. Thinking about taking care of the band's legacy keeps me in a place of responsibility."
I'll cross that bridge when I find it, another day to make my stand, high time is no time for deciding if I should find a helping hand.
-- "The Reflex" by Duran Duran
Golub channeled his passion into nurturing relationships with radio stations, staying in touch with the band's fan community and lending a fraction of his collection to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum in Cleveland.
His efforts with STAR 101.5 paid off in March 2005 when DJ Budwill hosted KOMO/4's "Northwest Afternoon" show and had the band as his guests. Golub created Duran Duran factoid flash cards for him.
Golub has been to about a dozen Duran Duran concerts, and he has met the band, most recently in Everett in March 2005. They know him. They're surprised with the breadth of his collection.
"I think for many, Duran Duran music came into their life at a very important time and they can relive a lot of those moments through the band's music," said Katy Krassner, who runs Duranduran.com, the band's official Web site. "I've never come across a collector quite like Andy -- the band can't even rival some of what he has. The care, precision and devotion Andy puts into his collection is really admirable."
He has networked. He has presented neatly packaged proposals for another poster exhibit, possibly in conjunction with the band's virtual foray into the cyberspace world of Second Life, where Duran Duran is the first band to establish alter egos. Golub thinks his collection would be a perfect sidekick for them there, and in the real world.
Now that she sees how he's translating his obsession into a profession, Golub's mother is reassured.
"I can see the shift in this. He's developed so many skills. I see what he's capable of," she said. "He's gotten respect for this. He's made it more than a sideline."
Despite more than 20 years, Golub's favorite song is still the first one he heard: "The Reflex."
"Whenever I hear that song, it totally transports me. It brings up very special memories of 1984," he said.
The Reflex is in charge of finding treasure in the dark, oh the reflex what a game he's hiding all the cards.
-- "The Reflex" by Duran Duran
"To me, this speaks to how people never quite know where life will lead them -- we're all playing a game with hidden cards. It's exploring the deeper parts of ourselves and discovering what sparks our passion, what lights up our soul," Golub said. "Fate -- or our very own Reflex -- will take care of the rest. All my life, despite public opinion and family skepticism, I have followed my instincts, my passion -- my Reflex."
TRIVIA BY DURANDY
Duran Duran has sold more than 70 million records. This year is the 25th anniversary of the band's first headlining tour of North America.
According to lead singer Simon Le Bon, bass player John Taylor was responsible for the band's name, taken from the evil character Dr. Durand Durand in Roger Vadim's sci-fi movie, "Barbarella."
Justin Timberlake presented the band with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2003 MTV Video Music Awards.
In 1981, Duran Duran released its first single, "Planet Earth," off its debut LP. The single entered the UK Top 20, the album reached No. 3 and sold more than 2.5 million copies.
Duran Duran won Grammy awards for videos for "Girls on Film" and "Hungry Like the Wolf."
"The Reflex" was the band's first single to reach No. 1 on Billboard's Hot 100 chart. Duran Duran had two No. 1 hits in the U.K. ("Is There Something I Should Know" in 1983 and "The Reflex" in 1984). It had two No. 1 hits in the U.S. as well ("The Reflex and "View to a Kill").
To see Andrew Golub's collection online: www.durandy.com.
Courtesy Seattle Post Intelligencer
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