Mr & Mrs Le Bon
interview: Chris Heath
He calls her Pebbles, and she calls him Captain Fantastic Wonderful Best Man on Earth or something. And they've decided to call their baby either Blob or Thames Barrier. And keep it in a corner of the kitchen. Marriage obviously makes some people go very wibbly...
"It's a whole new Duran generation," sighs Nick Rhodes wisely. "And the trouble is, Andy's kid is going to be the bully."
Nick is pointing out that, like millions of other pop stars, Duran Duran seem to have gone getting-married-and-having-babies bonkers. "It's all a bit much really. I said to Simon the other day I found out that Julie-Anne was pregnant 'oh guess what? Julie's going to have a baby' and Simon said, 'great!'. And then the next day Simon came up to me and said 'you know that little baby of yours?' - I said 'yes' - he said, 'well, it's going to have a little friend to play with'."
Nick reckons they'll both pop into the world ready to face Farley's Rusks, Fisher-Price play centres and Andy Taylor Junior around August this year. It is, he agrees, all rather sweet, especially for Simon who has only just got married.
Today Arcadia are supposed to be filming a video for their next single but, though Simon does everything the director asks, he seems much more interested in being with Yasmin. They spend most of the time whispering, canoodling, laughing, and generally being, like, very much in love.
"I'm really pleased for them," beams Nick. "They're both so happy."
They carry on just the same throughout the interview: taking the mickey out of each other and rolling around laughing. For the first time Yasmin sits on a chair across from Simon, only occasionally leaning over to poke him or threatening to throw a copy of Arcadia's new single "The Promise" at him. But halfway through she decides they've been separated quite long enough and she snuggles up next to her new husband on the couch.
On the floor next to Simon's feet is a half-read book about the Whitbread Round The World Race - he's obviously swotting up, as he's to leave Yasmin to join the crew of Drum in New Zealand tomorrow. But at the moment he's more concerned with answering a few questions bout the last few weeks. For instance...
Why did you decide to "take the plunge"?
Simon: What? You mean finally have a bath after all these years? We were smelling so bad that we just had to. No, we just decided, really.
When did you tell everyone?
Simon: The day before the wedding.
What was the wedding like?
Simon: Very quiet, just basically a registry office wedding - very straightforward and discreet - with a few friends and relations. Afterwards, for the reception, we went to The Bear in Woodstock.
Yasmin: It's a sort of country hotel.
Simon: My brother (David, the best man) made a two second speech and my dad told a terrible joke.
Yasmin: For about half an hour!
Did you make a speech?
Simon: No. Did I? (Yasmin nods.) Oh, I did.
Yasmin: You got up and said thank you.
Simon: (in a silly posh voice) "Well, thanks everybody for coming at such short notice" - that's also what my dad and brother said, actually.
Yasmin: My father got very emotional.
Simon: He made your sister cry, didn't he?
Yasmin: He made everybody cry. Two guests had to leave - they were in floods.
Did you invite all the group?
Simon: (sarcastically) No, I didn't. I invited everyone except John. (Collapses in hysterics.) No, of course I did. Do you think I didn't tell him or something? "I'm getting married on Friday and you're not coming." Nick came, Roger came and Andy came - John was going to try to make it to the reception afterwards but he had to do this thing for Radio Lollipop - hospital radio - and that was taking all day. I only phoned him at midnight the day before and I said to everybody, "you're under no obligation whatsoever to come - it's not a big thing."
Did you get lots of horrible presents like cutlery sets and toasters?
Yasmin: Thank God...
Simon: I don't think we gave anybody enough time to do that. So as yet, there are no toasters.
And no Pyrex ovenwear?
Simon: No. What we'd like is a Ferrari. Seriously. In fact, I think you ought to print that as a hint - "we'd like a Ferrari." Actually, we'd both like a Ferrari. (Suddenly starts sniffing under his arms.) Cor! Right Guard really works well, doesn't it? Not a whiff. Great stuff, that is.
What was the honeymoon like?
Simon: Well, we've really been on a honeymoon since we've met, haven't we? (Yasmin nods dutifully.) It wasn't as if we'd been at work until Friday night - I'd gone off and had my stag night, got married on Sunday and then at five o'clock in the afternoon nipped off to Ibiza...
Yasmin: By the way, did you have a stag night?
Simon: I didn't really have a chance to, did I? I lay up in my bedroom on my own thinking "am I doing the right thing? Am I looking at these walls for the last time as a bachelor? Will everything change? Is this one more fatal nail in the coffin?" And I wondered and I wondered and I fell asleep wondering and then I woke up in the morning and thought "don't be so stupid. You lost a lot of sleep last night over nothing". But I think it's very important that you have that time to think, that you do spend that night apart. You need to ask yourself "is this what I want to do?"...
Yasmin: (to Simon) Even though we spend every other minute of our time together?
Simon: She was going "it's a ridiculous superstition that you can't see me in the morning."
Yasmin: It is ridiculous...
Simon: Even though everybody met at her house, Yasmin had to go upstairs while I sat downstairs.
Yasmin: I wasn't allowed to come down! Ridiculous! Absolutely ridiculous!
Simon: I went upstairs for a wee and she said "is that you?" and I said "yeah" and she said "don't come in here" and I said "I won't. See you at the registry office. Don't be late" and she said "I won't". And of course she was there a quarter of an hour before me - we were stuck in traffic.
Yasmin: Half the guests got lost on the way to the registry office. It was great fun. My father was racing at traffic lights.
Simon: The funniest thing was the efforts the press made afterwards to try and get us. It was hilarious! We actually came down the fire escape from the registry office. There was a photographer there when we arrived.
Yasmin: Who totally missed us.
Simon: We walked straight past him. The press didn't find the reception afterwards but on the day they were hanging around both our parents' houses. We were barricaded in at Yasmin's parents' house and what was really funny was some guy knocked on the door...
Yasmin: From the Mirror and he handed me the paper. He didn't recognise me!
Simon: Yasmin went downstairs and he said "can I talk to Mr and Mrs Parvanim,... um Parvanah?"
Yasmin: I just took the paper and he asked me if mum and dad were there and I said "no, bye bye", closed the door and was turning my back on it when I heard "oh, well who are you then?" That was seven o'clock in the morning.
Simon: The morning after was funny. We had to stay at my parents' that night to pick up some things before we went off down to the South of France. And the press twigged it and were all there so we had to do this thing with the cars where my dad blocked the road so they couldn't follow us. He came out the drive, we ran out and then they were trying to take pictures through the window of the car. I was going like this (lifts his legs above his head). We have great fun with the press - we always have.
Did the press find you in France?
Simon: Yeah. Some prat on the plane phoned up the newspapers and told them where we were.
Yasmin: And they printed it in the newspaper.
Simon: The name of the hotel and everything! We had kids phoning up the hotel for the next week.
Has getting married changed your relationship?
Simon: It's really good fun saying "my wife" - don't you find that?
Yasmin: Yeah, I find it really good fun saying "my wife".
Have you discovered any nasty habits about each other?
Simon: Yes, she's pregnant.
Yasmin: Yes, she doesn't know a thing about contraception.
Simon: Apart from that not at all. (To Yasmin) And you'd better say the same thing otherwise I'll use my nasty habit on you tonight! Aaaarhhhhhh!
Do you have any soppy nicknames for each other?
Simon: Everybody knows our nicknames. She calls me Captain Fantastic Wonderful Best Man On Earth...
Yasmin: No I don't...
Simon: And I call her Pebbles because she used to - funny how things change after you're married - put her hair up in a really cute little bundle with little bits sticking out over her eyes. If you've ever seen The Flintstones on TV, it's just like Pebbles on that.
Is it true, as it said in one of the papers, that you've bought a million pound Knightsbridge home?
Yasmin: They actually said two-and-a-half million pound Knightsbridge home which is outrageous.
Simon: Yes, I was most distressed at that. I mean, it was two-and-three-quarter million at least. No - it wasn't really that much. You could buy half of Yorkshire for that. Or Derbyshire. It's not actually in Knightsbridge but close (suddenly realises that it's a good idea not to tell everybody where it really is). Yeah, it is in Knightsbridge - just round the back of Harrods!
What's it like?
Simon: One of those great big houses...
Yasmin: (puzzled) It's not a great big house...
Simon: Well, it's not, but it looks big from the front.
Yasmin: (who's just realised he's lying on purpose) Yeah, it looks really big - a massive white facade.
When is the baby due?
(Yasmin collapses in hysterical giggles.)
Simon: Um, we don't know. I think there's a little blob in there somewhere.
If there is a little "blob", would you like to paint the nursery pink or blue?
Yasmin: (still in hysterics) You think it's going to get a nursery?!
Simon: We're going to give it a corner in the kitchen.
Yasmin: It's going to go in the bottom drawer.
Simon: If you mean "do you want a boy or a girl?", I want a girl because I've got a great name lined up: Thames.
Simon: Yeah. Thames Barrier le Bon! I think it's great. A superb name!
Yasmin: (sarcastically) Great.
Simon: Or London Hilton...
Will Simon change the nappies?
Yasmin: Now and then, I hope.
Simon: (sounding a bit disgusted) Change the nappies? I was going to skip that bit and go straight onto potty training. I mean, I've never changed a nappy but I'm quite willing to have a go. Do you have to wear a clothes peg on your nose while you're doing it?
Yasmin: No! I think it's quite good fun really.
Simon: You do?
Yasmin: Yes. I've watched my sister change them.
Simon: You have to lie them down and fold it in this peculiar way, don't you? (Tries to work it out.) What you have to do: you take the dirty one off and throw it in the bin, right? Yes? Anyway, our baby's going to be a Pampers baby! Hold on - this is jumping the gun a bit. What makes you think she's going to have a blob, I mean, baby?
You've said so yourself.
Simon: (puts on silly childish voice) Yes, I'm going to be a daddy. There's no point in trying to hide it.
Yasmin: (imitating his voice) He's going to be a daddy and we're going to have a blob.
Yasmin, are you fed up that Simon's going away on Drum for months and months?
Yasmin: I'm not fed up. I'll just be mortified, inconsolable.
Will you worry at all?
Simon: (whispering to her) Say yes.
Yasmin: Yeah, of course I'll be worried. But he's going to have some good fun. I'm more envious than anything else. I'd really like to go. But women aren't allowed to race.
Simon: (a bit indignant) There are women on some boats, but can you imagine what it would be like? Unless you like being chased by loads of blokes and having fights break out over you it'd be a real pain. After a month at sea people can go a bit loopy. And men can actually do a better job on deck because they've got stronger muscles. Oh no! Now I'm going to get all these butch women writing in saying "I've got strong muscles, I'll put up your bloody sails for you."
Are you looking forward to the boat race?
Simon: You bet! But then, on the other hand, it just seems... I don't know... I just got married and I'm going off halfway around the world on a bloody boat race! I've got to do the boat race - I can't go back on that - but we're strong enough not to let something like that get between us.
Yasmin: (meekly) I want you to do it. You'll have good fun. Plus, you've got a really good chance of winning.
How's Drum doing at the moment?
Simon: In the last leg we came in fourth and overall we're either in third or fourth position.
Are you at all scared?
Simon: No. In fact I'd like to scotch these stupid rumours about me "waking up in a cold sweat every night thinking about it". That's taken from a newspaper and I never said it. It's a total misquote. I'd be a right bloody prat to do it if it was true.
When are Duran Duran going to get back together?
In May, when I get back off the boat.
Are you looking forward to it?
Simon: Yeah, I've got so many things to look forward to: boat, band, baby...