WITH THE lyrics to Duran Duran's Rio ringing in my ears I stepped off the plane on to Antiguan soil to the unmistakable sound of synthesizers and drums and with a vision of Simon Le Bon hanging off the prow of a yacht in his silk Antony Price suit. That video, shot on the beautiful island of Antigua, defined the image of Duran Duran in 1982 as international superstars. The band's critics said the video was gauche and highlighted excess and greed. The band hit back by saying they were selling a fantasy.
The Antigua of today does a little bit of both. The island, home to a fleet of super yachts, houses for the super rich, offshore banking and online gambling, is symbolic of greed but it sells a fantasy to every visitor who sets foot on its shores. Famous residents include Giorgio Armani, Oprah Winfrey, Silvio Berlusconi, Eric Clapton and footballer Andriy Shevchenko, all of whom have embraced the warm welcome here and the laid-back lifestyle that everyone insists you adopt.
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