When Spandau Ballet reformed after 20 bitter years apart in 2009, they played a series of UK concerts and then, they seemed to retreat back into the woodwork. An album of re-worked material [still not heard] was released, and that seemed to be the extent of things, but lately then media wheels have been turning for the former New Romantics. Early this year, my wife told me that there was a film on the band in the making, “Soulboys Of The Western World,” and I thought that might be interesting to see. Not long afterward, the film had its world premiere not in London, but here on American soil with the full band at the festival to promote it. The band were scheduled to appear at SXSW in Austin to both promote the film and play their first concert here in decades.
I had once had a ticket to see Spandau Ballet on their “Parade” tour in 1985, opening for the [false] Power Station, and was looking forward to maybe hearing the always powerful “Chant No. 1 [I Don’t Need This Pressure On]” live in concert, before Steve Norman broke his leg, effectively scuttling the tour. After that point, it was all over for the band in America. They sued their label, Chrysalis, and had a nearly two year period of vinyl flu. The two albums that surface afterward, then on CBS, were a weak postscript to a previously interesting career. There was a time when I would have been all over a Spandau Ballet concert but not in 2014 at those stakes. I can get along fine at Moogfest, but a frenzied beehive of activity like SXSW is definitely not my cup of yes! I know that much. Plus the cost of SXSW is insanely beyond my reach. The final nail in the coffin was that it took place in Texas… not a state I ever want to visit if I can have a say in it.
But I maintain an interest in the film and hopefully, it will get distribution soon so that I can perhaps buy a DVD for the archives. Director George Hencken comes from a production background with Julien Temple and this is her first directorial effort. The film was made using only stock and archival footage with voice obverse by the full band. The band, being so visually savvy, never skimped on the filmed visuals with Martin Kemp having bought a super 8 camera with his first royalty check. Smart lad. The producer is manager Steve Dagger and the fact that all of this has happened after their acrimonious lawsuit [which looked to leave only scorched earth in its wake] intrigues me greatly. It now seems to be making the rounds at other festivals [like Cannes] in search of distributors.
Not content with putting Spandau back on cinema and video screens worldwide, word also comes that a new book on the band in also in the works. Genesis Publications is producing what I would hope will be a hefty, coffee table tome on the group, pencilled in for publication this year. Interested parties can register their interest here. The Monk is all for hefty, coffee table tomes on any of his core collection bands and can only surmise that erstwhile competitors Duran Duran are at least a little bilious with envy. Reviews of all and sundry media enterprises will probably emerge in the world of the future. Watch this space.
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