Thursday, March 26, 2009

It's just like the 80s only fatter and older.

So, in the words of the Blues men, I woke up this morning and turned on the national morning news programme on the BBC to be greeted with the sight of three fat Yorkshire men sitting on the comfy sofa extolling the virtues of that 80s horror show, Spandau Ballet. These slightly over-the-hill Yorkshire boys turned out top be members of a Spands tribute band, Highly Strung. Now what was so laughable about all this was that the original band saw themselves as svelte peacocks who represented the peak of 80s desirability and here were their loyal impersonators looking like the lovers of the chip with a singular lack of style. In short a pretty fair representation of what the 80s stood for and the media world of today; and the way the band looks now.

I have to declare a prejudice here; I hated Spandau Ballet. I despised Gary Kemp's protestations of true working class credentials and his modern soul boy posings. I had nothing but disdain for their embrace of Thatcherite culture, and the singer Tony Hadley's embrace of Tory politics, and their belief that playing in a band was a "career choice" rather than a calling. Their music was the ideal soundtrack for the 80s in that it was vacuous, insipid and fussy. Tony Hadley held his microphone like some panty-waisted Holiday Inn bar entertainer who provides the backing track for fat sweaty businessmen as they pawed young women and dribbled saliva and gravy down their pampered double chins.

I'm not alone in this. Michael Hann wrote a great piece in The Guardian pretty much pointing out the same thing as I am doing; it was the comments that people made after the article that make for the best reading as nutters of various shades queue up to agree or froth at the mouth.

After the band broke up Gary Kemp achieved a degree of rehabilitation with his vocal support of the protest movement trying to organise opposition to Thatcher's divisive social strategies but it was an uphill struggle. The rot had set in and the youth had followed the lead from the likes of the Spands and Duran and eschewed political thought and embraced the vapid "cocktail culture". They took at face value the phoney sophistication and frilly shirted power dressing pushed out by this non-musical musical movement and gave us Blair, son of Thatcher. Soon we'll have Groovy Dave, son of Blair, and like John the Baptist we have Spandau Ballet reforming.

Why? I hear you ask. This is a group of people who fought a vicious and nasty case through the courts as the three dim ones from the band tried to lay claim to writing royalties they had had no hand in creating, except for having been in the same room when Gary showed them how it went. Hadley, Norman and Keeble laid claim to something, years after the event, that was never their's in the first place and like the financial culture that was spawned from the 80s they wanted something for nothing. Their case crashed and burned and in the end Gary Kemp owned their souls, or at least, in John Keeble's case, the drum kit. It is said that when the sad trio went out gigging as The Other Three from That New Romantic Band™ they were obliged to ask Gary if they could use the equipment because, as they had no money to pay his court costs, he owned it all.

Now we are expected to believe that all these differences have been buried and this cheesy band of brothers are all mates and that the music they make will be relevant and exciting. No it won't. It never was. It was never soul music, it was never vital and, most of the time, it was never of any value whatsoever. So I guess it's going to fit in perfectly with the onset of the New 80s.

Welcome to hell.

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