Kids, let The Sloth sit you on our knee and tell you a bedtime story. Once upon a time Steve from Eastenders was a popstar who sang songs about Olympic medals while wearing a tea towel on his head. Don’t believe us? Check out Soul Boys Of The Western World.
Comprised partly of historical footage and partly of current day interviews, it traces what has now become a depressingly familiar pop career trajectory. Spandau Ballet were formed endearingly from a group of school chums who hung out at the now legendary Blitz Club (did ANYONE from an 80’s pop band NOT hang out there?), taking cues from the cool club kids and dressing like pirates. Suitably swathed in enough tartan to fuel the entire Scottish tourist industry, their big break came with the impossibly catchy To Cut A Long Story Short and chart domination soon followed.
Inevitably, as the royalties came flooding in primarily to songwriter Gary Kemp, tensions surfaced and Spandau eventually imploded in a messy and very public court battle. The brothers Kemp went off to be actors and the rest got jobs down Lidl or something. One thing clear from the present day interviews is very little love was lost.
Much has been made of the 80’s revival. Hoary old one-hit-wonder popstrals are dusting down their shoulder pads and troweling on the eyeliner for the delectation of middle class festivals across the country (OK we’re being sniffy but we’d secretly quite like to see The Durannies belting out Hungry Like the Wolf one last time). Spandau Ballet, who for so long held out, have finally also succumbed and are taking the stage once more to coincide with this film’s release. Money hungry publicity stunt or genuine attempt to reconcile? Soul Boys Of The Western World, by going more for nostalgia than the jugular, would suggest perhaps a bit of both. And it’s certainly fun gawping at the 80’s fashion excess while you ponder.
UK release 30 September