I had the privilege of attending Richard Strange‘s “Mighty Big If” the other week at The Chapel of St Barnabas in Soho, where he interviewed and performed with Gary Kemp of Spandau Ballet:

The mighty Richard Strange performing with Gary Kemp

Gary Kemp first came to prominence in the early 80’s with his hugely successful band Spandau Ballet. One of the most striking things that Dr Strange asked Gary in terms of personal growth was about his relationship between the 3F’s:  Fame, Fortune and Family.

One of the best stories that Richard extracted from Gary was how he mixed up fame and fortune after the meteoric rise of Spandau Ballet to worldwide fame, including his pivotal role in Live Aid.  He eloquently describes the moment and bought his working class mum and dad designer everything without realising that things like a “Cartier toilet roll holder” and a “Gucci tin opener” did not somehow sit well in an outdoor toilet and the cutlery draw of a council house kitchen in Islington.! 🙂  It was a great moment of self deprecating humour and enlightened authenticity from a great man.

Spandau Ballet were also different in so far as they rejected sex and drugs and rock’n’roll when fame and fortune struck.  They would never drink before a performance etc. preferring to perfect their performances, appearance and haircuts.  Check the quiffs out in this piece of new romantic history:

So fame and fortune need not lead to a failure to preserve the things that matter to you as a person.  An important lesson for all who seek to improve themselves.   Let’s remind ourselves of David Bowie‘s wise words on the topic of fame:

We were also treated to joint performances by Richard Strange and Gary Kemp and a stunning acoustic performance of “True”, plus a duet with Tim Arnold, aka The Soho Hobo.   The evening was filmed by online arts channel HiBrow TV for streaming some time in the future.

Strange encounters in the house of correction ..

Gary Kemp’s book “I knew this much – From Soho to Spandau” is available on Amazon.  “A Mighty Big If” reconvenes on Tuesday 27th November at The Chapel of St Barnabas in Soho.  Featuring award winning actor and director Peter Capaldi, star of The Thick Of It, In The Loop, Local Hero, The Lady Killers and countless other Theatre, TV and film hits.  If you are up for a walk on the wild side, try Richard Strange’s legendary mixed media evening “Cabaret Futura” in London.

We leave with the piece that is perhaps Spandau Ballet’s signature:


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