It seems that in recent years every decade has been defined by its music; rock ‘n’ roll for the 50’s, counter culture for the 60’s, disco in the 70’s and the 80’s had new wave, although I’m well aware that other music shaped these decades. Spandau Ballet were and are one of the greatest if not the greatest of the new wave acts. This was a group of working class boys from London bringing some of Britain’s best art, fashion and of course music to the world. Their rise to fame was meteoric and their come back was inevitable and welcomed. Soul Boys of the Western World is a great documentary that chronicles the lives and times of this much overlooked band.
The film is as much a musical documentary as it is a hysterical slice of life. Kicking off with the boys modest childhoods you see how they met, bar the two brothers they were all school friends. We get to see how life was after world war two, they mention that growing up it was still fresh in everyone’s minds. We also get a very interesting perspective on Margaret Thatcher’s Britain and how her ideals shaped youth culture. We see Spandau Ballet’s evolution and it was a glorious one, from their early soul and punk days into a band that would define a generation.
In watching this film it very compelling, it took me a great deal of time to figure out why, but I finally get it. It shows us that history will always repeat itself. There will always be bands to blur the lines before art, fashion and music and for the eighties it was Spandau Ballet. The second reason I loved this film was well the history, the evolution of entertainment from the 1960s radiogram to the first television generation. The third and final factor that drew me into the film was of course the music. Spandau Ballet have produced some great tunes; True, Gold and Through the Barricade ( A very touching song written about Belfast) these tracks and all the other featured helped show their evolution of sound and sight, with how their videos evolved over time, because let’s not forget it was the dawning of MTV which was a major game changer in the music industry.
The film gets very philosophical at times, mentioning that a dream reached is no longer a dream as then it’s just reality. Maybe the band reaching their dream was what distorted it, they mention about all the hard work they did to get the fame, even how bad making their first video was. But all the bad stories are filled with cheer and later they speak of champagne and cocaine and everything that has gone bad. It just shows us that you really are happier working towards a goal and climbing that mountain than sitting atop its peak, after all it’s hard to fit five grown men on that peak and even then when you’re up there by yourself it’s going to get very lonely.
Editor in Chief: David