I Know This Much – by Gary Kemp, Spandau Ballet’s prime mover – is simply the freshest, most exciting and best-written memoir to arrive for years.
Gary’s story begins in North London, where the Kemp family rented a home with no bathrooms and chickens in the yard. After a couple of failed attempts to kill his brother Martin, his parents gave him a guitar for Christmas.
From schoolyard battles between the Bowie Boys and the Prog Rockers to Mrs Kemp’s firm insistence on net curtains, from acting for the Children’s Film Foundation to manning a fruit and veg stall on Saturdays, Gary brilliantly evokes an upbringing full of love, creativity and optimism.
As the Thatcher years begin, Gary’s account of the outrageous London club scene centred around the Blitz and Billy’s is just sizzling. Out of this glamorous mayhem of kilt-wearing mascara’d peacocks would emerge Spandau Ballet – the band that would define the era, and hold high the victorious standard of the New Romantics.
Gary’s thrilling journey with Spandau Ballet would see them record worldwide hits such as True, Gold and Through the Barricades, play the biggest stadiums in the world, and take to the stage in togas when their luggage gets lost in flight. Stallions, supermodels and dwarves would be hired for video shoots, and through it all, Gary records the wonderful friendships, and the slowly-building tensions that would eventually see five old friends facing each other in court.
I Know This Much tells the story of Spandau Ballet, but it’s far more than a book about being in a band. Whether it’s meeting Ronnie Kray before filming The Krays, sketching out the fashions and subcultures of the day, or hanging out with Princess Diana, this book offers a story on every page. And all the more so because it’s all written – brilliantly – by Gary himself.
Reviews of I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau
- “Gary not only knows how to dress well, and compose a song well, he writes brilliantly too. Great bloke, great band, great book” – BOB GELDOF
- “It should surprise no one that Gary Kemp writes as well as he does in I Know This Much – he was always the brightest star in the New Romantic firmament. But he has additionally given us one of the most insightful and sensitive pop memoirs to appear since ‘True’ topped the charts. A revelation” – BARNEY HOSKYNS, author of Hotel California and Lowside of the Road: A Life of Tom Waits.
- ‘Kemp’s story is very funny, with the best moments coming at Spandau Ballet’s height, when groupies ‘threw themselves against the [windows] like Hitchcockian birds’ GQ magazine
- ‘Bob Geldof is quoted on the cover of Gary Kemp’s autobiography with untypical succinctness: Great bloke, great band, great book’…Sir Bob got it right with all three compliments.’ Spectator
- Selected by Robert Sandall in the Books of the Year round-up in the Sunday Times “a sharply observed account by a quintessential London musician…Kemp exudes confidence, candour and a keen appreciation of the capital’s club culture”
- ‘An eminently readable memoir, from dirt poor beginnings in Islington via full blown pop stardom to the older, wiser man today. The stories comes thick and fast, vibrant memories of London’ post–punk club scene, especially, jump off the page and even the personal stuff is sensitively handles. Hats off to him.’ Q Magazine, 4 stars