The Time I Cried At A Spandau Ballet Show

by - January 05, 2023

Photo courtesy of Dana Gorab

It began with a movie. A British movie that was released in 1990 starring Martin and Gary Kemp as East London gangsters, titled The Krays. As a child I was obsessed with this movie. I was 9 when I first saw it; 9 years old and I’m watching the true story of the Kray brothers causing carnage all over East London. Martin Kemp as Reggie, and Gary Kemp as the slightly more sociopathic Ronnie.

It was during this period that I discovered that my new favourite east enders were the bassist and guitarist from the 1980s, new romantic powerhouse unit, otherwise known as Spandau Ballet. So, after successfully completing a full decade of existence, my parents decided to take me to see my new favourite band as a birthday present.

Now this is where my now 10-year-old mind got a little confused. I believed I was going to see Spandau Ballet. I did not know that Spandau Ballet didn’t exist as they once did. I was also unaware that Martin and Gary Kemp were the actors/musicians who played the characters of the Krays in a movie. I believed they were them, if that makes sense? So I genuinely believed that I was going to actually see the real Ronnie and Reggie Kray playing in my new favourite band.

Instead I ended up going to see Tony Hadley perform with some original members of Spandau, but not Martin and Gary… and definitely not Ronnie and Reggie.

I was sold a lie by my parents. I felt betrayed.

“Where’s Ronnie and Reggie?” I would inevitably ask. My mum laughed.

“Martin and Gary you mean?”

“Who?” I replied.

It was during the show that my mum explained to me that Ronnie and Reggie Kray, although they were real people, were not the people in the movie. They were merely portrayed in the movie by actors, who also happened to be in Spandau Ballet, but were no longer in the band. I was utterly disappointed.

It was pretty much instant. I lost all interest in what was going on in front of me. I looked down at the greatest hits CD I’d brought along with the hope of meeting the Krays and getting them to sign it, and felt deflated. I leafed through the inside cover looking for some hard evidence that my mum was wrong, but instead I found the exact opposite. Written evidence that she was telling the truth. How could I have been so blind?!?! Reggie was in prison and Ronnie died in prison. The mathematics of them ever being able to form a 1980s, new romantic powerhouse unit was impossible.

Although quite upset, I decided to try to enjoy the rest of the show. To my surprise, I thoroughly enjoyed it. It was back-to-back hits, from “Lifeline” to “Gold”, from “Chant No.1” to “Through the Barricades”. It was awesome. I’d almost forgotten that my two favourite east-end gangsters were not here. I even enjoyed it so much I still wanted to get my CD signed, so I begged my parents to let us stay a little longer with the hope of meeting Tony Hadley, the charmingly charismatic frontman of my favourite band. After about an hour of loitering, I got lucky. There he was: Tony Hadley. The only man to ever fight with the Kray twins and live to tell the tale.

Now was my moment. I plucked up the courage, felt my marker pen in my pocket and shuffled over to say hi. I can’t remember what I exactly said to him at the time, but I do remember him shouting, “Here’s a little geeza,” at me. I held out my CD and marker pen with enthusiasm. He reached out his hand to take them from me and then abruptly paused.

“Naaaah sorry mate, I can’t touch that.” He exclaimed tapping his finger on the pictures of Martin and Gary Kemp on the front. “That’s naffin’ to do with me mate. I could get sued.”

He then chuckled, turned his back and left the venue, leaving me stood there with my pen, my CD, my parents and a single tear trickling down my 10-year-old cheek… I hoped the Krays would get him.

That was the time I cried at a Spandau Ballet show.

- Tom Ogilvie, Luna Kiss

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