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I Know This Much: From Soho to Spandau [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] [Audio CD]

Gary Kemp
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Sep 2009

I Know This Much – written and read by Gary Kemp – Spandau Ballet's prime mover – is simply the freshest, most exciting and best read 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.

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Product details

  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Fourth Estate; Unabridged edition edition (3 Sep 2009)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 0007342322
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007342327
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 511,720 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


“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.


"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.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
I found this a fabulous autobiography. In fact I managed to read the book in one sitting as it gripped me so much.

I related so much with Gary's story of growing up in a working class family in London in the 60s/70s. Yes, my mum too insisted on net curtains and yes my family had day trips to Southend!

Great read too for those who grew up listening to Spandau Ballet and who had always wanted to read Gary's side of the story.

The final chapter where Gary relates the loss of his parents, the birth of his third son and the rebirth of Spandau Ballet is brilliantly written. You get sense that finally after an eventful, challenging and interesting life he is finally at one with who he is and what has made the man.
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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Kemp's song of ages should be heard... 7 Sep 2009
By Apollo 11 VINE VOICE
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Kemp's memoir is that rare beast - a compelling, intelligently (self) written and touching book about a life in pop. There's been a few great stabs at pop culture commentary through autobiography, not least Robert Elms' The Way We Wore (which this is something of an unintentional companion piece to), but the real value of I Know This Much, aside from its glistening prose, is in witnessing someone discovering themselves.

Always something of an odd penny, the Spandau songwriter and arguably its spiritual leader was always wiser than his pop position called for, and his working class soulboy roots never really sat comfortably with his angular New Romantic entrance. This rendered him somewhat pretentious to many, and his flaunting of left-wing politics often grated when framed by his band's timely, aspirational image.

However, with the benefit of distance and maturity (and following his time in the wilderness, as Joe Strummer would say, when discussing that inevitable period between an artist's fall and his redemption), Kemp is able to reflect with great poignancy on a young man's journey into, and through the shining city of dreams. In Kemp's case that city, metaphorically, but more often literally - and literary in its evocation - is unmistakably London, and the metropolis is ever present like a ghost, framing his actions and attitude. Street styles pass like parades, the inevitability of fate is etched into the architecture that backdrops his successes and failures, and he evocatively maps his own journey from boy into man, into middle age by returning to places only to find the crowds and the faces have all moved on.

At root, though, this book is a record (and celebration) of his parents' success in raising their two balanced sons - Gary and his brother Martin.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Well worth a look.... 18 Nov 2009
I read this book after seeing the re-formed Spandau Ballet on their recent tour (excellent show), and I was quite impressed. I had always thought of Gary Kemp as clearly very talented, but a bit pompous and arrogant. There are some traces of this in the book but I found it an interesting read, very well written and Gary comes across as quite a likeable bloke.
The reason I wouldn't give it 5 stars is that while the author gives the reasons for the beginning of the feud with Tony, John & Steve, that story jumps straight to the court hearing and then jumps again to the recent reconcilliation with nothing inbetween. I totally understand that he probably doesn't want to re-open old wounds with all the bandmates reconciled, but it would have been better to hear Gary's side of things after Tony wrote about it in his book.
This aside I would recommend this book to any music fan - a lot better than most musician's autobiographies I've read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Little Bit More, Please.. 15 May 2010
Gary Kemp, one -half of the Kemp Brothers and one-fifth of Spandau Ballet lets us into his world as he re-counts the events that led to the formation of the highly successful 80's pop-band Spandau Ballet through to their demise and resurrection. He tells us of his very working-class unbringing, his close relationship with his brother, the highs and lows of his musical life, his brief movie career and his flirtations with drink, drugs and the other half. The book also provides a perfect backdrop to the evolution of the New Romantic era. The book is well-written but I felt that it dabbled rather than delivered. It moved too fast through the years and ignored aspects of his solo career that I was interested in. The much-publicized court case was skimmed over and not covered in the detail that I expected. On the other hand.. his account of his father's death was harrowing and heart-wrenching. It could and should have been more comprehensive, but I enjoyed it and Gary was good company for the few days that I shared his life with him.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Gary Kemp`s Book 23 Oct 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It`s a fairly honest and acurate account of the way he saw things. I`ve never really liked him but you respect him a lot more, after reading this book , for his honesty and detail of a very important time in London`s club history. He dealt with his family life in a touching way and we can all relate to his hopes and fears about relationships and career. I did really enjoy this book and it does make you think twice about the group,as i always thought they were a bit naff compared to the competition but you have to give them , and especially him, their dues as they were in the right place at the right time and Gary saw the opening and strode right in and took control.
If you have any interest in the Blitz, Billy`s, and the host of musicians that emerged from that scene , then you will really enjoy this ...... as anyone who is is probably around 50 and they can relate to a life that is mapped out from boy to pop star to just a normal bloke.... i hope !
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars a fantastic buy
i absoulty love gary kemp he has written a great book with alot of thought i would recemened this book
Published 2 months ago by Donna newland
5.0 out of 5 stars I Know This Much -a review by Joyce Miller
The book arrived very quickly and in excellent condition. It was also a cracking good read and I am very happy with my purchase
Published 3 months ago by Joyce Miller
4.0 out of 5 stars Not bad
Great to read Gary's version of events. A little bit "me, me" in places but worth a read whether a spandau fan or not.
Published 6 months ago by Amanda Huggenkiss
5.0 out of 5 stars Very well-written and interesting
As a self-confessed fan of the 1980s I was pleased to be able to read Gary Kemp's version of events and I'm so glad that I did. Read more
Published 7 months ago by SilentSinger
5.0 out of 5 stars Part of my teenage years
I was a true Spandau Ballet fan, reading this was like re living my teenage years, remembering the release of each single and LP, remembering sitting waiting to press record on the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by miss lib jon
5.0 out of 5 stars Gold!
I was drawn to this by Gary and Tony's appearance on Radio 4 discussing 'True' the album. I loved the way they spoke openly about their relationship and I also learned 'True' the... Read more
Published 9 months ago by Paul F
5.0 out of 5 stars Searingly Honest
Gary Kemp wrote three of the most perfect pop songs of the modern generation (True, Gold and Barricades) and the man he got to sing them had a perfect voice, but beyond that I knew... Read more
Published 10 months ago by T. A. Sainsbury
5.0 out of 5 stars Beyond a good autobiography
After reading John Taylor's autobiography, I was expecting another light weight, fun, maybe even tawdry, look back to the 80's; so, I surprised and thrilled at the humor,... Read more
Published 13 months ago by K. Maloo
4.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating read for someonqe of my era
Some real heartfelt passages re the initial dissolution of the band and his parents death
Don't know who proof read it though some shocking mistakes
Published 14 months ago by tilted23
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautiful soul behind the songs and the person innit
This book have made me moved to the highest point of realization being a fan of this group for almost 30 years now. Read more
Published 17 months ago by Chona
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