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Random thoughts about sound and vision.

Hell: The Freeze

The Spandau Ballet documentary SOUL BOYS OF THE WESTERN WORLD is out on DVD/Blu-ray this week - and it's one of the films of the year.

Really? I hear you cry in disbelief. Spandau Ballet: The Film up there with 12 YEARS A SLAVE, CALVARY and GONE GIRL?

Well - yes. Director George Hencken has diligently ploughed through hours and hours of old footage of the band. There's plenty of music videos, TV interviews, in-the-studio footage and rare 8mm film shot by the band themselves. What emerges is a riveting account of how five have-a-go boys from London stormed the pop charts and became music stars around the globe.

For a decade, the Spandaus surfed the wave of success but come the '90s, the fickle music-buying public started to look elsewhere for their pop thrills. Heated arguments broke out and abruptly, Spandau Ballet was no more. Then came that court case...

The likelihood of Spandau band members shaking hands and drawing a line under all of this was about as likely as hell freezing over. Fortunately, Satan's homestead did undergo a sudden temperature drop and Spandau Ballet ascended phoenix-like from the ashes of friendships and flop records. Come 2009, (SPOILER ALERT!) the band is back together again, new songs are recorded and a sell-out tour takes place.

To its credit, the documentary pulls no punches about the rise, fall and rise again of the band. Songwriter Gary Kemp is painted (unfairly) as the black-hatted bad guy but by the end, all is forgiven. It helps if you like their music (full disclosure: I do) but if you don't - no matter; there's more than enough to keep even the casual viewer hooked. The story of how the New Romantic movement appeared in the early '80s and made Spandau Ballet its frilly-shirted figureheads is a fascinating one.

If you're old enough to remember those halcyon days of the early Eighties, you'll love SOUL BOYS OF THE WESTERN WORLD. And if you're not - give it a go anyway.

It's terrific. I know, I know that much is true...

Er - sorry.