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 in every minute. And all the more so because it's all written - brilliantly - by Gary himself.
I attended the same school as Gary and other members of Spandau Ballet, but a few years later and after its relocation from Islington to Hertfordshire. The school stayed close to its roots and Gary's story resonates strongly and is told straightforwardly and lovingly, vis a vis friends, bandmembers, lovers and family. It made me laugh and cry in equal measure, although i doubt it was written or narrated to deliberately pull at the heartstrings. Being down to earth and honest conveyed the highs and lows more than any hyperbole could do. This is not just for Spandau Ballet fans, although the band is the obvious strong thread upon which the book is based. If you grew up in the 80's, or are curious about how music is made and promoted (Steve Dagger, the band's manager was quite a genius) or simply enjoy a good autobiography, you can enjoy this tale, as i did, very much.