Martin (far left) and Gary (far right) in Spandau Ballet in 1985; the band sold millions of records in the 1980s – before becoming embroiled in a bitter court battle over royalties, a rift that has finally been healed says. Thankfully, surgeons managed to remove much of the growth. He looks as fit as a flea, with an easy wit that suggests he doesn’t take life too seriously, whereas his brother is slighter and fairer with a brain that never stops.
We’re here because Gary and Martin are about to present their first documentary series, Gangs Of Britain. It sees them travel to Brit- ain’s biggest cities to explore gang culture past and present. While Gary examines gang culture in the 19th century, Martin takes a look at the modern-day criminal underworld.
Television presenters. Pop stars. Writers. Soap stars. Movie stars. Is there anything to which the Kemp brothers can’t turn their hands? ‘DIY,’ answers Gary. Their dad Frank was a talented handyman. Despite working long hours as a printer, money was tight and he suffered a nervous breakdown when Gary was just six. ‘I was younger so it didn’t hit me as hard as it hit Gary,’ says Martin.
The boys were both with their parents when they died four years ago. Their 77-year- old mother was recovering from a heart operation when her husband, 79, suffered a massive heart attack. Gary was with him at the time and has written movingly about removing his father’s false teeth to give him the kiss of life. He wishes he hadn’t now. ‘I kept him going when it was already too late,’ he says. ‘Then we had to tell our mum. They’d never done anything separately in their lives. She didn’t want to stay. She said, “Everything’s OK. I have no regrets. Everything’s perfect.” She didn’t say, “I’m going to give up now,” but that’s basically what she did. She was so devoted to my dad. They had a joint funeral.’
But a birth and resurrection of sorts followed death. Within a month of their parents’ funeral, Gary’s son Kit was born and the brothers were in rehearsals with Spandau Ballet. It was the first time that the group had played together since the five boys, who’d been friends since they were barely out of short trousers, faced one another in a bitter and costly court battle for royalties in 1999. ‘It was a big thing for all of us to get back together,’ says Gary. ‘It wasn’t nice to live through that time when we weren’t talking. When the reconciliation came it was brilliant. As far as the band is concerned I’d say I’ve changed. I hope I’m more laid-back.’
He looks at his brother. ‘You are,’ says Martin. ‘Definitely.’