BOOK OF THE MONTH: Really Saying Something by Bananarama (November 2020)

WORTH A LOOK?: ****1/2

WHEN?: released 29/10/20

Really Saying Something is the story of the childhood friendship at the heart of the UK’s most successful all-female group.

  • Read on for reasons including how the band might celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2022

Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward met in a Bristol school playground when they were just four years old and 14 years later moved to central London’s bohemian Soho district where they would later meet 3rd ‘Nana Siobhan Fahey.

monstagigz has been Rams’ fans since their early 80s formation and it’s only after reading the book that we’ve come to appreciate the full extent of the band’s influences including a chance meeting with a former Sex Pistol who without whom they might never have graced the top 40 quite so many times.

The sense of humour Sara and Karen share and which may have been an inspiration for Absolutely Fabulous became most obvious to us during the last gig we saw them play in London in 2019.

The pair’s love of artists including Kate Bush, The Smiths, Blondie and Patti Smith may not be immediately apparent from their music but the duo’s work did inspire a meeting with Hollywood superstar Robert de Niro in Soho which involves hilarious references to Benny from Crossroads and Channel 4’s Brookside.

Finding fame in the 80s was no doubt helped by their determination to do their own thing as well as not being defeated by sexist attitudes best exposed by a story in which their bodyguards stripped down to their underwear.

We’ve written previously about how groundbreaking their BRITS performance was (see below) and it’s a tale told in the book.

There are also perhaps unexpected appearances by Strictly‘s Bruno Tonioli, George Michael and The Prodigy’s Keith Flint.

What might surprise is Keren’s honesty about her depression and being pregnant at the height of their fame which saw both the self-written Cruel Summer and cover Venus become giant US hits.

We did see them live in this period shortly after Fahey had quit the band at the old Wembley Arena and can understand their frustration that there’s not more filmed footage of the band having a ball at the height of their popularity.

Screen Shot 2020-11-24 at 03.36.07

Nevertheless. we trust 2017’s Original Line-Up tour was captured more successfully not least because its Eventim Apollo gig won our Best Gig monsta in 2017.

The joy of that tour and their Hyde Park gig with the Pet Shop Boys makes for an upbeat conclusion to what is a terrific read for anyone with an interest in 80s music.

We checked out an online Q&A with the band shortly before the book’s release and there they talk about their plans for new music for their 40th anniversary in 2022 which would definitely be something to look forward to.

  • Picture by Steve Schofield via Facebook courtesy Bananarama Tickets and book details 
  • Have read this book or seen any of these shows? Let us know what you thought in the comments below
  • Let us know what you thought in the comments below Enjoyed this review? Follow its author on Twitter @NeilDurham, email neildurham3@gmail.com and check us out on Instagram and Facebook

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