It is said there are six degrees of separation between any two people in the world. Between myself and Spandau Ballet front-man Tony Hadley, it turns out there are only two. Not surprising you might think, given my interest in the drinks industry and the relaunch of Hadley’s Gold beer. But actually our chain of acquaintance is far less routine.
Hadley loves a song. As he arrives for the interview he is full of them – he sings as he comes through the front door, hums down the hallway and carries his lyrics all the way to the bathroom to put some “product” in his hair, and where he is still perfectly audible. Maybe these are lyrics from his new “contemporary album”, one of two records out next year. Probably he just likes to sing.
When he’s seated and we’ve chatted about his soon-to-be-removed moustache, among other things, Hadley’s at it again, this time with more familiar lyrics. “That’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, that’s neat, I really love your Tiger Feet… Do you know the band Mud? I’ve written a lot on this new album with Rob Davis who did all the Kylie stuff and was the guitarist in Mud.”
Most people have a claim to fame, in one tenuous way or another. Mine isn’t even mine. It is that my father was once an early and brief member of ’70s Glam Rock band Mud. “Really? Bloody hell… really? Shit. It is a small world,” says Hadley and reveals how he knew, or knows, many of the band members. “Speak to your dad about Rob Davis – I’m doing a writing session with him on Monday.”
For a good while there I’m no longer a booze hack, I’m in the scene, shooting the shit with Spandau Ballet’s front-man. We get straight into song-writing and what comes next after you’ve done “love, angst, splitting up with girls, how the world should be a better place”? We chart the progression, or perhaps regression, of the music industry, the fashion of the almost-genderless New Romantics, of which Hadley played a central and buffoned part. And we get a little deep when we discuss the changing social scene of Britain in the ’70s and ’80s. Particularly how a young man from north London had only boxing, football and three – not 300 – channels on TV as interests, and how it was no wonder there was a music and fashion rebellion.
We discussed all this because Hadley is endlessly loquacious and because – mercifully – he shows no signs of media-fatigue. But mainly because he was the front-man of one the biggest bands the world has seen and done a few things in life. Our meandering narrative eventually leads us to where we should have started, to the drinks industry and Hadley’s Gold.