Bananarama were the girl band from my youth. Ok there were the Belle Stars and later the Bangles, but it was all about the Bananas for me. They looked like they'd walked into the BBC straight off a bus and hadn't changed into stage outfits either. No one was styling them back then and it showed. It was an aesthetic I could get right behind as it was a cross between "I made it myself" and "I found it in a skip." Completely achievable and you didn't need to look like you starved yourself to carry it off either. Early Madonna was pretty similar. I would travel into Covent Garden to scour Flip to find a long baggy duster coat or flappy trousers like theirs. Then there were the dungarees. It is entirely thanks to Bananarama that I currently own no less than 6 pairs of dungarees. I can finally admit this without a shred of shame.
Then there were the hook ups. Back in the day pop stars married other pop stars (or models, but this is the story I'm telling right now) So Martin Kemp of Spandau married Shirley off of Pepsi and Shirley, Dee Cee Lee married Paul Weller, him off of Human League married her off of Human League. Siobhan Fahey married Dave Stewart from the Eurythmics and finally Keren Woodward got together with Andrew Ridgeley off of Wham. Keren is still with Andrew and years ago I met Albert Ridgeley at a Rotary fundraising dinner in Cornwall where I was the speaker. He was a lovely man and a keen photographer who shared stories about his lovely family and spoke with great pride about Surfers Against Sewage which was his son Andrew's passion. Then he offered to show me a photo of his lovely daugher-in-law. "Erm, Albert I know what Keren Woodward of Bananarama looks like mate," was what I wanted to say. I mean she was the one all the boys fancied and as the only one with dark hair she was the only one whose look I could in any way emulate.
Even when they went all polished and professional with Stock, Aitken and Waterman they had a sense of humour about it. Half naked men in the music videos and a hilarious charity single with French and Saunders proved they really didn't take themselves too seriously. Well Siobhan did when she left to form Shakespeare's Sister (named after the Smiths song I believe), but they didn't have pretentions that they were creating high art.
They were the original british girl group long before the stage school girls and reality show wannabes. There was no whiff of singing training or performance skills with these girls, but you know it made not an ounce of difference. Whether they were with the Fun Boy Three TOTP trying not to laugh or meeting Robert De Niro and pinching themselves because they didn't know what to say to him they were real. They were normal.
And now they are back. Ok, so the cynical might suggest that a reunion is for purely financial reasons, but let's face it any band who have considered calling their reunion tour 'mood swings' "because that's our time of life" are a much needed tonic in these miserable times. I'll be practising my lame dance moves and rag rolling my hair in preparation.
Who's coming with me ?