HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! As I’ve mentioned previously, I’m aiming to read a bit more non-fiction. Over the past few years, I’ve acquired several books but never made time to read them. They cover memoirs, self help, history. I’ve got books by film and TV stars, musicians, sports men and women, people in the medical profession, experts in their field of knowledge. Books about true crime, music genres, eating habits, mental health, travel and language, I could go on.
So I’m kicking off 2021 as I mean to go on with a review of a non-fiction book, the memoir of an iconic duo of my adolescence.
Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward met in the school playground when they were four. They became international stars, first as a trio, then, for almost three decades, as a duo.
After finishing school, Sara studied journalism at the London College Of Fashion, while Keren worked at the BBC. They lived in the YWCA before moving into the semi-derelict former Sex Pistols rehearsal room and immersing themselves in Soho’s thriving club scene. A year later they teamed up with Siobhan Fahey to form Bananarama. A string of worldwide hits followed, including ‘Cruel Summer’, ‘I Heard a Rumour and ‘Venus’. In a male-dominated industry, they were determined to succeed on their own terms and inspired a generation with their music, DIY-style and trailblazing attitudes.
Narrated with humour and authenticity, and filled with never before seen photos Really Saying Something takes us from the early days to the world tours, to party games with George Michael, a close friendship with Prodigy’s Keith Flint, hanging out with Andy Warhol in New York and a Guinness World Record for the most worldwide chart entries of any all-female group.
As well as the highs, Sara and Keren speak frankly about the flip side side of fame, revealing their personal struggles and the challenges of juggling family life with a demanding professional schedule.
Really Saying Something is the story of two friends who continue to pursue their dreams their way – and have a great time doing it. It’s a celebration of determination and a lifelong friendship, with an unbeatable soundtrack.
What Did I Think?
I was a big fan of Bananarama when I was younger. I remember learning the dances from watching TOTP. So when I heard Woodward and Dallin (the core of the group) were publishing their memoir, I knew I had to read it.
Really Saying Something is packed full of anecdotes from both touring and everyday life, starting from their childhood together right up to present day. Each memory is told by both individuals, the book structured like a conversation in a way, switching back and forth between the pair. Their account of the recording of the original (and the best) Do They Know It’s Christmas? is spine-tingling. In my 6 year old mind, they were huge but they were in awe of the project and the artists rounded up for the collaboration. Oh to have been in that room to hear the likes of Bono, George Michael, Spandau, Duran Duran all sing live!!!! But on the flip side, it highlights the male dominated music industry of the mid-80s as Bananarama were the only female representation at the recording.
I personally never appreciated how huge they were as a group and how groundbreaking they were. There was no social media back in the 80s so the awareness we all have today of a artist’s or group’s fame was very limited especially at the age I was. They made their very unique mark in a masculine world and didn’t waiver from their “brand”.
It’s one of the few books I’ve read on my kindle that has photos interspersed through the narrative. For me, on my paperwhite, it doesn’t work as well as a book – I have a physical copy of the book so I could appreciate the photos in their full glory!
At one point, they quote their former band mate Siobhan Fahey as saying ‘Your friendship is unnatural!’. For me, the friendship between Dallin and Woodward is amazing. Their friendship has been through so much and still going strong. This shone through in the natural storytelling of the past 40 years. I really enjoyed my trip through the Bananarama archives. Their reminiscing of their career to date was an eye-opener for this music fan. Loved it!
Who Are Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward?
Sara Dallin and Keren Woodward have had a successful career in the music industry spanning nearly four decades. Bananarama have sold millions of albums worldwide and hold a Guinness world record. They have made two Band Aid appearances, have released eleven studio albums and continue to tour internationally. Sara lives in London and has a daughter, Alice. Keren lives in Cornwall and has a son, Tom.