Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 916 – Sunday 27th November to Saturday 3rd December 2016

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 916 – Sunday 27th November to Saturday 3rd December 2016

Pinterest Google+

Hello, and a warm welcome to this post House of Fun Weekender edition of the MIS Online newsletter.

In this issue, just prior to the tour getting underway, we take a moment to look back at last week’s House of Fun Weekender in detail, with multiple reviews.

Tickets for next year’s 7th weekender are on sale now, and rooms are already going fast. This may partly be down to construction work on the site which sees the removal of some of the two share accommodations, as part of a big revamp of the Butlins resort.

Chart news now, and Paul Rogers tells us that…

“Can’t Touch Us Now is number 37 in the official charts company album chart this week. That’s its 4th straight week in the top 40. Their last studio album to manage that was Norton Folgate. Their last studio album to better it was Keep Moving, which managed 9 weeks from 03 March until 28 April 1984 on the top 40.

The album is number 32 on physical sales and 33 on overall sales. What this means is that downloads and streams are not adding many sales compared CDs, box set CD and vinyl.

Approximate sales based on the number 35 album having sold 4,574 mean is it reasonable to assume that CTUN has sold somewhere in the region of another 4,000 copies. If correct that would mean it has sold in 4 weeks slightly more than Oui, Oui sold in its first 6, with a cumulative total of around 36,000. 

One other snippet of news is that the DVD of the Our House Musical went Gold a couple of weeks ago with sales of 25,000.”

Before you start reading through the rest of this issue, you may be interested to learn that Lee Thompson is giving away two VIP passes to the Can’t Touch us Now tour (not valid for the London date). All you need to do is pop along to his web site and answer three questions to be in with a chance – http://leethompsonska.com

Good luck!

Now, on with the issue…

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams




See below for all forthcoming Madness and Madness related gigs and events. If there’s something we’ve missed off or you feel should be added then please let us know.



December 2016

Thursday 1st – Bournemouth – Can’t Touch us Now ** All standing gone **

Friday 2nd – Cardiff – Can’t Touch us Now

Saturday 3rd – Brighton – Matinee – Can’t Touch us Now

Saturday 3rd – Brighton – Can’t Touch us Now ** Sold Out **

Monday 5th – Groningen, The Netherlands ** Sold Out **

Tuesday 6th – Tilburg, The Netherlands ** Sold Out **

Thursday 8th – Newcastle – Can’t Touch us Now

Friday 9th – Sheffield – Can’t Touch us Now

Saturday 10th – London – Can’t Touch us Now ** Contact venue for standing tix **

Monday 12th – Nottingham – Can’t Touch us Now

Tuesday 13th – Bridlington – Can’t Touch us Now

Thursday 15th – Glasgow – Can’t Touch us Now ** Only expensive seats left **

Friday 16th – Manchester – Can’t Touch us Now ** All standing gone **

Saturday 17th – Birmingham – Can’t Touch us Now

Can’t Touch us Now tickets from: http://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/madness/

April 2017

Sunday 16th – Byron Bay, Australia  http://www.bluesfest.com.au/schedule/detail.aspx?ArtistID=873

November 2017

17th – 20th November – The House of Fun Weekender – Minehead ** New **



Madness – New Album – You Can’t Touch Us Now

** OUT NOW! **

16 Track CD, 12 Track Vinyl

30 Track Box Set Edition (with demos) ** Now Sold Out **


One Step Beyond Cherry Red Vinyl ** OUT NOW **

At the moment, a limited number are available to pre-order through Pledge Music (http://www.pledgemusic.com/artists/madness). You can also purchase it from branches of Tesco and Sainsbury’s.

If you order through Pledge you’ll be in with a chance of winning some test pressings!


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – Bite The Bullet ** OUT NOW       **

Vinyl £13.55  (Includes free mp3 version)

CD £11.37 (includes free mp3 version)

Mp3 album also available on its own for £7.99



Rhoda Dakar – The LoTek Four Volume 1. ** OUT NOW **


  1. Fill The Emptiness (Lovers)
  2. Tears You Can’t Hide
  3. You Talking To Me?
  4. Dolphins
  5. Fill The Emptiness (Reefa)




As promised, here is our in-depth MIS review of this year’s Madness weekender. Compiled by Jonathan, this also contains set lists added by Jacek and further reviews and input from Philip Toogood, Robert Wardlaw, Gary Saunders, Gary Scurfield and Adam Nichols. Further reactions from fan comments on Facebook are also included.

Absolutely Heart Touching – The House of Fun Six Review

“I’ve had a bellyful of faces drawn in sadness, I want to jump deep into tides of loving Madness” – The Lightning Seeds.

So we did just that. We all plunged together into the sextuple House of Fun Weekender with a big splash!

The onward tide of Madness sways and I float happily around the lazy river of the Madness pool party swimming event. Plastic aliens descend down onto me from the mothership. Laid back ambient dance music of DJ Wedo funk is soothing away Friday’s hangover, while Suggs is being photographed in the DJ booth too. He’s not playing any music choices though so this is the shallow end of his involvement in a Madness pool party. I would love to see any of the band “in too deep” on the decks in here at Butlin’s swimming pool. They could DJ the less obvious more chilled out Madness tunes as this is a chill out setting here really. Africa, Powder Blue, Maybe in another life, I could do a great pool play list. The water is refreshing and warming, and the party is a great addition to the myriad entertainment the weekenders offer up. As a veteran weekender swimmer Chris Carter Pegg pointed out, this is the most people he has seen in the swimming pool of a Saturday morning. Along with the slides and the dingy boats you usually get they have added some zorbs to the second pool, these for the unfamiliar are large inflatable balls you can climb inside, lots of fun had here and a great way to sooth the tiredness that weekender excitement drains you down into. Mr Mason, Mr Davidson float past me on a giant coiled snake, and Adam Nichols (ex Nutty forum runner) stops me for a Saturday Morning chat by the Jacuzzi, as we discuss how much we had enjoyed the Friday Night’s Madness set.

The Friday of Fun

In the pool it’s last night’s memory of a ghost dance that is happily replaying again in my mind. This is why I come here. A perfectly relaxing holiday, and in the company of a few great friends, all fans, some of whom you don’t see so often, who all enjoy something special from Madness our favourite band. Last night “Shadow of Fear” won the competition of treasured memory within the part of my mind where I keep all the many special memories Madness have given over so many years. When they play that one song that I’ve not heard before, be it new, old, cover or whatever, and when they play it good, and it hits the spot, pure joy flows to my soul as a unique moment watching them play is captured and becomes so very memorable. It’s life affirming and gleefully accepted and increasingly needed in the darker times we live in of late, Shadow of Fear seemed to become relevant again.  I didn’t expect to enjoy that particular album track so much, I thought it would be just a tick box of a not heard album track for me. It’s never particularly stood out to me before, but in truth it’s arrival Friday with its bouncy Barso keyboards won my ears, and took it’s moment. The backdrop of the haunted cartoon image made a strong impression on me that fitted the song like a glove, a cartoon with a hint of spooky sums the track up. The shadow of fear is a paranoia or an evil creeping close to you slowly. Very close to this moment was the heartfelt intro banter for “Overdone” talking of family disagreements and the pain of home life, adding to its deep melancholy of what was always a very touching track and it’s so good to hear this tune when it was played. It may be called overdone but it’s been underused and that’s why we get a glorious moment from it more than 30 years after its release, in the now of Friday.

Shadow of Fear Live – https://youtu.be/vb4oPOlZHIs

A set list made up entirely of One Step Beyond and Absolutely album tracks then is a fantastic thing and would, on its own, smash all expectations if playing in London tonight, as an astounding achievement, and it would be remembered for years to come as a great night, in and of itself. To a spoilt hardcore fan like me, wowed more than five times over as an attendee here at this consistently magic weekender, it is taken a little more in the stride, and it’s up against 5 other great weekenders in my head and their amazing Friday Night sets too, (and some pretty good Saturday’s too to be fair). It’s got a harder job to catch greatness of that comparative level. I had rather heard a lot of it before you see, I treasure that in a previous year One Step Beyond gave me it’s last song up at this weekender. Most of Absolutely I’ve caught through the last twenty years and nearly all of it done better live than tonight in my golden memory, coming as it did during more upbeat gigs to a more deserving audience on a one night out and not a pissed chatting at a hen party gathering settling into their party. More than a decade ago for sure I heard some of them in the case of a tune like “Not Home Today” (which weirdly seemed to tribute Chas in the video selections of prison clips from pop videos, I’m not sure how intentionally that was done).  I’m aware then that far more fans around me are so much more wowed by such returns tonight of many other rare album tracks, I’ve heard so many fan say that this was the best weekender yet, or their favourite choice of Friday Night selections. Good for them. If only the other half of the big top could shut their fat self-obsessed and uninterested mouths, and respect the artists who are on stage enough to listen as well, or occasionally sing along more if they catch a chorus by paying attention. It’s a truly great set. Wasted on many. Yet still not my personal favourite of the evening’s they have staged of Fridays of Fun.

This isn’t a criticism at all that it didn’t wow me as a whole. I am so grateful for Madness, amazed at Lee struggling on through this weekender with bruised ribs, impressed by the staging of the night, of the tube station look as they stand there all recreating a Baggy Trousered Chalk Farm pose against a backdrop, you can’t be anything other than proud of Madness giving so much and trying something different yet again for a Friday. Well done lads. I’m so very, very grateful for the two tracks I had never heard live before, and equally grateful I didn’t have to suffer hearing Solid gone cus it’s a solid turd that I’m glad has gone!  frankly in my opinion.  (I’m quite glad they have dropped Take it or Leave it too to be honest, it’s a pale imitation since Chas departed that tune live and been heard enough in recent years.)  Disappear can reappear anytime it wants to though. God I love that one. It’s only been 3 years since it’s iconic Ally Pally gig appearance, but that was still too long a time away for me. I want to hear Disappear again tomorrow ten times over and then once more for luck, the descending keyboards and ba ba ba ba band moment is just so immersive. It’s my third favourite tune from a great night with Madness.  Not Home Today probably comes in 4th.  The modern band playing Absolutely shows its depth as an album, as they play it so well now.

Let’s have a few more opinions on the weekender from some other fans now…

Dan Fossard: “Hearing Overdone, ERNIE, You Said & of course Cardiac Arrest all for the first time ever! And this was my first HOF. Quite possibly the best Madness gigs I’ve ever been to.”

Nice one Dan.

Gary Short: “Best moment was meeting Suggs and Chaz in reds after the gig.” 

What?! Jesus how drunk were you Gary! Ha ha.

The opener of Friday night.  Land of Hope and Glory reminds me of the band at Madstock two and a half decades ago. Dancing alongside some friends I name them in surname as the tune begins.  Madness and rare songs live is why I come here, Saturday will give even more delights of this kind too. I’m so often amazed that The House of Fun manages to give so many other great moments on top of just Madness being amazing. Such a party ensues once again over three and a bit days in the halls of HOF decked out in both weekender bunting and album cover bunting and flags that say Madheads you can’t touch them now. A nice touch is a giant criminal line up backdrop like the tour poster which practically begs fans to take their selfies and group photo’s against it, it’s a real hit and a popular item, as social media shows, not only that it’s kind of promoting the album and tour every time someone snaps it, so double genius move there. Even the inflatable entry arch this year has album themed art on it. With a stack of fake moustaches and some moustache balloons too, we wander into Inn on the Green, meeting with Alan and Bev Flynn, Warren Moyle, Mark Bryant and his mate Mel, Tony Bass, and Jimmy Fairgreives. Mr Happy is on the decks, whipping the excited arrivals into a frenzy with his obvious crowd pleaser tunes and abundant enthusiasm.

Mr B – The Gentleman Rhymer

The first live act we caught was some Chap Hop. Thankfully this meant ducking the Cuban Tossers antics on the main stage, that I leave barrier huggers, Sharon, Lynn and Nicky to suffer another time in their front row dedication, though I did even the Cuban’s themselves say “Some of you can’t stand us by now” on stage in relation to their sixth return! The History of Hip Hop was better relayed then at Inn on the Green by MR B in his first appearance, a man who clearly loves the genre, but communicates this love through his own devotion to the English Chap way of life, hailing himself from Surrey. It’s a comedic character for sure, one that many festival go-ers already seem familiar with as there is some people in the room already converts singing along, while his charm wins the rest of the room that remains and brings a packed crowd over all, most amused and entertained. It’s not a one note joke though, there is depths and wit within each piece of banter, song, montage or performance. Bringing out songs from his Latest LP, there’s a Rumpus Going On. We get a tune about Kanye West performed as if the big headed rap star was the subject of a parent teacher evening. It’s deliciously observed. From the off he jokes politely “I’m sure the followers of Madness know the history of Hip Hop, but just in case you don’t I will perform it all for you in a history lesson in the next three minutes.” There were cover versions of ELO Mr Blue Sky for Midlanders, northern acid house montages too.  All the way performed in a blazer and Terry Thomas style wink. It wasn’t a million miles from a Chrissy Boy showtime either, as both king of rock and fight for your right to Par—–Tay— were woven into medleys too. We doff you a cap MR B. Jolly good show sir. If it ‘aint Stiff upper lip, it’s ‘aint worth a Curtsy ladies.

Afterwards as we head off to Madness I have a polite word with the chap, only to discover the horror of a misplaced wristband means he cant get in to See Madness tonight, so I give him mine and sort the remaining problem of that later on, as one should never leave a chap stranded.


After Big Top Madness on Friday. Its then into Reds for Rhoda. I’ve seen Rhoda Dakar perform her “Sings the Bodysnatchers” album at the Jazz Cafe before. With a line-up that brings in two ex-Nutty Boys in the bass slapping bounce of Paul Tadman, and key tickling touches of Louis Vause married in sound with that Near Jazz man Mr Terry Edwards on storming Sax, it’s always a tight and brilliant sounding performance. But there was something about the time slot, the packed in audience, and the extra stage space that made this gig more special. The sound moving onward, after the release of her Lo Tek Four EP, also showed that this band with Rhoda was a going concern, and it’s every right to be, ‘cus it’s such a good performance from all. Her polite banter is often one of bemusement that she can entertain in her own right, she spins gleeful around the stage. Back stage chats afterwards about the correct approach to charity collections or the standing up against fascists that cling on to the wrong far wing of Madness only further enhance her integrity to me as deeply a part of the HOF family here (having previously DJ’d or performed with Madness / LTSO). She is beloved by the room, whether it’s a recent pledging fan who’s heard that new EP, or an old Two Tone fan wandering in happy to see a recognisable face fronting a band. Rocksteady, we do, and it ends the concert pleasingly to the latter, more Madness centric fans were wowed to hear the bands reinterpretation of “Tears you can’t hide” from Mad not Mad. “Have they done this one tonight?” She asks before they play it. “Well ours is a bit different anyway” She suggests. No it’s ok Rhoda they haven’t done that song since 1986! You don’t have to worry just yet about a clash. It’s applause you can’t hide though for Rhoda. When they pull the ‘Not quite leaving stage’ encore, the joy of the band in looks and glances is so self-evident.  It’s like they were at home with it all.

The Simmertones

The Simmertones really kicked off the after Madness-madness on Friday night, with a mixed bag of covers and their own material.

These guys suit a smaller venue like Jaks, and they really know how to please the crowd. The place was full and the atmosphere buzzing! They played a superb set, featuring Dr Who, A Message to you Rudy, Run for your Life and 54-46. We were hyped to see these guys and we’re hoping they’ll be back in 2017 for another set.  (This Highlight reviewed by Adam Nichols)


We round out Friday Night dancing once again to the funking tunes of Craig Charles and I also witness a bit of the boombastic sounds of The Invisible Orchestra at the end of the night. A man carrying a tuba over his shoulder passing us backstage to stand central to a unit pumping out some amazing instrumentals. In the wings Mark Bowen and Mr Scurf are chatting all things from Red Dwarf to Coronation Street and Music to Mr Charles and Owen the poet is exchanging his latest ditty before debuting more poetry at this weekender, and we get a rendition of Scary Fairy 2: Hansel and Grettle from Craig. A bedtime story of imps under the bed that means we don’t get much sleep that night! Good job we had that pool party with aliens to refresh us the next day or we might still be worried by bumps in the night.

The Greatest Saturday on Earth

The MIS began the Saturday morning, appearing in the Sky line Pavilion. Moved on from our chosen spot, to nearer the coffee shop, like a bunch of Del Boy fly pitchers, told to hop it, by Dave the ever vigilant tour Manager of Madness who takes no nonsense. (Which is a shame in a way because we are all about providing some scheduled nonsense this morning! with our ironing board magic table and a cardboard cut-out of St Pauls, we are the low rent pale imitations of Tommy Cooper meets the crappest episode of the generation game you ever turned over from on the Saturday telly.) With 3 teams of fans, we perform The Greatest Show on Earth box set game invented by Madness with DJ Wheelie Bag. Mr Scurf hosts the occasion all Top hatted and caped in album theme look against Alan Flynn’s fan art backdrop. We have roped in TV comedian off of the background of Little Britain, Paul Putner to be St Paul our judge who awards out Wow or Whoops points to the teams efforts. He mostly struts about like a snooker referee holding up his fingers up as point scores, while shouting “Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiite” in response to some of the worse attempts at achieving the cards set. This culminates in the more watchable Mr Apples Spoon Duel. A game that sort of mixes egg and spoon like apple balancing with conkers rules or fencing with cutlery. Team Magic Lead by Lynn Lawlor and Sooty triumph in the overall score stakes and take The Gladness gift pack prizes home. (Thanks Adrian! for sorting those) Though not before we knock one over, spilling coffee and the Reggae Aerobics sound drowns out any remaining comprehensions from our show whatsoever, and Philip our sax man gives up his busking.  We’ll we said it would be “Shambolic” and we were right. While the runners up team Mystery lead by Warren don the monkey masks of shame that match the box set monkey look, Mr Putner massages the shoulders of Mini Lee Simon Griffiths our stunt man. Dressed as a robber look with swag bag matching the new Madness Can’t Touch us now video, he attempts the finale, and in tribute to the lyrics of “I believe” he jumps skilfully over St Paul Cathedral. Our thanks to Paul Rodgers from the MIS team for setting up Mr Putners involvement in all this.

Onwards to centre stage and the proper comedians now the ones who are actually funny and not just messing about and Andre Vincent is most amusing. Kind of like a Phil Jupitus type but a bit more blue in his sexual descriptive stand up. There is also a chance to have a delicious American dinner meal, while DJ Darren Bennett serves us both his waiter impression ala Los Palmas 7, and some choice cuts of Ska and Reggae from the restaurant DJ booth too. After the aforementioned dip in the pool we return to watch the end of the comedy and the new weekender poetry spot. First witnessing the late arrival of the hip hop karaoke. JAM a manager of Madness online team, opened the performance on his birthday, (that would later be passed tribute to by Suggs tonight getting the band to sing happy birthday), by hilariously performing old Dirty Bastards “I like it raw”. Think of a radio one white young presenter type trying to ape Louis Armstrong rapping and you’ll be somewhere near to what it was to witness, seems everyone’s into high jinks for Saturday then. We believe another manager was up for doing Mc Hammers – You Can’t Touch This Now. Sadly we missed this, so will search later for video evidence that this happened too.

Owen Collins

It’s a bold thing to try and bring something new to the masses of weekender attendee’s, and poetry is definitely at the far edges of the kind of entertainment likely to go down well here. It feels poetry following the comedians Saturday without any kind of announcement of its segment actually being separate, managed to actually help this. There are some comedic elements in Owen Collins performance and poems or delivery. He told the crowd to “lump it, you are getting poetry” with his swagger onto stage, his energy and suited presence achieved both laughs and applause for every prose passionately presented, warningly thanking the audience back with a quick “cheers” at the end of each response. Walking the crowd, I heard nudges of unexpected delight between some of the seated onlookers and he was taken to be a John Hegley or young Craig Charles on Saturday night live kind of an act. Undoubtable striking the biggest cord performing a poem about a disagreement in the crowd at a previous Madness gig. This poem spoke directly to its audience, called “F**k Poetry, Let’s Dance.”

The fact he held his own against these professional comedians Saturday was impressive, when more akin to appearing at poetry nights or open mic spots in smaller London venues. (In fact one of the professional comedians had been booed off stage earlier on Saturday afternoon, so he was outperforming more established acts on the Saturday bill.) So we won’t dwell at length that scheduling changes vs the programme or non-appearance in the app caused some issues Sunday’s set. Previous supportive people absented Centre stage it emptying out as people flooded off to see Mr Thompson live downstairs, some even complained it was a waste of centre stage when Lee was packed out downstairs and wished the venues had been switched in planning. Ironically Owen was struggling against the very kind of music, that he had so eloquently expressed a passion for Saturday Night and captured minds in the discussion of.  Steve Chapman expressed a desire for Owen’s poem to performed in front of the band Friday set in future to tell the crowd talkers to shut up listen and dance, but MIS would definitely big him up to be considered for a band intro moment if they played somewhere more like the west bank in London again, with a fitting celebratory poem needed, he would be your man, to a lot of Butlin’s punters such art is lost.

Fancy Some Comedy Dress?

I went as Victor Meldrew. So I can complain loudly for a moment.  What is it with the lack of lanyards for all, the closing of venues early on Sunday, or not getting our welcome wine in this year’s luxury accommodation. Or the poor behaviour of some fans, or the attitude of security enforcing a no balloons policy on me, or % merchandise rules at the weekender being forced onto Lee himself. Oh hang on my phone appears to be a small dog, I can’t phone anyone, and anyway I need to get this rotting hedgehog off my foot first Margret.

Costumes I enjoyed seeing others wear include, Vicki Lee as Mighty Boosh’s Old Greg. Warren Moyle as Norman Bates (What? oh sorry Mrs Brown apparently! I find Norman funnier myself.) Mark Bowen as uncle Albert. Lynn Lawlor as Victoria Wood’s Dinner Lady, Sharon Staite as Mrs Slocombe (her pussy on display at the barrier of course for the band to see.), Robert Wardlaw a scots man dressed as Russ Abott’s mock Scotsman is pretty ironic lol, A fab Patsy from Nicky Evans. Stav being in the best possible taste, and trio of Groucho Marks (Gordy, Mike and Iain Mason) surrounding Thommo (he has since said this was his best memory of the weekender). It’s the fact that they played Yesterday Men and I bumped into Max Wall a moment later that really made my night though.  Which Comedy icon’s will be here in the long run!

We’ve reviewed the inflatables before at greater length. Due to a packed out smaller venue this year we skipped them, catching only the sight and sound of a very happy packed room in action, from the edge of the corridor. Nice to see them get to warm up a Madness going crowd directly this year, we headed to the front to catch Madness.

Madness – Can’t Touch us Now Tour Begins

Saturday Night Videos…


The most brilliant animated prison back drop allowed for a theatrical opening to the tune Can’t Touch us Now, as the first song of the set. By miles the best intro to a Madness gig (that isn’t sacrificing Night Boat too early in the night) since the departure of the shout one in shades two tours ago. They have finally found their first foot again, while House of Fun intro was so very close to a great start, this is the intro with impact and power you properly need to start a Madness concert in full power. Bravo.


Cardiac Arrest though would then eclipse every piece of weekender fun thus far, knowing it was so long overdue to return to a Madness hits set, I filmed and uploaded that track instantly in celebration of the return of the tunes from Complete Madness that ALL the fans need to hear again. I so hope they tour this single. It can delight both decade going gig fans, through to more casual hits buying fans, here is a real unifying Madness track appearing for probably the last time a track can do such a thing. (Though In The City must still be capable of a far shared delight in future, if you weren’t at small Japanese gigs about a decade back and most of the UK wasn’t.)

It’s a great prison set Madness have and great back drops of album art and more. I look forward to this touring show for the new album with far more joy than I did the last two tours. With an additional Mez on some vocals and percussion, (which works not just on the new album songs he helped on, but adds some great things live that were already on NW5 and Wings of a dove records for example, and i think the afore mentioned Cardiac’s xylophone solo too.)

Yesterday’s Men also sounded great, after a fair while out of sets. You are My Everything debuting was a stunning highlight of the new album songs played, with some great guitar work, brilliant that if they keep it to this level we will be getting 7 tracks from the new album on tour. Grey Day, Tomorrow Just another Day. All these singles look set to tour and make it a show both popular and yet in contrast to the Madhead, charge or Grandslam tours. Fittingly packed with enough of the new album to boldly excite new ears nationwide. And probably come 2017 tour Australia, Japan and maybe even NZ or US if you are really lucky down in those waters.

I didn’t even shed a tear for my favourite tune, Don’t Let them catch you crying, not making the show tonight. (Chris had already apologised for this! saying i’ve little chance of hearing it at Brighton. My hope remains for either then or the 02, or any future gig. how about HOF 2017 Chris?  I can wait. I wont give up hope or my looping.)

Daniel Scott-Drysdale: “Absolute legends! Great weekend had by all and being from Croydon, top respect to you for the kind words re the tram accident.”

Super Hans

It was great, I don’t know what it would have been like if you hadn’t seen the character in Peep Show. He did some electronic music like in the sitcom, including the one line I remember ever being seen on screen from a song, as well as some DJing.  (This highlight reviewed by Owen Collins)

The Lightning Seeds

They were just as much the great escape that the wave pool offered me earlier. The single most amazing act to play HOF in 6 years, (that wasn’t in some way Madness related.) I was front and centre watching every move Mr Broudie made, to a packed room.. I sang every word, while hugging other fans who own this bands albums, and apart from the band being a bit too lacking in electronic samples these days, they were a powerful sing a long for me. Even throwing in the football song at the end which is actually quite rare a thing for them to do, despite it’s popularity. The booking of the lightning seeds goes some way towards giving The House of Fun something known, popular, full of melody, and not in the dub reggae / Sa mode / DJ or young new band, that a lot of the weekender line up comprises of year on year. Quality for your holiday, right there.

Benn Sanderson: “I’m taping 3 chocolate bars to my top.”

Would they be Lion Bars Benn? We see what you did there mate.

The Church

Led by the rather splendid Reverend Michael Alabama Jackson with Morgan the Organ and the Sisters Mary-Lou, Mary -Jane and Mary Faith.  This lot never fail to entertain with their alternative spin on Religious Preaching.  Mostly highly inappropriate for the average Church goer, this lot are just perfect for the religious Mad-Heads.  The mixture of song, crazy ass preaching, daft dancing and crowd interaction has very quickly made these guys a firm favourite and must watch for the HOFW. Hallelujah, praise the Mother F@cking Lord…..  (This highlight reviewed by Mr Scurf)


Appearing on Sunday afternoon I think it was, a small inflatable tent arrived with dance music playing inside that a couple of people could fit into.  A sort of cross between camping and going on a fair ground bouncy castle we think. Random fun.

Robert Wardlaw’s Surprise 50th Party & Meeting Madness, the Birthday Boy tells all…

Well where do I start …. Was just the most amazing weekend of my life … After the absolutely brilliant set on Friday night which was wow … Just wow … As soon as the curtains opened n saw the album pose … I just thought … U know what , this band never fail to amaze us .. Just pure class. Was brilliant to finally hear overdone live … Love it . Saturday was a normal day to start with …. A few drinks n plenty laughs n always love catching up with my awesome extended madness family … Then …pre gig… Boom …. I was hit with something I’ve always wanted … I was getting to meet the band as a surprise for my 50th birthday … Thing is i was dressed like a fud in my kilt n jimmy wig lol … Well it was fancy dress night .. Was my Russ Abbott effort lol … Any way I got taken in n was waiting with my dear friend Colin Ross who arranged it n john Hasler came over for a blether then Johnny Gauld, the madness piper appeared to pipe me into the dressing room…. Walked in & they were all there … Minus cut fingers Barso… The band were all brilliant with me n thanked me for the support over the years .. A few photos … Then it was over… But was no1 on ma bucket list so just so happy …. I have to say i was very emotional before and after.. Then onto the gig .. A brilliant night jumping about with mad friends … And the set list was brilliant .. Cardiac arrest n yesterday’s men … Wow. … Went to bed a happy man n bored Dorothy Dennis to bits for an hour about how much meeting madness meant to me lol. ……

..Sunday morning … I was rough lol … Dorothy Dennis, Colin Ross n Nicki Semple were all trying , without luck to get me back on it … But I wasn’t having it … I’m no drinking the noo lol … Anyway 12 noon we were visiting our friends Pete Mayor n Allie Mayor lodge for Pete’s birthday … On our way i bumped into Jonathan F Young n Chris Cp n said hello n strangely they never stopped to talk .. Got to lodge n Gordon Alexander Davidson shouted to us to go for u cup of tea in his lodge first … Yes Darren Dixon .. Tea lol … He then said be quiet as there’s still peeps in bed … So I’m creeping quietly in n somehow ended up first in … Opened the door n…. Boom … The place went mental … NW 5 blaring out … Party poppers.. … Happy birthday to u … T shirts badges n posters wi ma mug on em … Awesome birthday cake … A surprise 50th birthday party thrown by my mad friends … Lovely people ive met as far back as 1999 through till today …. Even Jon n Chris had somehow got back in lol … I didn’t have a clue … Absolutely gob smacked n so humbled . struggling to hold back the tears …. Just the nicest thing anyone has ever done for me … It was brilliant n I can’t thank u all enough …. Can go on forever but wont… Just know that I appreciated it sooo much n love my madness family …. So to sum it up … Quite simply the best weekend of my life. Thanks folks .

Just when I thought … In the immortal words of Joe Casey … Could this day get any better … It did … Johnny Gauld appeared for some more awesome piping … That was the icing on the cake …..

Robert Wardlaw.

The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra

The return of Bitty Mclean stole the show again, although the man did a great show later upstairs as he has a couple of time at this weekender, united with the power house of Lee Thompson’s band, chucked on stage by Dave Robinson, the reaction from a packed Red’s was once again massive wave of cheering. This was the highlight for a pretty storming set. The Venue change a mistake for anyone of those who couldn’t get in to see Lee at this Madness weekender, get through a third set. But had the effect of ramping up the gig. That and the two album split of song choices made this the most atmospheric Ska orchestra outing from the three they have done. Mr Fordham getting a chance to belt out cry to me powerfully to a large enthralled crowd, (before claiming on social media he is now “done with Butlin’s” over disagreements of weekender policy management.) Sumudu adding sweet vocalisations and winning over the crowd. Phil Toogood our sax man from MIS circles having the time of his life, playing alongside so many great musicians in the regular band. Mr Thompson happy and supported, at one point adding a large banner to the front of stage.

I asked Steve Chalky White if the band were still a going concern? as the recent departure of Andy Neal and the difficulty of scheduling between Mez drumming with van the man, and Mr Thompson being both ill for a period and ultra-busy in mad circles, seems to have limited the spread of Bite the Bullet to just a couple of live outings. He reassured me that the beginning of a band is the hardest launch. Reloading the ammo after a short hiatus etc. isn’t the hard thing to fire when you’ve two fine albums under your belt and ready to fire off the hip. So thankfully Butlin’s doesn’t seem to be parting shot over all.

No No No goes particularly well with the drop down, The band are back on stage for an encore of Broadway Jungle.  The made the Sunday special when elsewhere it’s looking a little lacking in fresh entertainment.  Step it up sister and OHMSS and more from the new album make this a delight for the dancing crowd.

Some reports of David Rodigan being good and Randal being a nice rave to end with come in from some fans, but I’m exhausted from all the HOF fun and having done the Shiiine Weekender, my self and Mr scurf sit backstage with Dave Robinson chatting about the old days, and take in Bitty’s masterful set before calling it a day in what has become a rather wet and wind soaked Butlin’s.

Dicka’s Dairylee Head

Freshly shaved (on live Facebook shown by Vicki Lee) to be George Dawes for the fancy dress, Dicka’s arrival at the post weekender lodge drinking getting towards midnight on Sunday night was met with an applied layer of popular processed cheese slices all across his smooth bonce creating a bizarre sight with an added penis motif carved out of the foodstuff at the rear by Owen Collins. As Gary Saunders found out, you don’t sleep too early at this weekender unless you want a face like a white girl wasted. The new Madness album was played a few more times over, and over sung and celebrated.

Well, wow, what a good time was had. Thank you everyone who spoke to me, and partied with me over the weekend. Lots of you, make this weekender much more fun than it would be being the only fan in town. Hello to Miamia “Prospects” John if you are reading, thanks for the kinds words. To all the fans having fun.

“Never Change, don’t ever change.” – The Lightning Seeds.

There were lots more acts on. Do send us your great moments too if we missed your favourite moment of whatever type it was. This was just some of what we enjoyed or witnessed, and had time to type up. There is one more fan, though who had a different weekender. We would like to tell his story next…

“It could all be going your way.” – Madness

Philip Toogood’s Weekend

I sit back at my desk on Tuesday morning not in the anticipated state of post HOF blues, but in a state of shock!

Did that really just happen!!?  Then my grin extends from ear to ear… yes it did!!

So it all began with the biggest welcome to the ‘house of fun’ for me ever when I received a phone call a few days before the HOF weekender, it was from the one and only Lee J Kix Thompson after I was recommended as a back-up tenor saxophonist by Jonathan Young!  Lee had broken his ribs during an altercation with an antique radiator and was concerned that he may not last the weekend performing non-stop and three gigs, he basically wanted a plan B!  Obviously having followed Madness and the Ska scene my whole life, I was a ‘very’ willing candidate and despite the timescale, I set about madly rehearsing the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra songs!!

I arrived at the HOF on the Thursday evening to meet with Lee and make plans for any support he needed.  As it turned out, Lee was managing incredibly well considering, John O Neil the sax dep in Madness (From Bad Manners duties past) had been installed into a 4 man version of the usual Brass monkeys, and Lee was still able to play a lot of his planned solo’s and healing well.  However he insisted nevertheless that I joined Madness on stage for the last song of the Friday night set, which is historically to any HOF madhead ‘House of Fun’.  It all seemed very surreal still and even though I heard him correctly, I couldn’t quite believe it could happen!!

Friday came and after spending the day in disbelief, the moment arrived!  As arranged I waited by the stage in anticipation for the song ‘You said’ to end, trying desperately to warm up my freezing cold sax and wondering why I wasn’t more nervous!  Then the moment arrived… do I just go on!? Then a friendly gesture from Woody propelled me forwards, and there I was on stage gazing at the crowd that I’m usually a part of!  But no I’m suddenly a part of Madness, ok that might be an exaggeration, but for the next 2 minutes and 48 seconds I felt it!

Suggs bellows ‘Welcome to the House of Fun’, Woody’s drums strike the beat and from my sax comes ‘barbap diddle diddle diddle diddle barbap’. I’m on autopilot and well and truly in the Lion’s Den!  Lee had a little breather and mostly left me to play; returning to his Sax for pivotal points.  It’s always fun being around Lee and being on stage with him was certainly no exception!  I stood side by side with in my opinion one of the greatest saxophonists of our time and blew my horn like never before! And yes as a ‘big boy now or so they say’ it was over too soon!  It really was amazing playing on stage with the band I have watched and followed for most of my life! A dream come true… what more can I say! Thank you Madness!!!!!

Saturday morning and with my head still buzzing from the night before I arrived to meet the M.I.S madhead team to commence fun with ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’.  This was fun and games in teams playing the nutty card game from the deluxe ‘can’t touch us now’ boxset.  I had fun tooting away encouraging the willing contestants as they floundered with a few bars of ‘embarrassment’, until the competition in volume from the ‘reggae aerobics’ became unbeatable and I retreated back to a hair of the dog beer!  Good fun though, and a great crowd to be around.

Sunday came after another night of mad skanking, meeting up with friends and enjoying the many fantastic bands, and I was up again!  The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra sound check 3pm! As 4pm approached ‘Reds’ was full to capacity and I saw the final set list for the first time!  I felt humbled to be on stage playing a full set with such amazing and talented musicians.  I initially felt apprehensive as to whether I would have enough time to learn the songs likely to be played, however it naturally fell into place and being up there felt so exhilarating that I had to attempt to control myself for fear I might otherwise skank right off the stage!  I was made to feel really welcome within the band which helped massively considering I had never even rehearsed with them before this moment!  What a great crew!  Brilliant!  (Note: Phil was sent the set list just 1 week before stage time, and of course as always some changes were made and he wasn’t told, so he managed to cover a couple of tunes by dropping back to the speakers to listen to what the band were actually playing and then jump back in with fitting riffs alongside the brass, of Mike, Joe, and the two Steve’s who were all playing away, and of course Thommo was well enough to play a bit himself too.)

So as the weekend draws to an end, I head to the Inn on the Green where I had a few months earlier agreed to join Mr Happy on the DJ stand for a bit of live sax backing.  By this time I was to say the least a little merry and so high on life my wife said I resembled an excitable puppy!  As the Inn on the Green tends to be for Mr Happy’s Sunday night set; it was bursting at the seams with bouncing skinheads ready for one last bit of skanking fun before returning to the rat race, and I was no exception!  Immediately Mr Happy introduced me and again I was away blowing my horn along to Ska classics with Mr Happy revving the crowd into a mad frenzy! Oh what fun we had!  Good job those DJ tables were built from scaffolding materials as we ‘gave it some’ dancing on them!

And here I am back at the desk, no HOF blues, wearing the Cheshire cat’s grin which I don’t think I will ever be able to wipe from my face!!

A big thanks to all of those who supported me and helped make this happen, especially Lee J Kix Thompson! Legend! & MIS.


Here’s a few more fan’s reviews of the Weekender…

Steven Douglas: 

“Incredible weekend. Friday night set was brilliant to hear some distant tracks played live .Saturdays gig was one of the best. To hear Yesterday’s Men live again ’85 last time I heard it was wonderful but the different set list with new tunes was the biz. The Northern Soul night in REDS afterwards was awesome.  Hardwicke Circus were pretty special and to at last be able to see LTSO was fantastic. All in all the best HOF we’ve been to.”

Gary Saunders Review…

Here is my mini review of the weekender, I started with the 2 sets, then a few notes of my weekend.

Day 1 Friday their first 2 albums wow!

Friday set list was simply amazing, seeing tracks from one step beyond and absolutely was a nutty dream I never thought would come true, I needed pinching. Most of the gig I stood still admiring but was in awe and shocked at the same the time . One point I had my hand over my face in pure humbleness as 2 of my favourite albums were being played live, but when my favourite individual songs were played I just froze like a mannequin. I got a few looks, very hard to explain that special moment. But not just the band and the tracks, they also put a lot of effort in the stage lighting and back drop. With images of chalk farm tube station from the album cover.

This is one of my favourite gigs of all time that is saying something the amount of gigs I’ve been to, that personally was how special it was for me.

Day 2 Saturday greatest hits with a different twist

Madness keep on spoiling us as we are now on Saturday night’s gig, This is another one of my favourite gigs of all time.

The visual effects blew me away on this set too with every song having a different video backdrop being played. There was a nice tribute to Amy Winehouse, and Prince Buster. Also they dedicated It must be love to the people who sadly died in the Croydon tram crash a very personal moment from the band. TBH I had a few tears as some of others around me did too. They made quite a few changes, loved how the new tracks are getting played along with their classic hits, also having Yesterday’s Men, Cardiac Arrest, Tomorrow’s Just Another Day were other wow moments. Mr Apples as a encore just amazing. I and the rest of the fans are very lucky to witness two fantastic sets, Sir Madness thank you again.

Other acts I enjoyed were, Mr B Gentleman Rhymer very funny, hip hop aka chap hop with a Blighty twist, the crowd loved him, well done chap bravo.  I enjoyed the Simmertones and Rhoda Dakar but unfortunately they were on at the same time, so to be fair I saw half of each set not ideal but couldn’t miss both. LTSO what can I say another blinding set from the injured Thommo, the only thing wrong was they should have played in Center stage as it is bigger, but  the set was awesome  there 2 albums combined is amazing. I always have time for DJ Darren Bennent and Madam Scorcher they are lovely people  with a blinding Ska and reggae set right up my street. Mr Happy was brill as always, always getting the crowd going with his fine selection of songs and humour.

One of my friend Owen Collins did a fantastic poet reading,  poet at HOF doesn’t go together you might think??  well he is very clever with links about his relationship and London town sounds familiar with the bands own tracks?  Other than our party there were a quite a few laughs and claps in in the audience. I think his poetry should be published. My friends say the same thing too.

Saturday morning we had a greatest show on earth game, comprising of 3 teams team magic, mystery and performance, this is the card game from the box set of CTUN doing different acts and challenges . This was very funny and got very competitive he he, I loved the banter on Facebook we had prior to the build-up of this card game being played in the sky line pavilion.

The rest of the weekend I was mostly drinking being silly with my nutty family.  Outside the gigs, djs and other acts this is what makes my weekender. I have such a laugh with these fantastic people. Also I met new people as well, so the family is getting bigger.

My friend from Scotland who I met in Blackpool 15 yrs ago on the very  first madness weekender had a surprise 50th bday party at his lodge Sunday Morning. This was a proper midday party, along with a lot of people I met in Blackpool years ago, along with my best friend Jonathan Young without him I wouldn’t be typing this as I owe lot of thanks to this brill geezer,  as well  as new friends over the years. Rob got very emotional and humble. Madness bagpipe player who leads madness onto the stage was there too as a surprise for him , the whole crowd got going, amazing scenes, amazing people.

This was one of the best weekends i have  ever had , im on a massive downer,  emotionally drained with a husky voice now lol , but reading the posts and seeing the pics I feel I have gone back there in time reflecting  the weekend over and over again.

Nutty Regards.  Gary Saunders

Jacek Gajewski ‘s Set Lists… 

In addition to last week’s Madness set lists reported…  Here are some other acts…

While in Butlins I enjoyed the House of Fun Weekender 2016, I grabbed set lists of Rhoda Dakar and The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. Please, find them below,  Take care and see You next year, Jacek

Rhoda Dakar

  1. 007
  2. Easy Life
  3. Landlord
  4. Happy Time Tune
  5. Fill The Emptiness
  6. Too Experienced
  7. The looser
  8. Ebb Away
  9. Dreamland
  10. Backfoot
  11. Ruder Than You


  1. Tears You Can’t Hide
  2. Rocksteady



  1. Western Standard Time
  2. Heatwave
  3. Ali Baba
  4. Bite the Bullet
  5. Bangarang
  6. I’ll Be Back
  7. Feel a Little Better
  8. OHMSS
  9. Cry To Me
  10. Step It Up Sister
  11. No No No
  12. Midnight Rider
  13. Soon You’ll Be Gone
  14. Fu Manchu feat. Bitty McLean
  15. Hello Josephine


  1. Wickerman    (wasn’t played this was dropped)
  2. Broadway Jungle

Rob Price Weekender Review…

Good evening fellow Madheads and the warmest of greetings to you all. So much to tell but I shall try to keep to the key points.

Friday: After waiting 36 years, we finally heard what many consider (myself included) as the Bands finest album ‘Absolutely’ being played live. This in my opinion should be renamed Absolutely Brilliant. What a treat and worth waiting for.  This was followed by another delightful helping of quality music by the fantastic Rhoda Dakar in Reds who played faultlessly (even with a cold) to a packed crowd. Well done Rhoda, you’re a Legend. Could the weekend get any better than this?

Saturday:  Good entertainment throughout the day as a starter followed by Madness as the main course performing songs from the new album and a few old ones. Suggsy singing his lung off and putting everything into the whole set with the unfaltering support from the rest of the group. Another brilliant evening. Did anyone else notice the much improved stage set up and sound system?…and then the Lightning Seeds as a desert.

Sunday: I thought to myself, we have had two days of top drawer music so Sunday will be a little calmer. Wrong! Started at midday at the Inn on the Green with the DJ playing tributes to the late and very great Prince Buster.  Now I am starting to ache with all the dancing but I could not let this moment go and so with the tunes of the Prince still ringing in my ears, moved back over to Reds to Catch Lee and the Gang. The place was packed out and they were Superb – as always. Short break for a freshen up and then back to Centre Stage to see Bitty McClean. What a top act,  simply amazing, but it didn’t stop there. Next up was David Rodigan. This Man had the place bouncing complete with a fitting tribute with the crowd raising a clenched fist into the air in memory of the Prince. By this time, I was all danced out and ready to retire to take stock of what our group all agree on was the best House Of Fun weekend so far.

Monday: Tried trading in our minibus for a Jet Ski for our journey home North of London but seems like everyone else had the same idea. Anyway, till next time, keep dancing.



So overall how was this year’s swim in The House of Fun Waters?

There was excited running to venues, shouting & singing, drinking and smoking, some pushing sure, some heavy petting definitely was witnessed, plenty of photo bombing, as well as a few dives (and that’s just the flooded low level chalets) so I think we broke every school pool rule about swimming with Madness again. But we’ve been allowed back next year.  Phew. They are heating the waters. Come on in. The 7th Feels like it will be a lucky weekender for all. You wont want to miss it.

Jonathan Young

P.S    Oh go on then, just one more memory. Miami John trying to play Scabby Dug’s Bagpipes and showing us all how talented Madness’s Bagpiper really is by doing such a worse job than him. The diabolical sound that John managed to hardly wrestle out of the bag like a ham fisted man wrestling an octopus. Oh my god. And I didn’t think anyone could make a worse noise at HOF than those sodding Monday Seagulls! But his whimpering sack farts take the mantle. Ha ha priceless John. Dont ever take up the pipes full time.



Following House of Fun Madness headed to France for album promotion. The following news all comes from the French MIS with thanks to Jean Pierre.

Madness appear in Les in Rock magazine.  In an article “Madness return to form with new album”

We know that Radio Nova, Oui FM, RTL 2, Europe 1, Le Parisien all received Madness this week. With some Session taking place.

Radio Nova 

JP describes the radio Nova appearance as a waste of Madness, the radio station stuck focusing on their One Step Beyond period and hardly touching on the new album.  Asked about whether they could do a concert without playing Our House or One Step Beyond, Mike was able to say “We did last Friday at Butlins”


Europe 1. 

Music Club on Europe 1


Oui FM 

Ouï FM with a good interview and two pieces played piano / voice:

“Mr Apples”

“Sunny Afternoon” (Kinks cover)

Le Parisien, 

The group was very well presented and Mike and Suggs played piano / voice:


“My Girl,”

“Mr. Apples ”

“It Must Be Love “. Suggs with sore throat terrible, stopped the session on “It Must Be Love”

It was broadcast live on their facebook here.


Madness were also interviewed here.


Madness on Chris Evans breakfast show

Madness 5 (without Chris) this morning in the Breakfast Show with Chris Evans on BBC!

Madness played “House Of Fun” “Mr Apples”, “It Must Be Love,” “Sunny Afternoon” (The Kinks) with Suggs


Christmas Tours are discussed.  The session is performed in front of Jeremy Paxman the famous imposing interviewer of politicians

from newsnight.   Suggs was asked about being Mayor of London. “It’s a lot of hard work” he exclaimed.   Madness claimed to

make Elaine Paige ill with Suggs current cold.  He jokes that he doesn’t have any range in his voice to lose though.




This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5 years, 10 and 15 years ago this week.

5 years ago…

Issue Number 655 – Sunday 27th November – Saturday 3rd December 2011

We felt that this weekend would go down in history as an extremely memorable one for fans who attended the Madness Weekender at Butlins Minehead.

The weather may have been cold, and for a great number of you it was a long way to travel, but with two Madness performances, the first public screening of the MISWAS documentary, a World Record attempt at the world’s longest nutty train, a selection of comedians, DJs, bands, and a whole host of other activities, it proved to be a fantastic extended weekend for those who were there.

The Weekender team had done an absolutely fantastic job of getting the place ready for us. We had huge Madness flags flying everywhere, bunting dangling from many a ceiling, and various M logos stuck to as many glass surfaces as possible. It must have taken hours for the staff to put everything up for us, and it really gave the place a wonderful atmosphere. Naturally, with these items looking so good it would surprise few of you to learn that by the end of the Saturday night many started vanishing, and by the Sunday morning all that remained were some M’s stuck to windows too high up to pinch, and a dirty great banner with Madness advertising media streaming by Sonos.

Still recovering from the weekend’s festivities, we donned our reporters hats, and knocked up this issue in record time. We’d given it a good spell check, but due to the turnaround on this one we asked that you forgave us for any errors that may have cropped up.

So, what of the set lists for the two nights? Well, on the Friday night it consisted of 15 new songs, with 7 making their live debut that very evening. The full tracklisting was as follows:

Death of Rude Boy

Black & Blue

Big Time Sister

My Girl II


Sole e La Luna

Cant Keep A good Thing Down

Kitchen Floor

I Never Knew Your Name

Misery (Loves Company)



So Alive

How can I tell you

Powder blue

Encore: House of Fun

For the Saturday night we were treated to a “greatest hits” run through and more besides:

One Step Beyond


The Prince


My Girl

How Can I Tell You

Sun and the Rain

Taller Than You Are

Iron Shirt

Clerkenwell Polka


Shut Up

Forever Young

Bed and Breakfast Man

Death of a Rude Boy

House of Fun

Wings of a Dove

Baggy Trousers

Our House

It Must Be Love



Tarzan’s Nuts


Night Boat to Cairo

Who would have thought that five years on yet another Madness Weekender would have been done and dusted, and fans would already be looking forward to another in 2017!

10 years ago…

Issue 395 – Sunday 26th November to Saturday 2nd December 2006

We kicked off this week’s MIS by reminding those who still had yet to purchase tickets for the forthcoming Christmas tour to get their proverbial skates on. With the Bournemouth, Birmingham and Brighton gigs already sold out, it wasn’t know how long tickets for the remaining dates would remain.

The full tour, which was due to kick off on the 7th of December, looked like this:

Thursday 7th December Brixton Academy

Sunday 10th Dublin The Point

Tuesday 12th Glasgow SECC Hall 4

Wednesday 13th Manchester MEN Arena

Thursday 14th Newcastle Telewest Arena

Saturday 16th Birmingham NEC

Sunday 17th Bournemouth BIC

Tuesday 19th Brighton Centre

Wed 20th Wembley Arena

Things went further afield for our next article, as our Argentinean based reporter Andres, returned to the bits and bytes of the MIS with a full review of the Personel Festival concert, and some news of local radio station, Metro951 ,talking about Madness being in Argentina, and visiting tango shops (No, it wasn’t anything to do with the fruit flavoured fizzy drinks we have in the UK).

With The Mail on Sunday giving away disc two of its live Madness covermount, Jon Young nipped down to his local newsagents as soon as it was light, and quickly put together a track by track review of the disc. The two standout tracks for him seemed to be March of The Gherkins, and In the City, a track which Suggs claimed to not have plated in over twenty years.

Staying with The Daily Mail for a moment longer (apologies!), we featured a transcript of an interview the paper recorded with Suggs and Carl, in the run up to their Christmas tour, and forthcoming single, Sorry, which was due for release sometime in January.

It was on to retro TV revival next, as subscriber Graham Whitfield emailed in to report that Saturday morning TV show TISWAS, would be returning for a one-off special. According to insiders, producers were facing an uphill struggle trying to find clips, as 350 master tapes had been destroyed after a TV boss claimed it the show was an insult to broadcasting.

An air date for the show was as yet unknown.

Next, and using a combination of sources from the BBC, the Jag web site, and our own research, we took a look at North London band JAG, detailing their first year of gigs, revealing their influences, and listing their forthcoming pre-Christmas gigs.

We brought this issue of the MIS to a close with the news that Northumberland Legends in their own lunch breaks “Shut up”, had now landed on planet myspace. With a page run by MIS in conjunction with the band themselves, they had rapidly started to make friends with the crazy community and spread their infectious self-penned nutty tunes around the world.

Two of the bands’ own nutty tunes could be heard on their myspace player – The revengeful Citrus flavoured “Just Desserts” and the warm loving “Sunrise” (a song written about the great times past of beer, friends, music and sunshine inspired by the madstock weekends)

15 years ago…

Issue 133 – Sunday 25th November to Saturday 1st December 2001

This issue started off with a report on the new Suggs tracks, entitled Oranges and Lemons Again, which Jonathan Young described as being reminiscent of his solo track “The Tune” but, with a big band sound backing him.

Jon commented at the time;

“The song is about Ian Dury and there are lyrical nods towards his work with the inclusion of “Rough Kids”, “Sweet Gene Vincent” in the lyrics.

While his character is compared to other classic icons such as “Oscar wilde” and “Reggie Kray”.

While Suggs’ own recycling of phrases continues with the line “In unromantic places” last cropping up in the 3 pyramids club album track “Girl”.

Poetic clever use of lyrics being an Ian Dury trademark, in this his tribute song, Suggs fittingly borrows 2 lines from a 17th century nursery rhyme and music hall ditty

Up and Down the City Road

In and out the Eagle

That’s the way the money goes

Pop Goes the Weasel”.

Continuing in the Oranges and Lemons, theme we passed the reigns over to Madness Trading Ring maintainer Steve Bringe, who was kind enough to send in a full transcription of lyrics to the new Suggs track.

Reviews of the track from subscribers of the MTR were also featured in this issue, and all were extremely favourable and very supportive.

To round off our Oranges and Lemons coverage, Jon Young put together a short review of Suggs’ performance on the BBC’s Later With Jools Holland show, where he appeared with full orchestra, Jools on piano, and Rico Rodriguez on trombone.

We moved over to Camden’s Dublin Castle for the next article, where Jon Young reviewed the recent Like Father, Like Son gig, which took place there on the 22nd of November.

Although the band’s set was short, running at a mere 25 minutes in length, Jonathan’s review was very positive.

The playlist for the night was:


2 ALL THE WAY TO MEMPHIS (Mott the Hoople)

3 HEY BULLDOG (The Beatles)


5 RETURN TO DJANGO (Ska instrumental – The upsetters)

5 THE PRINCE (Need I even say Madness)


Jon’s editorial work continued in to our next article, as he’d kindly transcribed a section of the audio from the “Wonderful” interview disc relating to the album track “Wizard”. If only it’d been selected to appear as part of the Harry Potter soundtrack.

Continuing on the subject of Wonderful, we featured a short interview (again from the “Wonderful” interview disc), where the band revealed some of the potential names the album was given prior to being published. Names included “Ordinary Magic”, “Excuse Us” and “Nice One!”

We brought this issue to a close with a look at Butterfield 8, where we listed the band’s complete discography, along with some background information.

Rob Hazelby




That’s nearly it for this week’s edition of the MIS, but before we go we suggest you get yourselves over to the Madstore as they’re currently offering 20% off the majority of items if you use the code mad20.


Be quick, as it’s due to end at midnight tonight!

All the best,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

(With thanks to Gary Saunders, Philip Toogood, Robert Wardlaw,
Gary Scurfield, Owen Collins, Sharon Staite for the videos, Rob Price,
Jacek Gajewski, Adam Nichols)

Previous post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 915 – Sunday 20th November to Saturday 26th November 2016

Next post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 917 – Sunday 4th December to Saturday 10th December 2016