Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 752 – Sunday 6th October to Saturday 12th October 2013
Good evening, and a very warm welcome to this week’s edition of the MIS Online Bulletin.
Last week we promised that this issue would feature extensive coverage of last weekend’s Alexandra Palace gig, and a number of readers have not let us down. For those of you unable to get there or for those of you who’d polished off too many bottles of Gladness, we have some fantastic write-ups of the weekend for you.
Elsewhere we have details of forthcoming book signing dates for Suggs’ new book release, an update on the Blockheads three-video Kickstarter campaign, details of new items for you to spend your money on, and much, much more besides.
We’d like to say a very big thank you to everyone who submitted material for this issue. It wouldn’t have been anywhere near as lengthy or as good without your contributions. Thank you so much.
Now, sit back and enjoy the read!
Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts
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.
October 12th Esprit Arena, Duesseldorf, Germany
November 22nd – 25th House Of Fun Weekender, Minehead, UK
December 31st – Dublin – www.nyedublin.ie
For tickets see links via: www.madness.co.uk
Suggs My Life Story, the West End of London December Run.
December 1st – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 8th – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 15th – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 22nd – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
Suggs “That Close” Book Signings
*** NEW *** October 31st. Waterstones. Picadilly, London 7pm (To be confirmed)
*** NEW *** November 10th, 6pm, Newham Bookshop, Stratford, London www.stratford-circus.com £6
The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra
October 18th Ipswich, Corn Exchange
October 25th Leeds, Brudenell Social Club
October 31st (Halloween) Jazz Cafe, Camden Town.
November 1st, Komedia, Bath
November 8th, headlining the Friday of Specialized, The Big One 2, Parkdean, Sandford, Dorset
See ticket links via: www.ltso.mis-online.net
Thursday, 17th October, Chester, Telford Warehouse
Saturday, 19th October, Liverpool, East Village Arts Club
Wednesday 23rd October, Birmingham, The Temple Institute
Thursday 24th October, Jazz Café, Camden Town, Book Launch
More info at: http://deafschoolmusic.com
If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.
The Magic Line Album * Out Now! *
Signed T-shirt packages and a deluxe edition.
A range of Magic Brothers T-shirts, Polo Shirts are now available to buy.
The CD album is available via Amazon and the download via iTunes contains an interview with Phil Jupitus talking to Woody about the album. But if you buy the album via the official band site you can choose a signed option or bundle.
If you’ve a spare £75 and are really into the magic, then there are 25 packs going fast that include all of this….
The Magic Line Collectors Pack – Limited Edition of 25 includes; The Magic Line Signed CD Album. The Magic Line Digital Download. The Magic Line T Shirt. Woodys Drumsticks Signed. Nicks Guitar Paick Signed. Copy of Album Lyrics. “Thank You” Phone Call From Woody & Nick.
Our thanks go to Paul Smart for the above
The Blockheads Three Video Kickstarter
This project is to help fund three music videos as part of the band’s forthcoming new album and single releases.
Backing benefits include a thank you video from the band, signed photos, badges, a signed CD album, T-Shirt, stickers, video appearance, guest passes and more.
*** UPDATE *** The Kickstarter campaign ended the 1st of October, and you’ll be pleased to learn that the band and their fans broke through their £10,000 goal, reaching a mammoth £14,259!
The Liberty Of Norton Folgate – Reissue on Salvo
This edition is retailing at just over £5.
*** NEW *** Suggs “The Close” Signed Book
Suggs is one of pop music’s most enduring and likeable figures. Written with the assured style and wit of a natural raconteur, this hugely entertaining and insightful autobiography takes you from his colourful early life on a North London council estate, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells you what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, to make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park.
Suggs is a singer, songwriter, DJ, actor and TV presenter. He is perhaps best known as lead singer with Madness, who have had 24 top-twenty hits and continue to tour. Suggs lives in Camden, London.
– Features unseen and exclusive lyrics. - 352 pages. - Hardback.
Pre-Order Available – Take it or Leave it Re-release With Soundtrack CD
Following the sell-out of the Gogglebox box set, the Madness movie has been sadly unavailable. From October 7th it’s back, thanks to those lovely people at Salvo sound and vision.
This is being re-released for the first time with a nearly complete soundtrack CD of all the tracks from the movie, including a couple of old rock and roll numbers by the original artists. Namely Fat’s Domino, and The Four Tops, along with all of Madness’s tracks which are heard throughout the movie.
There’s new packaging for this re-release which will be available from music stores and online outlets, for under a tenner. This release also and contains a booklet containing information about the film.
*** NEW *** Louis Vause – Midnight in Havana
“Oh dear. I’m alive..!” Pianist Louis Vause has always said that his albums are “Gouged out of him by circumstance” but his third album ‘Midnight In Havana’really is a case in point.
Recorded as a valedictory set, a swansong if you like, after he was told that the onset of cancer meant that he had mere months to live, the completion of the work coincided with his liver transplant and the all clear. He was in the pink. The same could not be said for his credit cards which had covered Louis’ uncharacteristically cavalier spending on recording costs.
The Magic Meet, The People’s Palace and Disappear Reappears
Saturday was a triple bill of events for MIS, hence my arrival at 10.30am into Camden. A Madness gig and not just any Madness gig but one that marked itself out to be something a bit special was the order of the day, and additionally a video shoot of some kind was taking place too. More than enough Madness to get excited about there, and yet we were hosting a third event with The Magic Brothers making this a triple Woody-whammy of a day.
THE MAGIC LINE
Ever since Norton Folgate our interest in the location environment of songs has increased many fold and so, during the process of reviewing The Magic Brothers album, we got interested in some of the locations mentioned in the album’s tracks. Some take place local to Nick, in Romford, such as Tysea Hill, but the album’s title and end track depict a railway line journey. “Ticket to Gospel Oak” proclaims Woody on this piece and seeing that Gospel Oak isn’t far from Camden I was keen to know more about this track’s geography.
We had been planning a DJ set at The Dublin Castle to kick off the day of Madness for fans ahead of the Alexander Palace gig and we had the landlord onboard with us for the idea, and the webteam of The Magic Brothers were due to pop down and appear during this giving away a CD. When the filming event was announced at Alexandra Palace we had to change schedules, during this time I asked The Magic Brothers team if we could do a full album playback and from there the idea grew further. I found myself on the phone to Woody arranging a signing event and asking him more about The Magic Line. “It’s a railway line we travel all the time to school.” he told me, “in the 70’s”, and confirmed it was indeed Camden Road to Gospel Oak the journey. So we decided to begin our event underneath the closest underpass of that railway line just down a couple of streets from the pub, for good luck to the album’s release…
I’m sitting in Burger King, explaining to my good friend Owen Collins, how nice it is to be mad meeting with Woody today. In all our years band stalking etc with the great luck and involvement we’ve had, Woody being the non drinker just hasn’t been seen as much in the bars and hotels we’ve ended up in after gigs. “It’s like if this is Badger watch Owen”, I say, “and we are used to spotting badgers by now, Woody is like the gingham badger”. Owen smiles and at the same moment produces several foam bunny rabbits from his palm that weren’t previously there. We are practising magic tricks, badly. As we are the newly formed “tragic others”, embarrassing cousins of London’s regular street magic acts. We start the day unimpressing Dommie wobbly gray, Mandy, Andy Shoutlz, Gary Saunders and a handful of fans with tricks from the world’s most obviously fake compartmented top hat.
Owen’s magic wand trick works better. We stand under The Magic Line’s bridge and produce something next that truly is magic. The album. And we play loudly through a set of speakers the title track, as we march the gathered Magic Mad Meet up to The Dublin Castle to the tune of this ambient floyd-like track. We perform one last trick, The Magic Queen of Hearts card. As we pass around the playing card pack until a winner finds the lady and wins the album. Well done to Andy for getting the winning card.
As we arrive at the pub we are met by a small keen gathering waiting for us, including Steve from mad chat, Tony Stratton from local radio, and 2 young girls photographing the day for The Magic Brothers. They will be using the photo’s in magazine articles about the album and on their website. Nick Woodgate arrives with walkman in ears, a little apprehensive but bubbling too with excitement and he says a gentle hello and starts to meet a few people.
We are a little early, and I’m hoping that the pub will indeed open early for us all as arranged, as the landlord sadly can’t make it down in person. By 11am as agreed we are in and Gladness sales start to sky rocket. Owen quickly hatches a plan to challenge The Magic Brothers to a table tennis game, given the back room now has a table.
Though this doesn’t end up happening. The juxebox breaks, rather early on! Which is not a good start when you know later you will be putting an album into it! The jammed money is thankfully removed, but the bar maid later informs me she isn’t allowed to install albums into the machine herself so we sadly fail to put the album in there as planned. Fortunately I know that the bar can also play CD’s through the speakers in the bar, having once done a mad meet here in celebration so the Madness 30th tribute album.
Woody and Paul from his team arrive with a massive box of CD’s and T-shirts and nicely done a set of Magic Brothers exclusive photo prints too. As well as a poster of the album cover that has been requested by the Landlord to be put up somewhere in the pub, once signed by the brothers. Woody starts to meet fans too and pose for a couple of photo’s. The pub is packed by now to around 100 or more fans and I’m grinning at how well the day is going. This is just the right level, proving that there is wide interest in this solo album’s launch, and yet we aren’t having to deal with a mob the size that Camden crawl once crippled this pub with in terms of clamouring fans. Of course we’d be worried how all of us, not just Nick might cope with that level of interest. It’s really civilised though, all fans from all quarters all together and mostly they are waiting and giving the brothers room to arrive. I speak with Woody and Nick and arrange that the album play will start soon, as Woody takes his place, I urge Nick to now come and join him.
I announce to the pub the beginning of the playback of the album. As Woody and Nick and their team set up in the corner table of the pub a stall, a huge queue forms in the middle across the whole pub, “Jon!” Woody shouts at me across the room. “I’ve not got any pens!” his team, temporarily off out on an errand have failed to leave pens with him. Sharon is quick to the rescue as I ask around, and we get some sharpies and marker pens sorted for the event to begin, and one by one each fan buys a CD, or T-shirt and meets and greets with Woody and Nick for a question or two.
Sitting down next to, or between the brothers photographs begin to be taken with fans, by both the press girls, and people’s own mobile phones and cameras. What a delight it is to see the next day, how many of these photos make it onto facebook at profile status picture level. A lot of people made very happy in such a long line of punters. It was heart-warming to be involved. One moment I loved was when the album ended a woman came over to me and asked “Are we allowed to hear it again?”, questioning of course if there was some imposed limit on the newly released album being heard. I happily told her “of course” and got the bar maid to spin the whole 41 minutes through again. People in the queue were commenting positively on the tracks and I was thrilled we were sharing the music with fans.
By the end of the line, as my friend Duff Kelly in full Night Boat private Folgate uniform arrived, the band had sold out of CD’s and happily given signatures to all who came. I was thrilled, it’s music I’ve come to love and to meet The Brothers together with everyone and start the journey of this album to the public was a pure joy. The occasion was well marked. Thank you Woody, Nick and Paul. How could a day like this get any better… Well of course it had only just begun…
THE PEOPLE PALACE
Jumping into a taxi, myself Owen, Patrick C, Rach E, and Andy all piled up to Alexandra palace hill. Jumping out we saw a bunch of colourful dressed eager fans waiting to be filmed, some clearly overdoing it to the requested wear colourful clothes directive, like the yellow banana suited Bish looking an stunt double from Jim Carey’s Mask movie. We signed our waver forms for appearing in the video, and I met again with Holly from Union Square who was helping out on the day, and spoke with management about the video project. “Is it for Gladness?” I asked, given that we knew it’s inspiration was “I would like to teach the world to sing” the famous coke advert. “no it’s not”, we were told, “it’s purely a thank you, to the fans, marking the couple of successful years that have included the Jubilee/Olympics and more for Madness.” Well. I’ll drink to that.
Dan Burdette (son of Kevin guitarist) is the director of the video, being a professional world advert video shoot man himself. These days he’s a great choice having both a keen eye and a relationship already with the band members. It’s a shame that Carl didn’t make it on time for this event, but the rest of the band are suited and booted and ready to go as they start to film the opening close ups.
Dan ran around picking out and lining up choice looking fans to join in the panning shots. A playback track had been recorded and was played for everyone of sing along too. Piano and vocals redone and on twitter a week or two back the band had advertised for non-professional vocalist in-order to form a track for the crowd to sing along to, a wild track of the actual crowd at Ally Pally was used and incorporated on top for the final mix. So it you sang at Ally Pally in the crowd you are singing on a Madness track too! They director told us this weekend…
THE DIRECTOR SAYS…
“Was quite a big’un logistically, It was a bit of a lottery really! Suggs had only got back from Italy the day before and his ceiling had fallen in, so I didn’t want to keep the band there any longer than they needed to be there. It was quite remarkable really, I was so lucky that the crowd delivered such a great performance, could have been an utter nightmare!
I recorded the arrangement, then sent it down for Suggs to do his vocal, new piano went on and those bv’s.
I mixed everything together at the end, but the majority is the real crowd! I managed to get a great recording of the crowd on the day and used that! It’s actually mine and Joe the trumpet players vocals on the intro I got upstairs to edit and realised we hadn’t recorded that bit.
I came up with the idea of that on the day. We originally were meant to be using a camera copter for the final shot”, he said talking about the zoom out to the globe ending.
We told Dan how Thomo used the hat with the flower on it, the girl had been wearing, later on stage at the gig!
“I think you can see him sizing it up in the vid”
And of the specs gag, Dan said…
“You can always count on Thommo. What a legend!!!! He did it every take! True showman, he’ll always go the extra mile. Attention to detail!”
Fans were picked out, like a little girl with a flower on her hat, and a few nice kids to look age diverse down the front, and this carried on a few times, with a camera on a crane arm sweeping across, then everyone was invited into a big crowd shot, for the final full sing-a-long moment and a fish eye lens raised high above the heads, for the final shot.
MAKING THE VIDEO – The director Dan at work
It made for a great video, our American friend Mr Trull, confessed “It brought a tear to my eye”. “I had a lump of pride in my throat too” says Andy S upon talking to him about the video after it aired online, and Sarah, one of the many fans seen full shot in the overhead view, beamed “I can’t stop watching it”. Private Folgate Duff Kelly we just saluted for appearing front line again. And we were amused that youtube’s “Madness rags” finally has an appearance on the channel genuinely worthy perhaps of a few YouTube hits.
The title “the people’s palace”, although a nickname for the location, really sums up the idea of this completing a trilogy of Our House videos from Buckingham, via Strattford back to Madness’s own North London roots.
There was a reaction from some fans of worry that this might be a “goodbye”, and this was compounded by Ian Horne’s choice of playing “We’ll meet again” as the end music of the concert. But this overall feeling is one more of “Curtain down” on an era rather than any worry of an extended period of absence from Madness. After all there are still a few announced gigs to play and talk of writing the next album, the emotional focus created by the Ally Pally gig and this video event is of celebration and one of those old fashioned home coming style gigs, where a good to be back, feeling evokes everything. In Suggs own words. “It’ good to be on the manner”
It’s a fitting video into the band’s history of videos, when recently there hasn’t been the time, interest, money or enthusiasm for that particular art form within the band’s projects.
MADNESS LIVE AT ALLY PALLY.
My concern drifted away from the completed video to the question of quite how Alan Flyn from facebook group “All things Madness” would manage to get down from the pillar outside Ally Pally that he had been watching all the video filming from. Maybe he had seen Madness on Buckingham palace too many times and was influenced to climb up there, but there is an amusing video that shows him trying to get down again from the tall stone structure viewpoint. Alexandra Palace. What a venue. And the first time Madness played here. The disappointing Victoria park of madstock 09 felt like it was buried in the past now as the most recent big London gig venue. Madness had found a uniquely located venue on their own door step and one with more sense of history than the 02 in green which could provide as a setting for a concert. Admittedly a little difficult to get to, but busses and trains local enough really, in that they are worth the travel to such a nice venue and its view, from a the packed out Gladness bars to the middle room food court (hosting a Beatles and more covers band on it’s grass) it’s a nice home to sink into. One that gave two special moments within its gig.
I’d urged Woody to consider “Disappear” as a song choice. The track from Absolutely was written about the venue back at a time when it had troubled history after all…
“Early in 1980 on 10 July during Capital Radio’s Jazz Festival, a second disastrous fire started under the organ and quickly spread. It destroyed half the building. The outer walls survived and the eastern parts, including the theatre and the BBC TV studios and aerial mast, were saved.
In this fire parts of the famous organ were destroyed, though fortunately it had been dismantled for repairs so some parts (including nearly all the pipework) were away from the building in store. Some of the damage to the palace was repaired immediately but Haringey council overspent on the restoration, creating a £30 million deficit. There was talk in the newspapers at the time of the building not being refurbished ever.”
Madness wrote the song about this fact, and indeed the place wasn’t re-opened until 1988 when Madness had split and gone. Fitting then that Suggs announced this refurbishment situation as the band played Disappear and it sounded great. The gladful restoration of Ally Pally continued into the return of Swan Lake to the set as the other stand out moment. “Where’s Barso?” cried the band at the start of the encore, upon the big screens a film appeared of the man walking up to the Alexandra Palace Organ room and starting the tune upon it, before returning to the stage, during which time, Carl filled in nicely with a little whistle. Much like the grand moment this happened at the Albert hall. It added sound and grandeur and a special something extra for all those to witness it.
These two moments made it a special gig, and along with all the Oui, Oui Si Si songs a nice curtain call for the last days of this albums era.
Swan Lake The Grand Willis Organ- Barson’s Video…
We’ll meet again was the outro music, and everyone there who had such a great day came away wishing exactly that, that a mad meet again will be soon enough. For UK fans it’s the House of Fun next, and if after show rumours come to full fruition then we will all be meeting in the biggest liberty yet to be so widely aired with extended turns down lesser heard long dim silent streets. We will meet your there again, on what hoping wishing fans are already calling Folgate Friday.
Jonathan Young / Fan videos Sharon Staite.
I REMEMBER WAY BACK WHEN
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back 5 years to issue 491, and the week of Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2008, and then back 10 years to issue 229 and the week of Sunday 28th September to Saturday 4th October 2003.
5 years ago…
Issue 492 – Sunday 5th October to Saturday 11th October 2008
We knew fans were impatient for news of the new album. Many were quite rightly excited after Hackney or weary of the wait since NW5 or when the news of an album first appeared. All we could say about the forthcoming Folgate was that as soon as any news became concrete we were certain that all the Madness websites and the MIS would be telling you in emails and large fonts, all about it.
In answer to a fan’s question on the Madness.co.uk message board last week, about whether it was at the stage of looking at the business end of how to release, or at the mixing and production stage, Chrissy Boy replied with ‘correct on all three counts’.
Somebody asked for a rough estimation of when he thought the album would be out, and Chris said something like; ‘it’s been nearly 10 years since we released our last album, so just hold on a bit longer, mate. It’s funny, you wait a whole decade for one album, then three of them come at once.’
We suggested that you made of that what you will, but to not instantly think it meant a triple album out next month though.
On to the articles, and we kicked things off with a transcript of an interview with Boz Boorer, which originally appeared on the Madness Trading Ring. Boz talke about his work with Cathal and The Velvet Ghost project, how he picked his nickname, The Polecats, and much, much more.
Boz’s new album “Miss Pearl” was due to hit the shelves on the 22nd of September (UK) and the 30th of September (USA).
Next, it was over to Carlisle United who had been working with Carl on a re-recording of One Step Beyond. Carl would now great players with “HEY YOU, DON’T WATCH THAT, WATCH THIS – CARLISLE UNITED AT BRUNTON PARK,” just before the main tune kicks in. Management were sure that it was going to be a huge hit with the fans.
Moving on, and we went off the subject of Madness just briefly, to give you a heads-up on a new book that had just been released. “Remember The 80s, That’s what I Call Nostalgia”, was a 176-page hardback book in full colour featuring news, fashions, entertainment, music, politics and people of the 80s.
The book covereds all aspects of the Eighties, from interviews with Midge Ure and Blue Peter’s Peter Duncan, to Trivial Pursuit and The ZX Spectrum. One to add to the Christmas wish list perhaps?
Elsewhere it was competition time as the MIS had managed to bag an extra copy of the Dance Brigade CD, which was made available at their recent debut gig. All you had to do to be in with a chance of winning was to send in your email address and cross your fingers. Easy!
With Lee Thomson reaching 51, Vince Carden put together a wonderful article wishing the great man a happy birthday, and summing up what Lee means to him. Five years on it’s still a fantastic read.
We brought this issue to a close with a heads-up announcing that the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain had now covered the classic Ian Dury track “Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll”.
10 years ago…
Issue 229 – Sunday 5th October to Saturday 11th October 2003
It was a case of the big swap for this issue, as no sooner was Jonathan back in the driving seat, following his weekend away in Great Yarmouth, Rob was off down to Torquay to celebrate his birthday in a rather drunken fashion.
Continuing his work with his RGR label, one Carl Smyth announced that his first signing, Just Jack, would be performing at Camden’s Jazz Cafe, with tickets costing a very reasonable £12.
Moving on to more amusing things, and through the grape vine we discovered that Madness tribute outfit had a bit of a surprise. Making a bit of a balls-up with his holiday dates, the band’s drummer went and booked himself on a holiday. This meant that the band were without a drummer for a forthcoming gig.
Thankfully, an earlier meeting with Woody had seen the Madness drummer offer his services whenever the band needed it. This was one of those times.
Here’s Steve Turner;
“Having booked the gigs over 12 weeks I made a mistake on the dates and allowed our drummer to book his holiday on the wrong dates, therefore leaving us without a drummer. So I phoned round our usual dep – Steve Rooney from One Step Below only to find out that he was on tour with another band. Thinking we could come unstuck here I remembered when I played in Guilford with Madness that Woody had asked to play with us whenever we needed him (as he loves playing and Madness obviously don’t gig that much!) So I phoned him and he agreed.
The day arrived and we met him in Selsey…fantastic so far. On showing him a set list he told us that he hadn’t played Mummy’s Boy, In The Middle Of The Night or Believe Me for years, and he had never played Cardiac Arrest live!! so we had a long sound check. Luckily we had Brendon from One Step Below on keys who pretty much held it together with our bass player John.
Great gig albeit probably smaller than Woody is used to. He was excellent and a few Madness fans in the crowd were obviously over the moon to see him there. The gig went very well and Woody said that it was the first gig in ages that he was paid on the night – even though it was probably slightly less than he was used to.”
We found out that it wasn’t just Woody who would be taking to the stage without the rest of the band, as news came in revealing that Lee Thompson would be taking the role of Fagin in a stage show of Charles Dickens’ “Oliver” – all in aid of charity, of course! Lee would be appearing in two performances. One at Jackson’s Lane, Highgate, on October the 22nd, and then a few days later on the 26th, at The OId Bull. Tickets cost a mere £10.
With the Great Yarmouth Madness Weekender already a distant but hazy memory, it came down to one Jonathan Young to attempt to fill in the gaps with an absolutely massive lowdown of just what went on, complete with links to photos and video clips. If you were too drunk to remember what happened, or you simply weren’t able to make it, then this was for you. Jon’s report was actually so detailed, that it had to be split into multiple articles, each describing a different aspect of the weekend.
LIVE AND INTENSIFIED
Reviews and write-ups of live gigs. You’ll find them here.
A Magical Madness Day
I’ve been looking forward to this day much in the same way as I used to as a kid for Xmas day. Saturday 28th September 2013 is finally here! So what’s happening? In the morning, Magic Brothers, in the afternoon watching my team Barnet FC and in the evening Madness.
I start my day at the top of the Northern line travelling by London Underground from High Barnet tube as me and a mate travel to Camden Town, the home of Madness, to where it all started for the band in the Dublin Castle. The pub walls are adorned with signed framed Madness photos and is today hosting a meet and greet of Magic Brothers – Nick and Dan Woodgate – co-ordinated courtesy of their band managenent and the M.I.S.
Upon arrival I get the chance to introduce myself to Jonathan Young. I mention how grateful I am for his time and effort that he and his team spend putting together the M.I.S. bulletins for our weekly delight; he in turn thanks me for my contributions with the gig reviews I have sent in recently. We have a mutual appreciation not only of Madness but also these side-projects that so many of the band members are currently taking part in. These are indeed great times to be fans of Madness with so much activity spread amongst our 7 heroes.
Which leads us nicely into the opening event. The pub is selling Gladness, the Madness endorsed lager ale, to what can be described as a thirsty bunch! At around 11.45am the band and their entourage arrive much to the delight of one and all. By this time, I had already decided to take in some rays as the sun beats in to the front of the pub. I’m standing in the porchway, a certain Daniel Woodgate is chatting to a fan and has his back to me and Woody is slowly edging towards me. I am cornered in. In mid-conversation with the same fan, he turns to me “I’m sorry, I appear to have trodden on your toes”, he says. “That’s ok, I’ve only just bought these steel-capped boots and you’re the 1st person to tread on them – only the best drummer of the best band ever, Madness, so it’s ok!”, I grin knowing there’s only one drummer of course!! My boots have been ‘christened’ by one of Madness!
By midday the jukebox is set up to play the gentle floating pop of Magic Brothers album The Magic Line. So, having read the M.I.S. review, I’m now listening to the band for the 1st time. In addition to The Beatles pop sensibilities that the review mentioned, they also remind me of The Boo Radleys and The Lightning Seeds, even a bit of ELO which I think is indeed a good place to be. The combination of piano, strings, harmonies, Nick’s easy on the ear, often soaring vocal delivery, backed of course by his brothers consumate drumming, make this a piece of work well worth a listen. Treat yourself and BUY IT.
By the time the CD is a few tracks in a queue has assembled of eager fans to meet and greet the Brothers and buy what’s on sale. Despite the constant queue, it was very well organised (once people had bought stuff, more punters were joining said queue!). A huge box of merchandise was placed next to Dan Woodgate, his brother Nick sat next to him with the rest of the curved sofa empty. Each time a punter bought stuff they’d sit down with the Brothers, next to Nick, get their merch signed, have a quick chat, then have their photo taken by one of the entourage, I assume for their website, as well as the same photographer using your own camera for your own personal keepsake. Magic.
The Woodgates do not disappoint; they are both wonderfully engaging and very appreciative of today’s support. For me, it’s a great ‘fan’ moment as I finally get to ask Woody a highly obscure question: “Sorry, Woody, I just have to ask you – around 1985 I saw a van, possibly red or blue with variant of your Woody Woodpecker signature as a logo on the side of the van. This was somewhere around north-west or maybe north-east London. Was this owned either by you or a family member?”. “No”, was the cheeky-grinned reply. All that build up and I get a concise one word answer! I was grinning back – at least I got the question answered though!!
I also spoke to Nick and having read about him I wished him all the best with his good health and wished them both good luck with the album. Twenty quid for a t-shirt, a tenner for the cd plus a free band photo all signed, I return to my mate grinning with my purchases intact. Soon after I ask the management if the band intend touring. “Definitely. We are just getting a ‘touring’ band together, we will have tour dates in the new year, maybe even something this side of Xmas”. Watch this space!
The band leave sometime after 1pm so I put some obscure Madness tracks on the jukebox much to the delight of those still in the pub. We eventually leave at around 1.45pm and get back on the Northern Line. I’ve had a cracking time and now is the part of the day that could let me down.
My team Barnet FC are 5 games without a win and by halftime losing against 8 game unbeaten Salisbury City. We rally round with Edgar Davids – yes, Dutch superstar Edgar Davids – pulling the strings for a 2nd half comeback and a 3-1 win. Less of that though, today for me is about Madness and why you might still hopefully be reading this!!
There’s about 10 of us going to Ally Pally. We arrive to catch the remainder of Yes King, an ok band. There is an expectant crowd and the DJ plays amongst others, Jo Boxers, Tenpole Tudor, The Specials and The Jam before Madness arrive on stage.
Madness, as is always the case put in a tremendous show and have a few surprises in store for us. Firstly during Bed & Breakfast Man, we are introduced to John Hasler the subject of that classic tune. Later, Suggs starts talking about Ally Pally and how years ago it got burnt to the ground before it got rightly restored to its current grand state. We are then treated to Absolutely album track Disappear, a personal favourite of mine from that LP. I reckon it’s only the second time I’ve heard it played live. Top tune!
For the encore we are treated to probably the Madness track I like the most that doesn’t get the live treatment it surely deserves. Initially without Mike, a slow meandering Swan Lake; a good 2 or 3 minutes in Mike is back at the keyboards to plink + plonk his way thrtough the rest of the track as it gathers pace. Keep it in the set please, lads! PLEASE!!
I’ve had a marvellous, Magical Madness day. Oh – and Jonathan – I still owe you that pint I promised you. Cheers mate!
Set list in rough running order.
One Step Beyond
My Girl 2
Take It Or Leave It
Never Knew Your Name
The Sun & The Rain
Bed & Breakfast Man
How Can I Tell You
SHOWTIME – New York, New York
House Of Fun
Wings Of A Dove
It Must Be Love
Night Boat To Cairo
An American in Alexandra Palace
It’s always a joy to meet those fans that travel the furthest to a gig, or those fans seeing the band for the first time.
With Sally, we had the joy of both those experiences in one fan, and more, as a fan who came from California to her first gig. We got her to the front, and we got her to the aftershow to make her once in a lifetime trip all that more memorable…
“Who was that girl at the front?” my friend said of the gig. “she reminds me of that footage of fans waiting to see The Beatles at airports in the 60’s, they way she was dancing and shaking her hair.”
Here’s Sally’s words on her trip….
Somewhere my mom has pictures of me, less than a year old, sitting in front of the television and waving my arms to the video for One Step Beyond. So it’s safe to say I’ve been a Madness fan my entire life.
Not long ago I inherited a bit of money from my grandparents and decided to use it to take a trip to London, something I’d always wanted to do. And before I bothered to look up airfare or a place to stay, I looked up when Madness was going to be performing and planned my trip around that. I bought my concert ticket before I bought my plane ticket.
For some reason I’d never managed to make it to a Madness concert before. They don’t play in the United States very often and I usually never heard about their shows ‘til after they happened. I knew when they were playing at Coachella but there’s no way I’d be able to afford tickets to that. So seeing Madness was a very big deal to me.
The concert was a week ago by now and I’m having a hard time coming up with what to say about it. The short version is: it was fantastic. Beyond that I just feel very excited and wave my arms and struggle to find the right words.
Through sheer luck I happened to befriend a group of people who were planning on running straight to the front row and invited me to join them, so not only did I get to attend my first Madness concert in London but I got to stand in the front row and really get to see Madness. While they all look older than they did in the 1980s, they don’t act or sound like it. In regards to both the band and the audience, it was one of the liveliest shows I’ve been to.
Words can’t adequately express how much fun I had. I danced and sang and cheered and only got a little bit teary when they played Never Knew Your Name, a song that usually makes me cry. If I had any complaint at all about the show it would be that they didn’t play every single song I would have liked them to but that’s not really a complaint at all. I loved every moment of what they did play.
After the show one of my new friends nabbed me a set list, which a woman offered me fifty quid for. I turned her down and felt kind of bad about it (she told me she’d been coming to Madness shows since she was 16 and had never managed to get a set list) but later I saw her get the last one they handed out, which made me happy.
My new friends also had some connections because they got me into the after-show, which was a great, loud, crowded affair. It was too noisy to talk much but I got to drink a bottle of Gladness and meet the inimitable Chris Foreman, who shook my hand and smiled at me, which was more than I ever could have hoped for or expected. I also got to see Bedders walking around and On The Town guest singer Rhoda Dakar dancing with some people. I was too shy to talk to her but it was really cool just to see her there.
Sadly I couldn’t stay long because I had to try to get back to my hostel before the Underground closed. Which I didn’t manage to do, but I did find a night bus that took me to a familiar enough neighborhood that I could walk back.
I stayed in London a week and did a lot of fun things while I was there: I saw a play, went on a walking tour, did a pub crawl and just kind of wandered around the city. I had a great time. But when I got home and people asked me how my trip was, all I wanted to talk about was Madness.
TWEETS OF A DOVE
Various nutty related snippets from the Twittersphere and Facebook…
On the drawings in his forthcoming book…
“Heaven forbid I go on about how great my book is, the f#ckin thing nearly killed me, but it does have some nice pictures. That close Oh yeah”
“The illustrations may well be tattooable. But if I were you I would stay away from the one of the fella covered in turds.”
“some of those illustrations are very carefully reproduced in a book called ‘that close’. In a cinema near you soon!”
On Ally Pally.
“You can choose your friends, you can’t choose your family and what family! F#ckin unforgettable night! Thanks Well if this is madness….X”
Cathal Mo Chroi
“For those of you who couldn’t make Festival Number 6 I’ll be sharing a little film of one of the songs I performed with Joe Duddell & The No. 6 Ensemble Soon.”
Lee thompson ska
Come and here us play our version of Mission Impossible in a city near you! Tickets here – http://bit.ly/1898adU
“Just to let everyone know a massive thank you to you all for the kind and humbling words about The One Show interview.
Too many emails coming in at the moment, but I’ll try to get around to them eventually.
Thanks to all of your kind messages of love and support. It means a great deal to us both.
After a busy week in the world of Magic Brothers. Nick has removed himself from facebook for a short while.
He’s fine, but the attention has got a little much. With his brother reporting…
“Nick’s fine. I’ve suggested he take a break, as it’s all getting on top of him. He is a gentle, kind and caring man, who wants to answer all your questions, and reply to all your kind words, but it’s all getting a bit much for him.
He is neither a councillor nor a doctor nor an agony aunt, and although you mean well, this attention can be stressful for him. He has gone for a short family break and can’t access Facebook where he is.”
SIGN OF THE TIMES
Various articles that have caught our eye over the past week or so…
The Magic Brothers on The One Show
Our thanks to Dicka for the video capture and heads-up
On the 1st of October Woody and Nick appeared in a video segment on BBC TV’s the One Show, where they spoke of working together as a band, growing up, and Nick’s battle with mental health. It’s a truly moving and informative segment, and well worth 5 minutes of your time if you missed it.
Music and Madness
The Nottingham Post, Thursday October 3rd
FOR Tim Firth, there was only one way to write a musical based on already existing music.
Tim, whose other works include the musical adaptation of Calendar Girls and a co-writing credit on the film Kinky Boots, wasn’t interested in simply turning around a jukebox musical based on music guaranteed to pull in a crowd.
Full article here:
We realise it’s not Madness related, but we know this will be of interest to a great many of you.
Following in the footsteps of the long running “Sounds of the 60s” and “Sounds of the 70s” shows, Radio 2 has now commissioned “Sounds of the 80s”, which aired for the first time last night (Saturday 5th October).
Hosted by DJ Sara Cox, this weekly show goes out every Saturday evening from 10:00pm – midnight.
In the first episode Sara interviews the legendary Boy George, who looks back at his career in that decade as well as the New Romantic movement. Plus, there’s a look back at the top 5 this week in 1985, 3 tracks from a classic 80s album and a classic 80’s 12” single.
You can catch the show on the iPlayer at the following link: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b03c46fs
Perhaps we’ll see some Madness related coverage over the coming weeks, months and years.
Until next week, take care,
Simon Roberts, Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby
(with thanks to Daren West and Sharon Staite, Sally Zybert)