Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 812 – Sunday 30th November to Saturday 6th December 2014

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 812 – Sunday 30th November to Saturday 6th December 2014

Pinterest Google+

Hello Madheads

Don’t feel down that the best weekend of the year is over. The Invaders and the Dangermen have indeed departed, but there’s still excitement to be had because The Madhead Tour is now upon us! If you manage to get along to any of the gigs please send us your reviews.

Over the past week we’ve had a few emails in from Maddies asking where their Madhead Tour tickets are. If you’re still waiting for yours to arrive in the post please contact either the venue or the ticket agency, depending on where you purchased your tickets from.

We hope you enjoyed last weeks Mad Chart which is now also available on the MIS website blog.  This week we’ve our massive Tour diary, From The Big One3 to The House Of Fun Weekender, here’s what we saw, what we did, and what the Invaders and Dangermen played.  God it was good!

Finally, be sure to Sponsor Bearded Woody on this year’s tour, as he makes this string of shows hair raising stuff! All for a good cause.

Pop over to  https://www.justgiving.com/woody-woodgate and donate!

Have a great tour…

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 2014

All for the M.A.D.H.E.A.D Tour

SUPPORT BAND.  Madness have announced “Scouting For Girls” as the support band for all tour dates.  (Except Ireland. No support Brighton Matinee, and see separate poster for all the acts at The House Of Fun. Scouting for Girls are not at the weekender.)

Thursday 4th, Capital FM Arena, Nottingham
Friday 5th, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton, Matinee
Saturday 6th, Brighton Centre, Brighton * SOLD OUT *
Monday 8th, Plymouth Pavillions, Plymouth
Tuesday 9th, Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth
Thursday 11th, First Direct Arena, Leeds
Friday 12th, Newcastle Metro Radio Arena, Newcastle
Saturday 13th, LG Arena, The NEC, Birmingham
Monday 15th, Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Tuesday 16th, The O2 Dublin, Dublin
Thursday 18th, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow
Friday 19th, Phones 4u Arena, Manchester
Saturday 20th, The O2 Arena, London

Links to purchase tickets for the above tour can be found at: http://madness.seetickets.com/tour/madness/?pre=premad&src=madnesspre

For tickets also see links via: www.madness.co.uk



November 2015 – *NEW*

November 20th – 23rd 2014 – Minehead – The House Of Fun Weekender Five

Early bird tickets on sale now




March 2015

12th March – An Evening With Suggs and Friends, in aid of Pancreatic Cancer UK. Held at The Emirates Stadium. At £160 a ticket we’re not sure if many MIS readers will be attending! http://www.thegigcompany.org/events/pcuk2015/




If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.


Brand new T-Shirts, Merchandise and XMAS Jumpers!

28% black Friday sale only this weekend.


A whole new range of cool merchandise for the tour was unveiled first at The House of Fun Weekender. The official shop now has Christmas jumper design sweat tops in stock. These were the most wanted item at the weekender.

There are laurel leaf official polo’s. In White, Navy and Black.

T-shirts for all three beers. Night Boat. Lovestruck. Gladness.

There are black laurel Beanie hats, with the M crown logo, nice ‘cus there haven’t been beanie hats available for a while.

A new royal logo like Fez for gigs.

Blue and Charcoal House Of Fun T-Shirts.

A mad head design mug.

The black and red Dangermen Vs Invaders shirts are brilliant, half designed on the original 2004 Dangermen poster look with added flying saucers on making a really nice retro feel to the whole design.

There is a blue Madhead Picture T-shirt now with a slogan on.

You will find all previous lines reduced, and some Oui Oui Si Si merchandise still available.




How We Made One Step Beyond



Mike Barson, songwriter and keyboards

We were called the North London Invaders at first, but had to change the name because there was already another band called that. It didn’t do them much good, either. One day at a rehearsal, our guitarist Chris Foreman said: “What about Madness? Nah. That’s shit.” But everybody thought it was good. If he hadn’t spoken up, we could have ended up being a serious band.

We started off rehearsing in my mum’s house, playing other people’s music, but then John Hasler, our first drummer, wrote some lyrics and we all thought: “Well, if John can write a song, we all can.” Bed and Breakfast Man is about him: he used to sleep on Chris’s sofa. Chris started the song and I finished it.

Lee Thompson, on sax, had the concept of The Nutty Boys. He came in one day with “That nutty sound” sprayed on his jacket and talked about our music being a mixture of pop and circus. Because he didn’t know how to tune a saxophone, Lee was actually out of tune on One Step Beyond. Some music professor noticed and said: “The BBC can’t play that.” Luckily, people wanted to hear it, so they had to.


Get Your Madhead On


Suggs believes the genre of music is one which remains popular today.

“The Two Tone scene hasn’t ever gone away and the music is very popular wherever you go,” he said.


Q Magazine

Madness are also in Q Magazine Cash for Questions. January cover date issue.




Welcome to the MIS tour diary.

Here it is, in its entirety, detailing The Big One3 – Specialized: Mad Not Cancer – Weekender and The 4th House of Fun – Madness Weekender at Minehead, (The Invaders vs The Dangermen soundclash). Alongside that lot there was a little tour of taking The Mad Chart DJ show down to the South West of England, and witnessing two whole holiday camps full of bands, Madness, DJ’s and much, much more.


This year the Specialized Weekender down in Park Dean Sandford Holiday Camp in Dorset reached it’s third year. The third covers album Mad Not Cancer is out now comprised of Madness covers all in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust. MIS were invited to join the event this year, so with that and our MIS Presents show to do once again at The House of Fun, we planned a DJ show called The Mad Chart Show. Reviving the online fans poll of best Madness tunes, we did some fundraising with fans voting on songs and we planned some rare film clips for the Sunday of the Big One3 event too. Putting together an MIS tour team of, Mark Lawrence Bowen, Gary Saunders, and Owen Collins, with some additional mechanical help from Darth Bastard (a coke can carrying mini robot) and Ron: The Drum Machine (Ex 85,86-88 Madness Drummer a Linn 9000 drum machine who had some rare programming inside), we headed down to deepest Dorset two weekends ago as you read this review.

A tour jacket was also made for me from old dodgy acquired House of Fun Weekender large flag bunting sewn across a Beatles like collar jacket, and that was my look for the tour, part Butlins Fancy Dress, slightly in the ghost train suit

mode of nutty gear with writing on and a bit holiday red coat too into the bargain, all ready for spending two weekends in holiday camps that had gone a little mad. Later in the tour a manager of Madness will call me a “Cheeky F**ker” for

wearing it and take photo’s of it while laughing, (I don’t think this photo was for any pending court evidence! But anyway my Mum says she’s not making any more of them!! I’m not a bootlegger or a jacketlegger even.)

We arrived at Park Dean Sandford. If you’ve been there to Specialized The Big One before you’ll know the set up, but this was my first time at the event. A nice little caravan park, the events take place inside one big building. A large stage in a dancehall, with a balcony area at the back of the audience space, and side raised seating downstairs. This main room,  is where the majority of bands appear on stage with a 45 minute set, spaced with 15 minute DJ gaps between. Except for a couple of headliners playing a bit longer. It’s an impressive number of bands to get in and then out again across 3 days, from afternoon to beyond midnight with an aftershow late slot for a band each night. It’s therefore well worthy of the name The Big One. It’s a big number of acts across the 3 days. Additional to this is the breakfast dining room that has a second modest dance floor area and a small DJ table set up within it in a corner space. This is where a few acoustic solo performers play a couple of times across the event too, and it’s where we DJ.

Stalls of merchandise, badges, clothing, programmes, CD’s etc, sit next to a Tattoo artist! inking people up, (our own Darren jones will get another tattoo done here) and all of the cool raffle and auction prizes are displayed, all along the entrance hall here next to the check in desk. There is signed stuff a plenty and some unique jewellery and posters etc.

Paul Willo is at reception welcoming all the teams and the bands and artists arriving at the event. It’s really nice to meet him, and as you would expect he is a big hearted man and equally seems focussed and in control of the event, while having a sense of fun about him.

We arrive at artist check in and we are asked to sign two copies of Suggs Book. Ha ha. This will devalue them! These items are to be signed by all artists attending the weekender, and while Woody (who crosses out the name Suggs on the cover!!!,) and Thommo, and Mr Radiation etc, might all be relevant, desirable and worth something as they are stars, we just giggle and do as we are asked, as they are prizes for something later on. Owen makes sure that Ron: The Drum

Machine signs the book later, making comments on the page where Suggs talks about the state of the session musicians in the band in 86. I donate a signed Suggs CD to the prize pile from MIS.


So the Big One weekender begins. We sip our first pint in the main hall, and there is already a change to the schedule. The Delegator’s arrive on stage, with no lead singer, two slot’s earlier than billed. The band Cartoon Violence have also dropped out of this first day, the day that The Magic Brothers sadly had to cancel weeks before the event began. No one in the audience is really reacting, sitting it out on the tables so an empty dancefloor witnesses the first music. Being new attendees to the weekender, “What have we let ourselves in for?”, we wonder in this first flat moment. It’s a shame for The Delegators, who publically announced recently that this would be their last gig, that it should end this way. Looking at the sax player and the keyboard player too, as they solider on instrumentally skanking, they really can play very well, I wish them all the luck in whatever future line up and bands they end up in as players. Delegating themselves outwards from now on, after honouring their last stand in difficult circumstances.

No one seems to mind or complain at The Big One though, and it’s all very inclusive to all, I’ve been at events where organisation etc gets a pointed finger from time to time with changes etc. happening, but here it’s very much laid back and so supportive and friendly of everything going on. People smile and say hello a lot more than I’m used to at weekender events, and the size is just nice for that kind of mingling where everyone feels part of the same thing. The respect, not just for Mr Willo but for Steve, Jenny, Ruth and many more figures seen walking around sorting things all weekend, it’s widely felt like a presence about the place. It’s both the charity cause focused event that brings this air but also it stems from a joy towards the range of music presented and a thank you for it having an “event” feel to it rather than just another gig put on. It’s like a meaningful large family, it was a pleasure to join this community that must have sprung up from other scenes’ first and now, with the previous weekenders achieved together, has formed a clear unit.

So Addictive Philosophy are the first band to sing up the vibe that will climb and continue now through the three day event. A punk band, with bounce, and they are kicking ass. Some large girls in this line up, which starts a debate if it’s possible to have a fat drummer in a cool fast band or not?, as theirs isn’t a big one you see. The keyboard players sound doesn’t work, but people are coming out of their comfort zone of the side tables now and the dancing has begun. Their Madness cover of “Take it or Leave” is nicely sped, and marks the first of the album to appear at the event. Sadly not every band that’s on the album, and appearing at the event, was in a position to deliver their Madness cover live, this seems to be because live bands need time to work out the song for live playing together when recording is a different and less repeated process, but thankfully quite a few manage the feat, making the event feel centred to some degree on Madness music a little, though more Specials songs get played this weekend to my ear to be honest. TC a mascot character created for Specialized appears on the stage banner doing the whole One Step Beyond Pose, adding to the nutty focus.

The last minute addition of “Ruder Than You” to fill a gap left by Magic Brothers folding, turns out to be where the event really takes off like a rocket. Wow! they were amazing. They are currently appearing in Coventry, but these people are staging a play that features lots of 2tone music. They don’t normally play as just a band. But wow did they put on a show. Such a band with this many changing lead singers, couldn’t probably exist full time in the world of music, as singers would leave to do something else more centred on them etc, but because these were performing actors as a main drive, it makes sense that each character in a play gets their moment and so here each performer takes the front and then passes it on. They clearly loved getting to be a full gig band for the night. They posed, they jumped, and shouted out the songs, and it was all better than any real tribute band I think I’ve even seen do 2tone, and the dance floor filled with popular hit tunes and all the people attending the first night got up and danced. The spirit of team work you get in a good play shone out, and youth and showing off was abundant in just the right measures. I was sweating from dancing by the end as the whole range of 2tone bands was covered.

Nick Welsh was the MC most of the weekend, a fine job of that he did too, and he’s recognisable to the audience here from his myriad ska music connections, I caught a bit of his swing like ska version of Bed and Breakfast man during his re-arranged headline set here for Friday performing as Skaville UK. I don’t remember much beyond that though, as I’m not familiar with his music to be honest myself and I think we may have wandered off for chips by this point, a bit knackered from all the 2tone dancing, so apologies I cant elaborate more on the music up last on Friday night. Special Brew – It’s harder perhaps to forget a man dressed in a union jack wrestlers suit etc. So yeah a good bit of Bad Manners performed well, ended the first night as the aftershow band, well and truly impressed by the crowd and the entertainment selection.


There was a large printed A to Z poster of all the acts on the wall next to the entrance. Which we took pictures of us standing next to it, it amused us that Madness Information Service is alphabetically before The Silencerz with Lee

Thompson, ha ha. Also the mascot character TC had a poster showing the three albums of Specialized, a large print, that we were allowed, by Paul, to take and use at The House of Fun, and Mr Scurf now has with him to do a Koast Radio

Auction with. In fact the bidding is at £25 if you would like a shot at owning this large one off unique art print, email us at: Jonsmad@hotmail.com There was an extensive programme with a guide to all the bands in, and a couple of pieces on Madness, one of which I wrote, and more from Paul about The overall project of Specialized.

Owen eating cereal out of the packet while DJing, sums up the breakfast room feel of playing to a pillar in the morning at The Big One. We are more the small one in all this I think at this stage. Empty dancefloor, with everyone mostly still in bed, or eating breakfast in their own caravans.  Woody then arrives to do the signing, but round the corner a bit, that then means we are backing sound mostly to people wandering around the stalls, we had’nt asked for a microphone, so there isnt one, so any presenting of things is now out the window, it’s tunes only we decide and just play the music in order, no countdowns, we do manage a few rarities and joke files though. Our peak dancefloor audience was two little children, so we entertained them by letting our Darth Bastard coke-arton skank robotically across the dancefloor with them and they loved that, following it around. We are enjoying ourselves, as I show Owen some of the listed shows tunes and the top 40 voted best Madness songs listed for the show, he grins most though at the La Luna Mix 6, intro segue way into Tony Christie Avenues and Alleyways and says “You’re going to play Tony Christie???”  Yes. Definitely. It gets a cheer from the man at the breakfast table called Dave. That’s the highpoint!

Paul Willo is happy that Woody is drawing a big crowd now queuing for the signing, “This is the most interest we’ve had this far in a signing” he says, comparing it to previous years 2tone stars. Woody is charming to all the fans as always, posing for photo’s. Trying his best to sign Garry Saunder’s boots but he’d waxed them making it almost impossible a thing to achieve. Really nice of Woody, after the change in direction of his solo endeavours meant a live band couldn’t appear here from him, that he still came and supported Specialized without needing a band fee to come along. Woody signs Mark’s 35th anniversary edition of one step beyond and then turns it over and in reference to current Madness rehearsals he starts naming some of the songs they are playing Friday night as The invaders, and we already double our excitement for next week on hearing the news.  Ron: Madness’s drum machine from 86 however seems to be taking the lack of a crowd for anyone coming to see him more to heart in his central circuits, as he jumps off the speaker stack next to our stage, in a tiptoes like moment that sums up his crapness.

We DJ longer as the show doesn’t seem to be starting on time in the main hall, and there is no one after us in the lounge, so we play some bonus songs we had with us, our main set included such incredibly rare gems as “Nice Ice Cream” from after the end of The Madness, and a studio Carl Sung mix of “Our House”. We play some Woody related tunes to honour the man, and end with Morrissey’s Get off the Stage (that has Suggs vocals on it) as our version of a goodbye tune.

The Bands begin…

It’s nice to meet Ray Gudge, as we will be doing a show together at House of Fun. Here at Specialized Ray has taken a third name of “Swagness” just for today to perform some of the tracks his band Swagga dont currently do. Including Madness based tracks, around Embarrassment, and Our House, and ending with his Specialized cover of Don’t Quote Me On That which is massively a reworked tune that keeps the topic and spirit of the original. All of Ray’s raps are witty and

authentically delivered, and Ray as always says he doesn’t listen to Rap music massively himself, which is why his work draws heavily on ska classics of all eras, he likes words and when you write a lot of stuff into a song rap is a way

to do it he has said to me in the past. As such Ray is a unique twist of genre’s more akin to a street Ian Dury lyric writing about London in modern times really. Massively enjoyed his set and he’s pulling a crowd that watch around the edge of the dancefloor, including Pete and Allie Major who are there with us.

The JAM DRC, get our Sunday main dancefloor feet moving first. Quite a Weller look alike or two, they are one of a few bands delivering a Jam cover or two and most welcome they are. The Amphetameanies though I’ve actually wanted to see for a long time. I hear them on Mr Scurf’s Koast Train show often, and bass player Gordy is a friend we see at The House of Fun each year. Sing something special to me. Is a great track by them. Gordy explains the song is a story of a gig where racists wanted to hear songs by 2tone bands, because they are that dumb to not see the irony of their bigotry. This band have a new album out now called Last Chance Bordello. They bounce and boom their songs, even in a line up with borrowed brass. They’ve a heavy weight no messing lead singer who looks like you shouldn’t stare at him in a bar situation, and a female glamorous lead for other songs, a blonde in boots with some moves, a great mix of characters to their group and songs to back it up, and that for me is the kind of match you get with Madness too. When Ezperanza, and Big Fat Panda also arrive in the artist green room later before their sets it’s like we’ve moved to Scotland for an event for a while, and these bands have a crack with each other and show a lot of support for each other, as we all tuck into some chili and nachos.

Soon it was time to see The Iconics, the next band I was looking forward to this was, I liked their sound on The Mad Not Cancer album, and Darren Jones admin over at All Things Madness on facebook was now a friend of MIS too, so I was looking forward to seeing him sing. After hearing about great 100 club gigs in Oxford Street under the SpecialKindaMadness name. Pretty obvious covers band idea, but done with real charm and energy, they have toy Gorillas as mascots too. Gus needs to meet Steve Maddie at some future point, I feel. Real running around the stage presence Darren has to him. They don’t perform “You Said” though tonight sadly their album cover, Darren will later do it in my show at Butlins though. They bring on a big cheque at the end of their sets for all the money they have raised as a band for specialized it’s a great job done a couple of grand for the charity.

Before the fun continues, it’s time to be serious. The mother of a 17 year old girl, Leila, who lost her fight with Teenage Cancer, comes and tells us what it’s really like to go through losing a child to this illness. She was cruelly cleared of all cancer after first treatment only for it to return, and take her away. No more fun or life for her, this hits home looking at a picture of a child not yet fully in adulthood. A few tears of respect for the mother come easy, along with gratitude for the charity helping in any way they can, and a centred feeling that the life we still have should be about having fun and helping out where we can in the future. A touching moment that sums up the understanding at the centre of Specialized and The Big One event. We have to do two things. Everything we can to help. Live to the full, life is precious to enjoy.

Ska Billy Rebels are the big name professional band who can follow this kind of a message on stage and bring the fun back in the right way, it’s a difficult segue way but Roddy Radiation has the stage presence of a long serving star, as well as being centre to this charity. He manages to take the sorrow by the hand and weave back slowly into celebratory pop sounds. And the fact that this is the one band, Paul Willo and Wife Ruth actually have the time to stop and dance along to together for the entire set themselves says a lot about fandom, Roddy’s role in Specialized and the spirit of this event. Blues Attack. Really great song, first time I’ve heard Roddy solo and I love this track. The rockabilly guitar of his band makes me wish for a Chris Foreman fronted twanging guitar band, Roddy has that Duane Eddy, 50’s riffing ability of a lot of tracks I like from my dad’s record collection have. Of course a few Specials songs are performed in this bands style as well and are lapped up as brilliance. What a treat.

The Skints never fail to impress me. They look young and beautiful but yet so accomplished already as musicians, their groove is sublime, and though I’m sitting out the dancing at this stage I’m drumming along on my pint glass with a couple of coffee stirring drum sticks. I’ve caught them twice at The House Of Fun, and here it’s the biggest crowd I’ve seen they play too and the sound I just sink into. The female lead singer plays keyboards and a few other instruments as required and you just feel like this is the current generation of real musicians that suffer from xfactor shite dominating TV and such, they are the calibre of act that deserves to be remembered in years to come, like the generation of ska that Roddy and Woody themselves here have come from, and are revered today by us all because of. I really hope The Skints get some bigger break and success worthy of their talent.

We head back to the caravan, Owen crashing out due to his early AM arrival this morning, but I do briefly pop back and see the aftershow band Ska face, sing the song “Jesus is a friend of mine” with Sal Policetti, a track with an internet story attached that I’d read via the Specialized pages announcements, but here it sounds like a wonderful danceable hymn as Sunday Morning looms up. God bless Specialized.


Sadly our film clip plans including showing the Madness Sitcom and screening a Norton Folgate Carl deleted scene, are scuppered by projector problems, so I just hand Hazel Foster a disc and say, watch it at home. Lol. As she was promised something special at this point. We DJ another half an hour instead, until acoustic Billy Brown takes over, which includes his powerful solo covering of Blue Skinned Beast, just him and a guitar, powerful voice and protest song like delivery.

The RPM’s are a young band Owen is keen to see, currently they are supporting The Beat on tour I believe. Befitting their names they play some very fast and quick paced numbers. But the dancefloor isn’t really filling up, except for the most enthusiastic skanker Dave, back on his feet that band names check his enthusiasm, and we also get a thankyou on the mic, for being seen in the balcony ska dancing with our arms. The Feckin Ejits are an Oi band, DJ Darren Bennett recommends having seen before, but we only catch the beginning of their set, Owen goes off to talk to the RPM’s and we hang out a bit with Lee before his gig.


It’s good to have some actual Madness in the Mad Not Cancer weekender, and Thommo delivers in buckets full once again. He’s played with The full Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra here before, and the DVD of that is still available to buy, but now thanks to a little help in booking from me, it’s the turn of the Silencerz to take the stage here.

Cally Road, is the bands first original tune, written by the guitarist, and it’s chorus of “Trapped in the alley, in the corner of the cally road.” Sticks in your head, a tale of getting a haircut in the days music and fashion when looks and tribe really all stuck together in different ways to now. Backdrops of clips chosen by Lee, and related to his song choices in this band, play out, he occasionally refers to them during the show. They were compiled by Darren Dixon. Ian Dury, Kinks, Ska Orchestra related ska tunes, delight. Hey Bulldog The Beatles kicks off the set. The Prince and My Girl are clearly enjoyed the most, and fill the dance floor with extra people while they happen and this along with Thommo’s signing event on Sunday Morning seals the support the band Madness have given this year to Specialized and The Big One3. Our group of 4 had great times chatting with the two Madness men over the weekend. Chats with Thommo in the green room about the amount of private sax rehearsals he had been doing up in Barnet in case of needing the riffs for Fridays Dangermen set. Our excitement for Madness’s own weekender starts to kick in as Thommo leaves in a Taxi to head back to full Madness band rehearsals at the end of his set with son Daley.

The Prince – Lee Thompson and The Silencerz


French Boutique fronted by an Annie Lennox like French woman, perform a set, we catch their version of “Tiptoes” at the end to which they bring there own Je Ne Sais Quoi.

Then there is the results of the blind auction, and further speeches, this time honouring Scootering DJ hero Tony Class who has passed away. Willo gives a big list of thank yous. Two beyond us that get a mention, that we’d like to echo in our review, coming as they do from the Madness fan base, is the thank you’s read out to Graham Yates (who sadly isn’t present to hear the tribute) and calendar creator Karen Le Craz.

Two young bands who’ve had some support slots with Madness Paper boy and The big head. Who cover “Embarrassment” round out the massive number of bands on display nicely.

The Legends of ska though are the big draw finale’. The Pressure Tennants who have a history with Lynval from the specials are the main band for this last section of The Big One3. But singers guesting have a massive Jamaican and/or 60’s heritage in music that inspired the start of Madness and The Specials etc.

Dennis Bovell, The Aces Carl St Clair and Susan Codagan all sing bit hits from the era. As a Madness fan boy this was a delight. “Hurt so good” was recently chosen by Suggs on his Selection album. Susan performs this brilliantly. While Dennis Bovell who is singing and MCing was the producer of The Dangermen, an album we will be seeing return at The House of Fun. Best of all though, and my last great memory of The Big One3 weekender is hearing an original member of Desmond Dekker’s aces’ perform “It Mek” It feels like a handshake to the next weekender we are heading for next. Thank you The Big One3 you were big indeed. Big full of entertainment, big heartd, big money and a big friend of us all at MIS.

Hurt So Good. – Susan Codagan – http://youtu.be/AydrBelOMTk

Carl St Clair – 007 – http://youtu.be/hEYslALG6lI

There were also very many DJ’s at the event spinning ska and choice tunes, Madame Scorcher and Darren Bennett, The Ska Train, were all memorable to me, and I think Terry Hendrick, was the last one playing at the end when you don’t wont the fun to stop but the needle has to come off the record and finally and The Big One3, came to an end.

With a 4th Big One already set for 2015. You can book now if you like the sound of this event. The next one will be full of great entertainment too.

But it’s the 4th House of Fun we are off to next as our party departs with a car full of our stuff, and a specialized banner and a few CD’s and EP’s to take a small echo of this great event with us into the massive Madness party awaiting a little further North as Madhead meets Minehead in the weekend that is to follow…


Wandering into the familiar Butlins holiday camp on part two of our holiday, we are greeted by a giant yellow M. One of a couple of new feature structures marking Butlins as Madland for the weekend, before the familiar inflatable arch hones into view and a sea of bunting transforms the look of the camp into a home for Madheads for three days.

We’ve had a fun little holiday in the middle of these two weekenders, visiting Cern abbas man on our road trip, a hot fuzz film location tour of Wells brought idyllic scenery, feeding the wildlife at lakeside, a Wookey hole in one splashdown of a crazy pirate golf tournament, a film and burnt pizza marathon, a laughing card school, and an amazing time at Madness’s Soundcheck for this event, and hotel drinks with other eager arriving fans on our weekender extender tour. Now it’s time for the real FUN Weekender to start, and the masses arrive to see the soundclash of the century, The Invaders take on The Dangermen.


We say our lodge buddy hello’s as Mr Scurf arrives in full catweezle beard and superman outfit. Inn on the Green and DJ wheelie bag starts our weekender drinking again, as the old ladies on shopping trolleys drive by and help us settle in. Leah “finally old enough” Rix is with us to witness these daft old dears atop boombox trolleys, for the first time and it’s always fun to see the weekender experience through fresh eyes. John T is another first time weekender attendee, flying in from Miami, though a Yorkshire man originally, and already a good friend of our own Paul Rodgers, MIS has helped him find his way into the fun at the centre of this weekender, which is having great people around you. The Barrier huggers amongst us are already in place by early evening as the first of the night’s soundclash sets, of The Invaders vs The Dangeren takes place for a massively memorable moment that straight away justifies this weekender as unmissable in terms of Madness fandom. Pure and simple. Gob Smackingly good Madness. A set I’m told they worked very hard and solidly to make happen. The weekender is already won. As after 35 years The invaders are back.


1. Hawaii Five-O

2. Nutty Theme/Sounds

3. Believe Me

4. Stepping Into Line

5. Mistakes

6. Sunshine Voice

7. Mummy’s Boy

8. Roadette Song

9. You Said

10. Feel So Fine

11. Shop Around

Oh My God!!!!! Incredible. What a set list. Possibly the most amazing set of resurrected tunes I’ve ever had to write down in 16 years of MIS reviews. Technically a Madness set with no singles, for the first time since before The Prince came out! As all Folgate sets had NW5, and Oui Oui Si Si sets ended on an encore of at least 1 hit single in previous wow’s that this amazing Butlins Friday Night set wonderland had delivered us before, where as tonight arguably this has an interval separating it as a set from The following Dangermen set, so you can in some ways count this alone as a set. Let’s break down it’s amazingness by track legacy for a moment. Because it’s that bloody good. It’s full of WOW.

1. Cover version, no release, not played live since 1978

2. 12″ Bside not played live since 1978

3. First album track not played live since June 1980

4. Bside not played live since February encores 1980

5. Bside not played live since Christmas eve 1980

6. Heard in part on the film soundtrack 1982, last played live in 1978, 2014 released as archive rehearsal recording.

7. First album track not played live since September 1979

8. Cover version only released in 2009 as a Bside, not heard live since 1979

9. 2nd album track not played live since Christmas eve 1980

10. Cover version, no release, not played live since 1978

11. Cover version from 1979, heard on radio documentary mid 80s, bootleg only recording, last live briefly in 2005, 2014 released as archive rehearsal recording.

For years Madness fans have sat around the internet dreaming of fantasy b-side gigs. To the length of 11 songs. This set was that fantasy. The One Step Beyond era and slightly before it done justice. From 1992 to 2014 I’ve followed Madness live. I’ve now heard every song from the 70’s records, every song live in some form from the first album and it’s 3 singles (EP not included). I’m not that far off Absolutely album either, one closer now cus of You Said airing, only Shadow of Fear, Overdone and Solid gone to go on that score. )

The Roadette Song goes back to the very first gig at Si Birdsal’s party, (as did Swan lake, by the way), where as Feel So Fine became a staple from Hampstead Trade Hall second gig in 77 and first real Invaders billed party event. Sunshine Voice emerged at The William Ellis School gig in July 1978 sung by John Hasler, before going on to be a legendary lost song due to it’s snippetted inclusion in the Take it or Leave it film. While all of these songs are dropped by early 79 records are not complete enough to say when exactly with 100% accuracy, but these best guesses here are based on set list patterns and known reports of the early years. Thommo would cover The Roadette song for an album with Like Father Like Son, and Madness themselves would attempt to include it in The Dangermen eventually it becoming a Folgate Bside instead.

What a show too. Coming on in causal rehearsal style clothes, The old TV show of The Invaders title sequence and flying saucers played out on the big screens. Five of the boy’s arrive on stage, Chris & Bedders, Mike and Woody and then Thommo to the left stage front microphone. “Book him, Dano” he says (You see woody is Dan and in the old TV show that was the catchphrase too get it!) And the drums kick off, Invaders are Go…da da da da, da da SURF’S UP!!  Instantly, loved it. Oh how I wish now, for a while this is how all Future Madness gigs would start. Refreshing and brilliant. Suggs appears alone as the song ends to huge cheers. A moment of expressed stardom. Brilliant.

The words for Sunshine voice come from hearing the cassette. Difficult Suggs explains. Don’t worry Suggs, us trainspotters haven’t got a clue on that score either, it all sounded fittingly right to us! “This is the first song we ever wrote” Suggs says, not once but about 5 times during this set and beyond, jokingly laughing about the time between playing songs being over 36 years in some instances. Rhoda Dakar was added as guest singer for the last two songs. Firstly because Johnny Preston’s original rock and roll version of Feel So Fine had a falsetto female impersonation within it’s structure, and secondly her “Shop shop” do wopping on “Shop around” made that first Mowtown cover an even better version of the tune than Madness have presented before I feel. The track has always had a slow talked intro, and here Suggs plays with it, and jokingly impersonates his Mother calling him a toerag.

The lighting and intro on You Said was beautifully Sublime moment. Blue Green and Moody like the song’s intro. Mummy’s Boy has gone up in my estimations for a speedy live outing with punch musically to it’s ending and respectfully updated lyrics for the era we now live in (She was “young” and he was 30.), this song has reached a second visitation through the power of it’s recent rehearsal recording version and continues to climb my own chart of likes now.  With this one set of just over half an hour Madness as The Invaders gave us the can of treat it would normally take about 4 tours to deliver in terms of fans wished for songs, and even give us something we didn’t know we wanted in the bouncable quality of Feel so Fine, that feel classic Madness already.

Hawia Five-O – http://youtu.be/wlpS6vutPAU

Nutty Theme – http://youtu.be/PJ3jbGV9Dz0

Sunshine Voice – http://youtu.be/cP34RgS5bQs

Feeling so Fine – http://youtu.be/Bpdu6zAAQhg / http://youtu.be/c4ntA5R3gj8

The invaders. – http://youtu.be/qws_3WQvoRI

I just want to go back and witness this 38 or so minutes of pop songs from a golden first era all over again. I loved it. I’m still amazed by it a week later. And while these are not the most mature or accomplished Madness songs ever played, and while I could point to a few other cover versions it might have been nice to have, and while the attentive crowd cheered in the most part, but atmosphere, like Hackney once taught, was a calm listening crowd rather than a dancing party crowd, none of this detracts from a full 10 out of 10 score from me, very few stumbles or dropped words delivering us something oh so rare and appreciated and dreamed about, when once delivering only the dangermen had been on the cards for this Friday, on paper that was an easy ride. Madness instead worked hard and gave us something Epic to stand and listen to. So thankful for being given this set, delighted and in awe, like a dream come true.

Chatting with Barso and Thommo on Saturday Night late, just before photobombing with Lindsey Davies and Jane “hairy pits”, they revealed that Clyde Mcphatters “Lover Please” … oh please come back… da da da da da … down the track…. come back to me… dont leave me in Misery. Was practiced by The Invaders but due to overall workload dropped. Maybe it can still come back on the tour? I certainly hope some of this set does. John Jones carrying over to the Saturday Night set from The Dangermen might be a fun sing-a-long but I hope at least of couple of these Invaders gems find their way into Madheads far and wide this December now the band know they can play them again. Feel so Fine is so instantly danceable despite no previous knowledge. Mummys Boy, Believe Me or You Said would delight early album fans. Sunshine Voice or Shop Around would amaze die hards. Lots to choose from.

What a shame that John Hasler wasnt able to get here from work early enough to witness this, arriving as he did Saturday. But “PRS” he joked with me Saturday Night when I told him they had played a song he wrote.

After a few minutes or more in the capable hands of Darren Bennett (during which the party crowd of course sang more!) The band returned in a uniform white polo shirts or cream look more different look, to the turn of blue sirens wailing It’s the return of The Dangermen.


1. High Wire

2. Girl (Why don’t you answer to your name)

3. Shame and Scandal

4. Taller Than You Are

5. Lola

6. You Keep Me Hanging On

7. Iron Shirt

8. John Jones

9. It Mek

10. You’ll Lose a Good Thing

11. So Much Trouble In The World

12. Pigbag

Another things fans sitting around the internet some times say, greedily perhaps, is “Madness should play 3 times” at Butlins. They mean Sunday of course when they say this fantasy, but as a second concert starts on Friday Night, it’s kind of like Madness are giving us 3 sets/concerts this year. At 24 songs this is the highest count of tunes in a Friday of a weekender ever. 48 when adding Saturday (or 45 if you remove duplicated tracks).

This Friday night split-set is a set where Madness technically only played 3 singles if counted all together as one concert. Rain remains unplayed live, and Israelites along with the intro track wasnt aired from The Album, making this 2 and 1/2 short of the entire album. It Mek and Pigbag remain much better live experiences anyway though, and a joy to hear again.

To be honest, and I’m certainly not knocking this concert, merely talking from personal experience, this isn’t the best Dangermen concert I’ve witnessed, but I was very active gigging in 2004/2005 even on the US tour, so I’ve seen a lot of Dangermen gigs and enjoyed them, and despite the 9 year gap I’d probably have had my fill of the sound. Doesn’t stop me welcoming “It Mek” and “Pigbag”  and a few others with hearty singing.  Instead I will give reports though that many of my fellow fans around were loving this set equally, having never made it to a Dangermen gig, plenty wished for this. For me the absence of Carl’s graveling intros, including dropping This is Where as intro music due to non involvement, detracted a tiny amount, John Jones definitely caught the singing crowd the most.

Rhoda Dakar appearing again for a few songs made this a unique Dangermen experience as it included her, surely she needs an alias “(Rhonda!)” like all the other Dangermen have, and she can take the title of Danger women too. Not to be messed with, that girl! Though Thommo trys with hip bumping antics.   It goes without saying then that The Invaders wins the soundclash for me, but it’s a beauty watching The Dangermen try and compete.

House of Fun. As the Last song, Ends the welcome once again. The party has begun, and we’ve loads more to enjoy, having already felt like we’ve been given two big diamonds.

Shame and Scandal – http://youtu.be/5xCsXOWU1Qg

John Jones – http://youtu.be/f8cnZJYJHaI

You Keep Me hanging on – http://youtu.be/1-lm-_chdrQ

It Mek – http://youtu.be/ww6Qn8wv5k0

So Much Trouble in The World (Featuring Rhoda Dakar) – http://youtu.be/7e7_bF99Ikg

Pig Bag – http://youtu.be/8frbrW9pnjU

I check out the Dub Pistols after the main stage closes. It seems at least on my travels Friday and Saturday, that Centre Stage is rammed all weekend, and Reds a little sparse in there most nights that I wander through. Their energetic version of Ghost Town delights me, to a packed dance floor.  Later I’m down in Jaks to catch “The Talks” who big up Specialized and perform their Specials cover version during a great ska set with power.

Silent disco is the event that rounds out my Friday Night. It’s Wendy May on one deck and resident Mr Happy on the other. That’s a blend of funk and mowtown vs a more eclectic set of Brit pop and ska band classics. Silent disco is a lot of fun and it operates using a headset collected at the front door, you are then able to switch and sing along to which ever of the DJ’s you like best. It gives you choice of song to sing a long too, and the DJ’s will try and get you to join them, sing a long and wave your hands and dance in time to the music. The result is equally watchable if you go into the bar with out head sets on, you’ll be able to hear a din of two groups of people inter acting with the songs and loudly singing badly over each other. Myself, Owen, and later another night, Mr Carter Pegg, will join my rebellion to bring in the Third song. We join together and sing Ultravox or Spandau Ballet numbers loudly in the room despite neither DJ playing them.

This would get you chucked out of other venues! But here it seems to fit in. :-)


A slight downer, noise and people getting too much, see’s me seek a moment of solitude Saturday Morning, but not for long, as Simsey comes and chats to me, and soon I’m off sorting Sunday show arriving band members out with passes. We have a great little party at the lodge in the morning just about 20 of us, in celebration of our friend Looby overcoming hardships this year from health issues, it’s a nice little party that somehow involves Gary Saunders becoming a human buckaroo, with added twiglets (we’ve already lost the destruction of an ironing board to surfing attempts Friday night in honour of Hawaii five-0 being in the set list) and then it see’s Mr Happy’s VW beetle turned into a picnic area! (Sorry Ian, wasn’t me! I told them not to, honest!)

Shitfaced Shakespeare was an idea that delighted many people upon reading it’s amusing title on the poster, I know Darren Dixon was one of many enthusiastic to beer or not two beer at the weekender, and that’s probably where it’s value came in only, as a poster talking point something new and not the darts. In the actual staging it failed to live up to any expectations, being cut short. Described before in rave Edinburgh reviews as something of a “one joke” deal, however good or bad that joke actually was going to be was overridden by the weekenders entirely new twist on this strange concept. House of Fun added a layer by it’s invention of Shitfaced Dub Reggae Shakespeare. If a drunken show can have a plan, it was apparently that most of the actors are legitimate Shakespeare players, with one chosen as the nominated drunk, I guess the enjoyment then ensues from how well or not the broken wheel in the performance causes spectacle. Opinion is mostly in the sceptical though on that, and there wasn’t time to turn this around as the reggae roast speaker system reacted badly to a bunch of thespians booming out the bards lines, and feedback on the show became literally just that, dinning the ears of afternoon seated patrons as the speakers spat electronic nonsense like a dog whistle gone bad. Some people actually saw this as a blessing as the whole thing ended. You can get a laugh from it’s irony though, something that kinda is supposed to go wrong, that’s sort of the point, going wrong differently, so one joke remains delivered by the experience. As Sean lock once said “You only go on holiday to get a story to tell.” I didnt catch the comedy stand up’s this year but I’ve read reports they were all good. Mr Timpkins going down well. As I remember them from other years of my own adventures in comedy clubs, they are a couple of dicks in bobble hat’s f**king about and being disgusting. Which reminds me, photo’s prove Dicka the Ninja was up to no good again this year sticking his head in people crotches and general mischief, he was throwing beer at me at one point, It’s good to have him back, it wasn’t the same seeing him sober.


Early on it looked like people weren’t bothering, but a little later the usual crazy fancy dress filled the big top with some crazy sights and added to the massive Madness party. Madheads as a theme brought our a lot of Amy Winehouses, the funniest of which was Ben Sanderson, who is 9 foot 10. Well ish. With bee hive!

This year we can check out a gallery, as the madhead site finally comes into it’s own for pictures.


I danced with Zippy. I told Paul Rodgers’ Gumby moustache was him bringing Hitler back to see early Madness songs! Tom and Jerry were hilarious. Clearly together Tom strutted about, while wife Jerry followed flagging and not wearing the mouse head, most times I saw them. A couple of Bernie Clifton like horses galloped at the back of the Madness gig. Sarah Shaw, braved bikini like clothing to bring a Rotten bush effect to Kate, who most definitely was not Xena, the warrior princess, but was definitely Babushka ska ska. Vick Lee’s Chuckie was seemingly Childs play, Gary Saunders an animal or Muppet (no change there! Gaz) Sadly Dick Dastardly got his comeuppance falling over and broke a limb, No laughing matter that Muttley!

A man in a cage being carried by a Monkey in a Fez, was chosen as the Winner by Lee Thompson. Nicky Evan’s Marge Simpson got an honorary mention and one of the spot prizes on the night. Nicky told me later with a straight face (a straight yellow face!), she doesnt really watch The Simpsons. Imagine being told that by someone who has gone great lengths to paint themselves Yellow! The blue marge hair by the way is the leg of last years frosty the snowman! costume she wore, fact fans!   It’s Graham Yates as Vicky Pollard, I couldn’t picture, even after seeing it, I understand it was a dare. Yeah but no but, until it was Yeah. Hazel got over her missing carl feelings, thanks to substitute Mark Bowen, in the white suit and Red Top Hat look, with his shirt off.

Lee Thompson himself mingled seamlessly with the crowd in his own Ebola/buster outfit. So much so no one was asking for a photo with him, only I recognised him pre-concert out on in the big top, as we caught up and went backstage together for a moment. One that would lead to me happily meeting yet another Madness related hero.


John Hasler appearing on stage during Bed and Breakfast man Saturday was a treat (he was almost thrown off as a different kind of Stage invader! due to coming on stage from the wrong side and the security there not knowing who he was!) I got to meet him before the gig briefly, first time I’ve had the honour. A really nice guy, and I have my photo taken. This rather nicely caps the whole Invaders experience for me. Puts me on a rise to cloud 9, I’ve seen The invaders play, and met john hasler, it’s like I’ve fallen into Madness’s film.  Time for some dancing then.

MADNESS – Saturday night Madhead set.


























It’s a solidly great Madness gig party. The most packed I’ve ever seen the big top too, I can genuinely believe the sold out weekender news, plus a few guests on site, had swelled the big top to capacity on Saturday night.

Jury is a bit split on the new track. The Last Rag and Bone man, you can find on facebook plenty of doubters, and some real support to. Gary Saunders loves it, particularly citing certain lyrical passages. I agree it has a lot of poetry to it. It’s strength for me is in the final haunting ghostly whistled refrain, this has stuck in my head on loop a few times between the radio version and the now live band version airing, which is a nugget of gold jewels befitting of the real man who passed away that the song tributes. Bless Alf.  There is a lot of scrap iron though, chorus?, middle 8?, could do with further overhaul maybe to give shape, or the song is as plodding as a horse really. I’m led to believe it might be emerging as some kind or release around the time the tour starts, or something of that nature. Else why was it recorded for it now?

The Last Rag and bone Man. – http://youtu.be/k6M1oIuQY8s

My friend Looby and I have been hanging out, finding seats to sit in needing a rest, we watch both an Ambulance arrive before the gig and a giant penis be refused entry and eventually let into the party. We dance at the back for most of the gig, going all strictly to the return of the return of the los Palmas seven, before I send Looby off to thank the band for her hospital messages of good will sent earlier in the year at the end of the concert.  He have a really excellent time watching Madness for most of the gig, certainly the returning Lovestruck is most welcome too now it’s a top 5 song charting cus of the beer. Dust Devil means this set actually contains, Wonderful, Folgate, Oui Oui, Dangermen and Classic era albums.

The set will end with Pig Bag and our own Garry Scurfield will be up for the end of set stage dancing.  After not seeing a hits Madness concert for a whole year, it’s a very enjoyable, cheering, dancing experience all round.  With just one element missing, from the front.


I’ve seen Madness with out Carl before, (NW5 Flower Pot Ben Sherman Gig) and apart from a camp mocking intro to One Step Beyond that night, the rest of the gig was entirely un-noticeable for any absence, due to the size of venue that night and it’s raucous party launch pub atmosphere. It’s been a little different this year watching them unexpectedly play European bookings with out him, I’ve seen the band change as a unit a little in the time of Carl’s current hiatus. Suggs emerging just one foot more forward as a front man of a band he has always fronted, sometimes with a “let’s have it” swagger he’s not always worn before, subtle but there, Thompson moving from back to stage left position on some vocal duties I’m all in favour of, as I see him front many bands, The set has changed a little with Night Boat now an opening vessel, and one step a some what relegated encore tune. There is a freshness to some of this, like a football team finding a new impetus in their game from a new formation.

Sometimes as a business you’ve a duty to operate in a quiet and professional and forward thinking way. The focus on the brilliant solo album of a Comfortable Man came at a fitting time, when also interpersonal matters and Carl’s reflective doubt over the autumn years of a life in Madness came to press comments too and to a song in his solo set that questions immortality! The inevitable disappointment of fandoms closest to one member reacts in some fan’s refusal to attend house of fun, that I’m aware of, and more widespread in some noticeable moments of live reactions, for example the un echoed lyrics of Take it Or Leave It remains a weakened  point. For me though, I can’t watch “Our House” completely anymore, at this time. “Two Dreamers” has entirely changed it’s impact for me, and so I’ve chosen this moment to turn away from my favourite band and reflect on one of the songwriters momentarily while sharing a moment with a near by fan. Tonight that’s Looby, her own small moments of disappointment show while watching the show, in a simply stated “No” when Wings of a dove played out. In contrast to the wow of hearing Los Palmas and immediately texting the great news.

Foolishly, some count this all as a sign of a big end to everything come new years eve.  Bollocks. A productive and busy UK 2015 seems on the cards, The Last rag and bone man is more the first toe in the water of Madness Chapter 11, whatever the next album project maybe eventually be and when madheads reunite. Good luck lads.


I really wanted to see Bitty. For me he was best thing on the poster, beyond Madness. I danced through the crowd to the last notes of Pig Bag, grinning like a happy party bunny, and stood waiting for the man to open the doors to centre stage, still singing “Bap bap bap bap” of the tune, right into his ears, while others qued around me. Ater a Minehead hotdog (cus I refused to call it a vegas) I head to the dancefloor front and centre. Dave “Bilko” Rodigan and his impressive voice, introduced and compered the venue Saturday Night, Bitty was excellent, a real great voice, I had the pleasure of meeting him around his Ska orchestra engagements, and it’s amusing that he sings Fu Man Chu tonight complete with “Lee Thompson Orchestra” name check intact, (people looking around to see if Lee would appear.) but “dedicated to the one I love” was the best tune Bitty sang from a set of great reggae numbers.

The Silent disco Fun Saturday night is Rhoda Dakar vs Chris Sullivan, and again is the laugh that happily rounds out my night, it’s a bit like being in a floatation tank if you block off your ears to only one DJ while drunk, and it’s a great way to continue your weekender after the big events of Madness gigs.


I miss Carry on Madheads, as sound check and such take up a lot of the morning for our event. I will be anchored there so wont catch any of the other entertainment today. Lee Thompson’s DJ set though I do wander into the start of around 1pm, as he takes to the decks with Chris Sullivan and Mr Bennett helping. It’s nice that this is scheduled as in previous years the band (Suggs, Chris and Lee mainly) have just wandered around and interfered with Darren Bennett’s sets telling him what to play in the past!


The All Things Madness Meet: Jaks bar begins to fill from 5pm thanks to the team at facebook’s largest fangroup page, the original one run by Warren Moyle. Alan’s Flynn’s handy work is presents in the form of the cardboard cut out of Madness he’s brought along, which leads to some amusing moments, people at the meet befriending them, a Butlin’s yellow coated official tidying them away, and even the Bizzare sight of a Bedders cut out bouncing on the barrier. Alan also made some one off madhead T-shirt designs that are a genius way to show off the team members. His designs are currently with the official merchandise team and a cross-over of ideas may happen in some future regard. Alan also created for us chart rundown posters, displaying all the entertainment we have brought for free to the weekend, to end with our own party for all, and our echo of Specialized the big one, as all the DJ sets, vocalists, guests and the three bands we have tonight have all appeared on The Mad Not Cancer Album, or all contributed to the Specialized project this year in some form. This our party to celebrate that tonight. We begin with a little Cantina music to set the nutty mood and turn jaks into a Nutty Bar, fitting of Harry Wandsworth joining us later. He’s driven all the way from Spain in the Nutty Bar Car to both weekenders.

What a legend.

The Mad Chart begins, DJ’d by Myself, Owen Collins from Insanity FM and Mr Scurf from The Koast Train. We play 1 minute of U2’s songs of innocence, before Monty Python shouts “not this record” and we blame it on iTunes forcing us to download it, before playing a dehissed version of “There’s always something there to remind me.” by Madness only available from itunes. Later an Oasis song will break up rather than be played at a Madness weekender. There is a rare version of Featherhead (dedicated to Swanny), a rare Carl our House, a number from his solo album and some more exclusives, including the Mighty Boosh Mix of La Luna featuring The Moon. We begin the top of the pops like antics though with an MIS mix called “Whole Lotta Let’s Go” a mash up of Let’s go, Madness, Other top of the pops mentioned bands and ccs classic theme tunes. We also play Yellow Pearl theme and do out mad chart countdowns over it while waving a stick of coloued vinyl records into the front row.

We do f*ck up a little which causes choruses of “hang the Dj” to be sung at us, fair enough we oblige and strangle ourselves with lanyards and mic cables. In partnership with Madness merchandise at the mad shop www.madness.co.uk. we have a stash of T-shirt’s and Fez to give away. Along with our own prizes of signed items. These are won by catching and this nicely fills out the barrier at the front of the show, which then stays full all night. A few booby prizes of cereal boxes are thrown back at us, with bottles being our extra freebee. Owen gives a record away to anyone who will admit to being the person it is signed to, when it says “cocksucker” in Lee Thompson’s hand writing. Later I randomly give out a few other autographed items, Including a girl called Helen winning by wearing a T-shirt that matched the name of the weekender, and the record I was holding.

We have 3 guest vocalist in the Mad chart show too.

Get Giro, Spend Giro, Sleep. Is Ray’s comedic parody songs. And we get. Acceptable in the a team, The lazy song, and Dis house. This raises laughs and eyebrows a plenty with risqué lyrics. Check him out on youtube.

Darren Jones, from the Iconics gives us, Sally Brown and his bands specialized cover. You Said. Performed enthusiastically for his ATM home crowd.

The Nutty Bar Crew. Wandsworth Harry give us a speech and resident Rev Toon performs The Madness – I Pronounce You. Singing along to the Friday Night Live backing track the band left with Ron: the drum machine to look after in 88, as he pumps it in the show’s speakers from his cubby hole front of the stage. The humanist Minister gives a blessing to Jenny Littler and Tom Turton our Madweds who will be married for real next year, and we celebrate with them dancing on stage in the show.

A couple of little Specialized DJ sets are aired between the bands, With Swanny making a cameo appearance during Mr Scurf’s set. Airing some of the rock version and pop numbers on the Mad Not Cancer album. Selling a few copies of the album, and new get specialized single, we make £355 quid for the charity, even more than planned.


Darren Fordham did a fantastic Job of reforming Reece this year and getting a powerful pop band to perform. He warmed up with Mad Chat at their meet earlier this year, and chose a set of covers mostly different from the obvious two tone,

ones with the likes of The Police Message in a Bottle, Killers Mr BrightSide and three Madness tunes. Nw5, In the Rain, and a last minute riff on One Step Beyond. “The One I Know” Reece’s original song stood up wonderfully against all the cover versions. Impressive tune, feels like you’ve heard it before.

Sax player Phillip Too Good who is no stranger to our shows at jaks, jumped into the line up at Minehead morning rehearsal, as Darren had booked a rehearsal space on the morning of the concert to assure his up for it ness.  This live band rocked the jaks bar. Given his hard work and commitment to this idea, the only band starting again from ground up, I was impressed by the all given in the performance, and even with the usual level of fronting, he bantered well with the venues crowd.

Too Much Too Young – http://youtu.be/37A4IGMXmnE

NW5 – http://youtu.be/Bkfg6pSo7Kg

Town Called Malice – http://youtu.be/JuBhJNVwA8Q

Darren always promised that Reece would “bring it” and it’s fair to say the cheers they blew the roof on the place, it was sweaty, loud and appreciative in the crowd, and I look forward to where ever the band go next, because this mission was a success.


Back Stage Swagga – http://youtu.be/qQeZWMF7MgU

The full band version fronted by Ray Gudge performing, completed a trilogy of seeing him in different line up’s across the two weekenders, and best for last, as his band were enjoying the gig immensely. Although there is a minor drop off of

attendance in the room, it’s still packed, with some people probably going in search of a quick breather at this point, the mood remains high, and the appreciation building for the party continues.

Bully in a monkey suit is the song that’s newest to the band I believe, about a bouncer, and while it has echo’s of bad manners wording, it’s an original tune and one I cant get out of my head. I enjoy watching it from the wings, it’s my favourite of theirs.  The rest of the set is rapid and upbeat fun. I love having a band that is contributing something original to the show, as covers make up so much of tonight, the element that are original writing in Swagga really help keep an element of progression. They invited Fordie up as backing singer and banter with him.

Stupid Marriage – http://youtu.be/HG1KbdzkTGE

http://youtu.be/ihmT7YnVNr0 (Mr Scurf’s DJ view)

A slight scuffle of words with the soundman and they do an unscheduled encore of “Never Again”, Luke tells me after it’s the best gig they have ever done, and we hug for a photo.


The headline band, perform an extra half hour more this year with us than their success last year, and they are choosing their own set of songs, I’ve only asked for the 35th of 2tone to count in that. Tony bigs up The Specialized project, holding up an album during the bands cover of “Believe Me” which he notes that ironically Madness have just beautifully performed this weekend already for the first time in decades.

This show wouldn’t be possible or the success it is, without The Inflatables, who’s 34 year long Oxford area following, attends this weekender in droves. The sheer fullness of the room and the level of sweat and cheers is the crowd pleasing sounds the band pump out. They were pretty much the only thing remembered or commented upon from last years show, and remain a popular draw, they play through all the 2tone bands tonight and whip the crowd into a happy roar.

This year they end on Night boat (which now seems less like copying Madness just 1% less when the main Madness boys now don’t end with this tune). Myself, Owen and Scurf wander onto the stage invading end, as their saxophonist lays back on the stage and wanders the band into Jazz, during the false ending of the song, elongating and swirling around, like nobody want this band, this show or this weekender to end.

Despite having to regiment the back stage partying a little more this year, I really loved delivering the jaks show, on time and as billed, much tighter and without any panic compared to last years show. I’m immensely proud of everyone who helped, in the bands and DJ sets, It’s a Great production team to, Jo, Harvey, Chris, the sound man and all the teams who helped us put on the show. Maybe MIS presents will have one more encore left in them. Extra thanks to Tony Bass for everything this year.

A small party of about 10 of us, drink in the lodge and put the world to rights on all topics we can muster as we approach midnight, Chris, Emma, Sarah, Dicka, Owen, Maria, Hazel, and Garry, and Andy Shoultz impersonating Barry White by this stage.

On The Monday, the seagulls don’t seem to get to me like they did last year, when I was a boozed out wreck with issues, Instead I’m as happy as a lamb next morning, I think I’m still drunk, when I meet Suzanne and Julliet for breakfast after about 4 hours sleep only.  They are like every present pillars at the two jaks shows we’ve done. So I’ll dedicate this all to them, and a crowd much busier than our week long tours opening pillars. And thanks to the 3 amigos Mark for driving, Owen for DJing alongside me, and Garry Saunders for being a total cock swinging embarrassment (Number 1 in the mad chart show.)

While sometimes The House Of Fun Weekender poster when it first arrives looks like the line up is lacking something, an effect that echoes ever onwards since we got a Sunday Paul Heaton gig year one I think, in truth every year I still come away with a feeling I’ve missed out not seeing certain things cus so much was going on in 4 venues. When the photo’s emerge, online I look and see things that make me go “oh I wish I had done that now as well” I didn’t get to catch Maddy Carter, and I think that would have been good, The Gospel Okey looked like I could have watched that for a few minutes at least adding it into my weekender experience, would have been fun however good or bad the person up was, just to check it out really. Here is some videos of things I didnt catch myself, that others did.

Superskas. My Girl Lollipop


Mady Carty – Performing a cool hit song. – http://youtu.be/6NOgrGF7ZgU

Reeps One – Human Beat Boxing. – http://youtu.be/MFIUVZfF1QA

Erm…. just one of those Suggs Moments… – http://youtu.be/TF_5R2k1-6Y

I feel as long as you circulate and move around, and have or make friends at The House of Fun, I can’t see how anyone can not seek out and find some entertainment to enjoy somewhere really. Including the golf, swimming, quasar etc,

When we first arrived on the site early this time, the posters were still up from The Peter Andre weekender. The poster was f**king Hilarious. As well as the authentic faked tanned Australian Iceland advert hogging airheaded jungle surviving mysterious one hit wonder boy himself, who only does one Saturday Night Gig by the way. Every other act, was an unknown acoustic singer, or a one singer tribute artist to bands and such, equally obvious guff like George Michael covers gig. They actually advertised Football matches and Rugby etc on the poster. To make it look like their was more on and something the husbands dragged along could actually relate too!!! and the venues didn’t seem to run for very long on any of the days either, Cant help feel that although people might wish for known names on a poster for house of fun, when you actually get there it’s the effort and variety of talent and sounds, that makes our Madness weekender both better and Insanier! than the average artist based weekenders that take place at Minehead.

There is always unfortunate misbehaviour, we read of vandalism and fights, bottle throwing, and even the somewhat tolerated bunting theft, it’s getting a bit too early some of it being taken, I say leave it all up till Madness leave the stage completely Saturday night. Missed Craig Charles not being there this year, which was entirely clear from TV and then the sad family news as to why he was not available.

Here are a few more comments from other fans. Do send us your comments or reviews of what you enjoyed during your adventures at the house of fun…

Kelly Driver, on meeting Lee Thompson: “You made my weekend! And it was my first house of fun! to have the pleasure of meeting you and being at the front for the madness set and the return of the dangermen and the invaders was such an experience! Thanks again x Madness madness they call it madness.. this weekend I was welcomed into the house of fun and all its glory. Honestly the best experience of my life.. bravo madness. I love you. x”

Garry Saunders. “Well here we go nutty girls and nutty boys the Invaders v Dangermen this is epic, I’m absolutely buzzing words cant explain how I feel right right now, the mayhem, nutty antics and mad drinking have officially started, im drinking cider from a egg cup which is being poured from a teapot this is M A D N E S S he he cheers peeps”

Leah Rix. “such a good weekend! Madness were brilliant as always, seen some other amazing bands and spent it with some great people! Same time again next year?”

Warren Moyle “So once again, another wonderful weekend spent at The House of Fun…so nice to catch up with so many friends and watch Madness live…loved the Friday so many tunes we never heard live before…and The Dangermen bringing back some great memories…then just party night Saturday and last night….enjoyed it immensely”

I have the very best of times at The House Of Fun, this year once again that’s been the case, and it’s exceeded my expectation at some moments too. Often bits you cant predict. It’s a happening in that way. The whole experience, has left me “Feeling So Fine.” this time. Thank you all involved so very much, and thanks for reading.

The House of Fun 2015 at Minehead is now on sale. Lee Thompson walks to the microphone… “Re-Book em, Dano!”

Jonathan F Young

(Thanks Stav for some of the Madness videos, and Lindsey Davies for the Reece ones. )

Check out Darren Dixon’s photography of all three days here and more posts about the house of fun over at ATM






13TH/ 14TH / 15TH NOVEMBER 2015…




0344 335 3501





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 552 – Sunday 29th November – Saturday 5th December 2009

If Christmas and the forthcoming tour weren’t draining your pockets enough, this week the band announced that the next single release, Forever Young, was now available to pre-order. Consisting of a CD single, limited edition gatefold 7″ and two mp3 files.

Are you From Another World is a song by The Madness that failed to see an official release, and Jonathan had been trying to crack the lyrics since MIS issue 372 was blasted out across the internet. This week Jonathan got back in touch after he noticed yet another namecheck for an area of London in a Madness song.

Jonathan commented at the time;

“Are You From Another World? It definitely comes from that period of The Madness as it’s from a tape of sessions that also included the early version of Beat The Bride, too. The song was on Carl’s Website first in 2006 and you’ll find it currently in the download section on Madness Central, although we’ve never quite got all of the words, and haven’t yet put a version up in the excellent Lyrics Archive.

This last week though, I’ve cracked the meaning of the song a little more than I had before, thanks to a theory that then helped spot yet another London place name in a song by the boys. Add to that long list of name checks for “Camden”, “Tottenham” and “Folgate” etc. “Belgravia”.

Belgravia is not that far from Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, and it’s south west of Buckingham Palace. Quite close to Mayfair, which everyone knows from Monopoly, is the expensive one.”

Following this Jonathan sent us his newly deciphered lyrics.

Next, and on Friday 27th November the BBC’s One Show ran a small segment devoted to the classic Madness track “Our House”, and interviewing both Suggs and Carl.

Although we had an iPlayer link to the segment itself, we also included a full transcript for those unable or unwilling to view the clip.

So, what of the numerous Forever Young releases we mentioned at the start of this segment? Well, elsewhere in this week’s issue we took a look at the CD single, 7” and MP3 download. The whole lot could be purchased for £9, and this is what your pennies would have got you;

CD Single:

1. Melt Music radio edit

2. Future Cut remix

3. J Star Mr Wallace Dub

4. Live from Later with Jools at BBC

5. Love Really Hurts


Limited Edition Gatefold 7″:

A Side:

Original Version

B Side:

J Star Mr Wallace Dub



1. Melt Music Radio Edit

2. J Star Late Night Taxi Remix (Exclusive to this Bundle)

We brought this issue to a close with the news that following discussions with the band’s management we could confirm that the forthcoming b-side “Love Really Hurts” was a cover of the Billy Ocean song “Love Really Hurts Without You”.

10 years ago…

Issue Number 290 – Sunday 28th November – Saturday 4th December 2004

Due to a news drought we had a really short issue for readers this week.

Try as we might to find newsworthy items to place in the weekly Madness news bulletin, there’d been nothing to put in it. Well, almost nothing.

News had reached us revealing that Channel Four were planning to air a one hour documentary dedicated to the 2-Tone movement. What limited information we could find on this was simply the blurb from the Channel Four we site, detailing a short snippet of background information, and a broadcast date and time of Monday 29th November at 11:00pm.

Following on from last week’s news that the latest version of Jermaine’s Madness Bible, Tour Madness had finally arrived, we gave you a brief lowdown (not easy when the full thing spanned 139 pages!) on this fantastic piece of nutty literature.

This version spanned a total of 27 years, and featured the following sections:

– Introduction

– 1976-79: United Kingdom

– 1979:    Pre-‘2-Tone- Tour

– 1979-80: ‘One Step Beyond’ Tour

– 1980:    ‘Nightboat to Cairo’ Tour

‘Madness Monster Tour’

– 1981:    ‘Absolutely One Step Beyond Far East’ Tour

‘Nuts in May’ Tour

‘Seven’ Tour

– 1982:    ‘Complete Madness’ Tour

– 1983:    ‘Rise and Fall’ Tour

– 1984:    ‘Keep Moving’ Tour

– 1985-86: ‘Mad Not Mad’ Tour

– 1986:    Europe

– 1988:    The Madness

– 1991-92: The Nutty Boys on Tour

– 1992:    ‘Madstock on Christmas’ Tour

– 1993:    ‘Man in the Madsuit’ Tour

– 1995:    ‘Crunch on Tour’

‘Mad Dogs’ Tour

– 1998:    ‘Mad Dogs and Englishmen’ Tour

– 1999:    ‘Universal Madness’ Tour

‘The Maddest Show on Earth’

– 2002:    ‘Don’t Watch That, Watch This’

– 2003:    ‘Wonderful World of Madness’ Tour

Just before this issue of the MIS went to press we received a brief text message from MOT drummer, Dan Fossard:

“Evening. Have you heard anything about Lee Thompson playing at a Ska fest tonight in Islington? Cos, I just got a phone call from someone saying I’m on the guest list”.

This was the first we’d heard of Lee Thompson due to be playing any gigs in the foreseeable future. It looked like this one slipped us and the rest of the Madness online community down, as there’d been no mention of this on any of the forums.

Hopefully Dan would  be able to tell us more in time for next week’s issue.

15 years ago…

Issue number 28 – Sunday 28th November – Saturday 4th December 1999

We started off this issue with the news that Madness had once again got their feet in the advertising door, with a new batch of TV Christmas commercials for high street food retailer, Iceland. Although not appearing in it themselves, the band were providing the backing music in the form of the classic “It Must be Love”.

This wasn’t the first time the band had found their tunes used for television commercials, but it was one of the first we could recall that actually left in their voices instead of replacing them with some poor session artists.

Towards the start of last week we received an e-mail from a Sheila Titley asking us if the Dublin gig at The Point had been cancelled.

She was concerned because not only had she won tickets to the show, she’d also won backstage passes to meet the band afterwards. At that time we assumed she had misheard or misread something, but as the week went on, the number of irate e-mails from Irish Madness fans started to pile up in the MIS mailbox. For reasons unknown to us, the lads were now not visiting Ireland as part of their `Maddest Show on Earth` tour. Perhaps ticket sales were low? One thing was certain was that posters advertising the gig only went up the day before the show was cancelled! Madness!!!

In an unusual twist of fate, the cancellation of the Dublin gig seemed to have lead to the addition of a NEW date on Monday 13th December at The Stratford Rex in London. Whilst the new date wouldn’t be any consolation to the Irish Mads, it would at least give the UK-based Maddies another opportunity to catch a glimpse of `The Maddest Show on Earth`.

Over the past few days subscribers to the Total Madness Mailing List would have noticed that list-traffic was almost non-existent. This was not due to the lack of interest on the part of the subscribers but rather the list server was having problems of one kind or another. In an effort to keep as many people informed as possible, list maintainer, Jenny Payne manually e-mailed as many people she knew were subscribed to the list. Thankfully the outage only lasted a few days, any by the time this issue went out it was back up and running once more.

News in from Bedders was that the current batch of Madness tour goodies were in the deign and production stages. The band were currently toying with a number of T-shirt design ideas, and we were told that a number of classic shirts from yesteryear may be on sale at the forthcoming concerts.

Onto the articles in this issue, and a quick look at the contents revealed that this was a fanzine special. For months on end nothing arrived through our letterbox, and then all of a sudden we received the November edition of Ska Mad, issue 2 of `Madness Unsugged`, and issue 14 of the classic `Nut Inc`. All three contained some classic stuff and you could read more about them in this very issue.

We also had details of where you could order yourself a copy of the recently released `Sonic Sessions` CD featuring a track from the Madness unplugged performance in Philadelphia, details of a new Madness video offer, and some interesting snippets concerning Uncle Ian Dury and his small tour.

Robert Hazelby




Near Jazz Experience

NJE in Cowshed Studio on Thursday. Album in the pipeline. Been a very long pipeline…

graham mcpherson @suggsgmcpherson

“Yes once again, sir billy butlins ‪#houseoffunweekender went off like a packet of crackers! Much thanks to all who got involved. X”

Shy FX @ShyFX

“Was an honour to perform with ‪@suggsgmcpherson last night  ‪#madness ‪#houseoffun

Dan Shears @danshearsmusic

“Another session in the studio done and 2 more songs on the ‪@woodymadness album ticked off. Now to pick up a smily little gremlin from school”

Paul Smart @SmartyWebDesign

“In studio taking video of ‪@woodymadness & ‪@danshearsmusic recording album for new website – ‪http://ow.ly/EWcwl  ‪http://ow.ly/i/7J3wj

Mark Bedford @I_be_MarkB

“Great day ‪@cowshedlondon – The NJE LP is nearly finished…. Thanks to Joe & Biba”

Lee Thompson“Best HOF to date.Great Fun had. Lx”

Chris Sullivan“Madness House of Fun Weekender in Butlins and oh what fun we had… was a real privilege seeing so many people just having the time of their lives……well done Madness and all involved…..”




That’s just about it for this week. However, just before we finish we’d like to congratulate USM and Madness for racking up combined 500,000 sales of Complete Madness, Total Madness, Universal Madness and Forever Young.

The band were handed their awards at the House of Fun Weekender, and you can read the official press release, as well as see a photo of the band with their awards, on the USM news blog:


Until next week, take care,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

(With thanks to Stav, Lindsey Davies and Tony Bass)

Previous post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 811 – Sunday 23rd November to Saturday 29th November 2014

Next post

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 813 – Sunday 7th December to Saturday 13th December 2014