Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 866 – Sunday 13th December to Saturday 19th December 2015

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 866 – Sunday 13th December to Saturday 19th December 2015

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Hello, and a very warm welcome to this latest edition of the MIS Online newsletter.

We begin with some sad news. Unfortunately for those of you in the North East, this week’s Deaf School gig was cancelled. Despite this, the band enjoyed sell-out gigs in their home of Liverpool and the ever-popular London.

The venue the group were meant to perform at often fails to advertise bands due to play there, and on a previous occasion changed the date of a Thommo gig despite high demand for him the previous year.

A shame, but moving on…

Now, some good news. 2016 may be a few weeks off, but the band have already added a second date to their gig line-up for next year. This week we learned that on Saturday 6th August the band have been booked as headliners at the Tartan Heart Festival, Scotland.

We’re sure that as we get 2016 underway the gig bookings will come in and the Madness section of our “Showtimes” will begin to grow.

In the meantime, grab that mug of mulled wine, tea, coffee (or whatever floats your boat), sit back and enjoy the read,

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.




No further gigs planned



Saturday 6th –Tartan Heart Festival, Inverness, Scotland (headliners) ** NEW ** More info at www.tartanheartfestival.co.uk


Friday 18th – Monday 21st – Madness Weekender 6, Minehead




17th – An evening with Suggs and Friends for Pancreatic Cancer. The Emirates Stadium


22nd – Scarborough Spa Theatre
23rd – Lincoln Drill Hall
24th – Carlisle Sands Centre
25th – Ilkley King’s Hall
27th – Bournemouth Pavillion Theatre
28th – Bath The Forum
29th – Worcester Huntingdon Hall
30th – Wrexham William Aston Hall


1st – Crewe Lyceum Theatre
3rd – Liverpool Philharmonic Hall
4th – Sheffield Lyceum ** NEW **
5th – 02 Shepherd’s Bush Empire


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra

January 15th 2016 – Jazz Cafe – Camden Town London


The Silencerz Featuring Lee Thompson


19th – Saffron Walden Town Hall – 9pm


Deaf School


9th Liverpool – Kazimier
10th Liverpool – Kasimier ** SOLD OUT **
11th – Newcastle, Think Tank
12th – London, Hoxton, Bar & Kitchen


Near Jazz Experience

More info at: https://www.facebook.com/NearJazzExperience

January 2016

26th – Near Jazz Experience + Support + DJ, Indo, 133 Whitechapel Road, London, E1 1DT. 8pm. Free Entry




Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – It May be Winter Outside *** NEW ***

It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) is now available to pre-order from iTunes and Amazon for release on Christmas Day

Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/May-Winter-Outside-He…/…/ref=sr_1_1…

Itunes – https://itunes.apple.com/…/lee-thompson-ska-orc…/id643860026


Limited Edition Madness Harrington Jackets 

Official Madness Harrington Jacket in both black and navy are now available from the madstore.

£60  In small medium large X large and XX large.   In tartan lining stylish cut. M logo and laurel motif and an M pin badge.

You can see Mark Bedford and Lee Thompson with his scooter modelling the designs.


Madness Craft Beer


An amazing gift for any Madness and Craft beer fan. This gift pack includes a mix of 2 bottles. Gladness Craft Lager and Lovestruck Premium Amber Ale.


  • 1 x Gladness Craft Lager 500ml
  • 1 x Lovestruck Premium Amber Ale
  • Madness Brewing Co. Pint Glass




This week, over on the “All things Madness” group page on facebook, a conversation started, often happens, advising a young fan where to go in Camden Town.

The subject of video locations flows through such homage pilgrimages I’ve been on many myself over the years…

Here is a recap of just a couple of good resources…

Mick Jenner’s 5 minute video of then and now comparisons. Came up in the chat:


As did Chrissy Boy’s own photography from yester year…


And of course the booklet in the union square music release A guided tour of Madness.

But this 30 minute video visiting a few more locations from videos made by Jeremy Wright this year, I don’t think we have included. In MIS Before:


It’s got a few lighting and sound issues (And by the way Escapade shop moved streets since Madness visited for a video) but it’s very much worth it for the section four minutes in where they visit the school hall from Baggy Trousers and then the pub. Nice work Jeremy.




Suggs was recently seen attending a Farm reunion drink. Here the band celebrate 25 years of their hit “All Together Now”.

Full article here.


The first time we got an indication of its potential was when Carl ‘Chas” Smyth of Madness who was then working for Go Discs at the time heard it on one of his regular visits to see Suggs in the studio. This of course was before Madness had reformed for the legendary Finsbury Park Madstock gigs of 1992 and Carl asked us if Andy MacDonald the owner of Go Discs could come and hear it.

We weren’t too keen as we were happy with our own purely indie label set up in Liverpool (Produce) but in the end we let him come in to hear it. Ater all Go Discs was a cool label so we were interested in what he thought.

As soon as Andy MacDonald heard it he said to us ‘that’s a Christmas No 1 if ever I heard one but if you stay with Produce Records it won’t be. If you sign to Go Discs I guarantee it will be.’ He offered us a huge amount of money to sign but we took a certain satisfaction in saying thanks but no thanks we are happy were we are.

Andy was probably right about them having the financial clout and record shop ‘deals’ to get it to number one but to tell you the truth it would’ve been unthinkable to leave Produce at that point. We had helped set it up with the financial help of one of the Moores family (Littlewoods) and we wanted to do it ourselves. None of us had had any experience of running a record label and none of us were ready for the avalanche of success but it was a rollercoaster we weren’t going to jump off. We were taking on the majors who had rejected our image/songs in the 80s and it felt good.

We were a pure ‘indie’ set up distributed by Pinnacle. Not one of the major labels like some so called ‘indie’ set-ups that you see in documentaries.



Here’s a House of fun review from the e festivals web site, spotted by Chris Carter-Pegg, and written by Sean Tizzard.

The reviewer only attended the Saturday…

Full review


Suggs and all let nobody down. It’s a ‘Greatest Hits’ set immaculately performed. Anorak fans tell me later that they play some tunes they hardly ever play live. But for me it’s singalong heaven.

You can’t help but marvel at the longevity and songwriting prowess of a band who are so integral to the very fabric of our pop culture. More recent hits such as ‘Lovestruck’ stand out as much as the classics. The whole band are revelling in the praise that’s getting thrown upon them.

For some bands, a convention such as this could be an embarrassment – but for Madness it’s clearly something that they will enjoy for many years to come.

Sean Tizzard




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 605 – Sunday 12th December – Saturday 18th December 2010

We were expecting this issue to have been packed with reviews of recent Madness gigs and very little elese. Surprisingly few reviews had surfaced, and instead we had an MIS featuring a real variety of content.

Getting our articles underway, we kicked off with a heads-up revealing that Lee Thompson would be hosting a Madness DJ set on new year’s eve, at The Queen of Hoxton, Hoxton, London. A fair number of other DJ’s were also listed, but as we were far from being down with the kids, we had absolutely no idea who they were.

Remember last week when we reported that the Hull and Sheffield gigs had to be cancelled due to heavy snow? Well, there was good news this week as the band announced re-scheduled dates for both.

For the Hull gig the new date was Saturday 5th Feb 2011, and for Sheffield the band had re-scheduled for Sunday 6th. All tickets were still valid.

Next, it’s was over to Suggs, who was telling reporter Mike Bevan about his Welsh roots, how he narrowly missed out on being Prime Minister and the biggest problem Madness had with playing live.

What was this biggest problem?

“The biggest bind is trying to fit into the set all the favourites from a career of more than 30 years, having too many great songs.

Then again, that’s not a bad situation to be stuck with, I suppose.

Most bands would kill to have a problem like that.”

Further on, and if you still had some spare pennies knocking around this close to Christmas, you could put them towards a new book – “Ska: An Oral History”.

“Ska An Oral History is the story of ska music, told through the words and narratives of those who invented it. In Jamaica, and later in England, this music defined the culture and social conditions of the people. Through the words of their songs, the uplifting rhythm of their vivacious tunes, and the character and skill of each musician, ska music was the foundation for musical forms and the musicians that evolved. Hearing first-hand the stories of these tumultuous times, these creative times, the story of ska music is finally told by those who were there”

Elsewhere, Paul Rodgers reported that;

“All of the Madness releases put out by Union Square and Salvo over the last two years have been eligible for the indie album charts and last week’s chart saw these combined releases notch up a fairly significant milestone. Madness have now spent 100 weeks on the indie albums top 50 with their USM releases. This started when Complete Madness made its debut at a modest number 42 way back on 28 March 2009…

The main contributors to the 100 week total were Complete, Total and Ultimate Madness with 44, 25 and 14 weeks respectively. One Step Beyond… managed 9 weeks in the top 50, with Absolutely, 7, Rise And Fall, Keep Moving and Wonderful each managing a week or two.”

We brought this issue to a close with the news that on Sunday 19th December the Dublin Castle would be hosting an end of year Ska Christmas Party at the legendary Dublin Castle.

10 years ago…

Issue number 345 – Sunday 11th December to Saturday 17th December 2005

Many of us had to travel some distance to make it to last weekend’s Astoria gig. However, it was unlikely that anyone had trekked as far as MIS subscriber Dean Elliot. Dean and his wife had flown all the way from Detroit, Michigan to see his favourite band play.

Dean was kind enough to give us a detailed write-up of his stay and of his first Madness gig, and finished by saying;

“Madness was unbelievably good. They blew away every band I’ve ever seen including Bad Manners (in their prime), Skatalites, Jimmy Cliff, Desmond Dekker,      Laurel Atkin, The Selector and The Beat.  I was amazed how friendly everyone was.  My wife said that she had never seen a crowd as intense as the fans at the show.  All in all it was the best concert I have ever seen.  I will be back next year if they have a      Christmas show again”. 

Next-up, and we were hoping to bring the great news this issue of a Crunch gig in the Dublin Castle for New years eve. It got as far being on a few websites and in a leaflet in the DC but this was all premature as due to other commitments a full band could not be gathered for the show.

Crunch! bassist Paul Tadman explained;

“I’ve had a lot of enquires about a Crunch! gig at the Dublin Castle on new year’s eve.  The gig wasn’t confirmed.

Not all of the band are available, so I’m sorry to say that we won’t be playing at the DC new year’s eve…

But I thought I’d let you know asap to save people a journey”

It was over to The Nottingham Evening Post next, who gave a glowing report of the band’s recent performance at the Rock City. As with the current tour Lee was up to all sorts of acrobatics back then, too;

“You could hear the gasps when, egged on by the audience, [Lee] leapt from the highest point of the PA, flattening several fans in the process.

When he finally clambered back on to the stage, Suggs announced: “He’s still shaking!”

Thompson declared that any insurance claims should be addressed to his lawyers. His solos were great as well. Oh, and this happened after only about 20 minutes of the gig had passed”.

Ten years ago MySpace was the ‘big thing’, and keen to embrace the new promotional platform were Crunch! who had just set up a new page on the social networking web site.

The Mighty Chrissy Boy had even uploaded a number of tracks that you were encouraged to use on your own pages.

We went back to the Rock City gig next, with a massive review of the night, courtesy of the one and only Steve Saunders. Steve was kind enough to give us a full tracklisting of the gig, which spanned just under two hours.

Remember The Dangermen picture discs loads of us had put orders in for many moons ago? Well, after months of setbacks Birchy was pleased to announce that he’d finally received the stock, meaning that they could finally be sent off to fans. With 110 discs to send out to over 100 people, he was certainly going to have his work cut out, as were the local post office!

It was over to the Hampstead and Highgate Express next, as they reported that Suggs and a number of other celebrities helped entertain crowds at the local switching on ceremony. Suggs was responsible for the Primrose Hill switch-on.

We finished off this week’s MIS with a review of MOT’s latest gig at The Bull and Gate, which took place on the 26th of November. Reviewed by Lee Hookway, it was clear that the night was yet another stormer by the band.

15 years ago…

Issue number 83 – Sunday 10th December to Saturday 16th December 2000

Following last week’s announcement from Chris Mountain that there would be a major 2-tone reunion concert at Coventry Football Club’s Highfield Stadium, MIS Online subscriber Ian Wall had been in touch with some further information. The concert would be held on the 22nd December, and tickets were available from the Stadium, priced £18-£25.

Next, Total Madness Mailing List and MIS Online subscriber, Suggsylia tells us that;

“A band called Balloon is using the intro to One Step Beyond for their song ‘Monstersound’, in which they combine Madness and Nirvana (!)samples to form a dance tune. It’s sounds quite weird to say the least”.

Following last week’s report where we announced the return of the BBC’s Watchdog Madness fan, it looked like he’d been at it again. In a recent article concerning Barrat’s Housing we were treated to the legendary `Our House` as the backing music.

On to this week’s articles, and we started off with a report from Jonathan Young, who revealed that an Eminiem track entitled ‘Our House’ was using snippets from the Madness classic in parts of the chorus.

Here’s a small snippet of what Jonathan had to tell us at the time;

“Quite amusing that Madness painted a rosy picture of English upbringing in their song that Eminem has chosen that song to do just the opposite, with some quite funny lyrics of his own. Anyone who doesn’t like rap or Eminem (of which there are millions!) will absolutely hate this!”

It was over to UK TV series Coronation Street next, as following a number of the male actors recreating the famous One Step Beyond cover, they then stopped to re-live their memories of the 1980s.

We passed things over to DotMusic for the next report, who revealed that Robbie Williams’ tribute cover of the Ian Dury track ‘Sweet Gene Vincent’, would be appearing on a commemorative album alongside tracks by other artists including Madness, Shane McGowan and Billy Bragg.

The artwork would be supplied by Peter ‘Sgt Peppers’ Blake, with all proceeds going to the charity Cancer Bacup. This was a cause Dury championed when alive.

Jonathan Young took back the reigns for the next article, as he gave us a detailed blow-by-blow account of the Blockheads gig which took place at Camden’s Dingwalls on Monday the 4th of December.

Andrew Langmead popped-up for the following segment, where he thanked those who had already sent him their favourite Madness tracks, and then asked those who had yet to submit their favourites to get submitting.

Giving little away with how things were going for this year’s charts he did tease us with the following;

“I’m already beginning to see a major change to opinions since the last chart, but it’s early days yet. The new songs have obviously had an impact on us all, and it’s interesting that two of the songs in the Top 5 last time, haven’t yet made it into the Top 20!”

We finished off this week’s issue with a heads-up from Jon Young, who had received a flyer at the Blockheads gig he’d attended, announcing a charity gig on the 8th of December, featuring members of Madness.

Details were limited, and Jon pointed out that;

“the flyer did not mention which members of Madness would be in appearance or indeed what they would be singing or for how long their part of the evening would be”

Rob Hazelby




That’s almost it for this week, but before we go we thought that we’d let you know that we’ve heard that Cathal Smyth is continuing to develop his musical stage project HMS MISERY, and that we should expect news in the new year.

Meanwhile over on the Invaders Facebool group Stav is planning Madoply – a Monopoly make over with Madness references.

There will be more on this project when the game is ready to play.

Finally, don’t forget to listen to Mr. Scurf’s Koast this coming Wednesday. The station tell us “We have some Lovestruck Punch and Judy Beer mats and stickers available this week. Tune in for details”

For further information, check out the station’s Facebook page over at:


And with that, we’re just about done.

Until next week, take care,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

(With thanks to Chris Carter-Pegg, Mick Jenner, Jeremy Wright)

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