Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 914 – Sunday 13th November to Saturday 19th November 2016

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 914 – Sunday 13th November to Saturday 19th November 2016

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Yes, ladies and gentlemen. It’s almost here – the latest in the long-running series of Madness Weekenders, which kicks-off at Butlins Minehead this coming Friday.

Our MIS Mad Meet will begin at The Inn on the Green (we think!) at around 6pm on the Friday night. Why? Well, that where we expect Mr. B, the Gentleman Rhymer to take the opening batting position. He’ll be getting the Weekender underway weekender by hitting some hip hop for 6 with his Ukulele and beats.

Chap Hop starts this year’s Weekender, so we are calling it Chap HOF.  Here’s what the stiff upper lipped one had to say….

“I cannot wait to take to the stage for the HOF weekender. Madness, for me are one of the most underrated bands in the history of British pop music.

Like me, (even though I say so myself) they make their own way around and not through ‘the biz’, thusforth avoiding a lot of the nonsense therein.

I’m particularly looking forward to debuting a few numbers from my brand new long player ‘There’s A Rumpus Going On’, which I like to think carried on the Madness tradition  of terribly Anglocentric music hall infused music. Occasionally with a message…occasionally with silliness. See you there!”

Elsewhere in this issue you’ll find reviews of the new Rhoda Dakar EP, entitled “The Lo Tek 4 Volume One”. If you’re attending the Weekender you’ll find her in the Friday night line-up.

Elsewhere, and we’ve a feature with authentic Ska band, The Simmertones. You’ll be able to catch this lot playing this Friday night, at around 10:15pm in Jak’s, Butlins Minehead. The Simmertones are our top-tip for the Madness Weekender if you’re looking to discover brand new original music.

If that wasn’t enough, we’ve poetic news from our own Owen Collins who is a spoken word act this year, plus news of a performance of the band’s Greatest Show on Earth box set game from us at MIS.

Along with all we’ve even details of some Chap-Hop Karaoke high jinks. Details of how you can join in can be found in the outro.

If you’re going to the Weekender have a great time. Remember, the fancy dress theme is “Comedy Greats”. Have a laugh with it!

We’ll have a little info in next week’s issue from Friday night’s set at House of Fun, and our usual full weekender review in November 27th’s issue, helmed by Jonathan.

Welcome to the house of fun.  It’s quicker if you run for your life!!!

The Simmertones – Run For Your Life – https://youtu.be/QFGLLIUUA1k

Now, on with the issue…

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams




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




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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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




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

** OUT NOW! **

16 Track CD, 12 Track Vinyl And 30 Track Box Set Edition (with demos)


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

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

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


The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – Bite The Bullet ** OUT NOW – Get it Before the House of Fun Performance! **

Vinyl £13.55  (Includes free mp3 version)

CD £11.37 (includes free mp3 version)

Mp3 album also available on its own for £7.99



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


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




The Rhythm Method Talk to Suggs

Read the full interview here.


Walking down Dean Street with Suggs is like being in the presence of the Lord Mayor of Soho. People rush to shake his hand; a milkman asks him to sign a petition for an under-threat marketplace; even Shane Richie, Alfie Moon himself, pops up at one point to say hello and pose for an autograph.

Suggs (On Mr Apples) : Certainly that song came very naturally. You know, you’re always looking for new ways to present yourself. You’re never wanting to think we’re just going round in circles. But sometimes something pops out like that and you think, that is just an evocation of who we are and who we’ve always been. Popping holes in the balloons of pomposity! I was reading about Nile Rodgers recently and he was talking about HDM, hidden deeper meaning. And I’m sure a lot of the pop records I was listening to growing up, especially soul records, had that. And so did a lot of Madness records

Suggs (On Song Writing) : You know what they say about great writing, “Often thought, seldom said”. And sometimes you think, ah, it’s too obvious. But then you think, well, no one else has said it so f*ck it, let’s us say it. You think it’s not really high art, but just writing about all the ordinary things that happen to you, maybe no one else has done that.

Suggs (On London Music scene) : Definitely. I was trying to do a documentary a little while ago and you can trace it all the way back to music hall. You listen to lyrics of those songs, man. They’re about going to the judge, getting two black eyes, being shot at, getting all your stuff nicked. And they then informed The Kinks, The Small Faces, Ian Dury, Jamie T, Lily Allen… It’s definitely a thread. You know, people say, “How do you look at getting old?”. And it’s been bizarre because I remember when I was eighteen years old saying, “there’s no way I’ll still be singing that f*cking baggy trousers when I’m an old man of thirty”. And I believed it! But then I saw the Buena Vista Social Club, that Cuban band. They’re in their eighties and firstly they still had some kind of dignity, and secondly you knew where they were from. You knew they were from Havana. You knew they were from Cuba. And to be able to go round the world and for people to say, “this band are from London, I know exactly what they’re about”. There’s just something in the pavements themselves that informs what you do if you make music in London. I’ve always said it’s not the best place in the world necessarily… But it f*cking is.


MOJO Album Review

THE TITLE could be the pay-off line in a British crime caper, scribbled on a V-flicking postcard to Scotland Yard by some veteran crims who’ve finally made it to a cushy retirement in Brazil. Thirty-eight-odd years after they debuted at the house parties and pubs of north London, Madness have in some respects pulled off a similar coup.

Irrevocably stitched into the national pop fabric, they’re equally secure playing their jukebox-worth of hits Ito the people as they are appearing on the roof of Buckingham Palace, as they did, surreally, during the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee bash in 2012. Realising, perhaps, that they no longer have much to prove has paid dividends in the recording studio. After the hesitancy of 2012’s multiple producer affair Oui Oui Si Si Jo Jo Do Do – an unfortunate follow-up to 2009’s mighty concept piece The Liberty Of Norton Folgote -Can’t Touch Us Now is Madness to the core, wholly at ease in its London demi-monde of black music-indebted pop, mirth, nostalgia and reflections on the common people’s travails.

Cooked up mainly at Liam Watson’s Toe Rag studios with long-standing producer Clive Langer, the group have likened it to 1980’s Absolutely. It is striking how old school and immediate it sounds: emphasising the time-slippage even more, the group is back to its 1979 formation, now that nutty avatar Cathal ‘Chas Smash’ Smyth has gone solo. And just as there was at the beginning, there remains something fractured and doleful in Madness’s world. Coming  in on Mike Barson’s one-fingered piano note, the opening soul-ska title track is anxious and guilt-ridden, like The Pardoner’s Tale reimagined for a particularly harrowing episode of Dixon Of Dock Green.

Themes of desperation persist: Tamla-Camden frowner Good Times reflects on debt and the downsides of too much living for today, evoking The Kinks’ Dead End Street. But the songs are never simply about lamenting. Pop-eyed Mumbo Jumbo excoriates government hypocrisy and deceit; singer Suggs’s Soho waltz Pam The Hawk, an elegy for the late panhandler extraordinaire Pamela Jennings, is tender rather than funereal. Also satisfying for the long-term listener are abundant echoes of songs past, and the way that every element, be it the Bedford/Woodgate rhythm section or Lee Thompson’s Andy Mackay-like sax, is instantly familiar and integrated into the cracked whole. Groups of Madness’s vintage don’t often last this well, while remaining cognisant of time’s threshing machine. But as Suggs reflected earlier this year, it’s the old Zen Buddhist thing. When you’re a kid and you live next to a mountain, you just see that mountain, you run around on it.


The Guardian Review

Despite the departure of original member Cathal “Chas Smash” Smyth, the elements that made Madness one of the most beloved bands of the early 1980s are intact on Can’t Touch Us Now, their first album for four years. There’s plinky-plonky piano (the title track), cartoonish sound effects (gunshots on Grandslam) and a nod to their ska roots (Mumbo Jumbo). We have singalong choruses galore – Another Version of Me even has a singalong chorus that, like their biggest hits Our House and House of Fun, has the word “house” in it. On Pam the Hawk, Graham “Suggs” McPherson cements his status as one of the great London lyricists. There are unexpected moments, too – if not any actual surprises – such as the soulful coda on You Are My Everything. The Nutty Boys (Nutty Grandfathers?) have done little to dispel the 1982 vibes: Can’t Touch Us Now was recorded at east London’s vintage-fitted studio Toe Rag, and co-produced by its owner, Liam Watson, and Clive Langer, who played a key role in crafting many of Madness’s 80s hits.




The Simmertones bring their authentic Ska rhythms to Minehead, playing in Jak’s bar on Friday Night straight after Madness finish in the main arena. Put it in your diaries – 10.15pm on the 18th of November.

The band’s charms have been much praised by the Specialized community in recent years following their appearance on Beat Teenage Cancer, and great shows at The Big One festival, and in further MIS circles they have been played on The Koast Train radio show a lot, too.

It’s the album reviews and passion of Graham Yates though who sometimes has written in the pages of MIS, (or the sadly defunct Madness Central) that finally brought them to the attention of the Madness team this year. After a few years of trying, they liked what they saw in the continuing search for appropriate new fresh ska bands to showcase at the annual House of fun Weekender event, to entertain fans. So they are our top tip for the weekender this year. The MIS band of choice.

Our Favourite track? Appropriately – “I Love You Madly”…


What a beautiful song.  You can listen to the whole of the album “Something for the Weekend” on Spotify. Check it out.

We caught up with the band’s bass man Del Anning, who was kind enough to answer the following questions for us. He also gave the lowdown on the wold of the Simmertones.


The Simmertones have been together since 2007 and have quickly become festival favourites in their native South West UK, building a strong following across the region’s music venues.  The band’s first album “Presenting the Simmertones, Volume 1”, featuring a wild reworking of the Dr Who theme tune was recorded under the guidance of Richard Digby Smith who has previously worked with the likes of Bob Marley, Led Zeppelin, Sparks and Free at Island Records.  The album picked up great reviews and airplay throughout 2010 in the UK, Europe and beyond, including plays on Mikey Davies’ show on BBC Radio 1 and Mark Lamarr’s “God’s Jukebox” on Radio 2.

The band returned to the studio in early 2011 to record a new EP. Made up of 2 new Simmertones originals and 2 classic covers, this recording also features guitar contributions from Steve Cradock of Ocean Colour Scene/Paul Weller fame and solo performer in his own right.

“These guys are bloody roasting!” – Roddy Radiation Byers, The Specials

The Simmertones’ celebrated second album ‘Something For The Weekend?’ won Best Album of 2013 at the South West Music Awards!

2016 sees the release of the brand new single “Run for your life” –  a Ska tune for the times.



These answers are a joint effort from speaking to Del Anning (Bass player) and him getting input from, Glyn (Lead Singer) and Rob (Drummer)


  1. How did the band form? and choose the name? 

Most of us Simmertones played together in another ska band (TOO HOT 1991 onwards) many years ago. Playing up and down the country and into Europe.  After that fizzled out we had a break but all kind of missed it and each other. So after meeting up at a gig, we got together (in 2007) with the intention of paying respect to the more Authentic sounding, old school traditional Jamaican ska.

The name Simmertones came from one of the first cover versions we jammed ‘Simmer-down’ by Bob Marley and ‘Tones’ sounded old school & seemed to fit together nicely.


  1.  Who are The Simmmertones. How long have you been penning songs? 

The Simmertones are:

Glyn Wilcox – Lead Vocals

Del Boy – Bass

Rob Murphy – Drums

Martin Vowles – Guitar

Sam Smith – Trombone

Keith Waller – Sax

Jade Gall – Sax and Flute

Tom Crowe – Keys

Sam Massey – Trumpet


GLYN:   “I have been at it all my life ,wrote my first song at 12 ,recorded my first tune at 18” 


  1. Your latest single run for your life.  whats it about? and how and when was it written?

GLYN:  “The tune was buzzing around at rehearsal for about 6 months then at the back end of 2014 i wrote the words after watching and reading reports about the terror attacks in France and the conflict in Syria … How people were literally Running for their lives.

that’s what it is about.”


  1. Tell us about that Doris Day track.   

‘Perhaps’ started as our version of Prince Busters’ ‘Don’t Throw Stones’ we used to play in our live set – Then we added the words when recording it for our album (Something For The Weekend). Our producer Richard ‘Digby’ Smith had the bright idea of getting hold of the original Doris Day track and vocals to make a duet – so after much haggling with Sony Music and hours in the mix – he created the finished tune – we had Dave Eringa (Manic Street Preachers) do the final mix, which then had to be ‘okay-ed’ by Doris’ people – finally it was released and got lots of plays and attention both sides of the Atlantic.


  1. What does playing the house fun mean to the band?

We are really chuffed to be asked to play HOF – we think it will be a great platform for us – As many punters will relate to our Authentic Ska sound  & big brassy line-up

DEL: ” I’ve followed Madness since the beginning and was hooked when I first saw them live in 1980.”

GLYN:  “Means a lot to me, my favourite Band ever!”


  1. You covered the bbc raido-phonic workshop’s/  Delia derbyshire’s /  Dr who TV theme into a ska version.  

Why? & Who is the best doctor?  

Dr Who is a classic theme tune – everyone knows it – it was screaming out to be ‘ska’d up’

TOM is our big Dr Who fan – best ask him (but he won’t give you a short answer you can use in MIS!)

DEL:  ” I think Jon Pertwee takes some beating (You ask Aunt Sally!)”

GLYN:  “Don’t like it !lol”


  1. If you had his time machine where would go in the world of music?

GLYN:  “Jamaica 1969 just as Reggae was pulling out of the ska / rocksteady era”

DEL:  “Back to that Madness gig in 1980!”


  1.   What’s next for The Simmertones after house of fun?

We are writing and will be recording our new album early next year. Then we have more big festival gigs to look forward to and to tour the album.


  1.   What bands (madness excluded) are your biggest influences? 

DEL: “All the 2 Tone bands, All early Jamaican Ska, Ian Dury, Squeeze, The LTSO, Aggrolites”

ROB : “The Specials”

GLYN: “The Specials ,The Skatallites, Prince Buster, Prince Fatty, Slim Smith ,Nat King Cole ,Jackie Wilson ,Toots and the Maytals.”


  1.  What are your favourite Madness songs?  (choose up to 3)

ROB: “The Prince, Believe Me & Swan Lake”

GLYN: “The Liberty of Norton Folgate ,My Girl , Saturday Night -Sunday Morning”

DEL:  “On The Beat Pete, Night Boat to Cairo, Beat The Bride”


  1.  Which tracks are you liking on Can’t touch us now. As a Ska band, would you call any of the new madness LP Ska given the myriad other influences on madness?

GLYN: “Mr Apples ,Grandslam, some Ska tinged tunes, not really any full one Ska tunes .

DEL: ” Grandslam, Mumbo Jumbo, I Believe”


  1.  Which Simmertones track are you most looking forward to playing at the house of fun?

Run For Your Life . It’s definitely ’bout time this tune got a bigger platform … a song for our troubled times!

But looking forward to playing  all our original tunes and hopefully going down a storm (and being invited back next year!?)

See you all in Minehead.


Cheers Del




Rhoda Dakar – The LoTek Four Volume 1.

Ahead of her Friday Night appearance at The House of Fun you can still buy Rhoda’s new EP CD or Vinyl here….


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

The most delightful surprise is they chose to cover a Madness song. The rare choice of  “Tears you Can’t hide” from the Mad not Mad LP. The Smyth song has been given a work over.  It’s been skanked up a little bit in the backing. Rhoda’s vocals really suit the song, she’s taken a delightful approach to some of the lines. Including changing lies to lying effectively.

Louis Vause told us.  “Did you notice we put in a middle 8. I played it to Chrissy boy and he looked confused when that bit happened in the song.” Louis smiled.   A sax solo from the talented Mr Edwards storms out on alto airwaves. The song has a delightful flourished bow at the end, but is far from the strings and drum machine version we know from Madness.

The other tracks are self-penned songs this band have performed live recently and a cover of a song Beth Orton also did.

Yep so surely this nutty boy heavy version of the tune Tears You Can’t hide, Is also Tad not Tad!  (Had to get that one in sorry)

Bass man on the track, Tad told us…

“Tracks 1, 3 & 5 were written by Rhoda, Louis and I. All recorded at Paul Weller’s Studio with vox recorded at Iguana in Brixton (where I recorded Bass for tracks on the new album ‘Practice’ -The Clang Group, by the way).. It’s been a bloomin’ great year for rope rumblin’ and I’ve enjoyed every moment especially being so lucky plying with such a vast amount of talented souls. Happy days!

Tears you Can’t hide was Rhoda’s idea to do.  Tried to make it sound early ’70s and it works.

I’m sure there will be copies available to buy at HoF (as there are at The Specials tour merchandise) 

Take care see you soon.

Tad X”

The opening and closing tracks are the same song in two versions. The first in a skanking version reggae style, the latter more jazz and laid back like the other songs on this EP also are.

You talking to me? Features some French singing, alongside down trodden English Sentences of tiring of life. More sax riffs of delight.

“All the lessons we are here to learn”, reveals a searching philosophy in the songs mode.

Dolphins, is a beautiful and haunting track too .  Beth Orton recorded a version with Terry Callier Tim Buckley covered it prior to that but we think Fred Neil wrote it. It’s a song Rhoda has a personal connection to which she explains on the sleeve notes.  Louis jazz piano stylings familiar from his solo records is wonderfully present throughout.

In conclusion this is some of the best songs I have heard Rhoda record. There is much heart within it all, and a tight sounding band formed. Known for Ska but also records a little more left-field and experimental in the past, a couple of these tracks play to being popular in that sort of genre, but the rest reveal an interest in collaboration with current musicians she is working with and forming a way forward moving into songs, be they blues, jazz or soul tinted, that are the now sound for Rhoda.

It’s been worth funding this campaign to see a progression and expansion of a team that formed to play live a greatest hits crowd pleasing set of Bodysnatchers hits in a fitting enough interpretation. From that though now emerges a true team with a deserved path.  A volume 2 or even an album then would be a great next step and would certainly get the backing of us at the MIS. I hope it would get your vote too. Let us know what you think, of this EP and the band at The House of Fun.

Jonathan Young




This year at The House of Fun weekender The MIS will be celebrating The New Madness album in style.

That’s a slightly drunken style maybe. Well, perhaps not that drunk ‘cus it’s early, more likely slightly hung over style, but with a drink in hand certainly, and the new Madness box set in the other.

Why? Because… The 36 card game, designed by DJ wheelie bag, and based on the lyrics of Madness’ new album, taken from the new deluxe box set, The greatest show on earth, will be performed by three competing fan teams. The game from the box set. (you’ve maybe seen or played it already) promises…

Performance / Mystery and Magic.

We promise you that at 12 o’clock Midday in the big arena (next to the reggae aerobics.) we will gather a small crowd, in a street “Pam the Hawk” style side show of barely passable entertainment for no money. Our interpretation of the cards will see some very dodgy magic, some clueless mystery take place and some stunt performance you wouldn’t pay to see. Sleep in and miss us if you must.

But at midday we will be there braving it out as only Madness fans can.

Mr Scurf, resplendent in top hat and cape album look will be your host, and I will be the card dealer.  Tricks, tongue twisters, bizarre feats, your fortune told. Alright, 20 or so of the cards might be a bit rubbish, but I reckon the Mr. Apples duel will be something that could catch on! and surely you don’t want to miss our grand finale; a mini Lee Thompson type (Simon Griffiths’) will jump over St Paul Cathedral at noon!!!!   I believe!!!!!!!

It’s going to be a lyrical. It’s going to be a mad game. It’s going to be (hopefully) a laugh. Join us to watch.

There might just be a couple of prizes in the pot, a pint and a little audience participation involved in celebration of Can’t Touch us Now.

Jonathan young




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 653 – Sunday 13th November – Saturday 19th November 2011

With under two weeks to remaining until the Madness Weekender in Minehead got underway you could see from the chat on Facebook that those going were getting very excited indeed.

Whether you were going or not we urged you to get the Twitter app set up on your mobile phones or desktops. Why? Well, over the course of the Weekender Butlins would be using the Twitter hashtag #houseoffun to pass on messages and announcements. You could also use it to keep other fans updated on how your weekend was going, where you were and what you were up to.

Sure, it was of little practical use, but if enough people used it we thought it would generate some amusing banter, and for those unable to attend, it would be a great way to keep up to date with what was going on.

The articles got underway with a post directly from the Official Madness Blog. Madness were due to unveil their brand new untitled album exclusively at the House of Fun Weekender. During one of the two nights the band would, we were promised, play the new album in full!

It was over to Retro Madness next, as they announced the launch of their T-shirt page which currently had over 230 official shirts for sale spanning the last 30 years! Nearly all were priced at well below their original retail price and postage and packing was free if you were in the UK. Very nice.

Moving on, and it was over to Suggs who spoke to the Welwyn Hatfield Times ahead of the Galleria Christmas lights switch-on.

Said Suggs; “I like Christmas.

I always think it’s a great celebration and I always like turning on Christmas lights. I did Regent Street a couple of years ago and where I live in Highbury this year.

It’s a time of joy – it’s just a nice time of year.”

Elsewhere, and while it had been a long time coming the final line-up for the House of Fun Weekender had finally been released. To make it easier for you to email others, print or save to your phone we’d typed up the list from the image over the poster. We’re nice like that.

It was over to the Ska Orchestra and Suggs for the next article, as we reported on the day that Suggs temporarily joined the band to switch on Hatfield Galleria’s Christmas lights. With our roving reporter, Jonathan Young there on location he was able to give us a detailed lowdown of what went on.

 “Suggs has appeared at this event in order to switch on the Galleria’s Christmas lights. A shopping centre the band were earlier happy to mock for its name sounding like an attack of the runs. Quite fitting given the crap spaghetti dangling strands of unimaginative one colour white bulbs that are the excuse for this event. 

He did the job as instructed pulling on the lever and nearly breaking the makeshift holly hop drive-like cardboard construction we were supposed to believe had any influence over the electrical turning of the so called festive illuminations.

 But beyond the naffness, the sound in the open plan centre, was really really good. The calm politeness of the crowd made for relaxed joy, the cardboard Heart FM reindeer antlers were actually good fun, especially with so many kids around.”

We continued with Suggs for the next article as the great man spoke to the Virtual Festivals web site about his festival life.

“Three or four years ago I lost one of my shoes at Glastonbury and didn’t notice for three days. I actually got trench foot. I remember just standing up to my waist in mud in nice shoes. I was really unprepared and didn’t bring any wellies. People were actually kayaking down the rivers of mud. It wasn’t the festival’s fault, it was just one of those things. The elements are so against everything.”

We brought this issue to a close with the news that The Magic Brothers had been in the recording studio with the brass section of Madness, and had now completed five songs. We suggested you popped along to their Facebook group page for more info.

10 years ago…

Issue 393 – Sunday 12th November to Saturday 18th November 2006

For Madness fans across the globe it’d been a weekend of mixed emotions as on Friday the much anticipated ‘Sorry’ finally saw the light of day over on the official Madness MySpace page.

Why mixed? Well, this really did seem to be a real Marmite track for people. You either loved it or hated it, as you’d see last in the issue, where we’d put together a collection of just some of your thoughts and opinions.

The main complaint seemed to be the numerous rapping segments throughout the track. Many people, in their excitement to listen and comment on the new release ‘may’ have missed the comment on the site from the Madspace maintainer stating that the version of ‘Sorry’ currently streaming from the site was a remix, and not the original version. The message on the site read;

“This version, along with the original, will initially only be available on a special limited edition 7inch at the forthcoming December shows”

Here at MIS Online, we wanted to hear what the ‘proper’ version of the track sounded like.

Usually we wouldn’t recommend you picking up a copy of The Mail, with their daily ‘End of Middle England’ reports, but for the next two weekends we had a feeling you may have wanted to.

Over the next two weekends, The Mail on Sunday were giving away a free Madness Live Double Album. There was also a Suggs and Carl interview which appeared in the Live Magazine (free inside the paper) which we promised to type up for the following weekend’s issue.

The advert for the 2 CD Madness set that started this coming Sunday showed the cover to be the current Xmas tour poster with nice red/pink Madness lettering on with the M wearing the crown logo, and the whole thing spoiled by a daily mail logo on it! Still, a nice collectors’ item, which we assumed would probably come in a cardboard double sleeve.

Articles in this week’s issue were an answer to a reader’s question regarding the band’s biography by Adrian Thrills which was announced in 2000 but was never actually published. Here was the explanation taken from Mojo magazine.

We also featured a short snippet from The Radio Times, entitled The Face Behind the Voice, which featured Suggs, a selection of messages and answers from the official Madness messageboard, and to finish off we had an article featuring Jon Young and Madness fan Andres, and how Madness had never played in Argentina during his lifetime.

15 years ago…

Issue 131 – Sunday 11th November to Saturday 17th November 2001

Things seemed to be a bit on the quiet side this week. Normally at this time of the year we’d all be talking about the forthcoming Christmas tour, but by now we all knew that there wouldn’t be one this year. We were sure it wasn’t just us who thought that it wasn’t really Christmas without a seasonal visit to watch the lads play.

Baggy Trousers featured as track three on a new compilation album now in the shops and TV advertised as “School Disco.com“. This bizarre themed album was billed at recreating the school disco atmos for the 30 something generation and featured a strange mix of 80’s  and 90’s cheese anthems plus Madness and the theme from grange hill because of the school link!

The articles for this week included ‘An Instant Madness Collection’, where we’d spotted an Ebay auction containing a whopping 51 Madness singles, spanning three decades. The starting price was a very reasonable £75.00.

We contacted the seller, who told us;

“I don’t really want to sell all my singles. And as you can see some are quite rare – especially the flexi discs!

I’ve been a fan since day one and I love em to bits but I need the money”.

Next, we passed things over to Steve Bringe, who gave us further details on a forthcoming Madness and No Doubt collaboration that was in the pipeline. The track worked on by the two bands was called ‘Everything in Time’, but failed to make UK and US versions of No Doubt’s album as it was considered to be too mellow. All was not lost, as it looked as if the forthcoming Japanese release would feature this as a bonus track.

It was over to Jermaine next, as he explained in detail just why he’d started his Tour Madness project and how far he’d got with it.

Keeping on a Tour Madness theme for our final article, we went back to the 1985 Christmas tour, and re-printed the articles for these dates that Jermaine had included in the latest version of Tour Madness.

Rob Hazelby




Donald Trull of the Lardbiscuit.com give his review of the album as a whole and what it means to him.

This time the boys have given us something very special, a piece of work that is staggeringly good, brimming with confident swagger. Much of Can’t Touch Us Now at first sounds strange and “not like Madness,” but upon careful listening you realize they’ve actually managed to capture recognizable bits of the band’s personality and essence that never got put on record before. Which is a feat for a band whose history spans five decades, eh?

Now, in full disclosure, I admit to bias toward this album since I attended the House of Fun 2015, where I fulfilled my dream of witnessing new Madness album material played live for the first time. The finished product naturally brings back those cherished Weekender memories of nearly one year ago. In particular, Good Times and Don’t Leave the Past Behind bring me right back to the communal fan frenzy of Butlins. I can practically smell the sweat and the ozone against the red Pavilion lights and that flickering Dublin Castle video backdrop. Those of you who know what we shared in Minehead will find those moments preserved in amber here.

And yet, there is at the same time a pervasive weirdness somehow coexisting alongside those personally familiar strands. The three most offbeat tracks are also the three I consider the best: the symphonic and strutting title track, the transcendent Soul Denying, and the sublime pop perfection that is (Don’t Let Them) Catch You Crying — the last not being part of the Butlins preview, adding to its captivating oddity. All strange, all sporting weird noises and production tricks, all relentlessly creative, all pure Madness. (Also all Lee Thompson compositions, it so happens, no disrespect to the other fine songwriters.)

While grooving to Soul Denying just today, I had the thought, “This sounds like Madness from the future.” And that’s precisely, literally, what this album is. A Madness from the future once thought impossible during the dark late ’80s breakup years. Hell, you couldn’t even have foreseen this after Norton Folgate, deemed a swan song of sorts. Here we find ourselves, against all probability, lucky enough to receive this challenging, vital and delightful gift in 2016… with the promise of yet more unpredictable Madness in our future to come. As the saga unfolds, let me hear something that’s going to last, before these birds have flown.

Donald Trull

If you would like to express your thoughts on the album to us please send an email to  Jonsmad@hotmail.com. The most articulate or interesting ones will be included in future editions of the MIS up to the new year.




That’s almost it for this issue. We’ve a quick heads-up to let you know that on Monday Suggs and Jools will be on BBC Radio 2 from 11:00pm. More info can be found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b081n70h

Also, tomorrow (Sunday) at 5:00pm, Lee will be talking about his vintage on Vintage TV. Check out the trailer here: http://www.madness.co.uk/2016/11/09/lee-thompson-vintage-tv/

Now, if you would like to join us for some fun at Mr. B, The Gentleman Rhymers set at The House of Fun we’d love to see you.

The MIS are going fully moustached up!

You’ll see us supporting fake chap hop stiff hairy upper lips. You can join in too by getting yourself a furry caterpillar look on your own top lip. Ladies are also welcome to get in on the fuzzy-lipped antics, too. If you’d rather not just dress nice for him. He likes a nicely turned ankle you know! What ho. Mr B and his banjoist blazer stylings will be taking us through classic hip hop in a way more akin to george formby. It’s a showtime like hijink with a wink, a genre mash up he invented that’s straight outta surrey.


We were also told a while back by a Madness manager.

“We have Hip Hop Karaoke that starts at inn on the green at 3pm. I’m looking forward to that, reckon a couple of the band might just get involved in that one.”

So keep an eye out for that on the Saturday. Just before that at 6:00pm, The Inflatables return in a new spot at the same venue.

Don’t forget, Sunday is the live performance of  Bite The Bullet album by The Ska Orchestra. What a packed weekend it will be, and we haven’t even mentioned the Saturday Night Marvellous Lightning Seeds, which will be special. Lucky us.

See you all there funsters, and enjoy all of The weekender!

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

(With thanks to Donald Trull, Tad, Louis Vause
Del Anning, Glyn and Rob)

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