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Madpost Lookback of 1998

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[1] – A FEW WORDS…

Hello and welcome to the `Madness Mailing List – Lookback of 1998`.

This little publication was meant to reach the list during the Christmas period but due to work and other off-list activities it missed the timeslot as you can see.

Long-time subscribers will be used to the `Lookback`, but for those of you who are fairly new to the list it’s just a chance to chart the high’s and the low’s of the last 12 months, to see what went on, what was planned, and what never materialised.

Remember the problems we had with the MML T-shirts, the trouble ED went to in arranging the hotel bookings for the New Pembury Hotel over the Madstock weekend, the chat Yvette Reader had with Richard Branson? Well, all that is documented below plus much more.

Grab yourself a drink and some biscuits and lets take it away…


January 1998:

After much talk on and off the mailing list regarding some MML T-shirts, a few ideas are finally knocked up and put up on the mailing list site for people to look at. Little did everyone know that it would be a good six months later before the MML shirts became reality and that these designs would unfortunately not be used.

Due to a number of requests off-list I am asked to re-account my little `incident` I had with EMI music publishing a few months earlier regarding some problems they had with a number of items contained on the MML home page. Once they got involved I reluctantly had to remove the offending pieces.

Yvette Reader announces the release of the awful `Driving in my Car` which is sung by `Driving School’s` Maureen Rees. It was absolutely terrible, but Yvette bought a copy just so she could smash it to bits!!
I think the `motorway mix` was the final straw!

With some help from Dominic Kearney who passed the contact address for `One Step Behind` on to me I write off to their management in the hope that they’ll be able to give me a comprehensive gig listing for the whole of 1998.


February 1998:

The February issue of the Madpost was so large that I had to send it to the list in two chunks for fear that the server would reject it due to its over 50K size!

Simon Roberts thinks that he’s managed to track down the almighty Mike Barson on the internet, but doesn’t dare send him an e-mail for fear of Mike shattering the almost god like stature that Simon has built up of Mike over the years.

Rumours aside, and Bedders politely informs us that the official Madness website (www.madness.co.uk) is to undergo a re-jig within the next month or so. In the end, the update was delayed slightly, but judging from the response of the list it was well worth it as we had a whole new batch of questions answered in the almighty `Chris’ Cupboard`.

Adrian Burns is appointed chief MML t-shirt designer with his excellent `Mad Inside` logo. The design was deemed so good that Bedders asked if he could get the shirts professionally printed and sold via the website. Obviously this was an excellent idea and the prototype shirt is sent off.

`Head on`, management of Madness cover band – `One Step Behind` get in touch with us and send a comprehensive listing of gig dates, tour photo’s and an in-depth biography.

Luke Roberts finds a website that seems to stock a superb selection of Madness merchandise, whilst Dave and Paul Andrews get the `Virtual Nutty Train` idea underway.

Finally, Peter Gardner eventually gets down to Camden Town but only for a two hour stint. And would you believe it that in those two hours he manages to bump into our Mr Foreman no less?!




March 1998:

As the recent Madmeet had just been held in Camden Town, the March issue of the Madpost had a strong `Meet` slant to its content with `Post Meet Statistics` from Yvette Reader and Simon Roberts and a round-up of events from Ed Stebbing-Allen. Oh, and who could forget Peter Gardner’s excuse for missing the Madmeet? Planes indeed!!!

Elsewhere, Paul Andrews came up with a bizzare and downright wacky plan in which the longest nutty train could finally be created and would include MML subscribers from all over the world. The basic idea was that people would get their photos taken in a `nutty train` position, and then these would be scanned in. Once that was done, it would be down to someone with a certain degree of computer graphics skill to `graft` all these people together into one almighty great nutty train.

As far as I know this plan never reached fruition, but it would be nice if perhaps we could give this another go. Any takers?

After hearing all the hype from people who had managed to get along to a `One Step Behind` gig, Luke Roberts found out they were playing in his locality. Luke went along and managed to stay sober enough to annoy the band and give us an excellent review of the evening’s proceedings.




April 1998:

The Stateside gigs were announced, and a selection of rumoured and official tour dates were thrown around the list and were likely to change on a daily basis. Thankfully this didn’t stop a large chunk of the US MML subscribers actually managing to get hold of the correct dates and making it to a gig or two.

In a moment of boredom I decided to compile some completely stupid April Fools joke involving the Spice Girls and Madness both playing at Madstock IV. I thought the story was too stupid for people to believe, but unfortunately I got loads of e-mails from people asking me if this was true. This was the first and last time I’m posting anything stupid on to the list!

Suggsylia kindly typed up snippets from Chris Foreman’s 1982 diary, and we were able to keep up to date with what the band were doing all those years ago. Little did we know that these diary snippets would vanish for a month or two and then we’d be drowned by about 3 or 4 months in one Madpost. Still, it was good of Suggsylia to put in the effort and type them up!

Madstock IV is announced, and almost all the unofficial Madness web sites set up their own Madstock IV info sections on their site. Now you have NO excuse for not knowing it was on!

Stateside Maddie, Elizabeth Walker kindly makes a bootleg video available for all US based Maddies. The tape lasted almost 3 hours and was jam packed with loads of gems from years gone by. Little did Elizabeth realise how popular this video offer would be and just how much work it would involve in getting these tapes sent out!

The `Absolute Madlinks` are set up and supported by 3 Madness websites. Basically the idea of this was one universal links page that all the Madness sites would connect to. Whilst this was an excellent idea in theory, I think most people who owned a Madness website preferred to have their own links page.

Going back to `Madstock IV`, and Ed Stebbing-Allen kindly sets up a mass booking at The New Pembury Hotel on Seven Sisters Road. 10 out of 10 for his effort and willingness to put up all that money. At the time of typing (December 1998), I think Ed is STILL waiting for some of you to pay up! If you owe Ed some money, dig deep into your pockets and settle up!

The `Mailing List Who’s Who` makes it’s first appearance on Simon Roberts‘ site entitled `Mailing List Mug Shots`. The selection of Maddies who are captured on film is quite extensive, but pales into insignificance if you look at the huge selection now available on the MML website. Thanks to everyone who has supported this. If your photo isn’t on there we want it!



May 1998:

The build up to Madstock IV reaches fever pitch on and off the mailing list. Most people who are going seem to be making an entire weekend of it and are staying 2-3 days in the Finsbury/Camden area.

Yvette Reader bumps into Virgin Boss – Richard Branson and asks him `When is the next Madness album coming out`. Richard tells her that it’s been a long time since Madness did anything and that he will have to `hurry them on a bit`.

Paul Girling plans to make the definitive listing of all `unofficial` Madness material that’s available out there in the form of an online catalogue. I’m assuming that Paul is still compiling this, so if you have items to list, please get in touch with him at paul@ccl-kc.demon.co.uk and see how you can help.

Ashley Moore gets some inside info from his mate at Virgin Records who tells us that Madness are putting the finishing touches to new material and are just awaiting Suggs to add the finishing touches. On a sadder note, it is rumoured that Mark Bedford will not be taking part. Still, as we now know this is not to be and Mark will be joining the other 6 members of the band.

One list subscriber and site maintainer (who won’t let me mention his name) puts the finishing touches together to an excellent Madness screensaver which lists all the albums, shows the covers and gives us little snippets of lyrics and release dates for each. The file is fairly small and quick to download. As far as I know this is no longer available for download, but I do have a copy sitting around on my hard drive. I’ll see if I can get this back on the net for you to download shortly.

Rumours were that Madness were to re-form to perform `Mad Dogs and Englishmen` to feature on a forthcoming Noel Coward tribute album. Further investigation reveals this to be either misinformation or a hoax. Still, it would have certainly been interesting to hear!

One Step Behind pay a visit to Bolton, and fellow list maintainer – Simon Roberts goes along for the evening’s proceedings. Simon re-enforces the fact that `OSB are bloody brilliant!`

The Mailing List’s Favourite Album Poll makes an appearance after a 6 month or so gap. The top three rated albums are as follows: 1- Absolutely, 2- One Step Beyond, 3- Keep Moving/Rise and Fall (equal votes). Whilst Mad Not Mad and The Madness get a mere 1 vote each.

Due to the number of subscribers who are after Mailing List MSIV T-shirts Adrian Burns and myself have to close the offer to all but list subscribers who are actually making it along to the weekend. We originally thought we were going to struggle to sell a dozen of these t-shirts, but if we had known how high the demand would be I’m sure we could have offloaded 50 of the things!




June 1998:

Sunday 7th June saw a small chunk of the mailing list hardcore Maddies take the bi-annual pilgrimage to London’s Finsbury Park for the almighty Madstock IV. It took the majority of people who went so long to recover, that reviews of the weekend started to appear in the following month’s Madpost (see July). Many thanks to all who came from far and wide to make it the most amusing and fun Madmeet ever.

A small request is made by Ed regarding due payments for the numerous New Pembury Hotel bookings he kindly paid for out of his own pockets. 6 odd months down the line and I think Ed is still waiting for some people to cough up. Come on, pull your fingers out!

For all the Madness die-hard collectors out there a must have item was released only a few days before the concert in the form of `The Heavy, Heavy Hits of Madness`. Basically this was a re-packaged version of `Divine Madness` with new cover art and the addition of `Sweetest Girl`. Naturally, there was outcry on the list with many people describing it as a con and a rip-off.

Moving onto regular list activities now, and Violeta Balhas sets up the now famous – `Name That Lyric` which is still running today thanks to the efforts of Luke Roberts and Andrea Nans who have kindly taken over the work when Violeta was unable to carry on.

The `Mailing List 98 Meet` T-shirts were by now all reserved, and it just left Adrian and myself to check through people who had asked for one to make sure they were still interested. On a slightly amusing note, Adrian was so worried that the images on the completed items would run that he kindly printed up a `care for your shirt` document for every T-shirt owner. These instructions never actually got handed out to any of the t-shirt buying public, but they did make it as far as Adrian’s hold-all bag before being forgotten about in the drunken frenzy.

And to finish off, the final details for the Madstock meet were posted up to the list. If you weren’t prepared by now you were stuck!




July 1998:

Well, who would have expected it? With rumour upon rumour that we’d get another stand-in taking the place of bassist, Mark Bedford, it came as a tremendous shock to all when he actually appeared on stage with the rest of the band. Apparently Mark was so impressed with the way everything went during the US tour that he decided to re-join the band – nice one!

Other exciting stuff from the Madstock weekend was that Lee and Chris popped in to the Dublin Castle on the Saturday before the concert to chat, drink and generally lark around with the punters who were there. Many stars were born that afternoon, but I wouldn’t advise any of the MML subscribers who were there to give up their day jobs quite yet. Still, `The Screamer`, Louanne Lockwood certainly impressed Lee and Chris!

Finally, Nut Inc issue 12 makes it out onto the streets. Sporting a lovely `Madness 7` style cover, and featuring what one can only call `superb` lowdown on anything and everything `Take it or Leave it` related, this surely had to be the best issue of the `zine yet released.

Also this month, Alex Ingram starts up his Madness guide for the Amiga, but abandons this task only weeks later when his Miggy waves the white flag and goes belly up.
Perhaps we’ll see a PC version of this next year?

Hot news is that Warner announce that NEW SUGGS MATERIAL is on it’s way in the form of the Avengers title music – `I am`. Peter Gardner and James Perry supply the news whilst the rest of the list go wild.

The list server creaks under the strain as Simon posts what has to be his largest `Post Meet Statistics` yet. Anyone and everyone was under the magnifying glass in some way, shape or form. If you were there it’s quite likely that Simon will have embarrassed you!




August 1998:

With the number of new subscribers to the list going through the roof, the running of the mailing list is starting to get too much for one person to manage, and small cracks are starting to appear. I approach long time list subscriber – Simon Roberts and ask if he’d like to help me out. Thankfully, Simon accepts the offer and becomes the Madness Mailing List Co-Maintainer.

Thanks to the efforts of Alan Redpath, a site for the Madness memorabelia specialist – `PLR Madmail` appears on the internet offering not just the usual 7 and 12 inch Madness releases, but a whole host of rare and collectable Madness oddities for you to buy.

The new Suggs single, `I am` is announced, and the Statesiders on the list reliably inform us Euro Maddies that it is going to be the title track for the new `Avengers` film. Little did we all know that the film (and the single too) would pretty much vanish from the face of the Earth upon release.




September 1998:

Whilst the mailing list quietly celebrates it’s third birthday, Mark Bedford tells us that his Italian lookalike – Mr Guido Baldi is starting to get recognised in the street with people passing him and asking `Are you that guy`. I ask Elizabeth Walker to provide us with more information but she is sworn to secrecy.

Two Madness singles were released this month. No need to get excited though as they’re DJ versions of `One Step Beyond` and `The Prince` which Chris Carter-Pegg (who managed to get hold of them) tells us are in the same mould as the terrible `Night Boat to Cairo` remixes released a few years earlier.

Madstock 4 finally hits the airwaves, albeit in a slightly edited fashion on BBC Radio 2. The show was introduced by the ever-so-nice `Johnny Walker` who described the festival as `a fantastic day out` – apparently it’s the way he says it!

One list subscriber gets a whiff of a Christmas tour. I politely ask Mark and he mails me back telling me that a few venues have been provisionally booked by the band but nothing is set in stone.

Moving off the MML and onto the subscriber sites, and Luke Roberts kindly reveals the stats for the `Keep Moving` questionnaire which has been up on his site for a number of months. Some of the results are to be expected, but some of them are just darn strange!!

And finally, with the new Suggs single – `I am` bubbling under at the bottom of the top 40, and a new solo album on the way, Suggs is being interviewed left, right and centre. Years ago it was papers like the Mirror and the Sun, now the Daily Mail and the Telegraph want a slice of the gossip. Better late than never I suppose!




October 1998:

The month started out with the Madpost being released about halfway through the first week.
Major factors for the delay were my going on holiday for two weeks and Simon ironing out major problems with the re-vamp of the MML website for which Simon was receiving complaints that the navigation tree didn’t work or took too long to load.

Last month the Mailing list celebrated its 3rd birthday, so to commemorate this we did an in-depth history of the list from its early days right up to the present day. We covered the birth of `Song of the Week`, followed the inception and introduction of `Name That Lyric`, charted the course of the `MML Madquiz`, and went back to when the Official Madness website was but just a glint in Mark Bedford‘s eye. It’s amazing just how quickly the list has grown over this short space of time. But what’s more amazing is just how much of a presence the whole Madness phenomenon now has on the internet.

The Suggs newspaper and magazine coverage continues in the wake of his new album, `The Three Pyramids Club`. Suggs tells all to The Telegraph, with rumours of a new Madness album on the horizon, whilst Q magazine grill him with some amusing bit personal questions. Later that month Suggs is interviewed in the entertainment magazine – `Time Out`, where he recommends a nice selection of restaurants that he frequents on a regular and not so regular basis, and The Daily Mail give a thumbs up to `The Three Pyramids Club`.

List subscriber Alex Ingram lets us all in on the secret of re-vamping your Madness recordings with a copy of `Win Amp` and its pitch control. If you want to hear the Chipmunks sing Madness then give this a try!! Chris Carter-Pegg on the other hand had managed to get hold of a `Three Pyramids Club` CD sampler and gives us a quick review of `Dazed and Confused` which lost some of its record scratching and become `So Tired`.

Meanwhile, the US Maddies who made it along to the Stateside Madmeet in New York City recover from their ordeal, but Morris Minor manages to get the strength together to give us a run down of the day’s proceedings.




November 1998:

Finally the MML website was up and running – after the weeks of hard work, visiting nutties could finally connect without having some strange error messages appear!!

Jo Reeves was congratulated on the planning and general groundwork regarding the weekly ICQ Madmeets which saw a large number of ICQ capable Maddies brave the lag and internet problems for an internet meet-up.

On the list things had calmed down since the release of `The Three Pyramids Club`, but postings were on the increase as more and more people joined the mailing list. Mark Bedford shocked all by telling us that he had signed the `Madness Official Secrets Act`. He said that he could tell me what was planned for 1999, but he’d have to kill me afterwards. All he could say was, `Keep an eye out for things from January`.

Gisli Jonsson kindly released the results of the `Three Pyramids Favourite Song` that she had been compiling. Very interesting results indeed. The winner by a clear lead was `So Tired`, followed by `Invisible Man` and `Straight Banana`.

Chris Byrne kindly tells us all how we can get tickets for Suggs’ Channel 5 show – Night Fever. The next month is turns out that a large number of us are mad enough to get tickets and go along with a number of list subscribers taking part in a selection of shows including the Christmas Day and New Years eve editions.

On the web, Adrian Burns got round to giving us a major update of his excellent website – Madstock Online (www.madstock.demon.co.uk) with part 4 of his `Take it or Leave it` Real Video Installment. This was obviously essential (if a little grainy) viewing for anyone unlucky enough not to own the film.

To finish off the month, Simon Roberts gave us all the lowdown of a Madness cover album he’d been unlucky enough to buy. I think the best song got a 3 out of 10 rating!! Avoid!




December 1998:

We finsh the year with a mailing list that is so busy it’s almost bursting at the scenes. To start off with, we had an announcement from Mark Bedford who told us that `There is a slim possibility of a Christmas 1999 tour`. Whilst we had Mark’s undivided attention we also asked for his assistance in putting the Michael Caine argument to bed which had been flying around on the list. Mark was only too happy to help.

On the MML website things were starting to look up. We had been struggling to upload new material since Simon’s work closed their account with Wavenet (and lost us all but 15 megs of webspace), and many sections of the site had to remain offline until more room could be found. In the end, Simon and myself bought infinite web space and the website is now up and (hopefully) running without any problems. We were able to put back up what had to be removed, and at the same time other sections of the site either grew in size.

Back on the list, and Simon released the MML stats for the previous month which showed that the number of postings to the list had double to over the 600 mark for that month – an all time record!! This month however, things had started to tail off slightly due to the fact that the students were unsubscribing, and everyone was off enjoying Christmas.

Suggs meanwhile appeared in the London Evening Standard where he talked fondly about Camden’s Dublin Castle, but said that he didn’t go there anymore as his face was plastered all over the walls with posters and visiting Madness fans always mob him.

For those of us not lucky enough to live down-under in Oz, Jenny Neish transcribed an absolute monster of an interview that Suggs gave whilst he was visiting. It was obviously not as good as seeing the show on TV or being in the audience (like some of you were), but it was certainly the next best thing.

Adrian Burns managed to update Madstock Online again, and uploaded part 5 of his `Take it or Leave it` series. Whilst back on the list Mark Bedford was telling us all about `Nutty Sounds` and what became of this record label.






That was 1998, Roll on 1999:

Well, that was 1998, and what a year it was – meets both in the UK and the States, and Suggs travelling all over the place and giving interviews to promote his new album.

This year promises to be more exciting than ever with concerts rumoured to be held both UK and Stateside, and a major album and video release to coincide with the `20 Years of Madness` celebrations that are supposed to be appearing.

I know I keep saying this, but the all-new official website should be up and running by the end of this week, and you’ll be able to see for yourselves, what the band have been up to since the last site update and what they have planned for the coming twelve months and beyond. I say beyond, as there are already people on the list who are expecting `25 years of Madness` in 2004. We can but hope.

In the meantime, sit back, relax and enjoy Madness!!!

All the nutty best,

Robert Hazelby, Suggsylia, Simon Roberts (Madness Mailing List Maintainers)

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