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Madpost October 1997

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It’s The October 1997



Hello everyone, and welcome to the October issue of the Monthly Madpost!

Well, it’s been yet another busy month on the list. Although we’ve not heard anything from Mark or Chris via the web pages I did receive a little snippet from Mark telling me that Cathal is almost ready to make his pages available for viewing on the net shortly.

There have been a number of major topics on the list over the past month, but the major ones seem to be “What is SKA” and “How would you describe Madness’ music”. The SKA topic certainly generated enough traffic on the list but I still don’t think the list settled on one general opinion. However, after much descussion and debate, the “How would you describe Madness’ Music” seemed to have been laid to rest with the decision that it could only be described as that “Nutty Sound” or just “Madmusic”.

Onto other things now, and you may have read in my mails that I’ve had a number of requests to hold a Christmas Madmeet in Camden Town sometime in November. I don’t mind organising this but I’d appreciate ideas from anyone who is interested in going as it would be nice if we could make this meet different from the previous two. I’m happy to spend most of the day in a pub or three but I know a few others who aren’t.

Finally, before I let you go and read the latest issue of the Madpost, a quick apology. No one seems to have noticed this, or if they have they haven’t let me know, but in the last issue I included a write-up of the August list meet. In my anticipation to get the article out I got a couple of names muddled up. I said that Dominic was the last person to turn up and that we were all waiting for him. Dominic didn’t actually go to the August meet, it was Ed we were all waiting for. Sorry about that!

Anyway, enough of me, enough of me…


What is the Madquiz, how to enter, Madbrain of the month.

Luke Roberts was so impressed with the Jukebox in the Dublin Castle that he’s set his own up on the internet!!

Take one foreign Maddie, give her a week in London and an amazing amount of luck and see what she gets Up to.

Madness gossip from Chris Byrne.

Suggsylia has kindly typed-out a huge magazine article from March 1988.

Chris Byrne tells us the story of his Suggs scrawled boots!

Yes, there is actually some progress!!!


(1) It’s the Madquiz

Alan Redpath’s “Madquiz” still seems to be very popular with you Maddies. If you’re newish to the list – the Madquiz is a number of questions that Alan sends to the list (usually) on a weekly basis. You then send your answers to Alan and he’ll compile the results in an attempt to see who is the ‘Madbrain of the Month”. The results for September are as follows…


The Madbrain of the month award goes to………. Mark Bryant with a score of 31/32 !
pretty good going !

Four Runners up were….

Kevin Tizzard 24/32 ( would have been 31 but couldnt get his answers in for Quiz 3 !! )
Paul Russell 15/32 ( with three entries out of four )
DJ Kearney 14/32 ( also with three entries out of four )
Luke Roberts 12/32 ( with two out of four quizzes )

You can find the Mad Quiz on the Mailing list homepage :

or you can e-mail Alan at:

or look at the quiz on his site at:

(2) Will You Turn That Tape Recorder Off?

Hi everybody,

I was kind of impressed by the jukebox in the Dublin Castle. So I built my own jukebox on the internet. Feel free to drop by and select a song.

http://www.velsen.net/luke/madness.htmlCheers, LukeM

(3) Sailing Across The Sea

Like many of you Maddies out there I’m sure you were all gobsmacked to hear of Nina’s little venture in Camden Town towards the end of last month.

This arrived just a little too late to make it into the September issue of the Madpost but I thought it was still worthy of a re-print so that’s why we’re here at this very place.

I’ll leave Nina to tell her story…


Hi maddies,

I’ve come back from London today and I must say what a wonderful holiday I spent in there. Bought my reccomended portion of Madness 7″ and 12″ as well as the Divine Madness songbook.

A good place to find them cheap is down Camden Town or Portobello. I finally found the Work, rest and play EP! As I stayed in Camden Road I got to know very well the guys from Menswear who were my neighbours. Nice guys. The essential place to be every evening was The Good Mixer and the Dublin Castle.

I passed Holts Shoe Shop every day in my way to the underground, but Rock On! has closed (you can’t see even the placard with its name).

Now, the most delightful and enjoyable of my particular trip to London was to meet Chas Smash down the Good Mixer! And he was so incredibily nice and kind. He just looked into the pub while I was there and then went away. As I saw him I did recognize him at the same second. I just went back after him outside the pub with my friend but we hadn’t got no cameras or some decent piece of paper so she did come back to pick the camera up. Chas was with two more friends.

He then met with a woman -that I thought was his wife, but not- and went away again with his friends. We chased him to the Camden Town underground but still he hadn’t seen us. Finally I shouted at him. He turned back and came to me. He said was pleased to take some photos with us and sang me a Spanish song that told me was to be his next release. I asked him if it was a Madness song but he just said it was his solo career!?!

I think he wants to launch a record or something. I asked him about future Madness reunions, but he was enigmatic. Didn’t say too much. He said maybe Madstock IV would come about. Then he asked me for my address. Still don’t know what for though.

He was absolutely kind and friendly and sweet, was enjoying to meet some fans. He told me didn’t understand how I got to recognize him as he was so different now with three kids and a good beer belly! Absolutely madness it was. Maybe I can scan the photos for all of you.

My friend always says I’m lucky -one week in London and I meet nobody else than my favourite member, Chas. Yeah, definitely I’m lucky.

Cheers, Nina

(4) Paper’s Sir! Papers!

Just because Chris Byrne isn’t on the mailing list at the moment (he’s graduated and has no home internet account) doesn’t mean he can’t contribute to the Monthly Madpost…

I saw this in a recent edition of music paper – “Melody Maker”.

Carter USM have split. Fruitbat from the band said “We do not want to end up like Madness, coming together to play greatest hits and playing a ‘crowd-pleasing’ set list”.

Hmmm, in my book Carter couldn’t even play a greatest HIT set!

Suggs was also on a TV advert for Capital Radio recently, wearing a red jump suit and jabbering away! I also heard a Radio 1 jingle for DJ Chris Moyles the other day based around “It Must be Love”. He changed the chorus to “It’s Mark and Lard, Lard, Lard” in reference to the morning show DJ’s.

That’s all for now,Chris.

(5) The Madness – The Return of the Los Palmas Four

As usual resident nutty – Suggsylia has been busy tapping away at her computer keyboard to bring yet another blast from the past. Suggsylia’s latest type-in has been taken from the ‘Record Mirror’ dated March 12th 1988…


It looks set to snow outside. Carl Smyth – Chas Smash as was – walks in crowned by a massive grey Homberg hat, and makes himself comfortable. He has his Walkman headphones around his neck. He’s listening to a successful early Seventies recording star, he announces. Opening his Walkman, you can see he isn’t lying. “Wagner’s Greatest Hits” lies snugly in the machine. A sign of maturity in one of Britain’s best loved pop stars?

Meanwhile Suggs has strolled in munching a bar of chocolate. His appearance has changed quite drastically since the days of Madness; their split in September 1986 was voted the third worst event of that year in the rm readers’ poll.

Gone is the boyish flat-top he’d always adopted. Instead, he’s sporting a rather debonaire new hairstyle that wouldn’t look out of place on the set of “Brideshead Revisited”. With both of them grinning from ear to ear, it is hard to believe that the pop world could have survived for a full 18 months without even a fleeting visit from Britain’s most successful singles band of the Eighties (they notched up 21 top 20 hits between 1979 and 1986).

Fortunately this sad loss is about to be rectified. Having “grown-up” considerably from the Nutty Boy days, and having lost two members in the process (Mark and Woody), THE Madness are once again about to enter the musical boxing ring.

“I Pronounce You”, a not un-Madness-like single of the latter-day period, boasts those familiar ska-based rhythms, features the sweet melody of acoustic guitars and is rounded off with the distinctive punctuated voice of Suggs. With this single just released, and a sample of tracks from their forthcoming LP (their eighth!), all displaying those well-remembered classic songwriting skills, the future is looking rosy.

The Madness is a logical, yet still somewhat ill-defined progress from Madness. The name may have altered slightly; the music reflects a maturity they had all but captured on the last Madness LP, “Mad Not Mad”, but has anything really changed?

Discussions with Carl and Suggs can often prove to be hilarious, and at times rather confusing. Even sorting out the seating arrangements is not a simple affair, with both of them concerned where exactly they should plonk their backsides.

With that finally sorted out, it’s time to get down to business. Why did Madness split up in 1986? Or, as Suggs prefers to call it, have a time of “adjustments”. There is a long silence.

Carl (to Suggs): “You’re still eating sweeties, shall I talk?”

Suggs: “Yes, go on.”

Having a chance of mind, Carl decides it really should be Suggs that talks. Suggs is still eating.

Carl (insisting): “Go on. You’re doing alright, even with that gobstopper in your mouth.”

Suggs (obliging): “It’s hard to say what happened specifically, because it was quite a long time ago, but none of it was planned. It just kind of happened. The decision to split was followed very closely by the decision for the four of us to stay together. That was one thing; the next was wether, having decided we were going to stay together, we were going to carry on as Madness or start with a new name. But, as far as the outside world was concerned we had split up.

Anyway, after months of trying to decide upon a new name, we decided we could stay as Madness. If we had come out under a new name, you could have said we had split up, really; even though the same four people had stayed together.”

Carl and journalist exchange glances. Is Suggs rambling, or what?

Carl: “Shall I encapsulate that for you? We decided to call it a day with the working arrangements because of the atmosphere of the band. It was all to do with body language. You notice that Chris is a bit under the weather; maybe a bit annoyed. Then you notice that Suggs is a bit glum. When Suggs and Chris get a bit depressed about something, then you know that things aren’t good.”

Are they the main people?

Suggs: “Absolutely. You’ve hit the nail right on the head there.”

Carl (continuing unabashed): “There’s different barometers in the band. Certain tasks are given to certain members, and certain members are looked to for certain decisions, and well…That’s basically it. Everyone’s got their little job within the band. Anyway, we know that we were depressed, basically. That’s what I’m trying to say. So we thought we’d better call it a day.”

Do you miss Mark and Woody?

Suggs: “Yes, but I think it’s hard to look back on the past objectively. The past always seems more enjoyable than the present, so you don’t tend to look back on people individually, you just look back on times and we had some f**king great times. But I don’t look back on them with regret. I think you just look back on it as times that will never be the same again.”

Do you still see them?

Suggs: “Yes, but not as much as when we were in the group. Mark is at present writing some film music. It’ll be interesting to see what he does. Mark is a very talented bass player. Woody is doing really well. (He’s currently seated behind the drum kit in Voice Of The Beehive.) I think that it’s good that he’s getting on and doing something, like we did. If you don’t get on and do something you spend too much time thinking about what it should be. I can always remember when we started; half the reason we were successful was because we just kept going, the singles kept coming out and we just kept going and going.”

Carl: “It was a sort of naive energy without asking any questions.”

The Madness have spent many a long hour twiddling their thumbs, and in this time a lot of questions have been answered. Like the financial viability of their record label, Zarjazz, launched through Virgin in 1984.

Against all professional advice and the odds-on inevitability of failure, Madness went ahead and set up their own label.

Carl: “We really felt that we wanted to give free studio time away to people. Unfortunately, we really didn’t have the time to do it properly and look for the right bands.”

Suggs: “We used to listen to tapes every Friday afternoon, but we never heard anything that got us really going. We did have Feargal (Sharkey) and he was doing rather well, (he had a hit with “Listen To Your Father” in 1984) but we just needed a bit of luck as well.”

Carl: “We also needed our artists to stay on the label.”

Feargal subsequently waved goodbye to Zarjazz and left for pastures greener with Virgin. Proving to be more of a finacial liability than successful champion of bright young talent, Zarjazz folded.

Apart from the decision to cease all Zarjazz operations, Madness also had plenty of time to consider their decision to compete once more in the music business.

Suggs: “If I didn’t think there was something great about a band, I wouldn’t still be in it. At the time when Mark and Woody left, it would have been easy for us all to go our separate ways. It would have been the perfect timing to do that. It would have been stupid to carry on as we have done, unless we thought there was something very good there. I get enjoyment out of being in the group and working. I get things off other people in the group.”

Carl: “Like fivers and tenners.”

Suggs (with a sarcastic, starry-eyed expression): “Yeah, I get boundless experience, man. No, seriously, I know that there’s something about this group that I’ve never seen in any other group, ever.”

It’s at this point that Carl interrupts to say that he’ll have to leave or he’ll be late for his baby-sitting duties. Even with mortgages to pay and families to provide for, it’s still difficult to believe that the once nutty Madness boys have really grown up. Especially when Carl and Suggs still behave like two naughty boys who have been caught reading the Beano in a maths class.

But would you have it any other way?

Of course not…

(6) These Boots Were Made For Dancing

Chris Byrne recently sent me a photo of his DM that had been signed by the man himself – Suggs! He thought I already knew about this and was suprised when I told him it was news to me.

Here he is to explain…

I didn’t know that I hadn’t told you about my “Suggs” boots. I got it done at the start of his solo career. He was doing a signing session at HMV in Ealing Broadway the week when “I’m Only Sleeping / Off on Holiday” came out. I went down there wearing my DM’s and Madstock II t-shirt.

I bought 4 copies of the single for him to sign, 2 for me, the others for mates. So I got him to sign all 4 singles and my boot, much to everyone elses amusement in the queue. He was exactly as I had imagined, very friendly and very funny, just a bit shorter than he looks on TV though.

I was really pleased to have met him as I missed all of the band (except Mike) when they did a signing session at HMV when Madstock came out.



Many of you out there had either forgotten that there was once mention of there being a mailing list/internet t-shirt in the pipeline and that requests were being posted to the list asking for ideas and artwork.

Well, it looks like the artwork is pretty much complete, and all that remains is to sort out a little problem with regards to copyright. If all goes well we could have the first batch of t-shirts our before Christmas. I’ll let you know what happens!



Well, it looks like you’ve reached the end of this month’s Madpost. Hope you enjoyed it even if it was slightly shorter than the previous two issues.

Thanks go to the following for help with this issue:

Alan Redpath, Nina, Chris Byrne, Luke Roberts and Suggsylia without whom this issue would be very short indeed.

If you have ANYTHING that you feel is worth including in the next issue of the Madpost then please get in touch with me at robert@jabba.demon.co.uk and I’ll do my very best to make sure it makes it into the November issue.


See you all on the list.Robert Hazelby

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