Those of you who’ve pledged for the long awaited (and delayed!) Suggs DVDs should have found that they’ve now landed on your door mats along with the accompanying T-shirts, if you also pledged for those.
Backers who have gone for the hand written lyrics reward are still waiting for this perk. We’re hopeful that once Suggs winds up his latest tour he can crack on and get these churned out and sent off to those who pledged.
On the subject of Suggs, do check out the excellent interview with him in this week’s Sign of the Times section, and if you’ve got access The History Channel, don’t forget that his new series WW2 Treasure Hunters starts on Monday 12th November: https://bit.ly/2DhGfiV
Now, before we get on with the issue, here are a couple of interesting YouTube videos uploaded by user Blue Water and spotted by Declan McDermott / Mr Wheeze.
Here is Shut up and links from the 80s ITV show Razamatazz…
Sunday November 11th – The Big One 7 – Parkdean Sandford Dorset
“Meet the Legendary Sax man” at this QnA musical career discussion event.
Saturday 24th November, Chandos Arms. Lee makes an appearance as the band warm up, ready for The House of Fun
Saturday 22nd December, The Dublin Castle, Camden. No Lee, as this is the date of the Brighton Madness gig.
All Madness T-Shirts £10 on the Official Store
All Madness T-shirts are currently £10 over on the official Madness store. We assume this is to clear out old stock in readiness for the forthcoming Madness Weekender in Minehead and the Christmas tour in December. Don’t delay, these are bound to sell quickly: https://madness-uk.myshopify.com/
A brief advanced warning that we will be scaling down the Retro-Madness shop from midday this Wednesday, for potentially about 5 weeks. The shop will still be open for these 5 weeks but with only approx 100 different items available instead of the usual 3000! Similarly our Ebay listings will also be scaled down from 1000 to 100 over the same period. From mid November we will be mainly focussing on the stock that we will be taking to our pop-up shop in Minehead at the end of November. So it’s possible that after this Wednesday we may not make the full range of 3000+ items available again until December.
“After a bit of messing about…”, says the new advert for Suggs Movie DVD of his One Man Show, which now has a new release date of November 2018. This opening line is the admission that a delayed March release, a lack of updates before August 10th, and a rejig of both the pledge campaign account and the team behind the release have all taken place.
Now that the Pledge is relaunched though with a new release date of November, and with a fresh launch event to take place at the Pleasance Theatre in London we feel that now is the time to add this back in to our regular “Buy It” section.
Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson is a most unlikely character. Early career choices had him spend a year in Borstal. He still hasn’t found the receipt for his first saxophone. Luckily, he met two other unlikely characters: Mike ‘Barso’ Barson and ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman, who shared his interests of graffiti, train hopping and music.
One Man’s Madness, a feature length rocku-docu-mockumentary directed by Jeff Baynes, tells the story of Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson, told by Lee and his fellow Madness band mates, his family, friends and musicologists, who strangely all look a little like him! From meeting Barso and Chrissy Boy, and later Suggs, Chas, Woody and Bedders, to becoming one of Britain’s most iconic and successful bands, this joyous and light-hearted film follows the path of Lee’s life through his lyrics and songs, including such Madness classics as The Prince, Embarrassment, House Of Fun, Lovestruck and NW5.
Two CD set. Original soundtrack to the 2018 documentary about Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson. Includes tracks from Madness, Crunch, ‘Thommosina Leigh’, Ian Dury, and the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. Including Hidden Tracks. New Mad store T-shirts & Madshorts
Further New T-shirts are now in stock for the summer. Including Madness Shorts as this hot weather continues to encourage getting your legs out. The recent Stately Holmes tour T-shirt is now in stock on line. A rather fetching Lady Killers poster of the old Ealing comedy about a gang of roguish bank robbers, re done with Madness heads taken from old shut up artwork and repurposed nicely in this fitting parody. A fetching Morris Minor car picture harking back to Driving in My Car video and the Mad 7 number plate, with the paraphrase lyrics from Muswell Hill to Selsey Bill! Check out the Madstore now.
Danceable and delightful, this debut album of the band’s much loved original songs pushes on through, breaking the mould of standard ska cover band. Catchy tunes and powerful brass and rhythm section make this a must-listen. Featuring Lee Thompson.
I Remember Way Back When
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 757 – Sunday 10th November to Saturday 16th November 2013
We were a third of the way through November by this point, meaning Christmas was only just around the corner. If friends or relatives were asking you what you’d like and you were struggling to think of gifts to suggest then we suggested you check out the Buy It section of this week’s issue.
With a selection of books and albums listed we were certain there was at least something listed that you’d be pleased to receive on Christmas morning.
Taking place much nearer to the current date than Christmas was what had become the annual Madness Weekender in Minehead. Although much of the line-up and guests had changed little since the very first Weekender we were certain that those of you going would have a fantastic time.
With part of the MIS team reporting directly from the event and the remainder poised in front of their keyboards you could be sure that the MIS issue due out that weekend would go out without delay, and would also feature the most up-to-date news from the Weekender possible. So, if you were one of the many Madness fans not attending we urged you not to panic. We promised to do our best and bring you as much coverage from there as we could.
Back to this week, and in our Buy It section we had a new addition in the form of the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra single “Bangarang”. Featuring the vocals of Dawn Penn, it was due for release on the 16th December.
Next it was over to this week’s feature, which this week came courtesy of one Mark Bedford. Mark told us;
“Some months ago I was asked by fellow musician, Jo Watt, to take part in the Grade-One-a-thon and raise money for Children in Crossfire. It’s where musicians learn an instrument that they have never played before and then take an ABRSM Grade One exam. I chose the tuba!
It’s been a great experience: sometimes I’ve been amazed at making such a sweet sound and sometimes depressed by making such an unholy racket (my neighbours have been very understanding). Most of all, by starting from scratch again, it’s made me look at making music in a different way.
My exam is on December 6th, 2013.
Pass or fail, I hope to raise some money for Children in Crossfire and the outstanding work they do, mainly in Africa, in promoting early childhood care and development. “
Readers were urged to click on to Mark’s Just Giving page and make a donation.
Moving on, and in our Sign of the Times section we reported (via Digital Spy) that Sir Tom Jones and Madness had been booked to perform at this year’s BBC Children in Need Rocks concert. The annual show curated by Gary Barlow was due to take place at London’s Hammersmith Apollo on the 12th and 13th November.
Following this, we went over to Chris Carter-Pegg, who revealed that he’d been asked to write a section in a new book about the Glastonbury Music Festival. Chris explained that his section covering Madness, was twice the size of all the other entries given to other bands. The book cost £16, but Chris admitted that it would only be worth your while if you were a big Glastonbury Music Festival fan.
Our Live and Intensified segment this year was populated by the writings of subscriber Daren West, who reported on The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra Halloween gig. Not only that, but he’d even napped the set listing and there accompanying notes.
We brought this issue to a close with a final nudge to get more of us to make a contribution to Mark Bedford’s Just Giving account, which at the time of writing was showing £565.
10 years ago…
Issue 497 – Sunday 9th November to Saturday 15th November 2008
We began with part of the MIS team finding himself sadly lacking in sleep, as he was awoken from his slumber by a phone call at around 1:30am.
In a rather drunken state, two MIS subscribers decided to phone up one of the editorial team, and proceed to drunkenly sing the unreleased classic “Perfect Place”, down the line.
We could only assume that what they’d been drinking was pretty potent stuff, as they also wished the recipient of the call a “Happy New Year”. Most odd.
On to the articles, and we began with the news that the Arlington House project was facing a handover of the historic building and a probe into its landlord. The enquiry came on the heels of the revelation that landloard Novas Scarman planned to sell the hostel on Arlington Road.
Next, it was a slightly non Madness related article, as we published forthcoming UK and European tour dates for dirty reggae favourites the LA based Aggrolites. The Euro tour would kick off on the 12th of November in Newcastle, and finish on the 28th of November in Moscow.
Moving on, and news reached us earlier this week revealing that long running music duo, The Pet Shop Boys, would be presented with an Outstanding Contribution to Music award at the following year’s Brits.
Like many of us, MIS subscriber Chris Carter-Pegg was none too impressed with Madness once again being snubbed when it came to being recognized for their achievements. So much so that he decided to knock up an email and send it to the organisers.
Elsewhere we had a review of the recent Damaged Goods gig, courtesy of Jonathan Young, and we brought the issue to a close with the news that Bristol Madness tribute act 1 Step Below had changed their name to NUTTYnes to avoid confusion between themselves and One Step Behind.
15 years ago…
Issue 235 – Sunday 9th November to Saturday 15th November 2003
After a few weeks where we had very few small snippets for our intro, it was nice to see that things had made a dramatic turn and we were once again blessed with tiny nuggets of Madness info.
News from MIS subscriber John Thorpe was that Carl had left his ‘Mean Country’ DJ job. Here’s what John had to say;
“I telephoned the company up a few days ago and some woman from receptionist training school informed me that he has ‘left our organisation’.
For the past few weeks his slot has had nobody replace him at all”.
News for the collectors out there was that a promo version of the recently released ‘Madness Singles Box Set’ was now doing the rounds. Featuring al the tracks from the forthcoming box set, split on to 2 CDs, the discs were stored in plastic wallets, with basic track listing info written on to white card inserts.
Elsewhere in the issue we decided to take a look at Dancing Stage Fever for the PlayStation 2. Well, it turned out that Konami’s latest offering featured the classic Madness track ‘One Step Beyond’.
Not only that, but for Eighties fans tracks by Dexy’s Midnight Runners and Squeeze were also on the disc.
“I haven’t tried it myself but for all the Madness fans reading that don’t own a PS2 I’ll let you into a secret. The same effect can probably be achieved with a copy of Divine Madness on DVD, 3 cans of white lightning cider and the play mat from a Twister board game”.
Next up we had some Suggs news, as we discovered that our favourite front man had collaborated with the legendary Jools Holland on his third big band album. The track in question was non other than ‘Jack ‘o The Green’.
Moving on, and there was a cryptic message behind Lee’s door over on the official Madness web site, which read as follows;
“Next Offering – Desperately seeking someone to film next Madness video. If you know of anyone point them in our direction & we would be forever grateful. Must not have anything to do with the f*ckin’ record industry.
Pay good if on ‘Rock n’Roll’ but not if – A stinkin’ student ponce.xL”
We finished off this week’s issue with a heads-up to warn people that DVD-R copies of the film ‘Dance Craze’, featuring Madness, were doing the rounds on ebay. With an official DVD of the film yet to see the light of day we advised people to avoid these knock offs.
Sign of the Times
Madness Vocalist Suggs Talks Ahead of One Man Show
Things have gone a smidge surreal since Madness frontman Suggs was a
12-year-old in shorts on the tough streets of North London.
Constantly expecting that inevitable tap on the shoulder to hear ‘what are you doing here, Sunshine?’ how has he got this far? In this business you can be washed up at any minute.
How has he managed to get away with it for so long?
Fame is a tightrope and Suggs has fallen off many times. And he’ll explain the perils he’s faced when he brings his spoken word-music show, What A King Cnut, back out on tour this month.
With help from Deano his trusty pianist, he’ll tell his story in words and music with the help of some Madness classics and a couple more what he wrote himself.
When Suggs was putting together his first one-man show six years ago, he found out rather more than he might have wanted about his father, Mac. A keen amateur photographer and jazz fan, he worked for a photographic developer’s. But he was also a drug addict.
“My mum told me she’d come home and find him with needles sticking out of his hands,” says Suggs, 57. “Heroin was his drug of choice, a one-way street that takes you further and further away from real life. In the end, it did for the marriage.”
The squeamish should look away now. When Mac took to injecting his eyeballs with paraffin, he was sectioned under the Mental Health Act and put in an asylum in south London. He died in 1975, the year his son morphed into Suggs.
“The first show was all about how I got from being Graham McPherson working in a butcher’s in Chapel Market, north London to becoming the front man of Madness.”
Suggs’ new show was triggered by a defining moment. “I recently discovered I had a sister living in Ireland. I kind of knew my mother had had a daughter she’d put up for adoption as a baby. But I had no recollection of her and it was something we never spoke about.
“Then, completely out of the blue, Mum got a message on Facebook saying: ‘I think you might be my mother’.
It turned out this woman – her name is Julie – had seen a repeat of my This Is Your Life on which my mother was introduced by her maiden name, Edith Gower. “Julie recognised the name and spotted the physical resemblance. Then she got in touch. This was about five years ago and I’ll never forget it.
Mum flew to Dublin to meet Julie and, when she came back, she was different.
“Her shoulders had dropped. It was as if she’d carried a tension inside her every day of her life since she’d been forced to part with her daughter. An innate sadness had instantly disappeared. And it all happened just in time.” Suggs’s mother passed away in April aged 79.
It’s been quite a year. In July, his younger daughter, Viva, gave birth to twins, a boy and a girl called Buster and Birdie. “Talk about the circle of life. They’re living with us at the moment. They’re great but bloody hard work.”
Suggs married his wife, Anne – known professionally as Bette Bright, singer with the band, Deaf School – when he was only 21. “I think I was probably looking for a bit of structure in my life. But I married for love – and we’re still together.” They also have an elder daughter, Scarlet, who married in the summer.
Early success with Madness was balanced by a rock steady home life, something for which he’ll always be grateful. “Fame doesn’t really interest me,” he says. But it does, of course, open some pretty impressive doors.
“A couple of weeks before the Diamond Jubilee, I’d said something disparaging on the radio about Brian May’s hair. It triggered a tsunami of angry tweets from Queen trolls.
“A few days later, Anne said to me that I’d been sent a letter from the Queen. I said: ‘What? They’ve got their lawyers on me, have they?’ ‘No,’ she said, ‘not Queen. It’s from THE Queen’. Well, of course, I didn’t believe her. But it turned out to be an invitation for Madness to perform at the Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace.”
There was a bit of a problem on the day. Both Elton John and Paul McCartney insisted on using their own pianos and having them tuned on the spot. “By the time it was our turn to perform, there was no room left. Then some bright spark shouted out: ‘Why don’t you put them on the roof?’ So that’s exactly what happened.”
Express and Star.
Video footage posted from The Big One showed Lee having a leisurely chat reminiscing about the time Suggs met Jerry dammers leading to the day John Hasler presented the band with their first single.
“Not just Cus it had Lee Thompson (song writer name) on it. That was a moment.” Lee proudly explained how fitting it was for Two Tone concept to be writing a tribute to Prince Buster. Going, he jokingly called Magnet, bastards and listed Virgin and other record labels as rinsed for lunches before £1,000 advance, a warm beer and a pork pie from Dave Robinson in the Winchester pub sealed the deal by giving Madness the all important creative control over their output and dress sense on stage.
Nick welsh called, Lee “the spirit of Madness”. Lee went on tell an amusing story about stealing a carrot from a hotel in Eindhoven recently when our drinking with Suggs and forgetting it was down his underpants when some ladies noticed it slipped down to his boot tops. He proudly walked off at that point!
From comedy to touching moments when asked about “Chas” Lee commented “I love Him and I miss him.”