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MIS 1,022 – Sunday 9th Dec. to Saturday 15th Dec. 2018

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Hello, Good Evening and Welcome

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

With the dust just about settled on 2018’s Madness Weekender in Minehead we felt it was about time we refreshed the hazy memories of those of you who attended. For fans unable to make it, we thought you’d like to read-up one what you missed. So, courtesy of the one and only Jonathan Young, our MIS Feature for this week is a lengthy affair, and one which covers all days of the event.

If you wanted even more Weekender coverage then you may want to check out our “More After Eights” section which features reviews of the event from numerous Madness fans.

For those of you who aren’t interested in the Weekender just gone then don’t panic. There’s still a lot for you to read in this week’s issue.

Grab yourself a cuppa, sit back and enjoy the read!

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams




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


Further information at http://www.madness.co.uk/live/

December 2018

The Sound of Madness Tour

Monday 10th December, Plymouth Pavilions, Plymouth

Tuesday 11th December, Bournemouth International Centre, Bournemouth

Thursday 13th December, Motorpoint Arena, Nottingham

Friday 14th December, The O2 Arena, London

Saturday 15th December, Birmingham Arena, Birmingham

Monday 17th December, The SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Tuesday 18th, December, Hull Venue, Hull – SOLD OUT!

Wednesday 19th December, Rivermead, Reading

Friday 21st December, Motorpoint Arena, Cardiff

Saturday 22nd December, Brighton Centre, Brighton – SOLD OUT!

Ticket bookings https://www.gigsandtours.com/tour/madness/?utm_source=madness.co.uk&utm_medium=referral

Monday 31st Central Hall, Westminster
Ring in the new year with your favourite band. This will be shown live on BBC television. Limited tickets here: http://www.madness.co.uk/2018/11/30/madness-new-years-eve/

November 2019

Friday 29th November – Monday 2nd December – House of Fun Weekender 2019


The Silencerz

Saturday 22nd December, The Dublin Castle, Camden. No Lee, as this is the date of the Brighton Madness gig.



Buy It

Suggs My Life Story DVD 

“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.

For more information and to order, go to https://www.pledgemusic.com/projects/suggs-my-life-story-movie


The Madness – download 


14 tracks from 1988 by the semi-Madness line up. From “I Pronounce You” to “Beat the Bride”


Lee Thompson’s One Man’s Madness DVD & CD Soundtrack 


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.


The Silencerz – Better Days CD


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: 761 – Sunday 8th December to Saturday 14th December 2013

This week we were back from our time travelling escapade, which saw the last issue go out as issue 780 – a good twenty issues higher than it should have!

It wasn’t the first time we’d lost track of the MIS issue numbering over the years, and we had no doubt that it’d happen again in the future.

Moving on, and while we’d just got 2013’s Madness Weekender done and dusted, early bird tickets were already on sale for 2014’s four day long Madness event.

Also new this week was the date for Suggs and Friends. The 2014 fundraising event was due to take place on 20th March at 6:30pm with champagne reception and auction. The £150 donation tickets for pancreatic cancer would gain you entry to the Porchester Hall event in London W2. There’s was no announcement at this point as to who is joining Suggs at the exclusive event.

Over to our Live and Intensified section, and this week we played host to a fantastically detailed House of Fun review courtesy of MIS regular Daren West. Daren rounded off his write up by commenting;

“It’s been another great House Of Fun Weekender and only 350-odd days til the next one…”

Next, it was over to Tony Stratton who gave up his spare time to put together a fantastic write-up of seeing Suggs at The Garrick Theatre on Sunday 1st December. Tony’s closing comments were particularly  heartwarming;

“I’m not going to spoil it too much and give too much of the book away for those who haven’t seen it yet or read the book but for me personally it was the first time I properly laughed since my Dad died in August.”

This section was brought to a close with a lengthy review from our very own Jonathan Young of a recent gig of the Lee Thompson Band gig at the Bull and Gate. Our Mr. Young brought his summary to a close with a small thank you;

“Thanks for everything this year, Merry Christmas band whore, and a happy new year Mr Thompson sir. Love you man, you’re the best.”

And finally, we brought this issue to a close with several new video links of footage from the recent Minehead Weekender, and pointed out that in a recent interview with UKIE Movies, comedian Dave Gorman suggested that he would choose Baggy Trousers as the UK’s national anthem.

10 years ago…

Issue 501 – Sunday 7th December to Saturday 13th December 2008

Many of you would no doubt recall that once in a blue moon subscribers to The Beano or The Dandy were greeted to not only their weekly slice of comic based mayhem, but also a free gift which had been quickly sellotaped to the front cover.

While we were unable to provide you with some cover ruining sellotape adhered gift, we’re very proud to present you with our own freebie in the form of the new “MIS Google Maps Triple Pack”.

Painstakingly compiled over a good 6 months or so, this creation was the brainchild of subscriber David Moody (with additional assistance from our very own Jonathan Young).

David has enjoyed our recent Madness London Locations so much that he’d created a number of map packs for use with Google Earth. The map packs were:

1. NW5 and Beyond – The New Songs Map
2. Mad world – Song reference outside London 79-05
3. The Capital Compilation – Song References in London 79-05

This was now your chance to (virtually) fly over Camden and its surrounding boroughs, all from the comfort of your computer desk.

On to the rest of the articles, and we kicked things off with the news that Chris and his Axecam had been out yet again, and this time we were treated to a 10 second clip from a song that we knew nothing about until now – Rainbows.

It was over to Bedders next, who advised us to keep an eye on the official Madness web site in the few days before the O2 gig. “I’ll say no more” stated Mark.

Rumours were that an audio and video section would be added to the web site. All we could do was sit and wait.

Still, we had more than enough to keep us occupied, as Madblog 98 announced that the official Madness YouTube channel, MadTubeMTV had now gone live.

Next, and we reported on the launch of a new radio station, Coast 106, who were advertising the fact that they wouldn’t be playing Kylie, Boyzone or Madness. Naturally, this wouldn’t be a station we’d be tuning in to. As of June 2011 they rebranded to Jack FM, and if it’s anything like Jack FM Bristol, Madness will certainly feature on their playlist these days.

Finally, we brought this issue to a close with the news that Lee Thompson and Keith Finch had recently DJ’d at a local establishment and were of the opinion that they rather enjoyed it. So much so that they were going on the road and were available for hire.

Parties, weddings, Bar Mitzvahs. But it wasn’t the regular stuff. Instead it would be all old ska, reggae, soul, with a bit of Mrs Mills thrown in.

15 years ago…

Issue 239 – Sunday 7th December to Saturday 13th December 2003

News in from Graham Whitfield was that following Q Magazine’s poll which asked their readership to vote for their top 100 pop songs, The Sun newspaper did their own version. In at number 59 were Madness, with ‘Our House’. Not a brilliant ranking, but at least they made the top 100!

Incidentally, the top 3 were: 1-Bohemian Rhapsody (Queen), 2-Everybody Hurts (REM) 3-Angels (Robbie Williams).

With the Madness tour now in full swing, it was great to see that Richard over at Remember The Eighties.com was supporting the lads with a prize draw where there were two copies of the “Madness Singles Box Set Volume 1″, up for grabs. Not only that, but Richard had managed to secure a pair of tickets to see the band play at The Glasgow SECC on December 14th and another pair to see them play at The Birmingham NEC on December the 18th. All the goodies were courtesy of Virgin Records, who had teamed up with Remember The Eighties.com to help promote the tour and singles box set.

Great news blasted forth across the net, with the announcement that a few extra tickets had just become available for the Forum gig on the 9th of December. Tickets were limited, so if you wanted to go you had to get in quick!

Normally it’s Chris Carter-Pegg who gives us the heads-up when it comes to unofficial Madness merchandise, but this week we spotted one ourselves, in the form of a ‘Johnny The Horse’ gold disc.

Completely unofficial and a complete waste of money. We advised readers to avoid at all costs.

One trader you could (and still can!) always depend on for official Madness merchandise was Chris Carter-Pegg, who this week had some real rarities up for sale on Ebay. Items ranged from the Our House doormat, a pair of Dr Martin Ltd Edition Madness Boots, the Don’t Quote me on That 12”, and much, much more.

We finished off this week’s issue with a very short review of the first gig of the tour, courtesy of Steve Chapman. Dublin was the initial port of call for the Christmas tour, and Steve’s short but informative review revealed that the band had “jazzed up the set” with such long lost tracks as Disappear, March of The Gherkins, Victoria Gardens, and Prospects.

Rob Hazelby



MIS Feature

The 8 Ball is Behind us

The House of Fun Weekender 2018 review.

It’ssss Christmassssss.

No it’s Hofffffffmassss.

So the bunting* is back up at Butlins and this time it decks the halls like a festive tinsel hanging  in the air. I can see a bauble, a holly sprig, Christmas candy canes appearing here and there in the design. Some Christmas tree green has been added to the colour pallet across the site, alongside the more usual red, which feel’s a little Santa like anyway now. This years weekender is later in the calendar and is touching December dates for the first time. It’s also the first date on The Sound of Madness Christmas Tour. The massive entrance arch has been inflated and the fun is ready to begin. Let’s step inside.

The mad hatter logo for this year is holding up a large eight ball. He wants us all to have 3 games of pool. The Friday Night frame is up first, to start our early Christmas break and it’s to be followed by two more full tables of entertainment, racked up for Saturday and Sunday all day play. The Madness team chalk up their cue and taking a sure aim, whack! We begin. The fans all scatter into the varied venues, around the Minehead holiday camp at speed, dispersing from the pack and heading towards their desired pockets of entertainments for three days of fun. This review then, yes, it’s just my load of scattered balls again!

It’s not a definitive statement on what the weekender was to all and everyone, or as a whole. Send us your own trajectory of rolling comments on anything from the event and we will happily include your reviews in a future issue, at some point. Especially if you mention something we didn’t say or cover.  This review is where I was personally sent spinning, it’s the impressive trick shots I witnessed at the weekender, or the odd ball off the table moment sinking to the bottom of some ones now half empty pint glass of Gladness with a whoops, splash, clunk. It’s my time behind the 8th ball.

(* Note. Don’t nick the bunting before Sunday is the rule, as we’ve said before. Some fans get thrown off site again or at least black wrist-banded for first offence on this. Remember if you’re coming year 9, we don’t want it to be you caught next time.)


The Friday Frame

To be honest I started the weekender on a little bit of a worry. I’d seen the chosen songs for Friday night, and wasn’t that impressed with the choices, just personally speaking. It’s not that I am against a night of covers from Madness. Dont think that of me. I enjoyed The Dangermen years when many didn’t after all. I am fine with that, and totally support this band doing their own thing. But this list individually wasn’t yet jumping out at me when added all up, at least on paper. Also I was not so sure how the increasingly varied audience of Butlins would take to the set either after recent years of grumbles. Even Jamboree bag (2017) and Mumbo Jumbo (2015) managed Cardiac Arrest or Rockin’ in Ab in a very familiar Madness sound, to keep a card up their sleeves among the rarer items diehards relish each year. This set seemed steep in terms of the mountain it would have to climb. From regular attending and extensive album owning fans to casual party goers its a very varied bunch now down here. Still the proof is in the performance, there are things here I don’t know and I may enjoy in discovery and musical education, as has often been the case with Madness before, they may own some of these songs before the night is out and convince me.

I hover around the Jaks nightclub entrance, working on the set up for our MIS show strand that takes place tonight. It’s early Friday Morning and I occasionally witness a bit of Madness rehearsing and the sound crew struggling to make it all into a show with them, for an arena, ready by Friday night. Bully Boys a new Madness tune was sounding good though, Moody and Maddy in equal amounts and rather pointed and close to the bitter contempt of that old Madness B-side, Round and Round.

By 2pm later in the day I was already happily re-booked for next years event and then the barriers of entry opened up to the public with the band still standing on the stage wanting more time still to improve things but having run out of it. Fortunately the mood of friends arriving lifted my spirits from my shoe gazing concern and the usual jolliness of in the moment began and it was soon time for the first act I witnessed as 6pm quickly rolled around.

We simmered up with The Simmertones this year, returning to the event for the second time. Now with more radio 2 airplay behind them. They appeared on the main pavilion stage. Here is a band, professional, ska, but with a real sweetness and pop to their sound. “I love you madly” they sing and suddenly it feels like this tune was written for this weekender and for them supporting Madness. Which of course it wasn’t. Well Perhaps perhaps? No no it wasn’t honestly. lol. But it was a lovely warm up and a nice welcome to the weekender feel. We are all here because we love Madness for everything they have done, and everything they are trying to do right now, and a great anniversary year is ahead of us all too. Lets never forget that fact as we head further into Friday. I chat briefly with Del from the band, and his grin reveals what the thrill means to stand by hero’s and play. To see the Simmertones draw a good arriving crowd level, far better than last years poet, is a joy. From their version of Dr who, or Doris Day, all with a ska twist, to hearing some powerful renditions of their own penned songs, it was the most perfect start to my weekends entertainment. Darren Bennett takes over to whip up the crowd ready for their headliners first set of the weekend.

The Simmertones – Perhaps Perhaps, Perhaps – video Adam Nichols



Madness – Lucky Dip.

Right well. Three word review then. Unlucky it Dipped.

Now can we move onto the songs? What? You want more explanation than that? oh trust me this will get dull and moany, I mean have you seen social media last weekend?

Ok. Well I will briefly describe the whole night to you then, but in the form of a silly short poem to lighten the mood!

“Nice try for Friday, House of fun, round eight

Five new Madness songs sitting on the plate

Influences and cover versions, back to 78

Could of all been a treat and sounded really great

Oh dear was all left a little bit too late

Vague idea, poor sound set up, all in a bit of a state

Performance got tired then, sometimes nervously sedate

Rest of my weekend was filled with this kind of debate

Fans argue with fans now on how much you should be allowed to slate

They were shit. Hey I loved it! I was pissed! yeah and so was my mate!

In our heads we each know what we loved or what we hate.

But that House of fun arch was visibly seen to deflate…”

Now can we move onto the song list? Skip ahead please.

No? You really want me to explain in full boring English? How my night was, and what other people have been saying of the Friday night?

Well I personally had a good time Friday. This was mainly because I had lowered my expectations by this point in the evening. Down from the level set by previous much greater Fridays this band has magnificently achieved at HOF, I was more down to the level I’m at for a knock about Thommo pub band set from the 90s. One where I get to hear some throw away covers and learn a bit about what the band like. This isn’t the mode i’m normally in for HOF. I’m normally more excited for rare treasures like this. Nor is it a mode representative at all of the general public reaction coming in to hear Friday night. Maybe I got a little lucky with having my tinnitus ear plugs in as it drowns out a lot of the chatter and poor booming sound etc and I got a fairly good distant view of this gig as a result of where I chose to stand near Jaks. I wasn’t in the middle of it all.

This was still the lesser night of about 10 very special sets I’ve seen Madness do over the years, including all the previous HOF Fridays. That makes it something more noteworthy and special still and comment-able on than hearing just the hits again for sure and for that I’m still grateful. I would have liked a couple more tunes with a Madness history than this set included. Jamboree bag gave 10, this had 2 at a push from records, 6 maybe If i scrape anorak live stats but even I was educated on Green onions being a returning tune. I don’t know everything. Despite the train numbers in my note book. It was a passable throw away jolly evening for me in the end. Thanks for trying Madness.

Suggs gave a great explanation at the start of the gig before the third song, of what Fridays are like, unpolished basically. The best banter for it I have heard him give. You can still hear crowd cheers and enjoyment in the Friday crowd in a large measure, while others nearer the back were reported to walk out and filled the sports bar with moaning. It didn’t help that the very start of the show was Thommo waffling alone while Mike was delayed in finding equipment misplaced. Suggs was due to appear for track two after Green Onions instrumental.

I think the limited rehearsal is clear, the impact on the sound-crew a little embarrassing and it always hurts fans in the middle of the arena when they cant hear the vocals or right mix of instruments it causes the restlessness to increase. This happened before reportedly bad in 2015. I feel the context was set poorly in October due to not having decided what to play back then when Lucky Dip was announced as a bit of a Christmas special and to include 1 fan choice. They actually managed to do 5 fan choice requested wishes from the online replies, so fair play for that result, they did grant wishes and “Kooks” was the one that fans have wanted since Glastonbury I am told several times across the weekend that this was a great moment for those who wished this. Thommo claimed on Sunday it was his idea that the night was tribute to departed artist, but it was never announced as that and that was it’s first confusion of expectations.

Chrissy boy has replied a couple of times to the wave of disappointment and is happy to be quoted. “We were under par for sure.” But he adds “Most of those songs were picked by us, from our many influences…” And also explained that “Friday night is always a “casual” affair.” He had said more publicly too “We don’t actually have to play twice.”  Later saying this got twisted as “we ain’t getting paid, why bother” etc. He called this reinterpretation of his words out as plainly “Wrong!”. He was merely trying to remind people since year one Fridays at Butlins have been a knock about Madness Rehearsal room approach.

It seems ultimately the crowd accepted that more of a whole night of new Madness songs in year one, than a changed weekender demographic now does of accepting throw away covers year 8. At least to the standard this was rehearsed too and performed to on Friday. They tried something and did rehearse. I think most fans would say, not enough. Or not early enough and so the performed tired out because of the push on this unfamiliar set. Some fans are very forgiving of this fact, and thank the band for trying, other paying customers more critically vocal that this wasn’t good.

But lets move on now and with a more celebratory fact that’s been somewhat hidden under all this talk. Five New Madness song, regardless of performance need the spotlight now. Lets focus on the fact these new tunes have been written and aired. Once again we have new Madness to look forward to taking shape…

What are the tunes…


New by Madness


Almost by the sea

Pussy Galore


Bully Boys

In My Street


Almost by the sea.  – Video by Adam Nichols.


“Almost by the Sea” is a Mike Barson penned number. It reminded me lyrically of Driving in my car meeting with Suggs solo tune “Off on holiday”. It didn’t grab me much on first listen, a gentle tune, definitely sounded Madness though. It’s got a whistle wistfulness to it that grows on you to join in. It’s on topic. Minehead being by the sea. I will have to hear it on tour before I can say Minehead is name checked only at HOF in it with Suggs ad libbing.  Paul Rodgers our stats man has already commented on it’s Geography!

“At Minehead Butlins. Last night Madness played a brand new song that mentioned the B2145, which is relevant to Chatham Town FC’s season. Can anyone beat that?”

Paul Rodgers.

I was excited for “Pussy Galore” at Minehead (be I not the first to say that!), a bouncy Thompson penned number very Crunchy! and like “Mumbo Jumbo” in it’s approach, lyrically its sex laden and a fruity little number. My fave of these five. The one that grabbed me and moved my feet instantly.

“Goodbye” had least impact on the night, but that came late in the set so that’s probably more about my reaction fatigue by then, hearing it back since it’s very early rock and roll style number and I like it. One of those heart strings by the kitchen sink numbers. “Goodbye Tears” a little like crying shame then, but not much.

“Bully Boys” came across moody when I heard it early on, lyrically it seems to be about Eton David Cameron types of this world screwing over and selling out the country, so sounds a bit like if Grey day was a Special’s political style song then.

“In my street” is a nice tune, a Suggs one. Catchy. “Our house” has now taken a quieter stroll past “The Slaves – People that you meet”, and come out in a Suggs list style tune that’s like “Neighbourhood” by Space lyrically too. A list of local characters. In the mode of tunes like Pam the Hawk or rag and bone man that he has written recently and many a Madness character classic, from the past. Music wise It’s growing on me now ive heard videos a couple of times.

Matt from the bed and breakfast men says…

“I Really liked Bully Boys and In my street… new album, EP or single. I Hope so :-)”

These were all a little flat in performance Friday but nothing terrible, and then they were over shadowed by the number of tribute songs in Fridays set that more stuck in the minds of fans so not many new tunes landed with fans at HOF. I see no reason why they wont be taken to heart more on the tour as they are all ready revolving and growing on people. The sound of Madness is indeed still to be heard. There isnt an instant “Mr apples” moment here or a “How can i tell you.”  “Pussy Galore” is the closest to that and “Goodbye” with a little work on a better day may reach “Misery” standards instantly with fans once they only have to process two or three new songs in one evenings gig.


Returning Madness

“Culture Vulture” is a returning song. Despite never being recorded and so retaining new song status alongside this fact. It’s had one airing. 1996 Madstock III. Fell off the slate before the album Wonderful. Although Drip Fed Fred is said to have stolen bits from it. It’s been reworked and it was sung by Thommo Friday. Quite haunting. Bit controversial in its message of eroded national identity but we aren’t an empire anymore and wont even be in Europe come any future airing of this tune should it pop up again. Now that Thommo sings it the lyrics of fading colours came across much more to me. It’s a song suited to the author singing it and maybe that’s where it went wrong before now. It’s closer to Dollay from Oui, Oui box set now. The 90’s Madness writing style was retained and cut this apart from the other new Madness tunes. As I was at Madstock 96 it transported me back a little and was one of my favourite moments of Friday. Unique in that Thommo nows the words for years and so better performed that a lot of tunes tonight.

Pac-a-mac to me is a poor mans house of fun, not a favourite of mine from Seven an album I’m only half into. So when they bashed it out rather poor in performance, I didn’t really care for this ripped rubber. I didn’t even have a semi on for it. Smile that is.


Madness covering influences, and tributes…


Green onions. (Booker T and the MG’s)

Free love (Prince Buster)

My old man (Ian Dury)

Kooks (Bowie)

Werewolves of London (Warren Zevon)

London girls Lee singing (Chas and Dave)


Yasmin Hendrix female singer joins madness.


Ring my bell (Anita ward)

Ball of Confusion – (Temptations)


Guns of Brixton (Clash)

Giddy up a ding dong. (Freddie and the bell boys)


Matt from the bed and breakfast men says…

“Obviously being a Chas & Dave fan London Girls was a treat. I know how much Mike likes ring my bell as he mentioned it in an interview I did for my Morris doco, said it always seemed to be on the radio when he was driving about!”


“Gobsmacked to hear Werewolves of London being covered. Talk about a curve-ball being thrown. Never in a month of Sunday’s!!!”  Adrian Beeforth.


“Love love loved Kooks and Guns of Brixton in particular” Nicky Evans.


Ian Dury, and Prince Buster covers should be page one of the Madness guide to influences. Indeed Madness have covered this Dury tune, for the great man’s tribute album. The Prince Buster cover a rare new treat to see where Suggs stole bits of Camden Town’s lyrics from! These are quite plodding songs though and they weren’t picked out much as anyone’s favourite, except Darren called Free Love a great tune to me. Many loved The Ball of Confusion – Temptations, it’s quite a powerful song, and again Mowtown a strongly mentioned Madness influence. This version and song choice though, and a woeful version of The Clash’s Guns of Brixton where Suggs wandered off and Thommo sang instead best he could fill in, were moments where the original artist had little to fear from Madness making any mark on their tunes. It was a bit switch off too often.

Suggs gave great info on each artist that they covered between songs. His intros were good. The visuals were brilliant and helped in the show staging. Setting the context for each song, with visuals of each artist tributed. Particularly warm reaction to Ian Dury, Prince Buster and Chas Hodges as they appeard on the screen. All still great moments in the show. But it also felt like a repeated trick. Fats Domino last year etc had this treatment. It felt ok but a falling back on old ideas. Diminishing returns when constantly doing it to different people, with the pictures getting better reactions than the songs performed.

A female guest singer Yazmin Hendrix was awkwardly added, this reminded me of The House of Common trick from 2017 and with Janet Kay present at the weekender this day it made for the question of why she wasn’t invited back etc, when a younger and quite capable woman singer was poorly welcomed by Suggs telling her not to talk and putting her in her place, when she had just politely said to the crowd it was an honour to perform with Madness.

Ring my Bell she performs pretty adequately it’s probably the most remembered song of the night. I liked the bizzare Werewolves of London most of the covers myself, a strange tune, and set to the werewolf moment from the unconnected film of the same name appearing on the screen. Mean and moody Suggs for once in the evening really owned a song I could see being complimentary to the lime-house golem scare that the Folgate album gave us. awwwwwwoooooooooo  Life in the old dog yet.

If there was one tune that really went best and I would happily include on a bootleg CD, it would be Giddy up a ding dong. An invaders tune coming end of the set when they just let loose and rocked it knowing the end was in sIght. A simple tune but the bands rock and roll roots jumped across on it.

Right enough of the mixed and problematic reaction to Friday. We do appreciate the hard work put into trying to give us another special night. Especially from each band member individually. Thanks and on with the weekender.


The Majority of the weekender attenders are now enjoying Denis Bovell with some Lover’s rock guest female singers or Bez’s rave Party, (rumours are Bez goes missing afterwards and Suggs launches an appeal for him to be returned Saturday night!). MIS Presents. We are back in Jaks. First time for a Friday slot, so the rest of my night is taken up in this venue.

DJ Swanny is our host DJ this year, giving us Crunch! nutty tunes and a load of great pop and wider ska and great band choices, a lot of “spotter” era Crunch! fans from the nutty boys gig years and beyond from many Madness forum meets are here to support him too, cheering from the dance floor. Did us proud. The party started with Andy “Keys” Clark title track from hid forth coming Puppet Life LP. Sooty wanders the bar barrier greeting people starting our registered MIS competition to win old Madness T-shirts.

D.M. Street. Are our first live band. Hailing from Cornwall. Andy “Keys” Clark is the keyboard player and songwriter of many of the tunes. A stonking brass section. Plenty of bouncing ska originals abound. Including “Skanking with the rudeboys”, Andy has a party music vibe to him, and it’s a unique take on the genre always from his writing. The fanboy nature is worn on the sleeve but extended very much into Phil Spector and old rock and roll 50’s melodrama lyrics of boy, girl and dance floor. It’s a similar set of influences as Madness but with out the music hall or kinks part so much and it all comes out a little like bands like The Inflatables that can jolly up any pub, but then it takes a UFO turn like a sci fi bmovie and lifts you into it’s own little world. I’m chuffed they pulled a great crowd into Jaks, gave a great show, and came across like a team together on a happy outing. This is what HOF dreams are made of here in the smallest venue.

The Launchers weren’t a band two and a half years ago. Last year at HOF they performed brilliantly in Reds on the Sunday in their debut. This year they return at the level of a signed band. Their t-shirts both on sale on the merch stall, but equally arriving already worn in by fans now in full support of this still fresh new band. Their album Weapon of Choice previewed last August at the Dublin Castle, is now into a new phase of redevelopment. With new tunes adding. They arrived on stage to play these songs resplendent in matching named bowling shirts. Dutty Mouth is their signature hit. Now a remixed single on their signed label debut release. Stream it now. Songs like The Leaders, Fugitive,  Stop don’t listen, are sing a long live favourites now to their growing fan base. New tune Fagan, stuns me tonight, I didn’t know what to make of it’s boldness very different. It’s worth checking out. Takes time to get to grips with, cant wait for the record version. Same goes for hearing a completed version of One Night in the Paris Hilton. They fill the venue with cheers. Though we did struggle a little with sound set up this time. They finally move the room to tears having performed most of their album, they tributed Chas Hodges with “Ain’t no Pleasing you” goading the crowd to sing it so he can hear it.

The Launchers – Stop Don’t Listen – Video Adam Nichols


Mandy Boybandy ends the night. You see for years Mandy Raymond has been asking for Backstreet boys at MIS DJ events and quite right too as it turns out. As Madness pop fans we have told her to jog on on many occasions. We relented to playing one tune from a 90s boyband one year recently and before we know it, and after a great set at Reading specialized. We find ourselves at the house of fun, candy being thrown out, glow sticks, and flash mob boys dancing in lines on the dance floor. Turns out the girls love it, cus its for them, the boys think we are being ironic, and it’s a double dance floor win. Mandy was sober (Blimey!) chose her great ear for these tunes and you’d be surprised it goes as eclectic as things like The Beatles and early boy bands. Skinheads at 2am can skank to Take That. Never forget where your musical joy is coming from. Never pretend that this is all real. It was a dream and is highly likely to occur again next year.

Everybody. Everybody in the house of fun. One love. One god. Everybody in the house of fun.

It was a game of two halves Friday. (Sorry that’s football isn’t it I was doing pool metaphors wasn’t I. My bad.) Well there was a stretch in the middle of the game when it wasn’t going quite as expected and it was ah! yes. A bit of a ball of confusion! But Friday is still an impressive win over all. It gave a lot to talk about at the end of the day. A match of much memorable commentary. Two more games now still to play.


The Saturday Second Frame

A giant kitten is climbing up the post office tower. I begin my Saturday in charge of the cinema. Two happy, morning awake, Madness fans have arrived more than half an hour early keen to watch some 70’s comedy classics with me so I’ve put on Kitten Kong a bonus episode of The Goodies for them, before our advertised triple bill.

I’ve just arrived here after visiting Dave Lawrence’s office this morning upstairs above Jaks for a production team meeting, in a Butlin’s work space decked out with signed guitars from many of the pop acts that have played at this holiday camp over the years. Dave sits taking constant phone inquiries, proffering a welcoming beckon in with his spare hand before checking briefly the cinema and pool plans with us, and immediately he’s off into more arrangements with more arriving staff and phone call messages coming in. The man is a one man Goodie then, he’s the go to man, the boffin making HOF happen. Thanks Dave. For 8 great weekends.

The Goodies start the Saturday fun large and silly. The Goodies is finally ALL available to own on DVD this year and it’s a fun little celebration of some rare episodes all a bit like a long Madness video for it’s wacky sense of daftness. It’s parody fun and 70s humour mocking Jaws, Planet of the apes, bugs bunny, clockwork orange, Saturday night fever and grease. All pretty family friendly except I did warn the audience to boo the now dated Saville Reference! oh dear. Comedy doesn’t also survive being dated by developments! I’m screening to about 60 fans now who aren’t the usual hangover one’s. There are people here who enjoy the acts, the music, the holiday camp fun without treating house of fun like one long 3 day piss up like me and most of my friends tend to. (Also known as a standard length Thommo-bender the 3 day booze a long.) Many of these sober fans, know what AM actually means. There is a large proportion of Madness fans active but not fully able bodied too who attend this weekender, from stick walkers to other ailments that gravitate to the venues tabled areas, and they certainly occupy a lot of the comedy venues on Saturday/Sunday and they are really enjoying Saturday morning cinema with me. Shout out to recovering Tony I saw out and about with newly fitted feet since his amputation operations. Great to see him actively enjoying life.

In between this fans & band people are visiting me in the quiet projection room to privately discuss Friday night’s issues and Madness’s set. It’s surreal to see a giant fish with false teeth as the backdrop when the topic is Madness being a little fishy in performance! last night. Especially when my next duty is the pool party. Sometime you cant make this up, HOF is just full of it’s own jokes it pulls on us all. Not least the moment when a seagull steals my fish sandwich out of my hand later. Shit I should have been showing the Goodies episode about the dodo! doh!

The Amity Island buskers are stood outside Splash world busking “Baby Shark” adorned in fish head masks (The Launchers in disguise) and then they switch to “swan lake” in honour of both Madness and our DJ for the next two hours. Alan Flynn’s seaside head in hole shark cut out board which saw Brian may decapitated, as a cartoon Suggs water skis over the top to safety, displays that we have taken over the pool party. (Not 8 ball pool, we are talking water swimming now!)

A massive thank you to DJ Swanny, for a great 2 hours playlist in session at the pool party. I think us taking over this part of the weekender really worked well. Attendance was up. We created a lot of extra smiles. Not least when Graham Hewson won a Madness Tshirt in our fish the floating poo out of the Jacuzzi game! Most years the swimming was just swimming. Two years ago it was some inflatable aliens and dance music when wedofunk DJ’d the first pool party. Last year the music improved and was fun, but I think our mix of Madness album tracks and great 80’s pop had the right feel in there. Best of all we added Night Boat by Madness mixed with the jaws theme music intro, this genuinely had people stop and stand in the water and watch out a little scared, timed for when the wave machine started, just in case we really did have a shark to unleash at them!  We did have a shark, but it just a man in an inflatable costume wandering around with a half eaten snorkel swimmer hanging from his shark mouth. Don’t worry we also had Aqua Man. He is here to save the day! We play his comic cartoon theme music and resplendent in a beard and carrying his trident Mark Bowen commands the waves, before becoming the target for a mass game of beach ball bashing. The super hero’s have arrived it must be time for Saturday Night.


Super Saturday

Tankus The Henge were a revelation and a breath of fresh air into a weekender stuffed with Dub reggae and ska related music. There is a lot of ska fans here at HOF and they need their entertainment, deservedly so, and we all love a bit of ska too, that music gets everyone up and it is widely represented here again in many forms. Great. Madness’s pop, comedy, performance, and heritage side in a long line of great British bands of varied musical influence is also just as important to compliment in the wider tastes of their attending fans. Tankus deliver pop rock, a carnival twist, a jolly outlook, lots of emotion. Their lead singer plays the piano in a way a young Mike Barson would have if he had eaten Jerry Lee Lewis this morning. With smoke pluming out of the back he twice leapt off the top of it, with a pomp and showman ship of a traveling circus. The music and band back this up though, its somewhere between sing-a-long unity that Queen created in their tunes, and the sun and the rain Englishness of small talk that Madness capture in a cup of tea. My first time seeing them I stand with Chris from retro Madness, Emma, and James a friend with many a Glastonbury under his belt and this truly feels like a great festival moment. Madness choosing to house a lot of pavilion stage bands, is now really working well to make the weekender special in their second or third year of trying to focus on the main stage. People wandering through are caught up in acts they perhaps hadn’t planned to catch. The sheer performance was splendorous from Tankus in this early space and the left the happy crowd wanting more.

The Inflatables are always a crowd filling event, they once again have Buster Beeface bulging through his memories of Bad Manners, tits wobbling, and the two tone brothers up and dancing like cardboard cut out obvious tributes, bought to life from a record sleeve like something out of weird science meets the blues brothers in an old VHS mash up. Delivering the songs so well trodden every Dr martin and black and white hatter is here up enjoying what they do most other weekends in their dancing days. Enjoying their favourite music discovered in the early part of the 80’s with that jolly up British version of ska. The bouncy Inflatables sound the band bring to this music package bounces on. 6 years on they are part of the furniture here, and filling the pavilion. They are the kiss me quick pork pie hat.

The Inflatables Featuring Buster Beefburger – Lip up Fatty.


Speaking of clothing and of superhero’s as we were some moments ago. I’m surprised there weren’t more fights! When the theme is super heroes and super villains. Some great efforts though, a good theme this year. Popular as it is in the current movies. Stav needs the biggest shout out from fans the MIS knows. Because being bitten by a spider and put in hospital to be drained the day before arriving at HOF, is method fancy dress when you appear as “Venom” spider mans poisonous alter ego! wow! So glad you made it to Minehead. Vicki’s squirrel girl conga-ing with a giant bushy tale was Nutty too. I was both Fink brothers, a dead one and a crazy metal headed Mean machine. There were more bat men than during the ashes. Robin too (well it’s Christmas.) Iain Mason was an alternative Iron Man this year looking like a household appliance, but Graham Yates came as the villainous Iron Lady so he won that battle! Tatcher’s Britain!

I catch a bit of Daka Skanks, powerful stuff with a great lead singer. I didn’t see enough of their set to do them justice in review.

For their return to the stage Saturday night, Madness perform the familiar hits brilliantly. They stick to this sure singles route and don’t repeat any of the new tunes, whacking out single after single hit, only diverging with hugely capable album tracks such as Take it or leave it in the process. Even a prepared return for Rise and Fall isnt risked tonight. The sound of music tour then, visually represented, but in truth this isn’t quite that just yet. This is Madness gone into safe mode. It still can’t be said that they didn’t pull a new trick. It Must be love, anthemic, beautiful and ever true, now has a new arrangement. There is a drop down. This is when a band goes quiet and minimal on stage in order to highlight a crowds sing a long. It works stunningly tonight giving a moment a Madness gig has never really been given, except perhaps by crowds singing “oh ay oh Madness” at them during fuck up’s at Madstock. It’s done with a tinkle effect and falling petals on the big screen and the encouraging arms of Suggs conducting the crowd. When this happens on the tour people, sing your beating hearts out. Big love.  It had been 54 weeks between Madness gigs for me, I didn’t make it to the stately Holmes this summer. The hits felt like coming home, I lapped them up, and in my thinner skin out danced The house of fun song for the first time since my teens. It’s always a glorious party the Madness hits. This was never in any doubt. It made for a massively happy arena full of fans. Song for song, still the best gig of the entire weekender, for anyone’s ticket. Singing back at them during It Must be Love surely reassuring that we still need them to take the blues away.

Lovestruck – video by adam nichols


Huey Morgan is on in reds, and I briefly check out a bit of his set. Nothing much worthy to report as I didn’t really stay around long. I went for some food and that is something that Butlin’s keep improving the renovations bringing in more options and eating places, from improved hotdog stalls, to new Diners, and curry sellers. Mungo Jerry, delights a packed venue. He isn’t my demographic, but for fans a littler older they are going through that thing of “Oh I remember this one” and re discovering songs they know but haven’t heard for a while. To me it’s a great sounding band, I ‘connect with many songs beyond “In the summer time” which feels weird in November to be honest, but they do have the venue heated up with rock pop music and a great sound to them. We are on a 70s holiday and it’s very enjoyable one. Reach right up and touch the sky.

Darren Bennett and Madame Scorcher’s set I enjoy in Jaks, the most enjoyable one I’ve seen from them in all 8 weekenders, and I usually dip in and enjoy them for a moment each year. Maybe I got lucky I seemed to arrive during a spell of chosen originals that really complemented my Madness and LTSO listening by giving me some of the tunes they originally witnessed. Then I saw Kioko better known to many as Spider or the backing singer from Cant touch us now, he was Mc-ing.  Rapping some words over chosen instrumental dub plate reggae grooves or toasting. It was rather wonderful and created a real moment for me of feeling at home at HOF. I love it in the Butlins bubble. Surrounded by all this.

It was an 8 ball win corner pocket for day two.


The Sunday Final Frame

Lee Thompson is often the life and soul of the party. An enigma. A fun fool. How do you solve a problem like Thommo? The Sound of Madness tour must be asking now. He is once again the member of Madness giving the most side show value into The house of fun experience, personally, unprofessionally, and bloody brilliantly. On Saturday I saw him, running around, minder Jim trying to catch him and stop him going into venues like a mother trying to catch a toddler happily running into the road towards an ice cream van. Our Paul Rodgers has his own story’s about why Thommo missed Madheads got talent on Saturday and drew Bedders into that event in the process. But Jim must have caught him, as it’s Sunday morning now and although a planned surprise live music moment has been binned, Lee is giving a brilliant Q&A in the cinema. Starting Sunday with fans delightedly laughing at his Movie. One mans Madness. Which has to be re-screened due to popular demand.

Here is the Q&A. In which he even let’s slip about a new Madness tune called “Prove me Right” he and Chris have been working on for the new album.

Thanks to Emma Thomas for the video.


Three successful-ish events delivered by Thommo, it’s time for a fourth as he joins the Silencerz. Yet again providing the weekender with an additional band linked by membership to Madness. King Rebska, plays some crowd preparing tunes. Even having some Keith Finch tunes, Dance Brigade, legs 11 in there. He is from the world of Barnet and Thommo solo land so knows his onions.

Stumbling onto the stage alone. Mr Thompson has lost his sax again. Well that is more that someone has packed it and sent it on it’s way now Madness are done. This isnt him misplacing it. Here he is playing for The Silencerz without a sax. Until a lend from another band generously sorts him out. He wanders the stage trying to flog the Silencerz album on CD like a Del boy market trader, rather than an iconic pop star headlining this weekender. The Silencerzs don’t appear when called. Then they meekly filter onto the stage nervous. Oh jeeze are we in for another troublesome set? Then it builds with every song. Only really takes one tune to get everyone into the mode. I guess they were coming out of their local-shell.  Nick on guitar humbly nodding thanks if the crowd clap one of his penned songs, such as Don logan. But oh wow Daley’s voice has come on, the song Free Time is impressively soaring. No need for Geno Washinton next year! They play Stop that train. But this spotter wants it to continue. All The Young Dudes is a sing a long moment of pure joy as I join Stuart Wright next to me in the crowd in belting out the choruses.

Drip Fed Fred… The Silencerz – video Adam Nichols


Drip Fed Fred delivers genius joy into the weekender, in a way that makes up for Friday Madness being so stingy in the stakes of offering much rare recorded Madness tracks being returned to us. A father and son rendition. Wonderful!  (Madness reclaim your lost treasure.)

I for one would like to see The Silencerz back again for Sunday Next year. It worked really well. The ska orchestra, more popular and too popular for Reds now are mostly disbanded, it all got too much for Thommo having to do three professional gigs at The House of Fun I think. We filled in with Fezzez once. It’s hard work especially when we see Madness struggle with two gigs this weekend. With The Silencerz Thommo can relax knowing they can do it, with or without him. With him doing a lot. Or with him doing a little. His name isn’t on the act. The pressure isn’t there. Fans are in the know and will gravitate to seen his son’s band, The joy created on Sunday was large.

By now I’ve had a bloody good weekender. My own wanderings I’ve missed a fair few good acts too, to be honest so sorry I’ve not review every great band or party. A solidly brilliant entertaining holiday once again for my money. A bargain against the Joy created. Wasn’t quite prepared for how good the finale would end up being. I cant quite say it’s been the best weekender ever, but everything without comparison to other times has been brilliant, ive had the best of time. It’s about to become probably the best Sunday ending since the very first weekender. Over all a ton of the fondest memories I shall treasure. Thank you house of fun 8, and all who set the table up.

Chris Difford. Then. What an inspired choice. A moment landing in just the right venue, in just the right style, on just the right day. This made Sunday special. We had a Squeeze man both singing us great Squeeze numbers, and regaling us with stories from his time in the band. This is very like what Suggs achieves with My Life Story, and King Cnut. This was like watching a witty Jasper Carrott, but then when the acoustic guitar numbers came, they were actually his own hit numbers not comedy. Squeeze songs often had a great lyric and a great humours view of life, like many a Madness number from the same period. As this isnt a full Squeeze gig we aren’t blasted with sound, and we aren’t having to endure a whole barrage of tunes we don’t know if we aren’t well versed enough in our Squeeze song knowledge. We are Sunday, we are tired, from all the fun and the drink, we are happy, and this mixture of laughs and then great sing-a-long moments is lifting us again.Its a packed out but very very attentive and listening crowd. Chris with a little help from Boo Herewidine, has the house of fun in the palm of his hand. Tempted. Wow. Up the junction. Applause. Labeled with love. Well yes this feels like a great HOF present. We are loving this. Tales of sofa’s, dodgy characters, youthful delight of drink and drugs, and the downbeat deadpan humour of a south London boy, becoming a pop star. It didn’t over stay it’s time slot and left many of us thinking this is a one man show we want to see in full.

David Rodigan is going to end The house of fun, in that slot Craig Charles more usually funks out in. But there one last act. It’s a band that wasn’t even on the posters, (We think for some reason Horace Andy was a cancellation) they only appeared later in the app. It’s the Pioneers. A must see last minute gift from Hofmass and what an apt band name as they spend most of the between song banter saying the UK is important but bragging justifiably Jamaica did this first, pointing out every song that a two tone act covered from them, and starting the set with Starvation (a Madness Zarjazz produced cover single after all). It’s the double play of singles about the horse longshot that really delight. The bands soul boy dancing, and drummer banter (he truly seems on a different set list to them starting all the wrong songs) is slightly amusing, but the songs are delivered and the sing and skank along is pop masterful. Time to kick the bucket! Well the weekender has now sunk it’s last 8 ball. On reflection another well staged brilliant event. I loved it. Maybe it was a 2 to 1 win overall. We can all sink a white ball occasionally. I see Paul Rodgers complaining prices have gone up a bit for next year. So not everyone is happy with how HOF is going. I had a blast again.

Play on Madness. My money is down on the table for another game. Chalk that cue again and take care. Keep being an amazing ball House of fun.

Number 9 could be a revolution…

Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9. Number 9…

Jonathan Young



More After Eights

Fan Comments After Attending the 8th House of Fun Weekender.

“This was our 8th ‘HOF’ Weekender for the  usual 14 of us. A few drinks and some tunes at the apartments before we headed of to the Skyline Pavilion on the Friday evening to kick start the weekend. The band came on stage and started of with a cover of Booker T’s and the MG’s Green Onions. Not bad and something different. Then it started to all go wonky and horribly wrong. poorly rehearsed, awful sound quality and tracks that would have been better played on a Karaoke machine. What was happening we thought, this must be a wind up and part of the act. Sadly it wasn’t. People started to drift of to the nearby burger bar instead of watching what should have been a class act. Now its one thing to be brave and try new tunes providing they have been rehearsed and sound checked properly but this set was shockingly bad and something that you would not expect from such an established act. Was the set even thought through? Just like watching your favourite Football

Team play, there are good and bad performances but Madness are in the Premier League and not the Sunday morning kick about league. Thankfully their talent shone through and a fine performance was once again delivered to the huge crowd Saturday. It has been noticed that the overall quality of the on-site entertainment seems to have diminished.”

Rob Price


“Never seen Geno Washington before this year’s HOF due to him usually being on a Sunday night when I have had to go home. Was reluctant to go and see him cos I thought I would need to get in Jaks straight after Madness finished, but what can I say other than he was brilliant. What a superb voice he has. Hard to believe he is 75 years of age. Saw many superb acts over the weekend but he was the best, which I don’t say lightly as the support bill of acts was arguably the best of all 8 Weekenders I have been to!”

Adrian Beeforth


“Mungo Jerry well well well… He was exceptional. Dunno how old he is but he had all the energy in the world for us HOF lot. Not the original band anymore as you’d imagine, but they were great too. All of the songs have been updated to rock-out a modern gig but still sound true to the records (if that makes sense) I wish I could tell you about more acts but most of my HOF was spent hopping in and out of venues with Kye and Maz haha. Was sad to even miss Chris Difford and also The Pioneers… was so worn out by Sunday afternoon I just couldn’t hack it. Wow, I’ve just realised how much I missed… Not sure if this helps but I was at Madheads Got Talent. That was a laugh, star acts in my eyes were The B&B Men who did a fun rendition of Limelight, and Ian Dawson who put his own adult-spin on Rainbow. That was very funny”

Limelight – The Bed and Breakfast men. – Madheads Got Talent…


Rainbow – by Ian Dawson


Ryan West


“The Launchers are the new, The Pioneers are the old and both were absolutely fantastic.”

Ian Dawson


“The Silencerzs were awesome, seeing how Daley esp has come on as main singer from when they first started , defo my 2nd fav band of the weekend. Darren Bennett and Kathy’s DJ set was top draw , had the room packed all the time with their tunes.”

Lynn Lawlor.”


“The Launchers for me just epitomise some of the best original music of today. In a scene thats littered with cover bands (which still often give a great night out too, its not always bad) its so refreshing to see and hear a live band that not only play really tight and well together,but who can (and do) also write and perform their own stuff that’s catchy and lyrically really great in places,& then is thoroughly enjoyed by many who share a wide variation of musical tastes,that alone is a challenge before we even look at their stage presence/performance. Fingers crossed the youth of today are still discussing & celebrating these boys years later down the line like we often do with Madness!  Mandy BoyBandy was really enjoyable and had the crowd in the palm of her hand (watch out Mr Happy, you have serious competition now) & also The Pioneers on Sunday night were just bloody fantastic, but as always, its the people along with all the music that really make it so enjoyable”

Hazel Foster


“Thought Chris Difford was excellent. Wasn’t really bothered about seeing him but he was funny and engaging and would be tempted to go see him again.”

“Mandy Boybandy. Seeing skinheads singing and dancing to Let’s Get Ready To Rumble as she started her set was one of my highlights for sure.”

Vicki Lee


“One Mans Madness was an absolute treat for me! Been waiting ages to see this and it didn’t disappoint! Lee’s Q&A after was great also. He’s just so funny and genuine. Band wise this year was fantastic, Tankus and the Henge, Simmertones, Dakka skank, The Launchers and many more were so great to see this year. Xxx”  ”

Jade Partington


“Tankus the Henge!!! Wow, has to be one of the top two live bands I’ve seen this year… Brilliant energy on stage and great songs to get you on your feet.  Just love them and can’t wait to catch them again soon.”

Sarah Hamlen


“The Simmertones for me I have followed them for 2 years since I got a message from Glyn the lead singer, he has continued to message me. He then dedicated Run for your life to me. Two years ago I would never have believed I would see them play let alone have a drink and meet them personally afterwards.”

Mark Glasgow


“The Simmertones and The Inflatables best bands of the weekend bar none! xx”

Yana Clover


“Hey guys, thank you for all the love! Unfortunately the stage manager didn’t realise we were on for 45 minutes not 30 and told us to stop playing. We had a wicked time at House of Fun and big love to everyone for coming down. Massive love to the Madness crew for having us play, unforgettable experience and a great night that followed”

Dakka Skank


“Love Revolution by Dakka Skank, what a tune.”

Alan Cann


“When Madness’s sax man needs to borrow an instrument in a hurry to play a set with The Silencerz and Skata Tones are due on imminently… As it goes, the horn was returned in good time and Lee Thompson hadn’t quite squeezed ALL the notes out of it, so there were a few left for the set! Skata Tones Nailed it again. What a crazy and fantastic end to an amazing weekend. Great bands, lovely people, top tunes.”

Sir Strawberry H Jamalot.



Sign of the Times

Madness review – baggy bangers with a British pop institution

Dave Simpson Fri 7 Dec 2018 10.35 GMT

Madness singer Suggs walks on and says just two words: “Hey you!” He doesn’t need to say anything else – the arena audience do it for him, yelling, “Don’t watch that, watch this! This is the heavy, heavy monster sound …” As soon as the crowd reach the words “one step beyond”, Lee Thompson’s sax tears into the intro of the Prince Buster cover of the same name, as it must have done thousands of times before.

Full article at https://bit.ly/2G5u0c9



Live Intensified

Live in Leeds Video


“I love the new stuff.  In my Street. Pussy Galore. Were played at Leeds. 

It Must be Love was very good. The kind of F’d up My Girl II but not that noticeable. 

Lot of gormless around me on dancing, but I was loving it all.  They are still the best band for me.”

Jenny turton



“A great gig at the Manchester Arena last night. First time I’ve seen The Fratellis and mightily impressed. Such a big sound from a four piece band. They were well received by the crowd. Madness were on top form and sounded good. 

The Hammond organ made the trip from Minehead and sounded perfect on My Girl 2. 

Nice to hear a couple of new songs and Rise and Fall (even if Suggs did forget the words!)  Probably the highlight was a tribute to Pete Shelley. It Must Be Love segued into Ever Fallen In Love with photos of Pete on the screens. The whole arena joined in. Quite touching.”

Almost by the sea. And Goodbye. were the next songs aired at Manchester.


Newcastle set list 

One step beyond


The Prince


My Girl

My Girl II

Take it or leave it

Sun and the rain

Bullingdon Boys

Wings of a dove

Driving in my car

Rise and Fall


Bed and Breakfast Man

In My Street

Shut up

Mr Apples

House of fun

Baggy Trousers

Our House

It Must Be love


Night Boat



Tweets of a Dove

Band quotes from The Invaders Page where Mike and Chris discuss the Friday of the House of Fun Weekender…

Mike Barson.

“Yeah it didn’t help my keyboard stopped working for half a song but maybe you didnt notice that? – It was all round a bit my fault we was under rehearsed as I went on holiday to India with my youngest Joey (who lives with my ex) to spend some time together and only came back two days before we went to Minehead and despite my suggesting we do something simple on the Friday we ended up doing new songs were still working on and 12 covers each band member chose 2. so a bit on the complicated side rather than simple!

It was a bit too short time to rehearse properly and it was possibly a rare occasion that we bit off rather more than we could chew!. So it was kind of my fault though it was a bit of a now or never’ trip to India with my son which I felt I had to go on. So sorry if we weren’t at our best on Friday night.”


Chris Foreman

It was when I saw someone say we had told fans to F off I had have a to look in…

“Just to clarify I have not told anyone to f*ck off when they wanted a photo. Friday night is always difficult. We are under no contractual obligation to play twice by the way but we like to do something extra and different. We were under rehearsed because Suggs had his one man show and the day that finished Mike went to India with his son. We had three days in London and a day in Butlins. Yes, some of last night was iffy but are we not human? I know there are some people that would be happy for us to do the same hits set twice lolz. Best, CB “




We’ve handed over at the House of Fun an old archive of VHS tapes filled with Madness TV from the 80s and 90s, and even some local Ireland appearances. Thanks to old tapes from Vince Varden and Nicky Elkins.  Adam Nichols of Madness bootlegs has this stash now and will be doing great things with it in 2019.

For Christmas, expect a treat from Lee Thompson’s website run by us here. Lee has just handed over more footage of the band working on the title track from Can’t touch us now album in Toe Rag Studios.  S,o a peak into the band at work will be coming in our issue around Christmas.

Until next week, take care,

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

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