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MIS 1,044 – Sunday 12th May to Saturday 18th May 2019

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Hello, Good Evening and Welcome

We begin this issue of the MIS with some rather sad news as this week we learned of the sad passing of founding member and frontman of The Skiff Skats, Robert Smith.

Lee Thompson commented on hearing of the passing of Robert Smith. “Most sad news. He was a lovely gentleman”

Our MIS Feature this week pays tribute to Robert.

On a less sombre note Mark Bryant makes a return to the bits and bytes of the MIS with an in-depth write-up of the second Love Letters to London Recording.

Elsewhere, we hear about Suggs’s forthcoming appearance on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show and details of a rather gruesome Suggs cheese.

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/

40 Years of Madness – 2019


17th – Aintree Racecourse

18th –  Uttoxeter Staffordshire

25th – Ffos racecourse – Trimsaran Kidwelly

26th – Tunes in the Dunes, Peranporth Beach, Cornwall. (Madness appear on the Sunday.)

31st – Docklands, Limerick, Ireland



1st – Dun Laoghaire Harbour, Dublin, Ireland

2nd – Waterford, Day Tripper Festival, Ireland

7th – Market Rasen Racecourse, Lincolnshire

8th – Chepstow racecourse, Monmouthshire

15th – Kenwood House, Hampstead. This Massive North London home coming gig for Madness XL features a full scale orchestra with the band. ** SOLD OUT **  If you’re planning to travel from Hertfordshire check out this link for coach travel info: https://zeelo.co/interest/16097

16th – Isle of Wight Festival

21st – New Market Racecourse, Suffolk

22nd – Lingfield Park Racecourse, Surrey

28th – Franklin Gardens, Northampton (Suppt: The Lightning Seeds)

29th – Newcastle Racecourse, Newcastle



4th – Noches del Botanico, Madrid, Spain

5th – Port America, Galicia, Spain
6th – Vida Festival, Barcelona, Spain
12th- Vivary Park, Taunton

19th – Open Air Theatre, Scarborough (Suppt: The Pigeon Detectives)

20th – Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster

21st – Bitts Park, Carlisle (Suppt: Bootleg Beatles & Chris Difford) Orig date 9/6/19

24th – Sanddown Park Racecourse, Esher



17th – Newbury Racecourse, Berkshire

18th – Princes Street Gardens, Edinburgh, Scotland

20th – Custom House Square, Belfast

23rd – Northern Meeting Park, Inverness
24th – East Links, Montrose

26th – Clapham Common, XL South London festival. With “Special” Guests.

30th – Wolverhampton Racecourse, Wolverhampton

31st – Winter Gardens, Margate



1st – The Downs, Bristol, (Suppt: David Rodigan)



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



12th – AFAS Live, Amsterdam
Dave Robinson


16th – An Evening With Dave Robinson, Mirth, Marvel and Maud, 186 Hoe Street, London, EC17 4QH https://bit.ly/2VIZJGH ** new **



Buy It

Before We Was We: The Making of Madness by Madness 

The band’s first official book.

The story of how they became them. It’s a journey full of luck, skill and charm, as they duck and dive by day and make the name in London’s exploding music scene by night, zipping around the capital in their Morris Minor vans. Their formative years, 1970-79.

This is the riotous coming-of-age tale of seven unique individuals, whose collective graft, energy and talent took them from the sweaty depths of the Hope and Anchor basement to the Top of the Pops studio. In their own words, they each look back on their past and how during those shared adventures, they formed a bond that’s lasted forty years. Before We Was We is irreverent, funny and full of character. Just like them.

Release date September 26th. Pre order on Amazon at https://amzn.to/2SacSI1


Classic album T shirts  at The Madstore 

You can now buy a range of classic album design T shirts.

Absolutely returns to the official T shirt store since first appearing a decade ago as merchandise. Seven now joins the albums T-shirts range, only previously a promotional shirt. For the first time Rise & Fall (Following last year’s triumphant return of this album’s title track on tour) joins official shirt range.

Best of all, 10 years on from its box set release, The Liberty of Norton Folgate is purchasable. We are having a little bit of that!

Complete Madness. Total Madness hits albums join the range.


This range is also certainly a reaction to the continuing bullshit of bootleggers targeting social media with non licensed product not endorsed by the band and illegal.

Don’t be an idiot and buy from badly photoshopped pictures of Suggs holding a shirt up etc. Those are fake. The Madstore and official band website and gigs merchandise stands are all run by the same company with the band’s legal backing. You will only find a small number of charity shirts or some One Step Beyond shirts outside of buying from the official online store. Don’t give your money to the bootleggers exploiting you.



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 783 – Sunday 11th May to Saturday 17th May 2014

The Madhead was about you, above you, below you and within you. It was all around you, it was you. Inside the Madhead were all your thoughts. The Madhead could hear the music. The Madhead could feel the music. The Madhead must dance. The Madhead must sing. We were all Madheads.

As Madheads you could Instagram your picture with the tag #Madnessmadhead in the comments and then see them appear on the wall at http://www.mad-head.co.uk/

This was the new website link from the band, where you could also nominate great Madheads to appear in the hall of fame.

On to the issue, and in our MIS Feature we reported that Suggs had covered a Prince song from his seminal album Purple Rain (Soundtrack).  The song was called Let’s Go Crazy. A song we thought appropriate for our Mad Man.  So was the style it was in; electronic dub reggae.

It sounded very much like a more modern mix take of a song from Three pyramids club in our opinion.


Moving on, and in our massive Live and Intensified section we featured a huge write up from fans detailing the Lee Thomson Band’s recent performance at the Black Horse in Barnet. Compiled by resident Jonathan Young, Daren West and friends, this was one detailed review!


Over in Tweets of a Dove and Mark Bedford revealed that he had four bass guitars;


“I have four good ones that are used for various jobs. Two of them are really old and only used for recording now”

While Woody and Mike remembered Elvis Costello singing Tomorrow’s Just Another Day on the Rise and Fall Tour;

Woody – “Fond memories of that day.”

Mike – “Declan’s finest moment ha ha! – must say he did a grand job! hats off to the man!”

We brought this week to a close with the thrilling news that Suggs had recorded his appearance of BBC2 comedy panel show QI.

The recording was for QI Series L, the show’s 12th series. Suggs joined host Stephen Fry, Alan Davies, Jimmy Carr and Claudia O’Doherty on May 7th to record for the BBC2 show.

We promised to report when this was due to air.

10 years ago…

Issue 523 – Sunday 10th May to Saturday 16th May 2009

While we got ever closer to the MIS’ own milestone, which would see it celebrate ten years of age, this month was actually a real landmark one for the band.

By our reckoning it was 30 years this month since “Madness” were first listed on the line-up to a gig, as on May 3rd 1979 Madness were billed at the legendary Hope and Anchor pub. If our memory (and research!) was correct, the name of the band was actually decided at the previous gig the band performed, but this was the first time they were actually billed to perform as “Madness”.

The band had a lot to answer for – a string of hit singles and albums, many of our readers first gig was to see Madness, and we know of a number of marriages that have taken place between people who got together through a mutual love of the band.

Granted, there was much to celebrate for the band who had notched up 30 years, but they showed no signs of stopping. With a new single out on Monday, an album out the week after, and a slew of live performances over the coming months, we had much, much more to look forward to.

2009 was proving to be a very exciting one for the band and us fans.

On to the articles, and Jon Young got things underway with one of the first reviews of the new Dust Devil single, which was starting to land on the door mats of Madness fans across the globe.

Jon was keen that more people should know about the release, and was asking you, the fellow Madness fan, to go out there and help promote the single.

Next, we went over to the California Chronicle, who were marking 30 years of Madness with a look at One Step Beyond and the recent Liberty of Norton Folgate. Featuring a selection of detailed quotes from the band themselves, this was well worth a read.

Moving on, and we have further album news, as for those people who couldn’t afford to fork out £40 for the Folgate box set, the standard edition of the album would be released a week Monday. Weighing in at £8.95 for a single disc, the release could be pre-ordered directly from the online Madshop.

Elsewhere we reported that the May 6th edition of the trade industry paper publication Music Week, featured Madness extensively over 8 pages, including the back cover  advert. Read widely in the music industry it was a respected journal publication that had been around since the 70’s, especially in business circles, but was also available in larger UK newsagents in the journal section as opposed to where you would find the usual Music Magazines.

Highlights included extensive interviews and commentary from Dave Robinson, Suggs and also the current management and current director of power amp on the band from an industry perspective. A time line of the gigs and events confirmed so far for 2009 is listed, including confirmation that the follow up single to Dust Devil is to be confirmed still but potentially planned for August. There were 30 words on 30 years in Madness from other members of the band and 10 rules for surviving in the music business by Chas Smash.

We brought this issue to a close with MIS Birthday Bingo, celebrating a decade of the MIS. With the 10th birthday of the MIS coming in two issues time we began the lead-up to the event with a unique game and some unique prizes.

15 years ago…

Issue 261 – Sunday 9th May to Saturday 15th May 2004 

Following a number of issues where we were scrabbling around for Madness related news, we were pleased to report that this issue was back to the ‘chunky’ size you would expect from us.

With the European Football Championship just around the corner we reported on how The Farm’s World War 1 inspired track “All Together Now” had been re-written to cash in on the event. What did this have to do with Madness? Well, at the time when the original version of the song was written our very own Suggs was managing the group, so whilst looking back on it, the Madness link (and hence, our reason for including it in the issue) was possibly a little flimsy, it ‘was’ there.

The next article in this issue was certainly one for either obsessive Madness collectors, or those who collected arcade games and/or fruit machines, as news reached us (courtesy of subscriber “CamdenMad”) detailing the sale of a MayGay Madness fruit machine on Ebay. At the time of reporting the price was a very, very reasonable £150. However, with the item located in deepest darkest Stirling, it would be a massive trek or hefty courier fee for the majority of would be fans.

Moving on, and we reported on the exciting news revealing that the one and only Suggs was the favourite to win the role of Camden Town’s Music Tsar.

Suggs was the frontrunner in a list of nominated candidates which included Chas Smash, Danny Goffey of Supergrass and Blur guitarist Graham Coxon.

The position had been suggested by the late Henry Conlon, landlord at the Dublin Castle in Parkway, Camden Town, to promote and secure the future for live music, venues and artists in the area. Mr Conlon wanted Camden Council to form a live music think-tank headed by the music tsar.

Suggs was said to be “thrilled” about the idea, according to Mr Conlon, who was set to discuss the post that week with culture minister Estelle Morris and Feargal Sharkey, former singer with The Undertones and now hired as a government advisor.

Elsewhere in this edition we issued a plea from Jermaine of Tour Madness, who contacted us to report that work on the publication had stopped for the simple reason that the supply of information had run out, and he needed your help to continue.

The chapters that needed to be updated ran from February 1984 (‘Keep Moving’-tour) to Summer 1995 (Suggs promoting I’m Only Sleeping) and it was also fan-reports from Nutty Boys-gigs (1990-1995) that he was after.

Rob Hazelby



MIS Feature

Rest in Peace Robert Smith

It was a fun day during an event for The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra, when a smiling and friendly Robert Smith introduced himself  to me. I am used to a few people asking a question or two about Lee’s bands so didn’t immediately know who it was asking today, I assumed a fan wanting a word. I was delighted to discover this was actually a band mate seeking reacquaintance.

Robert was a founding member and front person of The Skiff Skats. A cow punk hill billy skiffle band that a number of Madness players ran off to join in with following support slots and John Hasler joining as a permanent member along with Hector Walker (Suggs cousin) in the later 80s.

You can read more on them back in MIS 819.


Or hear the band’s story here…


Just 4 years ago, after reacquainting Lee and Robert, the MIS staged The Skiff Skats farewell gig at The Dublin Castle. Pete Smith had already passed away before 2015 but it was a fitting tribute to his memory as the rest of the surviving band and some new players took to the stage for a last hurrah.

Sadly this week news came from Lucy his daughter that Robert has now deceased.

Our thoughts are with his family and close friends, at this time. We are sorry for your loss.

Very proud to have met the man, who won’t be forgotten and to the music a jug or two is yet to be raised.  I think it was the joy of dragging a sensible and clearly polite and well grounded man away from his legal administrative vocation and back towards his  musical creative and rocking past that warmed our very short friendship. At our commoners against cancer event we added him to a banjo duel purely because we knew it would be fun. It was. He bought warmth, fun and gentleness with an ease of skill, showing that he had happy rock-in memories but was comfortable having grown beyond them too.

And that’s how I will remember him.

Jonathan Young



Live and Intensified

Suggs to Guest on the Zoe Ball Breakfast Show

Wake up and embrace the day with Zoe Ball!

Madness singer Suggs chats to Zoe about Lover Letter To London, his Radio 4 programme where he shares his memories of the city and what it means to be a true Londoner.

Suggs will be Zoe’s guest on the 15th May.

For more information go to: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b08h8z5t

Suggs’ Love Letters to London Part 2

And so we were back again for the 2nd recording of Suggs Love Letters to London to see the great man entertain us once again.

A far more relaxed performance from Suggs, possibly due to the venue being packed out this week, as he launches straight into an old music hall favourite The Old Bull and Bush.

Stories centre around the band meeting and hanging around Hampstead, tales of visiting various pubs as underage drinkers and then Suggs sings No More Alcohol.

Suggs recites the story of him and best mate Chalky taking and crashing Chalky’s dads car, leading us nicely into a rendition of That Close.

Suggs then tells us how he worked with Mike as gardeners, the Morris van doubling up not only to take the band and equipment to gigs but also to drive around on the pull, we’re then treated to Lets Go.

Boy George joins Suggs on stage and tells the tale of how he tried to get Bette Bright (aka Suggs wife Anne) thrown out of the Mean Machine whilst working as a cloakroom attendant, only problem was Miss BB was “famous” and George, at the time wasn’t. George says he really liked Madness and in particular their version of It Must Be Love.

Suggs moves on to Camden Town, tells us how the band got a residency at the Dublin Castle, mentions Arlington House and sings One Better Day, finishing by telling us how Madness had recently played there as part of 100 year celebrations.

The various bands and artists who levitate to and live around Camden culminates with a version of Blackbird for Amy.

Jazzy B joins Suggs and the conversation turns to fashion and the multi culturalism of Camden. We’re treated to Suggs singing Camden Town.

Some retakes of lines another run through of Let’s Go and Suggs departs.

The shows will air on BBC Radio Four on 15/22/29 May and 5 June.

I count myself very fortunate to have attended both recordings and even more so to have heard Let’s Go and Camden Town sung live, first time for me.

In the year of Madness XL these shows were indeed an absolute pleasure to have been at.

Mark Bryant



Sign of the Times

F**k it’s cold” – Madness legend Suggs on the Summer Sessions and his best Edinburgh memories

From edinburghlive.co.uk

Suggs shared his fave memories, including the time he dropped the ‘f-bomb’ during a live performance at Edinburgh Castle

The Summer Sessions in Princes Street Gardens are just a few short months away, and one of the most anticipated acts are absolute legends Madness, who formed in the late ’70s and have been entertaining us all with their playful ska tunes ever since.

Madness frontman Suggs recently gave up a bit of his valuable time to chat to Edinburgh Live about the upcoming Summer Sessions gig at the Ross Bandstand on Princes Street on 18 August 2019.

The 80s legends responsible for classics like House of Fun, Our House and Baggy Trousers will entertain at the famous landmark in the shadow of Edinburgh Castle, and tickets are selling like proverbial hot cakes.

You can find the interview at: https://bit.ly/2JAigP4




And finally, we finish on an absolutely revolting note. How do you fancy seeing a cheese made from the bacteria of the one and only Suggs? We kid you not.

Celebrities including chef Heston Blumenthal, Blur bassist Alex James and Madness frontman Suggs, have allowed researchers to produce a selection of what has been called “unique” cheeses with bacteria harvested from their skin, the i reports.

The microbial portraits will be showcased at a forthcoming exhibition at the V&A in London.

The paper points out however that adventurous gourmands keen on a chunk of Suggs Cheddar or James Cheshire will have to wait, as it has not yet been determined if they are safe to eat.


Our thanks go to subscriber “twobodies” for sending the above in our direction.

Have a good week!

Jon Young, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts, Paul Williams

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