We don’t usually pay much attention to billboards, but this week three interesting ones went up in Camden Town and Kentish Town NW5. The location of these are as follows;
1. Camden Road railway station
2. Camden, next to The Hawley Arms
3. Kentish Town, near The Bull & Gate pub
So, why are these three ineresting? Well, the first is a map of Camden with a Madness “M”. The others follow this pattern, adding the words “Since 1979” and “Don’t Watch That”, respectively. They feature a red dot that highlights the location of a mural of One Step Beyond by a local artist and cafe owner. This piece of artwork is being installed soon after framing, and was signed by the band on the day their first album turned 40, with the slogan “40 years of chaos”.
These billboards continue the take over of Camden by the band, that began with fly posting stickers on lampposts and the sell out triple night set of gigs at the Roundhouse which take place this December.
But do watch. Watch that documentary of the band wandering Camden again. Closely.
More filming, a photo shoot and a few chatty visits have happened around Camden too. Whereas this coming week expect even more exciting event news in celebration of long ago Camden Madness. Be around Monday on the dot on Madness official news sources, and make sure you’re on the ball Friday too.
We are told more billboards will illuminate this Camden Madness take over up to the December Roundhouse gig. It’s a fitting set of decorations in this XL year. Let’s party like it’s 1979.
TWO TONE RECORDS was created in 1979 by The Specials founder Jerry Dammers. The label spawned a youth movement and a number of well-known artists and singles through its tenure including the aforementioned Specials with key singles ‘Gangsters’, the UK Number singles ‘Too Much Too Young’ and ‘Ghost Town’. They also helped launch the careers of Madness with ‘The Prince’, The Beat with ‘Tears of A Clown’, The Selecter with ‘On My Radio’ and The Bodysnatchers with ‘Let’s Do Rocksteady’ (The Bodysnatchers). The label ended its chart run of singles with ‘Nelson Mandela’ by The Special AKA.
This 40th Anniversary 7” Collection has been curated by Jerry Dammers, selecting his favourite 12 singles released on the label between 1979 and 1984.
– Presented with their original sleeve designs in a bespoke 1960’s style carry case
– A Bespoke Two Tone 7” slip mat
– 7” Art Card signed by Jerry Dammers.
Nick Woodgate’s “The Music” CD Album
Due to popular demand Nick’s new album is now available to purchase on CD. Priced at a mere £5 including U.K. shipping, this is an absolute bargain!
Celebrating 40 Years Of Madness – The 1979 Retro Range (Plus new T-shirts)
This Limited Edition MADNESS XL 40th Anniversary TOOTAL Scarf is now available @ The MADSTORE!
When Madness decided to celebrate their 40th Anniversary of entertaining the British Public, by launching a Strictly Limited-Edition Silk Scarf, teaming up with iconic British Accessories brand Tootal was the obvious choice.
Using Tootal’s centuries of Silk Scarf expertise and heritage within the Ska scene, the Band was instrumental in the design process, incorporating the unmistakable Madness logo with a nod to their truly outstanding 40th Anniversary.
Taking inspiration from their archives, Tootal took vintage styling and added Madness’ flamboyance into the Design.
This unique collaboration piece by Tootal for Madness is made from luxurious pure silk.
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.
This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby goes back in time to report on what was going on in the world of Madness 5, 10, 15 and 20 years ago this week.
5 years ago…
Issue Number 807 – Sunday 26th October to Saturday 1st November 2014
“New Madheads for old!” came the loud cry into your inboxes.
The 35th anniversary version of the One Step Beyond album took us back three and a half decades last week, especially with all those recently uncovered rehearsal song downloads from 1979. This week we zoomed back to the present with the public re-emergence of Madness in the UK for the first time in nearly a year. Suggs, Mike, Bedders, Lee, (with a little help from Ska Orchestra’s drummer Mez) performed an acoustic set of tunes on Radio Two’ Chris Evans Show.
The group unveiled in session, a brand new track, “The Last Rag and Bone Man”!
Over in “Showtimes” Butlins Minehead were announcing that the last few places for the forthcoming Madness Weekender were all 4 person plus apartments. If you wanted to bunk up with a few mates then this could have been a good way to get along to the weekend and at the same time save some pennies.
Next, and in our “Buy it” section we featured a new book in the form of “Be Stiff, the Stuff Records Story” by Richard Balls.
The press release told us that Richard Balls (author of the bestselling Sex & Drugs & Rock ‘N’ Roll: The Life of Ian Dury,Omnibus Press) interviewed over 50 people who were there at the time – both record company staff and artists. Rat Scabies, Lene Lovich, Jona Lewie, Graham Parker, Shane MacGowan, Larry Wallis, Wreckless Eric and many more, help trace the highs and lows of this revolutionary record label, where there was never a dull moment.
As a fun tribute to the marketing genius of Stiff, Soundcheck Books would be publishing the book with five different limited edition coloured covers.
Moving on, and over in “Sign of the Times” we reported on Madness’ appearance on the Chris Evans Show on BBC Radio 2.
Talking about the forthcoming MADHEAD tour, Suggs, Mike, Bedders, and Lee (with dep drummer Mez) performed a session for Chris Evans live on Radio 2.
The band performed two classics, a Dangermen returning tune for House of Fun, and a brand new song.
The Last Rag and Bone Man
You Keep Me Hanging on.
Of the new song, Suggs said he wrote it a couple of years ago, and they were talking about doing a new recording, to promote the new tour.
On to more good news and in the same section we reprinted an article from the tv3 web site where they revealed that Wilko Johnson of the legendary Blockheads had announced that he was cancer free.
“The legendary guitarist was presented with the Icon Award at the ceremony held at the Grosvenor House hotel in London and told the crowd during his acceptance speech that he has been ”cured” of terminal pancreatic cancer after undergoing radical surgery in April”.
Further on, and with just over a month until the Madness Weekender in Minehead was due to take place we gave you the full lowdown detailing just what delights this year’s “MIS Presents” would have in store.
After this it was on to our “MIS Feature”, which this week contained the lyrics to the brand new Madness song “Last Rag and Bone Man”. We followed this by re-printing an article from issue 430 of the MIS, where it was reported that Camden rag and bone man Alf had sadly lost his battle against cancer.
Suggs, commented at the time: “He was a really tremendous person. I met him when he used to come down my road. I gave him my old wardrobe and he used to leave me cigars. He was a bright spark, a really inspiring person in this world of blandness.”
We brought this issue to a close by reminding you that The Dangermen were Returning at The House of Fun. Be there or miss out.
10 years ago…
Issue Number 547 – Sunday 25th October – Saturday 31st October 2009
We weren’t sure if we we’re gifted with some strange type of sixth sense, but even before we learned of Morrissey’s poor health (which half of the MIS team witnessed first hand!) on Saturday night, we’d already chosen our first article for this issue.
If you’d ever wanted to know what the whole Madstock / Morrissey incident was like from the eyes and ears of a Mozza fan, then you’d want to give this issue read. It certainly shed new light on one of Madness’ most famous gigs.
On the subject of Morrissey, fans of the ex-Smiths singer were no doubt pleased to learn that he was now out of hospital, and although he had to cancel a forthcoming date or two, he hoped to be back on stage towards the end of the week.
Elsewhere Paul Rodgers once again graced us with his writing talents with yet another of his brilliant chart lowdown articles. This week Total Madness slipped to number 36 in the album charts, and was a non mover at number 3 in the indie charts.
Over in Chris’ cupboard Chris was asked if any tracks penciled in for the follow up to the Mad Not Mad album were completed and if they’d see the light of day.
Chris responded by saying;
“Some of the songs ended up on ‘The Madness’. Gabriels Horn, Be Good Boy, Song In Red and 11th Hour were recorded at this time, then re recorded.
If I can find them, they should see the light of day. I think they were really good versions, with Mark and Woody playing on them”
Next, it was over to another Chris – Chris Carter-Pegg, who explained that following him unknowingly being put forward by a number of other Madness fans, a Madness Special in the December 2009 issue of Record Collector Magazine grew by an extra 4 pages thanks to last minute typing writing/typing work by Chris. Chris even managed to get a full-page Norton Folgate DIY advert into the magazine, which had been kindly snapped by his wife, Emma.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that we’d been approached by a representative of ticket trading web site Viagogo, asking us to link to their site from the MIS.
Offering a service of “Real tickets for real fans”, it was basically a site where ‘fans’ could buy and sell tickets. We say ‘fans’, but it was quite clearly a site where those who got in early attempted to fleece proper fans dying to see their favourite band on stage.
Tickets for the forthcoming Madness tour were all listed, and the prices were absolutely laughable. If you thought the £90.40 for a single ticket to Bournemouth was bad enough, once you’d added the fees, handling and VAT it came to a whopping £112.88!
We advised you to wallets, and give sites like this a miss.
15 years ago…
Issue Number 285 – Sunday 24th October to Saturday 30th October 2004
Just to be different we decided to start off this issue with some non-Madness news, as we felt that many of our subscribers wouldn’t be aware that Neville Staples had just released a solo album called ‘The Rude Boy Returns’. Teletext described the album as “joyous and bouncy”, or at least words to that effect. Another album to add to the collection, perhaps?
On to Madness related news, and rather exciting news at that. Tour Madness editor, Jermaine, contacted us to say that it was nearing completion, and he was just saving up for the ink cartridges so he could print it out and send over a copy. If all went to plan he expected to send it to us around mid December.
It didn’t really tell us anything we didn’t already know, but Graham Whitfield felt it was something a little different. What are we referring to? Well, the Sun newspaper (dated 20th October 04) featured a short article concerning Madness’ name change to The Dangermen. What got Graham’s attention was that it was the first article he’d seen that wasn’t highly critical or mocking of an “Eighties” band working today.
Every two years Record Collector Magazine produces a price guide book. The latest edition, “The Rare Record price guide 2006”, had been released and was valid up until winter 2006 year as their official guide to the record market.
This new edition aimed to list ever UK release with the following exceptions. Singles below 5 pounds in value, EP’s below 7 pounds in value, CD singles below 8 pounds in value, LP’s below 10 pound in value and CD albums below 15 pounds in value. Values stated were for mint condition. If you couldn’t see a Madness record in the list it must have been priced less than these amounts or was not a UK issue.
High priced items in this list included the Absolutely LP in the 1st edition sleeve for £30, and a whopping £350 for the Tomorrow’s Just Another Day test pressing on pink & blue vinyl! Only serious collectors needed to apply!
And on the subject of serious collectors, this issue featured an item that really was one for serious Madness collectors – A Madness fruit machine! Fully working and as good as new, this was a major Madness collectors item, and it was up for sale!
We finished off this week’s issue with news in from Graham Whitfield who reported that the latest Walkers Crisps TV commercial featured (yet again!) ex-footballer Gary Lineker, but legendary Madness track “One Step Beyond”. It was a shame the band members themselves failed to make an appearance.
20 years ago…
Issue Number 23 – Sunday 24th October to Saturday 30th October 1999
After much shuffling of release dates the Madness fanbase was expecting to get its hands on the new single, Johnny The Horse, on Monday the 18th of December. However, that was not to be.
Many ventured off to their local music stores on the Monday, in an effort to get their hands on the latest Madness release, but quickly discovered that it was nowhere to be found.
Speaking to a member of staff at the Bristol Virgin Megastore (remember them?), we were told that it wouldn’t be released on the 18th, and that they thought it had now been put back to Monday the 8th of November. However, with all the release date changes, they admitted that they weren’t 100% sure either.
It seemed that the ever-changing release dates had confused the music retail industry as much as the Madness fanbase.
The ever-helpful Carl Smyth was quick to keep the fans posted, and announced that “Johhny The Horse” would be released on Monday the 25th, with “Wonderful” final hitting music store shelves on Monday the 1st of November. We decided to keep our fingers crossed, hoping that this would be the last of the changes.
More release news – this time from Suggsylia and Chris Carter-Pegg, both revealing that the Madstock 4 concert was now available to buy.
A quick wander down to our local Virgin Megastore saw racks of videos but not a single copy of the DVD release. We advised those who had decided to upgrade to the recently released DVD format to hold out for the disc release.
With two Madness releases just around the corner this last week saw the Mads appear on both ITV and BBC breakfast TV slots where the forthcoming single, Johnny The Horse was aired. Absent from both appearances was a certain Mr. Thompson who many were saying decided to have a lie-in rather than get up at the crack of dawn.
Later in the week ITV aired a special cut-down (only an hour long) version of last year’s Madstock 4 concert which included clips of the sadly defunct Madness Mailing List, on their last full-scale Madmeet outside the Dublin Castle in Camden.
If the band weren’t busy enough, we also discovered that they’d been back in the studio – this time to record their version of the Abba classic “Money, Money, Money”. Don’t panic. It was all in aid of charity!
Moving on, and subscriber Nigel Ward reported that at a recent Queen’s Park Ranger game, the promo of “Johnny The Horse” was played over the tannoy system on a number of occasions. Last approximately 1 minute, the promotional snippet detailed the release this coming Monday, and featured a sizeable chunk of the new track.
Our favourite band have always been keen to embrace the power of the internet, and a decade ago this was no different. With the new album due to be released on November the 1st, the band announced that they’d be releasing the full album online a week earlier. Sure, the sound quality wouldn’t be A1, but this was a fantastic way to keep the die hard fans happy, and to drum up interest from those who may not have purchased the release otherwise.
As well as featuring numerous reviews (taken from various web sites, newspapers and magazines), this issue featured the 3rd and final part of Suzanne Gilmour’s massive Radio 2 transcription fest.
Above and beyond the call of duty really didn’t go far enough to quite sum up just how much effort she’d put in!
Desorden Publico´s Danza de Los Esqueletos (25th anniversary reversion) Featuring Lee Thompson
It’s Domingo from Mexico City. I hope you are well. Here’s a little something. You might like to include it on the bulletin. It’s related to a track of the Venezuelan ska band which had been Madness fans forever. They did the It Must Be Love cover for the 30 Anniversary tribute album back then and now the are more than happy to have had Thommo’s vocals on one of their own tracks.
The below is as read on their videoclip description recorded to accompany the release hence my translation to the text.
“October ends … November begins … dates that are associated with the Day of the Dead, Halloween, spirits, frights, witches, cemeteries, skulls … So it could not be a better season for Desorden Publico to release this powerful reversion of Danza De Los Esqueletos (25th anniversary version) track.
This song, essential in the band’s musical history and incredibly favourite of children! caricatures a moonlit night in a churchyard … there, from beyond, the dead converted into party and all bones, return from our oblivion to teach us: There are natural and cultural differences between them and ourselves, right but there is no other difference among people -and never will be – We are all nothing less than that: just human beings forever.
“La Danza” now arrives in a revived arrangement, where a reggae-cumbia rhythmic base stands out capable of making the dead dance. On this groove, and to add weight and swing to the winds section, we invited the virtuous Venezuelans @irvinsaxjazz and @migueltovarsax to work along and follow @enzovillaparedes; former trumpet player in the early days of the band, who is based now in Los Angeles California and who was invited in a very special way for this session.
Is an Immense honour for us to have recorded in this commemorative version the voice of Lee Thompson, respected musician of the emblematic English group @madnessband, who made a stop at the celebrations of their fortieth anniversary to express his vocals in this fantastic reinvention. “This sounds f *** ing great!” He Said as he listened what the guys from the band sent to him from Venezuela.
It is important to emphasise that this theme was mixed in London by the musician and engineer @javierweyler, former drummer of @stereophonicsofficial and who has confessed being a reggae fan … and a Desorden Publico´s fan too.
Suggs went to court to help friend – who ended up being locked up.
Madness frontman Suggs went to court to give a character reference for a friend – who ended up getting jailed for six months.
The ska legend, real name Graham McPherson, failed to impress the judge – who remembered the group’s dodgy antics at a gig two decades earlier.
Suggs’ pal Jimmy was arrested at the 1997 FA Cup Final when they went to Wembley to support Chelsea against Middlesbrough on an open-top bus hired by the singer.
He said: “When we get off, there’s a slight altercation with some coppers and Jimmy gets nicked.”
But when the case went to court months later, Suggs, 58, thought he could use his celebrity status to get his mate off the hook.
In the band’s new book Before We Was We: Mad-ness By Madness, Suggs said: “I thought, I’ll give him a character reference.
“Everybody knows me. That can’t hurt, can it?
“And before the judge sums up, he’s reading out the character references. He says:
‘Oh, yes, and is this the same Graham McPherson who is also known as Suggs from the pop group, Madness?’
“I said to Jimmy’s son: ‘Don’t you worry about a thing, mate.’
“And I says: ‘Yes.’ Then the judge goes: ‘The same Madness that played Middlesex Polytechnic in 1978, when I was head of the student union, yes?
“And in an act of wanton, drunken thuggery, smashed our new toilet department?”
“I’m thinking: ‘Middlesex Poly? Oh, for f***’s sake, I know where this is going… s***.’
“Jimmy got six months.”
And finally, we finish this week’s edition of the MIS with a bit of a request.
The request comes from subscriber Peter Jacobs who lives in the US and is struggling to get hold of the “Before we was we” audio book. Peter’s tried to listen to it via Audible, but the site tells him that they are not authorised to tell him the audio version of the book.
If you have any ideas detailing how to legally obtain this in the US then please let us know. We’ll post the solution in a subsequent issue so all US Madness fans can get their hands on it.