The 2019 House of Fun Weekender may be a fading memory for many of you, but thanks to the efforts of our own Jonathan Young and a host of subscribers we have a meaty chunk of HOF coverage in this very issue.
In the past few issues you may have noticed that we’ve had the Punk Rock Bowling festival where Madness are due to appear as being sold out. We were contacted this week by long-time subscriber Elizabeth Maddox who emailed in to tell us;
“Some friends who go to Punk Rock Bowling every year said only the 3 day passes went on sale and that’s what sold out. Later they’ll announce the line ups for each day and individual day tickets will go on sale. Apparently that’s pretty standard.”
If this is the case then it means there’s still a chance for you Stateside fans to catch the band next year. As soon as we hear anything further with regards to the individual day tickets we’ll let you know.
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.
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 813 – Sunday 7th December to Saturday 13th December 2014
The Madhead tour was go and currently four gigs in. If you’d been along to any of the shows so far we asked that you send us your gig reviews and we’d make sure they were published in a future issue.
In this week’s issue we had the first set lists and reviews comments from fans and the press.
Madness were never ones to rest on their laurels, and “Operation Grandslam” was now underway, with the band teasing an active Summer for 2015.
So, what was Operation Grandslam? Well, news was thin on the ground, but the band had given us a site link for us to visit. Not that it had a huge amount of information to go on at that point.
With the Christmas tour now in full swing it would come as little surprise that the majority of the issue was taken up with gig reviews, links to YouTube footage and set lists.
Our MIS Feature this week pointed you in the direction of an early nutty Christmas present as the band were giving away a studio download of brand new track “The Last Rag and Bone Man”. Very nice!
10 years ago…
Issue Number 553 – Sunday 6th December – Saturday 12th December 2009
With this year’s Christmas tour now in full swing, set lists and feedback from the fanbase were starting to crop up on web sites and mailing lists across the internet.
Alongside the usual selection of hits and new material fans were already voicing their approval of the reviving of the classic ERNIE, and a real surprise at the band’s covering of Paul Simon’s track “Mother and Child Reunion”. You can find YouTube footage of the
Always the one with the facts, Jean-Pierre Boutellier of the French MIS told us that “The original of this song was recorded in Kingston Jamaica by Paul Simon, in 1971. He was the first white singer to record a reggae song in Kingston”.
Whether this track would crop up again elsewhere on the tour (Paul Rodgers reported that it was lost at The Brighton gig on the 2nd) remained to be seen.
However, with official recordings of the gigs available at the end of each evening, you should have been able to get your hands on this without too much of a struggle.
In other news we revealed that Madness had been booked to headline Camp Bestival. Other bands appearing at the event were The Human League, Lee Scratch Perry, Calvin Harris, and many more. Madness would be headlining the Saturday night on the 2nd of August.
Ferry news next, and we reported (via a re-print of a Sun newspaper article) a ferry crew have recorded their own Madness style tribute vide on their own ship.
The off-duty Caledonian MacBrayne workers recreated their very own House of Fun video on board the MV Hebrides.
We had some Retro Madness news next, as Chris and Emma reported that the RM web site was launching with its own RM section, which featured a selection of photos from the Total Madness bus in Brighton, as well as some ideas they’d put together as part of this year’s tour programme.
On to meet news next, and we passed the baton over to Vince Carden who was here with those all important details for the pre-gig Newcastle meet. Starting from 12 noon it was likely that many attending would be rather plastered by the time the gig kicked off that evening!
We brought this issue with news from Chris Carter-Pegg, who reported that Madness had scaled Mojo’s Top 50 Best Albums of 2009 list, and that Carl looked back on the band’s 2009 over on the Mojo web site.
15 years ago…
Issue 291 – Sunday 5th December to Saturday 11th December 2004
After a couple of weeks with only a few items, it was pleasing to see that this lack of news was merely a small blip in the run-up to Christmas.
This week we were planning to give those of you who missed it, a lowdown on the Channel Four `2-Tone Britain` documentary aired earlier in the week. However, even with two editors trying to record the thing it didn’t happen. One editor recording on his trusty VHS only caught 60% of the programme, whilst the other who set his spanking new hard disc recorder to get the show woke up to find the digital signal had gone all screwy, and all he was left with was a stuttering mess.
Thankfully Madness Trading Ring subscriber Lawrence Werrett had recorded, encoded and uploaded the show for the rest of us poor unfortunates to download.
The programme charted the rise and fall of the whole 2-Tone movement, interspersed with interviews from members of a number of 2-Tone bands including The Specials, The Beat, and of course, Madness.
The documentary featured a nice big chunk with Suggs, and even a short bit of footage showing Suggs and Woody in the recording studio, working on the new Ska covers album.
The download proved useful for those who missed the broadcast, and those new to the world of the Bit Torrent network were given a quick tutorial in how to download files via peer to peer.
This issue we featured a strange photo from the one and only Colin Galbraith, who was certain that a photo dated around 1898 proved that Suggs was at least 106 years old, and not 45 as we originally thought.
Elsewhere, and Jon Young reported that the video for the Tracey Ullman song “My Guy’s mad at me” appeared in a brief clip on “Have I Got News For You”, which aired on BBC1 on Friday night.
The satirical news quiz was hosted by guest presenter and ageing labour politician, Neil Kinnock.
In a section of the show that poked fun at the news that Top of The Pops is being moved off from BBC1, Neil introduced the clip.
“Let us not forget this tremendous hit from the early 80’s that reached the heady height of number 28 in the charts”, Neil announced before a clip from the video played.
The Clip showed Tracey Ullman as 3 characters, a teenager, a middle aged mother and her showbiz tuxedo wearing self, who all meet Neil Kinnock whilst he is out campaigning for the labour party.
Tracey’s Madness cover version playing over the clip. The clip concluded with a slightly bad dance move involving the 2 of them.
“So Did that win you many votes?” was the question asked by the studio panel when the clip finished?
“I shouldn’t have thought so.” Was the defeated labour leaders last word on the video.
20 years ago…
Issue 29 – Sunday 5th December to Saturday 11th December 1999
With just over a week till the Christmas tour finally kicked off we were still no closer to discovering why the Dublin gig at The Point was given the chop. Thankfully the majority of Irish fans had seemed to have made alternative arrangements and got themselves tickets for a show or two on the UK mainland instead. Obviously it wasn’t the ideal situation, but at least it meant they’d still be able to witness what could possibly the last Madness tour ever!
Last Sunday saw the filming of the New Year’s edition of the popular channel 5 karaoke show, `Night Fever` which a number of the TMML subscribers were lucky (?) enough to get along to. The show would apparently air from 10pm – 11pm on New Years Eve. If you weren’t a fan of the show we recommended you set the video so you could skip to the Suggs bits whilst you were nursing your head on New Year’s Day.
All you DVD owners out there were urged to pay a visit to the shops on the Monday after this issue of the MIS web out, as that was the day that the Madstock 4 DVD would hit the shelves of all good music and video stores up and down the United Kingdom. The disc was priced at a whopping £19.99, although this was considered the norm at the time.
We still had no firm information detailing who would support Madness on their forthcoming tour, and we’d even heard that it may not even be a band as such. But Peter Gardner of the TMML told us at that time that he’d heard that The Thunderbugs may be supporting. For those of you not in the know, The Thunderbugs were an all-girl four-piece band who had just released their second single.
The majority of this issue was taken up with a lovely interview with the late, great Ian Dury, who revealed how he was able to keep going, despite his cancer.
Elsewhere we gave readers the lowdown on Nutty Sounds volumes 1 -4, which were now available from Vince Carden for £15 each. All albums came with their own high quality sleeves, which had been printed in full colour.
We finished this issue with news that Manchester G Mex was the latest venue to sell out prior to the start of the Christmas tour.
With the G Mex out of the picture for ticket buyers, the tour now looked like this:
13th December – Stratford Rex SOLD OUT
15th December – International Arena – Cardiff
16th December – Brighton Centre – Brighton SOLD OUT
17th December – International Centre – Bournemouth SOLD OUT
18th December – M.E.N. Arena – Manchester
19th December – N.E.C. – Birmingham
20th December – Arena – Newcastle
22nd December – Wembley Arena – London SOLD OUT
23rd December – Wembley Arena – London
House of Fun – 40 Moments
The 9th House of Fun was full of hits.
Here are 40 memorable things that were witnessed as Madness & their fans returned to Minehead to celebrate over 40 year’s since the band began on record.
Five falls to start with, then thirty five joyous high climbing moments, right up to the very chart topping times that were had. Here’s our pick of the HOF’s
Top of the flops.
40 Space sadly slipped a disc.
You can’t help it when illness means a band has to drop out. Soundtracks stepped up and filled in, and we all missed a gutted Tommy Scott, who had sent his apologies. Get well and they’ll happily have you there next year. Here’s hoping you can make it, fit and well.
39 Roddy was a bit shoddy
Neither is it easy when an entertainer is off the boil. The rockabilly rockstar wasn’t on the vibe. Following a poor performance at The Big One, recently, HOF marked a second set of walk outs and complaints for a gifted 2tone era writer and talented guitarist who it seems sadly isn’t focussed enough on pleasing audiences right now. We’re hoping he returns to happier more engaging shows in his future.
38 The moody DVD player.
Twenty five wasted minutes, during the cinema screenings at the weekend, also a few intermittent sound issues and other quibbles marred the cinema projection this year. Cheap tech, staff training levels, and testing time were all just slightly lacking here. Beyond that it’s still a brilliant inclusion to have the cinema within the weekender, just needs a little more care in its execution.
37 Acceptable fancy dress.
There were some good and funny efforts, of 80s figures, but widely overall it was the most generic fancy dress look this year ever. Too many 80s naff clothes in narrow repetition, such as the Frankie says or wham t shirts, and the kind of costumes you see every year like Mario or hi de hi. Kids TV as a theme next year please, something that gives range and takes everyone back to youthful times. Fans reading this, make an effort & spread the word when any theme gets announced for 2020. Let’s make the last HOF really fancy dress memorable.
36 The Final Curtain
The slight inevitable downer of hearing that HOF 2020 is the final house of Fun Weekender. Caused early sorrow, and reminiscence. Maybe after a pause perhaps an encore may be possible after 2020, even in a newer format or nutty name. Maybe in another life, as they say. We can only hope, as right now there is just one more HOF left. That’s a fact that has motivated many an absent fan to return next time. So that’s a good thing.
Top of the HOF’s
35 This is England DJ’s
Lovably pissed (or “FOOKIN STEAMING” as Thomas Turgoose described himself) and clearly as delighted to have people actually there to see them as the people were to have them. They lost at the arcade basketball after their show to the MIS lodge. Great guys.
34 Weather-spoons with Mr Wheeze.
Seeing how happy a croaky throated Lee Thompson was on Monday morning was a joy that summed up that the weekender had gone very well for the band and fans alike. He was thrilled with how well the Double Madness singles set had gone, and even had a kind word about Mr Haslers band too, having hung around the longest for the weekends full duration.
33 HOF Documentary
The chaps who capture moments on film each year and create the little HOF promo videos for us all to enjoy, were this year filming more detailed interviews with fans behind Inn on the Green.
The hope is for a 10 year HOF documentary capturing some of what the Weekender has meant and included over the decade. Feels like the last one needs this in its cinema. Great to see them trying to capture the HOF spirit by chatting to fans, and shining the lens on people.
32 Absolutely – “show your face”
A photo opportunity to get your fizzgog into the seminal second album cover. A popular seaside nutty attraction, face holes in a photo board. It was snapped up all weekend, along with a yellow internal M, too.
31 Felix the cat T-shirt
The cheeky winking cat was a much admired look on the merch stall, along with a captain America shield and a nutty night boat shirt, newly added to the retro range.
30 Chief Kegwin’s Cheese Club
A newly emerging tradition in lodge parties from the revolution of baby bell melters. Sometimes your holiday is memorable for the people you share it with. Or the little cheesy moments. This one named after an unfortunate spoonerism during a parlour game. Hope you and yours had little moments too. Why not tell us, especially if you did the Madness karaoke, or you won at the Bingo.
29 Nosy Bonk
Unacceptable since the 80’s, the best fancy dress was the creepy mimed charter from Jigsaw who returned to stalk the house of fun. Well done Chris Carter Pegg. Cue a hippo called Hubert theme, and a haunting big white grin.
28 HOF hot dogs
The crunchy onions on the hot dog carts are the go to snack when it’s a busy venue hopping day. The taste brings us back to the Minehead feeling. Of the many eateries what’s your dinner plate?
27 Pete’s Party
Top of the private parties we attended. Pies in barm cakes ahoy. Happy 50th Pete Mayor, a surprise gathering Sunday morning. Fans make the party poppers in the weekenders song.
26 Mr Happy
The resident DJ packs out Inn on the Green happily. This year we noticed Phillip Toogood up on sax as well as Darren Jones from SKM up with the children’s entertainer. Riding his chopper bike around on Saturday morning he also popped up in the MIS film this year. He’s the resident Timmy mallet character of HOF.
25 Darren Bennett
Fit and well & whipping up the crowd before Madness. Then Classic tunes from Darren and Madame scorcher always until the wee hours.
24 Owen Collins
Energetic MIS host.
23 Mandy Boybandy
22 Adrian sherwood/Jennie Mathias
The belle star up with a dub DJ. Jennie giving the boot stomping performances she’s known for.
21 Mr Scurf’s pool party
A soaking for Scurf and 2 hours of Trojan boss sounds, dipped into by Kenny during everyone’s dip. With shout outs and splashes. While Jim Sole and a dancing crab were goaded into Christmas songs in the busk and even earned £2.50 in a cap.
All of that stuff is a bonus. Now it’s time for the top twenty.
20 Silent Disco
The sound of the crowd signing Vindaloo or Amarillo vs Chumbawamaba still echoes.
19 The Undertones
The bands that support Madness are the main draw for entertainment across the weekend. Punk Irish band The Undertones draw compliments for their lead singers panache’, managing to be engaging. More dynamic than the famous shoes he has filled. The band are up for the craic wearing fezzez during their rapid extensive set. Ending with my favourite cousin.
18 The inflatables
Seven years supporting Madness here with a local following and the most crowd pleasing obvious neighbouring music that HOF crowds love. This was their closest support slot yet as the last band on Saturday before the nutty boys. They were excellent
17 DJ Benny Bullfrog with King Rebska
In the Inn On The Green for some of Thommo’s set. A good mixture of old skool Jamaican Ska, Northern Soul that had people dancing.
16 The Arlingtones
They had played a nice vibey Ska/Rocksteady set………They told me they were all homeless people and that the band was based round Arlington House, the homeless refuge in London. They told me Madness had heard about them and invited them to play at the Festival. There was no fanfare, no PR. They just brought them to the Festival and gave them a good spot and a good fee……….Super respectful and super classy from Madness. I was massively impressed
15 Rhoda Dakar
It’s always a pleasure to see Rhoda live, Centre Stage on Sunday was no exception. Her set list is mainly her own solo tunes including numbers lifted from her Lo-Tek EP’s.
Amongst her band, she is ably assisted by some familiar faces; in particular Terry Edwards on sax, Paul Tadman on bass & Louis Vause on key
Ms Dakar engages so well with her audience in her own self depreciating style of stage chat. Easy Life & Let’s Do Rocksteady don’t disappoint. A great performance from this Lady of 2-Tone.
14 The Ghost Train Spotter
My personal memory of hearing that Madness had split up was in the 6th form common room at school. 1986. Seeing a fan film about this ‘pop cultural’ moment in time that is so personal to me was, at the same time, both devastating & thrilling.
Other moments of the era are brilliantly weaved in to the film with genuine laugh out loud moments for some of the Grange Hill sketches! The Weetabix adverts of the era are in there too. A nostalgia trip like no other. The half known about ‘Lost’ album also filled in some gaps for me too. The entire film was engaging, funny, poignant and above all a real treat to watch.
13 The Bed & Breakfast Man.
Donning an Invaders T-shirt, playing early 70s Madness favourites like Rough Kids by Kilburn & The Highroads. & Guns Of Navarone. It was fun to have John Hasler present in the 40th on Sunday, after a stage dance with Madness Saturday night during his anthemic theme song.
12 The Launchers
After constantly playing The Launchers new album since its release, it was great to see and hear it played out live. Great music and sound with a tendency to involve the audience regularly, and then came the unexpected “Does Your Mother Know!” Superb cheesy idea and it continued to get us all dancing and singing along. I hope they have great success with the album, and continue to produce many more in the future.
11 The Silencerz
Lee Thompson stage hopped impressively quickly into the band. No lights on the Christmas tree mother. Always a favourite.
Apache by the shadows, and other classic surf rock sounds from John Hasler’s band. He’s behind the drum kit, with three guitar swapping Scot’s up front riffing out plenty of twang. A few of the tunes were their own EP. Get crabs was a gag we never grew tired of over the weekend. Gary Saunders even stage danced with them in his shell costume.
9 The Bootleg Beatles
The closest possible illusion to this band still being around as a crowd pleasing audience engaging good time band. Hit after hit for a packed out crowd, sure it’s a tribute, but such a quality one, fitting in the cannon of influences upon Madness, such is their catalogue legacy of tunes. Probably the best thing ever put on at HOF for the universal dance and singalong this was. From she loves you to hey Jude. With two costume changes and a sharing of lead songs.
8 Before we was we advert
The book needed a good plug down here of course. Given the audio book concept is a lesser trodden media. The playback of Before We was We. With an advert in the pavilion, was to many a gift of a brand new madness song, on great speakers. At the moment they were most likely to hear it. A brilliant gig intro. For the few who had already heard it, it was a smiling and sing a long moment. Nice touch.
7 Bullingdon Boys
The release of the next madness single.
In time for not just the election, but as a prelude to the house of fun and their double singles set. Genius. Starting the HOF morning hearing new studio music from the band. What a joy.
6 Kenwood The Movie
A third Madness gig in the weekend. giving us Kenwood as a movie.
The sound was amazing, it really brought it to life in that definition. We saw it Sunday with a packed cinema, I could hear things in the recording that were not so easy to catch on the day. And the varied views it gives, brings the interaction to life. This movie is the best way to experience this truly unique Madness gig. I hope to see again.
On Friday Woody & Bedders talked about Kenwood meaning a lot to them in their childhood as they had seen classical concerts there. With Chris and Lee answering questions about the Film Saturday.
5 The Top 40th Part 1
Lucky Dip unluckily dipped in 2018. This year Madness moved away from Friday rare set specialities of previous years to do something new. To create a double balance of sets, for the first time in their career. Making both nights strong and special. Refreshing the order of songs as well as losing showtime as a section or the usual 1,2,3 intro. Even separating the two my girls. “Madness” remained as the post encore spot. One step and night boat were still openers and closers, but on separate nights.
It was a shuffle that delighted and kept an alert audience on their toes.
Their played 40 hits. They touched every album more than once, including complete and utter, lone singles. The strongest best of Madness almost entirely singles focussed. Giving HOF regulars at least 4 singles never heard here in Minehead. 3 never heard since late 80s or early 90s.
Can’t touch us now returned as an opener.
The harder they come, was a treat that took me back to Madstock, were as Shame and Scandal returned me in time to The Dangerman. Some 15 to 25+ year in nostalgia tripping.
Drip Fred Fed sung by a champagne swilling Thommo was the highlight. Raise your glass to double Madness.
4 The Top 40th Part 2
Saturday was even better… best till last.
From Sugar and spice to Dust Devil Saturday touched more Folgate singles than any year since the third HOF. Grey Day back alongside big singles was a treat. In my street was touted as possibly a future single.
Help a Capella was sung in tribute to The Beatles having been tributes the night before.
3 Forever Young Photo Montage
The return of a great Folgate single, for the first time in 6 years is a treat but the photo montage the band added, was a stunning tear jerking grin creating moment. To see them all in their youth. The photos were all from the 70s and clearly from personal collections. It was more extensive than just the ones that made it into the book, before we was we.
Our dashing young boys in their prime poised to become pop stars shortly afterwards. HOF paradise.
2 Uncle Sam
Upbeat, and as relevant as ever as Trump is as big a gas bag as Reagan was. The USA satire song returned to the stage. Sailing us into hearing a second mad not mad song in the same weekend. Not heard since 85 but a widely known tune through Divine sales. What a joy. Almost the last great rare single to hear since 92 Madstock we’ve waited.
1 The Ghost Train
Nothing made this HOF more complete and utter brilliance, than the inclusion of this iconic song back into the live singles cannon. First time since a sporadic 1993 airing. Shout out to Steve Jacob who I danced with during this one being aired. 2tone is black and white. It made the whole forty years feel poignant the highs and lows of this nutty band. In a nut shell. A treat for all.
There’s one more ride ready to depart in just 50 weeks time. Don’t miss the final curtain. Book HOF10 now
With Owen Collins. Steve Jacobs.
Nicky Elkins. Darren west. Ian Dawson
Sign of the Times
The Who honoured with first stone in Camden’s Music Walk of Fame
The Who have been honoured with the founding stone in London’s new Music Walk of Fame.
The Mod icons are the first act to be honoured with the special award at the launch of the new attraction in Camden Town, London.
Bandmates Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend were handed the honour by Primal Scream singer Bobby Gillespie, watched on by friends including Madness‘ Suggs and Jazzie B.
The Who said: “We are honoured to be the first band with a stone on the Music Walk Of Fame.
“Camden has always been vital to London’s thriving music scene and is, as we all know, a world-renowned hub for the arts. As Londoners, it’s very surreal to be immortalised in stone on Camden High Street, and it’s quite something to know that people can pop by and see us anytime, albeit virtually!”
The Who’s ‘founding stone’ will act as the beginning of the route, with legendary names including Amy Winehouse and Madness expected to be inaugurated at a later date.
Its that time of year again where the reviews for the yearly ‘HOF’ weekender start to pile in.
Without exception, here is my brief review detailing the highlights of our weekend.
The Band were on top form on both nights with old and new tunes being played. This went down very well with the crowd and lots of happy faces after the performance. Great stuff
Simply brilliant. This is a band that is most definitely going places and I feel sure will be seeing a lot more off. We went to the Skyline pavilion on the Saturday afternoon that at first was fairly empty until the band struck up some belting tunes and very quickly filled the place with people wanting some top class entertainment.
The lovely Laura Betts on vocals supported by the rest of the band was just amazing. We met up with the band later that evening and had a beer or two with Duane on Saxophone.
The Skatonics really deserve a better slot than they were given. Well done everyone.
The Bootlegs Beatles.
Incredible sounds and another brilliant band.
Full of energy and had the crowd buzzing.
What can you not like about Rhoda? She is a lovely genuine person whom I have had the pleasure to meet a few times and is fantastic artist. A big fat 10/10 to Rhoda, you are superb.
Amazing, brilliant, funny, top quality performer who had the flagging crowd up on their feet again on the Sunday night.
Managed to meet up with Earl and have a chat. Brilliant tunes Mr G
Now with booking being taken for next years grand finale, I have put together my Dream Team for the final ‘HOF’ Weekender 2020.
The Cuban Brothers
Lets see if this can happen?
Thank you fellas for your news letters over the last 12 months, Top Notch.
My House of Fun 2019
Since the beginning of November I had a nasty cough which turned out to be Bronchitis. Oh no! House of Fun is at the end of the month. I did my best to recuperate, I didn’t want to miss this. Luckily by the end of the month I felt better.
Friday the 29th of November my alarm went of at 05:00, I jumped out of bed and took my dog for a walk. Thoughts went through my mind on what the weekend would look like. This was going to be my first HoF. I’ve seen the pictures and youtube postings, but now I finally was going there. I got ready, kissed my wife goodbye, grabbed my suitcase and left to Amsterdam Schiphol at 06:30. This was going to be a long trip to Minehead.
After flying to Bristol, taking the train to Taunton and sharing a cab to Minehead we finally arrived at Butlin’s. Although I’m dutch I know Butlin’s, but I never been there.
We got our keycards at reception, plus the wristeband and such and went off to find our room. I was sharing a room with a mate of mine. She started the Official Dutch Madness fanclub. She contacted me after seeing ‘One Man’s Madness’. A film everyone should have seen by now.
We quickly changed and went of to the main building. I always thought I was crazy, with my porkpie hat and DM’s but looking around I felt normal. A feeling of ‘coming home’ came over me. What a joy it was to see people of all ages loving the same great kind of music.
After acclimatizing ourselves with the area we went off to the Inn on the Green. We walk in and close to everyone turns around and looks at me and then it dawns on me that I’m a tall dude. This actually helped in having a chat with about everyone around me. That was great.
Finally it was time to Madness at the main stage. This is were I also met up with another mate from Holland, Ronnie. I call him the dutch prince as he walked around with the dutch flag draped over his shoulder. I heard that last years Friday gig wasn’t that good, well this one was triple A. The lads were in form. It was great from beginning to the end.
I always try to get upfront to take some good pictures but this time I thought I’d stay at the side. I didn’t want to block anyone’s view. After the gig I popped off to the Inn again. Yes that was going to become my pub. And yes it was lively.
I’ve been a fan for 40 years now and I met fans who know them just as long but also have meet them on a regular basis. So it was nice to talk about Madness. No juicy gossip, we’ll leave that to the Sun, just tidbits about how songs arose and such.
We went to see the Silencerz after that and boy what a great band that is. You could see that Lee was having so much fun playing in the band with his son. By the way, Lee had already done an hour gig prior to this one. Were does this man get the energy. I was knackered by then.
The early start of the day and the long trip was taking it’s toll. I needed a rest. I hope Silencerz will come to Holland (I’m sending emails to venues) or I have another chance to see them in England, because this band rocks.
Saturday I had a large British breakfast and walked of to Minehead, got myself a nice 3XXL Lambretta Jacket from Top2Toe. I can’t even get that size here in Holland.
After some more sightseeing I rushed back as I wanted to see the film about the Kenwood gig. I finally found the cinema venue and bumped into Chris Foreman. I persuaded him in taking a picture and went in to look for a seat. It toke some time for them to play the film as there was a problem with the DVD. We could ask questions after the film, but Chris and Lee (who popped in with his lunch) went up front just to break the time. Whilst asking my question the film started.
I’m not a big fan of seeing concerts on film, but this one grabbed my attention. Madness with an orchestra. I’ve always found that a lot of there songs were made for an orchestra. One Better Day brought chills down my spine and a tear to my eyes. If you haven’t seen the film, see it just for this version. At the end close to everyone was leaving, but not me I still wanted to ask my question. I got a chance to ask it: ‘Will there be a Take it or Leave it part 2’? Chris’s reply was a firm big ‘NO’. I left feeling a bit like a twat for asking that question. Still a documentary would be nice, 40 years of Madness.
I bumped into Lee at the exit and being the fanboy I asked for a picture. He turns around looks at me and goes ‘your the Dutchman’. I’m like yeah! Nice of him to remember.
What is nice about a Festival is that you tend to see things you don’t expect. So I come back into the main area and I see this long line waiting to go into the Pavilion. There was going to be a comedy hour or two. Good idea to sit down have a beer and a laugh, I like British humour. I’m sitting there minding my own business when I get an app from my mate saying that Lee’s in the Inn on the Green. As mentioned earlier, being the fanboy I am I had to pop over. Lee was playing music. Good fun.
After that I had a chance to see this great band called the Skatonics. There are not a lot of bands, according to me, who play songs from Madness, Specials, Beat, Selecter and Bad Manners. Certainly in Holland Bad Manners is the forgotten child, but not to me. Skatonics were great. I’ve noticed this is starting to become a long story so I will cut it short.
I changed for the Saturday Madness gig, the theme was the 80’s. I didn’t bring anything great with me as my only thought was to get healthy for the weekend. But what a delight it was to see how most of the attendees had done an effort. My mate Ronnie, the prince of Holland, was walking around in a nice suit with the dutch flag draped over him. You have to check out the pictures on the official Madness HoF site on FB. Smurfs, scousers, disco heads, desert rats (ok more 1940’s), two ladies in typical London music hall gear (apologies if I got that wrong), it was all there and more. Kudos to those who dressed up.
Madness’s second set was great, no comments about that. I usually want to go all the way to the front to take pictures but now I found myself having animated discussion about ska, life general, the sound (which was a bit muffled to the trained ear) and life in general. I think this is the power of HoF, everything and everyone is great.
After Madness’s gig I found myself stuck in the Inn again. Maybe because it’s on the way to my room. I got my ear’s pierced by Mt Happy, there still ringing.
The Sunday started out nice and quiet, talking about football and singing songs, in the Inn on the Green (I see a pattern growing there). Didn’t do much on Sunday, forgot to see Rhoda, actually forgot to see a whole load of bands. But all in all for me the House of Fun was a success. What a delight it was to see so many Madness fans together. I finally know what the House of Fun is and yes I booked for next year. What an experience.
As a finally note I would like to thank the security guard who stood close to the supermarket. This gentleman radiated happiness and love. Every time I walked past him I got a smile on my face. I even waited a couple of times just to get a chance to give him a big hug.
That just about brings this week’s issue of the MIS to a close. If you’re after more then why not check out this question and answer session with Lee Thompson at the recent Specialized Big One 8 event. The audio quality isn’t A1, so you’ll need to listen well: