Our review of experiences at the 2017 weekend can be found in full in this very issue, and this is accompanied by another review from an MIS reader. Feel free to email us your reviews if you spotted something we didn’t, or enjoyed different things at the event.
Also this week, Madness entered the UK album charts at number 23 with their release of Full House; a 2 CD greatest hits package:
Hi everyone, thanks so much for your support – it’s great to have finally reached the target and get to 100%. We’re keeping the store open for a few more weeks whilst we get all the production in place, we’ll have another update for you soon with dates for when you can expect your goodies.
Full House – The New Madness Best of Album – Review
Available to order now from Madness.co.uk & Pledge music. Out now!
2 CD’s and 4 LP’s make up a house full of Madness hits as the new best of reaches it’s Pledge shipping date, to be store available later too. But my house is already full of Madness Hit’s albums! is the shout of many fans that prefer a lesser milking of the back catalogue. So apart from Complete, Utter, It’s, It’s too, Divine, Divine, Divine, Heavy Hits, The Business, Our House the original songs, The incomplete digital singles collection, Total, Ultimate, Total Olympics, A Guided Tour, The Very best of, imports, The Ska Collection, The Take It or Leave It out not again soundtrack and Chris Foreman sings the hits LP, what has Full House ever done for us?
Yes, This is the best of with added CTUN & OUI OUI. Maybe it will settle pub arguments as to what counts as the singles from those last two albums now. Maybe it will start even more arguments.
So given the truth that ” Hit’s happen ” lets leave that fact to one side now, and address the fact that this isn’t Madness the complete singles. Though it nearly is. It’s 42 tracks neatly split into 21 each CD or set of LP’s. That includes the biggest singles and songs of the FULL band era on Full House part one. Then Mike leaves home. Uncle Sam starts part two which brings us up to carl-less date with the band still making great music in a house occasionally with someone who’s not home today. In fact the CD mirrors this fact slightly, a beautiful cover bulging with multiple mad men all together in our full house of fun then opens up on the CD version to reveal just Woody inside another version of the house on the inner image, where the full band are driving away in their car, and a business man runs for the buss. The Vinyl is even more stunning, housing a black and white checkered floor and an upstanding 3D pop up design of the full house cover.
Most singles are present, mostly in chronological order, of course lets not forget to say pretty much all of this music is bloody brilliant. 42 career spanning tracks does stand up very well in quality of tuneage being consistent and delightful at least 95% of the time. As a best of it really does give a very long and satisfying listen. Certainly for the general music listener who is often the consideration with these things.
Lets nitpick this apart then, fans size-ably probably wanted a complete chronological singles collection. Where does this house fall down? Missing is “Sorry” (perhaps a blessing!) Live Harder They Come (It’s self a live oddity in the UK singles line) Sweetest Girl (Maligned not Mad) and most Scandalously perhaps Shame and Scandal being out leaves only a Girl to represent the danger covers, a shame that. These tunes feeling a little less than Full Madness be it for live, production sound or reasons of writing or reaction perhaps ultimate explains why this album is aiming to slightly distance its self from being The Full Singles Collection and instead live next door to that idea.
There are other arguments of omission like double A sides, Herbert’s or promoted tracks or pressings of various kind’s. Consider too many of those and you unbalance the album and overshoot the maximum CD or Vinyl time slots. I feel I would have possibly finished with slow trousers down as a Grand ending though, as version of me would have been propped up by another version of Baggy Pantalons echoing earlier days.
Fair enough then if because of things like all this, you don’t want to live here. I hope it sells well though and lands in many houses across the country. Firstly cus this music sounds great, secondly the album looks great. Paul agar once again achieve a great cover montage, using images that recall, One Step Beyond, Seven, Cant Touch us Now, Driving in my Car, Oui, Oui boxset, and some recent tours like Madhead & before. There are some neat art touches. My favourite is Lee Thompson, known for a nudey moment or two, depicted on the cover as Twickenham 1974 Michael OBrien, the famous England vs france Rugby streaker with policeman’s helmet cover up. Priceless scene stealing again! Bedders top hat chimney pop up is nice too and really sweet in the lucky dog looking up at the classic black and white photo on the inner sleeve of the boys during house of fun days, and the nod to the newly installed heritage plaque status of Madness.
Even if it’s far too standard for fans not completist enough to give a home to the hits yet yet yet yet yet yet yet yet yet again, this album’s biggest plus points (beyond looking and sounding good) is its chance to get some of the second part of Madness’s career into the homes of people only likely to listen to Divine or Total in the past.
This will bring the rare overlooked Sarah’s song and Simple Equation into the ears of even people who never saw a version of the musical and are unlikely to buy wonderful. Promote interest in Cant Touch us Now, Oui, Oui and Folgate even further, and most criminally the single Drip Fed Fred brings this Ian Dury featuring tune to the most prominent position it’s ever had. It seems crazy that despite listing so many hits albums, it’s only the poor selling Guided Tour that has ever hosted this track in a hits collection before despite being released 17 years ago. Here is a chance to get that track across again to the masses and then please bring it back for the Full house tour 2018 Christmas? You are a bonafide two CD’s hits album band now Madness. Quality 21 song sets, in two eras of Madness for the masses, music from the very best band, no wonder at gig’s the house is always full. Madness Pale Ale, Tin and Pint Glass Set
Product description: Ladies and Gentleman, for your drinking pleasure Madness bring you one of the fines beers to ever pass your lips. An idea born in the Dublin Castle (the very pub where we played our first gigs), Madness Beers go one step beyond with flavour and style.
ABV 4.2%, Units 2.1
The House of Fun 2017 Review – Lucky Seven
All the little moments come back to you. The memories that you make at The House of Fun Weekender. The joyous good bits, the things you gripe, the striking and the memorable, the unexpected and the long awaited entertainments. Those experiences you choose from the many, and the ones that you’ve placed hope upon since the full poster reveal. Whether they deliver or disappoint each year they increase in a catalogue of recollections of what Hazel Foster might call the Ghost of HOFmas Past.
The seventh round of fun has now happened then. I guess how you felt about it, what you enjoyed, or didn’t feel right about this year can be described by your own individual answer to this question.
Did you feel lucky?
Well. Did you, Madhead?
Feel free to tell us of your trips. The following review is a tale of my own luck, and that luck which I witnessed happening around me or in online views or of tales told to me.
Thrusting my eyes into the lucky bag of the Full House of Fun 2017 schedule, (available in both APP form and printed mini guide), I wrote a little plan of just what delightful acts I would take in this year, be they known or new. My preferred three day route and diary of timings through the venues of Pavilion, Centre Stage, Reds, Jaks, Inn on the Green, Pool and Cinema and more avenues of weekender wandering.
Things didn’t go quite to my plan. More happened than was on my list, and things were missed out on the day that I would have liked to have seen, and this happens every year. Who can predict, energy, where it will be levelled, zapped, thrilled, expunged, flonked, unplugged and dampened, and who will be smiles and attraction and good company you will hang with and where the irritations may arise among us all instead to be escaped from. Or where Patrick Clifford’s farts will make whole areas off limits. Luck, good or bad will always grab you and change your day, and turn to the fate of where it is you actually end up wandering. My eternal sorrow then for Darren West whose ruptured leg hasn’t healed and I’m told didn’t make it to HOF despite his healing plan. Those with colds, get well soon and I hope you got as much out of things as you could. Paul Rodgers, who wont be reading this, I’m glad your football game plans went in the bin and you stayed among us instead, a far better goal that. The man who so publicly left, I hope your head clears. What a waste after all. Mark Glasgow I’m so glad this HOF; your first, arrived as part of your future, may it stay bright. Fordie ,I’m glad you changed your never again decision, good to see you.
Those with the bad backs, I hope the entertainment moved your minds away from the pains like a magic wand. Welcome the unexpected addition of Mr breakfast Matt Holt, drawn in by last minute Madhead fame. Mark, I hope you’ve slept off the stresses of limits. Change and rest are no bad things, Skipper.
Some of you had to leave us too soon, Fran, Graham, Cheryl, and there are people missed from previous years. Helen, maximum condolences, all our love and I’m so glad you’ve booked for next year. There are others who claim they won’t return after this year, again. Change happens to plans.
Thus, I feel grateful that in a year that hospitalised me, my recovery allowed full attendance. A weekender that out of the many delights available in the lucky bag I personally pulled a three day odyssey comprised of…
RIP Lodge Village
DD Photograph’s Sea Side Snaps
Hello Mr Happy
Gavin Martin: Talking Musical Revolutions
Madness – Jamboree Bag: B sides, Rarities, Covers
Oh My God It’s The Church
Dwile Flonking With Gladness
Swimming Pool Party With DJ’s Bear Grooves
Madheads’ Got Talent (With Lee & Chris)
Suggs: My Life Story (Film Preview)
Mc Kevin McCarthy
Raymond & Mr Timpkins Review
The Gas Tanks
Fancy Dress: Madheads at The Movies
The Rhythm Method
Professional weekender filming
Madness – All For The Madheads
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel
Darren Bennett & Madame Scorcher
Late Lodge 7
The Photo booth
A Full House Postcard
Tranny Spotting – Inside Lodge No.9
Backstage with Bedders
Mez And The Fezzez (Featuring Lee Thompson)
Jon Young – Britpop DJ set
Mr Scurfs Koast Train
Mr Happy Waves of HOF
Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
You walk past Billy the bear and the weekender starts at check in. “Here are your accommodation keys sir”. The very friendly staff welcome us into the Butlins bubble once again. “Sign for your wristbands please”. Good idea as £50 if you lose one, and then we are given the stingy one lanyard only per accommodation, something that continues to draw the most complaints from customers on Facebook. Then they take one hundred pounds deposit money off me for breakages; a new enforced rule. Yes, refundable, and yes, another widely grumbled new spending issue this year. Later in the evening a rush of arrivals and I hear many more complaints of the check in queuing times, a shame for those travellers entangled in that waiting. Beyond what reaction time could be improved in staffing, I also advise you all to always arrive early when possible, to alleviate that mad just before Madness set arrival window. Even if that’s just because of the roads themselves out there near Minehead, I’ve always preferred to beat the rush. The bigger news is yet to hit us though. Lodge Village where we stay each year is being knocked down!!! Oh no! This isn’t a great start for our luck is it.
I’m sat with Mr Happy, scoffing a pre gig pasty from the bakery shop, and Ben (who once DJed the silent disco alongside this resident HOF DJ Character) and we are all in the Butlins Booking shop.
We are sorting our stay for next year, and I’m texting fellow lodge dweller Vicki Lee to let her know the news, this is the last time our social drinks gatherings pre gigs in the Lodge will take place for the circles of fans all around MIS. At least in these actual buildings. Ben alleviates the single tear shed for lodge destruction with a glossy artists impression of how great next years new replacement abodes will look, with assurances of an Easter 2018 construction deadline. Great. This wont stop a glass raised or two to the wooden cabins that have given us seven years of memories, as Nicki, Allie, Sharon, Sarah, Leah all emerge from parking cars and into adjacent abodes we share the news we’ve just learned. Its a perturbing start all in, but that excitement you always have on Friday meeting up is still there amongst all this.
Mr Happy is due on at 4pm over at Inn on the Green, as the opening act. He’s already happy, giving out little yellow badges to his followers, and started playing well before 3pm as he’s so eager to get into his slot. Well, first drinks to lodges past and present then. Cheers that we are all here now and HOF has begun proper.
There is time next for another friends activity with DD Photograph’s Sea Side Snaps, to the beach front for some nutty training on the Minehead signs and time lapsed long nutty trains, as big group photographs are staged. He will later join up with Alan Flynn’s Signs for lots of banner based photo’s for The Invaders, ATM and Koast Train groups and also for the contestants of the Madheads competition.
First act proper is Gavin Martin: Talking Musical Revolutions. Irish accented rock journalist and wordsmith talks his tales of Rock and Roll meetings over ambient musical DJed tracks.
From Bowie to Marvin Gaye, and more. Owen says: “Nice idea, maybe not best time or venue for it, will try and catch his other sets.” Adam Nichols says “Shite” Becky says “Seems everyone he meets in Rock music Dies! Don’t let him near Madness again”. Personally, I liked it, but not enough that I could listen to it during the exciting arrivals hours when you first meet up with all your mates and say your hellos at the barrier. He has a poetic turn of phrase though.
Darren Bennett. Ah the solid warm up set we know and love. Now things really feel like home at House of Fun. Make us forget the arrival stress Darren and make the second beer a sing along that starts us onto the right trusted tracks. Our focus back on the reason for being here…
Madness – Jamboree Bag: Bsides, Rarities, Covers
Madness are going to play rare, new and special picked tunes, just this once this year, in full, just for us. This year, a lot of us know what’s coming and many tracks have us extra excited in anticipation. Some fans that are cover hating fellow Euro set watchers have already pre-moaned they don’t like as many covers (half over all) as this night gave us. Other people “not familiar” with these tunes from Madness and music history, that are more just here as party goers, will suffer, some quietly, others noisily dicking about during it all in some fashion same as every year, a quieter appreciation does exist within the intently listening fans. We got B sides. We got rare album tracks, and invaders era, Dangermen and more live returning tunes from long long ago and we got two brand new covers mixed into that.
In the City
A Place in the Sun
When Dawn Arrives
Never Ask Twice
Madness is all in the Mind
Oh my Love
House of Fun
In the City was a strong opener, and the track of my entire weekender, played out against a backdrop of Honda City Madness clips. Honda memorabilia sales from Retro Madness were tied in! Its one near single type hit of a song, of Complete Madness fame. Well, Madness you complete me! With this track I’ve now heard your full first hits album, what many consider the real epoch of Madness’ career in music. The 16 year old me that got into the band listening to that cassette on loop danced and cheered. Thank you. HOF 2017, worth the price of entry on the very first song you played.
A place in the sun, in Minehead rain, it was old school Motown placed here as a ballad of Madness weather talking, ultimately its just a passing spell.
The mighty bull frog jumped up high. In any other setting like a tour returning track this Thommo burping reptile would take the night, but in a year of solo renditions of this tune to great acclaim and up against some other tasty rarities we happily hop along and then hop over it.
Guns! Bang. I mean, did you ever think they would play this tune ever? That’s the magic HOF brings, the impossible happens, and it fires off proving it’s actually a pretty damned good live song written by Madness, given a nice film clips backing I’m equally transported to when I first bought The Business in 1993. These tunes are taking me places!
The relentless drumming and saxophone noises in Tomorrow’s dream bring in praise from Mr Rodgers and Mr Toogood as they both point to the musicianship required to pull off this Seven track when they hear it. Praise from both a talented saxophonist and one of our resident writers here who witnessed the seven album tour first time around.
Poison Ivy is the most crowd uniting sing-a-long a nice choice, Invaders, coasters, Lambrettas fans unite, the profile of this tune crosses the varied musical knowledge of this diverse crowd of fans in tonight. Everyone knows most of the words.
Upside Down. Simple, short, beautiful, Madness make it their own as they do with many covers and its catchy enough as newly performed Madness tune to repeat on my ear, especially at tomorrows Dwile Flonking group revolving! This is that joy of discovering a new song and it becoming part of the Madness sound. I will be going back to videos of this one.
Never Ask Twice. Performed in the 90s briefly but here it shows what can be done with this particular Madness sound and some nice visuals to create a trippy and exotic feel.
Really nice, I hope this song does get another airing on a future tour. Once really isn’t enough. I ask for it more than Twice please. Speaking of Please…
Lover Please is the invaders song we told you nearly made the 2014’s House of Fun set on Friday, dropped from rehearsals last minute that year, and it’s a tune from the very earliest Madness gigs.
Thommo sings it with hand clapping brilliance going on front of the crowd, for this rock n roll beat. Very 50’s, and of the band’s beginnings in sound, as is I’m Walking playing with Fat’s Domino tribute paid on the backdrop.
Skylarkin from the second set of The Dangermen tunes in 2004 along with later Vietnam bring some simple nice reggae tunes into the set.
While Madness is all in the mind, slow jazzness, and oh my love give Suggs some gentle moments that much like “Blackbird” or “you are my everything” are in the main set are more emotional tunes, sweeping across the air in stadium spaces as big as the pavilion is. The latter using imagine John Lennon video backing. Real Beatles Madness.
Overall every song was nice, The rarities and B-sides treasured a bit more than most of the covers at times but some of those were more moments for casual fans to maybe enjoy the sound of.
The pick and mix nature of the set overall will probably see it judged unfairly in memory, compared to early or new material sets on previous Fridays that were higher concept. Which is a shame, because some of its moments are ones fans in the previous two decades would have enthused about for ages, as indeed the European fans just have done. A true fact remains that this is my 99th gig and after 25 years this set gave me more songs I hadn’t personally heard them do before (a total of 14) than any previous concert since the very first gig I attended which was Madstock. Its very nearly only the second gig to air any Bside since the mid 90s too almost globally. So Jamboree bag was pretty sweet. Just hard to create atmosphere with such a varied set of delights and that’s HOF’s continued problem despite a big song like City and and well known tunes like Vietnam and Poison ivy being in for a general audience and thrills of well written B-sides for the die hards. The price of delighting both those groups so well in the past years is the just want more and more sweets of their own choice.
The post gig place for us Friday is Reds with “Oh My God It’s The Church” this is their third weekender (first with a full band), but the first time I’ve caught them. We are backstage, as Scurf knows them from previous weekenders and we are doing jingles with the reverend Jackson for koast radio. He is a dreadlocked preacher urging you to repent your sins, and he’s a real crowd pleaser, as are a delightful set of beauties known as the Hail Marys, who dance in robes and hallelujah! Praise be for a mixture of full band funky brass gospel soul music that could blow the wings off a dove, and some crowd engaging repentance. far better than the Cuban brothers as being a mock version of something, in a festival or night club entertainment mode.
The end of Friday Night brings some classic era ska tunes from DJ King Rebska, a local from Thommo’s neck of the woods, playing the music that’s widely loved around these parts. Friday may have started in some gripes and mumbles but it’s once again delivered the rare songs, and party started atmosphere that HOF first days are made of. I’m feeling lucky and ready for a sleep, before Saturday.
Day two and we are up just before midday, some people slightly more hung over than others, and I head out to meet our sax man Phillip Toogood on the field. He’s going to give us some musical backing for some afternoon foolery, as it’s time for the pub game antics. Yes, Madness have four beers on sale now; Gladness, Absolutely, Night Boat and Lovestruck, so it’s about time other nutty pub traditions caught up with this fact, and a match is to take place of the bizarre traditional English sport “Dwile Flonking”. It’s origins reach back to the 60’s. The MIS is pretty sure it was invented by The Goons, as a joke, but it is played in many an ale house across the country from Leeds to the west of England where we currently find ourselves, and you will find people claiming its hundreds of years old and a harvest tradition. The game involves a ring of roses style dancing group, while a player up to bat (or Flonk as its called) hurls a beer towel from the end of a stick at his circling opponents.
Points are scored dependent on which body part is hit. Mr Scurf referee’s shouting “one flonk beyond” to start us all spinning around. Bev Flynn is on our lovely lady assistant and scoreboard keep with a fetching beer logo display board, and Sharon brings the upturned Fez from which forfiets are drunk for a miss and the dwile is dipped in frequently to make sure it lands with a wet splat. It’s a vicious game. Warren is flonked at the most poor bloke. Gordy takes a damp one to the kilt area after a spot on face hit to yours truly in the best shot of the match, Mandy gets rough with Owen, and there are a fair few misses, “if you miss you drink this piss” becomes the cry of our ref loudly courting the crowd. Ultimately, team Night boat wipe the flonking field and receive a full house album prize, plus certificates for their triumphant victory, Well done Luci, Owen, Stav and Scott.
We head next to the Swimming Pool Party with DJ’s Bear Grooves, a groove that is in the heart, as I rapidly discover i’m more lazy at this point in the day than the lazy river is within the pool at its current setting. Leah, and Mark are fighting over an inflatable duck, Miami John checking out all the slides, and even a jacuzzi photo session or two takes place. As i fail to keep up with the gang in front floating by on multiple inflatables they serenade me with “Forever young”. Sadly Stuart wades into the water forgetting his phone is in his pocket, the worst luck of HOF right there far worse than the flonking hits.
By 3pm we are watching a bit of Madheads’ Got Talent with Lee and Chris and Katy their manager presiding as Judges over the contestants. I know Matt Holt of the Bed and Breakfast Men is here today and we are hoping to catch him in action on his uke, but the queue for this event is incredibly long and it should probably be in Reds if held again, there was lots of interest for it in a Saturday X Factor way. I hear a little of the singer who won (More on her later) as I stand outside with Alan Flynn who is a talent himself, he’s been making Madness Santa glasses with little attached beards! I also catch sight once within of a hoop acrobatic lady and then enjoy a steel drum rendition of Ghost Town, which Lee judges as good, a seminal 80s tune he says. I would have loved to watch more of this show, but something more special as just popped up as an announced event on the APP. They are previewing Suggs’ My Life Story film in the cinema! After a quick chat with Johnny Gauld and friends I depart early to watch the film.
Suggs: My Life Story – Is the filmed version of his first one man theatre show. We delightfully get to see the first 20 minutes of the screen rendering by Julien Temple. If you know the show from seeing it live, we get the very beginning up to a rendition of “Lola”. Shot in a very nice theatre (I think in Hoxton area) we see Suggs telling his tale on screen, sections of his story that begin in the bath and in a taxi are dramatised. So we get a little rubber duck joke, and if you are Lynn Lawlor reading this then you get a half naked Suggs scene that will break your pause button on your DVD player early next year (January the film comes out). Perry Benson appears as the Taxi Driver who sobs about his cat to Suggs. A treat to catch what clearly will be a glorious enhanced version of what made up 70% of Suggs stage story.
Some comedy next, we catch the end of “John Fothergill” a Geordie comedian self deprecating the north east. He was proper mint. Then resident Mc Kevin McCarthy returns, a regular of house of fun compering and an old Santa like man, who tells it blue and like it is. He asks if Mr Scurf and I met on Grinder. We instantly regret sitting so near the front! We are here though for “The Raymond & Mr Timpkins Review” two gormless looking idiots who’s song lyric based act had us in stitches a brilliant set piece end and something different from just stand up. While music played their sign based interactions and puns were all executed brilliantly and just as you get used to the format they would change up the jokes with some that become more close to the bone, or throw in a celebrity name reference or some longer slow burn gag, all performed with props. Mr Scurf enjoyed it so much, my Sunday begins with him waking up still getting flashbacks to one of the gags he filmed on his phone which he replayed a few times over. Best comedy we have seen together since Norman Lovett.
Its gone 4pm its time for some music. The Inflatables, 5th year here after starting at HOF in our MIS shows. Today they are starting the music in the pavilion main stage which will host four direct support bands before Madness, all of them, like Madness are playing music created in their own London voices with witty commentary on life, whether their differing sounds come from musical indie, mod or more garage (like say mike skinner) and a bit cabaret, with the exception of this Oxford band starting with a slot of massively popular relate-able covers.
The place is packed out, clearly they are a returning favourite, their bouncy sound brought to tunes this crowd know and love already , of 2tone ska, reggae and original ska. Its a black and white hatted skank fest from the stage front and then building up to fill the entire space up to the back bar stands. 10 years Mr Bass has fronted these boys now who have over a 35 year history. It’s impressive to see the crowd they pulled here, increasingly a large Oxford contingent among them, with their friend Chris filming side of stage.
They bring a bonus treat this time “Buster Beef-burger” their Fatty version of the Manners front man for both Lip up Fatty and Fatty Fatty renditions (which I hope Tony Pycroft enjoyed as he’s always stating he wants Bad Manners here). The Oxford boys romp home with their medley of fast instrumentals which includes Hawaii Fi)ve Oh. That invaders tune is the closest they get to Madness in this same stage setting, respectfully, and playing that on the same stage is a fun fact. What a thrill, for the boys riding the big wave.
The Gas Tanks arrive following them, and none of the original bands pull as big a crowd for their sounds and new material music. I hear “Chicken Shop” sounding great from these fresh young talents but I only hear it from the corridor as I’m entering a fast food restaurant myself getting some 5pm grub for my barrier hugging friends who have to suffer a longer holding position today than an average House of Fun Saturday. I like that we got so many main stage bands though.
Back in the lodges for a rest Luci initiates us in the game of Penny Chuffing. 1p in the buttocks and walk to a glass to drop it in. Paul Rodgers excels. And While the Fancy dressing begins all our lot have a go.
Fancy Dress: Madheads at The Movies wasn’t the most original theme, but many people including us lodge dwellers rise again to the occasion. When you see people dressed as bananas or Hi de Hi (when was that a movie guys?) you despair a little that people dont follow the plan. The absolute highlight of what I witnessed was Vicki Lee casting as Verruca Salt from wilder era Charlie and the chocolate factory, performing the song demandingly from her phone, a brilliant performance and with Gary a Wonka and Andy an Umpah Lumpah I now realise we missed a group photo opportunity. Later I see Johnny Dep era Wonka characters walking about and I fantasise that it will all kick off in the car park later between the two factions. Great costumes from Sarah Shaw as the queen of wonderlands hearts (off with the heads of those hi de hi wearing non themers!) Unique Steve Martin style Jerk Stuart Smith with his trousers down, (and I couldn’t bat his ball properly!) a potteresque bellatrix from Mandy. Once again lain mason’s Lodge all brilliantly interlinked on the same theme, The wizard of Oz. They managed a full set of the main characters with even a little toto in a basket of Iain’s Dorothy (She’s good friends with Dicka by the way.) Elsewhere Stav once again applies the face paint to madheading and Sith’s up as Darth Maul. The fancy dress as always leads to moments like meeting Dead Pool Gordon yet still now not knowing what he really looks like. In Jaks later tonight I witness Cruela Deville walking her Dalmatians across the dance floor on all fours and when the fancy dress reaches those height you start to think you’ve attended a fetish weekend. The clear winner in my book though stood front of the crowd. The Lego man who was at the front of the Congo.
The Rhythm Method are the last act on before Madness. They are getting some stick from sections of the crowd and peacefully trying to win them round with some front man banter. They have a little of the modern London Madness voice, but far from being too Chas and Dave they sound more like a pet shop boys mixed with mike Skinner vibe and the voice of Brian from Placebo. Its a strange mix ultimately if very rap spoken wordy for a lot of the tunes.
Aaron Shrimpton is busy wandering around all this weekend on professional weekender filming duty. Expect to see some of the results in the build up promo videos for 2018s weekender next year, but over all he is cutting a pilot documentary about the weekender, that if successful might form part of something more substantial backed around the eight House of Fun.
Madness – All For The Madheads. It’s the moment those unaware of B-sides etc have paid to see, Its the hits. Madness at their best popular selves. I really enjoy hearing Mr Apples once again in the place I first fell in love with that song. I reach my 100th Madness gig at this moment with Madness in a venue I’ve now seen them 14 times in. It’s lovely to see Mr Hasler dancing in his Pyjamas too his theme tune and on the “he never showed his name/offered to pay” theme he hands Suggs a raffle ticket! Sadly “Don’t Let Them Catch you crying” isn’t retained in this set from earlier in the year, while thankfully Cardiac arrest is still beating on with us still sounding great . It’s a bloomin’ good show, as always. I’m left just a little underwhelmed only because I saw last years tour and this is pretty much that show still, great though that music all is, but with so many moments competing for your memory at HOF, its not this that will claim residence I’m thought banks. Fortunately I find the kind of little extra thing I might have wanted from this, in a few of the following bands (Tomorrow from The Fezzez certainly included in that), namely tonight a bit of Brian Ferryesque Madness, and a rare Suggs moment are to come this evening. I will probably most remember this gig for saying earlier in the day that Leah in fancy dress as super villain Harley Quinn is looking a bit too young to attend this event, only to see her on top of someone’s shoulders and then Suggs going into his usual “stay at school” banter at her despite having turned 20.
I quickly head into Jaks as the Madness gig ends, as Roxy Musique (a tribute) are here and I’m a man who knows my 4BF from my Bogus fan. Both the music heard here from Roxy and Steve Harley are wider influences on Madness and not just the tunes beloved of the weekenders massive black and white two tone crowd, I love the nods to these fact in the wider choices of music given to us at HOF. Do you want to hear my Brian Ferry joke? What does the lead singer of Roxy Music do when he’s got a boil on his bum? He put’s S-Avalon. I hang on the dance floor with an army dressed Tuesday Thompson, fresh from her on stage night boat invasion with her mother and friends. Lawrence and Simon Griff with me too. We listen to some mean sax, and Roxy tunes, well formed and stylish as the real deal, peaking with solo hit “Let’s stick together” but I’m robbed of hearing Virginia Plain as they save it for Sunday’s second set I think, which I cant attend as I’m on show duty tomorrow.
Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel were pure class. I’m sick of reading a few isolated comments about how they were the wrong choice, among lots of praise for their set I’m reading on social media too. This second headliner that surely Suggs himself picked for this years HOF was powerful from the first song. If its the ska or the pop lover opinion that he was too different, surely there is some of that other great music elsewhere at this weekender to be heard, it may be true that many of us only know one song, (Mr Scurf counts it to 3, Lisa Search can proudly boast knowing most of the set based on her witnessed sing-a-long), and this is folk rock sounds for sure, but from the first moment of Ian Dury like leg troubled entrance and taking an aged wizard like stance on the stage and opening with George Harrison’s “Here Comes the sun” the man’s guitar playing and fast paced band impressed me on every other unfamiliar tune, some of which sounded Epic. Clearly i was in the presence of a long standing music star. One of the greatest ever moments at HOF is the awaited rendition of “Come up and see me, Make me smile”. As expected this came after a nice speech from Suggs about how he would wander around with one of Steve’s albums under his arm as a kid, and that lead to his love of a bowler hat. Not only then did we get Suggs singing chorus on this anthemic tune, but the extended looping crowd sing a long went round and round to heights your normally see only at Glastonbury when a whole crowd is tuned into a band on the pyramid stage. Woah – oh! Come up and see me make me smile. I’m smiling. The big smile of a happy time at The House of Fun. Best moment of my year.
Darren Bennett & Madame Scorcher give us some tunes to end our night. Suggs is less helpful as his appearance here leads to spillage from this recent cockney rebel! Madman. The partying goes on until Late in here though and afterwards in Lodge 7.
Let’s finish Saturday’s review though with a return to 3pm and that lucky winner of Madheads got talent. Well done Marie Ridley.
Friend Sharon Coady tells us. “Marie entered the talent show to cheer me up, it was our first House of Fun as I have been too ill before and we have been friends since nursery”.
Get well soon, Sharon.
Marie re-wrote the 70s children’s choir classic “Granddad” and made it Lyrically about Madness instead. Get that tune in your head, and read along to her version now with us, because fans, friendships, emotional sing a long moments, and a love of Madness sum up the best of what The House of Fun achieves in bringing together.
(Granddad) Madness by Marie Ridley.
Got to Minehead yesterday, was drinking
About my favourite Madness songs, I was thinking.
The old songs took me back, each and every track
Thoughts of when I was a girl.
I like driving in my car, riding
Naughty Boys in nasty schools, can be frightening
My girl’s mad at me, Michael Caine’s a memory,
Remembering One Better Day.
Madness, Madness you’re lovely
That’s what we all think of you
Madness, Madness you’re lovely
That’s what we all think of you
Madness, oh Madness
Floats off down the River Nile, Lovestruck
Tomorrow’s Just Another Day, thank fuuuuu…..lly
Whoah Wings of a Dove, It surely Must Be Love
Chipmunks Are Go for all time.
In the morning I awake, I’m fine.
Walking round you sometimes hear, the sunshine
Suggs in Camden Town, so get your knickers down!!!
Welcome to Our House of Fun
Madness, Madness you’re lovely
That’s what we all think of you
Madness, Madness you’re lovely
That’s what we all think of you
Madness, Madness, Madness
Madness, Madness, Madness
There are extra moments that happen at The House of Fun, The funfair rides, take in the crazy golf one morning, did you know you can even go cart at Butlins?, and there are always lots of fun visits to the photo booth all weekend.
The extra moments aren’t always in the programme though, did you meet The professional Chickens on your travels? Like previous years wheeled piano, waffling soldiers, flat arctic climbers or old ladies on shopping trolleys, this year witnessed the star struck hens (in professional chicken costumes) clucking about the place and owning the event like puffed up roosters (no not King Hammond he’s later in this review), calling for their agents and interacting with the general public on their way somewhere important. Or did you see the nun on a piano playing elton john driving around the place? Or the Full House (head through hole) photo opportunity joining the Cant Touch Us Now backboard in promotion of the latest albums. Some times its how you party yourself that makes the memorable moments and many fan lead endevour make the Fun that’s in the title too.
Lodge number 9 is the location of some early celebrations on Sunday as Gordy and Apryl celebrate a Wedding anniversary. Indeed Saturday night’s Madness gig once again staged a proposal of a nice couple, but sadly one upstaged from being a beautiful union of the lady saying yes to her man, as they failed to get to the stage in some confusion and some dumb bitch took the opportunity to stage invade in her place during the poor execution of this moment. A cocktail party of buckfast for breakfast with Chrissy boy popping around to congratulate the couple in their accommodation is a much more a heartwarming story to tell then when you hear of a moving speech made up of Madness song lyrics, you realise more clearly what the love of this music means in the hearts of fans who love and are loving to each other in their activities . A moment that reportedly needed a tissue or two for misty eyes when Apryl read out the well chosen words. This Scottish lead gathering, referred to in a party pun based on the famous known film as “Tranny Spotting”, involved some C U hats, Proclaimers tunes, plenty of Scottish cheer and hair of the dug beer, and some impromptu highland flinging.
“Various English ladies tried Scottish country dancing and didn’t do too badly.” Gordy
Madness Piper Johnny Gauld fresh from Saturday night’s Madness encore and kilt arse flashing happily leads this procession out from their lodge and towards the next entertainment of the event.
MIS Presents. We were back for our seventh year of events, but fourth year of stage hosting bands at HOF. Owen Collins starting the tunes with some orchestral poetry and then House Martins to Morrissey tunes in his chosen eclectic avenue, he will then use his poetry skills to introduce our three bands, with talk of milkshake rattle and roll to concrete overshoes. Our two skeletons proudly sit left and right of stage like our Alan Flynn poster design does as
our homage to Ghost Train and Ghost Town that we will perform with our headline band The Skapones, but firstly the bone brothers are wearing Fezzez as our first band up is Mez.
Nearly two years in the planning we launched both the Fezzez into fandom and The Launchers into the world, at the
Dublin Castle in Commoners against cancer, always with an eye to bring them both to The House of fun next. Nicky helps me set up the stage and then we hang with the Fezzez in the dressing room talking to Mr Bedford about how great Friday Madness had been, and thank him for playing, as Mezz takes out the deliberately naff looking preppy jumpers the band will wear for this afternoons gig. As they start with “Last night” known to many more of you as the theme from Bottom, myself and my fezzed up friend mr scurf who looks like Ade Edmondson enough recreate a slapping match. The great instrumentals and 50s rhythm and blues tunes continue as Mez jokes with the crowd, and then Mr Thompson is persuaded out of the darkness to climb over the barrier and perform with his last energy of the long weekender, a reprise of “I’m Walking” which Madness performed Friday and the Fezzez did back at the Dublin. “See you later Alligator” Thommo sings before returning my loaned red hat and running out the back to avoid the presence of Mr Happy following him about like a puppy. He is milling around before he will stage his regular ending DJ show in Inn on the Green and attempt crowd surfing this year to a distance of four centre meters traveled. oh It must be nearly time to end HOF if Mr Happy is ready for his final set.
Mez and The Fezzez (Featuring Lee Thompson) I’m Walking / See you later Alligator.
It’s the moment before this when the band strike up the Benny Hill theme and the crowd starts running
around in chase of each other and Owen starts slapping Thommo on his bald head, that I have to pinch myself and think “Is this happening?” Thanks Mez and all his band, and thanks Owen. Massive thank you also to the Butlins teams of sound and lighting, doing such a brilliant job especially on Bedders mock solo moment. Resplendent in purple velvet fez its a pleasure to watch him play or not play.
With my first band needing to be with Van Morrison shortly in Cardiff and my headliners arriving from Darlington, we would always have to fill in a fair while in this Reds show, and I’m thrilled the venues are packed for all three of
our chosen bands, as the venue empties out to food or wanders, it’s time to annoy the ska weekender by changing to britpop for 50 minutes, enough to get one or two thank yous, or a yelp for the Bluetones, this here also ran day before yesterdays man is just thrilled for a sit down with some barrier huggers for a moment, give out some raffle prizes (all be it slightly confusingly due to venue lighting) and as Mulder and Scully fades into the X files, (the space helmet now on the skeleton) the launchers invade for 75 minutes of top crowd pleasing ska, with plenty of nutty sax. Classic’s like 54-46 was my Number, through to debut single Originals like “Harris” and “Dutty Mouth” or “The Leader” which showcases this bands working class spirit. Thanks Dave, Jim, David and all the band.
Mr Scurfs Koast Train trundles in between the ska bands change over, firing up firey jack and a selection of tunes familiar to some from north east radio broadcasts on a Wednesday night, occasionally derailing with a CD error
or unplanned “strictly come dancing done wrong” tambourine tango. Kenny and one of those Dickinson’s joined Mr Scruf in his misspelled tribute to that other DJ and had plenty of fun with a kazoo, before the north east nutty boy hand over heads onwards to Mr Willo for the last ska band of the weekender.
The Skapones have got more and more match fit as the year has gone on and are ready for this packed crowd even more so after half of them witnessed Madness the night before, the sheer joy of playing on a bill joined to some of their heroes clearly comes across in a couple of Madness covers, though more Specials of course this being a band fronted by a man who has written books on the latter. Ghost Train at house of fun is always a tune I wanted to hear here, and as we wait longer for Madness to maybe return to it again, the Skapones oblige and precede it with that Specials monster hit ghost town in a move I’m surprised I’ve not seen before at a tribute like gig. Both tonights ska bands have originals though too, and I’m delighted by the slightly silly chorus stomping of “Skapones a go go”, and genuinely touched by the beauty of “Ghost in me” having already enjoyed the fanboy tale of “Cradle to Grave” soon to be their debut single, and “The Rolling Years” A lovely tune of childhood memories. The crackle of vinyl, Raleigh Grifters, Raleigh Choppers, space hoppers, Ice cream vans, the Six Million Dollar man,Towering Inferno…. The bands Hotknives moment. Thank’s Paul and all your gangsters.
We’ve one last thing up our sleeve, one last guest to add to whats been a packed out Sunday, someone Allie described to me as ska royalty, well he is performing as King. Nick Welsh appears in leopard print lined black top with blonde stag like fringe gelled hair and proceeds to tell the band off and then taunt and wake the crowd up flagging at the last eb of their three day drinking, well there isn’t any ignoring King Hammond as he struts stage front. Carry go bring come/ monkey boots/riot in London town/ rockin on ridley road rounds off a sing along conducted by Nick a visible last burst of energy returning to the crowd, Thanks Nick. Check out his book here…
Things end with Night Boat as I have to cut their set to an end as we reach our agreed time slot finish for the venue closer, I bring back Jim and the brass boys from the launchers to form a supergroup and even drag a reluctant Tony Bass over for a skanks as all us DJ’s and show runners fill out the stage for the last tune of our show. Well almost the last tune. It has been an absolute privileged to make this venue my Sunday but time for this muppet to bow out then with Mnam Ma Nam the tune “Anything goes” Rock City would always end in during my early 20s.
Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band are storming now in Center Stage but there is only one smeg head who can move my feet and keeping me dancing this late in the day despite being exhausted. I own no funk music in my own record collection but I love each year hearing what choices Craig weaves, not music for your ear, your brain, not for your gripe gut by this stage surely if there is anyone left up moaning go to bed early, this is music for your feet, music to move to. Never better placed than when its the rolling credits of a House of Fun Finale. Seventh one done. End of day three I couldn’t be more full of music if I was a jukebox shaped like Mr Creosote. Its the last moments of House of Funky and my Soul feels lucky.
With all that luck, I guess something has to give. I may not make it next year. Or I may have to make it just a short Friday visit, as the announced December touching dates don’t sit well in my work life, and it seems a similar situation for other friends too sadly. You see, HOF began as the LAST weekend within November, (year one ended on the 29th). It’s crept earlier every year for six years (including leap years) by a day or two each year, becoming the penultimate weekend in November for a little while and because of mid-month Shiiine weekenders happening now in Minehead, and the Darts, which is a scheduled Sky Sports event, HOF has finally made the jump back into to it’s original month end position, that’s at the very beginning of the next forward date cycle (actually ending up a Friday November 30th start date.) Regardless. I’m booked and will see what plans unfold. As I said before, plans change for those of us attending HOF.
House of Fun 8 is racked up for 2018. November 30th to December 3rd. The cue is chalked. The true aim is all for your delight. Will the luck be corner pocketed again for a win.
Take a Butlins big break. HOF8 in bound to be another ball.
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 707 – Sunday 25th November – Saturday 1st December 2012
We began this issue by wishing those of you who were yet to start back from this year’s House of Fun Weekender to drive carefully as road conditions were terrible.
On to this issue, and we kicked-off the articles with a belated Oui, Oui album review from subscriber D Trull. Was he impressed with it? His 5 lard biscuits out of 5 rating should remove all doubt!
Now, it’d been many weeks and months in the making, but at long last the Total Pie-Flinging Madness game was now up and running.
The idea was a simple one – The band, in their Total Madness double decker bus, traveled from left to right across the screen.
Your task was to arm yourself with custard pies, and hurl them at the band members as they stuck their heads out the bus windows.
What would be a simple task was made that much trickier due to the heads only staying up for a limited amount of time before they ducked for cover. Not only that, but you could only hold a short supply of pies, so quick re-loading (by clicking on the sign at the bottom right of the screen) was vital.
Once the bus had completed its journey you could submit your score.
Here, you not only got chance to see how your skills compared to other Madness fans, but the top 5 score entrants would be entered into a draw to win a signed copy of Total Madness and a signed Total Madness poster. The 4 runners-up would each receive a copy of Total Madness.
Next, it was over to Chris Foreman and an English translated chunk of a previous released French MIS interview. This was for those of us who’d pratted around in school when we should have been learning French.
Moving on, and we passed the baton over to subscriber Steve Richardson who was kind enough to give his in-depth thoughts on this year’s Madness Weekender in Minehead.
Further into the issue, and it was over to Carl, who, in an interview with Hollywood Reporter Music, described the band as “The working man’s Pink Floyd”. Err, quite.
Transcribed interviews continued as we included one the band recently gave to Q Magazine. This round the issue off nicely.
10 years ago…
Issue number 447 – Sunday 25th November – Saturday 1st December 2007
This issue got off to an exciting start, with the news that Madness had just been booked to play the Snowbombing Festival, which was due to run from the 31st of March to the 6th of April. According to the press release
“Thousands of British snowsports & music enthusiasts will flock for a fiesta that stretches across mountains, streets and nightclubs for a whole week of flurry and fun”
Anyone fancy a nutty ski?
Next, it was over to Scootering Magazine, who, in their latest issue had featured an interview with the one and only Suggs. In the interview the great man talked scooters, Madness, and what us fans could expect in the future.
Video news now, and according to Chris the video for the NW5 single would simply be footage taken from compilations and live shows. Fans were quite vocal in their disappointment, with one Vince Carden declaring;
“A great song deserves a great video? Madness don’t think so.”
Meanwhile, Chris Carter-Pegg commented;
While Chris Carter Pegg replied to us that:
“I would of course prefer one of their old style videos too, but I totally appreciate the economics of it all…
The single will probably only sell a few thousand copies (Drip Fed Fred sold only 1,700!) hence if they throw a sum even as a tiny (in video terms) as £5,000 at making a video…then this wouldn’t even be covered by the very small revenue from the single sales!”
It was over to The News of The World next, as we featuring a full transcription of an interview the paper had recently conducted with Suggs. Here, he talked about manufactured pop bands currently wowing the public on X Factor.
Next, we passed the baton over to Duff Kelly and The Sun newspaper, where the two sources covered an in-depth lowdown on the recent Prince Buster gig on the 23rd November in Croydon, complete with YouTube clips.
We brought this issue to a close by mentioning the MIS calendar, which registered MIS web site users could log in to and edit, by adding any Madness dates they felt would interested other visitors.
15 years ago…
Issue number 185 – Sunday 24th November – Saturday 1st December 2002
Exciting news reached us this week in the form of a release date for the forthcoming Butterfield 8 album, which was now penned in to drop on December the 2nd, at a reasonably priced £9.99.
Stuck with a mountain of duplicate Madness merchandise that’s simply sat around your house and collecting dust? If so, the Madness Trading Ring had an idea. Simply list the items you were trying to sell (non bootleg, of course!), and the MTR maintainers would put them together in a once-a-week classifieds email.
It sounded like a fantastic idea, but we can only assume (as we can’t remember back that far!) that it didn’t gain the support from the MTR members it needed. A shame really, as it’s an ideal way to make a few pennies from items you no longer want, but another fan was keen to add to the collection.
With the Christmas gigs now fast approaching the details of the forthcoming Birmingham gig were blasted out in this week’s issue.
Naturally, the obligatory pre and post gig booze session would almost certainly be on the cards.
Elsewhere this week the One Step Behind web site received a revamp, with a batch of photo uploads. For those people who had yet to see the band in action, this was an excellent opportunity to see just what they’d been missing all this time.
We finished off this issue with a look at November down the years with ‘Tour Madness’. Here we finished off the November 1985 tour, by looking at the string of gigs held from the 8th to the 24th of November.
Just arrived back to the grey skies of west Hertfordshire after driving back from our seventh House of Fun Weekend following Mr Happy and his Happy van all the way from Minehead to Junction 20 on the M25 where we turned off.
What a strange weekend it was. We booked for 18 of us to attend but had three no shows due to personal commitments leaving the remaining 15 to enjoy the musical delights awaiting us.
Here are a few of our highlights and lowlights from the weekend.
Arrived at around 1.30pm and eventually got checked in and warmed up by listening to a number of SKA classics at the apartment before hoofing it over to the Skyline Pavilion for a few beers and to listen to some more tunes before Madness came on. We couldn’t help but notice that there appeared to be a fair bit of floor space still available leading to people asking if the venue had sold out or not as it seemed a lot busier in past years?
Madness came on at 20.30 hours and there was still space available, something that I have not witnessed before. We listened to a real mix bag of tunes including cover versions. This went down well with us old-uns who could remember them but was lost on some younger people who were really unsure what was happening.
Once the performance was over, it was straight to Reds to see the Church. Top drawer entertainment.
Into Jaks for Madness has got talent.The sound system is awful if you are not directly in front of the stage and very hard to hear what is being said so missed most of what was going on.
However, we did bump into Chrissy Boy for a picture or two that made up for it.
Back into the Pavilion and watched the Inflatables, really good band and one to watch out for. Well done lads.
8.30pm and in position to watch Madness play. Not disappointed on this one. Spot on and some really good hits belted out.
After the main event, into centre stage to see the Aces, nice, nice nice. This was the desert that we needed after feasting ourselves on the main course provided by Madness.
Didn’t stay to see Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel as never a fan of their music so back to the apartment for some more tunes, a night cap and rundown of the days events.
Into Centre Stage for the comedy, our favourite was John Fothergill, a great Geordie fella who looks like shampoo and hairbrushes haven’t reached Newcastle yet but was very entertaining.
Into Reds for the Skapones, truly brilliant. then into the Inn on the Green for Mr Happy.
Good weekend but has been better. Started off with having to queue for a long time to get checked in after a long drive.. Ridiculous with people having to queue into the carpark: When did the credit / debit card deposit come into effect? Come on Butlins, get this sorted out, it is not good and it was lucky it was not raining! Some of the acts were on in the wrong place at the wrong time, more known names from the SKA / TwoTone world needed. Butlins itself needs to get it’s act together regarding check-in and issues with security. People having drinks confiscated? really? Lack of Madness lanyards again!
Would we go again for 2018? we have a few yes and no’s and a few undecided this time round, unlike last year when we had a 100% commitment after what many considered the 2016 House of Fun Weekender the best ever.
Watch this space.
That’s just about it for this week’s edition of the MIS.
We bring this issue to a close with a selection of Friday night House of Fun videos, courtesy of subscriber Adam Nichols;