Hello, and a very warm welcome to this week’s edition of the MIS Online Bulletin.
Over the past few weeks we’ve received several emails from fans who put money upfront to pre-order the Suggs “My Life Story” DVD which was due for release on the 2nd March.
It’s been a good three weeks since the last update email was sent out to backers, and as yet the only reports we’ve had in are that the DVD is still not with those who’ve ordered it.
If we can get hold of further information as to its release status we’ll make sure it appears in a subsequent issue of the MIS. In the meantime, although we’ve got a link in our “Buy it” section which details where you can order it from, we strongly advise you against doing so until orders from those who originally backed it have been fulfilled.
Now, before you get stuck in to this weeks issue, make sure you read right to the end as there’s a competition you may want to enter.
Important – The release date for this disc was 2nd March 2018, and copies have not yet been shipped. If you’ve yet to place an order we recommend you hold off parting with your money until news of copies arriving with those who’ve already ordered start to surface.
Director Julien Temple (The Great Rock n Roll Swindle, Absolute Beginners) takes a stage show, adds some drama, archive, animation and music, then shakes it all up for MY LIFE STORY where Suggs, takes a hilarious, yet moving, look back at his life in a musical form.
Is it a drama? Is it a comedy? Or a music hall dream? Whatever it is hold on to your seats as Suggs goes on to stumble and plummet through the trap door of failure; then trampoline back up to catch the passing trapeze of show business success.
£9.95. Limited to 250 copies. A5 paperback photo-zine. 36 pages.
Hanging Around Books’ tenth release (HA010), “Kimono Our House: Madness In Japan 1982” features rare and previously unseen photographs of the Nutty Boys taken by Andre Csillag at various locations during the band’s 1982 tour of Japan.
As Andre writes:
“In May 1982 I was asked by the manager of Madness, the late and sadly missed Matthew Sztumpf, to accompany the band on their first Japanese tour. These shots were taken over a period of a week in Tokyo, Kyoto, Osaka, Nagoya and on bullet trains inbetween.”
“It was an intense week of gigging, travelling, promotional work and making history. While in Japan, the band had their first number one on the UK singles chart and were filmed live via satellite from Tokyo introducing the video for that week’s chart topper, “House Of Fun” — a first for the BBC and Top of The Pops.”
“Thanks to Graham “Suggs” McPherson, Cathal Smyth, Lee Thompson, Chris Foreman, Mike Barson, Mark Bedford and Dan “Woody” Woodgate for their time and the enjoyable madness.”
Andre Csillag, February 2018.
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 732 – Sunday 19th May – Saturday 25th May 2013
Our Sign of the Times section reported that on this week’s episode of BBC TV music programme, Later With Jools Holland, that Lee Thompson and his Ska Orchestra would be joined by reggae singer Bitty McLean to give a taste of their debut album The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius.
Time to set those set top boxes for record!
Next, it was over to the Magic Brothers as we gave you the heads-up on the new Magic Brothers web site. The web site listed all the musicians contributing to the new album, revealing that Siobhan Fitzpatrick sang lead and back vocals on tracks on the album, after being heard on Small World on the previous year’s Madness album.
Other contributors included Brass from Madness Brass Monkeys, Steve Turner, Mike Kearsey, Joe Auckland and Ben Edwards.
The potential track names for the album were mentioned in no particular order…
The Magic Line
Always be with you
They tell you
Magic Brother part 2
You don’t have to hide your love away
It was over to Chris’ Cupboard next, where Roadie Darren answered questions about Mike’s keyboard set-up;
“We use 2 x Doepfer PK88’s, one of the most solid keyboards you can get. One of them literally fell off the back of a lorry and all that broke was one key! The two tier set up I designed with Mike and had the whole thing made, also the stand is bespoke, hand made and re-enforced. We use 4 Macbook pro’s to control the keyboards and extra sounds and all the midi is a bespoke design that I’m currently re-configuring. The whole thing is constantly being updated as technology changes”.
The MIS Feature for this issue came courtesy of our very own Jonathan as he gives us a detailed review of a recent Ska Orchestra gig, and then passed on details of the forthcoming album launch at the Dublin Castle on the 28th May and how you could purchase tickets.
We brought this issue to a close with the news that The Near Jazz Experience would be featuring in a radio special on Resonance FM on the 30th May.
10 years ago…
Issue 472 – Sunday 18th May to Saturday 24th May 2008
There’s no denying that at the moment it was a very exciting time for all Madness fans.
The past few weeks had seen gig after gig added to the current year’s line up, the Our House musical was back up and running, there was a three night stint at The Hackney Empire, and this week a mood board montage video for the song ‘The Liberty Of Norton Folgate’ had appeared on YouTube.
This 6-minute slice of remixed Madness had been going down a storm with the fanbase, and we had fan views, lyrics, and more in this issue.
On the subject of this issue, and we wouldn’t have had half as much Liberty coverage and content if it weren’t for the services of The eminent gentleman librarian of Googleshire, Graham Yates. Graham had been in constant contact with the MIS team by using specially trained pigeons of all modern forms.
We’ve also had a fair slice of help from the welcome return of Unsugged’s fanzine scribe, Lord Carden, The Irish Wagtail.
15 years ago…
Issue 210 – Sunday 18th May to Saturday 24th May 2003.
We started off this week’s issue with news in from Graham Whitfield revealing that a new ad was currently being aired on UK TV promoting a new CD celebrating 25 years of `Smash Hits` magazine. Madness were one of the groups listed, and it looked like the song would be `Baggy Trousers`. The CD also featured such nastiness as Steps and Take That.
Elsewhere, and it looked like the promotion of the `Our House` musical was continuing, with news in from Phil of the MTR that last Wednesday (14th May) Suggs appeared on the Richard and Judy show. They showed a short video montage of madness videos, then a short video montage of clips from OUR HOUSE, none of Suggs though. After this Suggs was interviewed but Phil says that there was nothing to report, although Suggs did mention that he got annoyed when the audience started to sing along during the musical.
We’d waited for an age for it to appear, and it seemed that the Madness messageboard on the official site was starting to become a bit of a victim of its own success with the page getting larger and larger each day, and the screwy dating system making the finding of new posts a real chore.
Well, Mark (Bedford) got in touch and told us that he was aware that the dating system was up the spout, and the problem was being looked into. He also said that things will be a little more organised soon, with a clearing down of the old postings.
Would Madness be performing at this year’s Party in The Park? With no official announcement, MIS subscriber, Chris Carter-Pegg took it upon himself to find out more. Speaking to someone at Capital FM who was kind enough to reveal the line-up so far, it would seem that North London’s most famous band were at present not down to play.
Long-time subscribers to the MIS or MTR may recall that after a Crunch gig a few years back Chris’ famous leather hat went `walkies`. Well, this week it looked like it had finally turned up when a certain “Murray” posted on the official Madness messageboard explaining that he thought Chris had leant him the hat, and was now wondering if Chris wanted it back. Not only that, but this chap even dared to ask if he could have some backstage passes for a forthcoming gig!
Chris, was non too amused, and rightly so. It turned out that the hat wasn’t leant, but was in fact stolen. Giving Murray a PO Box address to return the hat to and accusing the chap of being light fingered, Chris finished off by saying “Backstage passes… You’ll be lucky.
Did you also nick our guitar tuner?”.
One Man’s Madness Soundtrack of Hidden Delights
The 2CD soundtrack album to accompany and promote Lee Thompson’s mockumentary film One Mans Madness is out on June 1st. It’s arrived here at MIS towers and here is our review, we found it full of surprises.
Firstly let’s do that yawn that getting the same madness songs again does to fans as long in the tooth as us, yawwwwn. This compilation is half the same set of Madness singles again as say even the most recent Full House, and perhaps less justified. It sets out it’s stall though as using the same songs that appear on screen in the mockumentary and that is just that. Not much more can be worthy comment on that job which it does in full, except that it states album version for house of fun (complete?) and then includes the single mix.
Moving on to the joy this is an indispensable album for Crunch! And LTSO completists. A hidden track adds something to this album that marks the first release of previously unreleased material by Crunch! Since the magic carpet single in the early 90s two and a half decades ago! Wow. It’s an archive rough demo that never made their pile of songs for a second LP, but what a thrill to own it now on a CD. Where as “Sit and wonder” gives us a fresh track from the Sister Mary sessions for the Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra. Prince Buster cover and a live favourite, here is the studio tune previously only seen in a test video online from Jeff the director of Lee’s comedy talking heads movie. Slightly more wonderfully for LTSO fans this compilation as well as getting Bite the Bullet and Wicker Man out to wider casual fans who might buy this for Madness tunes, it adds another unique mix. The Dawn Penn featuring single mix of Bangarang has been included. She isn’t listed though. So perhaps we have lucked out here! Getting a version not released on Sister Mary LP or available beyond download or promo cd before now. Of course overall is the feeling that a whole second CD of Thommo solo would have made a better long term album. And where is fu man chu? Surely his crowning single moment, or even an Argonaut wouldn’t have gone a miss here.
There is another Madness demo on here that isn’t listed on the tracklisting, which reaches number 26 on disc 2 on the albums back sleeve and acknowledges 28 tracks in the nice inner booklet, when CD2 actually delivers 30. Value for money their from Mr KiX
The additional dialogue clips are shorter and more punchy than The Business CDs once delivered and fitting of this CD which is a celebration of what Lee brings to Madness and a peak at his worlds beyond the main band. The lady Opera singer will make more sense to you as she highlights the drama of Lee’s lyrics in the film. To hear these isolated on the CD as short intro tracks works best as the intro to Lovestruck. There is a song that always has an abrupt intro style now it has an operatic intro, and overture, than makes the whole experience grander much like when Carl used to acoustic intro to Johnny the horse. It’s my 3rd favourite reason for playing this CD. My 4th is Carl calling Lee a sticky frog! All the dialogue is funny, because everyone has a good Lee story to be quoted from.
It’s a slight shame the booklet does not list the names of who is talking, but beyond the voices most obvious the rest again make sense when you see the companion film on DVD out shortly.
Lastly I applaud the beautiful packaging, from the opening “Flasher” silhouette, to the Gilliam Pythonesque cover shot of Lee as multiple characters, to the booklet which features such gems as hand written lyric snippets, some hilarious and cool Lee photos from his archive and the original lyrics to Embarrassment among the montage. (The latter of which we will reproduce in full in MIS ‘M’ on July 8th)
There is enough here to enjoy, and more casual fans will be drawn in by its focus, it’s a fine way to listen to some well trodden tunes with a sprinkle of variety and story added.
It’s dedication to the sadly missed Edwina McPherson (who appears among the films voices) is the timely tribute on top a life affirming celebration of One Mans Role in Madness, that man being everything that is Lee.
The movie year began with Suggs reminiscing in Julien Temple’s playful collage My Life Story. Now we find saxophonist and songwriter Lee “Thommo” Thompson skanking down memory lane in Jeff Baynes’ lively oral history of all things Madness. If the framing is broadly conventional – that basic, BBC 4-courting mix of talking heads, underexposed archive footage and lovingly framed album covers – Baynes has one wild card up his sleeve: Thompson himself, who appears, often dragged-up, miming to the testimonies of his mother, sister, wife and other witnesses – a technique inspired either by Clio Barnard’s The Arbor, Nick Park’s Creature Comforts, or the band’s own Top of the Pops appearances.
It’s true, certainly, to the larky spirit of Madness, and the wider theatricality of the post-punk scene into which the group emerged. Stylised opening credits – introducing key players and themes in the manner of the Peel/Steed Avengers – offer Thompson rare credits for hair, makeup and “character development”. As for Thommo, it’s the story of how a Camden delinquent – oft-chased by baton-wielding coppers, as per later promos – found a creative channel for his unruly, raspberry-blowing energies. PA James O’Gara suggests “If [Lee] wasn’t in the band, he’d be locked up in a secure unit”, and you sense Thompson sailing close to the wind even today with his depiction of lawyer Julian Turton as a ruddy-nosed boozer.
It isn’t just messing about in wardrobe. Centralising a songwriter allows Baynes to address the refinement of what was originally trumpeted as “the heavy-heavy monster sound”. A segment on the Thompson-penned Embarrassment points up intriguing attitudinal differences between Madness and idealistic two-tone contemporaries the Specials; their tightness as a musical unit becomes doubly apparent when set against the sprawling anarchy of Thompson’s side project Crunch. No surprise to find ace musicologist Neil Brand among the contributors – albeit as embodied by Thompson in a Jimmy Edwards-style mortarboard. This is chiefly for the fans who crowdfunded it, but cheeky enough to have wider appeal.
We bring this week’s MIS to a close with an exclusive MIS Online competition.
Competition – Win One Man’s Madness Soundtrack 2CD
You could win a copy of Lee Thompson – One Mans Madness 2CD soundtrack on us.
Check out the albums tracklisting online at Madness.co.uk and just tell us which track is your favourite and why.