MIS Bulletin #708 Sun 2nd Dec – Sat 8th December 2012
1 – THIS IS WHERE THE MADNESS BEGINS – The obligatory intro.
2 – HAPPY RETURNS TO THE HOUSE OF FUN WEEKENDER – 2012 REVIEW –
Welcome back to The House Of Fun Weekender. We all had our own
times over the epic three day Madness Weekender. Here is mine.
Here’s Jon Young in what could possibly be the most in-depth
write up in MIS history.
3 – BRIGHTON MATINEE GIG 1ST DECEMBER – This was my 9th Madness gig
and my first Matinee gig of the band. Review by Tony Stratton.
4 – THE CHARGE OF THE MAD BRIGADE OPENING RUN – The tour has so far
taken in Dublin and Cardiff, plus two Brighton shows since it
left the stage of the House of Fun weekender. Jon Young and
Sharon Staite take a whistle-stop look at the first few gigs of
this year’s tour.
5 – MADNESS PIE-FLINGING GAME STATS – Union Square label manager,
Holly Barringer, has kindly been in touch with the MIS to let us
know how well the game has been received by fans and give us a
lowdown on some of the current stats. If you’ve not yet had a
go you’ll find the URL here.
6 – 3RD LUCKY GIG – DUBLIN REVIEW – Shannan Mcbride gives us her take
on the recent Dublin gig.
7 – THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS – This week MIS co-editor, Rob Hazelby
goes back 5 years to issue number 448, and the week of Sunday 2nd
December to Saturday 8th December 2007, and then back 10 years
to issue number 186 and the week of Sunday 1st December to
Saturday 7th December 2002.
8 – MADNESS @ THE BRIGHTON CENTRE 1ST DEC 2012 – Well, it all started
when my brother wanted to say thank you for all the help I gave
him over these past two years. He said “I know a way to say thank
you to you Kristine”, so he bought me a ticket to go and see my
favourite band ever. Yes we are talking about Madness. Kristine
9 – MADNESS: IT’S ONE BIG FIGHT AMONG PALS – THERE’S nothing like
messing up the first question in an interview to make you feel
like a complete fool. And when Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson lets out
a chuckle before I’ve even finished, I know I’m in trouble.
From: http://www.herald.ie. Written by: Chris Wasser
10 – GLASGOW SKA TRAIN MADNESS PRE/AFTER PARTY – Glasgow’s ‘Ska Train’
nights actually started as a result of the first Specials reunion
tour, when a bunch of fans realised that both before and after
the gig in our local enormo-dome, they would be obliged to sit in
some horrible Wetherspoons listening to thumping techno, unless
they took matters into their own hands and put on their own
sideshow. Mr DankDonk reports.
11 – THAT’S YER LOT – A few last minute words before we finish for the
 – THIS IS WHERE THE MADNESS BEGINS
With those who attended the Madness Weekender in Minehead now just
about recovered, reviews of the event are now starting to surface.
We were planning to have lots of separate reviews of the event, but
thankfully Jon’s written such a detailed write-up of what went on
(see section 2), that it should give those of you who were unable to
go some idea of what you missed.
If you’d prefer a more visual summary of last weekend’s antics you
may want to check out the Weekender Facebook photo album at the
If you’ve still not had your fill of all things Madness and Minehead
related then you’ll be pleased to know that a 2013 event is already
in the works.
Due to run from the 22nd to the 25th of November, the 3rd Madness
Weekender will once again take place in Minehead. Not only that,
but tickets are now on sale from the following link:
Now, before we get this issue underway, MIS would like to thank the
couple of hundred fans who came to our 2nd film event at The House of
Fun Weekender, and Massive thanks to Sarah Shaw, Owen Collins, Garry
Scurfield, Darren Dixon, Sharon Staite, Joost, Mandy and Stuart and
Bob and everyone for helping make the film a success. Happy Returns
will be appearing on youtube some time this month.
For now, here is the full Top of the Pop Chart Battle Sketch.
Something we’re very proud of. Enjoy.
Now, on with the issue!
Simon Roberts, Rob Hazelby, Jonathan Young, Liz Maher
Email us at: simon, robert, jonathan, liz @mis-online.net
 – HAPPY RETURNS TO THE HOUSE OF FUN WEEKENDER – 2012 REVIEW
Welcome back to The House Of Fun Weekender. We all had our own times
over the epic three day Madness Weekender. Here is mine. (Feel free
to send us in yours. We’d love to hear your tales, too.)
It’s the evening before the drive down. I’m sat in Mandy Raymond’s
Flat. We only know Mandy and Stuart because of last years Weekender.
That’s how, in the space of a year, a weekender as good as the first
House of Fun, can bring great friends into your life. It had been an
event so good last year that Madstock is not what fans talk about so
much, they talk about this three day Madness Holiday event as the holy
grail in the Madness live calendar. This is because last year
delivered great things by the bucket and spade full. Predominately 2
great sets from Madness, one of them finely unique with new material,
and the odd other memorable moment from the band popping up too. As
well as extras like great bands, DJ’s, comedy, darts and nutty fan
events, along with dressing up and a whole lot of drink and
Would this year live up to that?
I’m chatting with Andy Shoultz who this year is sharing a lodge with
us, well we are more “putting the world to rights” really. We talk
hours of music. It’s a joy to discuss Madness from both the wider
outside influences on the music and art to the deeper inner details
fans so devoted can bring to topics around the band’s music. A great
start to my holiday time, before we head to Minehead to join the rest
of our teams.
The trip down is a breeze, picking up, Owen Collins, joking about
things, playing car games like “6 degrees of separating Clive Dunn
from Lyndsay Lohan”, and stopping off in the cider farm that’s near
to Butlins, recommended by the likes of our fellow lodge Darren
Dixon who visited last year. Knowing Dicka we were a little worried he
might have drank the place dry this morning before we could buy any,
but we were in luck as they had one bottle he hadn’t bought up. He was
more trollied the whole weekender though, than a car park outside
I contemplated stealing one of the farm’s chickens, thinking this
would be a new nutty addition to the lodge accommodation antics this
year, but I decide beyond criminal charges and animal cruelty that
Mandy doesn’t really want mess in her car. So we settle back in, and
I dare Owen Collins to eat 11 raw ritz crackers. He does, in one
mouthful, and makes a mess in the car.
The phone calls have begun. Iain Mason and Garry Scurfield have
arrived on site. We will be there soon. As the car rolls near to the
coast I remind everyone it’s about this time that I point to the big
top arena on the horizon and compare it’s shape to a bunch of
Gilliam-esque titties sticking up out the ground. It’s where Madness
will play 2 sets. It’s such a wonderfully circus feel-like location
by the sea. Our lodge is opened. It’s number 7. Get in. Result.
Magic Number. All the now named residents I’m sharing with don their
wristbands. Owen puts his next to the one he hasn’t taken off from
last year!!!! And squatter in our lodge, Gordy Davidson and I meet
for the 1st time, despite the long term awareness of each other
online. He turns out to be an excellent addition to our team of party
The lodge is assembled. And the partying begins. With the free bottle
of perry, which Owen chills in a washing up bowl full of cold water.
He also chills the free shortbread in the same manner, and no one
else is convinced by this act. We drink, we eat bombay mix, we
chatter excitedly, until The Scurf arrives back in the car.
“Bring a CD player”, I had asked. Scurf brings a double waist height
speaker stack, mixing desk amp, projector, 2 laptops and a ton of
audio, radio jingles and karaoke files, 4 radio microphones. (beyond
the call of duty) We set up this Koast Train rig in the lodge, and
it’s a joy to sing with it all weekend. I don one of the Mexican
wrestling masks (a chicken) I’ve imported and decorate the lodge with
a mixture of small Mexican hats and Madness posters, and a bit of new
album bunting and beer mats, handing a few stickers around. The lodge
of waa waa si si hoo hoo ha ha is born. Beyond last year’s cult around
an obscure song, we are now in celebration of the new album and ready
ENTERTAINMENT, GUIDE AND DECORATION
I check the nice little guide booklet we’ve been given free this
year. While its not as detailed or pictorially interesting as last
year’s it’s a really nice cheap £2 programme (that people didn’t buy
enough cus it hadn’t got enough Madness in it). I do think a free
lanyard guide or at least a mini booklet like this, that you could
choose to slip into a wallet or pocket if you don’t like lanyards, is
a much improved way to go to inform the residents of the weekender
whats on. It’s very well put together being just facts and highlights
with a flair of red black colour. MIS events got in the highlights
section and it’s own page. As a booklet it was just perhaps a little
too flimsy in paper or as the weekender got more rainy it was a paper
that the damp seemed to effect a bit too easy. Amusingly there is a
plea not to steal decorations this year in the guide. Inevitably they
haven’t spent so much mega money on decorations we would all only
steal in two minutes. We nabbing fans are to blame for that one. I
still see some of the cheaper sprayed M logos getting nabbed, though
I think most of the reds ceiling bunting stayed up. What they do have
this year is “Hugh Jart” a team that build things at festivals. From
the Friday on they build a cage with large letters of wood, painted
and lights added. It spells House of Fun, and it’s a photo moment,
you’ll see plenty of people take photos by it, see their facebook
But there is a lot on in the guide showing the entertainment. A
little less than last year perhaps. Perhaps the ska moans of last
year, are responsible for ska heavy DJ line up, including neighbouring
sounds like northern soul etc. Though the DJ’s are also heavily in the
cheese pop music celebrations that it’s easy to party to in groups
this year, with guilty pleasure adding to the stuff the cuban brothers
do, or the ballad events. By the end of the weekend I felt it could
have done with just one more nod to the pop world. When last year we
had the delights of Scroobius pip in modern music, Paul Heaton in the
80’s hits league, or the son of Ian Dury on the bill in modern
leftfield indie with heritage, and Missing Andy in the current chart
of mod indie pop. While there is new additions this year. There was
just a small amount of a gap there in something that at least the
majority of fans around me etc would aim for as “unmissable.”
A manager will later in the weekend tell me, that he felt a fair few
of the bands last year people didn’t bother much to go and see, and
so there was a feeling that they could put on masses of great bill
entertainment of that kind and it not really get looked at so much.
If this is true of the overall planning decisions, then fair enough.
When it comes to looking at the line up only on poster, it felt more
cynical in that it must be cheaper in some ways and easy logistically
to pay DJ acts to run longer spots and have people also happy to
visit the bars more often buying up beer etc during their sets. But
these kinds of moans aside, the entertainment being much more the kind
of music rooms, you could dip in and out of, seemed to turn this years
weekender into a more relaxed environment in terms of scheduling at
least. Fans were not moaning about entertainment to me much at all,
the fact they didn’t have to run between groups of mates and meet up
again etc to get to “must see” events, people circulated pretty free
and happily between all types of entertainment and there was never
a clash of two big things they liked. There is never getting away from
two big things. A massive amount of people are here mostly interested
to see Madness. A massive other amount are beer swilling party goers
who are self focussed in their antics anyway and the entertainment is
a backdrop to them a lot of the times. Us lot. We are often both.
THE INVISIBLE CIRCUS.
I thought the side show addition installed in the main arena was
great. Especially given, we had Rimski bike piano in here from last
year which is pretty folgate-esque, and he’s back. Invisible circus
fitted the more resident Madness side from the current albums almost
title, circus freaks, a theme also going back to House of Fun live
era with its Thunder and Blazes intro, and the greatest show on earth
type presentation the band have often theme riffed upon over the
years. This years stage set is velvet trim and party clown faces too.
Roll up roll up. This was a photo booth of costume props against a
backdrop the Cecilia video would have been happy to borrow. A peep
show box, a parade and a cage in which performance artists dressed as
animals. It meant there was always a small distraction for 2 minutes
of your day walking past to see what they were up to. In the same way
a cyber pet can entertain. It’s also the reason why, when I was later
drunk back stage, I was pointing at a girl continually asking her
“were you the seal??”
There were some great new album T-shirts, mugs, badges and a few of
those signed albums Madness have done for the tour, which many fans
ran for, wanting to snap them up, before they had gone. Which shows
what a good idea doing that was. People love the exclusive signed
item. Shame none of them seem to notice Oui Oui with it’s text
artwork is surely the shittest album cover ever to get a lettery
signature over the top of.
Some other nice designs from a war poster look “Madness Needs you” T
shirt and more new designs.
OUI OUI SI SI JA JA DA DA YES YES IN FULL LIVE
The cuban brothers, I’ve missed both years really. Cus I really
couldn’t give a toss. Don’t get me wrong if you liked them great, I
did too first time I saw them at Madness’s after show at the 02 in
London one year.
It’s just that I don’t laugh at their one joke act on repeated
occurrences of coming across them, it’s got tedious.
There had been rumours that Madness might do One Step Beyond album
in full. Indeed this had been talked about. Early around the time
the Butlins postcard came to us back in February. This sounded great
or at least interesting, (to be honest you don’t get a lot of extra
unheard with that album. Absolutely would be more exciting to me, or
something beyond that album, but they get less popular sadly, with
the masses) at first hear. The nearer to the event… I think the
band realised, they were right in the middle of the launch time of
the new album. It made no sense… not just in rehearsal time but
other reasons of current push etc… to revisit any other old album.
The joy of the two night situation of Madness at this weekender, is
you can have a whole set do what you like in the knowledge that hits
set pleasure will come the next night. Last year delivered an
unprecedented 15 songs – new, all unreleased tracks. This year the
new album set delivers 13 tracks making up the entire released
The Songs of Leon and Small World get aired live for the first
time publicly. While Circus Freaks arrives at Butlins for it’s
first airing here. This is enough difference to last years set of
Friday night. The songs are all still new to people in so many ways,
wether this is their first listen to these tunes, or even if they
are owning and looping the new album. Arrangements are more polished
and the playing is more learned by now for performance rather than
off paper. The dropping of the wonky song “Crying” makes this an all
brilliant set, without stumble this year.
The lighting, set stage and presentation all different. From the
opening Shakespeare quote to the choice of differing encore hits
this year. It felt that despite the unique thrill of hearing unheard
new material being lost from last years epic set, this was ultimately
a better full presentation of the newly loved album. Filmed with
cameras down the front, could this be destined for the box set DVD?
Even Dollaly and Big Time Sister are aired. So the gripe that Oui Oui
doesn’t have enough Thommo songs on is satisfied in this live album
night by having 2 great bonus tracks. Hopefully a pointer that they
are due for the boxset too. We are pretty sure Dollaly is due to Chris
playing it to the French MIS, recently, so fingers crossed these make
any DVD. They made the right choice with this set. While Small World
was incredibly flat in atmosphere, making it the song most likely to
be dropped from the tour live set, you could see from Woody’s newly
under tache grin, he really enjoyed that they got to play this song.
So did I, because I was slightly worried they might never play it, and
a great tune would never meet me at a gig, the way “one fine day”
never has. Sad that the reaction around didn’t feel as strong as the
lesser but present reaction Leon got, as this suggests from the crowd
that the section of new album buying fans have not got into Small
World enough yet.
I feel a bit, at Butlins the magnitude of how good these Friday gigs
have been sometimes is a little over looked. The Hackney gigs were
a landmark in post reformed Madness sets, with their split up format
and 11 new songs benchmark. Both Butlins Friday gigs stand in the
history of Madness sets higher than any other post 80’s gigs in terms
of playing new albums in fullness, both before and after released.
That makes me very happy that such an environment exists for Madness
to boldly play material in that way. Highlight for me was probably
Circus Freaks, followed by Leon. All the boys, they did a grand big
top show fitting of the hard work and talent on that album. Decent
in all that they do. Friday is already the highlight in terms of just
pure Madness 2012 brilliance.
SEX AND DRUGS AND ROCK AND ROLL
Madness return to this Ian Dury number in the encore. They’ve done it
before at TV shows and such. Great to hear it at a gig. But my eyes
are on Bushers suddenly, as the legendary tones of the so memorable
bass line in this tune kick in. I’m reminded Madness asked Norman Watt
Roy to join them on bass when Bedders switched to his 73.9% retirement
and Norman being a busy Blockhead proffered up Graham Bush. Now, after
a few years, a name that sticks, and great service, Bushers gets to
play this riff made famous by the man who put him where he is on
stage, and helped him learn bass, with Madness tonight. I watch him
swagger the stage playing that memorable riff hard. While you see
Thommo other side of stage really getting into it. His own Dury fandom
moment kicking in. At the end Bushers taps his heart with his hand in
gesture to what it meant to play the tune. I had the pleasure of
bumping into him backstage laters and indeed he mentioned he would
ring Norman up and tell him that he’d just played that tune live and
what it meant. A small but brilliant Rock & Roll moment.
DUNCES, DOWNERS, DECKCHAIRS & DISCS
Talking of sex and drugs and rock and roll, I’mm not really getting
much of the former action, I’ve definitely had too much of the middle
one (well, beer at least) and the rock and roll is taking a back seat
too much with some. Cus this year there are some Dunces. Although
I’ve been enjoying the gig, I’ve had to stand in the way of a fight
flaring up, to protect the gig, and people from their little
interpersonal fan feuds. Reading back on facebook… A fair few fights
and such were elsewhere in the weekender too. It’s not all harmony and
love here, if you are near one of these small pockets of dispute,
women stirring and dragging in security on their feelings, squaddies
calling loud mouths out in the toilets, and some more serious punch
ups and head kicking around and about all reported by people after the
weekender on facebook. Blame it on the young, blame it on meat heads.
The drama queens rejoice again. These people have lost the plot of
what FUN means. Such great musical art being offered up, some of it
for one night only, and yet squabbles and such are some peoples main
activity for a while. Too much beer. Sure, it accelerates bad
spirits. I’m wishing I hadn’t drunk so much myself. My moods are
wobbling big time. Cider, perry, a shot forced onto me earlier by a
well meaning friend. I’m my own worst glutton to be overdoing it first
night on that arrival high. After a little grief, an emotional
brilliant set, tiredness of travel and that thing of being taken from
your quiet world into a busy social one, I’m not handling myself very
well, plus I’ve got a slight set of responsibilities to stay true
to later that are starting to worry. Ah, bollocks. I’m having a bad
time now. Where do I need to be next?
I’m staggering out towards our lodge to let in friends as I’ve the
keycard and they’ve called me. It’s then I come across three women
trapped in a giant deckchair. They’ve got in for a laugh, (it’s a
popular structure on display here each year) but the combination of
sheer drunken energy zapped from them, some plumpness when it comes
to sit ups, and the array of inappropriate heels and skimpy clothing
attiring them has left them like spiders in a bathtub. I reach over
and gratefully the first girl receives a firemans lift free, then I
attend to her friend, in a similar move back to land. Thirdly the
largest lift I need to perform, I ready myself, but first I gently
brush the dropped fag ash clear of its littering position laying
upon the on display cleavage of this semi comatosed weekender
attendee more than 5 sheets to the wind. This has a waking effect
and when I go to harness I’m grabbed into an ashen lipstick moment,
and tussle before the final escape freeing the deckchair of it’s
occupants becomes a gravel collapse for the pair of us, with me
the lower bunk. They depart, with only one thank you, and I ended
up alone. By the time I arrive to lodge key duty, with a head full
of thinking about all female failures in terms of collapsed
deckchairs, I find my friends instead shacking across the way with
welsh girls in a neighbouring lodge who invited them in. I join them
briefly for more slightly civilised socialising (only slightly)
somehow end up having acquired her sunglasses to hide my increasing
washed up mood in, as I leave. I’ve not paid to sit around, this is
not a mood to sit in. Need to take action away from it. What next.
It’s time to make good my next promise. I’ve a ska mission thats
quite possible. I’ve a package to deliver.
Staggering out of the Lodges, It’s a bee line to the backstage.
I arrive with perfect divine timing, as Katy, one of the Managers
appears at the artists area door. “I’ve got these discs for Thommo”,
I explain. I’ve been working last minute on stuff for the ska
orchestra for him. She glides me past the door security and in the
absence of MR T himself takes the discs to be delivered via their
production manager. I chat with Bushers and then Thommo the band
and a big Chinese meal arrives, they start tucking in, a few other
fans are here also. Are you eating? Thommo offers the choice of grub,
and later Blade Runner. But I explain the discs situation is mission
delivered sir, and I’ll see him later, as Katy departed wanting to
watch The Skints, and in the moment I feel thats what’s needed. Reggae
is very much my next order of the day, not bothering the band for chit
chat, while they tuck into deserved meals for their hard work tonight.
They deserve the rest. I’m here for the music and entertainment.
REGGAE, FUNK AND SOUL
I Bee-line again through the crowds, right into the front line of The
Skints, on another mission, past my friends Dawn and Taja. And it’s
there I find my solace, people, fights, women, band blags, booze,
socialising, projects, bollocks to it all. No, no, no, you don’t love
me and I know now. Cus you left me, baby. And I got no place to go
now. Darling you send me, darling you send me, I know you, you send
me, honest you do, honest you do woah oh oh oh. Dawn Penn’s classic
is skanking out the keyboards, guitars and amps, the dreadlocked
female young singer is a vision of beauty, the band looking cool
and sounding great, and live music is where it’s at. This is the fun.
It’s here. Found.
They cover Sam Cooke into the bargain, a tradition of music I’ve got
from my dad. I’m dancing alone like steve wonder’s separated from his
guiders. It’s probably true I look a bit more John Belushi Blues
Brother again to onlookers, but I’m in the zone and free. Lapped up
the end set of a great reggae band, it’s a shame they were only in
Jaks cause there was a queue to get in. I liked their own tunes. Might
have to check them out again.
Craig charles funk and soul show. I can’t not dance to. I could be
depressed, I could be dead, and his choice of break beats, samples
and music, matched to his presence that always looks like a gospel
church having an audio orgasm. Is just inspirational. So I take up
a slice of his set for half an hour or so. Get up, get down. Etc.
He plays a great set. We are body popping a plenty, though again it’s
a shame this year he’s in reds. He was better in centre stage last
year. Later I’m informed Owen and Scurf became his beer monkeys
I go bed that night with a head full of sweet soul sounds.
I’m awoken in the AM. By a singing Scotsman. In my lodge. Impromptu
Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da Karaoke breaks out in the front squatters
room. And we all join in. What a joyous way to celebrate this new
album. Last year here we wished that Madness would get their album
out by the next House of Fun, and here we were singing it out loud. A
great start to the day.
HAPPY RETURNS – A HOUSE OF FUN MOVIE
Saturday was a day I’d been waiting for all year in MIS projects.
Showing The 2nd MIS fan film. Imagination had been stretched. Since
last year’s success with Miswas I’ve had the pleasure of seeing two
episodes of Red Dwarf X filmed in front of a live studio audience,
and found that inspirational, so audience participation was built
into this year’s film in a bigger way. A movie that can see into it’s
own cinema. A concept fitting of the daft sci fi show. There was a
very good reason to add magic as an idea this year, because something
really magic happened after showing Miswas. We got given a gift.
Niki Elkins saw the film and delivered to us the kind of old video
tapes containing footage of Madness we were after. Amongst them a clip
of Madness on Data Run in 1982, performing magic tricks in Escapade in
Camden Town. Something of a cousin to those old videos like The House
of Fun. This magic we felt must be seen at next year’s weekender. That
was the start. The basis for a sitcom we wrote to get Mick Jenner to
direct for us. The story of fans being effected by Madness Magic and
searching it out. Sadly this project. House of Fan. Was too ambitious.
A bag of a personal problems, not least of which a massive illness
and car crash I both suffered in 2012, ended house of fan forever.
There just wasn’t the time and money and people available. However we
had completed a Top of the Pops Sketch, about 1982, thanks to lots
of hard work from producer Sharon Staite, storyboards by Mick, and
cast Sarah shaw and Owen Collins, with location providers Mandy
Raymond. We were proud of it. A bit more of a fan effort than Miswas
So we dropped the sitcom making it into a more suitable in the end,
Koast Train the movie idea based around Garry’s radio ska show in the
north east on Koast radio. Darren Dixon and Garry Scurfield completed
the filming in that form. A radio show coming to life. With brilliant
postcard animation from Joost, so good people thought the band had
given us some animation they didn’t use on promo for the weekend. We
made a 30 minute movie for the screen with Fred Beouf adding a theme
music element. Then we thought up loads of in cinema interactions.
The problem with such a mad detailed idea became all the more apparent
as Saturday showtime approached. Scenes and ideas were being given up
on even right up to the final moments. We were under rehearsed,
hungover and the torrential rain at Butlins was dampening moods today.
Nearly everyone failed their interactive bits. Owen snoozing in the
front row, Taja grateful I think we cut her part of words for the
final scenes, she just left, Sharon not giving out cakes on cue,
Dicka’s assurances that we could film in the dark cinema, may have
been very misguided. I really don’t know what the final edit might
look like at this stage for youtube. I just didn’t do enough on the
final rehearsal with people, to make it clear enough what was needed.
There just wasn’t the time and the mood.
And I’m not sure anyone noticed.
The beauty sometimes of performance is the bits you didn’t expect.
The how you get out of the hole, can improve things. The biggest thing
on your side is people don’t actually know what it was you had planned
to happen often.
The guide had said 11am. We turned up early to nearly no one having
turned up for the event. I relaxed then. I thought, IF we fail, we
fail to no one. The online trailers however which had said 12 packed
the place out. The interim time. Garry Scurfield held court and
audience. Something about the inter-active elements I had planned in
the film, somehow made him feel it was Koast Train the comedy show,
from the moment he entered the building. For 50 minutes he randomly
shouted out words and antics with his team, unplanned and total
nonsense. This really really helped. The atmosphere was so ready for
anything by the time the film started. Every joke that worked on
screen got bigger laughs. That’s why Red Dwarf have a warm up man I
guess when making their show. We ended up the same. Dicka has just
called him the new Ross Noble, having seen some filming back he did
of this warm up.
Our story of the magic house of fun postcard, played out on screen.
And even Chrissy Boy turned up again to see us. I’m so happy the Top
of the Pops stuff and postman jokes went down so well, and that
people seemed to enjoy the ride, even some funny heckles and cheers
Then our big finale. 3 minutes of roller coaster footage on screen,
where we were due to film the audience pretending to ride it. Failed.
Total disc failure. As I sat there looking at the disc not working.
I didn’t care. Totally in the moment. I just stood up and said.
“disc failure. right lets do it anyway. Garry we need to pretend to
be a roller coaster.” So we did. We told everyone to follow our
curving. Left – right – up – down. and filmed it. Absolutely everyone
joined in like the best audience you could ask for. And we filmed it.
Fingers crossed in the final youtube edit the roller coaster will
ride again. We filled in with a reprise ending. A music video we cut
of Sarah Shaw’s excellent Eurovision turn. By far her performance is my
favourite in the film. Then we took our bows.
Despite all the trouble. I loved every single minute of being in the
cinema doing this event for a couple of hundred MIS readers. Chris
Carter Pegg liked it. That means a lot to me. So good approval. Cus
it’s magic you see. Happy always Returns. Thanks everyone.
And if you hear “A Little Peace by Nicole” across facebook, it’s
probably my fault. The Top of the pops sketch is now up. The movie in
full will follow.
Chrissy Boy came over and congratulated me again on a good film, which
means a lot to me, he’s on the poster, a bit from his legendary
comedic input in video’s like the original House of Fun, we put Chris
there cus like last year, he’s the fans fan at times, doing things
But I don’t think it meant as much as John Tovey meeting Chris for
the first time. John Tovey is a recently blinded man. (A couple of
years ago I think he lost his sight.) Here’s his room mate Paul
Rodgers with his tale of what happened next.
OUI OUI HEAR HEAR
“After chatting to Chrissy Boy John was on cloud 9
Chrissy Boy told me he’d seen my cupboard request for John to meet the
band, but hadn’t been able to guarantee anything as he didn’t know
what technical rehearsals would be on and all that stuff.
About 5.30 I got a missed call and message on my mobile from Jamie
(management) saying Chrissy Boy had asked him to call me to arrange to
get John backstage before the Saturday headline slot.
So I told John that the message was from MIS and that we were going
to a sort of MIS Meet at a different bar, keeping everything secret.
After a close shave where a security guard nearly gave the game away
we were in a bar around 8, I was claiming you’d (Jon Young) be along
Then this bloke says to John “Hello mate, it’s Suggs standing in
front of you”
Then Lee turned up and that was who John really wanted to meet.”
(He’s a big fan of his songwriting)
That has to be one of the best band meet surprise I’ve ever heard.
I’m guessing the guide dog Dez has yet to know to bark when he sees
someone off an album sleeve. Well done Paul, Chris and the band.
THE RAIN AND THE NUTTY CHARGE, & THE QUIZ
Torrential rain was dampening moods. It was flooding Butlins. Even into
some accommodation on the ground level. We didn’t want to put people
through Chhhhhharrrrgggging in that. Ground was boggy, and things
like, how can we put up a tripod camera of Dicka’s in the rain. etc.
All meant we cancelled it. Bad phone signal meant couldn’t even get on
facebook to tell people. Managed to get through and tell management
of the weekender, and they were on standby already to Twitter the
We directed our film audience to the inn on the green for Daley’s quiz
hosted be Mr Happy, instead. (Which I believe Team showbiz won. Well
done guys.) I believe it went off well after people enjoyed a hill
billy band. Thee Waltons. Square dancing, that saw the odd fat bloke
up with his shirt off.
I went down to see if anyone hadn’t heard of the cancellation and was
waiting to charge. I met a couple in cammo jackets with face paint and
blow up AK47’s. That there is the kind of Madness fan I like. What a
great effort. These are the people that are a tribute to fandom. The
ones who join in the fun, don’t start the real fights!!!! I bring
along all the medals that were for special weapons, and instead I
give medals to all still waiting.
Under a canopy umbrella picnic table area, about 30 people were left.
Believing it might still happen. 5 in jackets. Black with pink writing
on, The nutty charge 2012. Team Dixon. Carrying lot of inflatables.
I stood in front of the 30+ crowd, told these people with the jackets,
sorry no charge rain etc, and reasoning.
And they attacked me.
With inflatable hammers.
I cowered in protection. “Leave off, I’ve got a hangover”
Then. A lone solider. Waddles over. In a limp voice says to me.
“Can… “I”… still charge anyway?”
Looking at me with his bullet belt, hat and plastic action man style
two handed rifle, like some puppy dog would look at a master who’s
taken away the feeding bowl early, at this point, I’m really really
grinning inside my head. That a daft fool like me, can suggest an idea
like this to a weekender, and to it’s fans, and even in the rain, I am
not deserted by believers so into the foolishness of the lark that
the rain hasn’t dampened them, and even though it surely means nothing
now, as an event, this man, this 1 man, who’s slightly camp in nature,
with his plastic gun, thinks, he needs my permission, to run across
So. I look at him. And say yes. Yes Mark. You can. If that Yes isn’t
an affirmation of the new album title, on it’s charge tour. I don’t
know what is!
Simon Saunders therefore has to walk out in the rain with his phone
camera, as Mark solo chargggggesss for all. It’s like watching Ian
Lavendar in the credits of Dads army. The least fierce invasion force
ever to set foot towards a camera. Bless him. Mark gets the big medal
presented at the Party on Sunday.
Robert Wardlaw still turns up later at my party with his pink hobby
horse. (Johnny) That he would have rode on, for his Madheart speech.
Back to Red Dwarf, And the comedy, I take a “wearing out now” Garry
Scurfield, to see what many will tell you is a comedy legend. The
rain has moved him from Reds to Centre Stage, and Norman moans his
way through the first 5 minutes of his set just talking about that!
But it’s a joy to laugh at Norman’s low key humour. As he throws
plastic bags in the air talking about them. I get a 2nd wave of
joy watching how much it amuses Garry to see this guy in action.
Later at my lodge Party I will see Garry trying out plastic bags
as part of his radio show antics. There was a Jimmy Saville
joke, I cant repeat in MIS but we repeated it all weekend! It was
a nice moment in the afternoon after everything Garry has done for
me for and at the weekender, to share a simple laugh together just
us sat at the back an Norman talking about hot poo.
CIRCUS FREAKS AND MAD BRIGADE MADNESS
While I didn’t massively enjoy Man Like Me’s Set this time around, It’s
always great to see Johnny Langer and Clive Langer team up. They were
given a small space of stage, and went the tuxedo look. It worked ok.
I mean how would even Johnny’s Nutty styling compare when put up
against Circus Freaks looks? I guess I found it flat given I’ve
enjoyed smaller madder MLM gigs. Arenas, I’m not so convinced I will
enjoy them in.
I enjoyed the ring masters in the crowd who said to me that they
basically could tell any other Circus Freak what to do, on the basis
they owned the circus! I was dressed as a Lucha Libre clown, which
genuinely freaked people out, Sarah shaw the most, who herself had the
best costume ever, turning an Adam and Eve style flesh cover into a
tattooed lady look that became increasingly unlady like. Vicki had
dressed as an owl to the point of real feathers stuck to her face.
Nicki Evans, and Sharon Staite, completing the circus with strange
snake faced lady, and a knife throwers assistant gone wrong, that I
had to give costume first aid to. Chuck in Iain Mason as a bearded
lady “Jenny Rodgers” and for once, Garry Scurfield, in fairy wings,
boxing gloves, shorts and shower cap, actually looked the most
normal!!! I’m a wrestler though and he’s at least part boxer, so
we go at it. Rolling around on the floor of the arena and I think
the insane clown from Mexico won.
Tonight’s showtime by Chris is Highway to Hell, with a cool flames
graphic. I’ve tired of showtime sometimes at gigs of late, but this
one is on fire. Butlins is a great venue for Showtime, and I almost
wish Chris was up for doing a karaoke hosting, cus there is so much
time for whatever fun you want to put into anything. His performance
tonight is one of those few where it almost feels like Madness just
covered a full song. While the rain outside is Hell. It’s warm in
here and Madness is heavenly fun. They came onto the stage under
umbrellas to match the occasion outside, that had dampened the
morning but wasn’t stopping any fun now it was flowing tonight.
Brilliant use of new backdrops. Especially during House of Fun. I
enjoy my 71st Madness gig as my first wearing a mask. That is until
the return of Johnny the horse. Arriving to a hushed whisper down
the front with us lot holding our breath. Cus out comes that guitar,
and we are thinking, Wonderful? Celerkenwell? or is it?
The slow intro wafts with beauty from Carl’s vocals, then Boom.
Doodley de du du du. Woah!!!!!!!!!!!!! we remember his name. Yes
we do it’s Johnny. The gig seems to ramp up from this point on and
becomes a bit of a love in. Even The surprise return of Michael
Caine that’s vocally fumbled and needs the sample in, is mostly
treated with warmth by the crowd.
ON STAGE WITH HEROS
After all these, highs, lows, 2 great Madness gigs, personal projects,
and daft dressing up. I’ve had a house full of fun for my money. I’ve
enjoyed chatting between all of this with countless fans and
band members, from Joe and Chalky, Allie, Stuart, Robert, Taja, and
Lisa and Gordy friends old and some recently met. A few of my closest
friends are Owen and Mr Scurf and Sharon. Thats who I’m with in reds
buying a round. Then Sharon wanders off. Scurf says, “lets go walk
through doors” and next thing the three of us are chatting with Darren
Bennett about the only one T on his door sign, while Don Letts is
DJing the other side of the wall. We are drinking Russ Winstanley’s
rider, when Katy and Suggs appear to hide from fans mobbing the main
man. Only to find us reprobates using the wall as a bottle opener.
They head out onto the stage when Darren is up DJ’ing and we follow.
The next thing I know a drunk Steve Bunyan from the USM record label
is waltz dancing with us fans in turns across the front of the stage.
This isn’t quite how I expected to be after midnight, but with Lee
Thompson now up, and Suggs choosing the records I’m loving the lark.
Sharon returns to see people she knows up on stage. For all the hard
work on the film, I really want her to join the antics, and I spot a
security guard missing at side of stage and manage to blag her a way
up. Mark Bowen dressed as a clown sneaks in the same route, but a
clown costume is too conspicuous so he’s removed later. I show Sharon,
to the booze stash we are robbing, we discuss the surprise nature of
our location, it’s just one of those brilliant moments where life
feels like an adventure, and then back out onto the stage where at
this point Chrissy Boy turns up in the crowd with Gordy. So I’m on
stage with Suggs and Lee and Chrissy Boy is an audience member. It’s
like my world flipped over for a brief moment, and the pieces fell
back down wrong.
Even all of this. Even Everything. I wasn’t prepared to sing with a
hero. Darren has picked out a Dangermen track original, John Jones.
As this happens, I somehow, after trying to not crowd his space end
up within hugging distance of Suggs as I turned around, both of us
drunk as the happiest party go-ers started pointing at the crowd
singing along, in some kind of harmony that probably wasn’t sounding
so great if anyone apart from us could hear, and he’s not quite
remembering the words so I’m leaning in and he’s slightly taking his
lead on the lines from me starting them slightly early to help. Wow.
Just wow. So weird.
John/Suggs. Sun of a gun.
Sharon being an ever present with Camera fan, I get a few attempts at
least of photo’s of this event. Thanks to Allie as well who shot a
few good ones too from the crowd. Chris is now up on stage, also
getting into the song choices, and this all goes on until the limit
of closing time. 1 more. Says Suggs. The crowd cheer. No, says the
Immediately us fans are urging the crowd to booooo them, and we are
now in a pantomime. But the baddies win and it’s off to bed, on what
could have been one of the best surrealist days of my entire life.
SUNDAY SKA AND SWAGGA
It’s not even over. By now it feels like a weeks worth of events.
But the karaoke Lodge morning starts again. Bit of Meat Loaf. After
all Rock and Roll Dreams came true last night, and the magic
continues. Our friends get moved into the lodge next door across the
way, due to flooding. We serenade the nice upgrade.
Last year, Sunday, after Paul Heaton flagged a bit for me. I was
wandering a bit lost, like the fun was over early. This year I didn’t
stop for three days because the lodge party is scheduled to end the
weekend for us diehards. And Swagga and Ska orchestra are must see
highlights for me. So something feels spread across all days. This
year does feel like 3 days of Madness rather than 2.
While Darren Fordhams trousers must have cost a small packet, the rest
of what I hope was Ray Gudge and his bands experience of Butlins I
hope paid well and certainly went down like a million pounds sterling,
(not dollars, cus we are London yeah don’t forget it) but it’s not
about the price, it’s about the skank with them. I sadly missed
DIS House opening. But I lapped up Rude Boys, Stupid Marriage from
the Specialized project and more. I just like the humour and delivery
he has. In a world where cover bands can be too safe, and original
material can be hard to get across first time, Swagga sound is a
marriage between those worlds. There are hooks and tunes you know,
and raps and twists you don’t expect. It’s a fusion. One I like. I
would be the first to call it a pile of shit ruining other people’s
music if they didn’t sell it to me right. But the spirit of Ray’s
lyric writing seems to me to come from the Judge Dread and Ian Dury
lineage enough to place him in the same calibre as Johnny Langer
who we saw last night, and other writers with a real voice, as every
tune he touches takes a generational leap and becomes a new whole,
worthy and justified in it’s own right.
The discs I helped Thommo get for the show, do end up being used,
which make me pretty proud, although it was all last minute. Clips
from laurel and hardy, alex harvey, gene kelly and fred astaire
accompany some songs. They even used the logo version that comes
from a picture of Sarah Shaw’s circus freaks Tattoo. Which was my
last minute nice touch.
This is the side show, It’s the band that take the room by storm,
centre stage of centre stage. It was a terrific set. Probably the
best one ever by the band. Despite being a trombone down due to
weather travel problems for the first couple of songs, we got a
set that gave us pretty much every ska orchestra song ever. Though
surprisingly not Many Rivers.
Darren and Lee enter, wearing Lee Thompson cardboard masks, and
carrying an extra head, which gets thrown in the crowd. Debbie,
Thommo’s wife is up on someones shoulders, and when she later gets
heckled by Lee, she makes it up onto the stage to tell him off.
Suggs invades too often, doing nothing, except jokes about Bob’s
hair, and a dig on mic about how he’s jealous of Lee getting all
the attention. Darren Fordham says later on the Koast Train. “Suggs
was supposed to do Bangarang with the band, but turned up late!”
It’s the EP launch of the Ska Orchestra, and it sells out like hot
reggae cakes. There won’t be any more. Buy the album instead, next
year. But what is great is all the feedback the facebook page got.
There are so many people that love this band, and loved the gig,
but just are not up for traveling to see them. Understandable. And
Butlins has got across The Ska Orchestra to masses of them, and it’s
made Sunday still feel like there is a mad presence on site.
We also did not get Midnight Rider. Which isn’t so bad on this
occasion considering the amazing thing we did get. We got Crunch!
THE MINI CRUNCH! REUNION
We’ve only got Thommo, Louis, Tadman and Seamus from the original
band, within The Ska Orchestra. But how heavenly was any kind of
Crunch! Magic Carpet Ride live. Far too Long it’s been away.
Three great songs, two from The Nutty Boys album and one from the
still unreleased follow up, a live favourite. It’s been over 5
years since the last time anyone played them live. I was in yet
another fan pleased moment. They even sounded fuller in some ways it,
being another band playing them, with more instrumentation. I really
hope Chrissy Boy, who was named a few times in tribute as song writer,
finds a way to bring the full Crunch! to Butlins for 2013. How else do
you top this occurrence, and his highway shows he’s up for fun. He
should get at least a Crunch! gig on the road some point when he’s
THE LODGE OF WAA WAA SI SI HOO HOO HA HA.
It had it’s own Cake. It had cross bows imported from mexico. A Top of
The Pops sign. It was DJ’d by a doctor fresh from surgery. It had
Silly String guns from team showbiz. A pink hobby horse from Scotland.
It was bring a bottle. Everyone brought them and we drank them all
too. It was the MIS end party for the weekender. So I can’t tell you
how good or bad the Baggy Trousers party, Trojan DJ’s were or any of
it. Cus we took it back to how weekenders began, for the likes of me,
Garry, Chris and Emma so many years ago. Us diehards, mad music,
dancing, drink, and taking over a room somewhere with our own antics,
Most of all it had The Koast Train live. The boys with Mr Scurf put
on an epic 8 hour party with the usual fun songs as well as some
exclusive Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da demo’s and snippets we couldn’t
possibly reveal details of. We mocked Peter Blake’s artwork in a joy
of sex way. We had a live mariachi band projection, singing the album
title, and tons of Koast Train clips and old adverts like Smash
potato, We killed the worst cover version ever of a bad Madness song,
just like my 1st ever event had, a quiz at Blackpool 11 years before.
About 62 people came by. A mass of invited fans. A band member from
the Ska Orchestra. Particularly fun to see Graham Yates so completely
full of joy. (joy must be one of the cocktails names surely!) And we
were visited by Jamie and Katy to whom we gave thanks and praise,
cus despite the rain it’s been an amazing weekender.
It was the party that killed Trevor McMadnut. In the weekender that
brought back Steve Maddie the monkey and then lost him again.
It took me a few weeks to organise the event, a lot of effort, some
great ideas from The cocktail biatch Vicki Lee. It was a lot of fun.
When Mr Scurf, legend of the weekender, finally needed his nite
nites, I knew the weekender must be ending. I took it down to chill
level Madness songs on the laptops, and it was 7am, myself and Andy
and Owen were clearing up until. What a Korv Paj.
Worth it. Best party ever.
MONDAY IT’S TIME TO GO.
The final goodbye of the weekender, of any note, see’s myself, Sharon,
and Owen saying goodbye to BOB, The builder. The stickering idea where
you put an album sticker on something that means YES to you, means his
hat now has a sticker where his tall likeness stands next to the kids
area. Well this weekender was full of that positive affirmation
overcoming everything. So the weekender deserves a big sticker.
Can Madness pull off an amazing Weekender, even in the rain?
Yes they can!
Happyness will return in…. The House of Fun Weekender 2013.
 – BRIGHTON MATINEE GIG 1ST DECEMBER
Review by Tony Stratton
This was my 9th Madness gig and my first Matinee gig of the band.
A few weeks ago I wasn’t going to be attending the gig at Brighton,
mainly as I had a ticket for the London o2 gig. I struggled to get
a ticket but did the unthinkable. I bought my ticket off a tout on
ebay. (yes I know what you`re thinking?) but I only paid £40 and met
the guy before the gig.
Anyhow, I met up with my good friend Kristine who`s known to the
Madness community and her friend Sal. I travelled up from Basildon,
Essex by train and got there well quick.
It was quite eventful before I met kristine and Sal. I got asked by
a tout if I wanted to buy a ticket which he was selling for silly
money but that’s how most of them work. Then I got approached by a
woman who thought I was selling tickets. (memo to ones self – don’t
loiter outside a gig venue)
Anyhow, Kristine, Sal and I were at the back hoping to get some
autographs. Chrissy boy turned up first and in the middle of getting
autographs we had photos taken with Chrissy Boy who commented on
Kristines hat which resembled “Juliet Bravo”. Boy did that stick
throughout the afternoon LOL.
After catching sight of Lee and Woody we preceded to enter the
Brighton Centre for what was one of the best Madness gigs I`ve been
I don’t know how many of you reading this who have been to see Madness
Live but in my honest opinion they seem to raise the bar every time.
They just get better and better.
After what felt like lengthy standing around the lights dimmed the
intro began then the curtains opened and Madness were there in their
Suited and booted, looking great and soon to discover how great they
sounded. Lee began sporting an Elvis hair piece. then the immortal
words……..Hey you!!! we`re up and running.
The band sounded fantastic – Suggs feeling gutted, telling the crowd
Chelsea got hammered by West Ham 3-1. The banter was great. Even Suggs
taking the micky out of Woody`s moustache for Movember. Even Chris
getting on the mic more and telling everyone how he loves it in
Brighton and was on the ball throughout, including his rendition of
the Beastie Boys “You gotta fight for your right to party.
The backdrop videos were impressive too, as usual, which we have
become accustomed too.
The band was fantastic. The band look to be having the time of their
lives at the moment and who can blame them.
Madness, Brighton Matinee set list. Apologies, can’t remember the
exact running order after My Girl 2
One Step Beyond
My Girl 2
Bed & Breakfast Man
Wings of a dove
Never knew your name
The Sun & The Rain
House of Fun
It Must Be Love
In the Hall of the Mountain king
Night Boat To Cairo
 – THE CHARGE OF THE MAD BRIGADE OPENING RUN
The tour has so far taken in Dublin and Cardiff, plus two Brighton
shows since it left the stage of the House of Fun weekender.
The plush velvet curtain… (The one with Darth Vader’s shadow on it
if you look closely enough ) … with canopy, and new video
backdrop with Madness titled the same graphic as the album, has toured
with them. Many film backdrops are present for songs, including a
great one for Misery which we would describe as Mr Ben meets Eeyore.
There’s a spray painting montage for How Can I Tell you, a point of
view cats eye rotascope for Kitchen Floor and a bunch of clown faces
for House of Fun.
Lovestruck rejoined the set at Brighton’s evening gig, in the space of
NW5. Michael Caine has been played at every gig and was at least
performed in the fuller version with all the words this time.
Powder Blue was listed as the last post encore song at Dublin, dropped
due to the crowd leaving, but it was played at the post encore (after
Night Boat) song in Cardiff, which puzzled some fans.
Thommo, who at Brighton came on with an Elvis mask, now has a
revolving stage mount with a smoke machine, used to great effect
Giant Oui Oui Si Si Ja Ja Da Da balloons (said to be blown up by
Thommo’s son Kye on work experience!) turn the crowd into a game of
giant volley ball, during Showtime and beyond. This has so far has
seen magic wands appear from fezes. Deliahla sung in wales, and
Highway to hell and Fight for Your Right to Party being reprised.
Plenty of new album songs in the set. As the tour
continues to charggggeee …. the country.
Jonathan Young / Sharon Staite
 – MADNESS PIE-FLINGING GAME STATS
Thought you might like some stats for the first week of our online
It’s been played over 3500 times all over the world, in 476 different
towns and cities. The UK, the US and Spain are the biggest
territories, but it’s been played in places as far afield as Tel Aviv,
Buenos Aires, Sydney and even Zelonograd.
The current high scorer is very keen to maintain his position, as his
score keeps increasing.
More as and when.
Union Square Music Ltd
If you’ve yet to join in the fun, you can find the game at the
 – 3RD LUCKY GIG – DUBLIN REVIEW
As I stood watching the Madness logos on the curtains across thinking
“Third madness gig hey, 2 and a half years too f*cking long”, I
wonder where the time would have went .
All of a sudden the, like, 2-3 hours waiting (inc. queuing and waiting
for Man Like me) seemed to be a burst of awe.
I watch Chas giving it “One step beyond” as good as ever, and think
“this man, 30+ years, and can still keep his vocals intact. Where am I
As we get more into the gig a lot of the new album is played. How can
I tell you (which, on CD sounds indescribably amazing, multiplied by,
like 70,000000000000000, to see what it sounds like live)
My Girl II (took a while to grow on me with the album, but actually
great energy from it live)
Never Knew Your Name (Which to sounds epic live )
Leon (proper track, amazing live , great buzz )
Kitchen floor (Pretty chilled live) – Though Chris’s guitar wasn’t up
high enough volume wise for the solo (shame)
We also got classics like
“Sun and the rain”
“Wings of a dove”
“It must be love”
“House of fun”
” Our house”
Surprisingly, Michael Caine was played (Chas struggling through half
a verse included) but was so proud to see them play the gem words
correct or not.
“Death of a rude boy (which , in all honestly, wasn’t a huge favourite
of mine when I first listened to it but it grew and was actually
pretty awesome live),
“Night boat to cairo”
Was an amazing gig, I really can’t put it into words so I really hope
the description with setlist helps …seriously 3rd lucky definitely.
 – THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
This week MIS co-editor, Rob Hazelby goes back 5 years to issue number
448, and the week of Sunday 2nd December to Saturday 8th December
2007, and then back 10 years to issue number 186 and the week of
Sunday 1st December to Saturday 7th December 2002.
5 years ago…
Issue 448 – Sunday 2nd December – Saturday 8th December 2007
We kicked off this issue with the news that the latest Madspace
blog brought news of NW5 single formats, more free tickets to
win, and a sneak peek of the forthcoming tour merchandise.
We also discovered that Concert Live were now taking orders on
two London 2007 Christmas Tour live CDs.
Next, we went over to the Telegraph, for a full transcript of their
interview with Chris, Woody and Suggs, about the band and being a
It was over to Chris Evans and Duff Kelly next, as Duff told us
what Chris had thought about the NW5 single, and what the opinions
of his listeners were. Did they give it a hit or a miss?
We moved over to Suggs and a recent interview he gave to the Daily
Record, where he spoke about grand ideas about a Scottish festival.
Moving on, and in the previous issue we’d brought you news of a
3 page Suggs interview in the December issue of Scootering Magazine.
Here we gave you just 4 of the 20 questions asked in the interview,
which related to the tour and new album.
We brought the issue to a close with the news that Rob was back in
blighty after his two week trip to Cuba, and would be back in the
editorial chair from next week.
10 years ago…
Issue 186 – Sunday 1st December – Saturday 7th December 2002
This issue started-off with news of a second volume of the Jools
Holland Album, “Big band Small World” was now out in all good music
Subtitled “More Friends”, this edition didn’t include Suggs, so no
Madness connections. However, some of those who influenced Madness are
present, with tracks featuring Jimmy Cliff, Bryan Ferry and Ray
With the ‘Our House’ musical well underway, it was nice to see that
the web site had received an update. New photos and video clips had
recently been uploaded, as well as news revealing that the musical was
now booking ahead as far as March 2003.
It’d been a while since we last covered North London’s MOT, so it was
a stroke of luck when band member Philip McGuirk got in touch with us
here at MIS Online to let us know what the band have been up to, and
what they had planned for the next couple of months ahead.
With gigs at The Bull and Gate, Dublin Castle, and The Borderline,
things were looking pleasantly busy for the lads.
The recent ‘Our House’ web site update had also brought with it an
online store. All merchandise currently on sale before and after the
show was also now available to order from the site. Little did we
know that half a decade later masses of the merchandise would still
remain unsold. A real shame, as it’s fantastic stuff.
With Channel Four Television readying themselves for an interview
with Suggs, it was nice to see the production crew coming to the
online fanbase with help supplying questions, photos and unusual
memorabilia for the slot. Channel Four assured fans that Suggs
would be told that he could only break items he was told he can break.
Next, we had a plea from Tour Madness editor, Jermaine. Due to various
circumstances he was unable to get along to the forthcoming Christmas
tour, and so asked fans who were attending to send in reviews of the
shows upon their return.
Finally, with the release of the Divine Madness DVD, Record Collector
magazine devoted a massive amount of space to not only giving the
disc a resounding thumbs-up, but interviewing Suggs to see what he
thought of it, too.
 – MADNESS @ THE BRIGHTON CENTRE 1ST DEC 2012
Well, it all started when my brother wanted to say thank you for all
the help I gave him over these past two years. He said “I know a way
to say thank you to you Kristine”, so he bought me a ticket to go
and see my favourite band ever. Yes we are talking about Madness.
So, I asked two of my dear friends if they could join me. Tony
Stratton said that he was unable to go to Brighton this year as he had
his ticket for London O2 and my other dear mate Sally, well what can I
say, in her words she screamed at me saying, “HELL YEAH I’d love to
go!”. Every time we saw each other after that we would shout, “WE ARE
GOING TO SEE MADNESSSSSSSSSSS “. Then a couple of days before the gig
Tony told me he has arranged to meet us there. I nearly fell off my
seat with joy. I was over the moon. Sal’s other half took Sal and I in
his van and yes he missed a turn off but we still managed to get there
in plenty of time to meet up with Chrissy Boy and Woody.
Chrissy Boy let Tony take a photo of me and him. And I asked Chris if
I could give him a kiss on the cheek and he let me. I was over the
moon. Then Chris looked at Tony and Sal and said , “she looks like
Juliet Bravo with that hat on (my other friend Bev W bought that hat
for me as a get well pressie) and we all laughed.
Then I rang my husband Gary and told him we arrived ok and asked how
he was and then saw Woody so I hung up on Gary and called Woody. I
asked Woody to sign my t-shirt and he said sure. He then said, “how
do you spell kick me? “ I was laughing and said don’t you dare and
turned slightly and saw Woody laughing too. I also asked if I could
kiss him on his cheek and he said yes and gave me a kiss on my cheek
too. Just as he was about to enter the Brighton Centre, I told Woody
to have a good time and he said, “No, that’s meant to be you that has
a good time” and I said, “No, you as well.” Then I suddenly thought oh
no I left Gary on the phone and I said that to Woody and he laughed
and I looked to see if Gary was still there but he had gone and both
Woody and I laughed again. I then looked at Sal and we both laughed
and I said, “I can’t believe I hung up on my own husband.“ Some guy in
the queue said, “Get your priorities right.“ I then rang Gary back and
apologised and his reply was, “It’s ok Kris, I know what you are like
when it comes to Madness hehehe.“
We then went in and had such a fab time. This is the 1st Matinée I
have been to. It was so good. Someone told me that if I go to a
Madness gig I may get hooked and they were right.
Two really tall guys were stood right in front of us three and Sal
said, “It’s alright for tall people they can see.“ They both looked
round and laughed and said, “Yes we have the best view. But just as
the curtains were about to open the two tall guys separated and said,
“There you go, you can go through” and Sal grabbed Tony and I and
dragged us through the gap.
I know I have said this before but Madness never lets us down. After
the gig I went to the stand and bought four wrist bands. I gave one
to Tony and 1 to Sal for just being great mates and I am keeping one
but I am saving one for a very good pal of mine. Sal bought herself
that Fez she wanted, which went nicely with her coat. Then outside we
saw someone selling t-shirts so I just had to buy one. Then Sal bought
me one too.
We then went to a chip shop and bought some lunch. Tony met up with
his brother (who was going to the evening gig) and we all had a nice
cuppa. Both my feet were killing me due to the DM’s . But also so was
my arm and shoulder (I have fluid on my shoulder and Lymphedema , due
to the cancer I suffered ). But it was worth the pain. A day to
Madness you are the best!!!
 – MADNESS: IT’S ONE BIG FIGHT AMONG PALS
Written by: Chris Wasser
Date: November 26th 2012
THERE’S nothing like messing up the first question in an interview to
make you feel like a complete fool. And when Graham ‘Suggs’ McPherson
lets out a chuckle before I’ve even finished, I know I’m in trouble.
“That was the second-longest question I’ve ever been asked,” says the
51-year-old vocalist, “it’s a good one, though!”
For the record, it was all to do with Madness acquiring the sort of
critical acclaim that bands their age don’t normally expect. At least
not when releasing a new album. But then, the original nutty boys
from Camden Town have officially entered a new phase in the Madness
timeline — one that kicked off with 2009’s rapturously received The
Liberty of Norton Folgate (a concept record!) and which continues with
the joyous Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da (their 10th studio offering).
Yep, they’ve rediscovered their groove.
Hardly an easy task, given that there are seven heads to please. “Yes,
some of the band have developed brains,” explains their wonderfully
charismatic leader. “Which is a bit unfortunate. It was much easier
when we had one brain between the lot of us.”
I’m sure it was. Take a look at the cover of their new record
(designed by artist Peter Blake — the man responsible for the front
cover of the Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band), and
you’ll see a crossed-out list of working album titles. Suggs
mentions something about a “democracy”. Sounds chaotic.
“Well, you saw the crossed-out things,” he answers. “You should have
seen the teeth, and the clumps of hair and the black eyes that went
with it. Because there were — believe me, there were. I mean, we
love each other, but we hate each other, too. Like any normal family,
we have fights — of course we do. But we’ve known each other — a
lot of us — since we were like, 12, 13 years old, so they’re normally
settled quite quickly.”
According to Suggs, being in Madness for too long can cause “a lot of
“It does what it says on the tin,” he states. And that probably
explains why they do things at their own pace. This year, however, has
been one of their busiest. We could talk about the group’s performance
at the London 2012 closing ceremony, but that short rooftop gig at
Buckingham Palace as part of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee concert takes
“Something to tell your grandchildren about, yeah,” says Suggs. “It
was a pretty amazing experience.” And, unlike some of the other
artists featured, Madness actually deserved to be there (“but not in a
big-headed way”). So, did they have a word with Liz afterwards?
“Well, she’s coming along the line,” he tells me, “and you know, what
the f*** do you say to the Queen? So I just said that old Tommy Cooper
thing: ‘Excuse me, ma’am — are you still into football?’ And she
said, ‘No, not particularly’. I said, ‘Well, can I have your Cup Final
tickets?’ And she said, “That’s Tommy Cooper!” It was quite a nice,
somewhat surreal moment.”
That is, until he spilled his drink. “I actually dropped my glass” he
laughs, “and Princess Beatrice said to me, ‘You’ve just dropped
something on my granny’s carpet’.”
That could be one for the book. Which, by the way, he hasn’t yet
finished. But hold on — didn’t I see it somewhere online? Apparently,
you can pre-order the bloody thing already. “Well, it’s like Flann
O’Brien,” he says, “you can order three-quarters of the book and you
become the last quarter of it.”
In all seriousness, Suggs’ autobiography is nearly complete. Indeed,
revisiting the past takes some time and there’s an awful lot to talk
about. Having originally formed in 1978, Madness would go on to record
six studio albums before calling it a day in 1986.
Shortly after, Suggs and a few of the lads even became their own
tribute band. It was in 1992 that the long journey back began with a
couple of reunion concerts in London’s Finsbury Park.
But after 34 years, you have to wonder… what would happen if Suggs
left? “I remember, I didn’t turn up for a couple of TV shows and
they just had a ventriloquist’s dummy,” he says.
“Maybe that would be the answer. Or a hologram … ”
Oui Oui, Si Si, Ja Ja, Da Da is out now. Madness plays the O2 next
– Chris Wasser
With thanks to Vince Carden for passing this in our direction.
 – GLASGOW SKA TRAIN MADNESS PRE/AFTER PARTY
Glasgow’s ‘Ska Train’ nights actually started as a result of the first
Specials reunion tour, when a bunch of fans realised that both before
and after the gig in our local enormo-dome, they would be obliged to
sit in some horrible Wetherspoons listening to thumping techno, unless
they took matters into their own hands and put on their own sideshow.
So they hired, for the entire day, city centre basement dive Pivo
Pivo, which has long been a favourite venue for scooter club events
(and is right next to Central Station).
That first afternoon and night was so ridiculously successful, a
tradition was born, and Ska Train now pops up every time a vaguely
2Tone-related act hits the town (as well as its own mostly regular
monthly nites built around local bands)
Anyway, in short, this two-part event has happened for the last few
years of Madness’ appearances in Glasgow, and is happening again this
year on December 10
As an opportunity to enjoy pre-match drinks amidst like-minded souls,
then post-match analysis (and considerably more drinks) plus dancing
away what’s left of yir knee cartilage, it is unrivalled.
More info at www.facebook.com/glasgowskatrain
 – THAT’S YER LOT
We’re almost done, but we’ve got a few last minute bits to pass in
your general direction.
First-up, and if the recent Madness Weekender hasn’t left you with
empty wallets and/or purses, you may be interested to learn that
numerous new items have been added to the online Madness store.
Take a look by going to: http://madness.mamstore.co.uk/
Next, and you may or may not know that fans are being emailed a link
pointing to a free audio download of each gig on this year’s Christmas
tour they entered.
We’ve been given the heads-up from ‘Dicka’, who tells us that Jamie at
the band’s management will be posting up links to all the gigs on the
recently formed Madness messageboard.
If you want to get hold of these recordings then it’s well worth your
You can find the forum here: http://madnessfansforum.proboards.com/
Moving on, and if you want yet more reviews of gigs from the current
Christmas tour, you can find two Dublin O2 ones here:
Our thanks go to Vince Carden for the Dublin gig links.
On to Facebook next, and Vince tells us that a new “Madness in Quotes”
page has recently gone live.
“[Here’s a] Madness fan page somebody has put together
where they add a picture and a quote by a member of the
band every day. Just done nice and subtly….
Continuing with Vince for one final ‘thing’, and have a go at putting
the postcode TA19 9RJ into Google Maps. It’ll take you to an actual
street in Broadway, Somerset.
Over to the French MIS now, and they tell us
Madness will be on French TV this coming Tuesday. The footage was
originally recorded in November.
The French MIS team also tell us that the band had almost a complete
page in Le Monde newspaper. (We’ve not been given the date info)
Album news now, and currently the new album sits at number 85 in the
UK music charts.
And finally, here’s something that’ll make you smile.
At the House of Fun Weekender the band attempted to sign a whopping
1,000 copies of their new album… in one sitting!
These signed copies are available to purchase during the Christmas
tour, where roughly 100 will be on sale at each gig.
If you’d like to see just some of the pain the band went through to
sign these albums, point your browsers over to:
Simon, Jon, Rob, Liz
(With special thanks to Kristine Burnett, Sharon Staite, Dicka,