MIS Bulletin #718 Sun 10th Feb – Sat 16th February 2013
1 – THIS IS WHERE THE MADNESS BEGINS – The obligatory intro.
2 – LEE JAY DJ THOMPSON @ THE BOOK CLUB – This week Thommo appeared to
play a DJ Set in London’s trendy Hoxton area. MIS popped along to
check out the set at the club night hosted by Scroobius Pip.
3 – THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE PLAY – The Liberty of Norton
Folgate Radio 4’s Saturday Drama, aired this week. Jonathan Young
gives us his thoughts.
4 – THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS – This week MIS co-editor, Rob Hazelby
goes back 5 years to issue number 457, and the week of Sunday 10th
February to Saturday 16th February 2008, and then back 10 years
to issue number 196 and the week of Sunday 9th February to
Saturday 15th February 2003.
5 – SATURDAY DRAMA ON BBC RADIO 4 – Inspired by Madness’ album of the
same name, this Saturday Drama centered around Gazi (Vincent
Ebrahim) and his wife Sitara (Pooja Ghai), who together have run
the Union Cafe on London’s Norton Folgate for thirty years,
serving English breakfasts to a multicultural clientele. Now
their livelihood has been threatened by a demolition order
instigated by local builder Ralph Burke (Patrick Brennan), who
plans to develop the site on behalf of some American
6 – THE BULL AND GATE KENTISH TOWN TO CLOSE – We bring you sad news
(courtesy of the NME) of the loss of yet another London music
venue with much Madness heritage.
7 – MAKING THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE PLAY – Suggs, of legendary
ska popsters Madness, is married to a brilliant singer. She’s
Bette Bright of Deaf School fame. I’m at a Deaf School reunion
gig – I see Bette and seize the moment to thank her for letting
me use two of her songs in a musical I had written for The
Liverpool Everyman. Mark Davies Markham BBC BLOG
8 – MAN LIKE ME – ALL SET TO PILLOW TALK – News of a new album and
tour by Man Like Me, and a few words of their experiences on the
last Madness tour. Interview from Pillow Magazine, Hunger TV,
9 – THAT’S YER LOT – A few last minute words before we finish for the
 – THIS IS WHERE THE MADNESS BEGINS
It’s a rare treat to even get to see Mike Barson solo. It’s happened once before as part of an online promotional video for keyboards, but it’s ta to Taratatata going one better and putting up this spinetinglingly good video of Mike teaching you how to play My Girl before performing the track solo.
It’s the best Madness treat you could give yourself. So, just sit and listen to this…
Now, before we let you get stuck in to this week’s issue, here’s something to interest those of you based in France, or who don’t mind travelling there.
The band have already got a massive number of gigs lined up for 2013, but this list has grown yet further with details reaching us that Madness have now been booked to play at à L’Olympia de Paris on Monday 16th September.
No doubt the French MIS team will be out in force for that one!
Enjoy the read!
Liz Maher, Simon Roberts, Rob Hazelby, Jonathan Young
Email us at: liz, simon, robert, jonathan @mis-online.net
 – LEE JAY DJ THOMPSON @ THE BOOK CLUB
This week Thommo appeared to play a DJ Set in London’s trendy Hoxton area. MIS popped along to check out the set at the club night hosted by Scroobius Pip.
Strolling down from Kings Cross I find myself up and down The City Road, (and I even pop in and out The Eagle pub to complete the Suggs Pop lyric!) before arriving in Hoxton Square the exact moment my friend and veteran mad meeter Vicki Lee, emerges from her Taxi.
If cocktails are a great way to start a club night, then Jam doughnut shots are like a jewel in the centre of a crowning good time, as her choice of meet up bar impresses in cow skull and carvings decor and scrumptious drinks list. Tonight’s mad meet dwindles in numbers of maybes, but we do benefit from a local to the area arriving in the form of Andrew Shoultz who will become champion not only of directions and bar choices tonight, but will manage to be mistaken for “Woody” by the end of the evening which is a great trick if you can manage it.
We bounce from our cocktail bar to the more modest Griffin pub, and totally randomly bump into Joe Auckland from the brass section, which in turn sees us next watching him trumpet in a world music afro rhythm band playing in yet another pub that believes itself to be one more world away from a London boozer. This time it’s parrots and fruit paintings, and yet every design around here seems to manage a bike hanging on the ceiling. We drink, we chat, we plot, and I guess we rumba slightly to noises a bit carnival in nature, before geting back on track for tonight’s reason for attending and reporting, that one of Madness is DJing nearby.
I’ve had the pleasure of seeing Suggs DJ once before, at a reggae BBQ event. He slipped right into the event where DJ heritage came from Jamaican sound system approach of toasted MC’s. Madness related DJ sets are pretty rare things though. Thommo has, at least to my knowledge, been to Hoxton on such a duty once before, for a new year night for Matt Horne, (leaving aside the more local Barnett area events), but this will be the first time I’ve attended something like this.
Arriving at The Book Club we jump through the queue as we’re on the guest list, and after a delightful greeting from Scroobius Pip himself at the doorstamp, and then a pathetic attempt by our number to play table tennis on the clubs set up, we head down and into the back bar, where behind a draped curtain against a stone arch, we find Lee, Debbie along with friends, Stuart wright and Julie, tucking in a jug of JD, coming up too on their night out, spent at a nearby pub full of rockabilly.
The book club is a simple rundown venue space, hosting a basement dance floor enhanced slightly by a mass ceiling of lightbulbs. The We Are Lizzards club night is rammed, packed out in the available space, buzzing with a young London Crowd, (queuing to get in), it’s clearly a popular level night out round here and this is the crowd “pip” and his friends have built up over it’s two years standing. Indeed tonight is it’s birthday night.
It’s clear from all this there aren’t many people come to hear our Mad Man specifically, if I was to throw out one artist played tonight to mark the overall nights sound I’d say “The Prodigy”.
Pip DJs that land between Rock and Techno house tunes pretty successfully. It’s not his own songs from solo or Le Sac that he plays at all it’s all more instrumental beats, not a platform for his word skills as a celebrated poet lyricist.
So if D stands for Drink and J stands for Just choose the songs and someone else can press the buttons, then Thommo is a master MC. In the era of superstar DJ’s he’s not about to overtake Fat Boy Slim in packing out Brighton Beach here. But he’s in a mood, more into a club night than you’ve perhaps even seen him, reader, unless you’ve witnessed Butlins stage invading request times at The House of Fun.
Treated to the rare ska and reggae hour, we get some what you might call crowd pleasers – One Step Beyond by Prince Buster, Swan Lake by the cats, etc. Monkey Spanner, Dance Cleopatra, all really old school Jamaican Instrumental vibes, with a touch of Madness connection about them here and there. A few more tunes, Wine and Grine carries on more than club and grime of today’s music scene, for this brief window.
The occasional word over the DJ glass divide as a club goer or two who knows who at the Decks wants to achieve a hello.
One girl wants a longer chat at the end, but as she’s the one who thinks our Andy is Woody, she is either not so devoted to Madness or in need of specsavers.
It’s all cut a bit a shorter than the full hour, when Pip arrives back, lizzard mask on, to raise the sounds from Ska, back up to banging house. Like a Jam Doughnut shot, it was enjoyable but not filling. You are left wanting more.
A strange environment perhaps for a moment that might well set the tone for Lee’s Year. If there is something the reader here would most like to have witnessed with their own ear, it would be the last song going out, a Pip let them spin The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra – Ali Baba.
The freshly produced tune from the forthcoming solo album, sat happily alongside the old school ska, booming out of the speaker system, pointing the way towards a future release in 2013. Lee showed us a possible art design for a record label later on his phone, saying he would have played a few more tracks off the album, but he was enjoying the old ska too much to get round to it during his set. He proclaimed the east end as the new west end, loving the vibe of the night and the area.
A rare type of night, but for all that was in it, it was a mix I very much enjoyed, with talk of Southend or events alongside Lee Scratch Perry being bandied about afterwards. This probably isn’t the last time Lee Jay the DJ will be out and about this year.
 – THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE PLAY
The Liberty of Norton Folgate Radio 4’s Saturday Drama, aired this week.
You can hear it again on the BBC i player.
You would have to applaude Mark Davies Markham for the sheer amount of Madness music his project got on to Radio 4 yesterday. One Fine Day, Hunchback of Torriano and Let’s Go getting some kind of airplay?
Wow. Along with the more normal album tracks.
If fans of this play go and check out the box set of the album on the basis of listening to this on Radio 4 first I will applaude twice.
Even a smattering of backing tracks may have made it into the project, as I think Let’s Go appears as instrumental backing near the riot/trouble scene of protest.
Equally, the choice of themes of immigration, property development, and east London history and present situations woven into this drama shows an understanding of the source material the album covers and draws upon itself. As such it’s a fitting extension to the world of Madness’ Norton Folgate opus that for me always went beyond just a record, into exploring wider avenues of interest of the area of its setting.
A shame then that I doubt I’ll ever re-listen to this play. Once or twice was enough for me because it delivered nothing much more inside than it did in just the synopsis saying what it was about.
Maybe I’m spoilt by how well Tim Firth wove Madness music, humour, love drama and property development in The Madness Musical. Maybe I’m spoilt by Julien Temple’s masterpiece of mood collage in The Liberty Of Norton Folgate movie, which radio can hardly compete with, and certainly I was overly lucky to be in Norton Folgate with Madness once back in 2009. So I have my own sense of the reality of the place even when the band turn it into their party for the night. This play, while good work for radio, didn’t grab me enough, certainly not like the above.
So Suggs, Carl and Mike appear in this play as the band. They are playing “heightened versions” of themselves, says the plays author.
You will either find this amusing as you’ll recognise a sort of banter amongst the band members a bit more akin to their 80’s TV foolery at times with it’s to-ing and fro-ing than their more considered opinions of later years, or you might find it a little over the top at times.
It’s a little Mockney in accent, “pop royalty we iz” and they perform it as such in a way you wouldn’t really ever hear them talk, at least not all at once. It grated on me a little only because the play tries to tackle elsewhere more serious themes of racism and the effects of the cafe closing on a couples love, and does this with actors trying to convey their characters realistically within the radio form. I don’t mind Madness being exaggerated for entertainment, a cartoon of them would be brilliant etc. I love them in The young ones, and I’m one of a few fans who don’t pan the aborted sitcom, but in this play their being one step beyond their reality, made me care much less about any of the jeopardy present in the situations elsewhere in the play as if all characters were a bit out of reality just one margin.
If the excellent character of the cafe owner with his eccentric handle on reality and his plot had been the only thing going on aside Madness popping in to play a gig to help save the day, it might have gelled ok, and been a gem to keep and love as an audio adventure a little fantastical in it’s approach but as some great escapism drama.
“I’ve been running this cafe since the three of you were in Baggy Nappies” says the cafe owner, and indeed the play attempts a run of wit throughout, with lines like this between it’s characters, making them fun to listen to. But no other characters grab me enough to get involved in their lives enough for a re-listen.
Certainly check this play out and decided for yourselves, it’s great that so much effort has been put into making something around Madness’s music.
While some of the music cues match the transition of the drama, it does get a bit jukebox random too at times.
It captures Madness’s generosity of spirit, in the way the characters help out, given the truth of their involvement in the light bars own profile fight back in 2009, and ends with some joking pointing towards the current album title, of oui oui si si ja ja da da, that maybe they asked for as a link to 2013 when this airs.
 – THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS
This week MIS co-editor, Rob Hazelby goes back 5 years to issue number 457, and the week of Sunday 10th February to Saturday 16th February 2008, and then back 10 years to issue number 196 and the week of Sunday 9th February to Saturday 15th February 2003.
5 years ago…
Issue 457 – Sunday 10th February – Saturday 16th February 2008
With a terrible fire hitting Camden Lock Market only the day before this issue went out it came as little surprise to many to see that much of this week’s content covered the disaster.
News was still coming in as to how bad the damage was, and we passed on the news with articles from the BBC – one from a reporter for the national institution, and another from eyewitnesses who saw the carnage first hand.
Although the fire was big news we still managed to cover other topics and these included “Madness Fruity and Nutty”, an article from the Feb/Mar edition of Clash Magazine, which had been painstakingly transcribed by Looby.
We also reported that Life on Mars star Philip Glenister was a big Madness fan, and that in the latest episode of Suggs’ Survivors, the big man was visiting the Great Yarmouth rollercoaster, made famous in the House of Fun video.
10 years ago…
Issue 196 – Sunday 9th February – Saturday 15th February 2003
We started the issue off with news that March could prove to be an expensive month for Madness fans, as not one, but two Madmeets centered around specific events were being planned.
First up, and on Saturday the 8th March a Madmeet had been planned to coincide with a visit to `Our House`, the Madness musical. At the time this issue went to press about 15 Madness fans had put their names down to go, and more were expected to come along.
The day promised to feature the usual antics – extended stay in the Dublin Castle etc, and if you lived in London then you certainly had no excuse not to come along.
If that wasn’t enough, news broke earlier in the week that Madness were due to play a one-off charity concert at London’s Royal Albert Hall on Saturday 29th March!
The event was entitled Madness plus special guests. We were lead to believe that the `special guests` was a comedian, but were unable to confirm this at the time the issue went out.
Tickets went on sale on Friday 6th February, and were already selling very fast indeed.
Less joyful news came in the form of the What’s on Stage Awards where it was announced that despite being the House of Fun musical being nominated for a whopping 5 awards, it had failed to land any at all when the big crunch came.
Moving on, and we had a request in from Jermaine of Madness bible Tour Madness. At the time of typing he was busy typing-up the entries for 2002, but was missing a couple of reviews for Madness spin-off Like Father, Like Son, and hoped that MIS subscribers would be able to fill in the gaps.
Elsewhere, and it seemed as if work was still very much underway on the official Madness web site, with numerous test messages appearing on the site’s message board, but most of them being complete gibberish.
For fans, the wait would continue.
 – SATURDAY DRAMA ON BBC RADIO 4
Ive been sent this review link on twitter:
It features a review of yesterday’s Radio4 Programme and I thought it would be good to include it in this weeks MIS.
Here is the review
Saturday Drama on BBC Radio 4
BBC Radio 4, 9 February 2013
Inspired by Madness’ album of the same name, this Saturday Drama centered around Gazi (Vincent Ebrahim) and his wife Sitara (Pooja Ghai), who together have run the Union Cafe on London’s Norton Folgate for thirty years, serving English breakfasts to a multicultural clientele. Now their livelihood has been threatened by a demolition order instigated by local builder Ralph Burke (Patrick Brennan), who plans to develop the site on behalf of some American entrepreneurs.
Interwoven round this Passport to Pimlico-like story (where small businessholders are threatened by indifferent bureaucrats) is a very un-comic tale of racism and xenophobia. Ralph is a member of a local political party, a combination of UKIP and the National Front, which wants to rid the district of what they perceive as malign ‘foreign’ influences – in other words, people of colour. The demolition plan is part of that strategy, while at the same time ensuring Ralph’s potential election to the local council.
Aided and abetted by a variety of helpers, including Somalian lawyer Sunshine (Danny Sapani), Ralph’s daughter Jess (Stephanie Racine), and the members of the group Madness (playing themselves), Gazi and Sitara take on Ralph and his cohorts in a successful bid to have the court order reversed.
Combining a love-story, a portrayal of contemporary London, a meditation on racism and a comment on politics, interspersed with extracts from Madness’ album, The Liberty of Norton Folgate fits a lot into its one-hour running-time. Occasionally the structure appears slightly disordered, but dramatist Mark Davies Markham brings all the strands together in a feelgood ending. I enjoyed listening to the play, while understanding its serious undertones. The director was Jeremy Mortimer.
Many thanks to @laurenceraw on Twitter for the link.
 – THE BULL AND GATE KENTISH TOWN TO CLOSE
We bring you sad news (courtesy of the NME) of the loss of yet another London music venue with much Madness heritage.
London music venue The Bull and Gate is to shut down in May and reopen as a gastropub.
Mis note: It’s most famous night for Madness is when the band performed new songs in 1985 under the name The Wayfinders.
News of the closure of the venue, most popular during the Britpop days of the 1990s thanks to its location in Kentish Town. Releasing an official statement, promotors Club Fandango revealed that gastropub chain Youngs will reopen in the summer.
The statement reads: “The Bull and Gate, that north London bastion of alternative rock and indie-pop rumblings for over 30 years, will cease operating as a live venue on Saturday May 4 2013. The entire building has been sold to the Youngs chain and will be closed for refurbishment. It is expected to reopen as a pub restaurant in the summer.”
It adds: “Since 1980 a small, slightly smelly, part of the Kentish Town Road has been a home-from-home for hundreds of young hopefuls seeking to make their way in the musical world. For the past 11,680-ish nights the Bull and Gate has put its balls on the line and the good, the bad and the most maddening of bands on its stage, aided by a perfectly aligned live room and a frankly excellent PA. It may not always have been pretty. But it was always pretty bloody interesting.”
The statement continues “Promoting stalwarts Club Fandango took over the Bull and Gate diary on June 1st 2010. They brought with them the wholesome likes of mybandsbetterthanyourband, BBH, Steve Lamacq’s Going Deaf For A Living, PRS, Amazing Radio, Killing Moon, Best Of Myspace, fierce panda’s Bamboooozled and AIM-endorsed Labelled With Love shows with record companies such as Xtra Mile, Too Pure, Idle Fret and Alcopop! Records. They have, frankly, been having fun, and had every intention of having much more fun until the news broke.”
It concludes: “For Club Fandango the journey continues elsewhere:
they were already launching a new monthly night with fierce panda at the Shacklewell Arms, starting on February 12th with Goldheart Assembly headlining. Then there are forthcoming shows at the Borderline with Dingus Khan (April 18th), the Scala with The Crookes (May 21st) and Islington Assembly Hall with Ultrasound (June 1st).
There will be more groovy gigs in a variety of venues from the summer onwards, but for now they have three months remaining in the Bull and Gate diary, and they intend to make those three months a blast. We could bleat on about how unfair life is on the live circuit but, holding our pints high let us instead remember The Good Times”
Fans wishing to leave memorial messages for the venue can do so via the Club Fandango Facebook page.
Taken from NME. Thanks to Andy S and Fiona Linnel.
 – MAKING THE LIBERTY OF NORTON FOLGATE PLAY
Suggs, of legendary ska popsters Madness, is married to a brilliant singer. She’s Bette Bright of Deaf School fame. I’m at a Deaf School reunion gig – I see Bette and seize the moment to thank her for letting me use two of her songs in a musical I had written for The Liverpool Everyman.
Flattered, she invites me to have a lager shandy with her old man, Suggs. Hunched up tight in a cosy corner of The Hope Street Hotel I pitch an idea to the cheeky chap.
“BBC Radio 4. A play created around a classic concept album. What do you reckon?”
Hang about,” barked the bard of Camden Town. “I bet you been to Bowie for Ziggy Stardust?”
Spooky and uncannily true.
“And he turned you down?”
“Er. Well, his management did.”
“Pink Floyd for Dark Side of the Moon?”
The man has a crystal ball. Nay two.
“And now you want Madness to let you loose with your grubby maulers on our classic, critically acclaimed, mega-selling The Liberty of Norton Folgate?”
OK, make that three. One for luck.
“Absolutely, old son…”
We discussed how this might work. I would not only need his approval but that of the rest of the band too. And, as luck would have it, The Liberty of Norton Folgate was the perfect concept album to go back with to my producer Jeremy Mortimer.
The next stage was to find out what inspired the album. After conversations with Suggs and Carl Smith (aka Chas Smash) I found out.
At the heart of it are the positive elements of immigration to London’s Spitalfields. How generations of immigrants have contributed to the area to make it the vibrant, unique place that it undoubtedly is.
Norton Folgate itself is a street connecting Bishopsgate with Shoreditch High Street.
A few years ago a building – much loved by the community – on Norton Folgate was threatened to be demolished. All looked doomed until it was discovered that Norton Folgate at that time was a “liberty.” An independent strip of land falling outside the jurisdiction of the local council.
This story inspired the songwriters to think about the multicultural influence that had helped to build the community over generations.
Each wave of immigrants, from The Huguenots to the Bangladeshis and the Poles, all contributed to the area with their various skills.
At the start of the writing process I would sit in a Turkish café on Norton Folgate. Observing. Taking photographs. Making notes. Talking and listening. Building a story. What evolved was Passport to Pimlico via Romeo and Juliet with a subplot of bigotry. A story woven around the songs on the album.
In the play, The Union café is threatened to be demolished. The livelihood of Bangladeshi owners, Gazi and Sitara, is under threat.
They fear for the identity of the community. This family make a stand for preserving British culture. The right for all their customers to a full English breakfast. The right not be blanded-out by a corporate tax-evading coffee chain.
I ran the idea by the band who approved the story. Some even wanted to be in it! Much to my and Jeremy’s delight.
I worked on the plot and the structure of the play. I wrote the script and inserted the songs – listening to how the lyrics and music fitted in with the story.
Last November, Jeremy arranged a read-through at Broadcasting House with the radio rep. The songs were played as the play was read, and it was a hoot.
My dialogue often surprises radio producers (I’ve been writing for radio since broadcasting SAFE in 1991 as part of a young writers festival on radio 4). It’s faster than it appears on the page. Great!
I get to write more.
Last December, Suggs, Carl Smith and founder member of Madness, Mike Barson, bowled up at Broadcasting House. We recorded their scenes.
And they were brilliant playing heightened versions of themselves.
The play took over two years to develop and write.
Last December, after the play was recorded, I went to Norton Folgate to visit my Turkish café. Or rather I didn’t. Sadly, it had closed.
What’s that they say about life imitating..?
So in the words of Madness (only slightly paraphrased):
Hey you, don’t watch that
LISTEN to this!
This is the heavy heavy monster sound
The nuttiest sound around
So if you’ve come in off the street
And you’re beginning to feel the heat
Well listen buster
You better start to move your feet
To the rockinest, rock-steady beat
in The Liberty of Norton Folgate!
Mark Davies Markham writes for TV, theatre and radio. “Taboo”, the West End musical he wrote for Boy George, was nominated for an Olivier Award . “Eric”, his recent play for the Liverpool Everyman was also about the music industry.
Mark Davies Markham BBC BLOG
 – MAN LIKE ME – ALL SET TO PILLOW TALK
News of a new album and tour by Man Like Me, and a few words of their experiences on the last Madness tour.
Man Like Me have announced their new album ‘Pillow Talk’, released through The Beats / Cartoon Records on March 3. The record, co-produced and mixed by Mike Skinner, has been recorded over the last two years and includes last summer’s cult smash single ‘Squeeze’, which Sunday Times Culture called “A bonkers and brilliant electro sugar-rush that deserves to be the hit of the summer”. The track caught the attention of Annie Mac and Nick Grimshaw who gave the band huge support on Radio 1. Annie Mac even went as far as giving the track a rewind on its debut spin on her show.
Johnny and Peter forged a relationship with Mike Skinner earlier in 2012, when he was drafted in to mix a couple of tracks for the new album. He instantly fell in love with the band and insisted on having input on the entire record. The result is a collection of insanely catchy songs that straddle genres too numerous to list fully (or sometimes even identify). Backing vocals are provided in the most part by frequent collaborator Ade, except on ‘Lovestruck’, ‘Chinatown’ and ‘Fleetwood Mac’, which feature vocals from Jessie Ware.
Man Like Me recently supported Madness on their UK arena tour, performing in front of 150,000 people. The tour included two nights at the London O2 arena – their biggest shows to date!
Hear “Wallow” here.
WHAT CAN PEOPLE EXPECT FROM THE ALBUM?
It’s what you might talk about in bed, a bit sleazy and a little bit sinister at times. The fear of getting old runs through a lot of the tracks. There’s a bit of fun in there as well though.
YOU SHOT THE VIDEO IN RANKIN’S STUDIO – WHAT WAS THE CONCEPT BEHIND IT?
We wanted to do something ever so slightly more serious and classy than what we usually do with videos. The song isn’t our usual pace and has a bit of Robert Palmer-esque feel to it. So we were midway through giving a nod to ‘Addicted to Love’ before we realised that Sheryl Crow had done it already and we panicked.
HOW DID YOU FIND WORKING WITH MIKE SKINNER ON THE ALBUM?
It was a dream come true. He’s always been a big influence to us and to be able to work with him and call him a friend was a pleasure.
It’s hard to hold back sometimes in the studio and not ask him how he got the the sound for ‘Blinded By The Lights’ or ask who ‘Lee Satchell’ is.
WHAT ADVICE, IF ANY, DID HE GIVE YOU TO SURVIVE THE MUSIC INDUSTRY?
He’s not the patronising type really so he hasn’t been dishing out advice as such, but he’s given us this pearl: When you write a song it has to be about either love or death for it to be hit.
WHAT INSPIRED THE ARTWORK?
The fear of the CD being pressed without any artwork being finished.
We were about to embark on the Madness tour before Christmas with everything to do with the album finished except for artwork. So we packed a polaroid camera and your very own photographer Eva Pentel and hastily took some photos. We had been very organised with getting our faces printed on cushions though, which obviously ties in nicely with the title.
EVERYONE KNOWS YOUR COVER OF ‘KITCHEN AT PARTIES’ THAT WAS ON THE IKEA AD, IS IT A HINDERANCE OR A BLESSING TO BE RECOGNISED FROM THAT?
Now the advert is off television we don’t really get recognised for it anymore. Most people who’ve mentioned it have been really kind about it, and if it was a hinderance then maybe we wouldn’t hear much about that as people tend to do that behind peoples backs!
WHAT ARE YOU HUNGRY FOR?
A music recording sales certification. To certify we’ve sold a sh*tload of records.
The New Video for track – Sleaze.
THE ALBUM IS ALREADY GETTING A LOT OF HYPE, ESPECIALLY FROM RADIO 1 – IT MUST FEEL GREAT TO HAVE ALL THIS SUPPORT?
We gave ‘Squeeze’ to Annie Mac and she played it twice back to back on her show. We almost wept with joy! It was the best accolade we’ve had. Just getting a song on radio is so rewarding – that’s exactly where you want it to be.
YOU’VE ALSO BUILT UP A HUGE FAN BASE TOURING WITH MADNESS. WHAT WAS THAT LIKE?
Off the back the first gig we did with them, which was actually the smallest one, was for like 4,000 people, which was straight away the most people we’d ever played for. Then 02 was like 16,000 and other venues were 8 and 10,000, so we were averaging a sh*tload of people every night. We had to adjust to that without much preparation. It was a learning curve but I think we got used to it and every time you do it it’s, in a way, the best gig you’ve ever done. It was also amazing watching Madness and all the levels of production that go into their shows: 30 dudes on, say, sound, 10 dudes on video backdrop,
5 dudes on lighting. It was incredible seeing the work that goes into their shows and how all their fans still treat them like gods.
THAT COULD BE YOU GUYS IN A COUPLE OF YEARS… When we did our last 02 show we thought, this could be last time we play with a crowd that big, but hopefully not. Although, if it stops there in terms of crowd numbers I’d be happy.
Pillow Talk Tour, March 2013
6th – Plan B, London
9th – Sound Control, Manchester
12th – The Haunt, Brighton
13th – Start The Bus, Bristol
14th – Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London (Jessie Ware support) 22nd – The Rainbow, Birmingham 23rd – Plug, Sheffield 28th – New Slang @ McLusky’s, Kingston 30th – Stealth vs Rescued, Nottingham 31st – Hoult’s Yard, Newcastle
WHERE DID YOU GET YOUR INSPIRATION FOR THIS ALBUM?
I suppose it’s the same inspiration that we’ve always had which is just trying to make music we like the sound of. For Johnny, who writes all the lyrics, it’s important to sing about something that he’s been through; a tale that is quite specific to his life. He doesn’t write about love if he can help it. It’s more about everyday experiences.
‘PILLOW TALK’ HAS BEEN DESCRIBED AS HAVING THIS KIND OF CAREFREE, ALMOST CHILDLIKE ENERGY. IS THIS SOMETHING YOU WERE GOING FOR?
We’ve both been feeling like we’re getting old so we’ll definitely take “childlike”. Making this album has been such a long process. The last song we added to the album we finished literally yesterday but stuff like ‘Lovestruck’ we wrote two years ago so the whole thing has taken quite a while.
Taken from pillow magazine, hunger tv, fault music.
 – THAT’S YER LOT
That just about brings this issue of the MIS to a close, but before we have a few final bits and pieces to pass in your general direction, including a few Madness rarities that have been dug up by MIS subscriber Fiona Linnell.
Before that, though, some Lee news…
Lee will be appearing on local Barnett ‘Internet’ radio EN5, for a Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra interview with DJ Toby & Aiden on the 26th Feb. We don’t have details of an exact time at present, but we’ve been lead to believe that it will be after 8pm.
Lee told us that;
“Hope to be spinning a few tracks from the album.”
You can find the EN5 web site at: http://www.en5radio.com
Next, it’s Madness performing “Never Knew Your Name” at Trafalgar Square as part of BBC TV show “Britain’s Brightest”. If you missed it when it was originally aired, or simply want to watch it again, point your browsers over to:
Our thanks go to Dicka for making the clip available to the masses.
Now, on to the rarities…
First-up are Suggs and Carl in conversation with BP Fallon, during their Irish tour in October 1985:
and finally, here’s Madness on Japanese television performing Our
The text in the information panel under the YouTube clip translates
“British Sukabando Madness was active in the 1980s.
Appeared to TVCM of Honda City, Japan became
famous overnight. Steadily still active!”
Well, it sort of makes sense! Now you know what to say if someone asks you if Madness are still together. You can tell them they are “Steadily still active!”
Liz, Simon, Rob and Jon
(With special thanks to Dicka and Fiona Linnell)