Home»Newsletter Archive»MIS Bulletins 2000»[MIS] NEWS AND INFORMATION – SUN 2ND APR – SAT 8TH APR ’00


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1 - THE EDITOR SPEAKS - This weeks news in brief

2 - REASONS TO BE CHEERFUL - Vince Foley looks back on the highs and
    lows of Ian Dury's eventful life and gives us `reasons to be

3 - TOTAL MADNESS - TOTAL REQUIREMENT - Total Madness Mailing List
    subscriber, Colin Galbraith has kindly put together a review of
    the excellent `Total Madness` for the Amazon website and has
    kindly let us all have a sneak preview before it goes online.

4 - WHAT A WASTE - Taken from the Daily Mirror website and kindly dug
    out by Iain Jones.

5 - PERFECT PLACE CD - I was browsing through some Madness sites, and
    came across Simon Roberts's excellent NTMML Homepages. I noticed
    he had a "Perfect Place - Six Track Promo for World Tour" CD, and
    so I decided to investigate it. Wozza reports.

    had a Saturday-morning hospital appointment to get chemotherapy
    for his terminal colon cancer. The night before, instead of
    worrying or praying, he hobbled to the front of a London stage
    and gave a rough thrill to 2000 fans. Taken from the Village
    Voice Website

7 - ANORAKS OF THE WORLD UNITE - I have some info on the forthcoming
    remastered Divine Madness for you all. Now as one or two of you
    already know, the greatest thing ever to happen to me in my 30
    years on this planet happened last week when I was contacted by
    Virgin Records to help them out in finding the proper single
    versions of all the tracks (it's a long story but needless to
    say, I had to be peeled off the ceiling when it happened).

8 - GOODNIGHT, GOD BLESS YOU ALL - Thanks and closing words.


We start this issue of the MIS on a sad note. I'm sure the majority
of you know, that Ian Dury passed away peacefully at his home on

Almost as soon as the news was announced on UK television and daily
newspapers, words of tributes have been flooding onto `The Total
Madness Mailing List`. Many people just trying to put their thoughts
into words, whilst others letting us all know just what made `Uncle`
Ian such a great man, giving us all `reasons to be cheerful`.

Those of you wishing to pass on words of condolence can leave their
parting words for other fans and members of Ian's family by popping
along to:


Our thanks go to Jeff Young for the information. As TMML subscriber,
Andrew Langmead rightly says,

     "If you haven't left a message yet, please do.
      Let's make sure his family know just how much
      the man was loved".

Meanwhile, the TMML's Simesy has been in touch with Martina at the
Cancer Bacup Charity which Ian Dury pledged his support. If you
would like to donate anything to this more than worthwhile cause,
please use one of the following two numbers:

Credit Card Donations

Telephone in UK: (0207) 920 7209 or (0207) 920 7212
Telephone outside UK: (+44 207 920 7209) or (+44 207 920 7212)

Donations can also be made by visiting the Cancer Bacup site at:

You can also send donations by post to:

     3 Bath Place
     Rivington Street
     EC2A 3DR
     United Kingdom

Martina tells us that;
     "Ian was a truly remarkable person who has
      helped our charity in so many ways - primarily
      by just being himself - a very warm and caring
      individual.  He will be greatly missed by all
      in CancerBACUP, especially those who have
      worked with him on so many occasions over the
      past few years".

As Simsey rightfully says;
     "If we could all donate just £5, it would be a
      very nice gesture".

Moving on, and Cathal Smyth has asked me to pass on the following
details to you all;

     "If anyone would like to send flowers for Ian
      Dury's Funeral on Wednesday the 5th the
      address is:

      Leverton and Sons,
      181 Haverstock Hill,
      NW3 4QS

      or donations can be made to Cancer BACUP on :
      020 7920 7209"

As you know from yesterday's hastily put together announcement I sent
out, the BBC re-ran the excellent Ian Dury documentary to commemorate
the passing of `Uncle Ian`. Here's Vince Foley with further details;

     "BBC2 are just after showing a replay of the
      wonderful insight into Dury. What was
      significant though was a very humble and
      sincere forward from Suggs. In a denim
      jacket, the man himself paid tribute to Ian
      and said that he was an inspiration. Singing
      in his own accent, speaking about things he
      knew inspired Suggs to write his first proper
      song 'Baggy Trousers'.

      Anyway he finished by toasting a drink to Ian
      'wherever you are'....Nice one!"

On a slightly jollier note, and TMML subscriber, Suggsylia, reports
     "London's Design Museum is going to play host
      to an exhibition of Doc Martens boots,
      including one pair signed by Madness.
      The exhibition is on from March 30th till
      May 8th".

If you're in the area, get visiting and let us know what the
exhibition is like.

Remember the Madness documentary that the BBC have been putting
together as part of the `Young Guns` series? Well, Chris Carter-Pegg
reports that the date of airing has been put back again. The show
now looks likely to see the light of day around September. If we
hear any updates to this, we'll let you know. Thanks to Chris for
the info.

A few date amendments now from Madness tribute band, `Complete

     5th May : Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, Lincs.
     6th May : Doorman's Athletic Club, Middlesbrough

     2nd June : Goose Green Labour Club, Wigan
     3rd June : T T Races, Isle of Man

     10th June : Formerly Doorman's Athletic now private "gig"
                 (pencilled in)

For more details on the above gigs or for a comprehensive listing of
all future planned shows, please get in touch with the band at the
following address: Complete at madness2000.fsbusiness.co.uk

Thanks to Claire Keegan for the details.

You may recall that in last week's edition of the MIS, it was
reported that Madstock 5 was looking doubtful? Well, this week it
seems that the situation has changed yet again. Here's Simon Roberts
with the details;

     "Madstock 5 is closer than ever. The Mean Fiddler
      have just booked the Fleadh @ Finsbury Park for
      the 10th

      No ugly roomer...... Madstock 2000 is on it's way
      ...Sunday 11th June 2000.

      Wait and see.. tickets should go on sale within
      a week".

So, keep your eyes and ears peeled! If tickets do go on sale, the
details will appear here. Thanks go to Simon for the news.

Last week Scatty announced he was trying to organise the world's very
first Madness convention. He had ideas, and a pencilled-in date. All
he needed was some feedback and some support. Well, since last week
Scatty reports that, "I have had nothing but help & interest from so
many people".

Since the unfortunate passing of Ian Dury, Scatty has decided that
this will be a charity event, with all proceeds going to the ever so
worthwhile Cancer Bacup. The date of the event has now changed to
Saturday the 10th of June. Yes, the day before Madstock 5.

Scatty is currently in touch with a support band, and is also
on the look-out for people to set up stalls selling Madness and
Madness related merchandise.

To cover any costs, tickets will be on sale for the event, but a
price is yet to be finalised.

Scatty also tells me that a website should be up and running within
the next week or so with contact information, details of what's
planned, and accommodation details as well.

If you'd like to lend a hand or require further information, please
get in touch with Scatty at the following address:
scat at supanet.com

With the sad news of Ian Dury's departure, this issue has a number of
Dury related articles throughout the usual Madness related news and
information. Vince Foley returns with a wonderful tribute to Ian and
puts into words what we've all been feeling over this past week.
There's also a small selection of some of the best articles to appear
since Ian's sad death for those of you who didn't manage to catch
them when they were first published.

Elsewhere, and Total Madness Mailing List subscriber, Colin Galbraith
give us a review of George Marshall's excellent Madness book, `Total
Madness`, Wozza reveals that a new promo CD is currently doing the
rounds and that a world tour may be on the cards, and Peter
Gardner reports on what tracks may be appearing on this re-mastered
version of Divine Madness.

Once you've finished reading through, go and visit the Bacup website
and make a donation.

All the best,

Robert Hazelby (MIS Online Editor)


Hey Now!

'We're gathered here this evening....' ,

Uncle Ian had passed away into 'that goodnight'. I know when people
die; we love them, yet with Ian for us all here there is something
a bit more close. Yes we had him on DFF, but anyone who loves Madness
loves Ian. They compliment one another.

I fist remember hearing Dury as a kid, so young that I once got a
clip around the ear off my dad for shouting 'Spasticus Autisicus', I
hadn't a clue what I was saying, but obviously something clicked
when I first heard the sounds of The Blockheads. That was the thing
about Ian's music, it was always dead catchy, yet his words probably
spoke volumes more. How many times have you pinches some of his
phrases when talking to others and took credit for being witty? I
know I have, yet in as much as me gaining from his words, I too said
these things out of respect to his words. Always bloody catchy, wish
I was able to come out with words like that.

Ian more than anything showed courage, the bulldog was always the
underdog. An affliction of polio as a kid, would have written off
many, yet Ian overcame it. An affliction of Cancer would have written
off many, yet Ian overcame it. Yes HE OVERCAME it. Although tonight
he joins the 'clever bastards' in the sky, he can look down at us
with a smile on his face. He turned something so negative into
something so positive. How many of us and how many in the media
really knew about Cancer before? He brought such an 'unfashionable'
disease (if there is such a thing) to the public domain and got
people interested. How many other pop stars can you remember on
Newsnight genuinely campaigning about something?

>From humble Irish beginnings in Donegal, Dury soon became Lord
Upminster from his days at Art College. He became a close friend
with Peter Blake, he was the guy responsible for thee most famous
album cover of all time: Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. A
keen eye for the canvass then saw Dury turn his thoughts into words.
Soon enough this oddest bunch of unlikely lads were doing the rounds
in London. 'The Kilburns'(my way of pronouncing the band) packed many
a pub with the cockney rebel on the lead. From this group Ian met
with Chaz Jankel, soon to become the musician to his words. That mix
gave us Ian Dury and the Blockheads.

Who ever saw a guy with a walking stick, a weird looking sax player
and the late great Charley Charles in a band. Again their
disfunctionalty reflected their music. Yet behind the witty cockney
rhymes was simply a master at work. Dury became an unlikely star at 35
when his debut album "New Boots and Panties" propelled him and The
Blockheads to critical acclaim and a year-long stay in the British
charts. His wry Cockney wit and wink of the eye came through loud
and clear in songs like "Clever Trevor" and "Sex and Drugs and Rock
and Roll", his lampoon of the music industry.

Songs like these would inspire many, Madness perhaps most. If you
ever want to hear the roots of Madness, Dury simply is it and in
Suggs' words, 'the binding factor' between the group in the early
years. It was so fitting to bring him onboard for Drip Fed Fred and
now the song will forever take on a new and long-lasting
significance. Its great to see his work appreciated by the band as
seen with the inner sleeve dedication, forever there to remind us of
the wizardry: 'The band would like to dedicate this album to Ian Dury
for his inspiration and happiness he has brought us.'

I never met Ian Dury. Wish I had. I was though fortunate to be
present at the first two Madstocks. He was the guy who rescued the
Madstock when others (not so clever bastards) decided to be off and
played on to fill the gap before Madness hit the stage. I'll never
forget how good the crowd reacted to him on stage. Even Johnny Rotten
popped on stage for his performance. This was repeated in 1994 when
the Blockheads once again filled the Finsbury air with 'Sex and drugs
and rock and roll' and 'rhythm sticks'. Dury, you were the man. I
suppose I can thank Madness as much for giving me Ian, as much as Ian
for giving us Madness. I will forever hold those two August evenings
in my heart, and Ian Dury will be one of the clear memories of those
great moments.

I only hope that I will be remembered for a fraction of things Ian
did. Hopefully people will remember me for the odd witty crack
(unlike Ian for many). I hope too that if I am ever in the face of
adversity, that I too can rise above it and make something positive.
At the risk of sounding corny, he truly IS an inspiration to all and
forever will be.

I won't pray for him tonight, cause I know he is up there at peace
and mincing his words with the clever ones like Coward and Co. I bet
he's loving it. I will though think of his family, all still young.
He said in a recent documentary that he didn't fear death but he
worried about his young children.

So that's it, Ian is dead, long live Ian. We shouldn't be negative
about this; yes it's very sad, yet think about it on the grand scheme
of things. A back-catalogue of great songs, the 'people's poet' and
his words, a very British sense of humour but most of all: REASONS

'All stand and raise a champagne glass!'

All the best

Vince Foley


Hi all!

I did a review for Amazon.com on 'Total Madness' by George Marshall.
Theres none in stock unsurprisingly, though on-one had done one so I
put pen to paper. Here's the link.....


Here it is for those without browsers....eh?

Total Madness - Total Requirement

Reviewer: Colin Galbraith from Glasgow, Scotland      March 9, 2000

This book is a MUST for every fan of Madness no matter how involved
with the band and the music you are. Whether you own just one copy
of their Greatest Hits album, or you are a serious collector trying
to obtain the entire back catalogue, or if you just fondly remember
those video's the lads used to make which combined unrestrained
hilarity with the darker side of Great Britain and the issues facing
people in the late 70's through the 80's.

'Total Madness' is packed with some superb stories of how the band
formed, their first gigs in and around the pubs of North London and
their chaotic rehearsal sessions. It moves on to their signing for
2-Tone and Stiff, TV appearances, tours, before finally covering
their demise in 1986 and reformation in 1992 culminating in Madstock
in August of that year. Thrown in amongst all this literary nuttiness
are some superb pictures covering the entire chronology of events.

As if all this wasn't enough, the one thing that makes this book
stand out is that it has been written by a true fan. George Marshall
has established himself as one of the leading authorities on many
Ska related disciplines, with varying books. 'Total Madness' opens
with the words, "They say you should never meet your heroes as it is
always a disappointment - but meeting Chris Foreman (guitarist)
proved this to be the exception to the rule".

If you are only a mild Madness fan when you pick up this book, you
shall certainly be driven to go out and buy some of their work after
reading this. George Marshall's infectious love of the band and the
era they come from, quickly overtakes any lingering doubts you may
have about trouble making skin-heads intent on right-wing politics
and fighting.

To sum up, this is the best book on Madness you will find, simply
because it is 100% Madness, has great pictures and was written by
a true Madness fan FOR Madness fans.

Colin Galbraith (cgalb at hotmail.com)


A tribute to Ian Dury from The Mirror (http://www.mirror.co.uk).
There's another tribute on there as well from Bob Geldof.

Sex, Drugs & Rock 'n' Roll legend Ian Dury dies of cancer at just 57

TRIBUTES poured in to Ian Dury last night after the punk legend lost
his battle against cancer.

The much-loved musician died peacefully at his home in North West
London with his sculptor wife Sophy Tilson, 34, at his side.

Crippled by childhood polio, Dury, 57, had been suffering from cancer
for five years but only confessed he had the disease in 1998 when it
spread to his liver and became inoperable.

The irrepressible Essex geezer who wrote hits What A Waste, Reasons
To Be Cheerful and Sex and Drugs and Rock 'n' Roll for his band Ian
Dury and the Blockheads, said at the time: "You don't have cancer,
it has you. The "chemo" won't get rid of it.

"But it's another lease of - well, however long it is. You just
don't know, but it's better than being hit by a bus tomorrow; you
have time to sort yourself out."

Minister Mo Mowlam, who fought a brain tumour and became friends with
Dury, said: "Those who knew him as a performer and a friend know that
the world will be a duller place without him."

Dr Mowlam, who was spotted dancing at a Dury gig five weeks ago,
added: "We have all lost a wonderful man, a real human being." Robbie
Williams, who visited Sri Lanka with Dury for charity Unicef last
year was too upset to talk. His spokeswoman said: "He's distraught.
They were very close."

Dury cut an odd figure as a pop star. He became a lecturer after
leaving art college and was already 35 when he formed The Blockheads
in 1977. Stricken by polio, he had a withered arm and leg and
appeared on Top of the Pops wearing a calliper and leaning on a cane.

But his witty pop lyrics won him fans and Hit Me With Your Rhythm
Stick sold 900,000 copies.

His career seemed over in 1981 when radio stations refused to play
his controversial Spasticus Autisticus, released to mark
International Year of the Disabled.

He then went on to forge a career as an actor and broadcaster.

Dury worked on ITV arts shows Metro in the 1990s and appeared in
films including Peter Greenaway's The Cook, The Thief, His Wife And
Her Lover. In 1998 he returned to music, reuniting The Blockheads for
a new album Mr Love Pants.

But his charity work remained paramount. Jo Bexley, of Unicef, said:
"There is only one word which describes him - awesome. He said there
were three things on his agenda: his music, Unicef and - cancer, the
disease to which he finally succumbed."

Close friend Madness frontman Suggs said: "The people's poet
laureate, one of the finest lyricists this country has produced, he
was still giving it his all to the end."

Dury leaves behind sons Albert, two, and Bill, five, plus Jemima, 29,
and Baxter, 26, by his first wife Betty, who died of cancer.
t.quinn at mirror.co.uk

Article kindly dug-out by Iain Jones


Hey all,

I was browsing through some Madness sites, and came across Simon
Roberts's excellent NTMML Homepages. I noticed he had a
"Perfect Place - Six Track Promo for World Tour" CD, and so I
decided to investigate it.

After contacting both Madness and Virgin, it appears the CD is for
real, and Madness plan a world tour in the December months starting
in France and even heading to Aussie Territory to catch some sun.
The CD's, given out to a select few, including Simon, have been kept
strictly confidential, but now thanks to Mr Roberts the world will
now know.

I asked Simon if he had Mp3's of the tracks just to prove it
existed. He did, and quickly File Transferred them to me, and all of
them are studio versions. The Greatest Show On Earth was the most
surprising entry, being a Suggs song, but a Madness Mix. All tracks
are excellent, here is the tracklisting: -

1. Perfect Place
2. Remembering it so clear
3. Greatest Show on Earth (The Madness Mix)
4. Ghost of Rev.Green (y2k Mix)
5. Moondance
6. Culture Vulture

The CD cover is viewable at http://www.ntmml.co.uk

Cheers for now,


IAN DURY 1942 - 2000

Avoiding the Grave With Mr. Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Taken from the Village Voice Website at:

Ian Dury had a Saturday-morning hospital appointment to get
chemotherapy for his terminal colon cancer.

The night before, instead of worrying or praying, he hobbled to the
front of a London stage and gave a rough thrill to 2000 fans.
"Louts and clowns," he called them, and they didn't vacate the
sweat-soaked upper boxes until he'd done all his joyful late-
'70s hits, "Wake Up and Make Love With Me" and "Reasons to Be
Cheerful, Part 3," "Hit Me With Your Rhythm Stick" and "Sex & Drugs
& Rock & Roll." Dury is not easily deterred. He became a rock star
despite the ravages of polio.

Dury wouldn't want you to read this story just because he has cancer.
Overt sympathy may top his ample list of annoyances, and when
annoyed, he growls. Not long ago, he traveled to Sri Lanka as part
of a UNICEF mission to promote polio immunization. A journalist was
with him, and every morning she'd gravely inquire about his health.
"She was gettin' on my breasts. I got a bit pissed one night and had
to straighten her out, in no small manner. The next morning she
went, 'Nobody's ever used the C-word on me.' " He makes an
unsympathetic face. "I didn't cunt her off that bad."

On the afternoon of his show, Dury, 57, sits in an overheated
dressing room, bossing people about, tossing autograph requests in
the garbage, and swearing magnificently. He's five feet and a bit
extra, energetic, mercurial; coarse as a sailor one minute,
addressing friends as "darling" seconds later with a theatrical
quaver to his Cockney accent. "In and out like a preacher's cock,"
he shouts as his manager darts around. What Dury's missed in height,
he's gained in width, with a solid skull under short white-and-gray
hair, and the shoulders of a farm animal. It's as though Elton John
mated with a battering ram. This is a man so blunt he almost named
one very multiethnic group Cripple, Nigger, Yid, Chink, and Dead
Fish. "Try and get them booked," he chortles.

After his rock career slowed in the early '80s, he worked as an
actor, playwright, and TV host, and he's rich with picaresque tales
about making The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover with Peter
Greenaway or tutoring Iggy Pop in subtlety on The Crow: Part Two,
each told with the timing of an old vaudevillian, until you half
expect to hear about the day he and Billy Shakespeare got bent on

Although his influence endured in a few younger bands; Madness, Black
Grape, midperiod Blur. Dury's sunny mix of rock, funk, reggae, and
music hall has proven inimitable. His offbeat rhymes and
anachronistic slang mix wisdom and nonsense and refuse to distinguish
between the two. "He's just brilliant, fantastic," says Damon Albarn
of Blur. "Beautiful use of language. And he always comes across as a
really good soul."

He hasn't had an American release since 1981, including 1998's
moodier Mr. Love Pants (available at www.iandury.co.uk). He's toured
the U.S. only once, opening for Lou Reed on his Street Hassle trek.
It was a bad match: Dury, devoted to ecstasy and pleasure, and Reed,
devoted to parsimony and pain. "Lou Reed used to get applause for
lightin' a cigarette," Dury snorts. "Fuckin' joke. He was about as
subversive as a packet of chips."

Dury's one of the few living musicians who can claim to have invented
something good. And he's quick to remind you of that. "He's
uncompromisingly abrasive," says his friend Suggs, the singer in
Madness. "You could call him a genius, and that's one of the side
effects of being a genius: Fuck everybody else if they don't realize."


Here's how Ian Dury got this way.

At the age of seven, he contracted polio, was sent to a school for
the physically handicapped, and began a lifetime of wearing calipers
on his right leg. He was raised by his mom, a midwife at a baby
clinic, who split with his dad, a bus driver, when Ian was three.

"I'm naturally quite an aggressive person," he says. "Polio
ameliorated my aggression, and curtailed my criminal activities, by
making it so that I couldn't fight anybody. It made me mentally
aggressive; you be the brawn, I'll be the brains."

He's not a true Cockney, having grown up in suburban Essex, although
"I've got every Cockney mannerism. It's an affectation I've been
workin' on for 40-odd years. It's really the ethos and the style. I
use a lot of the patois of the underworld. It's done with a smile and
a quip."

As a teen, he heard art school was full of "dudes walking about with
long hair, and gorgeous models," and decided to enroll. He did seven
years, earned a master's, and studied with Peter Blake, the pop
painter who also taught Pete Townshend and did the Sgt. Pepper cover.
Blake's mission was to liberate students' imagination. "Instead of
doing a landscape of some old bit of fuckin' building, he said,
'What are your obsessions in real life?' "

Dury saw a lot of bands while studying at the Royal College of Art in
the early '70s. "They'd all encore with 'Brown Sugar,' and I'd say,
'Fuck me, I could entertain people better.' " To prove it, he started
Kilburn and the High Roads, a pub-rock outfit, and showed that a man
with a limp and a cane could be as engaging and sexy as Mick Jagger.
Lack of competition helped, he says: "Most people in rock 'n' roll
are fuckin' stupid cunts."

"The Kilburns were this mixed bag of odd-bods," says Suggs. "Ian
couldn't move much, there was a guy with one leg on drums, and a
dwarf on bass, but it was the most theatrical show I'd seen." Once,
he recalls, Dury pulled a long string of knotted handkerchiefs from
a pocket, "like some cheap sort of magician. With the slightest
movement, he'd make it look like the whole stage was alive."

By 1977, Ian Dury and the Blockheads were signed by Stiff Records,
the pioneering alternative label that hyped itself with the deathless
slogan "If it ain't Stiff, it ain't worth a fuck." Stiff made stars
of Elvis Costello and Nick Lowe, but others, like Wreckless Eric and
Lene Lovich, Mickey Jupp and Jona Lewie, mustered a classic 45 or
two and departed for cultdom. Many of the singers, "weaklings and
runts who would never have got a deal with a proper record company,"
Nick Lowe says, joined up for a 1977 caravan documented on Stiffs
Live, which is still in print. Not that there was camaraderie among
the weirdos. "It wasn't a relaxed, happy tour," Dury recalls. "It
was geared toward launching Elvis, I didn't need it as much as he
did. And there was a certain paranoia flying about" because, Dury
says, his band often upstaged Costello.

"It was quite a rivalry," Lowe confirms. "Ian and Elvis were very
ambitious, and ready to take the world on. We were young and real
pleased with ourselves, and everyone was quite nasty about each
other." Costello, who kept Dury's "Roadette Song" in his live set
for several years, declined a request to discuss Dury and his Stiff

Just as Peter Blake taught him, Dury wrote about his obsessions,
which were often sexual, comic, or both. Although it was obliquely
ambivalent, his first single, "Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll," was
quashed by the BBC (the B side was a merry tune about shoplifting
porno). The title earned him an entry in The Oxford Dictionary of
Quotations, though Dury knows he didn't invent the phrase: "Life
coined the phrase, and I nicked it off life." The song "sounds like
I'm saying, 'Yee-hah for drugs.' I was saying it was good, but then
I'm saying, 'Are you sure that's all there is?' I'm not saying it in
a way that's very clear."

Next came "Wake Up and Make Love With Me," about morning erections,
which radio also boycotted, and the vibrantly kinky "Hit Me With Your
Rhythm Stick," a No. 1 in England. Dury cheekily proclaims "Reasons
to Be Cheerful, Part 3," the funky recitation that came next, "the
first rappin' record. It came out three months before the Sugarhill
Gang, 'Rapper's Delight.' I got the same sources as those geezers.
I had the Last Poets record in 1971."

After his hits, Dury "went completely crazy," a former manager
charged. "He became a monster, turned from being really nice to being
a real pain in the ass." Dury has admitted, "I was selfish. Girls
were throwing themselves at me and I went for it." He'd had two kids
with Betty Rathmell, an art-school sweetheart, but the marriage fell
apart over his cheating.

In 1981, to declare his ambivalence about the U.N.'s Year of the
Disabled, he released "Spasticus (Autisticus)," in which he yelps,
"I'm spasticus!" again and again. He felt entitled to use the word.
"I've been sitting with somebody who said, 'I'd sooner be dead than
lose a leg.' They say it forgetting that I'm a crip." This was well
before women dubbed themselves bitches and blacks called themselves
niggers, and Dury's appropriation of insulting language was genuinely
shocking. "Some people say that song was a career wrecker for me."
Once again it was effectively banned by British radio.

Looking back, he says, "I've written about four songs that I really
like. Mind you, Cole Porter only wrote six good songs. There's not a
lot about." His bravado flares. "There just aren't any good lyric
writers. I'm the only one. In the '60s, I shared a flat with a guy
who was into The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan. I used to go, 'That guy was
on speed when he did that.' I could tell.

"David Bowie must have spawned 700 bands. I don't particularly think
we have, because what we do is too difficult." He breaks into a
savory laugh.


At the start of the show, Dury gets helped to the mic, and stays
still throughout, sending the band and fans into motion. Bassist
Norman Watt-Roy sweats through his light-gray pants, until it looks
as though he's pissed himself. Before the encore, Dury steps behind
his hulking helper and takes a few puffs of illegal. In a white
scarf, dark fedora, earrings, and sunglasses, he's equal parts carny,
gypsy, thug, pirate, and fop, full of the Devil's own charisma.

After the 2000 have been sated, a celebration bulges the small, smoky
dressing room. The late hours pass. Dury holds court with old
friends, reluctant to end the evening. "He's usually the last one to
leave," Watt-Roy says with a fond chuckle. "The last chicken in the

He was first diagnosed five years ago, and in 1998, when the cancer
spread to his liver, doctors said he might be dead in eight months.
So he married his girlfriend, sculptor Sophy Tilson, who's 23 years
younger; they have two sons, Bill, 4, and Albert, 2. He's chosen
private medical care over England's national plan: "I'm a socialist,
but I don't want to be a dead socialist." He continues a regimen of
chemotherapy through a permanent Hickman line in his chest.

A few close friends have died of cancer, including his ex-wife Betty,
so "it's hard not to think of it as a sword of Damocles," he says.
For the most part, he maintains a darkly comic stoicism in public,
though his moods vary nearly as widely as his health. Lately, he's
felt tired and weak. He has a few gigs booked in England for April
and May, and vows to perform from a wheelchair if he has to.

Even now, with interest in oddballs and misfits a pop staple, Dury
remains unjustly obscure, partly because he's just too prickly to
ingratiate himself with history. Knowing how he's going to die has
only strengthened his resolve about how he wants to live. Last year,
Madness regrouped for Wonderful, which they dedicated to Dury. And
they wrote a song for Dury to sing on, "Drip Fed Fred," a comic
fable about a formidable gangster ailing in prison. "We were
supposed to start recording at 11 a.m.," Suggs says with a laugh,
"and when we turned up at midday, he'd already finished and gone.
He doesn't have any time left to fuck around."


Hello all in Maddieland,

I have some info on the forthcoming remastered Divine Madness for you
all. Now as one or two of you already know, the greatest thing ever
to happen to me in my 30 years on this planet happened last week when
I was contacted by Virgin Records to help them out in finding the
proper single versions of all the tracks (it's a long story but
needless to say, I had to be peeled off the ceiling when it
happened). They had made up a CDR of what they thought were the
correct versions and wanted me to confirm whether or not they were!!
So they sent me the CDR and I gave it a listen. Now this is where it
gets a little scary;-)

I got back in touch with them to say that the versions they had were
actually from the master tapes of Complete Madness and NOT the
singles themselves because a few seconds had been cut from each of
the tracks in the fade-outs. As all the anoraks among us know
Complete Madness was a bit shit because of the way they segued the
tracks together and cut the fade-outs. This means there was no
reverb noise echoing on at the end of The Prince and also The Return
Of The Los Palmas 7 started with the piano and not the sound of the
crowd (to quote Phil Oakey;-)) But worse of all is the missing 36
seconds from the end of Shut Up. So I told them all this and also
mentioned where to find Shut Up in its full single version alongside
the proper single of House Of Fun (the 1983 US album) but he didn't
seem too confident of Virgin actually having the master tapes of
those versions (can you believe that?). But they will do their best
to find them.

The fact that the album is scheduled for a June release means they
don't have a great deal of time to find them then get them digitally
remastered, so I'm afraid we may have to make do with the
early-fade-out versions, but at least it'll be the single mixes and
we've put up with an ever-so-slightly truncated It Must Be Love for
years and survived.

If I hear any more in advance of the release I'll let you know.
Needless to say, my life is now complete and I can die a happy man.
To be consulted on what tracks are to be used for a Madness album is
something I could never have dreamed would happen to me.

Cheers for now,
Peter Gardner (the happiest Maddie in all the world)


Once again, we're at the end of yet another edition of the MIS
Bulletin. My thanks go to everyone who rallied together to announce
details of how we could donate to the Bacup charity. I've connected
to the website, and I can tell you that making a donation is really
easy and will only take a few minutes of your time. Even if you're
only donating 5 pounds, it all helps!

With news from Simon Roberts that Madstock 5 is back on, and a new
promo doing the rounds as part of a possible world tour later in the
year, you can see that we've all got `reasons to be cheerful`.

Until next week.

All the best,

Robert Hazelby
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