Home»Latest Newsletters»Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 756 – Sunday 3rd November to Saturday 9th November 2013

Madness Information Service Online Newsletter Issue Number: 756 – Sunday 3rd November to Saturday 9th November 2013

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Hello, and a very warm welcome to this week’s edition of the MIS Online bulletin.

This week we’ve kept ourselves amused with the ongoing saga of The New Kids on The Block fans vs The Blockheads fans, a car crash which has played itself out over the vast expanse of Twitter and Facebook.

If there’s one thing we hope people have learned from all this it’s that if you pinch the work of another person and pass it off as your own, it’s really not going to end well for you.

For those of you who’ve not followed this chronicle then fear not, we have the full highlights elsewhere in this issue.

Enjoy the read,

Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby, Simon Roberts


See below for all forthcoming Madness and Madness related gigs and events. If there’s something we’ve missed off or you feel should be added then please let us know.


November 22nd – 25th House Of Fun Weekender, Minehead, UK

December 31st – Dublin – www.nyedublin.ie

For tickets see links via: www.madness.co.uk

Suggs Live

Suggs My Life Story, the West End of London December Run.


December 1st     – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 8th     – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 15th  – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.
December 22nd  – Garrick Theatre, London’s West End.

April 2014

2nd – Newbury Corn Exchange
3rd – Loughborough Town Hall
4th – Wakefield Theatre Royal
5th – Southport The Atkinson Theatre
6th – Runcorn The Brindley
8th – Mansfield Palace Theatre
9th – Stamford Corn Exchange
11th – Isle of Wight Shaklin Theatre
12th – Aldershot Princes Hall
13th – Wimborne Tivoli Theatre
15th – Bury St Edmonds The Apex
16th – Tunbridge Wells, Assembly Hall
17th – Stroud Subscription Rooms
22nd – Chelmsford Civic Theatre
23rd – Stevenage Gordon Craig Theatre
24th – Redditch Palace Theatre
25th – Malvern Forum Theatre
26th – Margate Winter Gardens
27th – Northampton Derngate
29th – Bolton Albert Halls
30th – Darlington Civic Theatre

May 2014

1st – Newark Palace Theatre
2nd – Redhill Harlequin Theatre
3rd – Watford Colosseum
4th – Yeovil Octagon Theatre
10th – DUBLIN Olympia Theatre
13th – Harlow Playhouse
14th – Lowestoft Marina Theatre
16th – Leamington Royal Spa Centre
17th – Jersey Opera House

Suggs “That Close” Book Signings

November 10th, 6pm, Newham Bookshop, Stratford, London www.stratford-circus.com  £6

The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra

November 8th, headlining the Friday of Specialized, The Big One 2, Parkdean, Sandford, Dorset

See ticket links via: www.ltso.mis-online.net

Deaf School

No further gigs or events at present. Keep an eye on http://deafschoolmusic.com for more information.


If money’s currently burning a hole in your pocket then perhaps we can help with your dilemma.

Madness Unsugged Back-Issues

I am selling some back issues of issues 3,6 and 7 of my fanzine Madness Unsugged, which I ran between 1999 and 2002. All issues are A4 32 page except issue 7 which was a bumper 72 page issue. Links to the magazine are as follows:
Issue 3 http://ebay.eu/1hknSHk
Issue 6 http://ebay.eu/17RBgLN
Issue 7 http://ebay.eu/1g4C08C
Below is a sample of articles included in issue 7 which included exclusive interview with band members:
– EXCLUSIVE TO UNSUGGED: Lengthy in depth interviews with Thommo and Bedders split into two: one focusing on the Rise and Fall album and the other half covering all things Madness from the abandoned Adrian Thrills book to being banned from Wogan.
– “Liquidator – The Forgotten Studios” – Exclusive article chronicling Madness’s own studio from the planning stage to date.
– The Facts Machine: Regular item with dozens of little known Madness facts.
– EXCLUSIVE TO UNSUGGED: Interview with Gary Bushell
– “Another Step Beyond” – Review of the little known 1993 Madness play “One Step Beyond” which ran for 6 weeks in Stratford’s Theatre Royal and featured Paul Kissaun of Flying Pickets/Coronation Street
– “Too Much Too Young” – Review of the 1995 Madness play which also ran for 6 weeks, this time in Dublin. The play centred around 3 Madness fans meeting up on the 15th anniversary of a Madness gig in 1980 and how there lives had progressed / stood still since”
– In depth review of Our House musical and comprehensive article featuring media reviews of the same show.
– “Smashing In On World Cup Fever” – Highly critical review of Chas Smash’s 2002 release.
– “Back In My Arms Again….” Review of the 2 new tracks from the Our House soundtrack.

Below is a sample extract from Madness Unsugged…

Ever wondered what Mr Smyth was saying on the intro to Mr Speaker Gets The Word or where he took it from? Well, no better person to tell you than the man himself:

“Humble thyself and ye shall be exalted”. This is a biblical quote. There are two bits of poems quoted. One is Horatius from the Lays Of Ancient Rome which begins “Lars Porsena Of Clusium, By the nine Gods he swore”…etc. The second is from The Charge Of The Light Brigade by Tennyson which begins “Half A League, half a league, half a league, onwards into the valley of death he rode”.

The song Mr. Speaker, whose lyrics were written by Suggs, reminded me of my Uncle Sean and most of what I said was in his style or manner of speaking. He was a real character who was thought of fondly by the band as my Uncle had a habit of turning up unexpectedly when we appeared in Ireland with the habit of shouting “Whato my cocker”.

He was also fond of quoting Milton’s Ode To Blindness which I used as the opening line in Time……”When I consider how my life is spent”……the original line being when I consider how my LIGHT is spent. Ah the joys of literature….my Uncle Sean died a few years back and the likes of him are rarely seen. He never could stand a philistine.

You have all the senses (members( of your body: use them wisely.

The Magic Line Album * Out Now! *

Signed T-shirt packages and a deluxe edition.


A range of Magic Brothers T-shirts, Polo Shirts are now available to buy.

The CD album is available via Amazon and the download via iTunes contains an interview with Phil Jupitus talking to Woody about the album.  But if you buy the album via the official band site you can choose a signed option or bundle.

If you’ve a spare £75 and are really into the magic, then there are 25 packs going fast that include all of this….

The Magic Line Collectors Pack – Limited Edition of 25 includes; The Magic Line Signed CD Album. The Magic Line Digital Download. The Magic Line T Shirt. Woodys Drumsticks Signed. Nicks Guitar Paick Signed. Copy of Album Lyrics. “Thank You” Phone Call From Woody & Nick.

Our thanks go to Paul Smart for the above

The Liberty Of Norton Folgate – Reissue on Salvo

This edition is retailing at just over £5.


Suggs “The Close” Signed Book

Suggs is one of pop music’s most enduring and likeable figures. Written with the assured style and wit of a natural raconteur, this hugely entertaining and insightful autobiography takes you from his colourful early life on a North London council estate, through the heady early days of Punk and 2-Tone, to the eighties, where Madness became the biggest selling singles band of the decade. Along the way he tells you what it’s like to grow up in sixties Soho, go globetrotting with your best mates, to make a dead pigeon fly and cause an earthquake in Finsbury Park.

Suggs is a singer, songwriter, DJ, actor and TV presenter. He is perhaps best known as lead singer with Madness, who have had 24 top-twenty hits and continue to tour. Suggs lives in Camden, London.

– Features unseen and exclusive lyrics.
- 352 pages.
- Hardback.


Louis Vause – Midnight in Havana

“Oh dear. I’m alive..!” Pianist Louis Vause has always said that his albums are “Gouged out of him by circumstance” but his third album ‘Midnight In Havana’really is a case in point.

Recorded as a valedictory set, a swansong if you like, after he was told that the onset of cancer meant that he had mere months to live, the completion of the work coincided with his liver transplant and the all clear. He was in the pink. The same could not be said for his credit cards which had covered Louis’ uncharacteristically cavalier spending on recording costs.


Mark Adamson of the Deaf School Website gives us an exclusive quote or two from Suggs, on the forthcoming Deaf School Book.

Deaf School – the story is told at last!

“For me, the gigs Deaf School have done recently have been some of the best I’ve seen by any band.”

So writes Suggs in his foreword to a book, published this month amid a flurry of Deaf School gigs and other Book Launch events, charting the creation and career of a band that influenced so many artists that followed – and that still fills venues 40 years after their debut at the Liverpool School of Art Christmas Dance.

Deaf School had a huge impact on Madness (Suggs: “Back in my youth I met some characters who were a right bunch, but what we had in common was that we loved Deaf School.”) – not least, of course, because guitarist Clive Langer’s became Madness producer and because Suggs married Deaf School singer Bette Bright!

Written by leading rock music writer, author and broadcaster Paul du Noyer, a lifetime Deaf School fan, Deaf School: The Non-Stop Pop Art Punk Rock Party, is published later this month by the Liverpool University Press, priced at £14.99. Accompanying the publication of the book is a Deaf School exhibition, featuring original art works by band members, posters, photos, rare films of live performances, band stage costumes and much more.

The book is available from Deaf School’s website at www.deafschoolmusic.com


A Dog Called Dez

As we approach this year’s House Of Fun weekender I’d like to remind those of you that went to last year’s of the chap who came along with me and his Guide Dog. Many readers will have met John and Dez last year. I bring good news:They are coming along again this year AND John and Dez have just had their life story published in a book called ‘A Dog Called Dez’.

What many people who saw John walking around Butlin’s with Dez won’t have realised is that they have only been together a short while. John was 42 when he went blind. Before then he was a right tearaway and spent time in approved schools with the ‘Gherkin Men’ Lee Thompson has referred to in at least two Madness songs, before going on to a spell in proper prison. He was also instrumental in the prosecution and jailing of a vicious London ‘steaming gang’ who were notorious for their ultra-violent muggings on the London Underground. I heard about this on the news long before I knew John…

He was also a massive Madness fan. Like a lot of fans the music was really important to him throughout his life. He would never complain that their songs “say nothing to me about my life” as Morrissey so eloquently explained on ‘Panic’. Far from it, at times their music was the only thing keeping him alive. Here’s a review of the book that I wrote for Amazon. It is the best book I’ve read this year. When I’ve finished Suggs’ That Close book I am sure I will still be of the opinion that A Dog Called Dez is a marvellous companion piece to it. All John’s profits go to the Guide Dogs association. If you buy it you will help someone else like John get a dog as well trained, loving, healthy (and maybe even cheeky as Dez! I wouldn’t go as far as to say it’s a must for all Madness fans, but it is ‘That Close (tee hee) to being so.

I’d like now to hand you over to me at Amazon…

Before starting my review I must confess I know John Tovey and Dez. I’m mentioned in the book, but not by name, as the Madness fan who went to the Madness weekend at Minehead with him and Dez last year and emailed the band’s guitarist asking if they could meet the band. That said I had to buy my own copy of the book a couple of weeks back…

I hadn’t known John for long when we went to Butlin’s but he told me some of the story of his life and I could see the clear parallels between John’s teenage life and that of Madness saxophone player and lyricist Lee Thompson. Knowing that Thompson’s life had influenced his lyrical style and subject matter I was sure there would be a story worth telling by Tovey. I couldn’t have been more right.

When my copy of the book arrived I was like many other reviewers in that I couldn’t put the book down. I’m not one to read for long periods, but I got to around 80 pages in before realising I had to take a loo break. The story is one that is that good. The ghost writer helpfully puts John’s introduction to Dez at the start of the book as it places the reader at a recent point in John’s life and establishes him as a likable and modest bloke. In doing so it reduces the chance of the chapters that follow being read like certain true crime biographies that are disparagingly (and often accurately) nicknamed ‘hoolie-porn’.

I’m almost the same age as John Tovey (he is roughly 3 weeks older than me) and am also a lifelong fan of Madness, who has gravitated to Lee Thompson’s songs. I was looking for a read that I would understand and relate to as I’ve spent 34 years of my life with Madness’ music its soundtrack. However it quickly becomes clear that John’s life was much, much harder than mine. As I read on the one conclusion I couldn’t escape returning to was that other than the adolescent years there is no chance that the sighted John Tovey would have been a mate of mine. As his story develops it is clear that he was too hot to handle.

There’s no glorification of John’s early life here. There are glimpses of revenge that on one level seem morally right especially his father’s reaction to the abuse of John in one of the homes he was sent to and the way the workplace bully was dealt with. But we see that revenge never paid off for John. There was no prolonged fresh start. John’s self-destructive path was always leading him like a self-fulfilling prophesy.

I cannot imagine what it is like to go blind in adulthood. I imagine it is a lot worse than being born blind, but I cannot know. But this book paints a sudden and stark picture of what it was like when it happened to John. It is probably harder to imagine that sudden adult blindness could actually be the second best thing that ever happened to John Tovey. The book may not say it in so many words, but it is reasonably clear that John’s health issues, lifestyle and risk taking could have left John dead by now.

The chapters that follow detailing John’s rehabilitation, which was by no means immediate, the effort that goes into training Guide Dogs and the people who end up paired with them are heartwarming and life-affirming. And then there’s the real star of the book, Dez. I can assure readers that John is spot on with his description of Dez as a hard working Guide Dog and a wonderful, cheeky, companion. I am fairly sure he knows who can see and who can’t. The night before we went to Butlin’s I stayed with John and Dez to break my journey. I didn’t get up as early as they did and Dez was impatient to get out. Had I not told John he would never have known that Dez had picked up my shoes and taken them carefully from the bedroom to the lounge and then walked up to me several times with my trainer in his mouth. He was very clearly telling me to get on with it! Once in Minehead I was staggered when, after a brief walk from our chalet to the restaurant and then back to the chalet and on to the music venue, John told me they were going for a walk around the massive holiday park and I was only to call his mobile if they weren’t back after 45 minutes!

Sure enough Dez was able to guide John around without mishap, despite the weather being appalling with rain soon turning the park into one big puddle.

This book covers a full range of emotions and it will take the reader on a roller coaster ride (I don’t think that has yet become as much of a cliche as the ‘journey’ we’re all told we’re meant to be on) that hasn’t yet finished. We live in an age when 16 year old singers on the X Factor can tell the judges they’ve waited all their life for this audition and then be on their second autobiography at age 23. We also live in an age where John Tovey and Dez have a story to be told with the help of ‘ghost writer’ Veronica Clark. The world is a much better place because of stories like theirs and it follows that it is also a better place because of this book.

Before I finish I must also add that Madness fans will have fun spotting lyrics and song titles (often from obscure B sides) hidden in the text. But be assured they are not crow-barred in. I would also like to add that, having put a rough chronology to the events described in the book, I would say that at no point did John mimic the songs. He appears to have already been in an ‘approved school’ before hearing One Step Beyond’s track Land Of Hope And Glory and Absolutely’s Overdone). He didn’t sniff glue after hearing Suggs sing about it on Keep Moving’s Time For Tea and The Liberty of Norton Folgate’s Idiot Child was released over 25 years after his own ‘abduction’ by social workers and first minibus ride to the world of borstals. These songs in particular will give readers not familiar with Madness’ career beyond their greatest hits an insight into why John raves about Madness so much. Suggs also has a biography out That Close (they were published within weeks of each other. I would firmly recommend John’s book as a companion piece…

A Dog Called Dez by John Tovey with Veronica Clark, published by John Blake Publishing. Recommended price £12.99. On sale at all good book shops (and probably some rubbish ones too) as well as Amazon in hardback and Kindle editions.

Now it’s back to Paul in his dodgy one bedroom flat for an important announcement: Any readers who subsequently buy it on MIS recommendation and think it is rubbish please get in touch with me and I will refund you the cost of the book as long as you send me proof of purchase and a photo of yourselves looking annoyed after reading the book. This is a serious offer. Seriously. I will guarantee the money, even though I know no-one will think it is rubbish.

Paul Rodgers


Woody on Croydon Radio

Listen again to Woody;s long chat and choice of music on Croydon radio from last week. Hosted by Steve Lawlor.


How we met: Charlie Higson & Suggs


There were some bizarre connections between Charlie and I in the early 1980s. Mark Bedford, our bass player with Madness, was also working with Paul Whitehouse in this unsigned band called Bonsai Forest. Charlie had also set up his own band, the Higsons, signed to our record label, 2-Tone. So we knew of one another, and may have met back then, but that is lost in the mists of time. I was also aware of Harry Enfield and when the Loadsamoney sketch started in the late 1980s, I knew Charlie was helping to write that.

Madness musical runs at The Belgrade Theatre

After pioneering 2 Tone in the 1970s, Coventry sees the return of Ska in an award-winning musical. Catherine Vonledebur chats to Madness guitarist Chris Foreman about the show.


Madness Frontman on his Biography

Madness frontman Suggs is taking another step beyond with his one-man show and autobiography – and insists he’s happy to forget about finding long-lost Scottish family members



Back With a Bangarang – Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra at The Jazz Cafe

It’s been a great year for The Ska Orchestra. Lee Thompson’s performed more gigs and played to more people than perhaps any other year in solo bands since the Nutty Boys used to tour in the 90’s. The launch and touring of The Benevolence of Sister Mary Ignatius LP has seen great gigs, in Manchester, Newcastle, Chelsea, Coventry, Bristol, Sheffield, Belgium, Brockwell, Secret Garden Party in the midlands, and the phenomenal sets at The Dublin Castle, the finest music yet heard from them.

The second leg tour of the year ran into a few disappointments though with Glasgow not passing the maybe stage and cancellations of Ipswich, Cardiff and Norwich. A fun birthday party at St Albans, and packed venues at Leeds and Bath though were achieved to acclaim. Now the return to London, Camden and The Jazz Cafe brings a second single phase to The story of the Sister Mary set, as something new enters the set.

Dawn Penn is now added to the Lester Stirling cover Bangarang. (With Sharon Shannon added in accordion backing too, an Irish folk artist that Dave Robinson told us is perennial Radio Two starlet). The track recently played by David Rodigan on Radio 1 extra is due for Download in December, with cool mob artwork that shows dawn escaping in a taxi prepared again by artist Braxton Hole, this new version single bringing new fruit to this album’s era.

Bitty Mclean also returns, making the jazz cafe a star guest show. Indeed at one point Suggs was tweeting about coming to sing again at the gig after his Waterstones signing session. (He was down to sing Midnight Rider but couldn’t make it in the end). Darren Fordham adds his Melodica playing into the track in the absence of Mr Edwards from the line up.

After a packed venue reached it’s capacity, including the Magic Brothers in attendance, and Mr Barso too, fresh from Madness rehearsals,  Mr Thompson arrived resplendent in skull design over coat, with musical note lining, skull print shirt, wig, shade and pirate hat, ready for Halloween. Pleased with a teaming attendance filling the venue, Thommo remarked “It’s only Thursday”

The fine set of songs played on. Not all hitting the mark, but many taking off, showing this line up featuring Mez and Andy has the sound down now. An extra trombone (Jake) seems to be hiding away at the back, but it’s later revealed he’s there to help out because he’s standing in tomorrow, in bath.

Mostly bizzarely. Louise Vause scat sang his piano part along during one song.

With Dawn Penn Darren and Lee joked, “Hey I’ve an idea, while Dawn is hear why don’t we do, No no no?”  “No no no!”   “Oh yes yes yes”  And a good five minute version ensued, where to be honest the crowd carried the moment as much as the band played the song. It needed louder brass setting for the sound, and although the arrangement might be right, the crowd only remember the seminal riff and middle “be babba ba bap bap, be bbaba ba ba” part of the tune.

Dawn brought the presence of a legend for that song. Age sadly makes her somewhat of a Norah Batty for the night, but even older treasures can be regal, a steady cam operator in the crowd is here to capture some of her performance for possible video use and there is a sense of presence to tonight’s guests that really helps move the ska orchestra forward one more notch, before they head to two big gigs for November., their headline at Specialized, Big one 2, and the return to The house of fun weekender, to try and match last years extended and seminal performance that’s still much talked about by many fans.

Fu Man Chu –


Dawn Penn – Bangaran and No No No –


Bitty McLean – Fu Man Chu and Midnight Rider


Jonathan young / Sharon Staite

Deaf School @ The Jazz Cafe

It’s Thursday 24th October and I’ve bought tickets to see a band I’ve never seen nor do I know any of their material. So why am I off to see Deaf School? Well, their personnel include ‘Mrs Suggs’, namely Bette Bright and also Clive Langer of Madness production fame, so intrigue regarding all things Madness has lured me in. I have also read with interest through the MIS bulletins, all Deaf School related features and I’m going along with a very open mind.

We arrive at the Jazz Café in Camden at around 7.15pm where the very helpful bouncers tell us the stage times and who the support is so, as we have time, we head off to The Dublin Castle pub for a couple of pints of Gladness. There we are faced with our first Hawaiian shirted people tonight – namely that is the way fans of Deaf School show their colourful support of the band! At ten past 8 we head into the gig venue.

It’s the 1st time I’ve been here, apart from booking the tickets. Once inside, to the right is a lounge area and the bar is straight ahead. Immediately beyond the bar is the stage. On the upper level there is a dining area which has seats surrounding the edge where those upstairs can look down and enjoy the show. It’s a lovely 420 capacity venue and it’s later packed out.

First up are Man Like Me who have supported Madness on tour and are well received. Their eccentric lead singer starts the opening number by hanging upside down off his co-vocalist. Very bizarre! For the next song, he takes off his overcoat to reveal yet another Hawaiian shirt! Where’s Tom Selleck when you need him!?! Man Like Me are quite possibly a cross between Wham! And Madness if you, or even I, can imagine such a combination. Without wishing to offend you, or even myself, by linking two such different bands, whatever is in their mixture, it works and works well. Cheeky lyrics with funky pop sounds, backed up by a drum machine and a two man brass section. They put on a good show.

By the time Deaf School are on, it’s heaving in the surely full-to-capacity venue. I have spotted Mike Barson in the crowd and as I had suspected is joined soon after by Suggs who is here to watch his wife perform. Deaf School start off with a detective story type tune, sung in mock American James Cagney style, the lead singer is even wearing a ‘Columbo’ overcoat! As I had read before in MIS it is tricky to musically pigeon hole them. They do have the occasional more sophisticated sax sound rather than the more playful sax of, say, The Blockheads or indeed, Madness. For most songs, Bette provides additional rather than lead vocals and is a ‘good foil’ for the lead. Suggs is proudly looking on whilst enjoying yet another Guinness or 2. He’s certainly had a few!

Later in the show, Suggs is seen on stage with the band armed with a bottle of champagne, along with Lee. From my stand point, I cannot clearly hear what Suggs says although I think it’s along the lines of ‘congratulations’ as the purpose of the gig is to help celebrate their Book Launch. Suggs and Lee didn’t appear to sing or play along for any tunes, just bless us with their stage presence.

In conclusion, I would describe Deaf School as an interesting combo and worth a look especially if you’d like to watch a gig with Suggs!

Set List (as kindly provided by Jonathan Young along with gentle arm-twisting for this little review)

Get Set Go
Where’s The Weekend
Moonlit Motel
U Turn
Cocktails 8
@ Taxi
Goodbye To All That
Hi Jo Hi
KKK, ing
Thunder + Lightning
I Wanna Be Your Boy
2nd Honeymoon
Final Act

Darren West

An Evening with Suggs: Thursday 31st October.

St James’s Church, Piccadilly designed and built by Sir Christopher Wren in the late 1600’s, was the ‘weird’ setting (to quote Suggs) for the evening. Suggs occasionally joked about the surroundings, such as commenting on the weird echo in the church which made him feel like a vicar.

The evening was reasonably well attended. Gavin Martin, a journalist that Suggs had first met in 1980, initially asked Suggs questions before it was open to the floor. One of the main points was that Suggs in his book (and in life), didn’t want to dwell on the dark things in his life, although he later added that without the dark elements in his childhood he wouldn’t be who he is today. However the main focus of the book was positive.

Then there was this line of questioning about Suggs being born on Friday the 13th and Chalky being born on Halloween. I think the missed point of the question somewhere (if there was one!!). The only thing I understood was that Gavin Martin had reminded Suggs it was Chalky’s birthday and to wish him a Happy Birthday.

He said the main impact of his father was that when he got offered heroin, he had said no as he knew it’s effects. When talking about the 2 Tone Tour he said “it was becoming a phenomenon before our eyes”

When Live Aid was put to Madness, Suggs stated that they were too busy thinking about the falsity of what it could be. Saying that they were not interested, Bob Geldof’s organising abilities were also called into question. On the actual day of Live Aid, Suggs was moving house and he could hear Live Aid coming out of every window.

He did show the book to the rest of the band before publication and made adjustments if they said something was incorrect. He mentioned that several books about Madness had been rejected, pointing out that you need 7 books as there are 7 strong characters.

Then there was a chance for questions from the audience. In answer to one question Suggs said he would possibly like to revisit Dangermen and do “The Dangermen Sessions Vol 3”. He said he would have liked a career in art if he hadn’t taken up music.

He ended by performing a section from his stage show singing Baggy Trousers and It Must Be Love, before signing books for the assembled audience.

Fiona Linnell

The Lee Thompson Ska Orchestra,
Brudenell Social Club, Leeds – Fri 25th October 2013

After the disappointment of the Cardiff gig cancellation, I was pleased to discover this one would be going ahead as planned.  I was however, concerned about the number of attendees, particularly since promotion has been poor of late. Thankfully, I had no need to worry.  This out of town, obscure little venue at first glance from the roadside looked grim, appearances can be deceptive though.  The interior was spacious and so was the stage, with great lighting and an even better sound as highlighted by the support band.

Despite the expensive bar, the place began to fill up quickly and was heaving with about half an hour to go.  For those who weren’t up for dancing, there were comfy sofas to sit on and a very roomy area for the merchandise stall (happily manned by Madness roadie, Jim).  After attempting to assist by carrying the heaviest bag I’ve ever lifted in my life, I spotted a few familiar faces and we awaited the start of the gig.

Tonight’s ever-changing line-up consisted of…..

A fairly recognisable and familiar brass section, (drinking bottled water, I kid you not!), Bob Dowell (trombone), Steve White (trumpet) and Steve Turner (baritone sax), Louis Vause on keyboards accompanied by the wonderful Seamus Beaghan on Hammond Organ, Bedders on bass and a couple of fairly new additions, on drums, Mez Clough (who Thommo referred to as ‘Brian’) and the fantastic Andy Neal on lead guitar who sounded a bit like Duane Eddy.  Not forgetting our two fabulous frontmen, Darren Fordham and El Thommo, who tried and failed to ‘blend in’ wearing THE loudest floral ensemble I’ve seen him in for ages.

No changes to the setlist, which you can see for yourself by checking here…..


‘Many Rivers to Cross’ had been ‘crossed’ off and as usual wasn’t played but everything else was there and sounded good.  Disregarding Thommo’s three favourite jokes and the one guy shouting for ‘One Step Beyond’ all night, it was one of the best gigs on the tour so far.  Lee, by his own admittance, didn’t play as well as he would have liked, but that in no way took anything from the overall performance and wonderful party atmosphere.  Lots of dancing, laughing, drinking and fun to be had.

The presence of Seamus on Hammond always gives everyone a boost and seems to contain the sound of the band as a whole, tonight was no exception.

You can check out a few videos here:-

Hot Reggae – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AmGhXC7wFI

Heatwave:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BZ5nwsV7kkw

Band Intros:- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5m2jpeJ1elQ

Now it’s onwards and upwards to the Jazz Cafe in Camden for Halloween followed by the Komedia in Bath the next day.  Hopefully they will both be as good and as popular as Leeds.  Watch this space….



This week, MIS co-editor Rob Hazelby, goes back 5 years to issue 496, and the week of Sunday 2nd November to Saturday 8th November 2008, and then back 10 years to issue 233 and the week of Sunday 2nd November to Saturday 8th November 2003.

5 years ago…

Issue 496 – Sunday 2nd November to Saturday 8th November 2008

Summer may have be a long way off, but it didn’t mean that things weren’t already being planned for those longer and hopefully warmer days.

As readers were able to see from the contents list, rumours were already abound that Madness would once again take to the stage at the annual Glastonbury festival. However, in news that most would probably class as even more exciting than a Glastonbury appearance, Madness Trading Ring co-maintainer, Steve Bringe, posted the following to the Madness Trading Ring list a few days prior to this issue going out;

“I had a recent conversation with Chris and the one thing he sad was in the works for next year is the next episode of the Madstock series.

So, if you want to plan towards something, there’s your huckleberry. :)”

We had absolutely no idea what he meant by Huckleberry, but we certainly knew that this news was very exciting indeed. As usual, we promised to keep you posted on further developments.

On to the articles, and we kicked things off with news on the eFestivals web site that had Madness down as “strongly rumoured” at appearing at the following year’s Glastonbury Festival. The web site had the previous year’s line-up almost spot-on, many months prior to it being officially announced.

Time to cross those fingers and toes!

On to bootlegs, and while most people were using Google’s Blogger system to report on day-to-day goings-on, one Madness fan was using it as a way to share details of Madness bootlegs to the masses.

Entitled The Madboot Archive, the owner refused to deal in making commercial material available, and actually, no audio was available for download. Instead, only the artwork and tracklistings had been uploaded. At the time of reporting, a whopping 37 bootlegs were listed.

We brought this issue to a close with the news that Birdseye had created a Flash enabled web browser game starring Suggs. Playing in a similar way to the 1983 arcade classic Tapper, this game was a pale imitation of the Bally Midway eighties classic.

10 years ago…

Issue 233 – Sunday 2nd November to Saturday 8th November 2003

As always, we’d spent the previous seven days scouring numerous sources for any Madness related news we could get our hands on, but it was one of those weeks where Madness related news didn’t exactly flood in, meaning we had to make do with a slightly slimmer than usual issue.

Still, in true MIS style, what we did manage to dig up, we packaged together in this latest issue.

In commemoration of the last Concorde flight Teletext ran `10 Little Known Facts` about the famous plane. Here was entry number 10:

“10. One last thing about Concorde. The world record for putting a golf ball is held by Suggs, the former Madness singer. In the time it took his putt to go from one end of the plane to the other, the plane had travelled five miles”.

“Former” Madness singer? Had the boys got themselves a new frontman and just not told us, or was this once again a case of bad journalism? Only you, the readers could decide!

On Wednesday 29th October Suggs appeared on Phil Jupitus’ breakfast show. Feeling a little delicate after a heavy night at Rod Stewart’s new musical the Madness frontman chinwagged about the 25 years of Madness, the Madness musical, the Christmas tour, and more.

Suggs explained that it was difficult to get the band together for a tour, let alone to practice. He also said that Madness seem to be very popular `with the great un-washed` around Christmas time. Looking back over previous Christmas tours Suggs mentioned that the band organised an series of under 18’s gigs. Instead of a support act the band brought in a magician who managed to withstand 3 gigs before refusing to come back.

The Madstock `Earthquake in North` London was discussed, and raised a few laughs. Suggs explained that this was due to there being an underground like underneath Finsbury Park.

Phil mentioned the Madness web site and the fact that the fans could vote what tunes the band should play. Phil said suggested `Victoria Gardens`, and Suggs explained that this would go in there, and would be called `Victoria Phil Jupitas Gardens`. Phil also suggested `Keep Moving`.

Elsewhere, and it seemed that a certain Carl Smyth was getting into the whole seasonal spirit (no pun intended) of things with no less than two Halloween related competitions running on the web site.

First up was the `Jack O’Lantern Hunt` where you had to find the seven pumpkins on the site. When you found a pumpkin, you had to make a note of the page it was on. Once you had found all the pumpkins you then had to send an e-mail with the locations on to info at chassmash.com.

The prize for the first name out of the cauldron was `Take it or Leave it` on DVD.

The other competition was the `Spooky Season Competition` where you had to answer 9 questions posed by site visitor Birchy. Three prizes were available, so those who entered had a good chance of winning.

Finally, we wound up this week’s issue with a last minute reminder that those who wanted to submit songs for the band to play during this year’s Christmas tour only had until the 5th of November to submit songs for the band to practice.

Rob Hazelby


Ladies and gentlemen, we are proud to present the second MIS fan film in full. (The 40 minute post cinema final edit.)


Last year, at the 2012 weekender, MIS presented “Happy Returns: House of Fun” on the Saturday. A fan film full of the joy of returning to Butlins for the second House of Fun weekender.

Also, a 30th year birthday party to the song House of Fun, Madness’ only UK Number 1 record. The film, a co-production with The Koast Train ska radio show from the North East Koast Radio.

The video also features the band “Indeed” from the French MIS side performing a whistling grand-pantalon-like reinvention of the song.

A magic postcard from Madness brings news to the MIS and Mr Scurf’ of the Koast Train that the House of Fun Weekender is returning. In their excitement they admit that they wish it was November already, and the wish comes true as they are broadcast into the future weekender and Minehead cinema to host a birthday party, to the number 1 song.  The video contains rare footage of Madness promoting the song on Data Run in 1982, where they perform magic tricks in Escapade. There’s also a 30 year song montage and fan commentary on the movie that first inspired the song to be written, and an important education film on condoms from MIS’ own Trevor McMadnut (appearing in his last film role before his sad demise at a party. RIP)

The Top of the Pops chart battle sketch appears here now in it’s audience laughter track dubbed from the cinema reaction, and if you attended the screening of this film last year at Butlins then you are the final part of the project. Your audience shouts, laughs and reactions appear in this final edit of the fan film, including the roller coaster ending you performed with us, as we transported the Minehead cinema onto the tracks of great Yarmouth’s scenic roller coasters.

Enjoy Happy Returns: House of Fun.


And if last year’s film entertains you, and you are going again to House of fun this year…..

Owen, (adam ant), Mr Scurf, (nutty dancer radio presenter), Jonathan F young (House of fun/camden mad man) and the band “Indeed” (two of whom you see playing in the film) will all be part of the MIS presents stage show this year. Bands and DJ’s and a Live Radio broadcast. Sunday from 4pm in Jaks bar. Joined by The Inflatables band, Louis Vause, Andy Keys Clark, Phillip Toogood, the Misco dancers, madda, a guru on rollerskates and more.   Say hello to the koast train robot. Koasty, as the 2013 postcard magic arrives!!!!

Jonathan Young


Various nutty related snippets from the Twittersphere and Facebook…


“There is nothing in this world funnier than a marachi band colliding with a locked door.


“Transformer. Timeless, effortless sounding genious #LouReedRIP”


“You’ve got to be kidding surely?”, they thought when a young & dumb boy-band fan on twitter posted, accusing The Blockheads band of stealing her logo from the fan page she ran about seminal boy band tosh The New Kids on the block.

The fan ran Twitter account @Blockeads and was trying to create a fan identity for their own brand of outpouring of love for a bunch of poser pectoral popstars. At some point the fan had acquired the logo from the internet which started to get used by fans of the boy band New Kids on the block, under the term “Blockheads unite”. Unfortunately, the fan was blissfully unaware of the 70’s number one band whose logo was originally designed by Barney bubbles, (in tribute perhaps to the Lost Book Club, design.)

Upset to see another twitter account using the logo they had somehow found, the New Kids fan site blockheads posted…

“So if you see @BlockheadsPage that’s NOT US and they stole my logo design and won’t respond to my tweets. I’m done venting LOL! -Becky”

Later, she posted…

“I just want them to acknowledge me and apologize. I am going to trademark our logo after hubby changes it a bit.”

Lee harris the blockheads manager replied…

“Are you saying that Barney Bubbles stole the logo from YOU back in 1977? Are you one of the New Kids grandmothers?”

And the comedic backlash ensued from there…   Photographs of blockhead logoed T-shirt, records and even taxi cabs came flooding in, in defence of Ian Dury’s one time backing band. This all prevented the New Kids site from proposed merchandising ideas they had had about their own fan endeavours…

With a brand new album out though, and the group still going strong I’m sure The Blockheads would agree, learn how to express yourself.

Here’s The Blockhead’s video for their new single.


Update: The whole sorry saga was brought to an end earlier today when The Blockheads posted the following message on their Facebook group;

“After all the excitement of the day, being accused by Blockheads Unite (Becky) of stealing HER logo that she designed for the New Kids On The Block fan Facebook and Twitter, they have issued a statement on their pages saying;

“It has recently been brought to our attention that our logo is extremely similar to a band from a long time ago. With that some of their people have been saying things not so nice about us and the boys.”

The logo that Becky claimed to have designed wasn’t just “extremely similar” it WAS the logo that Barney Bubbles designed for us back in 1977. As Barney is sadly no longer with us, some of our fans, and his, felt that someone should speak up for him.

We felt the best way to handle the tweets from Becky “I just want them to acknowledge me and apologize.” was to take a light hearted view of her confusion. Even though fans were calling for us to sue after reading Becky’s outraged tweets “Still, a thief is a thief. We are getting tweets for them about apps and shirts they are having made w/ my logo” Fans are now demanding that Becky apologise for her accusations. We feel that we DO NOT need an apology but one is owed by Becky to the memory and genius of BARNEY BUBBLES, the true creator of OUR iconic logo. Oi Oi! The Blockheads”

Finally, things were brought to a close with the final post on The Blockheads Facebook page;

“We have been asked to post this apology from Becky of the Blockheads Unite page in the hope that you will better understand yesterday events.

Over to you Becky…

“Here is my apology.

Dear: The Blockheads

My name is Becky and it has been brought to my attention that your group and your fans are calling for a public apology for my tweets and statements made regarding The Blockheads logo.

In April of this year, being a huge fan of the group New Kids On The Block, I decided to start a facebook fan page to try to give a little back to the group that had given me so much throughout the years.

New Kids On The Block fans have always called themselves BlockHeads, and a common phrase amongst us was the phrase “Blockheads Unite”. I thought that would be the perfect name for our page.

I’ve always been a fan of black and white imagery and photography. I sat down at my laptop, opened my ‘paint’ application, and tried to comeup with a logo that looked like a BlockHead.

My husband asked me earlier if it was possible that I had seen the image somewhere before and subconsciously duplicated it. I guess it is possible, although I had never heard of Ian Drury and The Blockheads, or the late Barney Bubbles.

When our Twitter page started getting your fans, and we started getting tweets about a Clock Ap and T-Shirt order, I saw your page and the logo and got upset. That was when I tweeted your page.

I meant no disrespect to your group or Barney Bubbles, and apologize if I offended anyone, and if any of our facebook fans or followers were rude to you.

We have since took the logo down and changed it to a picture of the guys. I originally was going to apply for a copyright of the logo but got sidetracked. Had I done just that, this whole thing would have been avoided when the copyright would have been denied.

I really am truly sorry for all of this. My page, my Admins, NKOTB members, and NKOTB fans have been attacked on Twitter and Facebook for something that they had nothing to do with.
I ask that any further comments, attacks, or insults by your fans to and about them please be stopped.


If any of The Blockheads fans would like to speak to me directly regarding this, please send a message to this facebook page.

Sincerely, Becky”

Jonathan Young / Twitter / Facebook


That’s pretty much wraps things up for this week, but before we go we’ve got one or two last minute bits and pieces to pass your way.

First-up, and MIS subscriber Prende tells us that Madness are due to appear on Soccer AM this coming Saturday (9th November). They were advertised at the end of yesterday’s show.

Next, it’s reminder from Dicka for those of you going along to this year’s Madness Butlins Minhead Weekender, which takes place at the end of this month. The theme for the Saturday night fancy dress is “Song Titles”. If you’ve not yet got your costume then you’d better get your skates on.

And finally, we end this issue with news (courtesy of Paul Rodgers) that La Luna is number three in the charts. Well, the NECR Airplay chart. According to the web site the chart is compiled from the music played on 316 stations or 99.7% of UK Radio audience.

If you want to view the full chart then simply point your web browser over to: http://bit.ly/17AQBWR

And with that we’re just about done.

Until next week, take care,

Simon Roberts, Jon Young, Liz Hazelby, Rob Hazelby

(with thanks to Fiona Linnell, Paul Rodgers, Vince Carden,
Loobyloo, Dicka, Sharon Staite, Darren West and Prende)

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