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Return of the Gentleman Geezers


Between 1979 and 1983, Madness had a solid-gold run of hits with some of the most timeless, joyous English pop songs ever written. Seven North London lads captured the hearts of the public with a cheeky amalgamation of ska, down-to-earth observational songwriting and a pinch of Pythonesque music-hall surrealism. It's this huge affection that has allowed them to come back more than once, and a week today they begin a tour of Britain's largest stadiums.

There's even an online campaign to give them a Brit Award. Not that they seem too worried about such matters. They've always shied away from celebrity.

"Don't start me off,'' says Madness guitarist Chris Foreman. "I can't stand The X-Factor, all that. The thing about Simon Cowell, look at anything he's created - it never has any artistic merit. The mind boggles - Louis Walsh, 29 No 1s and you can't remember one of them.'' The group's frontman, and now star Virgin radio presenter, Graham "Suggs'' McPherson, cackles quietly and adds: "We were pretty down to earth even when we very successful. We wrote songs about ordinary things - they were interesting things to me. The glamour's a bit of fun every now and then, but to live in that world would be pretty dreary.''

The best Madness songs have, indeed, always dug diamonds from the apparently mundane - from the schoolyard antics of Baggy Trousers to their only UK chart-topper, 1982's House of Fun, about the embarrassment of buying condoms for the first time. Even their biggest international hit, Our House, was a straightforward celebration of merry, chaotic family life.

Since 1999 and the patchy but enjoyable album Wonderful, Madness have been an active recording unit again. They might not have hit the peaks of their initial run of singles, but their gentleman-geezer personae and knack for a nifty tune remains intact, as demonstrated on their forthcoming single, NW5.

"We have the same intensity we always did,'' says Suggs, "but spread out now, because we don't get together in the same way. Back then, we were together for months on end, making four singles a year.''

Madness first tasted success during the late-Seventies ska boom via their first single, The Prince, on the Specials' Two Tone Records. After Two Tone, they found an ideal creative partner in Dave Robinson, MD of Stiff Records, with which they signed a contract. "With seven strong personalities, it can take months to make a decision on the smallest detail,'' says Suggs. "But with Dave, Night Boat to Cairo would land on your doormat and you'd find out it was your next single.''

Happily, their new single falls into the category Suggs describes as "not too simple, not too complicated''. Madness are currently on one of their periodic rolls, revitalised by new manager Gary Blackburn, who oversaw Fatboy Slim's rise to fame. They played ostensibly secret sets at Glastonbury and the Bestival to rapturous receptions.

"We're bigger live now than we were in the Eighties,'' says Foreman. And once the arena tour is over, they intend to complete their first album of original material in more than a decade.

"The Record Mirror once slagged off House of Fun, saying it sounded like a corpse bouncing on trampoline,'' shrugs Foreman. They won that round by a distance, their exchanged glances seem to say, and they're more than ready for the next.

Tour opens in Aberdeen on Dec 6, and continues to Belfast, Liverpool, Cardiff, Plymouth, Birmingham and London. Tickets: or 0871 22 00 260

Copyright 2007 The Telegraph Group Limited, London 29 Nov 07

Keep your eye out for the new Vespa Europe helmet.

Europe Vespa

5 Nov 07

Click flyer below for English translation (opens new window)

Two-thirds of the original line-up of The Jam, have confirmed BBC Radio London's Gary Crowley as special guest DJ at their Birmingham, London and Brighton concerts on their forthcoming autumn UK tour. Crowley was the first British radio DJ to champion The Jam when they signed to Polydor Records in 1977.

Due to public demand, Foxton and Buckler will embark on a 24-date nationwide autumn UK tour, that starts at the Ipswich Regent's Theatre on Wednesday November 21st.

The band's London Forum show on December 19th is sold out, and as a result, a second London Forum show (December 20th) has been added.

Tickets have also just gone on sale for the band's newly announced concert at the Oxford Carling Academy on Thursday November 22nd

Earlier this year, Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler reformed the band under the moniker of "From The Jam", and initiated a 20-date sold-out UK May tour to rave reviews.

Foxton and Buckler will perform in some of the major cities for the first time since time in 25 years since the original line-up with Paul Weller disbanded in 1982. The 25th anniversary cities include Manchester, London, Birmingham, Glasgow, Newcastle, Leeds, Leicester and Brighton. The new four-piece line-up includes Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals), Rick Buckler (drums), Dave Moore (keyboards, guitar), and Russell Hastings who replaces Weller on lead vocals and guitar.

"When we performed the Jam classics on the May 2007 tour, we couldn't believe how well the songs still hold together," says Bruce Foxton, the original bassist for the Jam. FTJ will perform all of the Jam's classics on the autumn tour including Down At The Tube Station At Midnight, Town Called Malice, Eton Rifles, Smithers Jones, Going Underground, That's Entertainment and News of the World.

Tickets for the autumn tour can be ordered from the Ticket Hotline: 0870 264 3333, or book online from

12 Nov 07

As we all appreciate everything Italian, here's one genuine gem we found in Liverpool: The Italian Club - a little piece of Italy has come to Liverpool's Bold Street.

The Italian Club

The Crolla family, who originate from the village of Picinisco, 90 miles south of Rome, are behind The Italian Club. A cross between a restaurant, café and deli, customers can eat in, take away or buy the ingredients for themselves. The family all work out front and in the kitchen, ensuring the genuine Italian eating experience. In addition to serving a selection of antipasta, penini, hot dishes including oven baked pastas, and coffees, The Italian Club's ceiling-high shelves are stacked with Italian produce, from pasta, biscuits and tomatoes to coffee, wine and a large range of oils and balsamic vinegars.

You can't miss it, there's a little red Vespa model in the window.

14 Oct 07


Essex Mod stalwarts Grasp have decided to finally call it a day and "pursue other projects".  They will be playing their final gig on Thursday 22nd November at Dukes Bar, 18-22 Houndsditch, London, EC3A 7DB.  They'll be on stage at about 8.45pm and would like to see as many of the people that have supported them over the years to say thanks.  Tickets £5.

3 Nov 07

On 29th October Oasis release a brand new DVD film.

What happens when a film maker follows one of the world’s biggest bands on a year long world tour? What happens when the film maker is granted unique access to that band, is present for the ups and downs, the moments of greatness and the periods of the same interview in 10 different languages in as many days? What happens when that band is Oasis, travelling across 26 countries on their biggest world tour to date playing to a total of over 2 million people?

The answer is ‘Lord Don’t Slow Me Down’, a double DVD set that not only gives you the definitive feature length documentary seen in selected cinemas last year, but also the option of voice over commentaries from the band, a Noel Gallagher Q & A session with fans from New York City, out takes from the film, and a second 90 minute bonus disc capturing the band’s homecoming show at the City of Manchester Stadium together with footage sent in by fans from around the world who attended that show. If you wanted to know what the members of Oasis make of their lives on tour and their audience, then the answers are on these two discs.

Piece courtesy of:

29 Oct 07

Until now, trying to get a small and affordable GPS tracking device to track smaller vehicles such as smaller motor vehicles including motorbikes, quad-bikes and jet-skis has been almost impossible. Those devices that were small enough to be fitted to such vehicles could only be fitted in one general area, making it easy for any thief to locate and disable.

The CATSeye SVT is small enough to hidden almost anywhere on these vehicles and once it has been hard-wired, it is a very cost effective way of tracking them.

The CATSeye SVT (small vehicle tracker) uses GPS and GPRS/GSM and incorporates a sensitive movement sensor. It is the size of a box of matches and can even be laid out flat so as to aid its deployment in cramped spaces.

"Surprisingly, the overall statistics of motor vehicle theft (cars) are generally on the decrease, yet this is still the industry that most vehicle tracking systems are designed for. However, the theft of motorbikes and other small yet similar vehicles such as quad-bikes is actually on the increase and yet there are very few devices being made to suit this market." said Lee Walkey, CATSeye's MD.

"Perhaps the most important advantage of this device over other, more complex systems is the cost. At only £199.00 ex vat for the unit and no monthly fees other than a SIM card (even this can be as low as £1.50 per month), it’s easy to see its attraction."

The CATSeye SVT is available now.


WAYNE LAWRENCE, of Tamesiders SC (and Cloud 9) tragically died on Sat 6th October 2007. Anyone who knew Wayne and would like details of his funeral, please contact Paul (Donkey) on 07730 741 585 or 0151-647 2255.

A rare exhibition of photographs taken of one of Britain's best-loved rock bands, The Jam, will be on display from Saturday October 6th to 20th at the Movie Poster Art Gallery, 1 Colville Place, London, W1T 2BG (Tel. 020 7637 7441).

A special "Private View" will be held on Wednesday October 3rd from 6-9pm at the Movie Poster Art Gallery. To RSVP to the Private View, please contact Tracy Gosling at Noble PR -, tel. 0207 272 7772.

The never-before-seen photos were taken by the band's official photographer, Neil "Twink" Tinning, from 1981-1982. Twenty-six photographs have been selected from the recently published photographic book, "The Jam Unseen", and will be available as limited edition prints, individually numbered and signed. The photos depict the individual members of the original line-up of The Jam - Paul Weller, Rick Buckler and Bruce Foxton.
A rare, never-before-seen collection of limited edition photographic prints of Britain's best loved band, The Jam.

Saturday 6th October until Saturday 20th October

The Movie Poster Gallery, 1 Colville Place, London, W1T 2BG

Private View - Wednesday 3rd October at 6-9pm

Twenty selected photographs from the forthcoming photographic book "The Jam Unseen" will be on sale for the first time as a series of limited edition prints for a limited time only at London's The Movie Poster Gallery from Saturday 6th October to Saturday 20th October 2007. The exhibition will display rare never-before-seen photographs of the original Jam line-up - Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals), Paul Weller (vocals, guitar) and Rick Buckler (drums).

The exhibition coincides with the 30th Anniversary of The Jam and when they originally signed to Polydor Records in 1977, and also follows the release of the photographic book 'The Jam Unseen' published by Cyan Books on 6th August 2007.

The exhibition occurs one month before two-thirds of the original line-up of The Jam, Bruce Foxton (bass, vocals) and Rick Buckler (drums) embark on a nationwide UK tour under the moniker of "From The Jam: Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler".

The 20-date UK Autumn tour kicks off at the Plymouth Pavilions on 24th November, and takes in cities including Cardiff, Grimsby, Liverpool, Glenrothes, Preston, Leicester, Leeds, Nottingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Bristol, Southampton, Norwich, Newcastle, Glasgow, Cambridge, Birmingham, and London.

Aug 2007

A little bit of inside info, hot off the press from Italy on the production of the PX...this will stop in September 2007 with only 5,000 units being made to cover this year and up to December 2008 - after that, no more. So get yours now! (thanks Mr C). Aug 2007
Paul Weller has written a song for the new Ocean Colour Scene album ‘On the Leyline’. The track is called ‘For Dancers Only’ and it's a real stomper.

Ocean Colour Scene release their brand new studio album ‘On The Leyline’ (physical and digital) on April 30th. Preceding this will be the single ‘I Told You So’ released (also physical and digital) on April 16th.


Click to hear clips from the eagerly awaited new album, and watch the 'I Told You So' video.

From the clips on the micro-site, you can tell the lads have really gone back to their roots with a rich, sixties sound. I was lucky enough to see them perform some of the new songs at the Manchester Apollo gig just before Christmas; Dan Sealey's 'Man In The Middle' being one of the highlights of the entire show. As ever, OCS remains one of the best live acts in the world, effortlessly reproducing their huge recorded sound.

The lads hit the road in April on a full UK tour:


11th - St Albans Arena
12th - Oxford Brookes University
14th - Gloucester Leisure Centre
15th - Peterborough Cresset
16th - Margate Winter Gardens
18th - Halifax Victoria Hall
19th - Stoke Victoria Hall
20th - Middlesbrough Town Hall
22nd - Glenrothes Rothes Hall
23rd - Stirling Albert Hall
24th - Aberdeen Music Hall
26th - Blackburn King Georges Hall
27th - Hull City Hall
28th - Lincoln Engine Shed

Apr 2007

From The Jam featuring Bruce Foxton and Rick Buckler two thirds of the original line-up of The Jam, today announced a major 21-date UK tour in November and December. The new tour follows the sold out 20 UK dates in May (which sold out in two weeks).

Tickets will go on sale at 9am on Friday March 30th via Box Office: 0870 264 3333,

Click on the following link to read the online press release -

The new tour starts Saturday November 24th at Plymouth Pavilions, and includes London, Glasgow and Birmingham and ends at Brighton Centre on Friday December 21st. The Brighton gig marks the band's 25th anniversary and coincides with when the original line-up performed their last ever concert together at the very same venue (Brighton Centre, December 11th 1982).

Overall, public and media reaction to Foxton and Buckler's pending May UK tour has been nothing short of phenomenal. "The fans have proven to us that they still feel passionate about the music of the Jam," says original Jam bassist Bruce Foxton. "We're still genuinely overwhelmed by the support and interest in the band.

From The Jam: Nov / Dec 2007 UK Tour

Saturday November 24 - Plymouth Pavilions
Sunday November 25 - Cardiff St Davids Hall
Monday November 26 - Grimsby Auditorium
Tuesday November 27 - Liverpool Carling Academy
Thursday November 29 -   Glenrothes Rothes Halls
Friday November 30 -   Preston 53 Degrees
Saturday December 1 -   Leicester De Montfort Hall
Monday December 3  -  Leeds Met Students Union
Tuesday December 4 -   Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday December  -  Manchester Academy
Saturday December 8 -   Sheffield Octagon
Sunday December 9 -   Bristol Carling Academy
Tuesday December 11 -   Southampton Guildhall
Wednesday December 12 -  Norwich UEA
Friday December 14 -  Newcastle Carling Academy
Saturday December 15 -   Glasgow Carling Academy
Sunday December 16 -  Cambridge Corn Exchange
Tuesday December 18 -   Birmingham Carling Academy
Wednesday December 19 -  London Kentish Town Forum
Friday December 21 -   Brighton Centre

Apr 2007

There is a new Radio 2 evening schedule beginning on Monday 16th April which means the new series of All Singing, All Dancing, All Night is now going out on Tuesday 12th June at 23.30.


Mar 2007

A new single to look out for ...

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