FOR the second time in my life, Chelsea have got to the Champions League final and I was once again on holiday with my wife.
This time we were in Spain. Actually, it was brilliant because I was sitting a bar full of crazed Spaniards who all wanted Chelsea to win. Probably because we’d knocked out Barcelona in the semi-final. It’s that mentality where if we go on and win it, that means they would have won it if they’d beaten us.
When it went to penalties everyone was going berserk. To beat the Germans (Bayern Munich) on penalties in Germany was possibly the greatest thing that ever happened in my life.
My mates were all texting like mad. A lot of them were at the game in Munich. I would have been there if the wife hadn’t booked this holiday. But in another sense I was better off. I’ve been to cup finals with my mates before and the last thing I’ve seen is the football; because it all starts at ten in the morning with a couple of drinks. There have cup finals where I’ve got home and I genuinely couldn’t remember the result.
My wife was across the road ranting and raving because she was with friends who were all waiting to have their dinner. There were daggers flying through the windows at me.
But I wasn’t about to leave the game during the penalty shoot-out. By the time it finished all the food had gone cold but I didn’t care. I was behaving like an idiot, running around the car park.
Actually the last time we were playing United in the Cup Final and I was in Rome. And because there were no Italian teams in the final I couldn’t find a bar that would show it. I had to bribe this guy in a Chinese restaurant 20 Euros to put it on his small black and white TV. And that’s how I watched it, with an American family that had absolutely no idea what was going on.
We’ve just announced a new tour for the end of the year and called it The Charge of the Mad Brigade, because we’re still charging about. People of our age should probably be tucked up in bed with cocoa. For whatever, peculiar genetic reason, we still have this youthful vigour that makes us want to charge about the country.
We start with The House of Fun Weekender at Butlins in Minehead. We did it last year and it reminded me of the soul weekenders that we used to go to at Camber Sands. We had the Madness Olympics, which involved crazy golf, darts, pool and a swim in the sea at 10 o’clock in the morning in November.
It was a fun way of starting the tour, so we’re doing that again. We’ll be in Nottingham in December and there will be some festivities, of course. We’re probably the only British band of any consequence that hasn’t recorded a Christmas single. We’ve always talked about it. But by the time Christmas is coming round we realise we haven’t written or recorded it. Then by the time the summer comes back round again, when we should be doing it, it’s the last thing we want to think about. I’m sure that one day we will.
But yes, Nottingham has always been good to us ever since we first played Rock City over 30 years ago. We prefer those smaller gigs to be honest. Places like Rock City have the best vibe. But we’ve got lots of big stuff going on. We’ve the new album coming out, we’ve got the Butlins thing, we’re doing the Queen’s Jubilee. We’re playing at Buckingham Palace with Sir Elton and Sir Paul... we’re hoping for a group Knighthood. Sir Madness will be fine.
So we’re going to the arenas this time. It’ll be equally fantastic but in a different kind of way.
The new album will be out in October and we will be playing some of that on the tour but we’re not about to launch our jazz fusion album on an unsuspecting Nottingham audience. You’ll get all the songs you want to hear. You pay your money and you get a great night out seeing Madness is what it boils down to.
We have fun and we appreciate that people pay to see us having fun... and have fun themselves.
Madness play the Capital FM Arena on Thursday December 6. Tickets are £35/£45 from the venue, call 08444 124 624 or go to www.gigsandtours.com.