madness

I've recently embarked on a self-drive mission to shine a spotlight on unique world cuisines that don't seem to get the recognition they deserve. So please, ditch that doner and kick out that korma. It's time to unravel the wonderfully playful palate of South Africa.
It takes a particular kind of creative, self-obsessive, imaginative, observant and courageous person to bare their very soul on stage. It is not always funny either, the image of the sad clown and smiley face, sad face masks of comedy and tragedy are emblematic of the tortured genius that inhabits some of the world's greatest comedians.
Think of Sly and the Family Stone, Dexys Midnight Runners and The Specials. Then think again, because the clue's in the name. Their sound is a fine blend of all that has come to pass, from the blues and early R'n'B, all the way up through to soul and ska and the new wave, so theirs is a solid musical grounding.
According to my serious record collector boyfriend, if you polled a thousand other vinyl geeks, 98% of them would laugh at me and the other 2% would pity my worldview. And before anyone asks, his record collection is alphabetical. Bish bash bosh. No messing about.
Artist Sir Peter Blake is to appear on a record sleeve, after years of creating striking images for artists such as The Beatles
Since starting to work on the AIM Independent Music Awards a couple of years ago, it hasn't escaped my attention that every time a list of music award nominees is published, a large-scale debate and healthy amount of criticism and cynicism inevitably follows. I suspect this is because of the subjective nature of music; the concept of judging it is arguably flawed.
Nothing really prepares you for the moment you enter the Olympic Stadium for the first time. Being 15 feet away from an ecstatic audience jumping off the door ledge of my van and throwing my moves to Madness, Blur, Pet Shop Boys and One Direction circling on trucks behind me was immense - and yes, I did get carried away in the moment, who wouldn't!?
The last time I watched Madness perform they were on top of Buckingham Palace, performing for the Queen. Saturday afternoon
Madness frontman Suggs has revealed he was blanked by Prince William and Will.i.am during the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Concert
This weekend I'll be returning to the Isle of Wight to watch bands, drink some pints of Carling and regularly pray that it doesn't rain.