Friday, May 17, 2019

Madness at London's V&A

Peter Thomas -
L o n d o n ,   U K - 

Madness Collection. Image: V&A.
V&A goes ‘one step beyond’ celebrating 40 years of Madness with acquisition of the band’s instruments and costumes.

The V&A has acquired a selection of objects charting the 40-year history of the band Madness. This includes a newspaper print suit worn in the music video for the 1986 single ‘(Waiting for) The Ghost Train’ and on the cover for the band’s greatest hits album Utter Madness, as well as a saxophone played by Lee Thompson at the London Olympics closing ceremony in 2012.

A British band from humble beginnings in London’s Camden Town, the self-proclaimed ‘Nutty Boys’ have achieved global success with 15 top-ten singles, 12 studio albums, a film and a musical. The Guardian called them a ‘British pop institution’, Madness’s diverse influences include ska, two-tone, East-end Music Hall songs and variety shows, resulting in a unique look and sound that gave birth to era-defining hits like ‘Driving in My Car’ and ‘Our House’.

Newly acquired objects include Lee Thompson’s London Olympic Ceremony Union flag kilt costume, published sheet music including for hits including ‘Baggy Trousers’, the compete run of the Madness comic – Nutty Boys, a typescript for Our House – the Madness Musical and a collection of posters, badges and tour t-shirts. Highlights from the collection are now on display in the V&A’s Theatre and Performance galleries, celebrating 40 years of the band.

Singer Graham (Suggs) McPherson. Image: V&A.
Simon Sladen, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Performance, said: “It’s wonderful to welcome the Nutty Boys to the Victoria and Albert Museum’s Theatre and Performance Collections. Madness’s influences are as varied as our collections themselves, from Music Hall to Variety, Ska to Two-Tone, with their impressive career encompassing not only a film and chart topping singles and albums, but also inspiring a stage musical. They play with and are a part of British iconography and continue to entertain us forty years after first getting together in Camden.”

The V&A is home to the UK’s national collection of theatre and performing arts related materials, from theatre and ballet to opera, musicals and rock and pop. Founded in the 1920s, the collection includes set models, designs, stage props, costumes, original posters, paintings and photographs, representing live performance in Britain over the last 350 years. The selection of Madness objects joins Theatre and Performance acquisitions including the Glastonbury Festival Archive, Pete Townshend’s guitar and costumes worn by Tina Turner.

Madness: Our House

Madness: Waiting for the Ghost Train


The Security Council should reject categorically Russia’s illegal assault on Ukraine’s civilian infrastructure
Statement by Ambassador Barbara Woodward at the UN Security Council meeting on Ukraine.
Monday, June 10, 2024

NASA’s SOFIA Discovers Water on Sunlit Surface of Moon
NASA’s Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) has confirmed, for the first time, water on the sunlit surface of the Moon. This discovery indicates that water may be distributed across the lunar surface.
Tuesday, November 3, 2020

Vice President’s Discussion with Higher Education Leaders
Vice President Mike Pence led a discussion with higher education leaders from across the country to discuss the all-of-America approach to respond to COVID-19 and drive America’s phased economic revival.
Thursday, May 14, 2020

Students Across Europe Learn Swift to Unlock New Opportunities
This month, in classrooms across Europe celebrating EU Code Week, students of all ages are living proof that coding opens doors to opportunities never before possible.
Friday, October 4, 2019

NASA Takes Delivery of First All-Electric Experimental Aircraft
The first all-electric configuration of NASA’s X-57 Maxwell now is at the agency’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, California.
Friday, October 4, 2019

Prime Minister Boris Johnson Launches Police Recruitment Drive
The recruitment of 20,000 new police officers will begin within weeks, confirming the commitment made by the Prime Minister as he entered Downing Street.
Friday, July 26, 2019