Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson is a most unlikely character. Early career choices had him spend a year in Borstal.Luckily, he met two other unlikely characters: Mike ‘Barso’ Barson and ‘Chrissy Boy’ Foreman who shared his interests of graffiti, train hopping and music.
One Man’s Madness, a feature length rocku-docu-mockumentary directed by Jeff Baynes, and screening at Nottingham Showcase Cinema on Wednesday, May 23rd, tells the story of Madness saxophonist Lee Thompson, told by Lee and his fellow Madness band mates, his family, friends and musicologists, who strangely all look a little like him! From meeting Barso and Chrissy Boy, and later Suggs, Chas, Woody and Bedders, to becoming one of Britain’s most iconic and successful bands, the film follows the path of Lee’s life through his lyrics and songs including such Madness classics as House of Fun, Lovestruck and NW5.
Directed by Jeff Baynes, he was first introduced to Lee on the video shoot for Baggy Trousers and later House of Fun, while working as a young cameraman for Stiff Records. Forming a solid friendship over the years, Baynes would later work with Lee and Chrissy Boy on videos for their side project Crunch! “I was always fascinated by Lee’s versatility as an actor and the characters he created in the videos. It has taken three years to make the film, partially down to availability and also fine tuning to tell the tale of the start and development of Madness from their schoolboy friendships to becoming “national treasures”.
“A must see, a delightful romp through the story of Madness” Phill Jupitus
In a career spanning 40 years, Lee ‘Kix’ Thompson has become a key songwriter in Madness and a firm favourite with fans around the world. The band’s ability to push boundaries with their thrilling and comical videos has become stuff of legend, with Lee taking a firm interest in their exploits on film, including suggesting hanging on a harness from a crane whilst flying through the air in the Baggy Trousers video. This was later re-enacted when Lee took to the air while playing a red, white, and blue-coloured saxophone in the closing ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics.
Gaining notoriety as a graffiti artist withfuture Madness keyboardist Mike Barson in the mid-1970s, Lee formed Madness with Mike Barson and Chris Foreman in 1976, writing the band’s debut single, The Prince, before going on to write and co-write numerous hits for the band including Embarrassment, House of Fun, and Uncle Sam. His experience as a petty criminal and serving time in a youth detention centre inspired his lyrics for Land of Hope and Glory and One's Second’s Thoughtlessness.
“The whole experience in the making of this Mocu has been a sheer joy. Miming along to all the characters was slightly tongue twisting, however with the director’s patience and perseverance we got there eventually. Casually construed, carefully nurtured, how it should be. Jeff makes a fantastic Cappuccino and his wife was most patient with my array of props, wigs and slap. Thank you to all involved, you’ve made a happy man very old!”, says Lee.