North London. The 1970s. Amid a grim landscape of bomb sites, squats, public baths and rough pubs, a loose gang of misfits and outsiders started making music together – riding freight trains, spraying graffiti, stealing records, clothes and musical instruments. Escaping the fringes of criminality, they formed a band. These lairy but charismatic chaps became Madness, one of the most successful pop groups ever, in the UK and beyond. In ‘Before We Was We’, their first official book, they tell us the story of how they became them. It’s a journey full of luck, skill and charm, as they duck and dive by day and make the name in London’s exploding music scene by night, zipping around the capital in their Morris Minor vans.