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Madness x Honda

I met an old mate last night, who has a small but eclectic collection of bikes that includes a road-legal Honda CR250, a mint, first year Monster M900 and a Honda Motocompo. We spent a long time talking about his Japanese 'trunk bike' and it reminded me of when English pop band Madness used to be featured on Honda's domestic advertising campaigns. The Motocompo is a fold-down 50cc moped, designed to fit in the boot (or trunk) or even the most compact car. It's a really ingenious design that was manufactured, I read, from 1981 to 1983, right in the middle of the Japanese miniaturisation and portability design phase (think Sony Walkman, launched in 1979).

At the time, probably '82- '84-ish, my eldest brother was making money putting on video discos in the north-east of England. This was also the era that music videos really took off (MTV launched in the US in 1981) and university student unions would promote events that would be like a regular disco or alternative night, but my brother would play the tunes and have the accompanying video projected on a screen. Because of his connections, he managed to get hold of the original Japanese clips and put them on a VHS tape for me to watch at home. Anyway, this all came back to me last night, while talking about Motocompos, and I had to search out the Madness adverts on YouTube this morning. There are a few other non-Honda adverts that Madness and Suggs featured in on this edit, but it's mostly Honda.

It didn't take me long to become, in my own inflated opinion, too sophisticated for Madness, but looking at these I can see why the 11-12-year-old me really liked the band.

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