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News Archive 2005

Home > News Archive - 2005

22nd December 2005

Guestbook Changes: I have updated the software that runs the guestbook, which caused me a few problems initially. You may have noticed that the guestbook was unavailable for a few days as a result. The notes said that all the previous settings would be retained. This was not quite true and the version I had been using was a lot older than the new version was expecting (if it ain't broke ...).

Leaving messages within guestbooks is a good way for web designers to cheat when trying to improve their web site's ranking within search engines like Google, MSN, Yahoo, etc. As a result this I have introduced some changes to the guestbook, which I hope will note spoil genuine visitors enjoyment. Changes made include users entering a code given when leaving a message - this is to prevent message programs automatically leaving messages. I have also blocked the ability for web addresses (or URL's) to be put into the message - another ploy by those wanting to increase their search ranking.

On a positive note, the guestbook now has access to smileys. Smiley There are a whole range of images to choose from. Who will be the first to leave a message using them?

I will review how these changes are working at the beginning of April 2006. In the meantime, if they cause YOU a problem please let me know by sending me an e-mail using the button on the navigation section on the left.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year: It is that time of year again when the British drink more than normal and say thinks like "you're my best mate" in a drunken slur. They also say "never again" only to starting drinking again within two weeks, join health clubs (attending just the once), etc. If you are also celebrating leave the car keys at home.

To everyone, take care. See you all again soon.

29th November 2005

New Article: I have written an article, called "Spence Music and Beyond", on how this web site got created. I actually wrote it a few months back but have held off "publishing" it. I hope you enjoy it and find it interesting. It may even inspire you to create your own site! Go to "Spence Music and Beyond"

30th October 2005

Tribute to a Friend: In an item unrelated to Spence Music, I learned this morning that my good friend and neighbour, Francesca Gray, died from heart failure yesterday afternoon. This was the result of a complication of the bone cancer she was diagnosed with three years ago. During the brief time Sue and I knew Fran she was supportive, a good listener and always gave timely advice when needed. At the age of 49 she was not old but leaves behind her mother (Mary), sister (Susie), daughter (Ciara), grand-son (Alex) and her three cats (Willow, Holly and Ellie). My deepest sympathies go to her family, her many friends and to those bloody cats! We will miss you, Granny Franny.

18th October 2005 Updated

Spam Scam and Virus Attachments: Within a few hours of my last update I started receiving bogus emails sent to my SpenceMusic and my personal domains with a zip file attached. If you have subscribed to the SpenceMusic newsletter you may also have received a few of them. As a result of this I took action to prevent anymore bogus emails being sent to the newsletter group and also issued a warning to the newsletter group advising recipients that:

  • these bogus emails do not come from me - as I always use my name
  • do NOT to open the zip file attached

As a subscriber to the newsletter group these bogus emails should now have stopped. However, my mailbox is still being attacked as I am still receiving emails, some of these contain a virus, every 5 minutes. As of writing this I have received in excess of 120 bogus Spam emails with a 24 hour period. Fortunately my anti-viral software is handling this.

For more information about this click on the following link. Spam Scam

18th October 2005

RockZone: I received an e-mail from DJAOR, a Brian Spence fan from Portugal (Brian has loads of fans there) telling me about a compilation record with a Brian Spence tracks on that I was unaware about - "2001 - A Catedral do Rock". This has now been added to the compilation page. Go to the Compilation page.

However, what is more exciting is that DJAOR works for RockZone, a Portuguese Radio Station, that plays AOR (adult-orientated rock) music such as Brian Spence. He had asked Brian if he would provide a station id for them and Brian was happy to help. DJAOR being a great guy has given us a copy of the two station ids that Brian did. These can be found on the Downloads page. Go to RockZone Station IDs

25th September 2005

Another Survey: Following hard on the heals of the last survey (see 15th September) I am starting a new survey of Brian Spence fans, and with it a new survey page. The new survey asks "What is your favourite Brian Spence single?" We all have our favourites, mine often change with my moods and other factors. Go to Vote.

I have also created a survey page, where all the surveys will be found. The link in the navigation bar now points to this page. If you want to go straight there to register a vote just click here. Go to Survey Page.

15th September 2005

Dev and BrianBilbo Baggins Reunited: During a recent visit back to his old home city of Edinburgh, in Scotland, Brian met up with some old friends of his. It has been a long, long time since he has seen his old band mates Dev, Fid and Colin from Bilbo Baggins.

On the right with Brian is Jimmy Devlin (bass player and once time head honcho for Polydor Records and now boss at River Records). In the other picture (below), Brian can be seen with Colin Chisholm (left) and Gordon (Fid) Liddle (middle). Fid became a sheriff (a judge in Scottish ) after the members of Bilbo went their separate ways. Colin, Fid and BrianColin uses his media experience for Men In Childcare, helping to bring men into the childcare environment and to promote men as positive role models for children.

In both pictures everyone looks happy and comfortable. Hopefully these meetings will lead to reunion and a gig by Bilbo Baggins. I for one would look forward to that and I would be willing to travel the length of Britain to see any gigs (good, bad or indifferent) that they did. Where was Gordon McIntosh in these pictures? Like Brian, Tosh now lives in London. I understand that Brian and him are still in contact, so a potential reunion of the former group is not totally out of the question.

New Survey: The above news brings up an interesting question for Brian Spence fans. Bilbo Baggins (which included Brian Spence) have not played together for over 25 years. Assuming money was not a problem, time off from work was agreed, baby-sitters were sorted, etc. Would you go to a reunion gig of Bilbo Baggins? Vote NOW!

1st September 2005

Shop at Spence Music: Following an e-mail from Paul of Bedfordshire, England, asking where he could get a copy of The Wish's album "Postcards" I discovered that Brian has a limited supply of them. After sending me a relatively small amount of money Paul is now the proud owner of Postcards signed by Brian himself.

After further discussions with Brian you too can now buy a copy of Postcards through the Spence Music web site. Just click on the "Shop" link in the navigation section (or the link at the end of this section), send me the right money and Brian will send you a copy too - although there is no guarantee that yours will be signed (Technical Note: I do forward the money onto Brian - I don't just trouser the cash).

Buy a Postcard.

17th August 2005

Ocean Deep: A few weeks back Steve Khan asked if I could pass an e-mail onto Brian, which I was happy to do. Steve worked with Brian on a (potential) single, called "Ocean Deep", for Ray Caruana. Steve also worked with Brian on the Fax-U single called "I Who Have Nothing" featuring Debbie McKenna. I asked Steve if he would write for the Spence Music website about how he started working with Brian and Debbie and something about the music. He was happy to do so (or so he told me) and the result is a fascinating article which, I feel, includes a small insight into the real Brian Spence - when I read about toasted cheese sandwiches I laughed. To read the piece go to the Article section or click on the following link. Go to Ocean Deep.

30th July 2005

Holiday: This is not an update on where I have been on my annual break but about a DVD Brian gave me a couple of weeks back. On the DVD was Whizz Kid and Debbie (Whizz Kid and The Angel) performing Madonna's "Holiday". The video was filmed in Brighton over Brian music with great rapping from Whizz Kid, with Debbie doing the chorus and more familiar parts. It was filmed by a cameraman friend of Brian's (unnamed) about four years ago and it has taken this long to be edited together, by Brian, due to other projects getting in the way. There is a great rapport between the two and music is infectious. Brian is rightly proud of this production.

7th July 2005

Spence mp3 Chart: Back in January I had fun reviewing the favourite Spence tracks based on hits to the Spence Music mp3 download page. So much that I thought I would do it again.

The following information is based on hits (see the note below for a definition of a "hit") of the mp3 files over a six month period - 1st January to 30th June 2004.

Hits Per Track Top 10 - The number of hits is shown in the brackets.

    1. Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich (1100) by Wolfgang Petry
    2. I Will Call You Family (917) from Brothers
    3. Hear It From The Heart (525) from Brothers
    4. Back Door (327) from Brothers
    5. Will You Never Be My Friend (248) from Brothers
    6. America (208) by Bilbo
    7. She's Gonna Win (200) by Bilbo
    8. The Sha Na Na Na Song (193) by Bilbo Baggins
    9. Hibs Heroes (173) by Colin Chisholm
    10. Reputation (162) from Reputation

As I said back in January a "Hit" is when a file is requested. That is to say "She's Gonna Win" by Bilbo was requested 200 times within the six months of the analysis. It does not mean that 200 different people have downloaded the file or that the file has been downloaded 200 times, although the download has been started 200 times. I hope that is clear.

The album "Brothers" obvious did quiet well here, but so did all of the tracks by Bilbo Baggins as 9 out of the next 10 tracks were by them.

By totaling up these hits for each track, grouping them into the various sections of the download page, your "favourite album" can be identified as follows:

Hits Per Album

    1. Brothers (2351)
    2. Bilbo Baggins (1809)
    3. Other Artists (1329)
    4. Reputation (284)
    5. Chisholm and Spence (132)
    6. Non-Album Tracks - includes the interviews (60)
Other artists was helped by a large number of hits for Wolfgang Petry's "Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich", which uses Bilbo Baggins' "She's Gonna Win" as the music.

One of my favourites, "Reputation" does not do as well as I believe it should, but that is the nature of favourite tracks. I also believe that some of Brian's best music has yet to appear on an album, for instance "Get Up, Get Out", "When She Runs" and "Travellin' Man" (the track as it was meant to be heard, not any of the remixes) which is fantastic - IMHO. Why not give it a go, I'll even place a link here to help you. Decent version of Travellin' Man.

30th June 2005

Spence Adverts: I found a couple of adverts for Brian's solo work in old issues of Sounds newspaper recently. After scanning them I created a new page for them to be viewed at. If you have any adverts for Brian, Bilbo, etc. please let me know, I would love to show them here. Either click on the link on the navigation bar or click here to view the adverts.

4th June 2005

More Friends Reunited: After the last update about two old friends of Brian's getting in touch with him again, another old friend wanted to contact him. This time it was Jimmy Devlin, who was a band member of Bilbo Baggins with Brian. After Bilbo Baggins Dev went on to manage Simple Minds and then became Managing Director of Polydor

18th May 2005

Friends Reunited: Spence Music is rapidly becoming the web site though which old pals of Brian's get in contact with him again. When I spoke to Brian recently he told me of two past associates, Gordon Liddle and Alan Davison, who reunited with him after losing contact for 12 years and 25 years, both in the same week. Fid and Alan found him through Spence Music making this web sites Brian's personal Friends Reunited. ;-)

The Making of MacGregor's Trap: After One4Review got in contact to tell me about their review of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe's MacGregor's Trap I told Brian about it. After only a few days later I received an email from Dominic Marshall who was the chap who had the pleasure of directing "The Trap". I asked Dom to write about his involvement in this production, which he was very happy to do. Not only did he write about the experience but he also provided promotions photographs, taken by Brian's brother Stuart.

The article is fantastically interesting piece, written by someone who obviously has great affection for MacGregor's Trap and Brian. It is also an exclusive to Spence Music (I think that is the first time I have said that). The article can be found via the Articles page or clicking on the following link. The Making of The Trap.

1st May 2005

Kerrang! Review: I run this web site called Spence Music, it's about Brian Spence, a musician. When I write things here some bias creeps in, however, I try and keep it to a minimum. I like Brian, his music, etc. I would not run this web site if I didn't.

So when I recently received a review of Brian Spence's album "Brothers" from a 1986 edition of Kerrang! magazine I was looking forward to reading it. However, after reading it I thought "that's just wrong!". I don't tend to get worried about reviews. Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and some of the reviewers actually like music. So I left it a few days (to calm down), reread it and I thought "that's just wrong!".

The reviewer says that Brian "thinks" he could be Brian Adams or Rick Springfield. I have heard this opinion before - normally on eBay by people trying to sell Brian Spence CD's or vinyl - however, I have never thought the comparison worked. I saw Mr. Adams in concert, and bought his album too, soon after buying the "Brothers" album came out. I didn't think Mr. Spence sounded like Mr. Adams (or the other way around).

I bought another copy of "Brothers" for a friend of mine, following a split from a girl friend. After a couple of weeks he said to me "When you gave me this album I wondered why you bought this for me. Now I have heard it I know why." My friend used to read Kerrang!, and would have read the review. It had obviously coloured his view of the album and so did not buy it for himself.

I never buy, or chose not to buy, on the basis of a single review. The reviewer may be having a bad day, or they may have to meet a quota (only allowed so many 5*'s reviews in an issue, so many 4*'s, etc.). Listen to the music yourself and then make your own decision.

However, lack of consistency amongst reviews really does get my goat - reviews that praise but give a low rating, along with reviews that stink but give a good rating. This review fits into that latter group. I recommend you play "Brothers", as you read the review, and enjoy listening to a fantastic album.

All this angst from a review nearly 19 years old. Calm down, it's only a review!

Click here to read the review.

19th April 2005

E-mail Hell: I have just discovered that all e-mails sent to me at mark@spencemusic.co.uk have been disappearing into a void. This means that if you have sent me an e-mail, at this address, within the last year I have not received it. I did not reply because I was been rude, only that I did not receive it. I have now resolved the problem, so feel free to send me any comments, feedback, etc. to this address. I WILL reply. Please accept my apologies to anyone who has sent me e-mails but did not receive a response.

15th April 2005

MacGregor's Trap: Whilst checking for spam messages in the Spence Music guestbook, I spotted a very interesting, but brief, message from Sheila Kay Jack. It read "Retrospective review of MacGregor's Trap now on www.one4review.com". I did say it was brief. It was so brief that I nearly deleted it as spam. I'm glad I waited, absorbed it and then went to the site to check it out.

What they have on this web site is a review of MacGregor's Trap, with pictures, of Brian Spence's musical based on Robert Louis Stevenson's "Kidnapped" from August 1995. It featured Chesney Hawkes, Brian and his friends. A link to the actual page is here http://www.one4review.com/non_fringe_05/macg_trap_.htm [Page is no longer available so I have removed the link].

If you have any photographs of your own from the "MacGregor's Trap" shows please let me know. I would love to see them. Also, if contact me if you have any memories that you would be happy to share with me.

In the mean time I have updated the MacGregor's Trap page with the new information that I found at the One 4 Review site. Why not visit the page clicking here. MacGregor's Trap page

If you have signed up to receive the Spence Music Newsletter you already know about this news item. However, if you have not, shame on you. You could have been aware of this item much earlier.

20th March 2005

More Guestbook: The extra guestbook messages continue. Most of them are messages along the lines of "Great site, I learned a lot" and then have a link to a web site selling prescription drugs, very cheaper software, American Mortgages, body piercing, cigarettes, etc. all using a false e-mail address. To give you an indication of the problem, the Spence Music Guestbook has about 25 genuine messages at the present time and I have deleted another 30 spam messages. There are a number of persistent offenders and I will be using a method to block them in future. I want to avoid, if I can, having to approve messages before they actually appear in the Guestbook as I do not want to deter real fans of Brian.

The SpenceMusic Guestbook uses a method of "munging" the e-mail address, which stops programs from reading the address and using genuine e-mail addresses for spam. So my e-mail address, normally mark@spencemusic.co.uk, appears as mark~AT~SpenceMusic~DOT~co~DOT~uk. Therefore, genuine messages are welcome and protected against their address being automatically read for spam.

What's That Song? I rarely recommend websites, so it quite unusual that I am recommending one here and now. I came across this website a couple of months back and I thought it was good. I have just returned to it after a break and I still think it is good. The web site is called "What's That Song?" and can be found at the following link. For those of you that think you know music try this web site. It's a music quiz site, just enter in an artist and it will play ten tracks by that artist. All you have to do is identify the track from a choice of four given. The only downside is that Brian Spence and Bilbo Baggins are not in the database (yes, I have tried) which uses Amazon.com samples.


Link does not appear to still be active - Mark

2nd March 2005

Slow off the Mark: I have only just discovered that the track performed by Bilbo Baggins "Hold Me" was not an original track. Being slightly slow off the bat I now realise that this track was actually written in 1933 (that right, nineteen thirty three) by Jack Little, Dave Oppenheim and Ira Schuster. The track, which Bilbo released as a single in 1975 and performed on Shang-a-Lang, the showcase for The Bay City Rollers, has also been released as a single by Eddy Duchin & His Orchestra (1933) selling 250,000 copies and Ted Fio Rito (1933), Peggy Lee (1948), Eddy Arnold (1961), Brenda Lee (1962), The Baskerville Hounds (1969), The Rubinoos (1979), B. A. Robertson and Maggie Bell (1981), Charlie Sexton (1985) and trouser-splitting P.J. Proby in 1964.

All this shows that the track was not as original as I first thought. Slow or what?

As a result of this research lyrics have now been added for three Bilbo Baggins tracks, Back Home, The Sha-Na-Na-Na Song and Hold Me.

Guest Book: You may have noticed that I occasionally deleted messages from the Guest Book. I have only one rule about the Guest Book, messages must be relevant to Brian Spence, the Spence Music web site or music in general. Any messages that suggest that they can sell codeine (or other non-music items) cheaper than elsewhere, or recommend a great porn site, etc. will be deleted. In addition, anyone who leaves two or more messages with two or more different (commercial) website links will also be removed.

I have taken this step only to make the messages relevant. I know Brian often gets e-mails about penis enlargements (he tells me that he does not need help in this area) but that does not make it relevant. In addition, the more links a web site has (including those in Guest Books) the higher it's ranking with search engines. This is not because I am being nasty to those who leave the messages I just think that their sole purpose is to increase the sales of products I do not endorse.

16th February 2005

Start off with an apology. It has been a month since my last update. No specific reason why, just so.

Birthday Greetings: During the last month Brian has had another birthday (another?) on 7th February. He is now 52 years old, but still going strong.

New Music: Danny and BrianI was fortunate enough to be at Brian's studio the other day when he was engineering a track he had written with Danny (sorry, I don't know his surname). Danny was also the singer on it and the two are hoping to be able to sell the track to another singer. If no one picks up on it then they are the loser for it because, to my ears, it sounded fantastic.

The photograph to the left is a picture of Brian with Danny, taken by Debbie and kindly given to me by her. It captures a relaxing moment the had between times in the studio.

Survey position as at 16th Feb 2005 Album Survey: The survey to find your favourite Brian Spence album has been running for one month. The chart to the right shows the position as I write this (after 18 votes). The album "Brothers" has only recently gone into the lead after being neck and neck with "Postcards", the album by The Wish.

I have been pleasantly surprised how many of you have voted for "Postcards" and "Chisholm and Spence". For some reason I thought that these albums may have escaped your notice. I'm just happy that I am wrong.

17th January 2005

Only Music: A new interesting article from 1987, published in America on OM - Only Music magazine can be found on the articles page. The article interviews Brian prior to a USA tour with Nik Kershaw and discusses Brian's freedom with Polydor and his image. Go to article.

What Is Your Most Popular Track and Album? As you many of you may have noticed, there is a survey in the navigation section asking "What is your favourite Brian Spence album?"

However, I thought it would also be interesting to see what is your favourite track based on hits on the Download page. The following information is based on hits (see the note below for a definition of a "hit") of the mp3 files over a six month period - 1st July to 31st December 2004.

Hits Per Track Top 10 - The number of hits is shown in the brackets.

  1. Heart It From The Heart (247) from Brothers
  2. Will You Never Be My Friend (195) from Brothers
  3. Making Up For Lost Time (181) from Brothers
  4. Und W-w-w-wer Küßt Mich (167) Wolfgang Petry from Other Artists
  5. She's Gonna Win (149) from Bilbo
  6. I Will Call You Family (102) from Brothers
  7. Reputation (87) from Reputation
  8. Wondering How To Cry (83) from Brothers
  9. Reputation - Extended Version (80) from Non-Album Tracks
  10. Hear It From The Heart - Extended Version (78) from Non-Album Tracks

Definition of a "Hit" is when a file is requested. That is to say "She's Gonna Win" by Bilbo was requested 149 times within the six months of the analysis. It does not mean that 149 different people have downloaded the file or that the file has been downloaded 149 times, although the download has been started 149 times. I hope that is clear.

By totaling up these hits for each track, grouping them into the various sections of the download page, your "favourite album" can be identified as follows:

Hits Per Album

  1. Brothers (1033)
  2. Other Artists (288)
  3. Non-Album Tracks (267)
  4. Bilbo Baggins (246)
  5. Reputation (168)
  6. Chisholm and Spence (85)

Obviously, this does not mean that the results of the favourite album survey are a foregone conclusion. The results of the favourite album survey will differ from the above as "Postcards" by The Wish is included. As you know there are no downloads from this album on the Spence Music web site as it is still readily available from The Wish's own web site (http://www.the-wish.com/), even though the group no longer officially exists. In addition, non-album tracks and single-only tracks have been excluded as the survey is to find your favourite album. Perhaps your favourite track could be the subject of a future survey.

Overall I was surprised that Reputation (both album and track) comes so low in the download chart. It is a great album, as good as Brothers, and yet different. Perhaps the album survey will change the above standings.

Whilst I'm on the topic of tracks, I would like to thank Kay of KasaMedia (who runs the German version of this site http://www.brian-spence.de.vu/) for sending me the Wolfgang Petry track, and Naoki Sawada (who runs a Japanese tribute to Brian at http://www.interq.or.jp/www1/onj1/br.htm) for providing the extended versions of "Reputation" and "Hear It From The Heart". Thanks guys.

1st January 2005

Happy New Year to everyone. I hope things went well for you over the last few days and that you and your family and friends are safe after the terrible things that have happen in and around the Indian Ocean.

New Look: As you can see I have made some changes to the look of Spence Music. These are all minor changes in the scheme of things, but my attempt to try and keep thing fresh. The image of Brian and Debbie is their current joint publicity shot and although many of you think of Brian as a solo artist, today Brian and Debbie are inseparable. In addition, I have created a a survey to find out what is your favourite Brian Spence album. The link to the survey is near the bottom of the navigation links on the left. You only get one vote, so make it count.

Where's The News?: Every year I clear down this home page, which holds the news for the current year, and move it to a page of it's own. If you want to read the news for previous years just look of the appropriate section on the navigation section on the left.

New Article: As promised previously I have uploaded a review of Brian playing live from a 1988 edition of Kerrang! music magazine. The article criticises Brian's dress sense (so what is new?) but not the music. Read it now!

More News

Looking for more news? Wondering where the old news has gone? Why not visit the news archive for more news, but older?

News from 2004

News from 2003

News from 2002


Morley Enterprises

Page Last Updated: 4th March 2010

© Morley Enterprises 2001-2011. This site, SpenceMusic, is a personal site and is not affiliate with Brian Spence, Bilbo, Bilbo Baggins, Cheeky Bufalloes, Chisholm & Spence, The Wish or anyone else for that matter. Any copyright infringement is accidental. The pictures and music on this site are there for information only. They are not there for any commercial purpose. Therefore, if anyone representing the artist(s) or record company(ies) want me to remove these items please mail me and I will remove them immediately! This site, SpenceMusic, and Morley Enterprises are not responsible for the content of any other websites that are linked from here. So there.