For a pop star who readily admits to being “average” in the looks department and owns up to living a rather quaint and quiet existence in an average-sized suburban town house, with his wife and 2.4 children, XTC's Andy Partridge possesses a unique worldview.

“In fact,” he proudly announces, “I'm stupidly optimistic. I'm so aggressively optimistic that it probably gets up people's noses. You just name it, and I'm probably optimistic about it. . .”

And just now he has good reason to be, as one of the past decade's most engaging and eccentric English bands XTC unveiled their ninth album, Oranges And Lemons, and are quietly planning to launch themselves as Britain's answer to INXS — with the bespectacled, affable Partridge playing the role of Sex God Hutch! After all, they've certainly been getting some valuable “rock star” exposure lately . . .

“When we were on Canadian television,” he begins, squirming at the memory, “it was dead embarrassing because they didn't realise who we were. We were asked what it was like to be part of the Australian New Wave, when there were bands coming out like Midnight Oil and ‘yourselves — INXS’!

“I just didn't say a word, I mean, I couldn't really go along with it. I'm not exactly Michael Hutchence-shaped, so it'd have been a bit difficult to pull it off. Mind you, I could have said, ‘yeah, I am Michael Hutchence mate, I've just been a bit unwell’!”

“I absolutely hate being in the public eye,” says Partridge. “I much prefer to make records and disappear off the planet. Being in the public eye just means having Scandinavians with rucksacks coming over your hedge, looking at you watching the telly with a six-pack on your lap! Or worrying about what you're going to wear or whether or not your bald patch is showing! Who needs that? It should be about making records and remaining a faceless entity”.

Partridge's heart lies in the calming West England country-side where he's lived since childhood. Also, in collecting tin toy soldiers, making up wonderfully elaborate stories for his kids and occasionally penning melodious ditties like the recent single ‘The Mayor Of Simpleton’ and equally colourful three minute tunes.

“It's a little worrying to find there are all these new people getting into XTC,” says a slightly bewildered Partridge. “Either we're slowing down and they're catching us up, or I'm beginning to want to make the sort of music that clicks with more people! Either way though, I still hope to find that perfect song.”
Anna Martin

C   O   U   N   T   1989   D   O   W   N

Go back to Chalkhills Articles.

[Thanks to Graeme Wong See]