Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills, Archive C

	       Chalkhills Archives, Part C

		 Wednesday, 19 April 1989

Today's Topics:
                   Re: Your first time
                    Re: Your first time
                   Re: Your first time?
                Re: Life begins at the Hop
                    Re: Your first time
                     Re:  Faves......
                      Worst XTC song
             Dear God, Faves, First time, etc.
                    Re: Your first time
                     Re: Wanted: Gizmo
                   Re:  Canadian Virgin
                   Re: Your first time?
                   bunches of stuff....
                         fave list

Date: Tue, 18 Apr 1989 14:51:48 PDT
From: John M. Relph <>
Subject: Re: Your first time

>On a different tack, any nominations for worst XTC song? I'd have to give it
>to "Travels in Nihilon," from Black Sea, or "Leisure," from the English
>Settlement CD.

Golly, I think "Travels in Nihilon" expresses its lyric content
through its music quite admirably.  And I like "Leisure" a lot.
Actually, The Little Express recently held a readers' poll, and one of
the categories was "worst XTC song".  My vote goes to "My Weapon",
>From _Go 2_.  And I only found out that it was a Barry Andrews track a
couple of weeks ago.  Interesting.

Perhaps in the near future I should post a readers' poll.  I probably
	-- John


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 15:05:57 PDT
From: (Karl MacRae - The Surreal World of Customer Service)
Subject: Re: Your first time

>On a different tack, any nominations for worst XTC song?

	I hate 'Worst song' questions...

	That said....

>I'd have to give it
>to "Travels in Nihilon," from Black Sea, or "Leisure,"

	THose are both great, great songs.... You have *got* to be kidding!

	I'm not going to pick one, but it's got to be one of Colin's
songs from O&L or Skylarking.....



Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 18:54:09 EDT
From: (Ken Manheimer)
Subject: Faves......

On scanning the accumulated XTC raves in my mbox, it seems that _Black
Sea_ consistently rates very high on people's list - just after i
posted my first message i realized i had neglected this album, and
it's one i would also prize among the highest (whatever that means:).
So thus far the greater consensus seems to be around it and _English
Settlement_, with divisions rising where some seem to like the stuff
before that period more than the stuff after or vice versa, but not
particularly intermixed.  Does this seem true to you all?

Some remarks on some responses:

>[>>I love Go 2 and Drums and]
>>Wires, that pair (which go as
>>a pair by me)
>	Actually, those two don't much go together; On Go2, Barry Andrews
>was still with the band (Manic keyboards, Nasty, nasty songs....), whereas
>on D&W, Dave Gregory had joined. D&W is much more a pair with Black Sea....

We don't differ so much in principle here - i've lamented at times
that XTC lost some of its exquisite edge and impulse when Barry
Andrews left, but nonetheless these two albums still seem to have a
very similar, raucous-pop ecstacy about them that will forever link
them together in my mind.  Of course, they are the first ones i got
(Go 2 for the cover and because someone i knew, who turned me on to
Gang of Four _Entertainment_ (one of *the* all time great, ultra lean
and scathing rocker albums; i wish their other albums where anywhere
near as clean and dirty...), liked them so much the must be something
to it...), and so may be linked because of that.  I could try to
compare the two - D&W seems to be less thematically abrasive, but the
edge on the music seems just as sharp (and perhaps the song that
haunts me the most, _Millions_, is on Drums and Wires).

>>I don't like White Music as much as the rest
>	Oh, Lord.... That's one of the great 'Punk' albums of all time,
>'cause they were playing the part, much as they played the part of a
>psychdelic band on 'Dukes', and are playing a beatles-influenced 1970
>pop group on Oranges and Lemons.

I have to confess i'm not so crazy about _25 O'clock_ or _Psionic
Psunspot_, either - they're all very coy and wry and such, but they
strike me like overly stagey theatrical productions do, where i can't
get into the story enough to really try it on, taste it.  This is not
to say i never will like these (and the newer stuff, particularly
Oranges and Lemons, which has such promise), just that i've not been
able to get close enough to them yet to taste them.  As with a lot
of music i've come to like a lot (Eno, many ECM artists, even XTC)
these may have to hit me at the right time.

>	There are two different 'Mummer's; the CD, and the album. The
>album is limp-wristed and weak; the CD is great. There are six extra
>tracks on the CD, three or four of which beat anything on the rest
>of the album (Other than 'Funk Pop A Roll' which is an all-time great).

Yay.  I'll get the CD.

>	Then (I think) Gang of Four, and the Shriekback. My advice
>regarding that is, **GO BUY SHRIEKBACK RECORDS***, particularly
>'Oil and Gold'.

?!?  Which gang of four?  I have _Entertainment_ (about which see
above) and _Solid Gold_ (which doesn't do nothing for me).

I have to say that having Go2 and Drums and Wires tied in your list of
favorites indicates some kind of association, though i'll grant that
one could be (for u) a very good apple (or lemon) while the other is a
very good orange...  Do u ever find they satisfy a similar craving?

>	If I were to include the 'Dukes' album, it would go
>after Big Express.

As i slyly allude above, there are at least two Dukes 'O Stratosphere,
_25 O'clock_ and _Psonic Psunspot_.  I can't tell you too much about
the second cause it hasn't grabbed me (yet).

>	As to why I like the ones I like, I could go one and on... But
>I will say this; if you don't like the oldest ones (White Music/Go2),
>try listening again; *really* listen. They sound crude, sloppy and
>noisy, but really, what's going on on those records is every bit as
>sophisticated as most of the stuff on O&L and Skylarking.

YAY.  The rawer sound, for me, is a bit more rapturous, a bit more

KLM or ..!uunet!cme-durer!klm

	  (And, it wouldn't be music if it coudn't be true.)


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 19:04:25 EDT
From: Gary L Dare <>
Subject: Re: Your first time?

"Making Plans for Nigel" was a top-20 hit for XTC in Canada, where they
already had a strong campus following.  Since the gap to commerical FM
is narrower up North, they hit about the same time that they hit in the
United Kingdom.

I saw them on probably their last tour, opening for the Police after
"Zenyatta Mondatta" came out.  This was before "English Settlement",
what I consider their magnum opus.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ je me souviens ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Gary L. Dare				>
	"SLAINTE MHATH!"		> gld@cunixc.BITNET


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 19:08:19 EDT
From: Gary L Dare <>
Subject: Re: Life begins at the Hop

From: John M. Relph <>
>Stewart sez:
>I'm still hoping that a domestic Drums & Wires will include "Life
>Begins at the Hop" _and_ the 3 song from the bonus EP (LBATH isn't
>on the UK CD, damn it).
>And "LBATH" wasn't on the original LP, either.

It was on the Canadian LP, and there was only one version as far as
I could tell.  No bonus single, but you get a complete lyric sheet
to everything up to that date (i.e., the first two albums, too).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ je me souviens ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Gary L. Dare				>
	"SLAINTE MHATH!"		> gld@cunixc.BITNET


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 16:33:35 PDT
From: (Duane Day, I.R. - Applications Development)
Subject: Re: Your first time

I'll have to join Karl and John in defending "Travels in Nihilon".  As a
matter of fact, it was the first XTC song I heard when I was really paying
attention ("Nigel" on my car radio sounded cool enough but again I wasn't
grabbed enough by it at the time to rush out and buy).  I think "Nihilon" is
one of the highlights of _Black Sea_, which is in turn one of the highlights
of XTC's career.

I, too, am leary of worst song questions, especially when it is limited to
the worst song by such a high-quality yet diverse band.  XTC covers so much
ground that not everything will be to everyone's liking (witness their weak
U.S. sales, at least until _Skylarking_) even though it is all of high
quality.  I'm sure the songs that impress me the least are out-and-out
favorites of some other very sincere fans, so I think I'll abstain, too.
I will admit, though, that I usually skip "Ball and Chain" when listening
to _English Settlement_. :-)


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 16:33:01 PDT
From: (Karl MacRae - The Surreal World of Customer Service)
Subject: Re:  Faves......

Guess I shouldn't do this:


	...Just goes to show, no-one really reads signature bars!

>I have to confess i'm not so crazy about _25 O'clock_ or _Psionic
>Psunspot_, either - they're all very coy and wry and such, but they
>strike me like overly stagey theatrical productions do, where i can't
>get into the story enough to really try it on, taste it.

	I have the two on CD as one; 'Chips from the Chocolate Fireball'.
I love the record, 'cause it's such a baeutiful tribute to a silly form;
also, there are some songs on it that stand on their own; Vanashing
Girl, etc....
	My feeling about O&L is that its' the same game, but not as well
done; I find the album shallow throughout. It's not the songwriting, though;
it's the production. It was recorded in LA, with an LA producer; it comes
out sounding like LA happy-pop, which is 100% WRONG for XTC. They need
an edge. The same thing was wrong with Skylarking, but ay least Todd Rundgren
did an fantastic job of 'making a recoed'; he got this incredible silky
sound, and had some idea of how to set off andy's songs; the new cat is
totally wrong.... (I find O&L more listenable; I'm just not impressed

>I have to say that having Go2 and Drums and Wires tied in your list of
>favorites indicates some kind of association, though i'll grant that
>one could be (for u) a very good apple (or lemon) while the other is a
>very good orange...  Do u ever find they satisfy a similar craving

No; not at all.... They are just tied in a numerical ranking....

>YAY.  The rawer sound, for me, is a bit more rapturous, a bit more

	And, for *me*, far, far more powerful, more honest. In general,
I find that, in most cases, too much production only achieves two things;
1) Makes ordinary bands sound better, and 2) Detracts from really good
bands work. What you end up doing is pressing the end of the scale inward
toward the middle. I'd far rather hear a raw, primal recording, with Andy
screaming into the mike, then listen to him croon 'The Loving' in a digital
studio with umpteen thousand re-takes....

 Karl MacRae     UUCP: sun!batman        ARPA:batman@sun.COM
  Sun Microsystems, Milpitas, Ca. (The armpit of Silicon Valley)
   "He Walks and he Talks in a commanding voice, but sexually,
    He's not All There....
	'Toys', XTC

From: sco!
Subject: Worst XTC song
Date: Tue Apr 18 16:13:21 1989

>>On a different tack, any nominations for worst XTC song?
>>I'd have to give it
>>to "Travels in Nihilon," from Black Sea, or "Leisure,"
>        THose are both great, great songs.... You have *got* to be kidding!

I agree..."Leisure" has possibly the world's greatest saxophone solo!
And "Travels" is lyrically wonderful.

>        I'm not going to pick one, but it's got to be one of Colin's
>songs from O&L or Skylarking.....

Colin just isn't in the same league with Andy lyrically, in my opinion.
"King for a Day", in particular, doesn't do much for me.  I think my
least favorite is Andy's "The Somnambulist", does a good
job of conjuring up that sleepwalking imagery...a bit too good, I
guess, since I can barely stay awake through it.



Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 17:06 CDT
Subject: Dear God, Faves, First time, etc.

Let's see if I can hit 'em all in one shot.

First off, my first time was when the fellows at the local record store
tricked me into buying Black Sea.  I've never forgiven them for it.  As
is the case with any band I really like, I then proceeded to buy everything
in sight.  When Big Express came out I listened to it for about a year
solid.  I think I finally got it pretty much out of my system :-)

As for my faves, the list goes as follows:

Drums and Wires  (IMHO, by far their best album!!)
Black Sea        (these two can switch positions
White Music       in my list without notice!!)
Dukes stuff
English Settlement (these two like to switch
Big Express         around a lot, too!!)
Go 2             (the only one I don't have on CD - yet!!!)

I'm not sure were to put Oranges and Lemons because I don't think I've
listened to it enough to really have a sound judgement on it.

AS for the Dear God episode, I was working in a record store at the time
this fiasco occured.  The album was originally released in the US and UK
with Mermaid Smiled and without Dear God.  Dear God was included as a B-side
on the promo single in the US and was a featured 12" in the UK (I believe).
The US radio stations liked Dear God and started playing it instead of the
A-side (which I think was Grass).  The song became popular, so Geffen decided
it was going to re-release the album and include Dear God (it took them
forever, too!!).  The CD had not been released yet in the US, but it had
been released in the UK, so the early version of the UK CD has Mermaid
Smiled on it.  I thought that Geffen would be smart and release the US
CD with both songs on it, but unfortunately, they didn't.  Now I read that
the Canadian version has both songs - gee, I sure would love a copy (hint,
hint :-)

Let's see, what else can I talk about.  Oh yeah, the video.  As far as I
know, the "official" copy of the video is not available on US VHS format.
I have had the chance to order it on BETA - for $100.  Luckily, there is
a guy at a record store around here who has a copy of this video and runs
off excellent dubbed copies (and he even packages them nicely), and it is
possible to obtain a copy from him.  I know, because I got one, and it is

The last thing I'm gonna comment on is the availability of XTC import CD's.
>From past experience, the XTC CD's will disappear for a while and then all
at once reappear.  It isn't the stores' ordering systems, it has to do with
the import system.  Yes, the labels are trying to shut down imports, but
they have been doing this for YEARS!  What happens is that a supplier from
Europe will make a big buy and then all in one shot sell the discs to the
various importers located in the US.  Then the supplier waits awhile before
they try and do it again.  It's pretty sneaky, but it works!  Unfortunately,
they can never supply enough to satisfy demand until the next big shipment.
Therefore, the stores will for awhile have many of them, and when they sell
them off, they can't get anymore until the supplier sends the importers
another big shipment.  It's actually more complicated than this, but this
will give you the basic gist of it.

This happens with just about any import you can think of.  The only way that
a store can get restocked quickly on an import is if the importers in the US
get a big enough shipment that they can actually keep a backstock for
reorders from the stores.  Unfortunately, this is usually not the case.

Surfin' Dave


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 17:17:30 PDT
From: (fear is never boring)
Subject: Re: Your first time

Since we're veering off into opinions on songs, what
do you out there think about 'Pulsing, Pulsing'? It's
definitely one of my least favorites, and I've never
quite figured out the lyrics.



Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 17:41:29 PDT
From: (Rusmin Dirgantoro)
Subject: Re: Wanted: Gizmo

In article <> you write:
>If you are interested in the joining an XTC mailing list, drop a line
>to <>.

I'm just curios. What is XTC?



Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 21:18:08 EDT
From: Mike Godfrey <>
Subject: Re:  Canadian Virgin

> re: Mike Godfrey on the Canadian version of "Skylarking" (Virgin)

Actually I have yet to appear on an XTC album, but I still hope :-)

> I was under the impression, from scanning the racks when back home,
> that Virgin imports all their discs to Canada.  They are then sold
> at our domestic price$.  Does this mean they are pressing in Canada
> now?  I wonder if this will introduce yet another version of XTC and
> other artists' releases . . .

Yes indeed.  My copies of "Skylarking" and "Oranges and Lemons" both say
that they're manufactured in Canada by Cinram (whoever they are) for
Virgin Canada.

However my copies of "Go2", "Black Sea", "English Settlement", "Mummer"
and the Dukes compilation are all Virgin UK.  (I'm talking CD's here folks).

A question:  all of my XTC CD's have been bought at "domestic" prices
in Toronto (whether they're Virgin Canada or UK).  Have you Americans
been paying extra $$ to get, say "Drums and Wires"?   *All* XTC albums
are available on CD in Canada at domestic prices.  The only time this
has been a pain is when trying to get a copy of the US Geffen "English
Settlement".  Since this is an import here, the stores want $35 for it.



From: sco!
Subject: Re: Your first time?
Date: Tue Apr 18 17:44:14 1989

>I saw them on probably their last tour, opening for the Police after
>"Zenyatta Mondatta" came out.  This was before "English Settlement",
>what I consider their magnum opus.

Don't mean to gloat (OK, maybe I do), but I saw them on their very
last tour.  In fact, I saw every single date on their last tour.
It was, of course, the English Settlement tour, and every single date
consisted of one show in San Diego.  It was a great show from a band
that seemed very much in command.  Interesting stage set, with panels
that looked like stretched hide, painted with primitive symbols a la
the White Horse on the ES cover.   Film loops were used on a few songs:
little spots of light falling down, like snowflakes dropping on the
band, for "Snowman"; crisscrossing vertical lines, like you sometimes
see on scratched film leader, which may in fact be what it was, during
"Jason and the Argonauts".  Not to mention those wonderful XTC mid-song
cues -- they'd be playing along on, say, "Living Through Another Cuba"
and then bang! all of a sudden it was "Generals and Majors" instead...

I can't tell you how shocked I was to hear that Andy had been on the
verge of collapse at that show, or to hear that the rest of the tour
was cancelled.  I sure wish I'd kept my ticket stub or something...



Date:         Tue, 18 Apr 89 19:41:26 EDT
From: Ben Zimmer <>
Subject:      Faves

Well, I'd rank 'em:
English Settlement
Tie: Big Express/Black Sea
Drums and Wires
Oranges and Lemons
White Music
     I've just started listening to White Music and Go2, though... It's hard
to compare those two albums with what they did afterwards.
     English Settlement is the most accessible out of all of them, I think
(i.e., if you don't like it, then you probably won't like any other XTC). It
was my starting point, and I always come back to it.  The quality of the music
is so consistently good. What a masterpiece.

    On a different note, does anyone notice melodic/structural/lyrical similar-
ities between some pairs of songs?  Off the top of my head, "Wake Up" and "No
Thugs" have almost interchangeable rhythms in the stanzas. Any others? I always
thought "Complicate Game" and "No Language In Our Lungs" sounded sorta
                                                             Ben Zimmer
                                      "It isn't even winter, but I'm freezing,


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89  20:19:55 EDT
From: JDTURN@umass.bitnet
Subject: bunches of stuff....

Oh let's see...

Fave XTC track?  Goodness, there's too many.  "Jump", "Extrovert",
"You're the Wish You Are I Had", "Wait 'till Your Boat Goes Down",
"Oh Lord Deliver Us From the Elements"....

Barry Andrews/Terry Chambers...  I remember reading an interview with
the band in an issue of "The Little Express" where they stated something
along the lines of "Terry? Oh yeah, last we heard, he was selling things
on the beach".  Sarah Partridge of Shriekback is most emphatically NOT
Andy's sister.

It's interesting, though, to note that in the "Mayor" vid, they give
credit to "Barry the Car" and "Terry the Fish"....!

Commonly held belief, is it true for you folks as well:  Andy writes
better words but Colin writes better music (and consequently a lot of the

"Go 2":  the HELL it doesn't have great tunes!  C'mon, "Meccanik Dancing (Oh
We Go)", and "Battery Brides (Andy Paints Brian)", "The Rhythm", "Are You
Receiving Me?" etc... the only two clunkers are (not surprisingly) Barry's
tunes ("My Weapon", "Super-Tuff").  IMHO, of course.

Andy's solo LP:  What a masterpeice!  You can see why he's a Resident,
alright.  What a great album.  I love "The Cairo" (aka "Homo Safari") and
"The Forgotten Language of Light" (aka "Dance Band"), "Another 1950" (aka
"Pulsing Pulsing"), "New Broom" (aka "Making Plans for Nigel"), etc...
If you can find a copy of "Go+", then not only have you found something
extremely rare and also in the same vein as "Take Away/The Lure of Salvage",
but it weighs exactly the same amount, too.  :-)

"Dear Todd":  Virgin and Geffen both released "Skylarking" with side two
like so:
         Earn Enough for Us
         Big Day
         Another Satellite
         Mermaid Smiled
         The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
         Sacrificial Bonfire

Then, "Dear God" caught on, and Geffen (and maybe Virgin?) rereleased it
so it went like this:
         Earn Enough for Us
         Big Day
         Another Satellite
         The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul
         Dear God
         Sacrificial Bonfire

And you'd think, if they're going to go to all the trouble of rereleasing
it, it's such a short album anyway that they MIGHT have kept "Mermaid Smiled"
and also thrown on "Extrovert" (the 2nd b-side of "Grass") as well, but
NOOOOOOOOoooooo...   Your Canadian CD is, I would imagine, rare.  I know
of one and only one person who found the CD of "Skylarking" with "Mermaid
Smiled" on it and no "Dear God".  Interestingly enough, "Mermaid Smiled"
was intended to be an instrumental, originally.   Since the words aren't
commonly available as they've deleted the song, here they are.

Mermaid Smiled
------- ------
>From pools of xylophone clear
>From caves of memory
I saw the children at heart
That we once used to be
Borne on foaming seahorse herd
Compose with trumpeting shell
>From lines across their hands
A song as new as new moon
As old as all the sands
Shrank to stagnant from Atlantic wild
Lost that child 'til mermaid

Summoned by drum-rolling surf
As laughing fish compel
The young boy woken in me
By clanging diving bell
Breakers pillow fight the shore
She wriggles free in the tide
I'm locked in adult land
Back in the mirror she slides
Waving with comb in hand
I was lucky to remain beguiled
Grown to child since mermaid

I'm in the limelight,

ps. other wicked excellent XTC tracks: "Officer Blue", "Punch & Judy".


Date: Tue, 18 Apr 89 21:46:41 EDT
From: (Colm Mulcahy)
Subject: Watchtower

didn't andy say that their cover of Watchtower WAS influenced heavily by
the Hendrix one ?    andy passed up a chance to see henrix when he was a
school boy (so did I, 20 years ago in june, in Torquay).

he also chose to skip the beatles live. says the records were everything for
him. and that should be good enough for us too, ie no tour !!!

finally, Watchtower was a toss up with the Stones' Citadel (later done by
the Damned ), andy says Watch won as it had a few fewer chords to learn !


Date: Wed, 19 Apr 89  02:18:05 EDT
From: JDTURN@umass.bitnet
Subject: fave list

1.  English Settlement
2.  The Big Express
3.  Mummer
4.  Drums & Wires
5.  Black Sea
6.  Go 2
7.  White Music
8.  Oranges & Lemons
9.  Skylarking

Yes, O&L is down at the bottom.  A single-album that had all the b-sides
of the singles put on it accidentally.  "Chalkhills & Children", "Poor
Skeleton Steps Out", "Cynical Days", all loser tracks that should be
relegated to secondary 12" b-sides.  IMHO.

On the other hand, "One of the Millions", "Merely a Man" (aka "Shaking
Skin House", if you have the "Jules Verne's Sketchbook" tape), and
"Here Comes President Kill Again" are total killer tracks.  Once again,
as with the "Grass" single, I found myself playing the b-sides of the
"Mayor of Simpleton" single more than the a-side.

I found "Mummer" to be quite a strong album indeed.  "English Settlement"
was a perfect mixture of pastoral and raucous, and I view "Black Sea"
and "Mummer" as sort-of bookends to it (total rock on one side, total
pastoral on the other).  I love the textures that they came up with for
"Mummer", especially "Me and the Wind" or "Oh Lord Deliver Us From the
Elements" (one of the strongest tracks I think they've ever done).  The
ambiance about the album is just striking.

I've seen a Japanese videotape of XTC vids in Main Street Records,
Northampton MA.  They rent it, it's also for sale at around $90 to $100.
They also have the import CDs most of the time.

Worst XTC song: anything by Barry Andrews.  "Travels in Nihilon".

Lyrics to "Pulsing, Pulsing"... I always thought it was about either
killing someone, or finding a dead (or almost dead) body....

I'm in the limelight,


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