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Subject: Chalkhills #173


                  Chalkhills, Number 173

                  Friday, 23 August 1991
Today's Topics:
                     Chalkhills #172
                   More New Album News
          XTC Music and Friends Convention 1991
              You're the Wish You Are I Had
                           XTC
               Re: Chalkhills and Children
                   Squiggly Atom Bombs
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Subject: Chalkhills #172
From: Dances With Voles <jondr@sco.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Aug 91 9:36:09 PDT

---From: "Thomas Covenant, waiting for the third chronicles"
>Just what is the story with the cd of skylarking?
>When I first bought this album back in 86, (on cassette)
>it did not have the song "Dear God".  When I recently
>perchased the CD, it had this song on it. (thank "god" for

Quickly, since this has been explained a zillion times: the song was
originally recorded, someone (variously mentioned as Andy Partridge,
Todd Rundgren, or a nameless record exec who didn't like children
singing on songs) decided to cut it from the album.  It somehow got
popular, despite only being the b-side of an import 12" single.  Thus,
in a scramble to rake in ever more cash, the record was re-released
with Dear God inserted and Mermaid Smiled removed.

-----From: Eric Singer <70323.3013@compuserve.com>
>1) There is this little squiggly sound that is found on the Dukes'
>Chips From The Chocolate Fireball CD, inbetween the 25 O'Clock stuff
>and Psonic Psunspot (that is, in between cuts 6-7).  I decided to sample
>it and figure out what it was.  When you slow it down and play it
>backwards, it is, interestingly enough, someone saying, "Hey go fuck
>yourself with your atom bomb."  I think it might be Andy.

Nope, it's the guy who later appears saying "that is the most
disgusting obscene abomination of a song that i've... i've... it's
trash, it's filth..." etcetera.  John Leckie (aka Swami Anand Nagara,
producer) apparently taped this woody allen-ish voice when he heard it
on some NYC radio program.  The fellow was rather upset about the song
"Go Fuck Yourself With Your Atom Bomb."

>I had heard this sound before, played several times in a row, on a tape
>of rare XTC stuff that a friend lent me.  Does anyone know what it was
>on originally?

The only place it has shown up in XTC-dom is at the end of Mole From
The Ministry (25 O'Clock).  Your friend must have just liked it a lot
and stuck it on for you.

>2) Does anyone out there have the "Johnny Japes & His Testicles" single
>This is a single that XTC did anonymously, that was included in the
>British comic, "Viz" 12/87 [VIZ 1].  The cuts are "Bags Of Fun With
>Buster" & "Scrotal Scratch Mix".  I would love to get a tape of it.

First, it's JESTICLES.  Second, it's not really XTC, it's Andy + Dave
+ John Otway.  Otway is a hilarious guy - he makes an appearance in
the last episode of The Young Ones ("Summer Holiday").  They played
"Head Butts" on WFNX frequently.

>- Explode Together (import): includes all of GO+ (EP inc. w/ GO 2) and
>Mr. Partridge Take Away: The Lure of Salvage; this is dub drivel from
>Andy - not too good

Hey, it's not THAT bad... some of it is quite cool, actually.  I like
to program in the more ambient, spaced out tracks and fall asleep
listening to them.  Gives you weird dreams, I'll tell ya...

-----From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>

>Wow!  Another Chalkhead with a measure of taste!  After all, _The Big
>Express_ is the best album XTC ever made (even if it did sell fewer
>copies than _25 O'clock_).  "Wake Up": what an opener, I didn't know

Uh oh, you mention TBE and it's all over!  But I know what you mean,
John.  It's like when someone over on .gaffa says that The Dreaming is
their favorite...  Yes!

>Colin could write tunes that packed this much punch.  "Seagulls
>Screaming...": tugs my heart, hey dude, go for it, or you'll lose it.
>I know I've felt that way, and Andy puts it so well.

This is truly one of the finest moments in pop-song-dom.  It's so
evocative, yet you can bop your butt along to it and not feel totally
ridiculous.

>harmonica!).  "You're the Wish You Are I Had": where did he come up
>with those lyrics?  I must have listened to this album almost every
>day for at least six months after it was released (and probably drove
>my then-girlfriend to distraction in the process).

Never mind the lyrics, where did he get that MELODY???  It's the best
song The Beatles never wrote.

>Oh yeah, _Skylarking_ and _Oranges and Lemons_ aren't bad, either.

What he said.

Jon Drukman (love pantry)                       uunet!sco!jondr   jondr@sco.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Always note the sequencer - this will never let us down.

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Date: Thu, 22 Aug 91 19:41:30 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: More New Album News

Rich Lanthier <RLANTHIE@ducair.bitnet>, apparent headshrinker, says:

>Well what's the scoop on the new album?  Any tentative release dates?

Here's the latest word from the folks at _The Little Express_:

    Some good news regarding the new XTC album -- the band,
    along with Dave Mattacks, [entered] the studio on July 15,
    and Gus Dudgeon [is] at the controls.  The current working
    title for the album is "Balloon".

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Date: Thu, 22 Aug 91 19:52:29 PDT
From: Chalkhills Administration <chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>
Subject: XTC Music and Friends Convention 1991
Organisation: Chalkhills Anonymous

			 Calling All XTC Fans!

		      3rd Annual "Music & Friends"
			    Convention 1991

		    September 8th -- Barrie Ontario

  - Exclusive Videos                    - Collectors Edition Cassette
  - Live Entertainment                    of XTC demos included
    (Toronto Bands play homage to XTC)    in ticket price
  - Swop Shop                           - Record Shop

		     For ticket information write:
   'The Little Express' P.O. Box 1072, Barrie, Ontario L4M 5E1 Canada

Hello Friends,

  First of all the date for the Convention is now set for September 8th.
We gave our original idea of holding an outdoor event a bit of a
re-think, so instead of risking the elements we have now come indoors to
the ballroom at the 'Holiday Inn'.

  On the 'Big Day' itself things will get underway at 12 noon (doors
open approx. 11.30).

  We hope to be opening the show with a very special video made by XTC
especially for the Convention!  At the time of writing we do not know
what the format or content will be, but it shouldn't be missed.

  Another little treat for all those who attend (there are still tickets
left) is the promise of a tape cassette with four new songs from Andy,
two are in the 'Dukes Style', and the other two are songs that the band
have rehearsed for possible inclusion on their new album.  This
'collectors edition' will be an exclusive memento for the day and is
included in the price of the ticket.

  What other surprises may materialize from now until Sept. 8th we
cannot say, but 'The Travelling XTC Museum,' THAT guitar along with
other items (Andy's gameboards and lyric book) is scheduled to make an
appearance.

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Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 08:46:40 EDT
From: glickman@hustat.harvard.edu (Mark Glickman)
Subject: You're the Wish You Are I Had

John Relph mentioning "You're the Wish You Are I Had" reminds me
of an interesting observation I had (I wish I had?) about the
song.  During the verse, the snare and bass drum switch what would
be conventional roles; the snare keeps the beat, and the bass drum
comes in as would snare drum in more traditional rock music.  The
effect, not surprisingly, is pretty cool!

Anyway, that's my thought for the day...

              - Mark

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Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 17:08:06 BST
From: Al Crawford <awrc@dcs.edinburgh.ac.uk>
Subject: XTC
Organisation: The University Of Edinburgh - Computer Science Department

 Just thought you might want to know
that I've heard part of a track from the new, as yet uncompleted XTC album
(gloat, gloat). BBC Breakfast news this morning had a feature on the
current state of the music industry and how producers are bemoaning the
endless stream of one-hit wonders being put into the charts just to make
cash for the record companies and with no intention of providing backup.
They gave an example of an established act who achieved success partly
through the support of a record company not expecting instant smash hits
>from them. The example? XTC. Cut to studio shots of Andy et al in the
studio. The track, to me, sounded pretty much like standard XTC. To my
untrained ear, perhaps more acoustic and folky than Oranges And Lemons. The
producer was somethingorother Dudgeon, I think.

Al

PS I thought using XTC as an example was a bit ironic since Virgin are one
of the worst offenders these days for dropping a band if their first album
doesn't make a huge impact. The number of groups they've dumped recently is
astonishing.

--
		   Al Crawford - Al_Crawford@edinburgh.ac.uk
	 "Such a digital lifetime, it's been by numbers all the while"

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Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 14:28:15 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills and Children

Andre the Giant <hvgtw!dhgpa!adkoning@hvlpb.att.com> says:

>Tim Szeliga (snow@netcom.com) wrote in #170:
>> Does anyone care to take a whack at
>> explicating the lyrics of the chorus?
>>
>> "Bringing me back to rest
>>  eternally and ever Ermine Street."
>
>"Chalkhills" could stand for England, which could mean he doesn't want to
>leave England to live anywhere else (some English artists move to the USA
>to "make it there"; looks like he's no way going to do that).

I agree with this.  England and (his) children bring his down to
earth.  But his dreams are the same dreams that the Liarbird offered
on _The Big Express_:

    All he would say
    Is ``I can make you famous''
    All he would say
    ``Just like a household name'' is

The dream is the shallow `pop music will make you a star, you'll be
rich beyond your wildest imaginings' dream, just as Andy wanted in the
_White Music_ days.

    I'm floating over strange land,
    it's a soulless, sequined, showbiz moon.
    I'm floating over strange land,
    and then stranger still, there's no balloon.
    But I'm getting higher,
    wafted up by fame's fickle fire 'til the...

    I'm skating over thin ice,
    upon blunted blades of metal soft.
    I'm skating over thin ice,
    while some nonesuch net holds me aloft.
    But I'm getting higher,
    lifted up on lucks' circus wire 'til the...

    I'm soaring over hushed crowds,
    the reluctant cannonball it seems.
    I'm soaring over hushed crowds,
    I'm propelled up here by long dead dreams.
    Still I'm getting higher,

But as our man says, the dream is an old one, and he realizes that his
dream today is not to drive cars into swimming pools, but to have a
happy home with his wife and kids in jolly olde England.

I do like the Icarus imagery, as his wings of wax bear him higher until
the fickle fires of fate melt them.  But in this dream Icarus doffs his
wings before he gets too high:

    Icarus regrets and retires puzzled?

    Chalkhills and children, anchor my feet.
    Chalkhills and children, bringing me back to earth
    eternally and ever Ermine Street.
    Chalkhills and children, anchor my feet.
    Chalkhills and children, oddly complete.

In fact, Ermine Street IS a street in Swindon.  (Colin says this is akin
to Ray Davies writing about streets in his hometown.)  England and
children bring our man down to earth, back to the real world again.
They burst the fragile balloons of fame and fortune daydreams, which
though already known to be "long dead", still carry him off once in a
while.

But our man admits that

    Even I never know where I go when my eyes are closed.
    Even I never spied that the scenes were posed.
    Even I never knew this is what I'd be.
    Even eyes never mean that you're sure to see.

Andy says that this song is actually a HAPPY song, which he thinks is a
twist for XTC records.  Usually XTC albums end on a crashing down note.
Take "Funk Pop a Roll", from _Mummer_, which expressed ultimate cynicism
for the record industry; "Snowman", from _English Settlement_, expresses
the frustration and sense of loss felt by a jilted lover; "Train Running
Low on Soul Coal", from _The Big Express_, mid-life crisis; "Travels in
Nihilon", from _Black Sea_, the emptiness of modern culture in all its
fashionable trappings; and "Complicated Game", from _Drums and Wires_,
expresses a very fatalistic attitude about choice and fate.

But "Chalkhills and Children" expresses a happiness to be rooted in the
real world, surrounded by ordinary things like children, the street on
which one lives, the surrounding countryside.  But the dream always
comes back to haunt:

    Here I go again!

Actually, I don't like the song all that much.  I felt that "This Is The
End" would have made a much better album closer.  It had a definite
final feeling of closure to it:

    This is the end
    Of all the bread we broke together
    This is the end
    Of all that fine and misty weather

    I don't want to hear you've been crying
    I don't want to hear you've been trying to relight it
    Let it go
    Let it lay down
    Let it go
    And if it won't stay down it's the surest sign
    That something new's beginning

But that's a fish of another colour altogether.

	-- John

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Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 14:39:42 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Squiggly Atom Bombs

Eric Singer <70323.3013@compuserve.com>

>1) There is this little squiggly sound that is found on the Dukes'
>Chips From The Chocolate Fireball CD, inbetween the 25 O'Clock stuff
>and Psonic Psunspot (that is, in between cuts 6-7).  I decided to sample
>it and figure out what it was.  When you slow it down and play it
>backwards, it is, interestingly enough, someone saying, "Hey go fuck
>yourself with your atom bomb."  I think it might be Andy.

Yes, it is Andy, inspired by a song, taped by John Leckie from radio in
New York, sung by a Vietnam Veteran.  The song was called "Go Fuck
Yourselves With Your Atom Bombs" or somesuch.  So Andy sped it up and
turned it around backwards a la the final sounds on "Sgt. Pepper's"
(which co-incidentally were thought to be the Beatles saying "We'll fuck
you like Superman").  The squiggly sound is the final sound on the
original _25 O'clock_ EP.

>I had heard this sound before, played several times in a row, on a tape
>of rare XTC stuff that a friend lent me.  Does anyone know what it was
>on originally?

John Mav, DJ and XTC fan extraordinaire, played this sound, slowed down
and reversed, a number of times on one of his KFJC XTC Specials.  I know
tapes of the KFJC XTC Specials have circulated fairly widely, so it's
possible that your friend had a tape of this.  John Mav also interviewed
XTC and talked to them about this, and the interview explains the source
of both this and the "I'm complimenting you by considering it a song"
bit that sounds like Woody Allen, actually an irate New Yorker calling
to complain about the "Atom Bomb" song.

	-- John

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Welcome, Markus Lamminp{{!

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