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Subject: Chalkhills #174


                  Chalkhills, Number 174

                Wednesday, 28 August 1991
Today's Topics:
                   Last songs on albums
           Re: Fucking oneself with atom bombs
                Son of Andy talks to WFMU
                         Goldmine
                 White Horse of Uffington
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Date: Fri, 23 Aug 91 18:44:35 EDT
From: glickman@hustat.harvard.edu (Mark Glickman)
Subject: Last songs on albums

John Relph writes:

> 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 ....

If I remember correctly, the first American pressing of _ES_
had "Snowman" as the *first* song on the album (i.e., the
single LP without "Yacht Dance", "Knuckle Down", etc.), or
maybe it was the first song on side 2.  I think the last
song was "All of a Sudden," which, of course, expresses even *more* of a
sense of loss than does "Snowman."

                - Mark Glickman

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Date: 23 Aug 91 23:00:39 EDT
From: Jones Rutledge <76516.430@compuserve.com>
Subject: Re: Fucking oneself with atom bombs

 Is there really a song by that title? By what artist?

Is this not one of those endless groove things, several examples of which
exist on vinyl (the beatles have a prominant example which escapes me, I
think on peppers.) If you had a turntable that did not automatically pick
up before the record was over, a vinyl Lp is pressed with a groove that
doubles back on itself to keep the stylus from jumping over to the label.
Several crafty artists would place messages in this groove. Can anybody
name anymore examples?

Both the "disgusting" and the "atom bomb" phrase are on 25 0'clock vinyl.
Isn't one of them a segue between songs?

Did either of these make it do the "chocolate fireball" cd?

jonesrutledge- 76516.430@@compuserve.com

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Date: Sun, 25 Aug 91 22:25:50 PDT
From: John M. Relph <chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>
Subject: Son of Andy talks to WFMU
Organisation: Chalkhills Anonymous

29 June 1991
WFMU, Uppsala College, East Orange
Jim Price speaks to Andy Partridge
Phone interview, edited for broadcast

Recording courtesy of Woj
Transcribed by John Relph
Part Two

				. . .

WFMU: It's got to be frustrating.  If you were just sitting, and a
song came to you would you say, `No more songs'?  What would you do?

Andy: No, I can't do that, 'cos this happened to me the other day.  I
was mooching around I think in a bit of a bad mood and I just suddenly
had the desire to rush down to the shed at the bottom of the garden
where I do all the writing -- a bit like a gnome I suppose -- I just
had to dash down there for some unexplained reason, I had the desire .
. .  I just worked on a little drum loop of very spastic proportions
that has a nice kind of hobbly glide to it.  It was something that
just popped into my head and I had to get it out.  As I worked it out
a song just fell out almost like I'd opened a bag the wrong way 'round
and this song fell out of it.

WFMU: That's great.

A: So it is a bit tricky to deny it but at the same time a lot of
songs, a lot of germinated ideas, that I would have followed through
just never got followed through in recent months because I think we
were going through a pretty bad patch, feeling that there was somebody
out there trying to stop us from making another album.

WFMU: You guys go under the name The Dukes, The Dukes of Stratosphear,
sometimes?

A: That's right.

WFMU: Any chance for a third album?  Because I understand there were
two songs that appeared in a magazine.

A: Yeah, in fact there were two songs.  There was a magazine in
England which I think has now folded, which is a shame because it was
a great magazine.  It was a very highly glossy -- which I think is the
reason why it folded -- magazine that concentrated largely on 60s and
early 70s music.  Each time around there would be features on people,
like early John Martyn recordings, or early Byrds stuff, or a history
of phasing in late 60s music, or something like that.  They were very
specialist kind of late 60s early 70s things.  And I like a lot of
music from that period myself and I rang up the editor, the main man
of the magazine and -- he's a big Dukes fan.  In fact he was partly
responsible, along with a friend of his, for doing a fake Zappa album,
by The Kings of Oblivion, he was involved in that. . .  He likes
musical forgery as well.  And I rang him up and said, `Look, if I sent
you a couple of musical forgeries would you put them out in your
magazine claiming they were authentic pieces from the time?'  I have
no qualms about forgery whatsoever.  I wrote two songs, one I claimed
was by a group called Chalk Cigar Chief Champion.  That was kind of a
song that was everything The Lovin Spoonful did, with big dollops of
Donovan.  That was called "It's Snowing Angels."  I also gave him
another one which I claimed was by a group called The Golden, and that
was called "Then She Appeared."  He was going to put these out
claiming they were long lost archive pieces but I think the magazine
folded literally before the edition that these were due to go in,
which is a real shame.  So I'm kind of stuck with them.  Except I've
since played "Then She Appeared" to Gus Dudgeon, because he's a Dukes
fan, and he said, `God, you should do that seriously!'  So I'm now at
the dilemma where, do I rewrite these ludicrous forgery lyrics to be
more personal or do we just do it as a copy of The Dukes?  So I've got
myself into a real fifth dimension of a dilemma here.

WFMU: Thanks to Mitch Friedman we do have those two songs.  In fact I
should play one of them now, do you want to choose one?

A: Yeah, if you're going to play one, do "It's Snowing Angels" because
the other one we may go, as i say, to work on further so I don't know
in what guise it will happen, but this one, "It's Snowing Angels," I
don't think will ever surface in any way, shape, or form.  So if you
play it it will be like glimpsing a ghost of something that only lived
as a ghost, so it might be the one to play.

WFMU: Are you the band?

A: I'm the band, yeah.  I did it all in the shed at the bottom of the
garden.  I had good fun doing the middle section in which I had to
sort of talk to myself in two different slightly punkoid American
voices.  `He's a bird, he's a bird.'  `No, he's a plane.'

WFMU: [plays "It's Snowing Angels"]

A: Much inspired by the announcer's voice . . .  Did you ever hear the
Wah-Wah Demonstration Record?

WFMU: No.

A: That The Electric Prunes took part on.  There was a flexidisc
Wah-Wah Demonstration Record, you know, the Crybaby Wah-Wah pedal.  In
the late 60s this was going around, trade shows and music shoppes were
giving these out.  And there was a narrator telling you `Here's a
piece of music as played by The Electric Prunes' and there was this
awful, literally really awful piece of, just piece of stuff, music.
And then the narrator says `Now listen to it after The Electric Prunes
click on their Crybaby Wah-Wahs.'  And it was the same wretched piece
of music, guitars going wahwahwahwahwahwahwah, except when they
pressed up these flexidiscs or free singles they got the speed of the
master tape wrong in some way.  It must have been cut really cheaply
or something, because all the versions of the single I've heard [in
voice of record narrator] `the announcer's voice has become strangely
sped up.  And now listen to the same piece of music with the Wah-Wah
pedal clicked down, Electric Prunes!'  [Laughs] He's got this great
sort of punkoid voice.  It's really good.

WFMU: Since you were talking about lifting styles of music from other
bands. . .

A: I like to think of them as . . .  I think forgeries is a different
area than stealing, and I like forgeries to be known that they're
forgeries.  I'd never keep a forgery in circulation totally unknown.
At some point, relatively close to its place of origin, I would say
`This is us,' or `This is a forgery.'  I'd hate people to be kind of
taken in, but it's sort of a self-policing thing, 'cos if you are
taken in you must be not very knowledgeable on the subject because I
think certain things have such a distinct taste and such a distinct
aroma and musical density to their fibrous chewiness that you can't
mistake it.  So maybe forgeries are only for taking in people who
don't know, and if you don't know then you should do some work to
know.  Yeah, I love forgery.

WFMU: As far as forgery then, it seems to me that "Pale and Precious,"
"Chalkhills and Children", is Brian Wilson.

A: Apparently though, somebody played "Pale and Precious" to Brian
Wilson and said, `Do you think it sounds like anyone?'  And he said,
`Yeah, it's Paul MacCartney, yeah, it's Paul MacCartney.'  He didn't
think it sounded anything like the Beach Boys.

WFMU: What do you think?

A: I think I really fluffed the American accent, 'cos you know,
English people can't do American accents very well and American people
can't do English accents very well.  So I think I really fluffed the
trying to sing like a combination of Carl and Brian.  Between two
stools you shall fall, and there you go.  But it was good fun to do
and there are a few parts that kind of smack of authenticity,
especially the surf bit.  I enjoyed doing the surf bit, with Al
Jardine's `Bow bow ba ba ba bop.'  You know, 'cos he's in that punkoid
slightly sped up area.  The Beach Boys are weird 'cos I only ever got
into the Beach Boys over the last few years.  When I was a kid and
they were on the television over here, I just thought they were like
five astronauts.  They were like the closest things I've seen to
astronauts with guitars, you know what I mean?

WFMU: I guess it depends on what period.

A: Yeah but, you look at Mike Love, I mean the candy-striped shirts
and the slacks that are under their armpits and then they have really
baggy crotch areas on them.  You look at Mike Love and Al Jardine and
Carl, I mean they just look like astronauts, there's no getting away
>from it.

WFMU: Those two songs are beautiful, "Pale and Precious" and
"Chalkhills," regardless of where they came from.

A: "Chalkhills" is not a forgery but I do hold my hand up and say,
`Yes, sir, that's me.  I can't help being influenced by latterly
hearing "Smiley Smile" and "Pet Sounds."  I heard "Smiley Smile" for
the first time in '86, '85, 86?  I was stunned, I hadn't heard it
before then, and it was like a piece of wondrous musical history that
had been hidden away, by accident, from me and I just stumbled on it
and I was totally in awe of this stuff, that somebody could do this.
I felt a little upset that I hadn't stumbled on it first.  And think
it was immediately, the word isn't, I suppose it's "inspirational,"
but it immediately unlocked a lot of things in me that it kind of gave
me permission to do them, to work in those areas.  I felt as if there
was a safety net that somebody had already gone out that far and that
I could kind of go out that far and see if I could take it any
farther, perhaps.  I felt that there was a safety net if somebody had
already gone and done that sutff.  I don't know, I can't explain it.
Needless to say, I was pretty gobsmacked.  But "Chalkhills and
Children," that's no forgery, but I do admit there are large chunks of
it that wouldn't have existed in that form had I not been exposed to
"Smiley Smile."

[To be continued]

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Date: Tue, 27 Aug 1991 15:52:41 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <rhb@ucs.usl.edu>
Subject: Goldmine

Did anyone see the reviews of the XTC re-issues in _Goldmine_
magazine? For those of you who don't know, _Goldmine_ magazine
is where most of us (in the U.S.) get our XTC stuff (as
well as just about everything other non-hit-band in the world).
_GM_ is a listing of 'bootleggers', and promo-copy vendors.
I have spent major $$$$ on Depeche Mode, Marillion, and Cure CDs (and
CDSingles) out of this newspaper/magazine.

They also review new releases and re-releases. Here is what they
had to say about XTC.

=============================================================================

Reviews by Tierney Smith

These reissues of XTC's ealier output include the original tracks along
with some additional tracks, recorded during the respective LP sessions,
not included with the original recordings. And, if anything, these
recordings reveal just how much the band has grown and improved with each
successive release. None of them can compare with XTC's most recent works
(_Skylarking_, and _Oranges and Lemons_) but they are interesting insofar
as the reveal how far the band has come.

_White Music_, their debut, is the rawest-soudning of the bunch --
showcasing the band's cude beginnings -- it reveals little of the band's
gift for melody and is more notable for a hideous cover of "All Along the
Watchtower". As is often the case with everything here, the record's best
moments are those unavailable on the original recording.

_Go 2_ sounds less restrictive, thought singer Andy Partridge
continues to utilize a delberately dopey delivery and the propulsive
pop hooks of "Crowded Room" and "Are you Receiving Me" almost
make up for the general mediocrity which surrounds them. Likewise,
1979's _Drums and Wires_ has only a few tracks worthy of repeated
listenings (Life Begins at the Hop, Reel by Real).

Better is 1980's _Black Sea_, which showcases a more lyrically
mature band with some stabs at social commentary (i.e.
the eco-anthem "Smokeless Zone").

Finally there is 1983's pleasant but unexceptional Mummer, containing
one great song (Jump). Clearly, for XTC, the best was yet to come.

=============================================================================

It is a good thing we listen to XTC and not to _Goldmine's_ advice, no?

Rendell the Peeved

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Date: 28 Aug 91 11:19:52
From: John.J.Pinto@dartmouth.edu
Subject: White Horse of Uffington

John Relph's very interesting analysis of the lyric to "Chalkhills and
Children" (C.H. #173) suggests that the "Chalkhills" could possibly
represent England or "a happiness to be rooted in the real world ..., the
surrounding countryside".  This seems to be very near the point when one
considers the image of the White Horse of Uffington that with great
simplicity and power adorns the cover of English Settlement. An image that
for many years rivaled the Drums and Wires cover as the visual logo of XTC.
The White Horse is in fact a massive prehistoric earthwork found on the
Wessex Downs, a short distance east of Swindon. Thought to be Celtic in
origin and perhaps 2000 years old it is one of a number of earthworks found
in the Wessex Downs. It's shape was formed by cutting away the surface
vegetation of a five hundred foot high slope to reveal the solid white
chalk deposits that underlie large areas to the east and south of Swindon.
The Little Express cover of March 1986 has a wonderful photo of Andy, Colin
and Dave standing on Dragon Hill, the place according to legend that Saint
George slew the Dragon, with the White Horse seen in the distance. Clearly
this place of mythic and historical significance would be familiar to all
but of special importance to the local population. The point of all this is
that the "Chalkhills" of the song and by extension this electronic meeting
place are exactly that, the chalkhills that comprise the area near Swindon.
It seems a simple leap of the imagination to see Andy finding solace and
renewal in "Chalkhills and Chidren".

Here are some other speculations.

1) The Icarus imagry could stand a much closer examination. It is refered
to indirectly in "Minature Sun", by name in "Chalkhills" and appears as the
central theme of the art work for the Dukes album. I've been toying with
this for some time and have an idea that there is a visual riddle on the
cover of the Dukes cover. I wouldn't put it past Mr. Partridge to have
constructed a labyrinth for us all to thread our way through.  It would be
in keeping with it's psychedelic tone.  Your thoughts on this puzzle would
be greatly appreciated.

2) The Little Express reported last year ? that Andy was flown to New York
for a photo shoot to illustrate an ad for an apperatif or some type of
alcohol, Fra Angelico perhaps. What ever became of that?

3) The Beach Boy- XTC similarities need to be explored. There are some
interesting parallels in both music and history. For example <tortured
musical geniuses suffer mental breakdowns while on tour and refuse to
perform live>.  If you haven't you really should listen to Smiley Smile. It
will change the way you hear XTC.

John Pinto
johnpinto@dartmouth.edu

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A big welcome for Kathi Samec who loves XTC!

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