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Subject: Chalkhills #183


                  Chalkhills, Number 183

                     Halloween Issue
                Thursday, 31 October 1991
Today's Topics:
            The Third Chalkhills Reader Survey
                     Chalkhills #182
     Re: Oranges and Lemons -- The 8-Track Connection
                        Steely Dan
         Re: Three Wise Men seen at record store
          French paper Part 4 of 4 (plus bonus!)
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Date: Thu, 31 Oct 91 17:05:25 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: The Third Chalkhills Reader Survey

Hello my fellow Chalkhillians,

Yes, it's time for the annual Chalkhills reader survey.  This year
I've decided to try something a little different.  It might take a
little more work on your part, but it might end up giving much more
interesting results!  So please help me out and spend a little time to
compose and send in your ballot.

The Third Chalkhills Survey
---------------------------

Please write a paragraph to answer each of the following questions:

  1. What is your favourite XTC album and what makes it special?

  2. What is your favourite XTC song and what makes it special?

  3. Why do you choose to listen to the music of XTC?

  4. Why did you join Chalkhills and/or The Little Express?

--------

Send your ballot to "<chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org>".
Make sure to set the subject of your message to "XTC SURVEY".
The deadline for the survey is 1 December 1991.

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Subject: Chalkhills #182
From: Dances With Voles <jondr@sco.com>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 91 14:11:58 PST

Shorts <scrs_ltd@uhura.cc.rochester.edu> asks:

>	Has any one seen any epsiodes of 'The Young Ones' (a British Comedy
>shown on MTV about 5 years ago)??  For some reason when I heard 'Fly on the
>Wall' I could of sworn that during one of the episodes Rik said "I wish
>I could be a fly on the wall" and then they went into their music section
>of the show - was that XTC playing 'Fly on the Wall'?  Back then I have never
>heard of them and wasn't really interested in the musical breaks in the show,
>I usually just fast-forward.

Nope, XTC are not in any Young Ones episode, and the song Fly On The
Wall does not back the flies when they give their little speech.  I
have all the Young Ones on tape and watch them all every single day
(well, not quite).

Fly 1: "We're just the Fly On The Wall documentary film crew.  So, how
does it feel to be a fly on the wall?"

Fly 2: "It's overrated."

<CUT TO Rik spraying some nasty chemicals all over the wall.>

Rik: "Filthy bugs!"

>	Also - do they ever perform live??  I've heard a rumor that they've
>played on David Letterman - but for some reason I don't believe that.

Believe it, they were on Letterman to promote O&L.  Colin sang King
For A Day.

Jon Drukman (pure acid hell)                    uunet!sco!jondr   jondr@sco.com
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------
With hungered flesh obscurely, he mutely craved to adore.

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Date: Wed, 30 Oct 91 11:06:58 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Re: Oranges and Lemons -- The 8-Track Connection

The Neuromancer <anders@deakin.oz.au> writes:
> the CD of "Oranges and Lemons" was freely available in two distinctly
>different forms.  The first was the common-or-garden CD format; the second was
>as a trilogy of three-inch CDs, the album being broken up into thirds for the
>exercise.
>
>I have wondered whether the packaging might, given the album's nostalgic
>flavour, have been an attempt to present this album like an old 8-track
>cartridge of similar dimensions.

Now that's an interesting idea.  Actually, the box was the first
incarnation of Oranges and Lemons that I was able to get my grubby
paws on.  But I admit never thought about any resemblence to 8-track
tapes.  Actually, the box is a bit smaller than an 8-track.

I think it was just a marketing gimmick.  The box did not contain any
lyric booklet.  All it had were the discs on the inside and the track
listing printed on the outside.  However, the track order is different
on the box, by one song (Across This Antheap and Cynical Days are
reversed), so that when I got the standard CD I was a little confused.

The box release seems to have more in common with PiL's metal box, a
set of 12" 45RPM discs which make up one album.

	-- John

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Date: Wed, 30 Oct 91 13:06:33 GMT
From: Toby Howard <toby@computer-science.manchester.ac.uk>
Subject: Steely Dan

"The world is full of angry young men" sounds very Steely Dan-ish to me.
Especially the piano part, which sounds like Dan circa Katy Lied era. Also,
Dave sounds like he's trying to play like Larry Carlton!

Anyone else noticed this? Or am I having a funny turn again? :-)

Toby

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Date: Thu, 31 Oct 91 10:56:40 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Re: Three Wise Men seen at record store

J Ross MacKay <ross@ray.grdl.noaa.gov> writes:

> _The Three Wise Men_ with Thanks For Christmas/Christmas Party Time
>on a UK release 45 RPM. It says it includes "the original press release".

Thank you Ross!  Yes, I bought this.  Here's the full text of the
press release included with the single:

			   ``''
		   VIRGIN PRESS RELEASE

    Three Wise Men turn up on Virgin, not Mary, but Records

    "On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me
    a partridge in a pear tree......."

    Yes, Virgin enters into the festive spirit with this
    seasonal offering, `Thanks for Christmas' by The Three
    Wise Men.  The song was penned by well-known writing
    team Kaspar/Melchior/Balthazar, the Far East's answer
    to Holland/Dozier/Holland.  Production was by The
    Three Wise Men and the Good Lord himself.  (released
    Nov 21st Virgin VS642)

    Not surprisingly, the release hits the decks shrouded
    in mystery, intrigue and much speculation.  The
    `What's On In Bethlehem'-style sleeve may well
    proclaim `The Three Wise Men', but this non-de-plume
    cunningly conceals the identity of one of Virgin's top
    pop groups!  Not that we're telling you _which_ band.
    Could it be Culture Club, Human League, Heaven 17,
    China Crisis or even Slapp Happy?  Over to you!  Just
    good clean Virgin fun to keep you guessing right into
    the New Year.  It's certainly countdown to Christmas
    party time.  Cheers!

    November 10th 1983

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Date:         Thu, 31 Oct 91 13:16:40 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject: French paper Part 4 of 4 (plus bonus!)

Here is the end of the paper .....

FRENCH PAPER PART 4 OF 4:

                       MY GARDEN IS A BLACK HOLE

Q: With "Drums and Wires" and "Making Plans for Nigel", you have
obtained your first and nearly only big public success...

AP: We had already released two records and I felt frustrated by the
fact they had been ignored.  It was very pleasant to land up in the
success, but it did not last enough in England, a very changing country.
No sooner had we been known, we were out-of-date...  I then concluded
that England is not interested in what we are doing.

Q: For some bands, success means the beginning of the end.  But for XTC,
on the contrary, it seems it has been the beginning of your perfect
discography: "Black Sea" was your first album having a real unity.  The
first volume of XTC second part?

AP: Yes.  At this moment, Dave Gregory, who had joined us on the
previous album, was perfectly integrated, we were indeed very bound
together.  This album had been especially written to be played on stage.
It was a hot-rod, customized album, whose design destined it to go
faster and hit stronger: two guitars-bass-drums and no superfluous
singing, as on stage.  This album is really representative of the live
machine we were at the time of "Black Sea".

Q: Many are whose who consider your following album, "English
Settlement", as your masterpiece.  Did you record it in particular
conditions?

AP: By this time, I did not want to tour anymore.  It was in this mood
that I wrote this album, knowing I did not want to tour anymore.  This
tiny certainty was enough to remove this heavy weight, this straight-
jacket which prevented us from carrying on our exploration.  We had made
"Drums and Wires" and "Black Sea", we did not manage to go further in
this direction.  "English Settlement" was the the first multicoloured
album, it was the first time we realized there were so many colours on
each side, instead of only one or two, in the middle.  "English
Settlement" is one of our best albums and "Oranges and Lemons" is
comparable to it, with its unity.  An optimistic feeling radiates from
"Oranges and Lemons", a feeling or vigour, rather...  This album has
been made in a vigourous style, I think, which was what missed in the
previous one.  "Skylarking" was very intimate, very hazy, cloudy...

Q: Is the decision not to tour anymore at the origin of the feeling of
"Mummer", the feeling you were like in a monastic retreat, you had
entered your carapace?

AP: We were at this time totally disgusted by the show-biz, we wanted to
retreat...  We do not let ourselves be photographed very often, we do
not run from one party to another, we do not behave like show-biz
people.  Simple because we do not like that.  I do not appreciate at all
the Hollywood-ian glamour they try to impose you as soon as you are a
pop-star.  It is so hypocritical and ridiculous...  Just as we do only
few videos, we do not frequent this circle, we rarely give interviews,
because we do not like to show ourselves...  Above all because of our
deep disgust for the show-biz.

Q: I am sure you remember some Parisian concert, in '82, where you left
the scene during the first song, definitively...

AP: Oh yes, very well, I was sure I would die...

Q: During the song?

AP: During the song, yes.  And after, too.  By the way, I almost died
when I saw the firemen coming, but of shame this time...  I did not
understand anything, I did not know why they had called the firemen,
someone should have told them the guitarist was burning and that they
should go and fetch him...  I think it was due to a mixing of various
things.  A bad diet, too many concerts, an enormous nervous fatigue, a
very little moral...  It was the second nervous breakdown I had on tour
but by a stoke of bad luck, it began on stage...

Q: Have you always hated to play on stage?

AP: Not at all, I loved that at the beginning.  I found there was a
funny and amateur side in the fact of establishing a communication
between us and 150 persons in a pub.  But at that time, we had not any
claim about the show-biz and we had not to be incredibly good, at any
price...  Then the concert halls became bigger and bigger...  How can
you play concerts in front of 15,000 persons, and claim to enter in a
sexual communion with the audience?  I did not like at all this idea of
a would-be sexual relation with the audience.  I like what is true.  I
can, if need be, "penetrate" the mind of one hundred persons in a pub,
but surely not of 15,000 persons in the same time, in a stadium...  In
my opinion, concerts have always been, in five years of touring, moments
when the audience masturbates on one side and us on the other, without
any sex, nor anything but an only "visually" sexual relation,
satisfying, without connection between the band and the audience...  You
are so lonely on stage, you hardly distinguish the bassist on the right
of the scene, the guitarist on the left, you do not see the audience,
only darkness in front of you.  There is no more fun.  When things stop
being funny, you have to try to correct what is wrong.  The scene
disgusted me because I did not like playing the same songs the same way,
each evening, because I did not like being propelled on stage in front
of thousand persons, without having seen anybody during the day, and
having to be great.  And I did not bear the physical fatigue of touring.
In addition to that, we did not sell much records, we lost a lot of
money in these concerts, we were trapped in the promotional tours: all
the negative aspects prevailed over the positive aspects.  There was no
creativity in touring permanently, we prefered to put an end to it.  And
our music became instantly much better: we were relieved of our chains,
we could finally be happy, we did not have to bear all these negative
things any more.  Why should we have forced ourselves?  We liked making
records, not touring.  We have recorded records since then which were
better than the previous ones.

Q: Just after "English Settlement", you recorded "Mummer".  I personally
get from it a feeling of intense claustrophobia...

AP: This album has been made, for the greatest part, in my garden.
Because of my mood at that time...  I was rather unwell, I felt
permanently exposed to the audience, I could not walk out in the street
without feeling everybody recognized me and that I should play my role,
be up to it...  That summer, I spent it in my garden with an acoustic
guitar.  Only the idea of going out made me sick...  I could not go to
the pub, because there were always a few persons who made comments
"Look!  That's him."  I could not bear to be permanently a performance.
"Mummer" reflects this period, were everything was introverted, the
writing, the songwriting, the personalities.  The horizon itself was
like drawn up by the black hole my garden had become, with me and my
acoustic guitar...  I wanted to write, but suddenly the Universe had
collapsed, instead of going its way...

Q: Had this feeling disappeared on the following album?

AP: I shook myself up, to get rid of it.  "Big Express" is more violent,
with a will to act positively, for lack of being positive.  Some have
said it was like a journey by train: after having travelled through the
country with "Mummer", the train crossed the town, with "Big Express".

            BONUS: MY SON OR MY PENIS?

Q: On "Oranges and Lemons", my first surprise has been the "Pink Thing"
lyrics: You wanted to have two levels of reading about them, didn't you?

AP: You have surely already seen these drawings which represents two
profiles facing each other, and you do not know if it was two persons
looking at one another, or the silhouette of a stemmed glass.  I wanted
to use this effect in a song: am I talking about my son, or about my
penis?  I wanted it to be a picture which can be seen on two ways.  The
song begins with "the furious pink thing", because at the beginning, we
called my first son this way when he cried and that he looked like an
hungry exotic plant.  We would say then it was time to take care of the
"pink thing".  I began to play with this idea of title and it instantly
made me think of my sex!  The entire song centres on these two themes at
the same time, like the profiles and the glass.  The first of the two
you see, prevents seeing the other one.

-------

Hope you enjoyed it.
Emmanuel.
No signature.

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