Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #214

                  Chalkhills, Number 214

                  Monday, 27 April 1992
Today's Topics:
                    Peter Pumpkin Hit?
                     Chalkhills #213
                      random musings
         XTC on French TV (but only 10 minutes!)
                       Primus found
                   Andy's 'Pink Thing'
                 AP interview on Radio 1
         CD Collector : Nothing but a mistake :((

Date: Fri, 24 Apr 92 19:47:02 EDT
Organization: fegmaniax anonymous
Subject: miscellaneous

"John M. Relph" <> sez:
>I don't know why people are already complaining about "Omnibus", I
>like this song, and I like the "clutter".

"omnibus" didn't do much for me at first, but as i got more and more
hooked by this record, this one has become a stand-out. the "clutter"
reminds me a lot of the arrangements on _the big express_. lots of
things going on and very dense.

i keep liking _nonesuch_ more and more. it grows on you, but not in
an accustomed-to-listening fashion. it's more of an insidious thing.
the songs are all likable, but they take time to absorb. at least,
that's how it is with me.

one thing i was thinking about though: i'm not sure if i like andy's
trend for social/political songs. i mean, i agree with the sentiments
of "peter pumpkinhead" and "the smartest monkeys" and "war dance",
but they do not seem to be songs that i'd think of as xtc songs. i
don't think that xtc should limit themselves to hippy-dippy stuff
like "then she appeared" either, but the "aware" ones don't seem as
enticing to me. i much prefer the confusing stuff, like "omnibus".

by the way, i've seen a bootleg xtc disc called _the acoustic tour_
or something like that. this is not to be confused with  _the acous-
tic radio tour_ tape as it is a complete or nearly complete collection
of songs. i haven't purchased or listened to it yet - anybody else
spot this?



Date: 24 Apr 92 20:16:27 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: Peter Pumpkin Hit?

   Having heard "The Disappointed" a half-dozen times on Toronto's
CFNY-fm radio over the past few weeks, I decided to tune in to
their "Thursday 30" show last night in hope of finding that
song somewhere on their list. CFNY calls this "Thursday 30"
countdown a rundown (their word) of the past week's most
requested songs.
   So I'm listening, and the DJ says "...and we'll be right back
with XTC!". After the (beer) commercial, what do I hear but
"The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead"! And it was #11, yet!!
I never did hear "The Disappointed" (I admit that I missed the
first 10 or so songs), but 2 XTC tunes among the week's top
30 requested songs is a bit much for me to believe.
   So then, is there a "P.Punkinhead" single out there that
the radio stations are playing? That was the rumoured USA
single, was it not? Well, I may answer my own question tomorrow
when I check out the downtown record/CD stores. Report to follow!
   Hey Mark Laforge, are you still working at A&A Records?
I've bought many an unusual XTC release there, perhaps because
you influenced their buyer. A belated Thank You! (g).
   In other news, I picked up the oft-talked of "Reflex"
magazine (with XTC looking good on the front cover) sans flexi
sadly, but a good article. Nice to see XTC's name among so
many new young cool groups!!
   In a recent "Spin" magazine, there was an ad for a two-CD
set called "The Best of MTV's 120 Minutes", which includes XTC
(but what song it did not say). You get a video cassette along
with the double-disc package, anyone know more about this one?
---> Steve


Subject: Chalkhills #213
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 92 15:36:31 PDT

john relph:
>>"Nonsuch" is better than 95% of the dreck that passes for pop today.
>I think that's the only reason to listen to XTC -- their throw-aways
>are better than most pop hits.

ONLY reason?  how about they're just plain brilliant?

>That was one of my complaints about "Oranges and Lemons"; the mood
>and sound changed too radically between tracks.  Even when the mood
>changes on "The Big Express" I am not jarred, as the overall feeling
>or quality is very consistent.

i don't find that to be much a complaint - i have no problem with
listening to wildly varied tracks.  i agree that the big express
managed to be very consistent - mostly because the sounds stay the
same.  a function of the technology?  you'll notice the drum sounds
(which go a long way towards "defining" a record) on almost every
album prior to O&L are internally consistent.  on O&L they were
experimenting with samples and different drums, and you can tell. (Bartholomew D'Alauro) sez:

>I did notice that it seems that Dave Mattacks is on his way to
>becoming the fourth XTC member, for he plays drums on every track
>except Rook and is responsible for the occasional sample throughout.
>Looks like they may have finally replaced terry. More to come maybe
>afer a few more listens.

huh?  how is dave mattacks any more of a band member than peter
phipps, prairie prince, ian gregory or pat mastelotto??

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
When we think we know ourselves, we are the victims of a delusion - A. Crowley


Date:         Sat, 25 Apr 92 23:56:39 EDT
From: Ben Zimmer <>
Subject:      random musings

While I wait for Nonesuch to hit New Haven stores, I've been musing about how
the boys from Swindon are seeping into the nation's subconscious.  Two points:
** In the latest Newsweek, they talk about the new "rave" clubs in L.A. and San
Francisco, where, apparently, they ingest both Ecstasy (which, as we all know
is abbreviated XTC) and a drink called Psuper Psonic Psybertronic.
** I noticed in a toy store one of those Uzi-style water pistols which clearly
had printed on it "X.T.C."
Kinda makes you think, huh?

And another thing... for those of you who have heard "Then She Appeared"
already - do you hear a nagging similarity to "Uptown Girl," or is it just me?

                                                              Ben Zimmer


Date:         Sun, 26 Apr 92 14:09:04 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      XTC on French TV (but only 10 minutes!)

Well not more than half an hour ago, there has been XTC on French TV.
Well, more exactly, Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding (yes, NOT Dave
Gregory... what's the matter ?) were interviewed on the Antoines de Caunes
show "Rapido" (it is also broadcoasted in England under the same title I guess)
They were in Paris, I wonder why ( I hope that does not mean that the
acoustic radio show has been already done !!!!), and answering some very
ordinary questions ("We're not stars, I don't want to play on stage anymore,etc
...), they play acoustic bits of Peter Pumpkinhead, and, well, it sounded
rather great !!(Colin had an acoustic bass)
Only two new things (apart from the fact I have seen bits of "Disappointed",
"Dear God","Mayor Of Simpleton" clips, which were brand new for me):
-an intermedary title between "Balloon" and "Nonsuch" has been "Milk"
-Colin said "Dave and I would very much like to tour again, but if it means
that the band would then split, well, we prefer to stay as we are"
That's all !



Date: 26 Apr 92 18:50:35 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: Primus found

   Well, our CD shopping trip did not harvest a "Peter Pumpkinhead"
single (g), but we did find the Primus CD single "Miscellaneous
Debris". Besides "Nigel", they do interesting versions of
Pink Floyd's "Have A Cigar" and Peter Gabriel's "Intruder".
   Alas, I was not very impressed by their straightforward
cover of "Nigel", although I was impressed that they covered
it at all.
   Ahhh, the agony of expectation!! Nonsuch is to be released
tomorrow, and I'll be haunting the CD stores until I've got it!
---> Steve


Date: Mon, 27 Apr 92 11:06:12 +0100
From: DLF <>
Subject: Andy's 'Pink Thing'

	I don't usually write but I think it's about time I expressed my view
on a topic that I've always felt other Chalkhillians misunderstand (Apologies
to those, who like me, don't and just keep quiet about it.)

	William H Stoner III writes:

>My bird Performs (another "double- image" song ala Pink Thing but this time
>by Colin )

	What is he on?  Or just quoting other previously suggested and accepted
views?  Pink Thing does NOT have to topics.  Only an 80 year old 16th century
tibetan monk would not realise that this song is about Andy's WILLY!  Sorry to
be blunt but it is the truth.  HIS PIECE, his JOHN-THOMAS, etc!!  Maybe its
a case of the Emperors New Clothes?  But why try to read anything else into it?

	I feel better now after expunging myself.


Ps I'm glad that there are some positive comments about NONSUCH flying about


Date: Mon, 27 Apr 92 11:51:43
Subject: AP interview on Radio 1

BBC Radio 1 broadcast an interview with Andy Partridge on Saturday 25 April.
Here is a tidied up transcript (without the ums and ahs) reproduced
without permission.  The interviewer was "Whispering" Bob Harris.

[ plays Peter Pumpkinhead ]

Peter Pumpkinhead: another one of the characters that have peppered XTC lyrics
over the years, and the man responsible for so many of those songs, Andy
Partridge, is with me in the studio.

[in German accent] Nein, Nein, I was only following orders.
Ah, give me that harp boy.  I was just thinking, I'm going to have to
blow some more harmonica on these songs.

Yeah, it sounds really, really good that track.

I enjoyed having a grunt away through the old harmonica.

Tell us about him then, Peter Pumpkinhead, who is he?

My goodness.  The few people that have heard this track so far all think
it's about somebody different, which is kind of mischieviously intentional.

Cos  I've heard it's about Lennon...

Ah well, that's interesting.  Well, there's another name for the hat then.
People have said. "Ooh, it's Jesus, isn't it?", "Ooh, it's Kennedy, isn't
it, this song?", "This is a song about Lennon, isn't it Andy?".
An interviewer said, "It's a song about the Pope, right?", cos the
pumpkinhead is like the hat thing he wears.  "It's Joan of Arc, isn't it
Andy.  You've changed the sex".  It's about all those people, and none
of them.  He's a kind of a general, all-purpose, hero figure that is too
good for his own good.  And, as with all good hero figures, the government
have him bumped off.  Which is very sinister, and kind of run-of-the-mill
for people who get too big.

Cos this is going to be the next single, isn't it, the follow-up to
"The Disappointed"?

That's right.  We hope to abrasively rub this like sandpaper into the ears
of the British public.

Were you disappointed that the last single didn't do better?
It peaked at number 32, which isn't bad, but seemed again somehow to
me to characterize XTC; just sort of edging into the charts, but never
actually, with the one exception of the big album in 1982, English
Settlement, really getting big top ten singles and big top ten albums.
Have you been disappointed over the years?

Only a tiny bit.  A little disappointed that the British public didn't run
out in their droves and buy it, as opposed to some of the other things that
are in the charts.  Then again, we must be regarded as Martians I think
by the British public generally.

Some of the experiments you have experimented with over the years with XTC
have been very expansive, haven't they.  The band has presumably soaked up
a fair amount of record company money without ever yielding a massive

That's an interesting way of putting it... bit of a sponger that Partridge.
Well, I heard a couple of weeks back that we only have quarter of a million
debt left to pay Virgin.  It's very hard to pay a quarter of a million debt
on 5p in the pound royalties.  Let me see, how many centuries does that make
it before we get in the black?

You're still around doing your albums.  This one, again, has got so many
different facets to it.

We're still around doing the records because it gets a bit like a disease.
You start in the pop world, and you have a - well I certainly did, 15 years
ago - I had a totally different mentality to what I have now.  A totally
different body, I may add.  It was just the rock and roll gang mentality
which a lot of bands start out with, and some bands aren't allowed to drop.
Nobody's going to let the Rolling Stones be the bank managers that they are
now - they're going to see them as this crumbly old rock and roll gang thing.
But we started with a rock and roll gang mentality - we wanted to drink the
world dry, and mate with the rest of it; and you do that, and then you start
thinking, hang on, this isn't as enjoyable as the music stuff.  And it
takes a long time to come round to realising that the best thing is the
music.  And you get really selfish, and you just... I want to be the
world's best songwriter.  I'm not interested in any of this rock god
nonsense.  Not for me.

Let's have another track from the album, and this is one that Andy has
picked to play himself.  It's called Books are Burning.

[plays Books are Burning - conversation starts again as track fades]

That's Books are Burning.

Yes, the band sinking gracefully in the West as they fade there.
[sea dog or pirate voice] Gracefully into the West me darlin's.

Burning books always represents to me the most profound demonstration of
censorship.  Is that the theme of the song?

Yes, it's a surrogate murder. I think the idea behind book burning is,
well, first of all you burn the books, and then you burn the author, and
then I think we'll burn all the people that read it, and, wait a minute,
I think we'll burn their neighbours as well, and all the neighbours' relatives
until there's nobody left that disagrees with us.  It's the tip of the
iceberg of a lot of frightened regimes with totalitarian leanings unfortunately.

Was the Salman Rushdie situation also relevant?

That was partly inspirational in writing this.  Literally in the space of
a couple of weeks I saw a shocking news report about this death thing for
Salman Rushdie, but equally shocking to me was the visions of his books
being burned in London.  Here we are in mediaeval England with books still
being burned.  And literally in the same space of a couple of weeks I
heard that in America the Christian Right.. [German accent] Das Christian
Reich ... are destroying C S Lewis' "Chronicles of Narnia" because
[TV evangelist voice] it provokes demon worship, let me tell you children.
Oh goodness, America's become Iran hasn't it?  Iran with slightly more
hamburger stands.  I love books - they should be human sanctuary.  You should
be allowed to write anything, any opinion that you like, in a book - good,
bad, ugly - anything you want.  And I think it should be a sanctuary area;
a sanctuary for human communication.

Tell us about the making of the album itself, because I know you've got
a sort of basic home studio, haven't you?

Basic is not the word.  Yes I have a little cylinder recorder there.
[makes noise like static - then sings]  Oh, I want to be loved by you.

With the elastic bands and all that?

That's right, yeah.  Get the little Jap to peddle faster - Come on,
I want 78 rpm out of you!  [Japanese accent]  Oh, ok.

Did you do any of the work for this at home?

It was all written at home in the little shed at the bottom of the garden
where I take myself off with copious coffee and lock myself away from the
world, and don't dare take a phone down there - that's just suicide, you know?

Cos Dave Mattacks is the drummer on the album, isn't he?

Yes, he's thumping those tubs.

It's amazing at the moment because virtually everything from Great Britain
either has Simon Phillips on drums or Dave Mattacks on drums.  In America
it's Jeff Puccara (sp?) seems to be on absolutely everything.

While we were rehearsing this stuff in Colin's living room with copious
tea, and doilies on the little table you know, sat around strumming -
oh, what was that chord there?  Oh, hang on, you can't do that; I'll
hold that with my foot if you want to get the right shape - we're saying
what drummer, as a fantasy, would we really like to work with.  And then
three or four names came up - it was "Oh yeah, how about [mumble, mumble]?"
And like the top of the pile, the top fantasy drummer, would be Dave
Mattacks for us.  And literally the same week somebody went to a
Fairport Convention gig - cos Dave's regular thing is the Fairports -
and they brought back a programme, and it had an interview with Dave
Mattacks saying, of all the people you've drummed with; you know,
Paul McCartney, Brian Eno, and I'm not going to mention a few of the others -
ok, Max Bygraves - I mean, he's on half of your record collection out there;
you probably don't know it, but that's him drumming.  Of all the people
you've drummed with Dave, who would you really like to drum with that
you've never been asked.  And he said Joni Mitchell or XTC.  So I just had
to get on the phone to him straight away - donning my long blonde wig
and fake teeth.  But he saw through the disguise immediately, and I said
it's not Joni, it's Andy.  So for him we were a dream gig, and for us he
was a dream drummer, so it was a great piece of happenstance.

Good luck with the album.  It's great to see you back at Radio 1, and
back with such a terrific LP.

Cheers m'dears.

We'll hear a final track from it now.  Andy Partridge, thank you very much

Ok, thanks alot.

[ Plays Dear Madam Barnum - a track which I found very reminiscent
  of the Hollies' "Carrie Anne"! ]


Date:         Mon, 27 Apr 92 18:25:23 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      CD Collector : Nothing but a mistake :((

Not surprising indeed that no one knew about this special offer !
I finally encounter one seller who was apparently an XTC fan and he explained
me it was nothing more than a mistake !!
The offer concerned in fact, The Sisters Of Mercy's last album !!
I've spent the day dreaming of a studio session of "Rocket" or anything else..
:(((((( here.
Hopefully I really like a lot the album :))))))))
Sum makes :)) ....

Emmanuel Marin. Here for only two months now :(


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