Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #215

                  Chalkhills, Number 215
                    The NONSVCH Issue

                 Wednesday, 29 April 1992
Today's Topics:
                 Peter Pumpkinhead video
                       Re: Nonsvch
                So, er, where's the album?
                    Peter Pumpkinhead
                       More Charts
                    domestic nickname                             
                  RE: Andy's Pink Thing
                      Peter P Video
                       Hit _Peter_
            this is the day, this is the hour
                 XTC don't get no respect
           Nonsvch!!  ...and other stories :-)
                     NONSVCH and Such
                     random comments
                   nonsuch - the review

Date: Mon, 27 Apr 92 17:19:43 PDT
From: ( The Lion of Symmetry )
Subject: Peter Pumpkinhead video

I happened across MTV while idly channelhopping late last night,
and 120 Minutes was on. More importantly, XTC was on! The video
was Peter Pumpkinhead.

I figure I missedd about half of it (I hadn't heard the song yet),
but the video seems to have a lot of JFK assassination imagery,
along with the standard shots of the band. Didn't excite me much,
other than the fact it was XTC. Will have to give it another look...

Who's the drummer?



Date: Mon, 27 Apr 92 18:10:52 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Nonsvch

William H Stoner III <> opines:

>  High points: My Bird Performs (another "double-image"
>song ala Pink Thing but this time by Colin)

I listened to this song fairly closely and I think what Colin is
saying is that he doesn't really get into arts and literature, that
what really makes his oyster pearl is love and sex.  Maybe that's why
all those songs about making love outdoors.  Does anybody have the
Canonical List of Sex References in Colin Moulding Songs?  (Jemiah, I
know you're counting.)  We can start with "Grass", "The Meeting
Place", and "Bungalow"...

	-- John


Date: Mon, 27 Apr 92 18:39:25 PDT
From:  (Barbara Petersen)
Subject: So, er, where's the album?

OK, I'm upset.  I've waited patiently, now it's finally April 27th, and the
nice lady at Tower Records says that not only *don't* they have the new XTC
album, but that it's not on their "New Releases" list for either this week
*OR* next week!  And she thinks it's supposed to be out sometime around the
end of May.  So.... does the nice lady at Tower Records not know what the
hell she's talking about?  Is this yet another "we'll release it in the UK
now, and we'll get around to a US release sometime soon...." sort of deal?
(Read: time to go begging to overseas friends again....  :-)  Or did Andy
decide he needs to go remix the whole thing one more time?

Barbara, sulking

Barbara Petersen                                 
 "Of all the liars in the world, sometimes the worst are your own fears."


Date: Tue, 28 Apr 92 08:38:20 edt
Subject: Peter Pumpkinhead

     Oh happy day! I taped "The Ballard of Peter Pumkinhead" on MTV
120 minutes Sunday night, and after the first run through I thought,
"Eh, not bad." Later, I watched it again and thought, "Yeh, maybe."
Then still later in the day, I watched it again and thought, "Cool!"
Now I'm busy at work and all I can hear in my head is, "Hooray for
Peter Pumpkin, hooray for Peter Pumpkinhead!"
     Of course, being one of the unfortunate ones who wasn't able to
get hold of any advance copies of _Nonesuch_, I will be making a
B-line for Strawberries this afternoon to get my copy. If all the
advance criticisms for Gus D's production habits, and XTC's
over-produced style holds true, I'm sure I'll love _Nonesuch_ as much
as _Oranges and Lemons_ and _Skylarking_.

                                                  -- Gary


Date:         Tue, 28 Apr 92 19:46:47 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      More Charts

In the UK Charts :

According to the Melody Maker :
The Disappointed entered 45th, then 48th and now 36th.

According to Billboard
The Disappointed entered 33rd.

Tell me, are you interested in it or can you have them easily ?



From: (Tim Szeliga)
Subject: domestic nickname
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 92 12:01:20 PDT

>	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

Andy himself claimed "Pink Thing" was their domestic nickname for their infant,
as in "The pink thing is squalling, see if he needs changing."  Granted, it
does take an explanation to double this entendre.


From: William H Stoner III <>
Subject: RE: Andy's Pink Thing
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 92 16:54:02 EDT

In chalkhils #217 DLF <> says:
>        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
>acceptedviews?  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?

Umm well Andy himself has said the song has two meanings, this is either in the
KJFC "This is pop part II" Special or the XTC Radio Tour tape.  I'll dig around
for the direct quote but it was something along these lines.
AP: "I always wanted to write a song like one of those vase/face pictures where
the subject changes depending on the perscpective..."  I myself have never
heard it as a reference to his children but he says it is some ways.

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

Me too, it really is an excelent disc, now all we need are some b-sides...
"Your heart is the big box of paints		    | William H. Stoner III
 And others the canvas we're dealt...		    |  Systems Operator OSU CIS
 Just think how the old masters felt, they call...  |
 Awaken you dreamers"        -XTC "Wrapped in Grey" |  All spoken is IMHO


From: William H Stoner III <>
Subject: Peter P Video
Date: Tue, 28 Apr 92 17:00:42 EDT

Hullo all,

I was finnishing up a Wonder Stuff tape (great guys bTW) sunday night and I
glanced down at the tube and there were Andy, Colin and Dave sitting there
with acoustic gtrs.  I quickly turned up the volume and they said "Stay tuned
for the world premire of our new video"...and a few minutes later Peter P was
shown.  MTv is slightly useful sometimes :-).  Great video...I haven't had time
to compare yet but at the "nailed him to a chunk of wood" bit the gtrs sound
slightly different, anyone else notice this?  Also is the drummer in video Dave
Mattacks, he looked kind of young, could it be Ian Gregory?

"Your heart is the big box of paints		    | William H. Stoner III
 And others the canvas we're dealt...		    | Systems Operator OSU CIS
 Just think how the old masters felt, they call...  |
 Awaken you dreamers"        -XTC "Wrapped in Grey" | All spoken is IMHO


Date: Tue, 28 Apr 1992 16:32:03 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <>
Subject: Hit _Peter_


I heard _Peter Pumpkinhead_ on the local DANCE-HIT radio station!!

I was so surprised I almost drove into a ditch!  Personally, I
am thrilled. I have been trying to get people to listen to XTC
for a long time. Maybe, with a hit on their hands, more people
will 'discover' the band.

Has anyone else been hearing it in 'strange' places?



Date: Tue, 28 Apr 92 19:28:11 -0700
From: Wheel_My_Bloody <>
Subject: this is the day, this is the hour

Well, here it is!
Nonesuch release date, for the masses!
Is this the most momentous day since the Oranges & Lemons release? (Or
was that the conventions?  Or Rag n Bone?)
I don't have mine yet, but my friend Joe has got it, and says he thinks
it sounds like a combination of their last 3 albums (Big Express fans
take note?).  He got on Colin's case, thinking all four Colins were bad
and sappy, but raved about the rest.
So what demos are there, not onthe album?
- Goodbye Humanasaurus
- Always Winter Never Christmas
what else?


Date: 28 Apr 92 22:18:46 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: XTC don't get no respect

   What is it about XTC that inspires so many blunders by folks??
For example:
   Today on CFNY radio, I hear "Peter Pumpkinhead" played on
the "Modern Music Preview". Then the DJ comes on to tell us that
the new XTC album "Nonsuch" is now out. Only he pronounces it
like it was spelled "NUNsuch". Hear me wince...
   Then I buy the CD compilation by Cherry Red Records which
includes Andy's "History of Rock'n'Roll". OK, fine, but then I
read the liner notes and learn that the song is really done by
some dude named "Andy PATRIDGE". Yes, "Patridge"! See me groan...
   You'd think that was enough for a while. But NOOOOOOO!, he
says in his best John Belushi voice. I spy the Go2 cassette and
buy it, I read the "cassette inlay card" and see, to my shock
and lack of surprise, that the band consists of "Andy Partridge:
Guitar   Barry Andrews: Organ   Colin Chambers: Drums" !!!!!!!!
   I mean, Go2 has been out since WHEN?! Do they not have proof
readers at Virgin?! Am I surprised that people are still asking
who the band members' names are? NOOOOOOOO!
   OK, I'll try to calm down now. I'm buying Nonsuch (not Nunsuch)
tomorrow, and I'll think about that.
   But is XTC the Rodney Dangerfield of music, or what? (g).
---> Steve


Subject: Nonsvch!!  ...and other stories :-)
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 92 00:13:11 PDT

First off, I want to say I just bought Nonsuch this morning, not being sure
what to expect, but going into it quite openminded.  From the first listen,
I thought it was excellent, I think it may even be (and is certainly one of)
their best work(s).  Just MHO, of course :-)    The only song that I don't
think too incredibly much of is Bungalow, but it's inoffensive enough and
will probably grow on me I'm sure.

A few weeks back someone wrote here in regards to Andy's fascination with
the Brian Wilson thing something to the effect that, "Chalkhills and
Children is all right, but it's as good as that style gets."  I offer up
"Wrapped in Grey" in response.  I think it is a marvelous, amazing song,
and is certainly right up that vein.

Other favorites for me are (I just *know* you care! ;-) Then She Appeared,
Crocodile, The Vgly Vnderneath, and of course the Ballad of P.P.!!

Just one more thing. writes:

>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...

Smartest Monkeys and War Dance are both Colin's songs, actually.  And,
while I like Colin a lot, I think he's just a little
footed than Andy when speaking on issues; not that he doesn't do it well,
he just does it with less grace than Andy (IMHO).  If you take as examples
of Andy's political writing Ballad of P.P. and Books are Burning, I think
you get a very different picture than with the three songs you listed.
Also, it seems to me the only XTC album (well, since Black Sea, anyway,
which is as far as I go back yet) on which Andy was *not* overtly
political was Skylarking, and then they put Dear God on it so there you
go! (-:   (I'm not, of course, counting the Dukes' album :)

Going to listen to Nonsvch AGAIN! now.
* "I would gladly risk feeling bad at times *  Edward Thomas Keller    *
*  if it also meant that I could taste my   * *
*  dessert."                                *                          *
*            - Lt. Cmdr. Data               *      The Whethermen      *
*              ST:TNG                       *                          *


Date: 29 Apr 92 12:42:35 EDT
From: Eric Singer <>
Subject: Reflex

Did anyone else call up Reflex magazine, ask for a sample copy, and get told
by the operator that it _would_ come with the XTC flexidisk, only to have it
arrive _without_ said flexidisk?

Or is it just me?



Subject: NONSVCH and Such
From: unkaphaed! (James Hartman, Sysop)
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 92 01:36:55 GMT
Organization: Unka Phaed's UUCP Thingy

After waiting (semi)patiently through all this time and all the messages on
Chalkills, I was finally able to have the satisfaction of trotting into my
friendly local CD store and plopping down my hard-earned cash for a copy of
Nonsuch.  After just one listening, I'm hooked.  My only beef about the album
was that the gang could have dropped "Holly up on Poppy," "Crocodile," "Rook,"
and "Bungalow" and had a MUCH tighter sounding album.  My personal fav has to
be "Wrapped in Grey."  Then again, I'm also a big ELO fan - in many places on
the album, I was expecting some Lynne-esque synth sounds to pop in and fade
out!  If the temptation ever crossed their minds, though, they resisted.  :-)
There are some good items for the giant quotes file at work from the lyrics...
All in all, an album worthy of my hard-earned dollars; I'll get many more
hours of pleasure from it than I had to sacrifice to earn the cash, and that's
good value in my mind.  :-)
phaedrus@unkaphaed.UUCP (James Hartman, Sysop)
Unka Phaed's UUCP Thingy, (713) 943-2728
1200/2400/9600/14400 v.32bis/v.42bis


Date:     Wed, 29 Apr 92 12:01 PST
From: <NELSON@uclastro.bitnet>
Subject:  random comments

Well, I hope now that Nonsuch is out that any of those unjustified
fears it wasn't going to be any good have disappeared. Personally,
I don't see how anybody could not like this album. It's just
as good as any of their other releases (as is O&L, Skylarking,
AND The Big Express... so there!)

It's too bad Rip Van R. didn't make it to the album. It's really
a great song. Also Goodbye Humanosaurus was very good and had
my favourite line "treat the Earth like it was dirt". Maybe some
of these will appear as b-sides.

Now, why the heck was Bungalow selected? This is by far the worst
XTC song ever. In fact, it's embarassingly bad and the flanging
sounds really cheezy.

I found it fascinating that some of the lyrics in Omnibus had
been changed:
"ain't nothin' in the world...
make your shakespeare hard
and your oyster pearl"

was originally on the demo
"... make your coconuts
and your oyster pearl"

"ain't nothin' in the world...
make your bonzai weep
and your bamboo curl"

was originally
"... make your fortune cookie
and your bamboo curl"

120 Minutes showed the video for Peter Pumpkinhead last sunday
and they'll probably do it again this week.



Subject: nonsuch - the review
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 92 11:37:56 PDT

obviously i need more listens to really get a handle on it, but here
are my initial impressions of NONSVCH:

the opener, `ballad of peter pumpkinhead' is incredible.  a real
throwback to the BLACK SEA days.  anyone who longs for that sort of
really upbeat energetic guitar-based pop will be more than satisfied
by this track.  there is a little hammond-organesque synth in the
background and a few church bells, but otherwise, it's more or less
unadorned raw fists and knuckles electric guitar pop.  that's the good
news.  the bad news is that this is the only track on the album made
in that style.  so, karlelvis and crew, get this single and avoid the
album.  one thing that puzzles me is why they called it the BALLAD of
peter pumpkinhead.  the song isn't balladesque in the least.  it would
have been more appropriate to call it the LEGEND of peter pumpkinhead.

we move into a rather sweet track by colin called `my bird performs'
which is really puzzling.  maybe i'm missing something, but this track
seems appallingly sexist.  obviously the `bird' could be a real bird
or his woman, but if we're meant to infer the latter choice, lines
like `the cage is open but she's no desire to fly' seem really sick.

dear madam barnum - i intepret this as a kissoff from andy to the
record industry that has treated him like so much shit.  musically,
it's a pretty good upbeat number with a nice propulsive acoustic
guitar rhythm.

now we move into the three tracks that showed up on the single -
humble daisy, smartest monkeys and the disappointed.  my reactions to
these have been duly recorded in chalkhills, so i'll skip ahead. (but
first i'm going to listen to the disappointed again... heh heh.)

holly up on poppy doesn't do anything for me.  too sweet.  and it
jarringly leads into `crocodile,' which is a much better track but
with a message that contrasts weirdly with `holly.'

rook - a strange beast, and one that will no doubt set xtc fans at
each others' throats.  musically, i like it a lot, but i think andy's
voice doesn't work too well in certain parts.  the bits where he's
singing softly work fine, but the louder parts just don't make it with
the arrangement.

omnibus is like some brightly coloured nightmare from the 1960s.  i
really don't like the brass arrangments here.  (but i generally hate
most brass arrangements anyway.)  i'm curious to see if it grows on me
the way it has on woj.  kinda reminds me of the incidental music from
`the prisoner' tv series.

that wave - neat, kinda moody, kinda funky.  i like it.

then she appeared - cute but mostly harmless.  note beatles left/right
stereo trick (try turning balance all the way to one side or the other.)

war dance - nice but mostly harmless.  trite lyrics.

wrapped in grey - a lovely, moody piano+strings number that wouldn't
be out of place on "mummer."  i really like this one.

the ugly underneath - not particularly memorable.  mostly harmless.

bungalow - they really managed to make a good song out of a horrible
demo.  i'm impressed.

books are burning - i was prepared for an all-out assault on the
senses, in the tradition of such closing pieces as "funk pop a roll"
and "train running low on soul coal" (probably still my all time fave
xtc track) but this one was rather mild, actually.  not a bad song,
but from the little express and chalkhills reports i was expecting
something more...

summary: colin's nonsuch songs are MUCH better than the crop of blah
ones he came up with for O&L.  andy continues to be one of the
greatest living songwriters.  people who complained about the
cluttered production of O&L will be slightly mollified - there are
only a few instances of really busy tracks here.  my initial guess
that this would be something like the bastard child of mummer &
skylarking turns out to be pretty much correct.  (i have this feeling
that we'll never see the bastard child of big express and black sea,
which would make lots of chalkhills readers very happy.)  soundwise:
there's this sort of bright jangly electric guitar sound that they use
a lot on this album that REALLY bothers me - i hate jangly electric
guitars more than i hate fascism.  i don't mind acoustics, i love
heavy metal marshall stack monsters, but polite REM-like jangles
make me want to throw up.  fortunately, there is usually enough good
stuff to distract me from my pet peeve.

one other production note: sometimes they use these really BIG drum
sounds that just don't cut it.  they should hire me as producer.  i'd
do it for free even.  :)

i'm REAL curious to see how this album grows on me in the future.  i
remember being absolutely floored by bits of O&L at first blush.  only
`peter pumpkinhead' has really made my jaw drop here, although there
are plenty of other tracks that i really like, of course.  well,
definitely one to work with.

ps: seen the full page ad on the back cover of tower records' pulse!
magazine?  i like it!

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
No matter how hard I scrub, I still exist.                             - Binky


Date: Wed, 29 Apr 92 12:06:52 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Rebvttals

Woj <> opines:

>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".

They've been doing political songs for a while.  How about "Generals
and Majors", "Living Through Another Cuba", "No Thugs In Our House",
"Melt The Guns", "This World Over", "Reign of Blows (Vote No
Violence!)", "The Troubles", "Terrorism", etc.  I think "This World
Over" is one of the most powerful songs XTC have ever written, and I
certainly wouldn't want them to stop being political now!  That's one
of the things I really like about XTC, the fact that they ARE
politically and socially aware (and have views I agree with, in

>by the way, i've seen a bootleg xtc disc called _the acoustic tour_
>or something like that.

I think this is a CD called "Acoustic Tales -- Demos 1989", which
contains the songs from the KROQ 106.7 FM Pasadena California radio
tour appearence, songs from several BBC sessions, and the acoustic
version of "Train Running Low on Soul Coal" from the "XTC Play At
Home" programme.

Steve Levenstein <> asks:
>   So then, is there a "P.Punkinhead" single out there that
>the radio stations are playing?

There is a rumoured promotional CD from Geffen USA called "This Is Not
The New Album" which apparently has "The Ballad..." as its lead track.
The "Radios In Motion...A History of XTC" CD (also from Geffen) has an
edited version of "... Peter Pumpkinhead" as its lead track.

It seems to me that Geffen are really trying to promote "Nonsvch".
For once.  Geffen have been pretty bad about promoting XTC records in
the past, but I think they are putting some money into it this time.
They've already got at least two and probably three promotional CDs
floating around (XTC NAC, Radios in Motion, This is Not...).  And in
the Geffen release of "Nonsvch" there is a flier, in the style of the
"Nonsvch" cover art, which attempts to show reasons why you should buy
ALL of Geffen's XTC back catalog.  The comments in the flier are all
>from Andy Partridge!

>   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?

XTC's "Dear God" appears on "Never Mind the Mainstream -- The Best of
MTV's 120 Minutes Vol. 1", from Rhino USA, available on cassette and
CD.  Does the video cassette include "Dear God"?  Inquiring minds wish
to know.

Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <> scrawls:
>john relph:
>>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?

I see you understood what I was saying.

DLF <> tersely states:

>	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!!

That's not what Andy Partridge says.  He does admit that it IS about
his "John Thomas", but at the same time, it is willfully disguised as
being about a baby.  Two topics.  Count 'em.  Two (2).  There sure are
a lot of octogenarian Lamaists around here.

	-- John


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