Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #218

                  Chalkhills, Number 218

                  Wednesday, 6 May 1992
Today's Topics:
                   Re: Chalkhills #217
                     Chalkhills #217
                     Re: madam barnum
                    Nonsvch (at last)
           Nonsuch Stuff (Was Chalkhills #216)
                      MTV UNPLUGGED
                well, what _I_ think is...
      Don't lose hope on the REFLEX flex-disc track
                 Nonsvch: several things
                   XTC items available
              Paul Wilde, the UK's "Mr XTC"
                         I Reply
       it COULD have been a VERY nice week . Part 2
                  Two sense of Non-cents

Date: 5 May 92 15:28:43 EDT
From: Jan Schiffman <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #217

To the "Honed Machine" (!?!) - The Big Express and the 8-bit Linn
Whack ? Considering when the album was released, an 8-bit Linn would
have been low-budget in the extreme. The old 8-bit Linn used lousy
EPROMs and did not have any characteristic "Whack" to it. I used one
in the studio in 1986 and it had all the character contained in
whatever sound was written to the EPROM. That "Whack" could have been
produced with any gate and reverb units, and would have avoided all
of the triggering hassles that Linns and their kind create.

Jan Schiffman
Systems Specialist
The Wharton School
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia, Pa.


Subject: Chalkhills #217
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Tue, 5 May 92 12:41:26 PDT

Dan Rice writes:

>Then She Appeared: What can I say, backwards drumming!  They must have
>taken some tips from the Dukes (or borrowed their guitars perhaps).  I
>love the line "All Edward Leared," I don't know why.  I mean, what
>word does "Edward" replace?  I like this song in a Dukes-y way, but I
>wouldn't rank it as a great XTC song.

Edward Lear is the name of an author.  Using it as a verb is just Andy
being clever.

>War Dance: Again, simplistic lyrics, but a neat musical concept in the
>combination of the bass grunt and the synth-bassoon riff.  I like that

You're the second person to call it a bassoon.  It's a clarinet.
(Actually, it's a sample, as is the saxophone, but who's counting...?)

>The Ugly Underneath: Andy's compressed vocal and the driving
>instrumentation in the opening portion of the song harks back to
>_Drums and Wires_ or _English Settlement_,

it's just like No Thugs In Our House.  check it out.

>	Here's something interesting I didn't know: a rook is a type
>of crow.  So the narrator of _Rook_ is only talking to one being, not two.
>I still don't understand all of the meaning of the song, though.

basically, the conceit in "rook" is that the bird, by virtue of its
ability to fly and watch over humanity, is more or less omniscient.
thus, the song is andy asking the bird to tell him all sorts of
secrets, like who's killing who, when will i die, all that sort of
mystical junk.  "Is that my name on the bell?" -> "do not ask for whom
the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."

Jemiah Levon Jefferson <> writes:

>You guys are torturing me!  Am I the only person in the country who
>doesn't have the album yet?  Look, I'm a student, I don't have time
>to go off campus and get albums.

gotta get your priorities straight.  O&L came out when i was still in
college.  i took the bus downtown first thing that morning, got there
just as the shop was opening, grabbed a copy, plunked it in my handy
dandy portable CD player and enjoyed it on the bus back to campus.

if XTC isn't worth a missed class or two and $12, then i don't know
what is.

"Bird Rendell H." <> writes:

>I *think* I have figured out a natural progression / continuing thread
>in the last few XTC albums:

nice idea but we all know that skylarking was todd rundgren's conceit.
he took the demos, sifted through them all and picked 14 songs that
embodied his "cycle of life" idea.  he laid out the running order and
everything long before XTC set foot in his studio.

>I supposed the next album will have multiplication tables set to
>a rock-n-roll beat!       ;-)       ;-)

it would be great if XTC would do a cover of "zero my hero" or any of
those excellent multiplication rock cartoons.  those cartoons taught
me lots of important math, grammar and history lessons that i still
remember today.  it was particularly fun in high school to hear
everybody humming the musical version of the preamble to the united
states constitution during an american history exam.

>p.s. To all of you who don't care much for 'Rook': y'all obviously
>don't play the piano!   Dave is really working hard in that song.

i play the piano and i don't care that much for `rook.'  try again.

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
What's wrong with you?  What's wrong with everybody in this CRAZY PLACE???


Date: Tue, 5 May 92 14:49:54 PDT
From: (Karen Schipper)
Subject: Re: madam barnum

first, i think Nonsvch is great!  i find myself singing
one line over and over in my head and stop to think about
where i heard it, and realize it's xtc.

re: madam barnum, one of my favorites - i agree with John's
interpretation that the song is about a relationship that
is over.  She is cheating on him.

i'll do a business analysis major explication for you:

"children are clapping/as i fall to the floor
my heart torn and broken/and they just scream for more"

isn't the person who is betrayed always the last to
know?  then there is the feeling that everyone is laughing
behind your back.  and people do seem to have a preoccupation
with entertaining themselves with others misery.  god, don't
you read the Enquirer????



Subject: Nonsvch (at last)
Date: Tue, 05 May 92 14:55:42 -0700
From: Jemiah Levon Jefferson <>

Well, after my inspired (not) bitch 'n' moan on the list
last go round, I actullay did run out and buy Nonsuch.
And since everyone else is reviewing the platter, I may
as well fling my opinion in as well.  I should have
written my thoughts on paper at the first listen (I've
only listened to it once so far -- I am, after all, a
student), so I can only be vague.
"peter pumpkinhead" just didn't impress me much.  It was
almost stereotypical XTC.  It didn't reach out and grab me
like the first track on an album should ("wake up", for
"dear madam barnum" is much better.  I reached a state of
near Colingasm on "smartest monkeys" -- such flavoursome
bass work and the production is just polyester, which I think
works well for Colin's more restrained way of writing melody.
"Crocodile" was nice, as far as I can remember, "Rook" was
touching (and very _Mummer_ --I instantly thought of "ladybird"),
I liked "omnibus" despite the cheezball lyrics, and "then she
appeared" just doesn't disappoint at all.
"War Dance" almost made me cry -- the demo version was SO MUCH
COOLER!!  Now it sounds like a Vegas lounge act.  Yuck.
"Patriotic romance, doobie doobie doo, how're you doing,
ladies and gentelmen..." Shudder.  Worst Colin mistake since
Favorite metaphor -- "The smell of burnt book isn't
unlike human hair" (or something along those lines).
THE VERDICT: Worth the wait.  Almost.  And the production
isn't that bad.  There's always "touch me I'm sick" for
those special grunge moments one gets.
Gotta motor.  Peace.


Date: Tue, 5 May 92 15:29:38 PDT
From: (I'm not weird, I'm *peculiar*)
Subject: Nonsuch Stuff (Was Chalkhills #216)

>From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
>>XTC is no longer interested in pushing the envelope of music
>>creativity as they once were.
>oh please.  explain to me how recording verse/chorus/verse pop songs
>with guitar, bass, drums and keyboard is "pushing the envelope of
>music creativity" compared to the current musical experiments of the

	Jon, I thought we'd been over this before.

	Fact: musical education does not provide taste, or
	understanding of art, or in fact any voice of authority
	in matters musical.

	Your comment above is much the same as questioning how
	one can 'Be artisticvally innovative' with paint and
	canvas. It's not the tools; it's the finished product.
	The fact that the meduim is basic does not in any way
	alter the 'Creativity' of the artwork. Now run along and play
	with your toys.

Now, on this latest record;

	I'm surprised. On one quick listening... I actually
	like it.

	I'm pleased to admit that. After the tripe passed off as
	an XTC album in O&L, I was ready to give up. I guess the
	boys get another chance. More in-depth view after more
	in-depth listening....


  Karl Elvis MacRae 408-922-496   |Steed: VT1100C
  Sun Microsystems, Milpitas, CA |  I DON'T SPEAK FOR SUN...  |DoD#1999
	"The Devil wants to fuck me in the back of his car..."
							-Nine Inch Nails


Date: Tue, 5 May 92 17:49:51 EST
From: david bregande <>
Subject: Wardance

	Personally, I think Colin's lyrics on WARDANCE are rather clever.
RE: There's a cheap sensation keeping fleet street wide awake
    Everyone wants a piece of the jingoistic cake...

Is anyone out there familiar with the morbid British musical titled
SWEENEY TODD? It starred Angela Lansbury (from that stupid show MURDER, SHE
WROTE) and some other bloke whose name I can't remember.

ANYWAY---- Sweeney Todd was a barber on Fleet street (the demon barber of
fleet street, as the opening scene tells the story) who would lure customers
into his barber shop, kill them with his razor, and have his wife cook them
up in cakes to sell for a little extra cash. I understand they were rather
	Although I think I misquoted Colin's exact lyrics, the connection is
certainly there, and I think it's cool. So there.

	And if you get a chance to rent the video or pick up the album for
SWEENEY TODD at the local library, you will not be disappointed (that word
keeps popping up, doesn't it?) Oh well.

Later on...
						-Dave Bregande


Date: Tue, 5 May 92 17:36:56 EST
From: david bregande <>

	XTC is scheduled to play on MTV's UNPLUGGED in June or July.
I can't remember the exact date, but my brother heard an announcement
on the radio at home. Who knows? If this performance is MTV's top
billing on UNPLUGGED for that month, we could be seeing a ROCKUMENTARY
or even a videofest!  Now wouldn't that be something!
					-David M. Bregande
					 University of Notre Dame
There's a cheap sensation keeping fleet street wide awake...


From: "once a Calvinist, always a Calvinist" <>
Subject: well, what _I_ think is...
Date: Tue, 5 May 1992 17:09:32 -0700 (PDT)

    From: Galen Tatsuo Komatsu <>

    (another question):  How does one pronounce "Nonsvch"?

Doesn't anyone use the dictionary anymore?  Even the mediocre
Webster's Ninth New Collegiate here in my office lists "nonsuch" as
a variant of "nonesuch", pronounced "nun-such" (although "non-such"
is given as an alternate).  This also makes whoever was complaining
about a radio DJ pronouncing it "nun-such" look pretty silly.

    Subject: very little to say
    From: Jemiah Levon Jefferson <>

    Except ARGHH!  You guys are torturing me!  Am I the only person
    in the country who doesn't have the album yet?

No, just the only one on this mailing list...don't feel too bad,
I didn't get it until yesterday...

    I'm a
    student, I don't have time to go off campus and get albums. [...]
    I guess they play it on the alternative station here, but I'm
    a student, I don't have time to listen to the radio.

Geez, if you don't have time to buy albums OR listen to the radio,
what the heck are you doing wasting your time with email?  Get back
to work! :-)

    From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>, the unmitigated Joe Turner writes:

    >The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead - Just wow.  Just WOW.  VERY "Big
    >Express", to these ears.

    black sea.  no question.

As usual, Jon, you're nuts.  If it had been on "Black Sea" there would
have been at least 10 more syllables on each line.  Okay, the rhythm
guitar is reminiscent of "Respectable Street", but the rest of it
sounds pretty "Big Express" to me.

    >Dear Madam Barnum - a little hokey, but the Gus Dudgeon cameo is cool
    >and it does chug along nicely.

    it's one of my favorites now.

Okay, so you're not COMPLETELY nuts.  I love this one, too; insanely
catchy and toe-tapping.

    >Humble Daisy - sounds like a "Mummer" b-side, or "Seagulls Screaming Kiss
    >Her Kiss Her" on valium.

    sounds like "chalkhills and children" minus anything of interest.

I wouldn't go that far, but I do find that I liked this less on the
album than I did when listening to your single.  I'm afraid this is
one song that won't age very well.  This along with "Holly Up On
Poppy" is one of the least attention-getting songs on the album.

    >Omnibus - Another "English Settlement" song, played by "Oranges &
    >Lemons" musician.  The verse is ok, but the refrain ("Ain't nothin' in
    >the world like a...") makes the whole song worth it.  My 2nd favorite
    >song on the album.  I think this should have ended the album.

    i hate this.  way too brassy.  *dumb* lyrics.

I think it's great.  Totally giddy and over-the-top.

    >>dear madam barnum - i intepret this as a kissoff from andy to the
    >>record industry that has treated him like so much shit.
    >Gee, I thought it was about a dying relationship in which the woman
    >treats the man poorly and prevaricates to him.  So he's saying, "Hey,
    >I've had enough of this, I'm getting out, I quit".  I especially like
    >the lines "If I'm not the sole fool \ Who pulls his trousers down"
    >which for me mean that there are probably more fish in the sea for
    >Madam Barnum...

    i dunno.  i'll do a real college english major explication for you:

    "children are clapping/as i fall to the floor
    my heart torn and broken/and they just scream for more"

    i just can't fit this into the dying relationship theme.

It's a baby!  It's a penis!
I dunno, I agree with Jon that those lines don't completely make
sense in context, but I still think the relationship angle is at least
one meaning of the song.  One thing that makes me feel that way is
that it's addressed to _Madam_ Barnum, but the Barnum of circus fame
was P.T. Barnum, a man.  There must be a reason for the gender change.

    From: "Bird Rendell H." <>

    _Skylarking_ : concerns relationships (Andy gets married)
    _Oranges and Lemons_ : many songs which mention children (Andy has
                              first child) 
    _Nonsuch_ : many songs have 'infantile' titles or are about animals **
                              (Andy teaches his children to read)

Hmm, I don't have documentation handy but I'm pretty sure that your
chronology is a little off.  I think Andy was married some years
earlier, and in fact already had at least one child before making

Other notes:  although I've always thought of Colin as the more
conventional songwriter of the two, I find his contributions here
to be weirder (musically speaking) than Andy's.  "War Dance" in
particular keeps making me do a double-take.  I think everyone's
being too hard on "Bungalow", which I find quite amusing in its
overwrought soap-opera way.

-- Stewart
"baseball's not *really* a sport--more like Zen ritual infotainment..."
                                       -- Tim Ruckle (timr@sco.COM)

DNS: stewarte@sco.COM  UUCP: ...!uunet!sco!stewarte


Subject: Don't lose hope on the REFLEX flex-disc track
Date: Tue, 05 May 92 18:53:20 -0700

     For those who sulked over REFLEX magazine not putting out the
  XTC/They Might Be Gaints flexi-disc in all their newsstand issues instead
  of subscribers, don't lose hope on missing "Rip Van Reuben".

     Remember, Primus released "Sinister Exaggerator" (one of their many
  Residents covers) as a REFLEX flexi-disc originally, and now can be found
  on an easy-to-find CD-single called "Miscellaneous Debris".  Yes, this is
  the one with their cover of "Making Plans For Nigel" on it.

     Also remember that XTC are pretty notorious for putting home demos
  as B-sides on singles.  Check out the 4 home demos on the hard-to-find
  "The Meeting Place" 12".  Also, the "King For A Day" CD-single had
  a GREAT home demo called "My Paint Heroes" on it.

     Either that or threaten Andy and the boys to expose the TRUE meaning
   of "Pink Thing" to the PMRC if they DON'T release "Rip Van Reuben".
   .....OK, OK, I'm only joking.  (SCARY that I thought of that. Sorry.)



Date: Wed, 6 May 92 11:30:10
Subject: Nonsvch: several things

The verdict after the first few listenings: Nonsvch was worth waiting for!
I like the way they draw upon different elements from most of their
previous albums; this one has a bit of everything: big drum sound,
guitars, piano, strings, brass.  Is this a conscious attempt to please
the fans of all the different XTC eras?

Several people have commented that they found this album instantly
appealing, and are worried that it may be too shallow and will not
stand the test of time.  I wonder whether this can be attributed,
at least in part, to the musical style.  We have come to expect
changes in style from album to album, so it takes us some time to
decide whether we are comfortable with the new style or not.
This time we are immediately familiar with the styles so we can
appreciate the songs straight away.

John Relph comments:

> Has anybody noticed that while the song "The Vgly Vnderneath" is listed
> as being 2'37 in length, that actually the main part of the song is
> 2'37, and the wonderful little organ "outro" lasts for another 1'17,
> making the total length of the track 3'54 (or so).

The UK release of Nonsvch contains no timing information at all.
Whereabouts does is appear on the US release?

For those who are wondering what all this talk of silk screening is about,
on the UK release at least, the castle design on the CD is also printed
onto the front of the jewel box in gold paint; the lyric booklet behind
it is plain red except for two banners at the top containing the band
and album names.

One other thought: I notice that Colin's songs are symmetrically placed,
second and fifth from beginning and end.  Is there something to read between
the lines here?  Possible disagreements about the number and or placement
of Colin's songs?  Is it significant that Andy only makes a token appearance
on two of Colin's songs, and that Colin does not appear at all on "Rook"
(is this a first?).  I hope I'm reading something into nothing here.


Date: Wed, 6 May 92 12:06:31 -0400
Subject: XTC items available

   I just wanted to mention that a friend is currently
 liquidating his XTC stuff, meaning he has pretty much
 every single and lp available. (He also has a pretty big
 selection of live tapes, but I don't think he believes in
 selling them, only trades and stuff). Anyway... send me
 some mail and I'll send a list of all the stuff to you.
 (And for any hardcore collectors, he has an acetate of the
  Beesides and Waxworks LP).

  Regarding Nonsuch: I'm pleasantly surprised. I despised,
 absolutely loathed, O&L. I'm one of the "crucial 3" people
 (People who believe that English Settlement, Mummer and Big
  Express were everything) and found Lemons and More Lemons to
  be a cash in on the back of Dear God. However, I really
  like Nonsuch. There's some chances being taken again and
  some very fine tunes to boot! Three cheers for all...
  (Now if they'll ever record Colin's "Trying To Raise A
   Family In A House Full Of Mice")



Date: Wed, 6 May 92 11:36:14 BST
From: Toby Howard <>
Subject: Paul Wilde, the UK's "Mr XTC"

I got a flyer from Paul Wilde today. Paul's the person behind the last 3
UK "XTC Music and Friends" conventions. No 4 will be held on Saturday 10
October 1992 in Chorlton, South Manchester, UK. If you're interested, drop
Paul a line (47 Wycombe Close, Manchester M31 2WD UK), or send me a note
and I'll forward it to him (he lives about 1/4 mile from me!).

Paul also says future agreed singles are Pater Pumkinhead and then Wrapped
in Grey. Dave Gregory has been doing session work for Jason Donovan, and
contributed to a couple of songs for Jason's next album. Paul also notes
that Andy P recently told him that the band (incl. Dave Mattacks) have been
approached to play a live one-off concert for MTV! He says "Andy is
certainly behind the idea..."

I'll be sending Paul some more printouts of Chalkhills. Maybe that's how
the band got to see them before...


PS Is anyone else tempted to PHYSICALLY SCRATCH "Bungalow" off their
Nonsvch CD to avoid any chance of inadvertantly hearing it? It makes my
toes curl. That space could have been occupied by Blue Beret!!


Date: Wed, 6 May 92 10:42:15 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: I Reply

A Son of the Silent Age <> writes:

>I just picked up a pair of bootlegs today. Both tapes, one called _The Rhythm_
>(primarily from a NY show, 16 January 1980), the other from a gig at Emerald
>City (Cherry Hill, NJ: 17 April 1981).

_The Rhythm_ comes from the LP bootleg of the same name, with good
sound (on a scale from bad to excellent).  The Emerald City gig was
broadcast live (or almost live) on FM radio and thus is the source of
many boots.

BRYAN POOLE <> turns his head around:

>I don't know if this already known, but I figured out what that VERY fast
>backmasked message is at the end of 'Mole From the Ministry.' After slowing
>the tape down with my 4-track and duping it about 5 times, I get a clear
>and snide remark from Andy(?) saying, "Go f*ck yourself with your atom bomb!"

This seems to be a Frequently Asked Question, which has made me
attempt to start a Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) list.  Anybody
have any other Questions that they think are all too Frequently Asked
in Chalkhills?

Wes <> initials his review:

>I laughed at the opening of "Bungalow"; sounds like a radio soap opera
>excerpt! And I'll have to listen to the lyrics s'more, but isn't
>the theme sort of like "When I'm Sixty-Four"?

You know, I am beginning to think that this whole song is tongue-in-cheek,
a big joke about the goals of most Englishmen (and their ability to
make them real).  "You wait and see".  "Yes, dear, and how many years
have you been saying that?  And I'm still waiting for you to actually
take me on holiday, much less make love with me outdoors".

				. . .

And one more thing: I really like the little bass guitar riff that
Colin plays just after Andy sings "The thing with politicians is / I
wouldn't have suspicions / If I saw their worst positions / And their
Ugly Underneath".  It sounds like a bit of the traditional circus
music, as if that was Colin's comment on the political circus.

	-- John


Date:         Wed, 06 May 92 23:02:43 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      it COULD have been a VERY nice week . Part 2

Well, I think you have already guessed it :
Their acoustic radio French concert has been CANCELLED ! :((((((
Now I must admit I somehow understand why Andy do not want to have all
this stage phobia stuff again (there should have been a small audience).
But I wonder why he is always saying "Ok for this one", just to retire
THE DAY BEFORE (That's today !!).
With this sudden change of mind, Andy has just destroyed all that have
been done to promote "Nonsuch". Let's imagine one second I do not know
XTC but I want to learn more about them, what do I see, 2 concerts, one
followed by a "sign my CD" session. Wow !. But after a long wait, what
do I hear, all is CANCELLED ! I would have thought then "Who the hell
do they think they are ? They are cancelling the concert due to be
broadcast by the only popular radio show which play their music !"
Now I am sure "Nonsuch" will never do the French charts, but most
of all, I wonder if this MTV live performance will ever happen !

I must confess I am a bit fed up with all these good songwriters who
are humanly not as good as you would expect them to be. I guess I am
still too young not to have understood you cannot expect good business
>from show-business.

He's already been poisoned by this industry, indeed !


PS : It should have been the first concert ever that I would have attended.
I guess I will never go to a concert in my whole life then !


Date: 06 May 92 18:23:43 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: Two sense of Non-cents

Hello, fellow Chalkhillians, I'm taking a break from packing
for our trip to Japan to put in my two cents and impart some
trivial info to y'all...
   Speaking of Japan, first of all, the Japanese magazine called
"Crossbeat" did a review of Nonsuch and gave it a 10/10.
Also in the same issue were record store ads for 7-inch and
12-inch versions of "The Disappointed" single, and also the
"Tiny Circus of Life" CD compilation that Emmanual has told us
about. Get me there soon!
   Galen, who likes Japanese music, would enjoy Saeko Suzuki's
bi-lingual CD "Studio Romantic", if he can ever find it. The
stores in his area seem to be poorly stocked. Galen, E-mail me
your address and I'll dub a tape for you of it and other XTC
you can't find.
   Regarding Nonsuch, the "made in Canada" CD I bought has the
silk-screened jewel box, but no times listed on the lyric sheet
or anywhere else. The CD itself has no printed words, only the
gold castle on a red background (quite stunning!). How are the
Geffen CDs different?
   And (of course!) I found an error in the lyric book:
"The died grinning on live TV" from "Peter Pumpkinhead" Aaaargh!!
   Any guesses on the next single? I say it will be "My Bird
Performs". It's Colin's turn, after all, and this is his best
song (a good one not dependent on who wrote it!).
   Lastly, regarding the decyphered backwards message from
"Mole...", "Go F*ck Yourself with your Atom Bomb" is the title
of the song that the "Woody Allen voice" is criticizing at the
end of "My Love Explodes". (Just in case ya didn't know...).
   Okay, my two cents is up, no Nonsuch comments yet from me
'cuz I'm still listening and tasting. Yum!!
---> Steve


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