Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #219

                  Chalkhills, Number 219

                   Sunday, 10 May 1992
Today's Topics:
                      Nonsvch Stuff
                     Chalkhills #218
                   re: a "crowned" King
                     More on Nonsuch
                  Stooopid Question Time
                     Jemiah Jefferson
               more blathering from eeyore
                 Peter Pumpkinhead chords
                      Assorted Stuff
                 Re: Chalkhills #178-#218
          Don't you think you are bit too ... ?
                  Nonsuch store display
              music chart from TOKIO(19/Apr)

Date: Wed, 6 May 92 18:04:38 -0700
From: (Daniel S. Rice)
Subject: Nonsvch Stuff

>> = Me
> = Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic

(re: _Then She Appeared_)
> Edward Lear is the name of an author.  Using it as a verb is just Andy
> being clever.

Yes, I know who Lear was.  I was thinking of the grammar as something
like "All England Cheered" -> "All Edward Leared."  Instead, I suppose
that you can just take "Edward-Leared" to be a verb meaning something
like "became surreal and nonsensical."

>>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...?)

You are right, for some reason I assumed the previous poster knew what
he was talking about!

(re: _Rook_)
>> "Is that my name on the bell?" -> "do not ask for whom the bell
>> tolls; it tolls for thee."

A friend of mine also explained the meaning of the bell this way.
Makes sense.  The lyrics of this song do bear some puzzling over,
there's a neat image of the crow finding some sort of special
knowledge that's beyond the grasp of those of us on the ground:
"...the semaphore of the washing lines/Break the code of the
whispering chimneys and traffic signs."  All the mundane things that
people do, like hanging out the laundry, somehow hint at a broader

Here's something I've been trying to figure out.  My theory about the
low vocal under some of the lines in _That Wave_ is that it's just the
main vocal track placed through an octaver (i.e., an electronic device
that lowers its input by an octave, occassionally used to make
instruments sound "thicker").  It sounds too perfectly synchronized to
have been created by singing a separate vocal track.  Anyone care to



Subject: Chalkhills #218
From: Desi The Three-Armed Wonder Comic <>
Date: Wed, 6 May 92 17:50:00 PDT

Jan Schiffman <> writes:

>To the "Honed Machine" (!?!)

That's FINELY honed machine, please.

>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.

well, i'm unaware of any more-than-eight-bit drum machines being
prevalent in 1984.  enlighten me.  whatever the initial snap came
from, it obviously went through some hellish processing before
reaching our ears.  i was merely trying to say that the drum machine
sound on TBE is incredibly distinctive and not at all present on
Nonsuch.  The "live room" sound of Nonsuch reminds me MUCH more of
Black Sea, given that that huge live snare was a Steve Lillywhite
Jemiah Levon Jefferson <> blasphemes:
>Worst Colin mistake since "Runaways".

does anybody else out there think "Runaways" is a MISTAKE???  I think
it's one of the greatest Colin songs.
---------- (I'm not weird, I'm *peculiar*) intones:

>>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
>	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.

Logical error: the structure and the tools used to erect said
structure are not the same.  I would NOT claim that it is impossible
innovate with a guitar.  The medium that XTC were working in during
the White Music/Go 2 days was well established and they did little to
"push the envelope."  They haven't been breaking forms at an
incredible pace, but you've got to admit that something like "Rook" is
pretty different.  Therefore, my claim stands, and I await a logically
acceptable refutation.
david bregande <> explicates:

>	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...
[long explanation of connection between this couplet and "Sweeney Todd
- The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street"]

much as i love sweeney todd, i have to say that you've made a
fundamental error here.  "fleet street" is another term for the print
media over in the UK.  so, when they talk about "keeping fleet street
awake" they're talking about keeping the newspapers occupied.  much
like we'd say "wall street" when talking about the stock exchange.

>	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.

i agree - it's a fantastic play.  make sure you get the full album -
there's a CD which is missing one of my favorite songs.
"once a Calvinist, always a Calvinist" <> sez:
[recap: i think "peter pumpinkhead" sounds like a black sea track.]
>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.

it's the drum sounds and the overall guitar feel.  the drums on TBE
have more gating than reverb.  the drums on PP have more reverb than
gating.  ["Hey, you got your gating in my reverb!"  "No, you got your
reverb in my gating!"  "Wow, it sounds just like Phil Collins!"]

>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.

I completely agree that the relationship angle is in there.  In fact,
I'd say it's probably the primary motivator, but I like my own pet
theory.  The main strike against it is that Andy's previous record
industry disses have been really blatant.  Since this one takes a
little work to see, I'd say it is probably just my own diseased brain
making it up.
---------- writes:

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

In the jewel booklet, on the same line as each song title.
Toby Howard <> demands:

>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!!

get a CD player with "favorite track system."  this will solve your
btw, my digest ended in the middle of a letter.  anybody else
experience this?

Jon Drukman (finely honed machine)              uunet!sco!jondr
Darkness will be rewarded in measure.


From: J Ross MacKay <>
Subject: re: a "crowned" King
Date: Thu, 7 May 92 7:39:47 EDT reminds us that:
> Also, the "King For A Day" CD-single had a GREAT home demo called
> "My Paint Heroes" on it.

Also known as the famous "King in a crown."
Relph's Complete Discography lists it as:
     King for a Day; King for a Day (remix); My Paint Heroes (demo); Skeletons
     b. CD-3, Virgin UK, VSCD 1177, April 1989.  diecut sleeve.
                                                  ^^^^^ cut in the shape of
                                                        a crown.
My local Tower has two of these.  Arrangements can be made...
I may be the poor simple fool of Chalkhilland, but I like EVERY dang song
on the new album!  From Rook to War Dance to Omnibus to, dare I say it,
                                                      yes EVEN BUNGALOW!!


Date: Thu, 7 May 92 10:57:35 -0400
Subject: More on Nonsuch

	Well...I guess since everybody else is doing it, I might as well
throw in my two cents. I agree with what most people have said about
the album, so I'll just mention a few places where I feel I diverge
somewhat from the majority.  In general, I think the album's terrific.

The Good Points

	1.  Rook, Bungalow, and Omnibus:
	    These are just so strange and seem so out of place on the
	    album that I'm glad they're there.

	2.  Holly Up On Poppy and Humble Daisy
	    I guess I missed my era.  I love these Dukesy, psychedelic
	    influenced things.

The Bad Points

	1.  The Smartest Monkeys and War Dance
	    Straight from the bad-folkie school of songwriting.  Start
	    with the bleeding obvious (there is injustice in the world,
	    there is poverty, etc.), find the most trite and overused
	    metaphor you possibly can, and graft it on to whatever melody
	    you happen to have handy.  Plus those godawful samples on
	    War Dance.  What happened, Colin?

	2.  Wrapped In Grey
	    There's probably a good song here somewhere, but it's mired
	    in a morass of schmaltzy, oversentimental production.

	3.  The digital recording
	    I'm never sure whether it's the digital recording process
	    itself which sucks the life out of everything it touches
	    or whether it's that people who insist on using digital
	    recorders love that pristine, sterile, antiseptic sound.

Geoff Poole


Subject: Stooopid Question Time
Date: Thu, 07 May 92 13:18:53 -0400
From: Gregory Silvus <>

What is pop music? I think of Bee Gees and danceable stuff and
new Chicago when I think of pop. Not XTC. So what is it? What
makes XTC pop music? (I guess "pop" has a negative connotation
for me.)
Thanks for curing my ignorance,


From: (Tim Szeliga)
Subject: Jemiah Jefferson
Date: Thu, 7 May 92 13:24:25 PDT

> 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.
Or do what I did, trade in  a couple of inches of old records
for Nonsvch CD.  Got rid of Allman Bros EAP, Neil Young Live and
some others I'll never listen to again.  By the way I'm selling off
my comedy collection, too.  Email me for a list and prices.
Tim Szeliga
"I want to get a platinum wire, the thickness of a human hair,
drill a trephining hole in my skull, probe around until I hit
a pleasure center, then hook it up to a Sears Die-Hard and
see which of us gives out first."
		  Rev. Huey, Church of the Sub-Genius


Subject: more blathering from eeyore
Date: Thu, 07 May 92 16:28:03 -0700
From: Jemiah Levon Jefferson <>

Well, I warned ya.  I'm so glad someone else hates "Bungalow" --
it makes me feel vaguely ill inside.  I don't remember who
said it, but I can't wait for the B-sides either!!! I don't know
why I like B-sides better... but I do.  This also goes for
They Might Be Giants (what is the address for their mailing
list, anyway?).
Anyone who is willing to make me a tape of XTC videos -- especially
whatever the newest one happens to be -- will have a grateful
slave for the rest of time.  Why are XTC people so flaky about
making videotapes?  I've been asking for one for ages... I'll
even cough up the bread for the tape.  I have none of the
videos at present, except for "Dear God", which just doesn't
have any Colin in it.  Grr.
Correction -- I am not only a student, I'm a Reed student, and
I don't have time for Email most of the time.  But school's out
now, so I'm free.
John, as long as you're listening, I would like another copy
of the compleat XTC lyrics... updated, of course, if at
all possible.  Maybe even on disk if possible.
as the Thompson Twins say, "Groove on..."


Date: Thu, 7 May 92 15:21:47 BST
From: Toby Howard <>
Subject: Peter Pumpkinhead chords

Hi, here's an initial quick stab at the chords for Peter Pumpkinhead. I'd
welcome any improvements! Anyone else have chords to other songs to post?


D     D/F#        G
Peter Pumpkinhead came to town

D         D/F#       G
Spreading wisdom and cash around

D       D/F#         G
Fed the starving and housed the poor

D          D/F#     G
Showed the Vatican what gold's for

G      A             Bm
But he made too many enemies

G      A                Bm
Of the people who would keep us on our knees

G          A
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin

G               Bbdim C#dim  D
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead

C#m   Bm   A   G    F#m   E   A

G      A             Bm
But he made too many enemies

G      A                Bm
Of the people who would keep us on our knees

G          A
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin

G               Bbdim C#dim  D
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkinhead

C#m   Bm   A

G          A
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin

G               A
Who'll pray for Peter Pumpkin

G          A
Hooray for Peter Pumpkin

D     C#m    Bm     A

   G     F#m         C                C#dim    D
Oh my oh my don't it make you want to cry


Date: Fri, 8 May 92 11:53:34 edt
From: Ben Trumbore <>
Subject: Assorted Stuff

David Bregande <> writes:

>  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..."
>  Sweeney Todd was a barber on Fleet street ... 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 tasty.  Although I think I misquoted Colin's exact lyrics, the
>  connection is certainly there, and I think it's cool.

While I must admit that I don't yet have Nonsuch (gasp!), and can't verify
the lyrics or their context in this song, I think this might be a
misinterpretation.  If I'm not mistaken, Fleet Street is the modern British
financial center, the equivalent of Wall Street here in the U.S.  During and
preceding wartime, jingoism reaches fever pitch.  Lots of money can be made
selling T-shirts and flags to wildly patriotic people.  I'm sure the financial
wizards have even more profitable ways to take advantage of these sentiments.
Perhaps this interpretation is more in keeping with the song's title.

An exasperated Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet> says:

>  Their acoustic radio French concert has been CANCELLED ! :((((((
>  With this sudden change of mind, Andy has just destroyed all that have
>  been done to promote "Nonsuch".
>  Now I am sure "Nonsuch" will never do the French charts.

I think you're extrapolating just a bit too far.  The cancellation of one
promotional concert will not have the devastating effect you predict.  Most
new fans hear a single a couple of times on the radio and then buy the album
and realize they've found something wonderful.  The people who will miss the
concert the most are those who are already fans and were looking forward to
it.  How many times have you accidentally tuned into a concert broadcast by
a band you didn't know, and then gotten so excited about the band that they
immediately became one of your favorite bands?

Also, I don't think it's fair to assume that Andy crumbled and decided not
to appear.  Maybe Colin has a cold.  Maybe the record company decided they
should appear on a TV show that night instead.  Maybe someone wanted too
much money and the deal fell through.  I hope you don't give up on the band
just yet, and you really shouldn't go blaming Andy because you lost a chance
to make a nice concert tape!

By the way, Emmanuel, thanks for translating and typing in the wonderful
interview in five parts - I really enjoyed it!

Finally, someone recently asked about other bands that have similarities
to XTC.  I remember a posting about a year ago that said the Posies thought
of XTC as one of their influences.  I have both of their albums, and like
them a lot, but I wouldn't say they are that similar.  "Dear 23" might
please people who like post-G02 XTC.

I do, however, strongly recommend Jellyfish's debut album, "Bellybutton."
I'm sure I'm setting myself up for some serious flaming, but I love this
album for many of the reasons I love XTC.  The melodies are good, the
lyrics are often clever, and the musicianship is solid.  I also think this
is a very well produced album.  In fact, when we were nominating producers
for XTC to use, I was thinking of Albhy Galuten, though I don't know
anything else about him/her.  I should note that some songs have light
doses of horns, strings, or other effects as part of the production.  I
think all of these contribute and are tastefully done, but if you need your
music absolutely straight-up, don't blame me if you don't like this album!

OK, everybody back to work!



Date: Fri,  8 May 92 18:15:18 -0400
From: (Tom R. Loden *8^0)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #178-#218

   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?

1. excellent idea.

2. Q:

   a. what does the song 'pink thing' refer to?
   b. what were all the drummers & producers for xtc?
   c. what does the cover of 'english settlement' mean?
   d. what recordings should a new xtc-er buy?
      (hmmmm - is this acually answerable???)
   e. why does everyone hate todd rungren (sp?), i liked
   g. why don't they tour?

so much for my tri-annual post,


Date:         Sat, 09 May 92 15:12:05 EDT
From: Emmanuel Marin <MARINP92@frecp12.bitnet>
Subject:      Don't you think you are bit too ... ?

I have received several mails about "It Could Have Been a Very Nice Week,
Part 2".
I just wanted to say I am not criticizing XTC (Andy alone in fact) for not
appearing on stage. I am criticizing him for having signed for a show, and
having cancelled it at the very last time. IMHO, this is the worst thing
that could have happened ... And I think I am even less eager than the
radio show MC that they fooled. Indeed, his reaction  was to play
"Respectable Street" and to insist it has been their last song played on
stage, and that it would be surely their last, "due to Andy's ego".
(Please note : NOT "Andy's stage phobia" but it may not be true... )
Now what would you have thought after a 200 km trip just for this
"Cancelled" sign ?
And now do not forget Andy , Dave and Colin , and XTC are two different
things. Andy hates the idea of being a man of a cult, though he likes
the idea of XTC being a band of a cult. Well, I am just acting this way,
XTC does not have for me neither flesh nor blood, and will probably never
Now I have decided to never try to attempt another show from a band I am crazy
of, I am so much afraid to be disappointed by the man behind the music. U know,
I wish I had never heard about Brian Jones ' drugs affair, or Jeff Beck
 vs. Keith Relf riot in the Yardbirds, or stuff of that kind. What would
you think about a stage performance of XTC with a drunken Andy destroying
all his songs ?
But you know, I surely will read this Omnibus biography, if it is talking
about music : I am much more interested in Andy's musical background and
lyrics explanations, than to know about the name of his first love or of his
dog (except if there are songs about them !)



Date: 09 May 92 21:25:34 EDT
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: Nonsuch store display

   Some folks have commented that the various record companies
(Virgin, Geffen, et al) are putting a big effort into promoting
Nonsuch. After today, I'm a believer! I went downtown to one
of the HMV CD stores, and very noticeable filling up a 10 X 10
foot front window was a display of the Nonsuch castle in gold
upon a vermillion background. Quite striking!! And they actually
had lots of CDs & cassettes in the store, too. Alas, no CD singles
at all.
   Can "Wrapped In Gray" REALLY be the next single?! It's not
really "single material", now is it? Virgin must have rolled
their collective eyes upon hearing that from Andy (assuming
such a scene took place)! And doesn't Colin get a single??
   To Jemiah Jefferson (cool name!), I also picked up that
lyric from "Books Are Burning": "Smell of burnt book / is not
unlike human hair". Goooood stuff!! Grabs ya like most of
"Reign of Blows" lyrics do.
   Gotta run, the dictionary is a BIG book (g).
---> Steve


From: (Kaz "ACID" Sanada)
Subject: music chart from TOKIO(19/Apr)
Date: 9 May 92 08:22:15 GMT

    BTW, here's a music chart from the far-east metropolitan city in
    early summer.

			TOKIO HOT 100(1-40)


   -  20.Better Days				Bruce Springsteen
  17  21.Who's Crying Now			Randy Crawford
   -  22.The Disappointed			XTC
  25  23.Finally				Ce Ce Peniston
  16  24.Paradiso				Fabian

    Bruce Springsteen stands at the top. Def Leppard jumps up to No.9.
    XTC debuts enough high position. Annie Lennox's first solo enters
    at No.30.

	[ I trimmed down the list a bit.  -- John ]


Join me in welcoming our new subscribers Rick Davies,
Fabrizio Malfanti, Michael Roberts, Alexander Slotkin,
Paul Martz, Margaret Ann Quinn, and Andrew Prock, and
also returning subscriber Joseph Holmes!

If you would like a copy of the Chalkhills Frequently
Asked Question (FAQ) list, please send a message to

For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, fan club addresses, discography
requests (last update 29 April), back issues, etc., send
a message to the following address:


The Chalkhills archives are available at "".

All views expressed in Chalkhills are those of the
individual contributors only.  Asleep for a hundred minutes.

Go back to the previous page.