Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #224

                  Chalkhills, Number 224

                   Friday, 5 June 1992
Today's Topics:
            Re: Alice, Peter Pumpkinhead, etc.
                  Re: Homo Safari Series
Yet ANOTHER DIFFERENT Ballad of Peter Pumpkin UK CD single
              Kronto Review: XTC - Nonesuch
                  Kronto Singles Review
         radios in motion/ blegvad by weird route
             The Compact XTC; Last Live Show
                   RE: Chalkhills #223
                     Bad Radio in DC
               Obscure chord naming request
                      homely machine
                       Latest Rumor

Date: Mon, 1 Jun 92 12:12:34 PDT
From: (Bill Wisner)
Subject: Re: Alice, Peter Pumpkinhead, etc.

>(Also, does MTV show this video?


>there's--ahem--a bit of skin showing. I can't see MTV showing this part.

I can.



Date: Mon, 1 Jun 92 13:34:19 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Homo Safari Series

edward <> writes:

>I'm interested in the history of the Homo Safari series.  I have the Dear God
>CD single containing the collection, but was surprised to discover two of the
>tracks also on the CD release of Mummer (one of them, Frost Circus, I gather
>was even on the original Mummer release).

Not true.  The two Homo Safari tracks included on the _Mummer_ CD were
both B-sides to the "Great Fire" 12" single.

>  My question is, were the Homo
>Safari pieces all recorded during the same period (during Mummer or otherwise)
>and why are they bound together as a single package, simply because they
>represent the band's instrumental experimentation?

No and yes.  The first Homo Safari track, "Homo Safari", was recorded
as the B-side of "Life Begins At The Hop", before _Drums & Wires_ was

The second Homo track was "Bushman President", released as the B-side
to "Making Plans For Nigel", and it was given the subtitle "number two
of six" as a joke.

The third Safari number, "Egyptian Solution", was released as the
B-side to "Senses Working Overtime" and was originally given the
subtitle "Thebes in a Box", which unfortunately was inadvertantly left
off all of the packaging for the singles.  By this time Andy realised
that they might as well finish the series.

And so numbers five and six were released on the "Great Fire" 12"
single, those tracks being "Frost Circus", number five, and "Procession
Towards Learning Land", number six.

And then an attentive fan pointed out that XTC had forgotten to
release Homo Safari Number Four!  So Andy and crew bashed out a live
take of "Mantis on Parole" based on a fake jazz riff that Andy had
been playing with (I think you can hear the riff in the "XTC At The
Manor" video) and released it as one of the B-sides to the "Wake Up"
single (along with the previously hard-to-find "Take This Town").  To
this day Andy says that number four is his least favourite.

	-- John


Subject: Yet ANOTHER DIFFERENT Ballad of Peter Pumpkin UK CD single
Date: Mon, 01 Jun 92 20:13:48 -0700

   Well, supposedly there is ANOTHER UK single for "The Ballad..." which
  I will pick up tomorrow from my local independent record (6/3/92)

   Here's the FIRST one:
             1.The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin
             3.Down a peg (demo) **PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED**
             4.The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin (demo) **PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED**

   Now here's the proposed SECOND one (listed in arbritrary order)
             1.The Ballad of Peter Pumpkin
             2. ??? (probably some Moulding song off the album)
             3.My Bird Performs (demo) **PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED**
             4.Always Winter, Never Xmas **PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED**

   Someone can correct me on the title of #4 on the second single.
    Could there be a THIRD?  Is XTC REALLY that desperate for money?
     Is Virgin UK a slut for funds?  Who knows?

    Hell, it's new XTC.  I guess SOMETHING good comes out of it all.


From: (Leo Breebaart)
Subject: Kronto Review: XTC - Nonesuch
Date: 27 May 92 09:04:37 GMT
Organization: Delft University of Technology

[ This review originally posted in  -- John ]

XTC - Nonesuch (1992)
Virgin CDV 2699
63:26 min, 17 tracks
Produced by: Gus Dudgeon

As many real fans turned away (some even in disgust) from XTC when
they came out with the poppy, psychedelic retro album "Oranges &
Lemons", they very quickly became one of my favourite bands. (This
happens to me all the time. Sometimes I get the feeling that as soon
as I start to like any band, no matter how respected they may
be, than *that* will be the moment that long-time fans start to turn
away muttering stuff about 'commercial' and 'sell-out' under their
breath. And when I actually begin buying CD's you can be assured
that the band is truly history as far as the critics are concerned.
But I digress.)

"Oranges and Lemons" still is one of my favourite heavy-rotation
CD's, and inquiries on the net quickly led me to XTC's alter egos,
the Dukes of Stratosphear (thanks, people!), in the same style, and
very good as well. I also tried some of the older XTC stuff (Lord
knows there is enough of that around) but I have yet to find
anything I like even remotely as much. Anyway, my expectations for
the new XTC album were sky high, and luckily I have not been

"Nonesuch" contains over sixty minutes of beautifully crafted pop
songs that delight the ear with their sound and entertain the mind
with their funny, sharp lyrics. Producer Gus Dudgeon (David Bowie,
Elton John) has brought his characteristically clean production to
the album and I think the cooperation has been a fruitful one.

The album is both a continuation of the direction XTC went in with
"Oranges and Lemons", and a departure. On the one hand there are
still many sixties' influences in the music, and the general idea of
writing melodic popsongs has been successfully extended. On the the
other hand the psychedelica is completely gone, and with it the
slightly frantic, over-the-top wall-of-sound approach. This album is
much more subtle, some might even say a bit more sterile -- you can
clearly hear that this is a *studio* album.

The main artists that I am reminded of are the Beach Boys, Burt
Bacharach, and XTC themselves. Beach Boys because of the harmonies,
the bells and the tambourines. Burt Bacharach because of the
piano's, the strings and their arrangements (very chamber-music
like, i.e. viola's and cello's, not entire symphonic orchestra's).
XTC because of the songwriting, the lyrics, and the vocals. All
three influences come beautifully together in the best song of the
album: the majestic 'Wrapped In Grey'. Perhaps a bit too bombastic
for some, but my absolute favourite. A truly touching song.

Other highlights of the album are the first single 'The
Disappointed', the *extremely* Steely Dan reminiscent 'The Smartest
Monkeys', the simplistic 'Rook' and the poppy 'Dear Madam Barnum'.
Most other songs are almost equally good, with the possible
exception of 'War Dance' and 'The Ugly Underneath' the only two
weaker brothers I can find after many repeated listenings.

Lyrically, XTC have once again done an excellent job. 'The Smartest
Monkeys' makes essentially the same point as Phil Collins does in one
of his recent hits. But compare the simple sarcasm and wordplay of

	Well man created the cardboard box to sleep in it
	And man converted the newspaper to a blanket
	Well you have to agree he's come a long way
	Since swinging about in the trees
	We're the smartest monkeys

to the blindingly serious, dull, heavy-handedness in the lyrics of
Phil's 'Another Day in Paradise'...

XTC is known for being a bit of an 'arty' group, but they are never
so arty that they lose their sense of humour. 'Omnibus' is the
funniest 'sexist' song since Peter Gabriel's 'Sledgehammer'; it
tells all about the joys of womanhood as seen from the man's point
of view (shades of California Girls here, i.e. again the Beach Boys;
but can somebody explain me the title?) as follows:

	Ain't nothing in the world like a white skinned girl
	Make your Union Jack and make your flag unfurl

The second and third verses similarly extol the virtues of black
and gold skinned girls, and than at the end they neatly take their
song to the inescapable climax:

	Ain't nothing in the world like a green skinned girl
	But that don't mean to say you can't look...

I really love this kind of word play, and only wish more bands would
take the trouble to construct their songs so carefully. But apart
>from the fun and games there is of course a more serious side to XTC
as well. 'Books are burning' is a moving anthem against censorship:

	I believe the printed word should be forgiven
	Doesn't matter what it said
	Wisdom hotline from the dead back to the living
	Key to the larder for your heart and your head
	The church of matches
	Anoints in ignorance with gasoline

And my favourite lyric of them all is the one to 'The Disappointed',
a tragi-comic song of *extreme* self-pity, which uses images that I
find completely irresistible:

	The Disappointed
	All shuffle round in circles
	Their placards look the same
	With a picture and a name
	Of the ones who broke their hearts

	The Disappointed
	All congregate at my house
	Their voices sob with grief
	That they want me to be chief
	Of the tribe with broken hearts.

I'll stop quoting now, though there is lots more material worth
repeating here. But I don't know if it comes across without the
music, and this review is long enough already. In any case: I
unreservedly recommend this album to everyone who likes clever pop,
with the proviso that if you only enjoyed the 'old' XTC then this
album will probably not be much to your liking either.

As a final note let me clear up something that may have been
confusing folks not familiar with how the album *looks*. You may
have seen it called "Nonesvch", or seen the first single of it
referred to as 'The Difappointed'. This is caused by XTC's decision
to give the album a medieval look. The cover picture is a detail
>from a 1611 map of Surrey, and on the back each song is represented
by a piece of that period's typical clip art. And since all the text
is supposed to look like Early Modern English as well, the 'u's
become 'v's, and an 's' within a word turns into that interesting
'f'-like thingy. But since I don't think it is XTC's intention that
we should suddenly all start calling the producer "Gvs Dvdgeon" (as
it is spelled on the album), I think it is safe to say that the
album's title is simply: "Nonesuch".

Leo Breebaart  (leo @


From: (Leo Breebaart)
Subject: Kronto Singles Review
Summary: 1 Apr - 30 Apr
Date: 27 May 92 09:49:22 GMT
Organization: Delft University of Technology

[ This review originally posted in  -- John ]

All opinions expressed are humbly mine. The rating system is simple:

****  = "Excellent", by the time you read this I will already have begged,
        stolen or borrowed the album this song is on.
 ***  = "Above Average", if this song comes on the radio, I turn the volume
        up, and I will certainly try to get a hold of the album.
  **  = "Ok", this song is quite literally 'average', in the positive sense
        of the word.
   *  = "Below Average", if this song comes on the radio, I turn the volume
        down, and pray for it to finish quickly.
 (0)  = "Worthless", songs that I can't understand *anyone* would like.

XTC - Peter Pumpkinhead (**)

A strange choice for a single since there are many other songs on XTC's
new album that have imho far more commercial appeal. This song is also
one of those tunes that sounds much better within the context of the
album than on its own as a single.


All remarks, agreements, disagreements, additions, or factual error
corrections welcome.

Leo Breebaart  (leo @


From: number nine ran high <>
Subject: radios in motion/ blegvad by weird route
Date: Wed, 3 Jun 92 1:36:07 PDT

I played Peter Pumpkinhead from the Radios in Motion CD... those Virgin
people, they sure are subtle, huh?  The implications being that
the DJs get reminded of all XTC's other hits and view PP in the same
light?  And that they get reminded of how XTC puts radios in motion
with the chart action of their hits?  Suuubtle..
Michael Newman saw Billy Bragg's first American show reminds me of the
fact that I saw the Pale Saints' first American show last week in
San Luis Obispo, reminds me of the song Blue Flower that they cover,
recently sung by Mazzy Star, but originally by Anthony Moore and
Peter Blegvad and didn't Peter collaborate with Andy on something? :)



Date: Thu, 4 Jun 92 05:06:12 PDT
Subject: The Compact XTC; Last Live Show

There's been some talk about "The Compact XTC" of late in Chalkhills.

My understanding is that this CD, while not available (yet) in the
U.S., is available in Canada, the UK, Germany, and Japan.

My advice would be to get the one from Japan. Better sound, and it
even includes lyrics (but they're, unfortunately, off the mark sometimes).

Speaking of Japan, I just recently swapped for the Japanese bootleg
CD, "Last Live Show." This is basically the 22 December 1980, BBC,
Black Sea '81 Tour concert at the Hammersmith Odeum.

While I'm mystified as to why this CD leaves off "Life Begins at
the Hop" and "Burning with Optimism's Flames," I'm (pleasantly)
surprised that it includes "Making Plans for Nigel" and "Are
You Receiving Me?", which apparently are left off the other
versions of this boot!

And the CD sounds great - ADD.

This CD cost me a big pile of money and is sure to upset the balance
of trade for months - but, man, it's worth it. Great live show!



Date: Thu, 4 Jun 92 14:15 BST
Subject: RE: Chalkhills #223

I apologise that part of wot I wrote in last week's edition got cut off by
Janet (the network here in Old Blighty) and therefore made EVEN less sense
than it would otherwise have done.  Ahem.


From: J Ross MacKay <>
Subject: Bad Radio in DC
Date: Thu, 4 Jun 92 14:38:51 EDT

WHFS, of the DC/Baltimore area, bungled its way through an Andy interview.
The morning show DJ assisted by a very poor impersonator of Floyd the Barber
(from the Andy of Mayberry show) tried their darndest to be cute & funny,
and failed miserably.  It was a terrible disappointment.
Andy patiently let them run their empty interview and got off the phone as
quick as he could.  No news from this one, there wasn't a chance.

Following the shameful affair "Dear Madam Barnum" was played, after which The
DJ mentioned that Andy had written the tune for an Australian movie that
never surfaced.  Any verification on this one?


Date: Thu, 4 Jun 92 18:12:41 -0700
From: will kreth <>
Subject: Obscure chord naming request

I was impressed with the Chalkhillians who have the gutsy ability to
recognize by ear the guitar chords of "Nonsvch."

MY request:

Two songs off of "Jule's Verne's Sketchbook" (Jules _not_ Jule's) intrigue
me and I would like to learn to play them. Alas, my ear is not as keen as
some. Those songs are:

"Broomstick Rhythm"   &  "Shaking Skin House"

"..Skinhouse" later became "Merely A Man" on "o&L" - as you may or may not
recall. Odd when you think that "Bleu (ahem) Beret" _supposedly_ became
"THAT wavE" - indeed. Makes for interesting inferential listening.

I may not be actually to play those songs, even when provided with the
chords, but it would be fun to try.




Date: Fri, 5 Jun 1992 12:58:16 -0500
From: "Bird Rendell H." <>
Subject: homely machine

Jon Drukman pontificates:

>and in other news, big fluffy thanks to stewarte and joe turner for
>defending me to that scurrilous Rendell dude.

I want everyone to witness!  He stooped to name-calling first!

Neener, neener, NEENer!           Nanny nanny boo boo!

(*I am  reasonably certain I can stoop to his level with more-than-a-little
effort on my part. I could probably call him a Poo-Poo Head, or some
other equally eruditious appellation. *)

On the MTV front:

I have been faithfully taping MTV _Unplugged_ for the past month or so. I
have not been able to catch neither hide nor hair of our boys from
Swindon. It *looks* like Unplugged is winding down for the season.
There is no listing for it in next week's TV Guide. Still, I will
keep hoping and taping....



Date: Fri, 5 Jun 92 13:11:11 PDT
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Latest Rumor

The latest issue of the ICE (International CD Exchange) newsletter claims that
Geffen USA will be releasing _Waxworks_ on CD on July 21st.  No news of bonus
tracks a la _The Compact XTC_.  One can only hope.

Anyone seen a copy of _This Is Not The New Album_ ?

	-- John


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