Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #266

                  Chalkhills, Number 266

                 Wednesday, 10 March 1993
Today's Topics:
                         Dear God
                       Dukes Newbie
              Mermaid Smiled and Skylarking
                   Hitchcock in Ecstasy
              Skylarking Controversy cont...
            pale and precious, mermaid smiled
                     sighting + bull
       Burning Heads, part II plus Interview of AP
                 THE BULL HAS ARRIVED!!!
         Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down 7" Single
                 Allofasudden itstoolate
                  Wrapped In Grey Promo

Date: Thu, 4 Mar 93 20:18:51 EST
Subject: Dear God

>Date: Thu, 4 Mar 1993 13:34:50 -0600 (CST)
>Subject: The Great Skylarking Controversy!
>I'm just gonna have to disagree.  "Dear God" is the perfect transition out of
>the spiritual despair of "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul."  "The Man"'s

I don't know if you've read the "Chalkhills and Children" biography, but
in there the story is that the whole Skylarking session was a horrible
trial from Andy's point of view. He felt the album was overproduced, etc.
In any case, Dear God was added due to it's success in the US, and Andy
did not actually want it on the album, that he felt it was way over-
simplifying the issue of atheism/belief. I think he said something like
"I could do a whole album just on the issue of God." That's something,
that I, for one, would be glad to see!

-Markus De Shon


Date: Thu, 4 Mar 93 22:46:40 EST
From: "I don't want the world, I just want your half." <>
Subject: XTC

This is my very first post to Chalkhills.

I have been an XTC fan since I bought Skylarking on a whim three years
ago...problem is, I never dealved further into their music.  I have heard
Oranges and Lemons a few times, Skylarking about 10,000 times, and I bought
Nonsuch when it came out last year.

My question is this: Since I am relatively new to the band and would like to
explore them more, now that my interest in their music is starting to take
over, what 'essential' XTC listenings can you all reccomend to me?  If I
wanted to start a collection (hint hint hint), how do you reccomend I start???

Where do I start?

Please send me descriptions of the albums (except Nonsuch and Skylarking)...

send them to    JSOLAN@UCS.INDIANA.EDU

Jason Solan


Date: Thu, 4 Mar 93 20:10:12 PST
From: (Turbo Godzilla)
Subject: Dukes Newbie

I just got a hold of the CD "Chips From the Chocolate Fireball"
by the Dukes of Stratosphear.  I know basically nothing about the Dukes,
except that they are in fact XTC.  Is it true that this disc contains
all of "Psonic Psunspot" and "25 o'clock"?  When were these albums originally
released, and is there more Dukes stuff out there?  What was the concept
behind using this different name for the same band?  What is the actual
4 person lineup?  I know next to nothing, so any comments will be appreciated!



Date: Fri, 5 Mar 93 12:41:48 -0500
Subject: Mermaid Smiled and Skylarking

        I always took "Mermaid Smiled" to be about the loss of child-like
innocence and sense of fun that comes with the cares and responsibilities
of adulthood ("...I saw the children at heart/that we once used to be...)
but then finding it again with the help of another person.  Looking at
it that way, it seems to fit in perfectly with the Skylarking concept.
I wish "Dear God" wasn't on the Skylarking album and "Mermaid Smiled"
was just because I think "Dear God" is a weak song and "Mermaid Smiled"

Geoff Poole


Date: Fri, 5 Mar 93 15:54:49 CST
From: (Tom Meyer)
Subject: Hitchcock in Ecstasy

The recently released Robyn Hitchcock LP "Respect" was produced and
engineered by none other than John Leckie. Very sparse arrangements dominate
the record.  It's kinda a cross between his solo acoustic offerings and his
standard (??)  efforts, as there's almost no electic gittar on the entire
thing.  Overall, I think it's a find one, both song and sound-wise.

Check it out.



Date: Fri, 5 Mar 93 17:02:54 MST
From: (James Robert Campbell)
Subject: Skylarking Controversy cont... is totally right about 'Dear God'.  However I
do think that 'Mermaid Smiled' is one of the most gorgeous songs XTC has ever
recorded.  SO, I propose the following changes to "Skylarking" that are
definitely needed.

        --Leave the first seven songs alone.  They are as perfect a side of
          an album as XTC has had.  (Sorry Engligh Settlement side 2 fans!)

        --Replace 'Earn Enough For Us' with 'Extrovert'.  If Andy really felt
          that 'Sgt. Rock' was the most disposable song he had ever written,
          he must have forgotten he had ever written this one.  'Extrovert',
          however, is truly unique.  And, really deserved a place on this

        --Leave 'Big Day' where its at.

        --Replace 'Another Satellite' with 'Mermaid Smiled'.  After reading
          Chris Twomey's book and hearing that both Andy and the Virgin A&R
          guy made a big push for this song, I was really puzzled.  Does
          anybody really see much in this song?  I really think it brings the
          proceedings to a screeching halt!  As previously stated, 'Mermaid
          Smiled' is a great addition.

        --Keep 'The Man...', 'Dear God' and 'Dying' where they are.

        --Dump 'Sacrificial Bonfire'.  If the wonderful Todd Rundgren had
          wanted a cyclical record, why didn't he just end with a "death"
          song?  Anyways, its tough on the ears listening to Colin grovel
          through two depressing songs in a row.

        There now, that line up would have won a grammy, huh?  O.K. I know
there will be dissention about this.  So, as a defense I ask for those,
like me, who have always had a rough time getting through the second side
to speak up.

        I've read many reviews of this album saying 'Its amazing what these
guys almost pulled off.'  Of course referring to the second side.

        So, before I see my ideas painted with blasphemous labels, program ye
olde disc changer and give a listen.

        To be perfectly honest, I don't have a disc changer so I had to make
this up in my head.  But, it sounded pretty good.


"Well, I won't rock the boat"  ???


From: (Mike Murphy)
Subject: pale and precious, mermaid smiled
Date: Sat, 6 Mar 93 13:14:41 CST

> From: (Jemiah Levon Jefferson)
> I've been straining ym ears on this one for years now and I can get
> -what?
> -(garble garble)
> -yes! positive!
> -Let's (garble garble)
> elaborations, anybuddy?

Here's what I hear:

-Can you?
-yeah, sure, yeah.
-[REALLY faint, overlapping the previous] positive?

And I think the last line is either "Must be my ear" or "Whisper in my ear."


> From:
> Subject: The Great Skylarking Controversy!

> the
> passage of time in "Season Cycle" brings another, less idyllic relationship
> in Earn Enough for Us", leading to a "Big Day", and the ultimate insinuation
> of technology into love, "Another Satellite".  This brings us to the journey
> and loss of "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul.")
>         "Dear God" also leads to the cold, hard reality of "Dying".  But the
> cycle is completed with the return of mysticism in the "Sacrificial Bonfire".
>         Frankly, I have difficulty putting "Mermaid Smiled" into my concept
> of the cycle in the first place.  Can someone help me out?

Well, if you take "Another Satellite" to mean the fear of ruining a marriage
with an affair, "Mermaid Smiled" could be the actual affair.  Then "The Man
who Sailed..." deals with, among other things, the aftermath of that affair
and the end of his (less idyllic, yet more or less stable) marriage--he finds
himself alone, facing the end of his life completely alone.

Or something like that.



Date: Mon, 8 Mar 93 14:41:01 CST
From: (Tom Meyer)
Subject: sighting + bull

I saw in one of of the many "my-aren't-we-alternative" mags floating
around that Inspiral Carpets never leaves home without their copy of
"This is Pop ?"  Should we be concerned?? :-)

Also, I got my copy of the "Bull With the Golden Guts" the other day.
It's got a really cool color insert with the usual wry comments from
A.P.  Sound quality varies from good (from ~85) to excellent (from
~91).  Anyone care to postulate as to why Colin doesn't do something
like this?? My thinking is that he may not have the library of
material available and therefore wouldn't have as many "leftovers" to
put on a cassette.

over and out,



Date: Tue, 9 Mar 93 01:21:14 +0100
From: (Sylvain HANNETON)
Subject: Burning Heads, part II plus Interview of AP

well first, since you always religiously read my news from France :),
you surely remember I was talking about the Speedy Gonzalez-what a
disaster-cover of "Nigel" by the band Burning Heads..
but you what I have just learned ?
You of course don't know them since they are... French !!
(at one time during the punk period a lot of French bands had english names
and sung in english but I thought this was over... :) )
well here's the trouble : some die-hard collectors maybe would like
to have this cover but : - you have to trust me when I say it is a cover
which is a complete disaster (Nigel meets Speedy Gonzalez)
    - I even don't know if it is on a CD (but I think so) since it is
a brand NEW band...

Mad collectors, email-me directly with what you think about this..

Second part : on a back issue of mfavourite music magazine, (sept92)
there is a 3 pages interesting interview of AP..
two things I did not know before :
The White Music LP's cover has been corrected by Virgin : on the real
photograph, Barry handled a beer bottle (I don't have the cover under
my eyes to see if the work has benn correctly done or not.. anyone here
to tell me if Barry's hand look not very natural ?)
Andy sold his 3,000 LP collection (WOW! as for me that's only 300 :) )
to John Leckie, for 0$ (Leckie was the only one to accept to take them)

And now believe it or not
"-Finally, will XTC be back on stage ?"
"AP:Why not ?"

Well time to leave.
Before, let me tell you this French CD special collector is a H*@L to
localize.. maybe in a year or two I will see one or two in collectors
shops at 200$ each.. :)


Does Andy buy his beer in Calais ?


Date: 09 Mar 1993 21:03:46 -0500 (EST)

After approximately eight weeks of running to the mailbox, I
finally received my copy of _The_Bull_With_The Golden_Guts_.
This is the latest compilation of Andy Partridge demos
offered from the folks at The Little Express.

Again, they have done an excellent job with the packaging,
(some very funny portraits, with "decorative gold-pen work
on the photos", done by Andy).

The fold out liner notes have details regarding the origin
behind each of the selections.  I have transcribed them, as

          (A Collection Of Andy Partridge Home Demos)

                         SIDE ONE
Ridgeway Path

"A little piece of Mellotronics from 1985, which may have
tucked nicely into 'Sacrificial Bonfire'.  For some reason
the theme makes me think of the Roman Invasion of Britain?"

Goodbye Humanosaurus

"Written for 'Nonsuch'.  Ouch!  Sorry about the painful
rhymes for saurus.  We rehearsed it in a much more stripped
down R & B feel (not as campfire as this version) but still
it was doomed to the extinction box."

Space Wray

"Captain Link, aboard the good Jet 'Harris', searches for
the mad scientist, Joe Meek, on the planet of Shadows, arf
arf!  But joins well onto....."


"David Greenberger, editor of the magazine 'Duplex Planet',
asked me to put one of the works of American poetry naif,
the late Ernest Noyes Brookings to music.  Here is the
result, Sergio Mendes and Soft Machine 66.  (We want

Goosey Goosey

"Another 'Nonsuch' near miss.  I feel the ghost of Barry
Andrews is present on the minimal piano solo.  Don't you
ever dare call me gander head."

Blue Beret

"A demo intended for 'Oranges & Lemons'.  Don't ask me what
the lyrics mean, each line exists purely as a comment on the
previous one.  'Me I like to roam/wasn't built in a day'

Zonked Right Out (On Life)

"In 1990 I bought a computer set up for my humble home
studio, and as an exercise in learning to work it (and as a
piece of mischief), I came up with this.  A dated computer
curio.  I believe earthlings called it dance music."

                    SIDE TWO

My Train Is Coming

"Written for the film 'Buster', hence the lyrics pertaining
to The Great Train Robbery.  Phil Collins rejected it, and I
never saw 'Buster', so there!."

Child Crusade

"An early 'Oranges & Lemons' sketch.  I never finished the
lyrics off, so all that remains is this wirey skeleton of an
idea.  Captain Spam Loins and his Tragic Band."

Difficult Age

"Aimed at the 'Nonsuch' sessions, but for some reason I
never gave Colin and Dave the demo.  Perhaps it was too
close a cousin of 'Blue Overall'.  A touch of the
autobiographicals going on here."

Was A Yes (extract)

"A piece of unfinished strummery for 'Oranges' (I think the
fist tentative idea I put down) captured quick before I
forgot it!"

No One Here Available

"Recorded in '85 for my brother in law's answerphone.
Instant Wailers, just add hot sea water.  Feel free to use
it on your phone!"

Don't You Ever Dare Call Me Chicken Head

"Possibly the stupidest thing I've ever put on tape.  The
sound of a children's 'fun' keyboard on the 'accompaniment
setting' and me quoting lines from the British comic, 2000
AD.  Pass the straight-jacket."


"Written not long after finishing 'Skylarking".  A studio
recorded backing track was put down, but no final vocal
added (this is the home demo).  Aimed at 'O & L', nut
quickly drowned under the mass of newer material."

This Is The End

"Originally destined to be the last track on 'Oranges', it
was rehearsed extensively in L.A. but dropped at the last
minute.  It also sounds oddly close to the Muppet Cookie
Monster's - "Why Am Me Blue?'."

As I mentioned above, the sound quality is great.  Most of
these songs have been passed around and copied millions upon
millions of times, so hearing them in such clarity is like
hearing them for the first time.

Some notes on the selections themselves, the song "Ridgeway
Path" is on the _Skylarking_ demo tape that has been
circulated for the past couple of years, under the title
"Dream Down".  Also, Andy mentions that "Everything" was
written after _Skylarking_.  I believe this is wrong, since
I have a copy of the backing track he mentions.  This
instrumental version is on the same tape, as studio run
thrus of "Gold", "The World Is Full Of Angry Young Men",
"Young Cleopatra" and "Spare A Penny", which I thought were
recorded during the _Mummer_ sessions.

The only thing that bothers me about this compilation is
that "I'm The Man Who Murdered Love" didn't make it on and
"Rocket" did.  As most people know, "Rocket" was officially
released on the ENB CD compilation in the states.  Oh well,
can't complain too much.

Enjoy the tape, it's worth the wait!

Brooks Hocking


Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 05:08:14 PST
From: 10-Mar-1993 0757 <>
Subject: Wait Till Your Boat Goes Down 7" Single

I just received by mail the 7" version of "Wait Till Your Boat Goes
Down." It was advertised in Goldmine about a month ago for only
$4.00, plus $2.50 for postage/handling. My credit card slip
arrived with the single, showing a $6.50 charge.

I think it is worth it. The single is in mint condition, if a little
dusty from lying around.

This version of the song hasn't made it to CD yet, officially. Unlike
the version on The Compact XTC, this version is missing the
little synth break in the middle. Also, this version has some
extra percussion (sounds like brushes on a snare drum) in the
recording of the drums. The back has the American version of
"Ten Feet Tall," available on Rag n' Bone Buffet.

I think I read somewhere that Andy came up with the design for the
sleeve for this single, using the design of a popular British
matchbox. The flip side of the sleeve shows ten 12" rulers, all
stacked up.

This version of "Wait" is available in only one other place, if
I'm not mistaken: on the "5 Senses" 12" out of Canada. It's not like
there's a BIG difference here, but for only $6.50...

I got it from a place called "Yesterday and Today Records" out of
Rockville, MD. I think they may have more; I'm not sure. If interested,
drop me a line for their address/phone number.



From: Andrew Russell Mutchler <>
Subject: Allofasudden itstoolate
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 93 11:13:15 CST

I just FTPed the English Settlement lyric sheet yesterday, and after listening
to the album last night, I think there's a mistake on it.  In "All of a Sudden
(It's Too Late)" it quotes a line as:

        Life's like a firework, you're only lit once,
        And you must stand and radiate correctly.

But I've always heard that second line as:

        And you must stand there breathing in correctly.
                     ----- ----- --------- --

Anybuddy got any thoughts about this?



Subject: Wrapped In Grey Promo
From: (Todd Oberly)
Date: Fri, 5 Mar 1993 22:26:23 -0500
Organization: The Heart of Gold BBS, Lemont PA

I came across something that you might find interesting.  A mail order
record and CD company called "Jack Wolack's Rare Necessities" sent me
a copy of their catalog a few days ago.  Listed was the "Wrapped in
Grey" UK Promo CD for $16.00, so I immediately called them to try
ordering it.  No such luck.

They were sold out and had only ONE copy to begin with.

Jack said that he's been getting a bunch of calls about that disc,
and that some people were whining to him over the phone about it :)
(so I tried not to!).  He said he was going back to the UK in a few
weeks, and try finding more copies.  I knew they were rare, but the
demand is a lot higher than I thought.  Maybe Geffin should release
the single after all, airplay or no airplay.  Maybe I'll send them a
postcard with the suggestion... ;^)




Please remember to keep lines to fewer than 75 characters.

For all administrative issues, such as change of address,
withdrawal from the list, fan club addresses, discography
requests (last update 10 March), back issues, FAQ list,
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.  But there's something missing in the middle.

Go back to the previous page.