Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #269

                  Chalkhills, Number 269

                 Wednesday, 24 March 1993
Today's Topics:
                          my $2
                        Swami Fun
                   Re: Chalkhills #268
                   Re: Chalkhills #268
        Elect Colin Moulding for President in 1996
                  Re: Travels in Nihilon
           Re: The Great Skylarking Controversy
                  Re: Princton Illinois
           1993 XTC Music & Friends Convention

Date: 23 Mar 1993 02:30:26 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brookes McKenzie <>
Subject: my $2

the thing that i agree with is that side 2 of _skylarking_ isn't half as
good as side 1 - it doesn't flow the same way, and some of the songs are
definitely lacking. but i don't think that *any* combination of the songs
that were available at the time would make side 2 as great as side 1 (in-
cluding the currently standard 'Dear God'/'Another Satellite' one). the
songs i like best by themselves ('Earn Enough' & 'Dear God' - yes, the
evil hit one, but don't worry, i'll defend it in a minute) i like in spie
(sorry - spite) of the way they don't really fit in on the album. and the
songs that would really annoy me by themselves ('the Man', 'Dying' &
'Sacr.  Bonfire') i can tolerate because they work within the context of
the album.  i think 'Dying' has to be one of the single most annoying
Colin songs ever ('Bungalow' is a close second), but the flow of 'Dying'
to 'Sacrificial Bonfire'back to 'Summer's Cauldron' is so good that i
can't bring myself to skip over either of them. and that is exactly what
would be wrong with putting 'Mermaid Smiles' *or* 'Extrovert' on
-Skylarking_ - they don't flow, they don't fit.  I think 'Dear God' even
though it doesn't fit very well, definitely fits better than 'Mermaid
Smiles', not to mention the fact that it's a better song.  the reason why
i like 'Dear God' is in spite of the cheesiness of having the little girl
singing in the beginning, i think her voice is kind of interesting and
androgynous, and the way andy comes in after her is really cool, but that
alone wouldn't make me like the song that much. the key is the end - the
whole rest of the song is kind of dismissible because it seems like a
semantic/philosophic toy to andy, like he doesn't really care that much
about whether or not god exists, so he's writing this song to play with
the idea of someone talking to god and saying 'you don't exist, but if
you did i wouldn't believe in you'.  but then in the end ('i don't
believe in heaven and hell..'  onward) he suddenly _feels_ it ('my
heart's here upon my sleeve') and the way he sings it makes you (the
listener) take it seriously too, if only by realizing how much he cares
about it, or by identifying with his obvious pain. that's what makes it a
great song really - the way that his idea runs away with him and turns
into a strange sort of truth _to andy_. as for its beingpopular with the
alterna-hunks, who cares? they think its all goth-y and adolescent and
deep, (and in a weird way they're right) but if that's all they get out
of it (and of xtc), that's their loss.  as far as i'm concerned, 'Dear
God' is a far better song than 'Mermaid Smiles'. i think the latter is
just sort of sappy and not very well written, lyrically or musically. the
only interesting thing about it to me is its continuing the list of
andy's sea-love comparison songs, but i think the others do it a lot
better - namely 'Seagulls Screaming' and 'That Wave'. as for 'Extrovert'
- i like the song in and of itself a lot, it's very cute and silly and
the horns are hysterical, but it does not belong on _Skylarking_.
'Another Satellite' is weird, i always thought it was kind of obnoxious
in that the lyrics are so snotty, like he's saying 'go away, i have
enough groupies' and he's very bitter about people liking him when they
don't understand him (and don't really want to - "I though t your mission
was to say you tried") but the way he puts it is very condescending.
that said, i still like the song musically, but i think the 'live' (it
doesn't sound live at all) version is better because the singing is

okay, that takes care of that. the only other thing i had to say was in
response to wes's colin-canonizing, which was - what?!?! the only song in
which colin compares favorably to andy is 'English Roundabout' (and maybe
'Wake Up'). everywhere else, colin's songs are consistently less
original, cheesier, more annoying and generally of lesser quality than
andy's (not to mention less prolific!). i'm not saying this because i
dislike colin himself, b/c he seems like a very sweet guy and it's really
his bad luck to be in the same band as andy, who even though i love him
sounds like something of a tyrant. but the fact remains that andy's a
better songwriter and he has a better voice. i will give colin credit for
amazing bass lines, however. as for andy being all sunny and children -
true, some of his songs are kind of gratingly happy, or at least they
seem that way ('Holly up on Poppy'), but i think they're much more subtle
than colin's in expressing any emotion, so that even when they appear to
be two-dimensional there's always something lurking in the background
that belies the cheerfulness of the song ('You're My Drug', 'Dear Madam
Barnum', 'Mayor of Simpleton'), whereas Colin's songs, whether depressed
or actually halfway cheerful, are pretty much as they seem on the
surface. i suppose it's a matter of taste really, but in my opinion
andy's songs survive repeated listenings a lot better than colin's (with
some notable exceptions) for that very reason. also i think andy has a
lot more variety than colin in terms of subject matter and the _way_ he
approaches it - one of the things that fascinates me about a lot of
andy's songs is the way he goes at tired subjects (like rejected love) in
various weird conceits and from different angles. 'Dear Madam Barnum',
'Snowman', 'That's Really Super, Supergirl', and 'Heaven is Paved with
Broken Glass' are all examples of the above. so anyway - it's not that i
hate colin, i just think andy is better.

i think that's about ten dollars worth of my opinion :}.

        - Brookes

ps - i agree most heartily with (who was it?) the 'Battery Brides' fan -
that song gives me goosebumps, especially the whispered 'here comes the
bride' towards the end. in fact i think all of go 2 is underrated (except
the stupidly evil 'My Weapon') - it really hangs together as an _album_.


Subject: Ramblings
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 10:26:02 +0100
From: Christopher Lishka <>

        >And as for the fellow who found Funk-Pop-A'Roll to jarring
        >try listening to Ministry and connect the goddamn dots.

'Twas me.  I *do* listen to Ministry and other "jarring" bands like
the Pixies, Front 242, etc.  I *like* noisy, crammed music, especially
cranked loud when eating breakfast before heading off to work (the
only way to wake up! ;-)

However I find that "Funk Pop A'Roll" destroys the mood of the album
_Mummer_.  Put the song on a different album and it works fine.
Listen to it alone and it is a fine song.  Placed at the end of
_Mummer_, it doesn't fit.  All IMHO.

Someone else seemed to think that most XTC folks don't like "Travels
in Nihilon".  Well, I do!  Played real loud it is great, sort of like
slowly going mad in a very noisy fashion.  I haven't even heard the CD

Finally, let me add my voice to those who prefer Colin Moulding's
songs to Andy Partridge's.  Both are great, but I find I like Colin's
stuff more.
                                                .oO Chris Oo.


Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 05:10:31 PST
From: 23-Mar-1993 0803 <>
Subject: Oops!

Oops! I blew it!

While listing my fave Colin tracks in the last issue of Chalkhills,
I mistakenly listed "This World Over" as one of my fave Colin tunes,
when actually it's a Partridge penning. Ah well, then how about
"Washaway"? That's a cool track. So, take THAT! :-) :-)

A few days ago, there was a segment on TV about an adandoned,
turn-of-the-century steam locomotive somewhere in the Maine woods,
about 400 miles from Boston. The pictures of it were cool!
It made me think of The Big Express.

Recently, too, people mentioned "Bill Nelson's Red Noise." Well,
I saw it for sale as a cutout CD, and picked it up. Immediately,
I was transported back into time to those convulsing rhythms of
1979 post-punk, wriggling organ, get-out-your-shades-cuz-here-
comes-the-modern-age, type tunes. Twelves songs, plus two bonus
trax ("Stay Young"/"Out of Touch" live). A good CD.

That it 4 now. Stay young. And keep in touch.



Subject: Swami Fun
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 9:36:55 EST

  I never noticed Swami Anand Nagara, but when our fearless
  administrator typed it in and I saw it, I said, "That's got to
  be an anagram!"  Well I worked a little and decided I was probably
  wrong, but I'll plague you all with my scribbles:


  Any help?  Too much for a Tuesday morn.

  Re: Nihilon.  I often called this the song that changes me into
  a "Cylon driving war machine". (OK I have weird moments)  When this
  is playing loud and I'm behind the wheel, Look Out!

  Re: Colin.  I have two words for Colin fans: Wake Up! (That's a
  song!  That's a joke, boys! :-)  I think I need to go play the
  Big Express.


 Timothy M. Schreyer               
 Software Technology R&D                     (215) 648-2475
 Paramax Systems Corporation                 FAX: (215) 648-2288
 PO Box 517, Paoli, PA 19301


Subject: Re: Chalkhills #268
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 1993 15:18:35 -0600 (CST)
From: Kent Williams <>

XTC Fans should check out MommyHeads' "Coming Into Beauty."  It's
obvious after a few listens that THEY are into XTC.  Very nice,
intricate songs, Beatle-esque harmonies.  More acoustic in general
than XTC -- i.e. quieter and not so 'in your face.' Their sound is
similar also to the Sneetches, ANOTHER wonderful band, though nothing
at all like XTC, except for a shared affection for the Beatles ...

Mommyheads are on Simple Machines, which is one of those tiny homebrew
labels, so here's their address:

Simple Machines
P.O. Box 10290
Arlington, VA 22210-1290
(703) 276-0680

If you call them, they'll send a catalog.

Kent Williams -- Work(626-6700) Home(338-6053)
"Don't take away my gun/I'm protecting unborn foetuses/From homos in the
showers/So they can pray in school" -- Me.


Date: 23 Mar 93 16:12:54 PST
From: (Jemiah Levon Jefferson)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills #268

--- Andrew Mutchler wrote:
Here's something I've been wondering about: What is so
unhealthy about the smokeless zone?  I mean, it sounds
healthier than a smokeful zone to me.  Or does the
phrase mean something I'm not aware of?

--- end of quoted material ---
Basically, once you're going cold turkey trying to quit smoking, you tend to
feel much much worse.
And I happen to also be a Believer in the Church of Moulding, can I get a



Date: Tue, 23 Mar 93 22:50:00 CST
From: (Al Kolman)
Subject: Elect Colin Moulding for President in 1996

Someone's complainging about Colin?  Well, not to flame or anything, but
here's a prolific guy!

 Cross Wires
 Do What You Do
 Dance Band
 Instant Tunes
 I'll Set Myself on Fire
 Buzzcity Talking
 Crowded Room
 The Rhythm
 I am the Audience
 Life Begins at the Hop
 Ten Feet Tall
 That is the Way
 Generals & Majors
 (plus more from Black Sea - mine's out on loan)
 English Roundabout
 It's Nearly Africa
 Ball & Chain
 Fly on the Wall
 Deliver Us from the Elements
 In Loving Memory of a Name
 Wake Up
 I Remember the Sun
 The Meeting Place
 Big Day
 Sacrificial Bonfire
 King for a Day
 One of the Millions
 Cynical Days

Plus several more on Nonsvch, the Dukes stuff, and several singles & b-sides,
like Blame the Weather, which, I think, should have been an album track on
English Settlement (maybe reproduced, tho).

He's written more than half of XTC's big songs as well as a ton of CHEERFUL
songs like Washaway, English Roundabout, and Do What You Do.  I think he's

pretty positive.
Al Kolman
Determinism is a proper subset of Free Will



Date: Wed, 24 Mar 93 10:15:27 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Travels in Nihilon

Kent Williams <> writes:

>3. Complicated Game -- the last ravings of a man completely unhinged.
>This may be the most patently offensive 5 minutes of music on the
>planet, where all of AP's walrus barking vocal ticks get center stage.
>Somehow you have to love it.

I don't find this offensive at all.  I do find it powerful, raving,
questioning faith.  In fact, it reduces the question of "God" to just
another "game".  "God"s problems are the same as the smallest child's
problems, so what's the difference?  It's all just a-compli a-cated

>4. Travels in Nihilon -- I hated this song until I got the CD -- It's
>the inner track on LP's and sound really shitty on cheap turntables.
>When you can actually hear it, it has the symphonic, noisy drive that
>was perfected years later by Sonic Youth.  It's like the wind
>screaming in your ears when you fall out of a plane without a

I wouldn't describe it that way, but that's cool.  But I don't
understand what you might have missed on the LP.  It sounds great to
me on my old scratchy LP, in fact, it kinds of gains by losing sound
quality.  After all, it doesn't matter, does it?  It does roar and
groan, like the beast.  And it skewers society, putting us on display
for derision and ridicule.  Then it gets washed right down the drain.
A perfect, though somewhat apocalyptic, vision.

        -- John


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 93 10:25:12 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: The Great Skylarking Controversy

Andrew Russell Mutchler <> is too sense-itive:
>> From: "John M. Relph" <>
>> 3. "Mermaid Smiled", "Dear God", no "Another Satellite".  "Another
>>    Satellite" is too electronic, and doesn't fit in with the more
>>    pastoral bent of the album.
>The more pastoral bent of the album?  As evidenced by songs such as "The
>Meeting Place", "That's Really Super, Supergirl", and "Earn Enough For Us?"

I would classify "The Meeting Place" as being pastoral, after all, the
characters leave the noises of the factory behind as they go out into
the woods for a little "coat on the ground".  "Supergirl"?  "Earn Enough
For Us"?  Okay, you got me there.  But songs like "Summers Cauldron",
"Grass", "Season Cycle", "Dying", "Sacrificial Bonfire"?  And the theme
is very rooted in the earth and pagan views of the circle of life.  Even
if the music tends towards the mundane, the workaday worries of wages,
the theme still concerns life, the cycle from birth to death.  Perhaps I
stretch the meaning of the word pastoral, but when I think of sacrifice
and planting, I think of the country, of an old idealized way of life
that is lost to history, for the most part.

        -- John


Date: 24 Mar 93 16:01:53 EST
From: (John J. Pinto)
Subject: Re: Princton Illinois

Anyone in the New England area driving to the XTC Convention? I could use a
ride. Expenses shared.

Thanks,  John


Date: Wed, 24 Mar 93 14:51:44 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: 1993 XTC Music & Friends Convention

 The 2nd North American XTC CONVENTION 1993
    XTC's Largest and Most Popular Videos
      Colossal Pavilions in Duplicate!
     3 Elaborate Performances Every Time
	  XTC's Triumph of the Past
    Tremendous and Eclipsing Undertaking

   Behold Such an Avalanche of Sensations

		 LOTS of FUN
		  MAY 30th
	     Princeton, Illinois
The  organizers Jeff Day,  and Jim & Virginia
Lovejoy are very eager to hear from you, they
have  all   the  details   regarding  tickets,
location, accommodation, etc.  Don't delay in
writing to   them,  and  we look   forward to
seeing you there!
              P.O. Box 203
          Princeton, IL  61356


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