Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills #270

                  Chalkhills, Number 270

                  Monday, 29 March 1993
Today's Topics:
                  my colin contribution
              no subject (file transmission)
                Re:  My $2 (Yay Brookes!)
           Battery Bridges (Andy Paints Brian)
                      Andy v. Colin
                   Nihilistic ramblings
                bits and pieces of my mind
                      Re: Jellyfish
                      Re: Ramblings

Date: 25 Mar 93 18:25:13 PST
From: (Jemiah Levon Jefferson)
Subject: my colin contribution

It's true that Colin has written most of their "Big Songs", heaen knows what
they are but singles.  Colin can crank out a lovely single, i.e. "King for a
Day" or "Generals and Majors", stil the song I hear of theirs on the radio
most often.  I think both Colin's and Andy's songs hold up under repeated
listenings, just in slightly different ways.  With Andy, one continually
finds new subtext (forgive me, I'm an English major) and new groovy musical
quirks (often in the bassline!  Hmmmm), whereas Colin songs are more of the
"Damn!  That song still rocks!" variety.  I still sometimes get all gooey
listening to "Find the Fox" and if you don't, I feel sorry for you. =)
off the cuff, is there anything like an Eno group or list?  I mean, the guy's
got to have legions of devoted converts.  Shucks, I'm one, and I know
buttloads of folk who are too.
Ackee 123,


From: (An Earthling...Really!)
Subject: no subject (file transmission)
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 93 18:51:18 PST

Brookes McKenzie <> writes:

> '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
> better.

Actually, that line isn't so snotty as you imply. The lyrics are:

        "Abort your mission, let's just say you tried."

Jus' keepin' the record straight.

Also, I guess I won't resist tossing my stupid $.02 into this "Who's
better, Andy or Colin?" thing.

I have to say, I guess I'd call Andy a better, more developed, more
mature songwriter.  But Colin is VERY good, and adds an important
dimension to XTC.  I would be very disappointed very Andy to "go
solo" (even with Dave in attendance) and we were to lose that extra
bit of diversity.  Some of Colin's are among my favorite songs (not
to mention, as someone else pointed out, that his basslines are
innovative and chock full of personality!).  I've often said that
the only thing working against people like Robyn Hitchcock and
Elvis Costello (who are two of my other very favorite artists) is
that they don't work in a band with another writer of equal skill.
Now, as I said above, I guess I don't call Colin equal, but I'd
be willing to call him roughly comparable. :)

Shutting up now.


From: Christian Longshore Claiborn <>
Subject: Re:  My $2 (Yay Brookes!)
Date: Thu, 25 Mar 1993 22:04:52 -0500 (EST)

> 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.

Agreed a thousand times.  I don't understand why all the die-hard fans seem
to be calling Colin the superior musician; his songs I continually find
annoying and inferior.  Maybe I might like him alone, but next to Andy...

OK, and to the guy who liked Colin tunes...

> From: (Al Kolman)
> Someone's complainging about Colin?  Well, not to flame or anything, but
> here's a prolific guy!

>  Nigel

Annoying, stupid, whiny BAD song.  Why is it all XTC neo-fans seem to like
either this one or "Dear God?"  It's BAD, folks.  Corny.  "And if Nigel says
he must be happy... he must be happy... "  blah blah.  Andy produces better
stuff on the toilet.


>  Generals & Majors

More of the "What's the name of this song again?" tunes.  The lyrics here are
horrible too, and Colin can not quite get his voice where he obviously wants
it to be.

>  (plus more from Black Sea - mine's out on loan)
>  English Roundabout

Good song.  IMHO Colin's best.

>  Ball & Chain

This one also doesn't fit with the mood of English Settlement.  It's too poppy,
too concerned with being obvious where it could be subtle, shouting where it
could whisper.  Doesn't do much for me.

>  Fly on the Wall


>  Wonderland

Is it me or is he off-key through the whole song?

>  The Meeting Place

Also off-key in this one.  And the lyrics... there are too many examples of
blatant silly cheesiness in here to be worth quoting...


> 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.

Well, to each their own, I guess.
Christian Longshore Claiborn -=-
"I bring home my notes and coins every week.  I'm told I'm worth much more
but the church says to remainest meek."  -- Andy Partridge


Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 07:15:29 PST
From: (Albert Handa)
Subject: Skylarking

RE:  Skylarking discussion.

I think Skylarking provokes all that discussion over how to make it
better is due to the conflicts the group had with Todd, who may be a
good producer but operates from a progressive-music sensibility.
Emotional conflict often produces strong art, but artistic conflict
often produces compromise.  Whatever vision XTC had for that time
became subject to another point of view.

Although one should keep in mind, the songs were XTC songs, and if
some of the songs didn't seem that strong, it`s not Todd's fault.
It may have been poor judgement by the producer to use it, but he
didn't write the songs.

"Earn Enough For Us" was, to me, a high point.  It's probably my fav-
orite XTC song, or pretty close to it.  The end product of Skylarking
may have been a pastoral feel, but most pastoral records tend to be
dull overall.  XTC should have not given Todd a huge number of songs
to look at.  They should have just made a demo of what they wanted,
and Todd's job would have been to produce it, and frankly, in spite
of all the talk about his ego, he would have just done so.  Might have
complained a lot and etc, but he'd have done his job.  These guys
were not dealing with Hitler or something.  Gus maybe, Todd no....

MUMMER:  I think "Funk Pop A Roll" is just fine on that record.
Most groups get into trouble trying to make all the songs fit a
mood.  The record opens up with a great rhythmic track, and then
goes mellow, and then ends with a bang with "Funk...."  Like all
men getting old, they get the old donut in the mid-drift (not
me of course :))

Slow songs, quiet interludes, pastoral stuff, and whatever used
to be the change of pace.  Plus, that vision has already been
done up the yin-yang (you'd know this if you were a true Kinks

I think this relatively lush cycle by XTC needs to END, and to
quit putting the adventurous stuff on the B-Side/outtake com-

-Al Handa


Date: Fri, 26 Mar 93 09:28:27 CST
From: Andrew Russell Mutchler <>
Subject: Battery Bridges (Andy Paints Brian)

On my CD copy of Go 2, the second song is listed as "Battery Bridges"
instead of "Battery Brides." It's got to have some kind of cosmic
significance! :o)  But siriusly, folks,... What, if anything, does
the subtitle "Andy Paints Brian" mean?


From: (Ken Strayhorn Jr.)
Subject: Andy v. Colin
Date: Fri, 26 Mar 1993 13:07:42 -0500 (EST)

Howdy XTC fans:
        All this Colin vs. Andy talk reminds me of the McCartney
vs. Lennon debate that went on years ago. What's the point?

        I have a bad habit of not reading authorship labels
too closely because I know that in a band, while one person
may write most of a song, the final output is a group effort.
Lennon and McCartney both made a point of always saying that
their work was a true collaboration. I'm sure Andy and Colin
feel the same way.

        Well, let's take this analogy a step further: I looked
at all my album covers to note just who wrote the songs I really
like. Hm, about 50-50. Let's think about each of these songs:
Colin seems to have a knack for startling key and time changes
and weird modulations, i.e., Lennon's old tricks. Andy has a
nice ear for melody and catchy lyrics, i.e., McCartney's
alleged forte.

        Anybody want to follow this up?

PS - still waiting for someone to tape the XTC videos for me. Or is
there a place I can buy them?


Date: 26 Mar 93 21:43:16 EST
From: Steve Levenstein <>
Subject: Nihilistic ramblings

   You guys are just too cool! I never thought I'd hear people
telling why they enjoy "Travels In Nihilon", or that they like
it at all.
   I was already a veteran XTC fan when Black Sea came out, but I
never got into "Travels" (or "Complicated Game", for that matter).
   But I knew then and know now that a liker of XTC (XTCophile?)
can enjoy and appreciate any of their (XTC's) songs after giving
said song enough listens. Sooner or later one finds the melody
playing in your mind, seemingly out of nowhere.
   But not "Nihilon". I sort of put the song away for a rainy day,
to be investigated during one of those unbearablly long hiatuses
between albums. One of those is now upon us (to soon as always),
but I figure that if y'all can like "TinN", I certainly can too!
Yeah, it's been almost 13 years, but XTC's music is timeless enough
to bridge the gap.

   Re: Colin's songs. Comparing Colin's and Andy's material is like
comparing Apples and Coconuts. They differ, but have their own merits.
Luckily, I like both of the fruits!
   I'll agree that lyrically, Colin is generally more direct than
Andy. But his directness can convey a lot of power. Songs like
"Wake Up" and "Dying" really hit hard! I can listen to "Dying" for
the hundredth time and still find it hard to remain dry-eyed.
   The talent of expressing thoughts purely and directly is a
talent in it's own right, and our Colin has that talent.

   I'm REALLY enjoying "Bull With The Golden Guts"!!! It is the
best of the 3 home demo series, sound-wise and content-wise.
   Now what I want is for COLIN to put out his home demos and
ideas, I'm sure he has a lot of stuff lying about on mouldering
(sorry) reels of tape that lots of people would want to hear.
Can we organize an electronic petition or something?

   "Don't go near that exit door-us!"
---> Steve


Date: Sat, 27 Mar 93 00:05:57 -0500
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: bits and pieces of my mind

This is my first posting to this list, so before I get started
on the various goodies I'd like to say, let me say greetings to
you all and I admire your fine musical taste in liking such a
great band! :-)

I have been a great fan of XTC since Black Sea, which for me
remains their finest work to date.  Travels in Nihilon is a
wonderful song!  One thing I like about XTC is that they never
seem to put out the same album twice (or do they. . .)

Meaning that Nonsuch is a real disappointment to me.  I really
loved "The Disappointment" single--played it to death and was
drooling in anticipation for the LP, but "The Disappointed"
(oops, I see my mistake earlier in this paragraph!) is exactly
how I reacted to the album.  "Holly Up on Poppy" and "The
Disappointed" are the only songs that really stick in my head,
and on other albums, there are tons of them!  And Colin Moulding's
contributions are way below par.  Although Andy Partridge is a
superb songwriter, I do like Colin's stuff more, probably because
he is more like me--cynical.  "Bungalow"  is the worst song he's
ever written, as far as I'm concerned, and "War Dance" gets pretty
tedious quickly.  Save all of your flames, please.  I honor your
opinions, let me share mine.  Feel free to disagree, but I have
put lots of time and effort into trying to like Nonsuch, and I
can't really do it!

Also, Brookes said in #269 that he thought "Another Satellite"
was kind of a snotty song (sorry, I am doing this from memory)
about too many groupies.  My interpretation of this song is
that Andy has some kind of female friend or neighbor who is
always out there on the fringe, trying to tempt him.  This was,
I read somewhere, Andy's favorite song on Skylarking.  I love the
song.  I see this song as somewhat sad and mournful ('we'll never
be lovers--why don't you make things easier on the both of us
and give up") thansnotty.  It's always interesting to me to
see how widely people's interpretation of songs can vary!

I wholeheartedly agree that "Funk Pop a Roll" really is out of
place on Mummer.  I like the song, but it reminds me of "Heat
Wave" on The Jam's Setting Sons LP.  Paul Weller got pressured
by the record company into including it on the record so they
could have a single, but it really ruins the feel of the album.
Same goes for "Funk".  I don't know why it was included--anyone
have any clues?

Has anyone seen them live?  I had an opportunity to see them live
once and turned them down, because I wasn't really into them yet.
I have this tendency to fall in love with bands after they break
up or stop touring for some other reason.  I certainly respect
Andy's decision, but were they to tour now, perhaps a live
rendition of some of the stuff on Nonsuch would actually have
me liking the LP. :-)

Has anyone been to the first convention, and is anyone going
to the secone
to the second?  Or, should I say, how *many* folks are going
to the second convention.  As I would be schlepping out there
>from Baltimore by myself, it would be nice to hook up with
some folks from this list.  I would appreciate some nitty-gritty
on what happened at the first one.  I am writing off tomorrow
for more details about the second--thanks for the post!



Date: Sat, 27 Mar 93 09:13:48 -0800
From: (John M. Relph)
Subject: Re: Jellyfish

Ok, so now I've listened to Jellyfish's _Spilt Milk_ album (Thanks
Wes), and whilst the vocals, arrangements, and production are pretty
good, the guitars are mediocre, and overall I find it more
overwhelming than engaging.  Perhaps I need to listen again.

What I find much more enjoyable are the last two albums from The Pooh
Sticks, _Million Seller_ and _The Great White Wonder_.  _Million
Seller_ is especially fun and great to listen to.  And they have a
good guitarist.  The album is much less polished than the Jellyfish,
loads of little mistakes (but then, so was _Abbey Road_ by the
Beatles), and a heck of a lot more spontaneous.  XTC they are not, but
then again, neither are Jellyfish.  In fact, Jellyfish aren't Queen,
nor Supertramp, nor the Beach Boys.

By the way, _The Bull with the Golden Guts_ LOOKS and SOUNDS great!  I
especially like "Zonked Right Out (On Life)", "Difficult Age", and
"Was a Yes".  And of course, "This is The End", which really should
have been on _Oranges and Lemons_.  (I know, I've said it before.)
"Difficult Age" would have been wonderful as a fully fleshed XTC song,
but it's still really good as a skimpy skeleton.

        -- John


Date: Mon, 29 Mar 93 10:40:48 PST
From: "John M. Relph" <>
Subject: Re: Ramblings

>Subject: Ramblings

Christopher Lishka <> writes:
>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.

I disagree.  I find that the overall structure of _Mummer_ lulls you
into believing that XTC are smooth and easy, which is the perfect
setup for the bang! at the end.  They set you up for the knockout
punch, the "Funk Pop a Roll"!  Just when you thought it was safe to
listen to an XTC album loud, they yell in your ear, "They can fix you
rabbits up / With your musical feed".  I think it makes the point even
more clearly than if "Funk" had been the last song on a noisy album.
You probably wouldn't have noticed it then.  :-)

        -- John


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