Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #418

              Chalkhills Digest, Number 418

                 Wednesday, 15 March 1995

Today's Topics:
              Re: "No Language In Our Lungs"
                Greatest Living Englishman
                 are they still records?
                   Psonic Psunpot, etc.
                      Crash Test XTC
                       Fruit Nut?!
                      'OXO' and GO2
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #417
                 Oxo, Grass & Helium Kidz
                      Steer me, Anna
                 Snappy Remarks and More
                    XTC "Englishisms"
               Good News, Indeed/Terry Hal
                    great fire burning
                   Re: Skylarking on LP
  XTC 'Net Interview 002 - Drums, Lennon, the new album
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #416
                 Re: All You Pretty Girls
                     Haley's Comment
               Steer Me Red Brick Jellyfish


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And in my dreams / We are rocking in a similar motion.


Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 18:43:48 -0500
Subject: Re: "No Language In Our Lungs"

I said:

>>the line "I would have made this instrumental but the words got in the way"
>>from "No Language In Our Lungs"
>>Is Andy saying he would have made it instrumental as in music without words?
>>Or does it mean he would have made it instrumental as in something that has
>>an affect over others?

John Relph said:

>In my humble opinion, the first meaning was the intended.  It's more
>of a self-contradiction.  "The words got in the way", they prevented
>him from making the song an instrumental.

But the second meaning goes more with the entire message of the song.  He
can't say what he tries to say, so he can't influence the world as he wants
to.  The words he used got in the way of the ideas he wanted to convey and
the potency of his message was lost.

I really think he's saying both, and that is what is so cool about it.

I just got two of the Demos CDs, volume 5 "Big Express" and volume 2
"Nonsuch."  I like the "Nonsuch" one a lot more than the "Big Express" one.
The demos are better quality and there are seven unreleased songs.

Mike Wheeler


Date: Mon, 13 Mar 95 19:41:14 EWT
From: Why does the sun shine? <>
Subject: Greatest Living Englishman

Anybody wanting a copy of Mertin Newell's Greatest Living Engtlishman, mail me
DIRECTLY and I will negotiate a deal with ya....(ok, $12.00 plus shipping).

I have an extra copy and would like to 'share the wealth'.



Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 20:02:27 -0600 (CST)
From: James Kosmicki <>
Subject: are they still records?

I have argued this point over and over, but CDs and cassettes and DATs
and whatever else are still records.  Records is a shortening of the term
recordings, and all of the above are still recordings.  They are not LPs,
and they are not 45s, but they are still records.  For that matter, they
are still albums, as well, since that refers to the packaging of the
recording in an album format which holds the recording in a case or sleeve.

In addition, SURFSONGS asks in the latest Chalkhills if Skylarking was
ever on vinyl.  You bet it was.  In fact, I bought a copy the day it came
out and then had to buy another copy several months later to get "Dear God."
So, in fact, there are two vinyl US LP versions of the recording.


Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 22:04:13 -0500 (EST)
From: Andrew Paul Notarian <>
Subject: Psonic Psunpot, etc.

While wandering about the record stores of Newark, Delaware I found a
cassette of the Duke's Psonic Psunspot.  I got it, figuring it would be
the first and last time I would ever see it.  For some reason though, I
can't seem to figure out who's who in the picture of the Dukes.  The day
before I had also managed to pick up the BBC Radio One Live CD.  I had
always read about Andy P complaining about the concerts sounding bad, so I
was pleasantly surprised.  I also like This is Pop and Are You Receiving
Me? better without the Andrews-style keyboard.

I am not surprised that Mr. Partridge thinks we read way too much into
his songs.  It's just that those of us with .edu domains get to used to
thinking that everything in music and literature is done for a reason,
and it often isn't.  Didn't someone criticize Andy a few issues back for
explaining his own songs?  At least he's not being pompous and telling
us his lyrics are too deep for most of his listeners to understand
(didn't Vedder say that no too long ago?).  Maybe it's just plain old
modesty.  I only say any of this because I sat through 3 hours a week
last semester of people trying to justify every song they could think of
as being deeply meaningful.  I guess I shouldn't complain, since my XTC
paper got an A since it had a lot less b.s. than most papers.
Interpretation is a very personal and powerful thing and usually no one
person is right, not even the guy who wrote the thing in the first
place.  Nevertheless, I'm glad we amused Andy.  You might remember that I
had been wishing a few months back that some Chalkhills issues would
somehow wind up in Andy's hands.

 | Andrew P. Notarian   | University of Delaware | (302) 837-2949 |
 | |  |


Date: Mon, 13 Mar 1995 21:13:49 -0600
From: (Mark D. Johnson)
Subject: Crash Test XTC

I heard Roberts of Crash Test Dummies reply to the question what 3 CD's
he'd take to a desert island, "any three by XTC."

Mark D. Johnson
Department of Geology, Gustavus Adolphus College
800 W. College, St. Peter, MN 56082  (507) 933-7442


Date:         Tue, 14 Mar 95 03:54:26 EST
From: "Gene (Sp00n) Yoon" <ST004422@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Subject:      Fruit Nut?!

Thank you to George Gimarc for letting us be the first to know about the
new album songs.

I hope song titles like "The Last Balloon" (Andy's referred to
being famous as riding a balloon), "Our New Dark Ages", "Wounded Horse",
and "Boarded Up" aren't hints that this is their last album.  Looks like
Andy took some cues from the Beatles with "My Brown Guitar" (Old Brown
Shoe/While My Guitar Gently Weeps) and "Knights in Shining Karma"
(Lennon's Instant Karma, another wordplay).  Anyway, it sounds like the
new bum will be (for lack of a better word) *pastoral*.  Calm in the
countryside.  With "New Country Squires" "River of Orchids" "You and the
Clouds" "Easter Theatre", I'm envisioning another outdoorsy,
nature-influenced recording, like Skylarking.  Complete with that
Continuity Concept thing.  And equally inspiring production.  Or maybe
that's too wishful thinking.  And Todd Rundgren.  Now I know I've gone
too far.

With those sky references they could very appropriately call the
album "Pie In The Sky".  Just kidding.

Or maybe the bold yet simple, "Andy's Penis".  Kidding again.

As for baffling lyrics,

What's the Sally Army that wakes everyone up in their Sunday
marchround in Smalltown?

What's a "multi-colored tea-cosy"?  I'm Dying to know.  [Am I
killing you with my humor or what?--sorry, couldn't resist.]

Who or what are Kath McGowan and Lord Sutch (it!) in She's So
Square?  This is probably more of a generational ignorance than a
cross-Atlantic one.

As for that verse in Summer's Cauldron,

I've heard it on headphones enough (probably in the thousands of
times) to be pretty sure that Andy is really indeed singing "I'm relax
in the undertow", though he could just as easily have said "I'll
relax..." or "I'm relaxed...".  Of course, in a lot of his songs AP
likes to flirt with grammar, as many great poets do.


As for vinyl Skylarking,

Yes, there is such thing.  My older brother, who introduced me to
XTC but has since moved on to, um, different music, had a copy somewhere
in his apartment.  In fact, I think there must exist vinyl for
everything XTC, as I've even spotted a Nonsuch LP at a local Providence
record store called Tom's Tracks.  (Last I checked, Tom's had a This
World Over 45 with postcards, 12"'s for 3-D EP, All You Pretty Girls,
Grass and The Disappointed, Acoustic Radio Tour, an original BeesWax, a
Black Sea LP in an original green paper bag, two import double album
ES's, + lots of other goodies.)  Don't know how anyone managed to get 17
songs on two sides for Nonsuch, though.  That would be groove-cramming
to an extreme.

And I think I've groove-crammed this issue of Chalkhills to tilt,
so I'll stop now.



Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 10:00:50 GMT
Subject: 'OXO' and GO2

Jon says:

>  From "The Everyday Story of Smalltown, " the line "think I'll drink my oxo
> up, and get away..."  What in the WORLD (as the Dukes might say) is "oxo?"

'Oxo' is beef (generally) stock.  It is sold in small boxes of cubes
of the stock, each one individually wrapped on foil.  They are
incredibly old (I have seen posters advertising them from the
forties!)  There is something amazingly pleasing about taking the
cute regular cuboid, unwrpping it and rubbing it between thumb and
forefinger until it disintegrates into your food.  With reference to
the lyrics, I have never heard of anyone just dissolving it in water
and drinking it but I suppose it's possible.  There is another stock,
Bovril, that comes in a jar that you are incouraged to make a drink
out of, so perhaps Andy is just mixing up things again as he is wont
to do.  Oh yeah, you can now get Oxo in other flavours too, Chicken
and Vegetable spring to mind.

I've been meaning to put this one to the collective XTC fan-mind for
ages.  I have a vinyl copy of GO2, the one with the print trying to
disuade you from buying the album and get a life.  On the back is
similar print in white though some of it is missing.  It's as though
someone has stuck a piece of black paper over it at a peculiar angle.
Is this normal or do I have a subnormal cover?

Dames TWD
(Life is good in the greenhouse:XTC)


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 23:09:41 +1200
From: (James)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #417

>oh, and to whoever it was saying "how many British references..." tons!

Sigh, add to that list almost the whole of the song "The Affiliated" -
affiliated members I believe (help!!!) having to do with the lenient
drinking rules in bars connected to those Union strongholds, the north
country Working Men's clubs. Right? Or have I been on the other side of the
planet for too long?

>And am I the only person alive that think that 'Travels In Nihilon'
>is the best song ever written ?

It's got bloody good drumming, that's for sure. Today's piece of useless
information."Travels in Nihilon" takes its title from a science fiction
novel of the 1960s, written (I think) by someone like Alan Shillitoe. I
read it once, many years ago, after noticing it's title and thinking "Hey,
cool!" It was pretty boring, and was in the Gulliver's travel type mould of
travel through a strange country with even stranger ideas and politics.

I'll remember to look up the details sometime.

> From "The Everyday Story of Smalltown, " the line "think I'll drink my oxo
>up, and get away..."  What in the WORLD (as the Dukes might say) is "oxo?"
>Just wondering...

Beef stock. Oxo comes (came?) in small cubes which was dissolved in boiling
water for a drink that was sort of halfway between a diet supplement and
soup. Could also be used to make gravy. Imagine marmite dissolved in hot
water (do you have marmite in the US?).

>        Also, in regards to "Red Brick Dream," I am left wondering
>whether the phrase "red brick" has a specific connotation for the British.
>I was told that in the 50s and 60s, England developed a number of "red-
>brick universities" in an attempt to unfortress the ivory tower and let
>more middle class-types in. Evidently, the term was often used
>contemptuously, and I have to wonder whether "red brick" tends to connote
>some sort of middle class mediocrity/cookie cutter mentality. That's how
>I've always read the song--like "Desert Island," it's a critique of how,
>well, England's glory has sadly faded after the decline of the industrial
>revolution and that people have been lulled into a soporific consumerism.

More or less. "Suburban" would be another possible synonym.

>What is this that lots of people have as their signature...

Not lots, just me. I'm noisy, I'm afraid. Folks, if I'm flooding the list
with too much crap, let me know, and I'll shut up, or quieten down, anyway.
(I'm serious - it embarrasses me how much I type to these lists

It's a quote from the wonderful song "By this river" off Brian Eno's album
"Before and After Science". XTC fans would, I think, like the albums where
Eno actuallly sings songs, rather than doing ambient doodling: B&AS,
Another Green World, Taking Tiger Mountain, Here Come the Warm Jets and
(with John Cale) Wrong Way Up)


James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 13:48:01 +0100
From: (David Webb)
Subject: Oxo, Grass & Helium Kidz

1)      Oxo is beef stock, primarily used for making gravy, but also taken
as a bedtime drink. I remember enjoying it enormously in my younger days.

2)      I, too, am confused about these mentions of *Grass* as a paean to
Andy's penis or a new-born baby. Particularly as it was written by Colin

3)      As a new subscriber to this list (and living in Italy), I have to
confess total ignorance of these 'demo' CDs. Are they official? Are they
being released in the UK? Please excuse what probably seem stupid

4)      The Helium Kidz were Andy, Colin, Terry, Dave Cartner on guitar and
Steve Hutchins on vocals. Dave Cartner still lives in Swindon; Steve
Hutchins's wherabouts are unknown (information taken from *Chalkhills and
Children* by Chris Twomey (1992 Omnibus Press, London).

5)      Does anyone know what Shriekback or Barry Andrews is up to these days?


Date: 14 Mar 1995 08:42:41 -0500
From: "Russell Shaddox" <>
Subject: Steer me, Anna

In CH417, James Dignan ( wrote:

> One lyric does constantly puzzle me though - what does "Steer me, Anna"

This may all be tangential conjecture, but:

(1) I believe Anna was the mother of the Virgin Mary. She is often considered
a maternal archetype.

(2) For some reason, I always associate Andy's "steer me, Anna" with Brian
Eno's "Anna with her feelers moving round, round, round, is sharpening her
needles on the wheel" in "Kurt's Rejoinder." Don't ask me why I make this
association. At any rate, an investigation of "Anna" as it relates to Kurt
Schwitters or Dadaism in general might shed more light on the figure/symbol of
Anna. Or maybe it's just the name of Kurt's girlfriend or pet insect or

Feel free to correct my scholarship here. I won't unsubscribe if these
theories turn out to so much "gas and chemicals."

Russell Shaddox
Do you wonder why I look so fresh?


From: "Jim Slade" <>
Organization:  The Current Science Group
Date:          Tue, 14 Mar 1995 09:27:41 EST5EDT
Subject:       Snappy Remarks and More

To George Gimarc: You committed the crime of misspelling "dictionary"
in your list of XTC demo titles.  Along with Monty Python fans, does
XTC attract a bunch of editorial types?

...And Arlo, I can only guess, but that gut that Andy Partridge has
been lugging around since Skylarking or so does not look like the
work of a strict vegetarian and exercise freak.  More power to the

As for bands that an XTC fan does not like I'll limit my list to
major offenders (and there's no use in listing obvious targets like
Michael Bolton or Kenny G): Rush, Pearl Jam, most of Gabriel-
era Genesis' work, and Snoop Doggy Dogg (Scoop Pooper Scoop, as Ray
Cokes has been known to call him).

Hey, is anyone out there into Ray Cokes, of EuroMTV's Most Wanted?
His show was the TV highlight of the year that my wife and I spent in
Budapest, Hungary (well, for me there was a Dutch vj who gave Cokes
a run for his money).  We "miss" him.  XTC would be perfect for a
stint on that show - I think their humor would click.  Crowded House
spent a special day with the show last year, and they were excellent.
Crowded House, BTW, is a rare band of late that I've dubbed "great"
based soley on their latest album, Alone Together.  I heavily suggest
it for XTC fans.  XTC should study the strengths of this album before
recording their next one. (Hey, how good are these other Martin Newell
products out there? Really. The Greatest Living Englishman is my other
fave of the past year.)

Finally, the person who made mention of being surprised that XTC
fans like punk bands shocked me.  A lot of those bands were dedicated
to the same spirit as XTC even if they never figured out jazz chords
and all but the most obvious of metaphors. Arrrgghhh!  Kids today!



Date: 14 Mar 1995 09:17:47 -0500
From: "Russell Shaddox" <>
Subject: XTC "Englishisms"

Sorry to post twice, but, as ELP once said, "there it is":

Speaking of references better known in England, one of my favorites is "La la
Londinium" off of "Towers of London." "Londinium" is the Latin name for
London, and thus (obviously) dates back to the days when the Roman Empire's
presence was felt in that green and pleasant land. I've always loved this line
because it's right at the end of the song, when most bands would have faded
out with some "oohs" and "aahs," but leave it to Andy to add yet another level
of meaning.

One more thing: While I don't agree that "All You Pretty Girls" is sexist
(although it is clearly sexual), I do think that "My Bird Performs" is sexist
(or "sexually asymmetric," as academic feminists say). Regardless of whether
or not he leaves the cage door open, Colin is more or less equating his
girlfriend to a pet bird, is he not? Or is the song (ahem) about Colin's
penis? ;-)

Can anyone give me an opposing viewpoint on the sexism theory?

Russell Shaddox
There's no youth culture, only masks they let you rent ...


Date: 14 Mar 1995 10:51:22 -0500
From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
Subject: Good News, Indeed/Terry Hall CD

Thanks to George Gimarc for the list of demos. It's good news to be reading
about progress on the next XTC album! I'm intrigued by the names of the song
titles - "I'm a Dictionary"  It would seem to me that this title would lend
itself well to illustration!

Andy's right, I think, when he observes that people read too much into his
lyrics. I think that his lyrics (and Colin's as well) can pretty much be
taken at face value. What's there is what's there. Andy does have very
clever wordplay in many of his songs, though ("Now you see I'm smiling,
back to juveniling...").

Andy writes mostly matter-of-fact lyrics about things in life that go
unnoticed. He has a fascination with lemons, children, and English things.

- - - - -
RE: The Terry Hall CD: I now have two new copies of this, so if someone wants
to buy one I'm willing to sell for $25 (US). It costs so much because it's an
import from Germany. I ordered one and in the meantime saw one in a store and
bought it, thinking the one I ordered wouldn't come through. So, e-mail me if
you're interested.

Oh, and all of you who recommended Talk Talk's "Laughingstock." You are
right.  You play it over and over and it turns into an immensely enjoyable
album.  Thanks. It reminds me of the group Traffic for some reason,
although more laid back.



"The thought police...will put you under cardiac arrest." - The Buggles, Age
of Plastic


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 10:20:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Thomas Long <>
Subject: great fire burning

I've been a voyeur long enough! It's time to contribute to the wonderful
(and occasionally disturbing) world of chalkhills.  I first became aware
of XTC in 1982, following the release of ES - after reading rave reviews
and countless Beatle comparisons, I took the plunge.  I don't know how
helpful this is to the great ES debate, but I seem to recall buying the
album in a limited edition 2lp format, before Virgin Canada went to the
single castrated disc.  As to producers for the next lp (are we just
fooling ourselves here, or what?), Adrian Belew is my choice.  Has any
one out there heard of The Bears... their eponymous debut is simply
brilliant (Belew's "Wavelength" is among the best songs AP never
wrote).  I actually got a chance to speak to Belew about producing XTC a
few years back at a music conference and he seemed very flattered by the
suggestion.  Colin's bass playing? The bridge in Dear God, just the sound
alone, is amazing.  And as for troubling lyrics - this is probably
somewhat defeatist - I've tended to invent my own meanings for the
stuff I'm too thick to understand.
                                  ciao, thomas


From: (Troy C Peters)
Subject: Re: Skylarking on LP
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 13:30:57 -0500 (EST)

        I know I won't be the only one to post this, but YES, Skylarking
was available on LP (I bought it on Xmas day 1986) and it included
"Mermaid Smiled" and didn't have "Dear God."  I didn't have a CD player
yet, so I'm not completely sure on this one, but didn't the LP come out
well before the CD was available?

        _Skylarking_ is better with "Mermaid Smiled" instead of "Dear
God."  I know that one might piss a few people off, but I think so.  I
like "Dear God" better as a single, but "Mermaid Smiled" fits the flow of
the album better.  So, does anybody have a CD of _Skylarking_ that has
"Mermaid" instead of "God"?  Wanna sell it?  Does it exist?

        One more note:  I was kidding about "Grass" being about babies
and penises - you can stop emailing corrections to me - it was a joke.


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 95 18:44:59 GMT
From: John Nicholls <>
Subject: XTC 'Net Interview 002 - Drums, Lennon, the new album


On the BBC CD that just came out, Drums & Wireless, the sound is very clean
and "produced" sounding.  Just how were these performances done?  Did you use
any overdubs or pre-recorded drums, or did you just go into a room and play?
 Did you use a click-track?  Was it being broadcast as you were playing, or
was there post-production before it aired?  Hope that's not too many nosey
questions, but I am a musician (a dabbler) and am curious about this kind of

JP:  Where was it recorded, by the way?  Was it Maida Vale?

DG:  Yes, with the exception of the '89 Oranges And Lemons things,
they were all done at BBC Maida Vale.  You have to remember we were a
fully touring unit at that point, we were working all year round,
touring, rehearsing whatever so it was literally a question of
dropping into the studio and cutting it all live, there were no
click-tracks, it went straight down to an 8-track facility at the BBC
at that time, and it would be mixed down to stereo at a later time.
Not by us - we would go in, cut the tracks, leave.  We didn't cut the
vocals live, we cut them to a guide vocal, the real vocals would be
over-dubbed when we got the track right, there were certainly never
more than one or two takes ever.  And then when we did the last
session in 89, that was done at Wessex studios because the Maidia Vale
studios were being gutted, they were knocking the two little studios
into one big one, so we had to go to Wessex.  Because we didn't have a
drummer at that time - oh, actually there was some stuff from '84 that
we didn't have a drummer either, Andy programmed the drums - so
basically Andy and Colin had gone to the States to do some promotional
work for O&L, I stayed home and programmed the drums to 6 track for
their return, and did as much keyboard programming as I could, then we
went into Wessex and cut the tracks to the drum tracks that I
programmed in their absence.

And that was the sessions documented in the book where I had an
accident on the motorway where the car was smashed up and a lot of
equipment was damaged...

JP:  Sorry, I don't remember that in the book...

DG:  I think it is, maybe it's just mentioned in a one-liner but I'm
sure he mentioned it.  Yes that was a pain in the arse...

[ *snip*   - I'll transcribe this bit at a later date.  We
then got talking about the XTC _Live In Concert CD_ and XTC live
generally: ]

JP: I saw XTC three times, saw them at Liverpool Rotters..

DG:  What were you doing there?  I was at Liverpool Rotters.

JP:  I remember you'd just come back from America, would that have
been 78?

DG:  It would have been the night John Lennon died - the day after.

JP:  At the time I would have been more excited about seeing XTC...

DG:  Well, it was December 9th 1980.  I can remember getting up in the
morning to drive to Liverpool.  We'd just come back from the States,
we had four days off, anmd we knew we were playing Liverpool on
December 9th.  Turned on Simon Bates as I was getting my breakfast
ready, he was talking about John Lennon, "Yes well John Lennon's been
shot" and I thought "My God! Someone's shot John Lennon!  Is he
alright?".  Then it became obvious, no he's dead and I just couldn't
believe it.  John Lennon, dead, no no it's impossible, he CAN'T be

JP:  I can't remember, you must have mentioned that.  You must have
mentioned it in the concert.

DG:  No, we didn't make any mention of it at all, all we did was we
tagged onto the end of Towers Of London a bit of the Beatles song
_Rain_, and just played the last couple of choruses of _Rain_  because
it was in the same key and of a similar rhythm.  We didn't rehearse it
very well, but that was the only gesture we made.

I'm sure others are asking, but when is the new album due?  Have you finished
recording?  If you had to compare it to a previous album, what would it be?
JP:  What's the story with the new album?

DG:  Well, Andy has written and demo'ed some wonderful new songs which
will not disappoint anybody and it's a little bit - no I shouldn't say
too much about it at this stage.  I'm rather disappointed in the
interest shown in us by these record companies who we sent these demos
to - they 've been very indifferent about the whole thing.  There are
3 companies who are currently very interested in signing us but no
money has been mentioned at this point, and I should hasten to add
that people are asking about the situation with Virgin Records, and
it's regrettable but the reason we're leaving them is because of
money. It's got to the stage now where it's down to money, because
there's only so much underhand treatment you can take when you know
your worth.  You know exactly how many records youre selling, how much
money everybody's making off it and how little is finding it's way
back to the band.  So for the first time in our lives were now coming
the breadhead, saying enough is enough - pay us.

JP:  But so are Virgin Records...

DG:  Oh yeah!  Good god...

JP:  There's been a big change there in the last 10 years

DG:  Exactly

JP:  The ravens have left the tower...

DG:  Well, yes.  I don't see a bright future for Virgin I have to say,
because the company we signed to doesn't exist any more, that died
when Branson left, probably died before he left when he started buying
airlines and stuff.

Anyway we're now hoping to find a record company that will pay us a
decent royalty.  And while the new songs that Andy's written, there's
nothing thats going to make the Top 40, its really really some of his
best music ever, really really good.  That's what's really great about
the guy, so many writers either get tired of doing it or they burn
themselves out or they run out of inspiration, or they just follow the
old tried-and-tested "do-a-cover" route, or they join forces with
other writers, and do a package.  Andy just keeps writing these
excellent songs, it keeps getting better and better and I'm always
really excited when he calls up and says "Gregs I've got another demo
for you, come and listen to this" because I know he's always got
something really interesting to listen to.

So if I was to describe the direction of the new album I'd say it was
a cross between _Skylarking_ and ......  _Skylarking_ and _Oranges and
Lemons_.  I think if you were to ... it would probably fit ...  from
that kind of period of our development, but it would definitely have a
much more English ... like an English version of a bastard son of
_Skylarking_ and _Oranges and Lemons_.  There.  Cant' say it much more
plainly, can you?

####################################### Tel: (UK daytime) 0793-546383


Date: Tue, 14 Mar 95 14:25:23 EST
From: (Nick Rhoads)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #416

>Oh, and re: Grass. Yeah, I think it probably is a deliberate
>double-entendre. But also, since I think the band has made it clear that
>they don't do drugs any more it may be a case of "shit! did we REALLY do
>crazy things like this???" - It would shock you, too...

If they don't do drugs anymore, how come Andy sings something about a
hookah bubbling on Then She Appeared?  It seems like a pretty psychedelic
song overall as well.  One unrelated question, on Skylarking, the liner
notes say thanks to the tubes for loaning us their amplifiers and the Dukes
of Stratosphear for their guitars.  I know who the Dukes are (obviously),
but who are the Tubes?  Another pseudonym?


From: (Allender Mark)
Subject: Re: All You Pretty Girls
Date: Tue, 14 Mar 1995 20:54:59 -0500 (EST)

Not a whole lot to be surprised at was there. i guess i was just
looking for milk in the fruit aisle.



From: Louis Barfe <>
Subject: Re:oxo
Date: Wed, 15 Mar 1995 15:26:54 +0000 (GMT)

Oxo is a brand name for a beef stock cube that is used to make gravy or
to drink from a cup.

As a vegetarian, it's one of the few things I miss. Sigh.



Date: 15 Mar 1995 10:25:09 -0500
From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
Subject: Haley's Comment

RE: Patty Haley's comment about "relax in the undertow"

It's not "relaxED in the undertow" because the singer is, well, relaxed in
the undertow. He's busy being prunelike and can't be bothered to add the
"-ed." I understood this apparent oversight immediately.

RE: Red Brick Dream

I always took this to be a wistful reflection on days gone by, the past,
when most Industrial Revolution-era buildings were made of red brick. I
love this song, too, and think of it when I go see old brick buildings,
especially around Boston. You can stare at the red brick walls for a long
time, they're like a huge canvas.

What a coincidence, Patty; I was a proofreadre in a former life. Now I'm a
writer-editor (with ambitions of maybe being a graphic designer). I'm
getting bored with words.


"Words, like violence, break the silence, and come crashing in, into my little


Date: Wed, 15 Mar 95 10:34:16 EST
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: Steer Me Red Brick Jellyfish

Hi everyone:

> From: (James Dignan)>
> One lyric does constantly puzzle me though - what does "Steer me, Anna" mean?

If you look at the lyrics for "Roads Girdle the Globe," I think of "steer
me, Anna," as a prayer.  Is there a patron saint of travel, or roadways?
There must be.  I'll look this up next time I'm in a library.  He's
referring to "you holy three," and "your sacred incense," so there's a
definite prayer-like aspect of the whole song.  Thanks for the hint, James.

> Subject: British slang
> Evidently, the term was often used
> contemptuously, and I have to wonder whether "red brick" tends to connote
> some sort of middle class mediocrity/cookie cutter mentality. That's how
> I've always read the song--like "Desert Island," it's a critique of how,
> well, England's glory has sadly faded after the decline of the industrial
> revolution and that people have been lulled into a soporific consumerism.

I see your point-of-view, Craig. The industrial revolution opened
up a whole new world of hope to the middle and lower classes--their chance
to make it in the world.  And I don't think of this song as being
particularly negative because of the word "dream."  Railroads were laid
as part of the revolution, but the birth of the railway system came about
through lots of sweat, injuries, and hardship.  "Navigator," which appears
on _Rum, Sodomy and the Lash_ by The Pogues (not a Shane song but he'd be
proud to be the author), gives another example.  That song also reminds
me of the navvies in "Towers of London."  The men who laid the railways
did so because they had a dream of a better place to live and raise their
children.   I do see the negative aspects in the song, of course, but I
can't imagine the railways being laid in the first place without that
dream being there to begin with.  In the song it *is* after the decline
of the industrial revolution, and things aren't as good as they used to
be, but after a boom there's usually always consequences of some sort to
be dealt with.  (Hey, it sounds like we're in the midst of one of those
conversations George Gimarc says Andy finds extremely amusing! :-)  Oh,
well, we have to have *something* to talk about whilst awaiting the next
album, and this seems as intelligent as anything, so let's go for it.)

>         Well, those are the main points I wanted to make. I was also
> considering trying to start a thread I haven't seen discussed here. We
> occasionally mention who our other favorite bands are (and I am left
> wondering whether it's safe to assume that all XTC fans are Beatles fans
> and that most are Jellyfish fans--or would be, if they checked the band
> out. Are these safe assumptions, or not?

Took me a *looooooong* time, but I'm finally a Jellyfish fan.  I bought
_Bellybutton_ a while ago because _Q_ magazine gave it 5 stars and I saw
it cheap at a convention, but couldn't get into it.  I tried selling it
on numerous occasions and no one took the bait, so last week I brought
it in as I'm on a real XTC binge and lotsa folks on the list love 'em.
I have really grown to like the album a lot.  My musical tastes are all
over the place, but I am also damn picky, so I am wary of someone saying
to me, "If you like XTC you'll like <fill in the blank>," because I've
heard this about other groups before and can't figure out *where* in hell
they've made the connection.  I try not to assume anything about XTC fans
and what else they'll like, especially when I see how diverse the answers
to this survey have been.  We're all over the place in what we like.  This
is pop and all that, which is fine by me, makes things interesting.

> From:

Yes.  I have the version released before they put "Dear God" on it, as
I bought it when it was released.  *All* their albums are on vinyl, unless
I'm mistaken.

> From: "my world is spinning..." <LEACH@AC.GRIN.EDU> (Arlo B Leach)
> so i'm wondering, do we know anything about andy's personal eating habits or
> beliefs on the subject, for example, is he a vegetarian or anything like
> that?

Hi Arlo.  Yes, there was a quote from one of the lads about "Andy stopped
eating meat," during the last XTC tour, and his eating habits affected his
health, as he was having a hard time finding vegetarian food.  I don't
remember the exact quote, and no more details were given.  By "anything like
that" I assume you mean a vegan?  I dunno.

> From: John Relph <>
> And I particularly like the line "I think about your warm white
> sheets unfolding".  It's a double entendre on "sheets".  In the first
> sense, he is talking about the white canvas sails of his ship as they are
> unfurled in the sun, but he also imagines the sheets of her bed as she
> welcomes him into it.

I've *always* imagined the sheets of a woman's bed--I always make my own
in-my-head videos of my favorite songs, so it was cool to read the canvas
sheets theory, which makes perfect sense.  My, Chalkhills is entertaining
*and* enlightening.

Note to Brian Swanson:  Surprise!!! Thanks!  Are you still on board?
Please get in touch if you are!



End of Chalkhills Digest #418

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