Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #422

              Chalkhills Digest, Number 422

                  Monday, 20 March 1995

Today's Topics:
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #420
             Speaking of bands that cover XTC
                 Re: First song follies?
             my  two cents  /Erick in Seattle
                    Homo Safari Series
                   Skylarking and Sound
              Colin's Bird,Andy's Instrument
        Not the Tubes; Andy meets Sting; The EXAM
                     notes and stuff
           Charts and Covers (the sleeve kind)
                Oops!  Forgot to say.....
                Crowded House XTC all that
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #419
                          Top 40
                   Homo Safari complete
         Senses Working Overtime - Top 40 - Nope
                    Re: the Go2 cover
                       Homo Safari
                   XTC's Hot 100 "Hits"
                    Crowded House/XTC
            Re: Skylarking/AP/Drums & Wireless
                Peter Pumpkin-Head again.
                 Backslapping with Sting
                      Done to Death?
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #421


Chalkhills now has over 1,000 subscribers!  So read this:

* When someone asks a question, many people send out identical
  answers.  When this happens, dozens of identical answers appear
  in the digest.  Mail your answer to the person and suggest that
  they summarize to the list.  This way the list will only see a
  single copy of the answers, no matter how many people answer the
  question.  And if you post a question, please remind people to
  send you the answers by mail and at least offer to summarize them
  to the list.

To UNSUBSCRIBE from Chalkhills, send a message to:


For all other administrative issues, send a message to:


Chalkhills Archives not available using FTP.
World Wide Web: ""

The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

A thousand Cheshire cats / Grin inside of me.

[like a fox eating shit out of a wire brush -- John]


Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 17:15:44 -0800
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #420


Richard Pedretti-Allen.  Residing in Silicon Valley.
Turned on to XTC from Mike Halloran's public radio program, "Radios in
Motion" in Detroit, 1979 through 1981.
XTC became a minor obsession with the release of Black Sea.  The obsession
continues.  I'm glad my tastes grew in the same general direction as their
writing.  Drove near Swindon in late '93.  Thought it would be corny to go
there just because THEY live there.

One band that occasionally reminds me of XTC is The Spent Poets.  The only
album I know of is self-titled, 1992 Geffen release.  Adam Gates of Spent
Poets is (IMHO) in the league of crafty songwriter along with Richard
Thompson (best effort IMO, mid-80's release "Daring Adventure"), to name a

"Never, never, navvies" explanation:

"Never, never" is typically an expression for buying things on credit.
(Check out Richard Thompson's mid-80's release "Daring Adventure")

"Navvies" (for navigation?) is believed to come from the original canal
builders.  This has come to be a demeaning term for Irish laborers,
especially those that work on road or rail.

Cheers, Richard


Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 20:31:32 -0500
Subject: Speaking of bands that cover XTC

The mention of Crash Test Dummies cover of Peter Pumpkinhead reminded me
that Primus also has a cover of an XTC tune out, it's a cover of Making
Plans for Nigel on a CD called Miscellaneous Debris. It's a small
compilation of 5 cover tunes released in1992.

Steven Stealbeard

P.S: Does anyone know if there is any XTC stuff on video? I remember once
back in 1989 that they did an acoustic set on MTV? Can anyone help me?



Date: Fri, 17 Mar 1995 20:42:02 -0500
Subject: Re: First song follies?

Patty, James, et. al.-

Glad to have stirred some reaction with my charge of the first song on
every album being the weakest. I DO realize that some leadoff efforts were
quite excellent (I number "Wake Up," "Meccanic Dancing," "Runaways" and
"Respectable Street" among my favorite XTC tunes, as a matter of
fact)...but some of my LEAST favorite XTC songs (sorry kids - can't say I'm
rabid about EVERYTHING they do) happen to be first ("Garden of Earthly
Delights," "Ballad of PP" and "Radios in Motion" come to mind).  You
realize, of course, that it is impossible to argue "good" and "bad," when
everything is a matter of personal preference. But, like I said, I was just
looking to stir things up a bit.  I'm glad you didn't let my blasphemy go
unchecked!  I just LOVE being able to get into it on the subject of things
XTC, even if I DO occasionally cast myself in the role of devil's advocate.

'til next time then



Date: Fri, 17 Mar 95 17:43:02 -0800
Subject: my  two cents  /Erick in Seattle

After browzing thru several document, I felt compelled to write.
First of all, anyone suprized that XtC fans also like punk must realize
that XtC sort of came out of that genre.  I mean listen to the first couple
of albums and the influence is obvious.  Second of all, what is all of this
talk about not including certain artists in the same catagories.  I am a
musician myself and to me, music is music.  My intrest are varied: Yes, Led
Zep, Kabelevsky, Primus, Tubes,Coltrane, Bird, Manu Dibango, Miles, Rush,
Sting, Beatles, Rossini, Gershwin, I mean it's all music, so why pigeonhole
    Skylarking, an incredible album was of course available of LP first.
CD's weren't common place in '86.  That album is very philosophical.
    NonSuch, Oranges and Lemons, and English Settlement are my favorite
albums, I must admit.  I wish that my songwriting ability become as
creative as I find Partridge's and Moulding's.  Bravo.  You can see a
progressive evolution in their songwriting from the first album to the
    Has anyone heard Primus' version of Making Plans for Nigel?
    I heard that the reason for XtC's lack of touring is that Andy
Partridge has stagefright.  A few of the lyrics are very critical of U.S.
politics and I thought that might have some bearing on that as well.  I
wonder if it's possible to see XtC perform in the U.K. somewhere?
    As for the Tubes drummer Prarie Prince playing on Skylarking, I had the
chance to catch a live recording/performance by Todd Rundgren (producer of
Skylarking as well as a couple of Tubes albums) at the Palace of Fine Arts
in San Francisco 1990.  Vince Welnick, formarly of the Tubes, also
involved, along with Prarie Prince.
    " ..put your foot upon the laughing gas and drive your grin around..."
                                                   Omnibus from NonSuch
            Chalkhills is truly a wonderful forum. Bye all.
                              Erick in Seattle   (

Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 00:13:49 -0500
Subject: Homo Safari Series

> 1. Does anyone know whether the Homo Safari
>Series has ever been packaged and sold as a unit?

I know I'll be the umpteenth million response, but:

The Homo Safari series was released in toto on the CD-single (or as TMBG
call it, CD-ingle) of "Dear God."


From: Andisheh Nouraee <>
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 00:29:50 -0500
Subject: Skylarking and Sound

Dear Chalkhillians,

        Is there anyone out there who has Skylarking in both its regular
and high octane (meaning the Mobile Fidelity Sound) version?  If so
could you please write a short article describing the sonic differences
between the two versions.  I assume that the MoFi version sounds better,
but how and in what ways....

        Any input would be greatly appreciated.


P.S.   I highly recommend Brian Eno's "Another Green World"  I think he's
 from another planet.


Date: Sat, 18 Mar 95 05:18:00 UTC
Subject: Colin's Bird,Andy's Instrument

Why on earth would the sexual connotations of "My Bird Performs" offend
Carol Moulding?  This may be another "Englishisms FAQ", but I thought Brits
use "bird" as slang for any female, wives included.  So translated from
English to American: "My Chick Performs"?  Carol would be perhaps

While I'm at it, let me categorically state that Andy Partridge has never in
his life played a fretless penis....


Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 01:29:47 -0500 (EST)
From: Thomas  Chao <tqc8542@is.NYU.EDU>
Subject: Not the Tubes; Andy meets Sting; The EXAM

2 quick notes--Micah Heibel, if you were listening to "The Pleasure
Principle," that was GARY NUMAN.  The TUBES album was "The Completion
Backwards Principle," on which several more-than-listenable songs
reside.  Incidentally, the title is from a real motivational record.

Many people will race to be the first to point out to Jerry Wheeler
(whose characterization of the "music" of Sting is dead-on) that Sting
and Andy Partridge shared a mike once!  Yes, check out the grand finale
of "URGH! A Music War," the film.  I cannot remember the song they were
flogging, although I recall XTC's contribution was "Respectable Street."

I spelled the name of ex-Smiths' frontman Steve Morrissey wrong in the
entrance exam and it has been bugging me all day.  It was a geniune
typo--not a case of ignorance.  (I am not the biggest Moz fan in the world
but can listen to a few of his numbers.)

Keep those entrance exam answers comin'.  The punishment for failure
involves MITNICK and your hard drive.
Tom (not "Thomas", thanks) X. Chao


From: "J.A.Harkness" <>
Date:          Sat, 18 Mar 1995 09:55:45 +0000
Subject:       notes and stuff

Hi, folks,

Re:  'Homo Safari'  being available as a unit.   As far as I'm aware all
six never been released as a stand alone entity i.e. just all six
tracks but when 'Dear God'  was released in the UK there was a version -
limited of course- that contained 'Dear God'  and the entire 'Homo
Safari'  series..... a weird package, no?  Incidentally, I once did a
dance assesment to 'Procession Towards Learning Land', passed too.

As for the Tubes, how come no-ones yet mentioned their only real top
20 hit in this country, the splendid 'Prime Time'?  Surely, it's not that

In a local Magazine this week - a patchy affair called 'S.A.M'
(That's Sheffields Alternative Magazine) -  there was a review of a
single by a band called Sidi Bou Said whom the reveiwer called a
female version of XTC!  Does any one know anything about these
people?  Any recommendations.   Personally I can't help thinking that
if they are the female XTC, will we get lots of (not so) veiled songs
about their genitals? And what of the fabulous off-spring that could occur.
 But then I am a deeply troubled soul..............sigh!

Will Yum! xxx


Date:         Sat, 18 Mar 95 04:42:02 EST
From: "Gene (Sp00n) Yoon" <ST004422@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Subject:      Charts and Covers (the sleeve kind) asked:
>Has XTC ever had a Billboard top-40 hit in the States?  I know
>someone with a book that (alledgedly) lists every band that has had a
>Billboard top-40 hit in the U.S. between 1950 to 1990. I looked up XTC
>and they were not there. Wasn't Senses Working Overtime a U.S. hit? What
>about Dear God?

No, they haven't, chagrin.  Info from the Twomey bio: The closest
to Top 40 in the States was with Mayor of Simpleton (no. 70 or so, I
think), and they've sometimes faired well on college charts, especially
Dear God (on what would be "alternative" charts now, I suppose).  Senses
WOT was top ten in the UK only, their biggest hit ever.  Other U.K.
chart toppers--or chart waders, I should say--are Making Plans for Nigel
(17), Generals and Majors (32), Towers of London (31), Sgt. Rock (16)
and Love on a Farmboy's Wages (50) [my favorite].  It's interesting how
people say now that XTC appeals more to Americans than Brits and yet
England was where all the hits were made.  And I think maybe Australia
made them number one for something. (Tim Snyder) said:
>I can give one reason for the Big Express not selling well: The cover.

I have to admit that the Big Express was the very last XTC album
I got simply because I thought it had an *ugly* cover.  I know, very
superficial.  Prime case of "don't judge a book (or record!) by its
cover".  Okay, I get the train theme, but that poorly photographed rusty
wheel is completely at odds with the very polished, shiny feel to the
Big Express.  This is an album where all that extra production actually
works.  The only train song is Soul Coal, anyway.  A seafaring name
would have been more appropriate, in my op.

While were on covers, I find it funny that XTC has a cool logo of
sorts--that scribbled XTc in the image of a face--and it's used only on
two albums, White Music and Drums & Wires.  I'm wondering, was it always
intended to look like a face, or was the painting on the cover of D&W an
afterthought?  The face actually reminds me a little bit of a young Andy
Partridge.  BTW, I think Go2's snazzy cover and sleeve was an attempt to
make up for a so-so album.

"Jim Slade" <> wrote:
>Steven Stealbeard felt the need to criticize my list of bands
>that I, an XTC fan, do not like
>it represented a certain fundementalist
>cult mentality that I get from Chalkhills.  So much preaching to the
>converted goes on, and critical topics are treated as blasphemy.

Please let's not start getting too touchy.  I can think of many
threads, sometimes going on for half a dozen issues, where Chalkhillians
agreeably (but not actually agreeing :-) criticized lots of things.
Even XTC songs they absolutely can't stand (remember War Dance, anyone?
how 'bout Shake You Donkey Up? -bleh!).  And I've only been subscribing
since late '93.  So far we've been able to handle it politely and in
good humor.  I very much hope this will continue.  It's why I love
Chalkhills and why having a pulsating head after staring at a computer
monitor for way too long isn't in vain!  I don't think Steven meant to
shut anyone up.

John Relph:
>I think a sense of humour has been lacking lately from some
>Chalkhills postings.  Who would seriously suggest that "Grass" is about
>Andy's penis?  It's a JOKE!  A JOKE, I say!

Here here!  But will they, can they take my puns is the big

>Another thing: I think I will add a compendium of "English-isms"
>to the FAQ.

Did I mention that Chalhillians should designate a John Relph
Appreciation Day?  I'm not joking, either....

Someone else talked about (sorry about the no-namer):
>...the infamous STING....STING is someone who has really tried to
>aggressively commercialize on XTC's concept, style and sound....I am
>also wondering if XTC was mocking him in their song "This World
>Over"....I saw the POLICE at a small club in Washington, D.C. back in
>1980.  The drummer was wearing a T-shirt with XTC's Drums and Wires
>album cover on the front....

Yeah, yeah, yeah!!!  The first thing that popped in my head when
I first heard This World Over was The Police.  XTC stole that drum beat
 from them, that's for sure.  The Police and Sting used to bore me to
tears until my roommate brought his complete collection.  They're pretty
okay to me now.  XTC actually opened for the Police in a 1979-80
American tour, which might explain the T-shirt.  I remember Andy saying
how the Police to him had this "everywhere" kind of sound that was
neither British nor American, and how touring made him feel more and
more English, thus the England-only references in his lyrics that pop up
all over the place from Black Sea on.

*peace* everyone,

p.s. thanks to all who answered my queries--y'all are so knowledgeable.


From: "J.A.Harkness" <>
Date:          Sat, 18 Mar 1995 10:12:42 +0000
Subject:       Oops!  Forgot to say.....

Oops!  Forgot to say,  does anyone have any idea as to whether any
other video collection exsists other than 'Look Look', which I have.
I know I've seen loads of videos since 'All of a Sudden' but are they
commercially - or otherwise - available?

Also, just heard Crash Test Dummies version of Peter Pumpkin
Head.....sigh!  Making XTC sound like supermarket muzak is an
unforgivable sin (IMHO)......I despair at the world.........even
heavier sigh!

Take Care Cherubs......

Will Yum!


From: "Michael Boock" <>
Organization:  Dakota State University
Date:          Sat, 18 Mar 1995 13:27:24 CST
Subject:       Greeting

Fellow chalkhillians,

I've lurked far too long. I've been reading with great enthusiasm but
feel a bit guilty writing to these groups on company time (no home
internet access yet). My first encounter with XTC was English
Settlement; bought the single album U.S. release after seeing
"Senses..." video on MTV. My interest waned for a time until
fortuitously selecting Drums and Wires at used record store some
years later. Been hooked ever since. Favorite XTC album - Drums &
Wires. Least favorite - O&L. Favorite song - hmmm, maybe first song
on every album ;-).

Andy asks in #141 if XTC has ever had a U.S. top 40. According to
Joel Whitburn's Billboard Book of Top 40 Hits (the definitive source)
they have not.

He also asks about "Set myself on fire" non-bootleg appearances. I
own a single from 1979 or so that has this song live. The studio
version appears on Go2.

Thanks to all XTC fans, and Mr. Relph particularly, for
the entertaining discussions I've found in this digest over the
last few months. Will try to contribute more often in the

Mike Boock


Organization: Magic
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 15:50:15 EST
Subject: Crowded House XTC all that

With regard to all the cross references of CH to XTC,  when I met Neil Finn
at one of the very first Crowded House headline dates in Toronto, at the
Diamond Club if you are from T.O.,  I was sharing a three way conversation
with  Neil, Myself and a gent in a Drums And Wires T shirt.  We were
talking about John Lennon and XTC which made perfect sense don't you think.
BTW I was off Chalkhills for awhile and am glad to be back,  for the most
part it is an informative and enlightening forum.
Did I miss something about these 4 bootleg cd's could that be reposted or
could someone mail me directly with that info?
Is there a downloadable discography also?

XT seeing you.

Paul Myers
People will always be tempted to wipe their feet
On anything with WELCOME written on it.


Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 16:53:59 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #419

By the way, a "tea cozy" is a fabric cover that fits over the teapot to
keep it warm. It doesn't sit under the pot. I think knowing this will not
add to the enjoyment of this superb song, but there it is ! Chalkhillians
are a scrutinous lot.

Joe Ierano


Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 18:35:03 -0600
From: (Greg Merritt)
Subject: Top 40

> Please settle a bet for me. Has XTC ever had a Billboard top-40 hit in
> the States? I know someone with a book that (alledgedly) lists every
> band that has had a Billboard top-40 hit in the U.S. between 1950 to
> 1990. I looked up XTC and they were not there. Wasn't Senses Working
> Overtime a U.S. hit? What about Dear God? I have the address of the
> author of this book and I'd love to point out this error (?) to him.

> Thanks for the info...
> Andy

The book that I think you are referring to is "The Billboard Book of Top 40
Hits" by Joel Whitburn and can be found in most major bookstores.
Incidentally, I'm pretty sure the two songs to which you refer never reached
Top 40 in the US;  both reached about 50 or so, I believe.  (That makes me
as sad as it does you, I'm sure.  I saw the exact numbers charted somewhere
once; does anybody know of a source?)  Most comparisons I've ever seen with
Whitburn's book imply that it's pretty darn accurate; that is, it is
COMPLETE!  There also exists one (though I don't have it) for Britain's Top
50, in which XTC is better represented.

- - Greg

P.S.  I highly recommend Whitburn's book, if you don't already have it.  It
contains HOURS AND HOURS AND HOURS of fascinating reading, believe me.  One
of the more interesting aspects of the author is that he actually owns EVERY
SINGLE that EVER reached Top 40 in the US.  (Nice picture of his collection
in the front of the book.)


From: (Troy C Peters)
Subject: Homo Safari complete
Date: Sat, 18 Mar 1995 20:05:56 -0500 (EST)

        Recent question about all of Homo Safari in one place leads me to:

        In 1987, Virgin (U.K.) released a seven track CD EP with "Dear
God" and all six Homo Safari tracks, and it had a GREAT cover with a
bloody fountain pen stabbing a human hand.  It's cataloged as CDEP 3, and
I still see it around in better CD stores in NYC and Philly to this day.
IMHO the Homo Safari set works better when you can hear them as a series,
and as my earlier postings indicate, I'd be happier to have "Dear God"
off of _Skylarking_, so this one works well for me.  I know this is info
readily available elsewhere, but all of us like to evangelize when we can.

        I've always thought the bloody pen on the cover might be another
reference to Andy's. . .  (Sorry.)

                Troy Peters


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 00:17:28 -0800 (PST)
From: "J. Nelson" <>
Subject: Senses Working Overtime - Top 40 - Nope

Alan (I'm doing this from memory - hope the spelling is correct) asked
about "Senses Working Overtime" appearing on Top 40 charts in the U.S...

I was living in the Seattle/Tacoma area at the time and I can assure you
that it received little or no airplay on the commercial stations.  In fact,
the only people I knew who had heard of XTC at the time were those that
were patient enough to listen to my babbling about how good they were.

When I moved back to Canada a year later, however, most of the people I
knew had heard of XTC and said tune.  I assume it got a fair amount of
airplay in Canada.


Jay N.


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 08:43:19 -0500
Subject: Re: the Go2 cover

The Go2 cover art was done by Hipgnosis (SP), a group (or person?) who was
(were) responsible for creating some of the best album cover art of the
70's-80's. Of course that was back when the cover was big enough to spend
time making art for it. I remember seeing that album in the import section
at Musicland in the late 70's, and almost buying it, and the Black Sea
album in the green bag. I didn't. What a fool I was. I still didn't wise up
when a friend played me "Helicopter." But when I got the Trouser Press
Flexi with "Blame the Weather," and "Tissue Tigers," I was hooked.

I'm very frustrated, because I've just spent the last several hours reading
back issues, and I'm 900 miles from home, with no music of any kind! I'm
dying to hear "Roads Girdle The Globe." Terry's big drum hit in the middle
always makes me hit the steering wheel so hard I almost drive off the road.

Steve Ruele: E:mail me. We used to trade messages and tapes a few years back
on the GEnie XTC message base. It's great to see you still here!

Bill (after an incredibly long time in lurk mode, as I haven't been keeping
up with the list)


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 95 14:51 GMT
From: (Psion plc  Joe Odukoya)
Subject: Homo Safari

>P.P.P.S. - Two questions: 1. Does anyone know whether the Homo Safari
>Series has ever been packaged and sold as a unit? and 2. Is there a
>non-bootleg version of I Set Myself on Fire available anywhere. I don't
>have Rag and Bones Buffet but I don't recall it being on there.

The Homo Safari Series was released (at least in the UK) as extra tracks
on the Dear God CD single - and excellent it is too!
I may have mis-interpreted the question but I set myself on fire is
available on the first XTC album (White Music).

P.S. I recommend anyone listens to the 2nd and 3rd Lilac Time albums (the
third one has production credits by Andy).
P.P.S. Chas DeLand - you're a lucky BXXXXXXD! I have met Colin Moulding
(after a David Sylvian gig) but I would love to meet Andy.
- Joeo -


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 95 16:43:00 UTC
Subject: XTC's Hot 100 "Hits"

According to Joel Whitburn's books, which include actual reproductions of
Billboard's Hot 100 charts, the only XTC song that ever charted at all on
the Billboard's Hot 100 charts was Mayor Of Simpleton.  It debuted at
number 92 on April 29, 1989 and, in subsequent charts, went to numbers 84,
75, 72, 76 and 87 before it disappeared altogether.  By the way, the week
Mayor Of Simpleton "peaked" at number 72 (May 20, 1989), the top 5 hits on
the Hot 100 were: Forever Your Girl (Paula Abdul), Real Love (Jody Watley),
I'll Be There For You (Bon Jovi), Soldier Of Love (Donny Osmond) and Rock
On (Michael Damian).  Also charting higher than XTC that week were Guns N'
Roses (6), Cher & Peter Cetera (8), Debbie Gibson (11), New Kids On The
Block (12), Milli Vanilli (30 & 45), Sweet Sensation (43) and 60 others!
That says a lot about either what the "masses" buy or how Billboard
collects their data!

BTW, no sign of either Dear God or Senses Working Overtime anywhere on any
Billboard Hot 100 chart!  Go figure...!

While I'm posting, could someone explain exactly what the book Eleven
Different Animals is all about and does anyone either have a copy for
trade/sale or a copy that could be photocopied?  Also, anyone have an extra
deck of Nonsuch playing cards?  (Feel free to reply to these requests by
private e-mail!)


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 18:27:40 -0500
Subject: Crowded House/XTC

Thank you Jim and Gene and a couple of other people!

I'm NOT the only person who thinks Crowded House is a great band that could
give XTC a run for their money.  CH is an Australian band that has been
around quite a while -- I remember hearing/seeing "Don't Dream It's Over"
on MTV in summer '86 and connecting it kinda awkwardly with the '86 world
series (when it looked like the Mets were out of there in Game 6, and then
"Gets by Buckner! Gets by Buckner! but I digress).

If you are looking to buy a good album or 4, pluck down the $10-12 on
Crowded House's 4 albums: "Crowded House," "Temple of Low Men," "Woodface,"
and "Together Alone."  "Temple of Low Men" is currently my favorite of the
4, and if anyone is familiar with "I Feel Possessed," you can imagine Andy
singing it if you think real hard.

Crowded House is a VERY underrated band, especially since they are not as
prolific as XTC.  However they come out of similar Mouldings (ha ha ha), as
Crowded House formed out of Split Enz, a big quasi-new wave band of the
late 70s-early 80s.

Now that I have extolled the virtues of this band, you must all purchase an
album and do your doctoral theses on the similarities between CH and XTC.

"My possessions are causing me suspicion but there's no proof." - Crowded
"I say it really doesn't matter where I put my finger..." - XTC


Date: Sun, 19 Mar 1995 19:10:29 -0500 (EST)
From: "Jay E. Scott" <>
Subject: Re: Skylarking/AP/Drums & Wireless

I have both vinyl (American) and CD (English) copies of Skylarking with
Mermaid Smiled instead of Dear God.  Don't read this as gospel, but I'm
pretty sure Skylarking didn't come out on CD immediately upon release in
the US but did in the UK.  Consequently, I have a copy of the original UK
CD, which incidentally sounds better than the American Geffen issue.  How
does the new golddisc pressing of Skylarking sound?

I agree with Mr. Partridge's comment that some XTC fans dwell a bit too
much on his lyrics.  The man has a lot swirling around in his head, so
it's fun to sometimes attempt to uncover the mysteries therein.  Quite
honestly, I don't know most of the lyrics by heart.  I usually have to
consult the lyric sheets (assuming they're correct).  Mostly, I just
enjoy the band and its' music as a whole.  Each of the members plays a
crucial role in the architecture of the band's sound.

I finally found a copy of Drums & Wireless.  The performances are great,
but I'm left to ponder why this album was released now?  why it is not
even close to being the complete BBC sessions?  what is the significance
of Drums & WireLESS, since the disc spans several years and is not
necessarily acoustic?  and why is the disc not filled to capacity
(clocking in at a little over an hour)?

Confused but satisfied,


Date: Mon, 20 Mar 1995 09:56:59 GMT
Subject: Peter Pumpkin-Head again.


Since my last mail about The Crash Test Dummies cover of PPH I have
heard it three more times on British radio.  This makes me think that
it has been released as a single.  Perhaps this is the beginning of
mass popularity in Britain for XTC.  The general populous here get
PPH shoved down their throats;  they decide that they like it;  and
then they all go out and buy tonnes of XTC albums!!!!!  Well, perhaps
not.  But, the last time I heard PPH on the radio (mid-day on
saturday on BBC Radio 1!) the DJ introduced it as 'a cover of one of
Britains best band's best songs'!!!!!!  Wow!!  _I_ know it's true,
but I didn't think that anyone else did.  I nearly died laughing!  As
did a friend of mine when I read her the lyrics of Pink Thing!

Dames TWD.

(Life is good in the greenhouse:XTC)


From: "Jim Slade" <>
Organization:  The Current Science Group
Date:          Mon, 20 Mar 1995 10:17:26 EST5EDT
Subject:       Backslapping with Sting

Doesn't Andy Partridge ham it up with Sting and the Police at the end
of URGH![sp?]: A Music War? They seem to be having a sincere mutual
appreciation society meeting at that moment. In their time, Sting's
delusions of grandeur and profundity aside, the Police were a pretty
good band and, I believe, naturally shared qualities of XTC.
Haven't they shared producers or used related producers? They
were both a part of that first Peter Gabriel-related compilation for
WOMAD, or something like that. My guess would be, when there was
still a hope that XTC would succeed at the level of the Police, that
Sting and XTC probably admired qualities that the other didn't
have. Maybe they still do. The only good Sting solo songs are the
ones that sound most like XTC (eg, the one with the video filled
with sinking ship imagery).  "This World Over" is a dead-ringer for
the Police of that time, which makes it OK, but not the best XTC song!
It would be interesting to hear what the bands think/thought of each



From: "Jim Slade" <>
Organization:  The Current Science Group
Date:          Mon, 20 Mar 1995 10:23:29 EST5EDT
Subject:       Done to Death?

Sorry if this topic had been done to death before I subscribed, but
does anyone know or guess the models on which XTC based some of their
Dukes songs?  Many are obvious (to me), and I've read something with
Andy Partridge comparing "Kaleidescope" to the Move's "Blackberry
Way", but I've never heard anything on "Your Gold Dress".  Does
anyone, like me, think that the song is related to "Dropout Boogie,"
 from the first Beefheart album?

I was already a huge '60s music fan, but was anyone turned on to
checking out the original psychedelic bands through the Dukes albums?



Date: Mon, 20 Mar 95 10:30:24 CST
From: (Christopher Kasic)
Subject: Youth--oops

On the 421st Hill, I proclaimed that Youth did work with Erasure on
"Chorus". A quick check of my collection proves me utterly wrong.
Sorry. Pfff. So ends my five minutes of fame.




From: Craig Dickson <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #421
Date: Mon, 20 Mar 1995 08:35:14 -0800 (PST)

Hello! This is my first Chalkhills post. I've been listening to XTC
since Oranges and Lemons came out in '89.

Re: "My Bird Performs":

|I always looked at this as just being a man (I've never
|viewed this as being autobiographical by Colin, by the way), who doesn't
|give a hot goddamn about what others collect or call valuable because he's
|got a terrific relationship with a woman who's keeping him sexually satisfied.

I have no idea why people insist on reading sexual (or, for that matter,
drug-related) overtones into perfectly straightforward songs. Sorry, but I
think you're totally wrong on this. "My Bird Performs" is a song about the
quiet pleasures of life. The things many people think important are no big
deal to him -- "Fine art never moved my soul", etc. -- but the simple
pleasures of home life are all he wants.

|Finally just to give my two gilders worth; I always thought that
|Grass was simply a bi-meaning song about rolling around on turf
|having fun _and/or_ smoking illegal substances.  Simple, no 'pink
|thing' implied or meant.  But that's just what I think.

Hmm, well, despite what I said above about people reading sexual things
into songs, in this case I do think there's a sexual meaning, though not a
drug one (I think it's coincidence that "grass" also means marijuana).  The
sexual theme in this song is rather obvious, after all -- "The way you slap
my face just fills me with desire," etc. If you take a look at "Moulding's
Street Plan of Swindon" in the package for the Go 2 album, you will notice
that there is a place off to the East, on the outskirts of town, nowhere
near any buildings, that is labeled "Loss of Viginity Place". My guess
would be that that is a grassy area, and perhaps the song is a memory of
that happy occasion. And maybe they had been smoking grass at the time...
ask Colin if you ever get the chance, okay? :-)

|From: John Relph <>
|I actually thought the sexual overtones were quite enough to keep the
|song from becoming overly sentimental and mushy.  (As Jemiah once
|said, just look for making love outdoors, you know it's by Colin.)

Exactly. Though I think the song *is* rather sentimental and mushy.
I like it, but it's not my favorite of Colin's songs, even just on that

|From: Tobin Munsat <tobin@phoenix.Princeton.EDU>
|Subject: Vertical Colour of Sound
|Read it if you can find it-- I looked for it in England last summer when
|I visited, and it is out of print!  (If anyone wants to get rid of a
|copy, you know where to find me...) -Tobin

It is out of print in the U.S. also. I found a copy in a used book store
a few months ago. It is very good. Tamm's book on Robert Fripp is also
quite interesting.



End of Chalkhills Digest #422

Go back to the previous page.