Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #431

              Chalkhills Digest, Number 431
		Long Easter Weekend Issue

                  Tuesday, 18 April 1995

Today's Topics:

                 Obscene Voice & Nonsuch
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #430
                     Discordant Solos
                    Defending Nonesuch
                    why Nonsvch svcks
             Nonsuch is (yawn) without equal
          A Modest Proposal (Apologies to Swift)
                   Who woulda thunk it
             P.Pumpkinhead=unwell weatherman?
                     I get no respect
                       Avon ladies
 Golden Cleaners available, & Newell web site in progress
     Building upon some Wise Words from Mr. Relph...
             No more slick productions please
                    XTC tribute album
    RE: John White and his misgivings about "Nonsuch"
          Answers to Questions 1-19 of my survey
                 And at the very least...
         Interview with Brian Eno in _Wired_ 3.05
Knuckling Down, Kinks, the Coen Bros./XTC Connection, etc.


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Date: 13 Apr 95 13:29:59 EDT
From: Kim Pacheco <>
Subject: Obscene Voice & Nonsuch

Russ Reynolds, in #429, wonders who the voice is at the end of The Dukes'
"My Love Explodes". I know it's not Woody Allen, as Russ thought it might be
and I don't have the answer as to who it is. However, I do have a tape of the
original conversation that took place on some US radio show. The caller is
reacting to a song just sung acapella by the radio guest. For XTC historical
purposes, the "obscene obomination" song is as follows (censored for your

Hey, go f**k yourself with your atom bomb
I wouldn't see no cause for alarm
If you'd go j**k yourself off, well you know you could
Go over the hill and into the wood
You know it's not very nice to kill so many
Willyou go away if I give you a penny
   What's botherin' you? Are you some kind of nut?
   Hey, go get laid, try the c**t or the butt
What's a matter with you? Did your dad hate your guts?
Do you think you're strange? That you're some kind of nut?
Do you think that money or megala power
Will make you into the ghoul of the hour?
If you don't like this world, hey just leave it alone
There is still some of us tryin' to make it a home
And how did you get your maniac power?
That can kill us all in about a half an hour
Something's wrong with the system, yeah I think
That can bring us all to this dooms day brink
   Hey, go f**k yourself with your atom bomb...

Quite obscene indeed! After the song is sung the caller reacts
with what is heard on the end of the Dukes' song. The conversation
continues for quite awhile after that.

Regarding John Whites' feelings regarding "The Disappointed" and
"Nonsuch" in #429, I would have to disagree, but of course this boils
down to personel opinion. I love "The Disappointed" and most all of the
songs on "Nonsuch", although I think Colin's contributions are the weakest.
I enjoy listening to this CD much more than "English Settlement".

Listen to "Humble Daisy" for some interesting chord progressions or
"That Wave" for hidden meanings- I don't think the lyrics are "right at
the surface". I think the imagery of this song is incredible!

One last item! Since I have only been with Chalkhills for one week, I don't
know if everyone is aware that there are two XTC fan tribute cassettes
available, "Obsene Collection" and "Beasts I've Seen". You can also
contribute to the upcoming "Skylacking" tribute. Tapes are $5 each (includes
postage). Send to :Bizarre Depiction, 228 S. 40th Street, Box 30905,
Philadelphia, PA., 19104, USA. I have nothing to do with them, but thought
some of you might like to know!

Regards... Tim Pacheco

Birds beware, expect me up there...


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 14:56:05 -0500
From: (Micah Heibel)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #430

>great song, but a question for the other 'merkins (americans) in the
>audience - musically, does it remind you of the theme song for the
>'70's sitcom "welcome back, kotter"? i'm mostly thinking of the verses.
>when i first heard "knuckle down", i immediately thought of that song
>(which, by the way, was written/performed by ex-Lovin' Spoonful frontman
>John Sebastian, who is great in and of himself). does anyone agree?

Good God, No.  I refuse to even consider it.  Not that I didn't love the
way the Kotter's closer said "Closet" on it.

Micah Heibel

"My father always said laughter was the best medicine.  Maybe that's why
several of us died of tuberculosis."  ---  Jack Handey


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 15:07:53 -0500
From: (Micah Heibel)
Subject: Discordant Solos

If we're into solos that are discordant yet fit the song perfectly,
how about Paul Weller's guitar solo on the Jam song "Start".

....Or any other Jam song, for that matter.

Micah Heibel


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 18:44:30 -0400
Subject: Defending Nonesuch

     Okay, okay, let's all lighten up on poor ol' "Nonesuch."  It's
not their best, but it's still a hell of a record.  Loved the
observation about the Disappeared.  I thought it was a crock until
reminded of the placards with the pictures, at which point I had to
admit the connection.  Didn't the Chalkhillian favorite Sting write
a song about those Argentine women?  The Disappointed is so
simultaneously funny and heartbreaking--see it as one or the other
and you miss a lot.  Same with Madam Barnum.  "If I'm not the sole
fool who pulls his trousers down..."--ouch, that's good.
     My defense of the record breaks down here, because I've always
had a Colin problem.  Maybe it's just the contrast with Andy, but
his lyrics have often seemed so damn earnest and sophmoric, and
nowhere more than on Nonesuch.  I'm frankly a little embarrassed
for him on "The Smartest Monkeys."  At least War Dance is catchy.
He has had some fine songs over the years, but the last two records
have not been host to them.
     I've got Nonesuch on at the moment, and am reminded of an
interview where Andy said he took the melody for Omnibus from the
piano break in "See Emily Play".  God, I love this band.  What an
odd thing to do!
     To whomever pointed out how undiscovered songs will jump out
at you after the hundredth listen, you're right.  Today it was "The
Ugly Underneath."
     But I ramble.  I would like to suggest that the CD age has not
necessarily been a boon to XTC if only because the things fit so
damn much music.  I like to listen to records beginning to end,
like I read a book.  And Jesus are O&L and Nonesuch exhausting!
It's like slogging through Proust, yet ultimately almost as
rewarding.  I've taken to listening to them in two or three parts.
Anyone else have this problem?
     What about that tribute album?  I loved hearing some of the
bands slated to contribute.  Has this been done, or does anyone
have suggestions or wish lists for what bands should contribute and
which songs they should do?
     Sorry this is so long.


Date: Thu, 13 Apr 95 17:59 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <>
Subject: Kinks

 From Tony Beyer:
TB> Here is an exerpt lifted from a truly epic interview with Andy Partridge
TB> in issue #32 of Big Takeover.
TB>      Andy: Well, comparisons with the Kinks are immodest
TB>            of me, because I don't think that we've written
TB>            anything of the purity of Ray Davies...  he has
TB>            been such a big influence on me...  My song writing
TB>            comes out how it does, a lot of it because of Ray
TB>            Davies, I think.

I was able to come up with lots of similarities between XTC and the
Kinks in a paper I wrote 10 years ago, which included a tape of
snippets of both Kinks and XTC songs side by side.  I think I recall
Andy mentioning that Train Running Low on Soul Coal was his attempt at
a train song in the vein of the classic Kinks train songs.  For the
uninitiated, "Something Else" and "Village Green Preservation Society"
(not to be confused with Preservation Acts I & II) are two fantastic
albums that are usually overlooked.  Awesome tracks: "Two Sisters",
"Big Sky", "Animal Farm".

PS - I have an updated list of for-sale XTC vinyl and Little Express
issues; if anyone is interested please e-mail me personally.


From: (mark allender - king of the universe)
Subject: why Nonsvch svcks
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 19:17:07 -0400 (EDT)

I like it!

i will admit it is different.  songs like Peter Pumpkinhead and Dear
Madam Barnum don't do a whole hell of a lot for me -- they seem pretty
mainstreamy and not very evocative/provocative (in my opinion)

and i will admit that i didn't like it too much at my first listen
or second listen
or any of the other listens i had in the first month or so.

but it really grew on me.  Then She Appeared, My Bird Performs, That
Wave (wonderful song - except that guitar solo), Omnibus (yeah, i love
it!), Rook, Wrapped In Grey, Bungalow, geez!  it's a great album.

i like the drums a lot - particularly on That Wave - really well
and the bouncy piano on Rook and Omnibus make me really happy.

it's good.
sorry some of you don't!



Date: Thu, 13 Apr 1995 19:50:16 -0500
From: (Gene Yoon)
Subject: Nonsuch is (yawn) without equal

seth jason mclaughlin <> calls them:
>...the Sires of Swindon.

So *that's* what they've been doing these past three years....

Nonsuch was an album where, for the first several weeks after I bought it,
I'd listen to it straight through and wonder in astonishment, "Did I really
just hear seventeen songs?!"

I didn't know how to react to it.  Individually, the songs are good, clean,
have clever, deep lyrics and are relatively sing-along-able.  I was
disturbed at the apathy I had towards this album; after all, XTC stirs
passion, at least in me.  I put away the album for a month, came back to it
afresh, hoping that a new listening would change things.  Nope, nothing.
(although My Bird Performs and Holly Up on Poppy became two of my all-time
favorites.)  Then I realised what the problem was: it's boring!  There, I
said, it--Nonsuch bores me, because musically I feel like I heard it all
before, somewhere, somehow.  I really don't like Oranges&[mostly]Lemons,
but at least there are definitely some previously unexplored sounds coming
out of them, some experimentation.  Every album seemed to reveal something
new about XTC, every album but the last.  As for the Disappointed, every
time I hear it I can only think of how well it expresses my feelings about
Nonsuch, and Rook never fails to get the fast forward.  I'd do what John
Relph does and program tracks when I put in Nonsuch and O&L, if it weren't
such a pain in the ass on my CD player to do so.

It's noteworthy that Dave Gregory (in the John Nicholls net interview)
considers this the best XTC album, and maybe technically it is their most
accomplished.  But it seems XTC has gotten a little too tired, a little too
mature, and hit a brick wall (okay, how about a temporary cardboard wall)
in the creativity department in 1991.  Though DG predicting the next album
to sound like a fusion of two previous albums does not bode well, either.

Enough negativity!!!  Because Nonsuch sedation has a quick remedy: Drums
and Wires! especially the complete Geffen CD release!  Drums and Wires gets
my vote as the bounciest, most rhythmic XTC album.  The Hop, Chain of
Command, and Limelight**, along with Helicopter, Real by Reel, When You're
Near I Have Difficulty, That is the Way, and Scissor Man are the fab
three/four at their most fun.  Nigel, Roads Girdle the Globe, Millions and
Complicated Game are BIG songs, if you know what I mean.  Terry Chambers
was great while he lasted, wasn't he??

**[All three curiously omitted from original Virgin pressings--why? I ask
rhetorically--anyone notice how the dropped tracks are often among the
best, like Blame the Weather, Heaven is Paved with Broken Glass, Procession
Towards Learning Land, Washaway is very okay, and so on and so forth.]

And though few Chalkhillians would agree (probably), White Music and the
first half of Go2 are also worth a listen, if you're in the right (or
wrong) state of mind.  It seems the first two albums always get a bad rap,
but every time I listen to them I think how wildly new and interesting they
must have sounded back in 1978.  Does anybody else think so too?  Well,
gee, I hope I'm not alone.

And thank's-you to Bob Sherwood for making my cranium hurt from laughter.
Alehouse rules!  Who does that Partridge think he is, anyway? he can't even
get along with Blur!


   //       Gee Eeh End Eeh  Why Oh Oh End        \\  "Clock in my head
  //,\\  Clock on the wall,
 // Brown University, Box 399, Providence, RI 02912 \\ Now the two of them
//             Phone/Fax: (401)863-5806              \\Don't agree at all."


Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 09:58:52 -0400 (EDT)
From: seth jason mclaughlin <>
Subject: A Modest Proposal (Apologies to Swift)

Submitted for your approval:
        A cover of a Dukes song on the forthcoming XTC tribute album by
one of the groups so craftily pastiched; e.g. Pale and Precious by the
(newly reformed, I think) Beach Boys.
        How about it, Mr. Yazbek?


Date: 14 Apr 1995 11:38:29 -0500
From: "Ken Salaets" <>
Subject: Who woulda thunk it

Ever the lurker and proud of it, I have been amazed and amused by
the constant genuflection before one icon AP.  Being a composer
by gene I have never nibbled at the flowing word, but rather,
have focused on the melody, arrangement and the like.  Not an
uncommon propensity, mind you.  Nevertheless, all of this
speculation over the MEANING of the words finally led me to the
lyric section of this wonderful website, and DAMN all of you
Gentlefolk are right!  The lyrical tapestry of the Master
Word Weaver is truly delicious!

Although I too may be one of the Disappointed, I now claim
membership among the true believers.  If you'll have me.



Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 16:51:55 +0100 (BST)
From: David William Lawson <>
Subject: P.Pumpkinhead=unwell weatherman?

 In Chalkhill #430 J.A.Harkness wrote
>   I've just read the posting on JFK/Peter Pumpkinhead and I quite
>   impressed!  Well thought out.  In my simple naivete I just assumed it
>   was a kind of 'Second Coming' scenario and a kind of redressing of
>   the balance re: Dear God........

  I tend to agree that JFK was in Andys mind when he was writing the song.
But! I've always kind of thought that it was inspired by a minor British
television weather man called David Ike.
 Although probably unknown outside the UK back in 1990-91 he caused
somthing of a stir by, after looking at a few to many "satalite
predictions" anouncing that he was in fact the son of God and that parts
of Britain were going to sink into the sea unless we changed our ways
(wore turquoise track suits).
 He did "die" on live TV. An appearence on a prime time chat show
resulted in him being ridiculed and humiliated by the presenter. Loosing
any credability he had. Also when he was able to get a word in amonst
the Laughter he said somthing like, "at least their (the audience) laughing,
any kind of laughter is alright" which isnt to far off what PP's,"Any
kind of love is alright".
 A few months later he announced that he had been unwell but was better
now. I think he currently tours the country warning of an impending alien
invasion. How the mighty have fallen.

  Clutching at straws,


Date: Fri, 14 Apr 1995 11:45:59 GMT-6
Subject: I get no respect

Fellow Climbers,

Thanks for the inspirational discussion on immaculate receptions.
Some of you are believers, others cynics, and still others took it in
the spirit it was intended. I've enjoyed the multilogue immensely.
Keep it up!



Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 17:18:50 +1200
From: (James)
Subject: Avon ladies

>Continuing the Respectable Street thread, are there Avon ladies in England?

Certainly are... "ding dong, Avon calling" (or to quote Godley and Creme,
"lock up your daughters! Avon crawling...")



Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 13:33:17 -0400
Subject: Golden Cleaners available, & Newell web site in progress

Hello -
Steve here from Long Play records with a couple of Martin Newell tidbits for

We have made a deal with England's Tangerine Records to allow us to offer the
Cleaners From Venus "Golden Cleaners" CD through our mailorder catalog. If
you don't already know, this is a 20 song disc compiling the best of Martin
Newell's first band. It has a thick booklet with great liner notes written by
Martin as well. As far as I know, this is the only Cleaners material in
print. The cost is $15, plus a buck or two for postage to: Long Play, POB
5233, Atlanta, GA 30308.  Of course we also have the Brotherhood of Lizards
for $12.

Also, we are in the process of building a Long Play World WIde Web site,
which will certainly include as much Martin Newell/Brotherhood of Lizards
info as we can get on there. You are welcome to visit the work in progress
at... Comments and suggestions are greatly appreciated
- we're making it up as we go along!

Nothing to report yet on Martin's new solo album - but I will report as soon
as I know something. I've seen a few posts about "Let's Kiosk," and here's
what I know... There are no plans anymore for a U.S. release of the EP
because Pipeline Records has gone bankrupt. It is available from Jade Music
in Tokyo, and it should also be available from Humbug in England. E-mail me
if you want the addresses.

Cheers!           -steve pilon/long play records


Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 14:29:06 -0400
Subject: Building upon some Wise Words from Mr. Relph...

>It would appear that most people miss the joke that is "Bungalow"

I don't think anyone could understand how ROTFL I was when I started reading
this post...I am sitting in my room looking at all the mail I have downloaded
today, and as has been recently usual, listening to Nonsuch on my cd player.
"Bugalow" had started up as I happened on John Relph's post, and then I see
this play-on-words that Bungalow was made out to be...I had to pull out the
lyrics so that I could see if there could be a double-entendre that would
make sense of it...and you could surely make it sound like it does! ('luxury

"The Disappointed" is imho one of the stronger songs on this album.  I think
it means that the protagonist (Andy) feels like the authority on
relationships when all 'disappointed' people who had broken up with their
sig. others come a-calling. Maybe Andy & Marianne had a little problem that
they solved -- more than any "Disappointed" person ever did...Seems to me
that Andy may feel a need to be in a relationship and can't understand how
anyone who has ever been in one could go ahead and break up with the person
they love(d).  And the tune is catchy. Not the BEST on the album (that would
go to either Dear Madam Barnum or Then She Appeared) but the message is
My favorite song on that album is probly "Omnibus" -- Can't help laughing to
it. A perfect Partridge double meaning, and a clear demonstration that he and
his 'pink thing' are always paying attention to the opposite sex. Not many
people would notice (or take the time to notice) the meaning of the order of
the songs on Nonsuch. Starting with "The Disappointed," try to follow this:
The Disappointed: a man who has had and solved his problems in relationships
that counsels others in their own relationships.
Holly...: The man and his wife have a child and she is the love of their
Crocodile: The wife leaves the man and he is all torn up (very angry!)
Rook: Reflects on his life so far, and (is maybe suicidal?)
Omnibus: Looks at all possible alternatives for a new partner
That Wave: Maybe a one-night stand? At the end of the song, "All I fell into
was love..." and song goes directly into...
Then She Appeared: Falls in love with the one night stand and is 'hopelessly
devoted to her?'
War Dance: best guess, this new love makes the headlines?
Wrapped In Grey: Settling down isn't necessarily a bad (grey) thing..."Your
heart is a big box of paints" Best line on ALBUM: "And in the very least you
can stand up naked and grin.."

These 7 songs in the middle of the album chart the progression of a
relationship, divorce, and new love... Aw isn't it sweet? Who knows? Maybe
Andy and Marianne will get back together? Naah. They have already passed the
Holly up on Poppy stage.



Date: Sat, 15 Apr 1995 21:43:58 -0800
From: (Ian Dahlberg)
Subject: No more slick productions please

Hello all,

               I have to agree with Mr. Wesley Wilson's comment on the
blandness of Nonesvch.  That's kind of the way I felt after listening to
Oranges and Lemons.  The production is too clean and clear.  I like XTC
albums to have that grainy earthy sound to them and not something where you
can pick out the individual bits and pieces.  I feel a song has to be a
living, breathing audible organism where everything complements each other
and doesn't sound like an idea with stuff just layered on top of it.  "The
Big Express"  is probably the one XTC album I've played the most and it's
the one that got me hooked in the first place.  It's just a raw and dirty
piece of grinding metal hissing steam all over; it really evokes a specific
image in your mind (something that watching a video might erase for good!)
Maybe I should drag a tape of Nonesvch through the dirt, then play it.
        The same thing goes with another fave that is "Skylarking."  After
a good number of listenings I totally fell in love with it.  It's like a
camera filter has been placed in your mind's eye and everyhthing you think
of during the album will be seen with that tint.  I'm sure the cover art
plays an important role too in how you percieve the album.  The perfect
listing environment for this or any other music is in a dark room with no
visual distractions.  You can definitely hear more when there's nothing to
look at.
        I personally think XTC's videos don't do them justice.  A couple of
'em are pretty good (Wonderland, Love on a Farmboy's...) but I don't think
they realise what the song suggests.  "All You Pretty Girls" kind of had
the right idea but it looked more like a big production with lipsynch on
the agenda.  Sometimes songs don't need videos and they're better off
without them.  A lot of the songs on MTV need a picture to go with it
because the song is lacking.  Case in point: Madonna's "Bedtime Story"
video.  A crappy song made up for in a multi-million dollar video.
        Hey I just thought, when are we gonna see a fun XTC CD ROM chock
full o' goodies?
        Quick question:  What was the deal behind that second version of
"This is Pop"?  The video/ wax works/ non-album rendition?  I like it
better than the album version.  Jus wonnerin'.
        Shifting gears a bit, I'm in the middle of figuring out "Melt the
Guns" to be posted in the future.  I've got most of it figured already, I
just want to solidify my findings.  Oddly enough, I'm referring a little to
a B/W video of the band doing "Melt..." at a sound check to the concert
where Andy fumbles off stage from exhaustion during "Respectable Street"
(not a pleasant sight.)

                                 Until next time...


Date: Sun, 16 Apr 1995 14:41:56 -0400
Subject: XTC tribute album

Just to shed a bit more light on the XTC tribute album, I've seen it
mentioned many times on the They Might Be Giants newsgroup.  It seems that
TMBG are contributing a version of "This Is Pop" to the project.


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 08:07:14 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Delvin R. Neugebauer" <>
Subject: RE: John White and his misgivings about "Nonsuch"

Greetings, everyone. This is for John White, who wrote to say that he didn't
care for "Nonsuch" and asked (rather warily) if other XTC fans harbored the
same feelings.

Nothing to fear here, John. This is a discussion group of intelligent,
sensitive people, not an inquisition. {In olden tymes, they burned the
"heretics" at the stake; in the cyber age, we call it a "flaming." You be the

I agree, "Nonsuch" isn't XTC's most enduring work, although I'm not as sour on
it as you are. The whole album goes down smoothly enough, and includes some
splendid songs. But it doesn't offer the sense of "perpetual discovery" that
awaits anyone who listens to "Oranges & Lemons," "Skylarking," "The Big
Express" or "Black Sea" (the British CD of that last one is remarkably well
mastered, by the way) and has ears to hear. Each time I listen to those CDs, I
seem to notice some little bit of sonic filigree that had previously eluded

A large part of the blame for the "flaccid" quality of "Nonsuch" can be placed
squarely on Gus Dudgeon's doorstep. Mr. Dudgeon knows how to get good, clean,
sumptuous sound, but a "challenging" producer he ain't. Those albums he
recorded with Elton John in the '70s go down pretty smoothly, too. I remember
reading an article back in '92, in some little complimentary music magazine
that Tower Records was giving away. Andy recalled that the one phrase they
heard from Gus most frequently during the "Nonsuch" sessions was, "Now boys,
that's not how Elton and I used to do it." Or words to that effect.

While we're on the subject, Andy also said (in that same article) that he and
Colin wrote a total of 32 songs for "Nonsuch." He hoped they'd be able to
release the remaining 15 on another disc (some in demo form, others the way
Dudgeon recorded them), to be called "Somesuch" or "Othersuch." Does anyone
out there have any clues about that pursuit? Did those songs show up on some
disc outside the U.S.? Or did the idea get shelved altogether?

Finally, alluding to the time that had passed between "Oranges & Lemons" and
"Nonsuch," Mr. Partridge assured the readers of that little article that "it
won't be another three years before you hear from XTC again." Well, let's just
hope that when they wrap up their litigation with Virgin and get back into the
studio, they choose a producer who can help them conjure up their magic,
rather than one like Gus Dudgeon, who's likelier to gloss it over. In the
meantime, remember that those who flunk history are doomed to repeat it.

Best wishes and kindest regards,

Delvin Neugebauer
Colorado Springs, Colorado (U.S.A.)


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 95 11:33:00 EDT
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: Answers to Questions 1-19 of my survey

Whew!  At long last!

Hi everyone:

Thanks for your patience while awaiting the survey results.  Your
answers to #20 will be summarized on down the line when I've done
more work on my paper.  In the meantime, here are some responses to
the other 19.  There were so many answers (variety-wise, that is),
that I compiled the answers to the ones I felt were the most
interesting.  You will see how diverse everyone was here.  Trying to
summarize everything is impossible as we're just too far over the
map--there were almost as many answers as there are people in some
cases (check out the bit where I showed people's responses for
producers, for instance).

There were a total of 47 responses, which is pretty lame for the
number of folks on the list, but what the hey, some of you
contributed some real gems for answers, and I'm grateful.
I've quoted some of the more interesting replies to questions below.

#1 -- XTC song you got turned on by first
#2 -- First record you bought

#1 and #2 -- We were all over the place here.  As a rule, we wound
up buying the album containing the record that we heard and liked.
For example, those of us hearing a song off of _Black Sea_ ran out
and bought the album.  There were exceptions to the rule, of course,
but if we liked a song off the album, usually we bought the album.
Or sometimes we went out and bought the single itself instead.

Here's a great comment on question #2:

2. Oranges & Lemons (I actually had my first car crash, at 16 years old,
driving to my favourite record store to pick up O&L. I swear to God its
the truth. Turned out the album cost me around $2515 after repair costs.)

(And no, I didn't add that amount into the answer for #3 below.)

#3 -- How much money have you spent on XTC-related goodies

#3 -- We spent a total of $14,200.  This was probably about 40 of
us, as several responding to this question said "I have no idea,"
or something to that effect.  That's an average of $355 (American)
each.  That's a decent amount of dosh to spend on one band.  Of
course, there were a couple of people who spent *way* more than that
amount, but I think the average is on-target.

#4 -- Favorite album

Black Sea -- 9 votes
Skylarking -- 10 votes
Live at BBC, 1980 - 1 vote
English Settlement -- 4 votes
Nonsuch -- 2 votes
Big Express -- 6 votes
Psonic Sunspot -- 1 vote
Oranges and Lemons -- 5 votes
Chips from the Chocolate Fireball -- 1 vote
Mummer -- 2 votes

(I figured _Skylarking_ would win, and I was right.  I was pleased to
see _Black Sea_ have such a strong showing, and ah, poor, misunderstood
_Mummer_!  Only two votes.)

#5 -- Least favorite album

_White Music_, _Go2_ and _Explode Together: The Dub Experiments_ were
the big winners here, surprise.

#6 -- When will we see the next album (month, year)

(First of all, grrrr, I ask for month and year and some of you respond
with *seasons*.  I threw those votes out of this one.)

Never - 3 votes (pessimists)    January 96 - 1 vote
June 95 - 1 vote (optimist)     February 96 - 2 votes and 1 for Greatest Hits
August 95 - 1 vote              March 96 - 6 votes
September 95 - 5 votes          April 96 - 1 vote
October 95 - 5 votes            May 96 - 1 vote
November 95 - 3 votes           June 96 - 4 votes
December 95 - 4 votes           October 96 - 2 votes

April 97 - 1 vote  (Well, this beats never, I suppose)

#7 -- Who should produce the next album

Once again, we were *all* over the place here.  Some people did an
either or vote -- those didn't get counted.  I wanted one choice.

Tim Friese-Greene -- 2 votes    XTC - 4 votes
John Leckie - 1 vote            Andy Partridge - 2 votes
Daniel Lanois - 3 vote          George Martin - 3 votes
Brian Eno - 7 votes             Elvis Costello - 1 vote
Trent Reznor - 1 vote           Hugh Padgham - 1 vote
Bill Nelson - 1 vote            Don Was - 1 vote
Mitchell Froom -- 6 votes       Guy who produced Suzanne Vega's _Solitude
Tori Amos - 1 vote                      Standing_ - 1 vote
David Yazbek - 2 votes          David Balfe - 1 vote

An hysterical and true quote for this one:

Or how about David Balfe, nemesis of Julian Cope and head of Food
Records.  He has a reputation for really ordering his charges about,
to great effect, both artistically and commercially This could be
exactly what Mr Partridge needs to prevent self indulgence, and
possibly even sell a few records.  There'd be none of this "no
drums"nonsesne with Balfie in charge I can tell you.  Plus,
experience with The Teardrop Explodes, intelligent "English" 60's
influenced psychedelic pop.  And Blur, ditto, who he took from
critically abhorred no-hopers to the gods of Parklife.  Yup, Balfie
is the man for the job.  (And if he can handle being chased round
Wales by a drugged up Julian Cope with a shotgun, a few Partridge
esque temper tantrums will be a piece of piss.
        What about Todd Rundgren?  OK, not so likely, but (1) he produced a
classic, and (2) I think the band need a bit of opposition to be at their best.

#8 -- 3 least favorite XTC songs

Hell and goddamn, talk about a diverse bunch of answers.  And the
brilliant "Travels in Nihilon" gets 5 votes!!!!  I mean, yeah, "My
Weapon" sucks donkeys, but "Travels in Nihilon"? One of their finest
tunes, trust me!

Cockpit Dance Mixture -- 3 votes              Spinning Top -- 1 vote
All Along the Watchtower -- 3 votes           Train Running Low... -- 1 vote
Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen -- 1 vote       Wonderland -- 3 votes
My Weapon -- 9 votes                          Shake You Donkey -- 2 votes
Somnabulist -- 1 vote                         Pink Thing -- 1 vote
Living Through Another Cuba -- 1 vote         Disappointed -- 2 votes
Ladybird -- 1 vote                            Dance with Me, Germany -- 1 vote
That Wave -- 1 vote                           Blue Overall -- 1 vote
Travels in Nihilon -- 5 votes (!!!!!?????)    Books Are Burning -- 1 vote
Humble Daisy -- 1 vote                        Rook -- 3 votes
Smartest Monkeys -- 1 vote                    Sacrificial Bonfire -- 2 votes
Here Comes President Kill Again -- 4 votes    Extrovert -- 1 vote
Big Day -- 2 votes                            Looking for Footprints -- 1 vote
Any 3 on Go+ -- 1 vote                        Generals and Major -- 1 vote
Mayor of Simpleton -- 1 vote                  Funk Pop A Roll -- 2 votes
Countdown to Christmas -- 4 votes             Fly on the Wall -- 1 vote
Thanks for Christmas -- 1 vote                Smokeless Zone -- 1 vote
Leisure -- 4 votes                            Cross Wires -- 2 votes
Super Tuff -- 3 votes                         Roads Girdle the Globe -- 2
Sgt. Rock is Going to Help Me -- 1 vote       I Bought...Liarbird -- 1
Life is Good in the Greenhouse -- 2 votes     I Am the Audience -- 2 votes
The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead -- 1 vote     Wardance -- 2 votes
Bungalow -- 5 votes                           Hold Me My Daddy -- 1 vote
The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul -- 1 vote  Helicopter -- 1 vote
Chalkhills and Children -- 2 votes            Paper and Iron -- 1 vote
Ella Guru -- 1 vote                           Deliver Us...Elements -- 1
Cynical Days -- 2 votes                       Bridge...Rusty Water -- 1
The Loving -- 1 vote                          My Bird Performs -- 1
Human Alchemy -- 3 votes                      This World Over -- 1 (???!!!)
Do What You Do -- 1 vote

#9 -- Song you'd turn someone onto XTC with

This answer, once again, was once again all over the map. "Senses Working
Overtime" and "The Disappointed" made a healthy showing, but so did the
singles off _Black Sea_.  There was no clear winner here.

#10 -- Album you'd turn that same person onto XTC with

See the answer for #4 here.  If we liked an album, we'd try to turn someone
else on with it as well.

#11 -- Age

We ranged from our very early twenties to our mid-forties.

#12 -- Sex

Out of the 47, fyi, 9 of the responses, including one from me,
were from women, two were of the mystery email addresses where
sex couldn't be determined, leaving 36 definitely from men.

#13 -- Will XTC ever play live again

The answer here was mostly "no".  There were a few "maybe"s, if the gig
was a small one, but Andy's too stubborn to play live again was the consensus.

#14 -- Will they ever tour again

The answer here was a much stronger "no" than in #13.  See the explanation

#15 -- What will they be doing in 5 years

Most of us seemed to think that they'd still be together, doing a follow-up
to the album that we're still waiting on.  Andy would still be producing,
Dave and Colin would be doing session work and parking cars.  :-(  Some of
us felt that XTC would be no more due to those heinous contractual problems
they've been having.

#16 -- What will they be doing in 10 years

Just about all of us thought they'd no longer be XTC but separately X, T,
and C.  See the answer to #15 for details about their whereabouts.

#17 -- U.S. record label for the next record

Most of us were betting on Rykodisc, some said Virgin, some said Geffen,
some of us felt there isn't going to be a next record because of the
contractual problems.

#18 -- Who's your favorite songwriter on the whole -- Colin or Andy

Wow, did Andy win out big here.  I was surprised at this (OK, I voted
for Colin), but here's the scoop:

Andy -- 39  Colin -- 6

A few comments while I lick my wounds:

18. Andy, but I still love Colin's songs.  I can't understand all this
Colin bashing lately.  These people have the gall to say crap about the
guy who wrote "Ball and Chain", among other brilliant gems?

18) Andy, HANDS DOWN to the ground.  Colin adds a sure touch of
sophistication, but sometimes his songs feel like sore thumbs amid the
Partridgian fields.

Colin is less adventurous, but catchier.

Partridge has the advantage of numbers.  Also of consistency.  REcently
Moulding has declined from his "Meeting Place" peak.  Oddly enough, when he
turns his attention from the joys/disasters of relationships etc, and on to
more outward looking stuff about politics or the state of the world, he seems
to lose the plot slightly, and the melodies seem to come a poor second place to
the conviction.  Still, he did pen my two all time fave XTC/Dukes songs, so
I'll give a personal thumbs up to Mr Moulding, long may his girl vanish.

#19 -- Drummer on the next album

Once again, we were all over the place.  Dave Mattacks was the big winner
here with 9 votes, although I doubt if he'd come back because I think Andy
pissed him off badly enough so he wouldn't do it again.  One Terry Chambers
came in second with 6.  There was also a "who needs drums" comment.
Many responses were also of the "who cares" variety.

An interesting comment:

Phil Collins. No, think about it. Wouldn't that be cool? The only concern
would be that Phil's head and Andy's head together would surpass critical
mass, causing an ego explosion the likes of which rock music has never seen.


So there you have it.  Look for #20 answers (some terrific stuff in there,
by the way) coming to a Chalkhills digest near you in May, or June if I
wind up going bye-bye after the semester ends.


Catherine Wheel World Wide Web Home Page:

Date: Mon, 17 Apr 95 12:40:10 EDT
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: And at the very least...

Hi fellow Chalkhillians:

John said:

 And of course, you also miss the silly ending of
"Wrapped in Grey", which provides a punchline to the song.

I say:

Now, I've always looked on this ending as being a way to show you have to
live by your own standards in a dull, gray, humorless world.  He's kneeling
there by the flowers, realizes that he's got to take care of his own
life and not measure it by the standards of those who are the walking
dead, as I call them.  I looked at
the "stand up naked and grin" as being a way of being reborn.  He's
being reborn, so he's naked, and he's grinning 'cause he's got the joke--
he literally "gets the point (of life)."

I don't think of him literally stripping off in the garden or wherever he is,
but I do think of him rising a new man emotionally. I know this
song always has a very cleansing, healing effect on me whenever I hear it.

The "movie" I play in my head when I hear this song is a very concrete
one, but if anyone has any other points-of-view, I'm happy to have my
imaginative horizons broadened.



Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 21:33:22 -0500 (EST)
From: "Ethan - waiting to get out of LA..." <>
Subject: Interview with Brian Eno in _Wired_ 3.05

Hello from Los Angeles.  A popular pairing in many of our minds is XTC
with Brian Eno.  Well, it was interesting to read an interview with Mr.
Eno in the latest issue of _Wired_ with this thought.  Although the
interview was not specific to music, there were several questions
dealing with Mr. Eno's musical philosophies.  I found these particularly
interesting, and thought that some of the material could make for
stimulating thread-talk here in cyberspace.  I'll quote directly from
the interview, and let the rest of you decide how Mr. Eno's rather
unique thoughts on music would affect an XTC album production.

Bibliography:  _Wired_, 3.05 (May 1995), pages 146-151, 204-209  "Eno:
Gossip is Philosophy" by Kevin Kelly.

Ellipses (...) indicate text has been snipped to preserve idea
continuity, since the article is far too long to retype in its
WIRED> You once went around asking various bands to pretend they were
       an African robot factory and you had them make the sounds they
       imagined hearing in such a place...

B.ENO> ...That's a technique I now use when I'm producing.  I try to
       imagine us in a playing situation of some kind.  The most
       important thing you can say to people when they're working is to
       forget about music.  Really.  I can't stand people thinking
       about music in the studio.  People with musical instruments
       should be banned from recording studios because they so often
       center the process around history.  They know all the tricks to
       make things that sound like music.  But what I want to do is make
       an experience of some kind...If you can really get this message
       across, of making an experience instead of music, it's extremely
       liberating to people...The other thing I say is, Think about
       landscapes.  Forget we're making a song...

WIRED> What is your role when you are in the studio?

B.ENO> Funnily enough, what I find myself - surreptitiously - doing as
       a producer is thinking of elaborate diversionary tactics designed
       to make us leave things alone - at least long enough to listen to
       them as "audience".  I find that when you're listening with a
       view to doing further work, you don't generally hear the totality
       of something but just the little gaps where you could squeeze in
       something else.  Audiences, I find, nearly always appreciate more
       space and emptiness in a work than the creators of those works
       would like to tolerate.  I noticed this first when working with
       tape recorders in the early days - that, having made something, I
       preferred hearing it at half its original speed:  twice as empty.

WIRED> Is that what you call yourself these days, a producer?  What is
       your job?

B.ENO> [Laughs.]  I have often wondered!  As a producer, I'm not just
       saying, Oh, let's get a good bass drum sound.  I'm saying, OK,
       look, this thing your doing now is hinting at a certain universe
       of things that I believe are connected.  A frame maker is another
       way of describing my role: "OK, let's put a descriptive frame
       around this, look at everything we've included inside our frame,
       and see how those things relate to one another.  And what if we
       extend the frame to include all of these other possibilities?"
       Of course, at the time you do it, it looks like you're including
       more marginal things in it.  For example, when I first started
       making records, it was unusual for someone to come into the
       studio without a prewritten piece of music, to sit there, as I
       did, and make it up with whatever was there.  Now it's how
       nearly everybody works.  People hardly ever go into studio with
       completely prewritten material now.  Those kinds of innovations
       always look marginal at the time, but in fact become central
       later on.
Ethan Banks


Date: Mon, 17 Apr 1995 20:55:30 -0700
From: (Dave Franson)
Subject: Knuckling Down, Kinks, the Coen Bros./XTC Connection, etc.

In Chalkhills #429, Eric ( writes:
>While I'm posting, let me add this gratuitous comment:  I was listening to
>ES over the weekend, and am now convinced that "Knuckle Down" is probably
>one of the ten catchiest pop tunes ever written by anyone, anywhere.  A bold
>claim, but that tune is simply unbelievable.  Does anyone else place this
>song on their own XTC top ten list?

Yes, I agree.  I've always thought it a brilliant song.  As you said, a very
catchy pop tune.  And it's impossible to argue with the sentiment expressed,
clothed in wonderful lyrics beginning with the double-meaning of the song
title itself.


Tony Beyer <> writes of an Andy interview in
something called "The Big Takeover."  What is "The Big Takeover?" Any chance
you can transcribe the whole interview?

>     Andy: Well, comparisons with the Kinks are immodest
>           of me, because I don't think that we've written
>           anything of the purity of Ray Davies...  he has
>           been such a big influence on me...  My song writing
>           comes out how it does, a lot of it because of Ray
>           Davies, I think.

Regarding the Kinks, I don't remember whether this thread comes up
repeatedly on this list or the Costello list or both, but Kinks' influences
on both XTC and Costello are readily apparent when you listen to Kinks of
the late '60's.  For instance, one Kinks CD that I picked up on cut-out a
few months back and never strays far from a CD player is "Village Green
Preservation Society."


Trent Turner <> writes:

>Finally, and really, I made a tape once of xTc where the selected songs
>bounced off of three axis's: Personal vs Global, Love vs Lack thereof
>and pretty vs headbanger.  It hung together well, IMHO, as each succeeding
>song maintained 2 of the previous song's traits but went opposite on
>the third.  What a great band!

This sounds like a fascinating mix.  Care to post the track list?


John Nicholls <
>Subject: XTC 'Net Interview 004 - Blur, Al Bundy, Deputy Dawg

John, once again, thanks SO MUCH for doing the interview with Dave Gregory.
The transcripts make for great reading.

[long Dave Gregory thoughts on Blur snipped]

Well, not that I need Dave's benediction, but it's interesting to note that
he also rates this band very highly.  I think they're a very significant
band, and I'm looking forward to their new album, expected shortly.

>DG: The last one that I really enjoyed was Oliver Stone's _JFK_,
>and _Barton Fink_, which I thought was a brilliantly made film,
>and was one of those films that leaves you thinking, you know,
>and yet to watch it, to watch the detail of the photography and
>the way it was produced, I thought it was very entertaining.  I
>was put onto it by Mike Kneeney, this Zappa guitar player I was
>telling you about earlier, he's a huge huge fan of the Cohen
>brothers and he's now insisting that I check out _The Hudsucker
>Proxy_. Which I will when it comes on television!

I guess I'll have to just forgive Dave his liking for Oliver Stone films,
but I just gotta comment on his enjoyment of "Barton Fink."  "Barton Fink"
concerns, among other things, the trials of a playwright turned would-be
screenwriter who suffers from a hopeless lack of self knowledge.  Now, I
wouldn't want to equate Barton to XTC (some of you Andy-bashers might want
to view the film for Andy parallels), but comparing the careers of the COEN
Brothers and XTC yields some strong similarities. To wit:

                                Coen Brothers           XTC
                                -------------           ---

Flashy debut meets with         "Blood Simple"          "White Music" "Go2"
critical acclaim.

Relatively early hit            "Raising Arizona"       "Drums & Wires"
"Black Sea"
that appeals to both                                    "English Settlement"
the masses and the critics.

Overlooked stunning masterpieces "Millers Crossing"     "The Big Express"
with forays into genre bending                          "25 O'Clock"

Unheard of critical acclaim,    "Barton Fink"           "Skylarking"
only to sink quickly back into  (Still the only film to
obscurity.                      sweep best picture, best
                                director, and best actor at Cannes)

Continued greatness for         "The Hudsucker Proxy"   "Oranges and Lemons"
devotees; continued obscurity                           "Nonsuch"

Current Status                 Unlikely to have a new    Unlikely to have a new
                              work in the near future   work in the near future


"Sherwood, Harrison" <> writes:

>Now, I think that the people who are participating in this particularly
>odious revivalist craze are, well, Just Too Young to Remember what the hell
>they're being nostalgic FOR. There. I've said it. Folks, I was a teenager
>in the Seventies. I remember the Seventies very clearly. (Well, _fairly_
>clearly; one of the cool things to do was lie on a beanbag chair and goggle
>at the world through a haze of marijuana smoke; a fine pastime in itself,
>but not _particularly_ friendly to long-term memory.) If you want to get an
>idea of just how horrible and dissolute and apathetic and downright
>stinking _ugly_ the Seventies were, all you've gotta do is have a good,
>long squint at that picture of Alehouse.
>I've mentally titled it, "Why Punk Happened."

That's as good an explication on the origins of Punk as I've ever read!
(Said as a fellow '70s teen.)


In Chalkhills #430, Bob Sherwood" <> wrote on the
subject of ALEHOUSE RULES.  Man, all I can say is that I'LL BE ASHAMED to
post ANYTHING to this list if I have to compete with continued great writing
and creativity on that scale!  Absolutely brilliant!  I want more!  I hope
you're being well paid by somebody for your comedic writing talent!  Now,
Relph is gonna kill me for still more extraneous quotes, but I just HAVE to
do it:

>      "When the neighbors call the pigs in
>      Don't you realize
>      It's totally Respectable Road?
>      They dunno who Brinsley Schwartz is
>      'Cause they livin'
>      On totally Respectable Road..."

Ahh, why go on?  Just call me "Humbled in Milwaukee"  Or "Unfit to Share
Bandwidth with Bob Sherwood"


To anyone comtemplating the purchase of following:

"Lizardland"            The Brotherhood of Lizards
"Golden Cleaners"       The Cleaners from Venus
"Drums and Wireless"    XTC

I was unable to find any of these in my area, so I ordered them through
CDNOW (Telnet  "Lizardland" was in stock and arrived within a
week.  The others were backordered and arrived within three weeks.  In
short, I would highly recommend CDNOW's service.


Finally, speaking of "Drums and Wireless," I was quite impressed with this
CD.  Starting with the cover art, which I think is simply astonishing in
revisiting the "Drums & Wires" art and capturing the chaos and eclecticism
that is XTC's music.  As for the songs, there has been some criticism that
they don't vary enough from their original studio versions, but as someone
who has every note of every song pretty much memorized, any and all subtle
variations are much enjoyed.  I didn't want or expect "XTC Unplugged."  I
think "Poor Skeleton Steps Out" is a standout version of a standout song.  I
think "Runaways," "You're the Wish...," "Seagulls Screaming...," and "One of
the Millions" are stronger on this CD then the released versions.  And I
still enjoy the "White Music" and "Go2" period, which is well represented.

Yours in XTC Mania,



End of Chalkhills Digest #431

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