Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #434

              Chalkhills Digest, Number 434

                  Wednesday, 3 May 1995

Today's Topics:

           XTC - Call for video tapes (update)
              In Loving Suggestion of a Name
                    Re: 1000 umbrellas
                   Chuckleheads Moniker
Vnbelievably Diftreffed!  (Carefvl, this covld rvin 'The Difappo
        i am of 'good taste'?!?  (blush, blush!!)
              Richard Thompson for XTC fans
                  Thank you, thank you.
                  Re: Newsletter a joke?
                   Was not Was on O&L?
              The Bull w/ the Golden Guts??
New Madam Barnum, Critical Thoughts, ChalkXTCers, Food Underneath, RT
                   L'Affaire Louis Trio
                   Defending Our Honor
                 Hail to the Pumpkinhead
                      To Clarify...
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #433
               New Package for BBC Vol. 1?


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Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 10:26:10 -0600
From: Erik Anderson <>
Subject: XTC - Call for video tapes (update)

I've received some replies so far.  However, no contributions as of yet.
Everyone should be assured that they WILL receive a tape when it has
been completed.  For now, though, I would only like to hear from those
who have something to contribute.  The following is a list of what I have:

XTC live on David Letterman
All you Pretty Girls *
Statue of Liberty *
Are you receiving me? *
life begins at the hop *
making plans for nigel *
senses working overtime *
towers of london *
this is pop *
all of a sudden (it's too late) *
dear god
mayor of simpleton
the disappointed
the ballad of peter pumpkinhead

* indicates the video is included in XTC's LOOK LOOK video.  Because of
copywrite laws I would like to avoid including these vidoes in our tree,
especially because they are available by simply ordering your own copy of
LOOK LOOK.  Moreover, as common video cassettes and recorders only allow
six hours of recording time, I would like to concentrate on those videos
after THE BIG EXPRESS as well as live performances and interviews.

What IS out there that I know of and don't have:

the MTV unplugged session (during the 1989 radio tour)
videos for MUMMER
live videos from British tv (ie. from "top of the pops" and "the old grey
whistle test")

Again, e-mail your contributions to me directly and I will post them to
the digest.

Erik Anderson


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 12:55:29 +0700
Subject: In Loving Suggestion of a Name

Anyone who's seen the video to Peter Pumpkinhead can easily see that XTC
had Kennedy in mind with this song.  A repeating image is a black 1960's
limousine with a elegantly-clad couple sitting in the back, who look around
presidentially smiling and waving.  If I remember correctly, the woman is
wearing that trademark Jackie K.O. flat cylindrical hat (I know it has a
particular name, but I'm bad with clothing accessory terminology) like the
one she wore in Dallas.  Curiously, the man who would be president is
wearing horn-rimmed glasses, but the video imagery just screams JFK

I think Andy wanted to write everything that _suggests_ JFK without ever
mentioning his name, because then it wouldn't be a fairy tale anymore, but
a sentimental history lesson.  Would Andy Partridge use all that Catholic
symbolism if he were writing a song about some generic type of public
figure?  Colin Moulding might [Deliver Us From the Elements comes to mind],
but not Partridge.

>From: (Andre de Koning)
> Did you ever try to prise away the mask
> Go ahead, take a spoon and try
> Did you ever try to take away the wheel
> Go ahead, take a fork and try
>Now I'm probably missing something, but what do the spoon and fork have
>to do with taking away the mask/the wheel?

I believe AP is encouraging us, the listener, to discover the darker side
of self--have a taste of it, if you will--to recognize that there is some
evil/bad/not-so-niceties in all of us, behind our pretty masks and the
wheels which keep us rolling along blissfully.  The lines "Go ahead..."
aren't in direct response to the verse before them (they're sort of a
background falsetto), but a mini-chorus under the theme, "as long as we
know the bitter taste of the Ugly beneath our surface, maybe we'll be more
careful not to act out on it."  Maybe.

>Patty Haley of the Good and Bad Org:
>And hey, I've been listening for the past few days to those hard rock albums,
>_Nonsuch_ and _Mummer_.

You're being sarcastic, right?  Because Mummer is the easy-listening
favorite of XTC, the sit back and vegetate in the vegetation album.  The
album which consistently wins my Best Music To Study To designation.  The
album which gently yells, "spring is here, dears."  I've been playing it a
lot lately.  Andy Partridge even called it "a gentle chug through the
countryside ['Thanks for the Eartime' CD rack insert]."  The only really
loud tunes are Gold and Funk Pop A Roll, which are squashed in the middle
(CD) and at the very end, respectively.  I was reminded of your survey,
Patty, and how I wished I took the time to vote, because Colin Moulding
would have garnered an additional vote for songwriter for "In Loving Memory
of a Name".  There's something so oddly appealing about frolicking in a
graveyard, telling some anonymous dead person how you danced around his
daisies, or how you sat on her body as you figure out how old she was when
she died.

BTW, when I wrote last time about great songs left off the original LP
releases, I meant to say every song on Mummer *except* Procession Towards
Learning Land.  Procession is not a great song, or even a song, as I seem
to have suggested.  An unfortunate result of improper cutting and pasting
on my part.

And about the name to call ourselves:
How about "Ecstaticians"?
 - Suggests X-T-C suggesting ecstacy.
 - Illustrates how XTC fans have often taken interpretation and
   appreciation of songs to a science.
 - We are an "ecstatic" bunch.

Silly?  Well, as long as we know who we are--XTCers, Chalkhillians, or
otherwise--an official name is probably not that important.  But I'm so
proud of my little wordplay cuz it makes me feel like Andy Partridge. :)



Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 12:05:35 -0500
From: Anders Wallen <>
Subject: Re: 1000 umbrellas

> Oh, but you pick the horrible ones.

Hope you just mean that it's hard to find the chords (it surely is...)
The song is one of my absolute favourites. Wonderful string arrangement and
weird chords.

Here are a few of my suggestions (just from the head, I'm oceans from
home and my Skylarking...too bad...)

    C#7         (-5)      C7             (-5)
One thousand umbrellas upturned couldn't catch all
    B7         etc              Bb7
the rain that drained out of my head when you said
                    Em   F#m7      Em   F#m7 (G) Em   F#m7     Em
to a town they call Misery, oh oh misery         Misery, oh oh misery
                                           E            A
And you'll soon forget her if you let the sunshine come through

The (-5):s I think are important since they build a bridge between the
descending chords and make them sound more "miserable". Still there are A
LOT of things missing, like bass (cello) lines on Adim etc, but I'm not sure
of them without listening first (maybe not even then). I guess you can find
different chords almost every note if you follow every small movement in the
strings. Wonderful piece! If anyone finds or figures out the whole
arrangement, PLEASE SEND ME A COPY!!!!

Anders Wallen

PS! I like Science Friction as well!


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 10:16:24 -0700
Subject: Chuckleheads Moniker

  XtC has provided many possible names, most of which would not
  be very flattering.  The most logical response for Chalkhill
  subscribers would be "Children" but at that point we, as "fans"
  (derived from "fanatic") start sounding like Manson disciples.
  "Scarecrow People"? Nah.  How about "The Smartest Monkeys"...
  um, sorry.

  It might be cryptic to newcomers but my vote goes for "Toys"
  because "Toys are only human after all."

  Is it too late to ask a question to the band through the
  Swindon Pub Link??  How about asking those guys what they think
  about a name?   ...cause if we are Scarecrow People then we
  ain't got no brains...

  R P-A


From: "J.A.Harkness" <>
Date:          Fri, 28 Apr 1995 18:21:56 +0100
Subject:       Vnbelievably Diftreffed!  (Carefvl, this covld rvin 'The Difappo


I've been having a bit of haffle with my CD player of late, so when I
finally got it back from repair, I reached towards Nonsvch to, well
y'kna, like, listen to it!

Having regained the treble element on my stereo, I was almost, well totally
horrified to hear something  which 100% wrecks my enjoyment of 'The
Difappointed'.   Is it me, or are the hi-hats way ovt of time?
Either way,  I can't liften to it now withovt going 'Aaargh!'   Not
even with the higher frequencies calmed down. Shame really.
'S one of my favorite songs.   sigh!  Any suggestions?

A sad and difteffed

Will Yvm!
"Like Lions We Cling To Our Pride"


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 12:35:51 -0500
From: Cherie Gallinati <>
Subject:  i am of 'good taste'?!?  (blush, blush!!)

ian's new address is
1496 1/2 michigan avenue
columbus ohio
all of his tributes (_obscene collection_, _beasts i've seen_ and
the soon-to-be-released _skylacking_) are rad (so is his original
music, btw), and cheap too.  5$ will have it jetting to your
residence.  i believe he is still accepting submissions for
_skylacking_ as well, should any of you be so inclined.
and tell him the veg says hi, please, because i could NEVER talk to
him enough...

for something completely different: i agree with dave that _tbo
peter pumpkinhead_ must be about jfk.  the video is incredibly
reminiscent of the assasination (jfk's was the only one done like in
a motorcade, and the video looks like the 9mm camera tape that
has become popular culture.  in addition, the president is very
much apart (an 'outsider') from the people, much as democracy
would have you think he isn't.  sad but true, in the present day.
although (knowing bands) they do leave things open to
interpretations, and there is by no means only one of any
personality-type in the world.  therefore, the song is
simultaneously about all of the other peters out there.

waiting with teary-eyes for the tribute tapes (both ian's and the
'professional' one.); rhubarb


From: (Troy C Peters)
Subject: Richard Thompson for XTC fans
Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 15:47:51 -0400 (EDT)

        In response to James' inquiry in the last issue, I'm sure that
I'm not the only one who said, "Richard Thompson?  Oh yeah!!!!!"

        In 1987, a close friend to whom I had introduced XTC via
Skylarking returned the favor by giving me two of the best records ever -
_Shoot Out the Lights_ and _I Want to See the Bright lights Tonight_,
both by Richard and Linda Thompson.

        Okay everybody, go out and buy them now.  (I'll also once again
echo the Chalkhead support for just about anything by Crowded House.
Does anybody know of a CH list or anything else netwise?)

                        Troy Peters


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 21:33:31 -0400
Subject: Thank you, thank you.

Glad to see someone on my wavelength...didn't realize andy had said that!

>Just a couple of possible explanations which may help to convince some that
>JFK is not such an unlikely candidate for Peter after all. ;-)
>Enjoy the music.
>Dave Rowland

Now if andy and the boys would do another radio tour......or release another
album...come on! We've been patient!!!!!!



Date: Fri, 28 Apr 1995 22:34:40 -0400
Subject: Re: Newsletter a joke?

So a new live CD is released? OK, so it's from 1980.  I'll take it.  And
what's this with the "Official XTC Fan Club"? I sent them my hard earned
money and have gotten nothing in return!  The Little Express of Canada is a
crock.  Don't do it!


Date:         Sat, 29 Apr 95 01:57:15 EDT
From: "Gene (Sp00n) Yoon" <ST004422@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU>
Subject:      Was not Was on O&L?

Quickie:  someone suggested a while back that Don Was (of Iggy Pop,
B-52's, Bonnie Raitt fame) would be a great producer....  I just noticed
in the Friendship Fun & Fruit notes on the Oranges and Lemons that he's
thanked.... what's the connection, and did he do studio work with the


From: tmp@tmp.MV.COM
Date: Sat, 29 Apr 1995 09:54:20 -0400
Subject: The Bull w/ the Golden Guts??

Anybody on the list interested in trading with me for the above mentioned
tape??  I have a large list of shows, not all XTC.  Contact me if you're
interested in trading.



Date: Sat, 29 Apr 1995 16:58:37 -0700
From: (Dave Franson)
Subject: New Madam Barnum, Critical Thoughts, ChalkXTCers, Food Underneath, RT

James Robert Campbell <> writes of "Dear
Madam Barnum:"

><SNIP> I always thought it was
>about not wanting to tour.  But, I've never seen anyone else post this
>idea.  Any takers?

Hey, that's a neat bit of insight!  I agree that the song supports such a
reading to a great degree.  If you substitute Virgin Records for Madam
Barnum and the record company's support for another artist over XTC as the
act of cuckoldry, your idea works through the entire song.

------------------- writes:
>How can any of us who claim to be fans be so hard as to complain
>and criticize at the levels I see here?
>More comparison / contrast and less which-is-the-best-record is in order.

Well, I don't know about complaints, but for myself the idea behind
criticism is to dig into the words and music a bit more and tell WHY you
like or dislike a particular song. In doing this, you may be lucky enough to
glean additional nuances that you missed before.  If you're really lucky,
someone like James Robert Campbell above may suggest a new interpretation of
a song and help you appreciate the words and music all the more.  Good
criticism can enrich your appreciation of an artist, not detract from it.

I would agree that comparisons and contrasts, which are typically present in
good criticism, are more enjoyable and enriching than the perennial lists of
fave albums.  Especially with XTC-- each album seems to have such an
incredible diversity of words and music.

Jeffrey Langr <> quotes XDEVANS@CCVAX.FULLERTON.EDU (Doug)
>>I've been thinking--we XTC fans need a name so we can stop being
>>confused about what to call ourselves.  "XTC fans" is a bit dull
>>and "Chalkhillians", which I've seen on this list, is a bit
>>The name I've come up with, and of which I'm more than a bit proud,
>>is "Chalkheads".

Oh, god, please, no... as a resident of the Cheesehead state, believe me,
you don't want to known as "Chalkheads."

>Sounds a bit much like "Dittoheads" if you ask me.

That may be the best reason of all to scratch "Chalkheads"!

>"XTCer" is the term I've heard the most over the years.

Afraid that "XTCer" doesn't hit me quite right, either.  I kind of like
"Chalkhillians" to denote participants in the mail list.  Don't mind those
ungainly extra syllables at all.  My only problem with it is that the song
that inspired the name is not one of my faves, but that's probably just
because I haven't acheived Mr. Relph's higher conciousness. (Insert smiley

Usually, I simply refer to myself as

*------------------------------ (Andre de Koning) writes:

>Listening to the album again, the next lines (from 'The Vgly
>Vnderneath') struck me as possible candidates for further examination:
>   Did you ever try to prise away the mask
>   Go ahead, take a spoon and try
>   Did you ever try to take away the wheel
>   Go ahead, take a fork and try
>Now I'm probably missing something, but what do the spoon and fork have
>to do with taking away the mask/the wheel?

The best answer that I can suggest is that the entire song is peppered with
food imagery (ouch), some of it nonsensical.  Using a fork to "take away the
wheel" escapes me entirely (what else is new), and the best I can do with
taking a spoon to "prise away the mask" is the idea that oftentimes the tool
of choice isn't at hand, so you have to improvise with what you have.

I'd love to hear from anyone who can follow the food/eating imagery
coherently through this song.  It's almost as if there's another layer of
meaning, uh, underneath the obvious interpretation.
------------------------- (James) asks:

>Two artists have been
>conspicuous by their absence on these lists though - Richard Thompson and
>Roy Harper. Are there any fans of either of these distinctly English
>artists who are also members of this list?

One vote here for Richard Thompson.  His guitar work is astonishing, his
singing ranges from goofy to haunting, and his range of songwriting subject
matter and styles is rarely matched.  And his live shows are profound
experiences.  I subscribed briefly to that list but the mail volume
overwhelmed me.  I guess it's time to go-- I shot my wad of superlatives.


Date: Sun, 30 Apr 1995 00:50:04 +0200
From: (Emmanuel MARIN)
Subject: L'Affaire Louis Trio

"It was one of the first times I worked with another band than XTC. Our
first contacts were by phone, then they sent me the demos of the tracks
on which I was supposed to play, as well as their three previous albums.
What immediately interested me, since I didn't understand a word of their
texts, was the 'old fashioned' style of their melody. Some made me think
of a 1940's big band, with this strange mix of power and soft bitterness.
I immediately thought it would not be an habitual collaboration for me.
And, these days, the work with XTC is quite painful. We spend long months
in studio and release so few albums - soon, we'll beat the Stone Roses
records. With them, it was for me a bit like a break. On the other hand,
I didn't find, when I listened to their albums, an evident link with
XTC. They have their own style, which is for me an essential quality."

Colin Moulding, about his work on the last album of the fine French pop band
'L'Affaire Louis Trio'.

Emmanuel Marin


Date: Sat, 29 Apr 1995 20:04:07 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Nonshucks


I could not hold off any longer...what follows is my reaction to all the
postings about Nonsuch.

Nonsuch is a superb album. BTW, I have been a fan since the "early days"
of the rough edged sound. Nonsuch represents progression of the XTC sound,
still rooted way back in the early stuff, but always improving. What on
earth is wrong with polished production, I like to distinguish instrumentation
and sound as clearly as possible, I'm afraid.

Travels in Nihilon can, IMO, be appreciated alongside, Then She Appeared:
They're a band of moods, which is good, because you can always find
something to put on the CD player.

As far as Bungalow goes, I have on many occasions, played it first. I
don't care about hidden meanings or the like, because the song is nicely
produced and sounds like Sinatra could have sung it. And that chorus of it ! (not that I am a Sinatra fan of any depth)

Joe Ierano

PS: nice job on 1000 umbrellas, James Dignan.


Date: 1 May 1995 08:56:02 U
From: "Bob Sherwood" <>
Subject: Defending Our Honor

     I was backstage at the Mayfest local music fest in San Diego this
weekend and happened to somehow strike up a conversation with a couple of
stringy-haired cucumber-in-the-pants-totin' doods in a bad Guns 'n'
Roses-ripoff band called "Paradise City" or somethin'.  They was getting
ready to hit the stage (presumably their girlfriends weren't around) and
one of them noticed a big XTC sticker on my bass case.
     "Oh-XTC," sez the one with the chain-mail crotch on his leathers,
"those guys sing like 'homo faggots'".  The other one was smoothing down
the "Scorpions" sticker on his Charvel, and he piped in with something
along the lines of "yeah, they really suck."  My guitarist George was
luckily there to restrain me and the confrontation didn't escalate to
verbal abuse.  Suffice it to say, when they took the stage I sallied out
into the crowd to enjoy the scene as the guitarist picked up his guitar and
found that all the strings had been cut as it sat in it's holder.  Bummer,
dood.  A quickly summoned replacement didn't help much, either, 'cause I
had also snipped the speaker cable on his amp with a pair of shears that
George loaned me.  Heh.  It didn't much matter, though- the bass player was
having trouble figurin' out why his rig wouldn't turn on.  I stood and
chuckled, humming "Burning With Optimism's Flames" to meself as I gayly
threw his fuse deep into the crowd.  I would've expected the same of them,
mind you, if I'd dissed Da Scorpions.  Dood.  All's fair etc.
     If this sounds unjustly harsh, just be glad they didn't rip on


	[ What honor?  -- John ]


Date: Mon, 01 May 1995 10:04:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: Eric Muller <EMuller@UWYO.EDU>
Subject: Hail to the Pumpkinhead

     I'm the one that injected my voice of doubt into the discussion about
whether Andy intended Peter Pumpkinhead to be JFK.  Dave Rowland reported in
the last digest that he recalled an interview with AP in which he said that
he did base Peter's character on the President.  If that's so, then that
pretty much ends the debate.
     Dave went on to make two additional points to support the PP=JFK
thesis.  His second point was that AP, as an Englishman, might be able to
remind us jaded Americans of some of the wonder of Kennedy's administration
that we tend to forget.  I suspect that quite the opposite is true--that is,
that we Americans have made of Kennedy's administration something that it
never was.  And I say this as a person who admires the Kennedys (even, to a
limited extent, Ted) enormously.
     Dave's first point responded to my earlier suggestion that JFK could
not be the basis for Peter Pumpkinhead because Peter is clearly an
anti-establishment figure, a "folk hero" type.  Dave responded that
"although JFK was our President, his administration was very
anti-establishment."  All I can say to this is, "huh?"  JFK was a cold
warrior par excellence, the heir to an enormously powerful political fortune
amassed by both his father and his grandfather both in Massachussetts and
nationally, a former Senator, etc. etc. etc.  His administration was
admittedly young, but in 1960 "young" didn't mean "anti-establishment"
yet--that didn't happen until the mid- to late-1960's.  Remember that even
Bobby Kennedy did not come around to the view that the Vietnam War was
ill-conceived until 1967.
     If AP says that PP is based on JFK, that's enough to convince me.  But
"very _loosely_ based" might express it better.

"Life's like a jigsaw:  you get the straight bits, but there's something
missing in the middle."


Date: Tue,  2 May 95 03:09:00 UTC
Subject: To Clarify...


Obviously, there was a misunderstanding that I hope was confined to but one
of us.  I posted a note a couple or so issues ago that started out with a
question to Patty about her post that Dave Mattacks and Andy had finished
Nonsuch on bad terms.  However, the rest of my post was meant to be a
general post to the entire group.  Obviously, from Patty's response, she
thought the whole thing was a general, open letter to her, personally.  That
simply wasn't the case and if my post affected anyone else so venomously
because of that misunderstanding, please forgive my apparent lack of ability
to clearly communicate!



Date: Tue, 2 May 1995 08:38:18 -0500
From: (Micah Heibel)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #433

Am I seeing things or did David Rowland refer to a KENNEDY as a political
outsider?  The man whose father, two brothers, and a nephew, among other
relatives, were or are career politicians?  I would respectfully disagree.

I remember an interview with Andy Partridge on MTV in which he said PP was
about no one in particular, but bits of a lot of people.

However, to be fair to David, I must confess it could quite possibly be
that I don't remember this correctly.

Micah Heibel

Micah Heibel

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


Date: 3 May 1995 12:34:09 -0500
From: "Wesley Wilson" <>
Subject: New Package for BBC Vol. 1?

I was browsing through the XTC CD selections today at Tower Records; seems
the BBC Radio 1 Live 1980 CD has a modified front and back cover. I'll have
to check my copy when I get home, but it seems to be the case.


P.S. I saw a new CD by Peter Blegvad and John Greaves (sp?)
P.P.S. I still have had no luck finding out where to get the early XTC
demos boot; you know, the one with the poor sound quality. :-)


End of Chalkhills Digest #434

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