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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #438


              Chalkhills Digest, Number 438

                   Friday, 19 May 1995

Today's Topics:

                    Eric M.'s comment
                     Weeeeeeeeeeezer!
                Why XTC won't tour anymore
                       Song Cycles
                     It's a fair cop
                    Turn Everybody On!
                   Colin Moulding solo?
                      XTC Sale List
                VINYL INK Records WWW site
                    Sherwood's Antics
                   In loving memory...
Defending Sherwood's Honor, Domestic Radio 1 Live, Emperor Ultradisc, etc.
                Re: Chalkhills Digest #436
                 xTc live in the USA 1980
                    Video Tree Update
            Crowded House list address change
                     David Yazbeck CD
                        Latest FAQ
         Bubblegum, Sap, and Other Sticky Things
              Bob Sherwood--Pest or Menace?

Administrivia:

There is a new 'Net-only 'Zine called _rage_, available at
"http://www.southern.com/rage".  The magazine covers the best bands,
the best clubs, and fashion.  The music's a mixture of dance and
independant music mostly from the UK, but some from around the globe.

To UNSUBSCRIBE from the Chalkhills mailing list, send a message to
<chalkhills-request@chalkhills.org> with the following command:

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For all other administrative issues, send a message to:

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Chalkhills Archives not available using FTP.
World Wide Web: "http://chalkhills.org/"

You should see the grown-ups fight for happy families.

The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

From: nemaliand@halcyon.com
Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 00:47:57 -0700
Subject: Eric M.'s comment

In response to my query about a Seattle group,
Eric M. wrote:
>     Come now, children of the chalkhills!  We are surely overestimating our
>numbers and influence!
>     Couldn't these signs and arrows have just been leading the way to a
>picnic sponsored by the Xylophone Tuning Commission?  The Xenophobic's
>Tourism Council?

Really Eric, after I backed you up on P.P. and everything! What a nice
welcome. I'm not the only chalker in Sea town. Besides, the posters were
done up in drums and wires fashion. I'm almost certain there is a local
group here, I just don't know how to reach them.
On the video thing. No one's posted where one can get videos in U.S., could
someone please post sources? If it's on the FAQ or something, send me mean
email, I don't care, I just want to know. Thanks.
Lynn.

------------------------------

From: "J.A.Harkness" <J.A.Harkness@sheffield.ac.uk>
Date:          Tue, 16 May 1995 12:01:18 +0100
Subject:       Weeeeeeeeeeezer!

Yup,  Let me recommend that there WEEZER band, too.    The new
single, Buddy Holly, has a major league stonkerama of a video, too!

CONSUME!

As for a name.....I rather liked the  'X T Seers' or even just
'Seers' fer short.  Appeals to my sense of the enigmatic......and the
stupid .

%}  (picasso smiley!)

Bye f'now!

Will Yum!

------------------------------

From: adkoning@hvsag01.att.com (Andre de Koning)
Date: Tue, 16 May 95 15:30:54 +0200
Subject: Why XTC won't tour anymore

Annie Lennox on Adam Curry's cyber-cleaze page:
(http://metaverse.com/vibe/sleaze/index.html ... hope he won't sue ;-)

   * Ex-EURYTHMICS singer ANNIE LENNOX refuses to perform live any more
   - because her constant touring with her old band sapped any
   enthusiasm she had for performing. She says, "Physically and
   emotionally it's quite arduous to go on tour. "After touring for
   many, many years as I have you start to think, 'Where is my life?'"
   "At this point you should be mature enough to realise there is more
   to life than going on tour."

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 11:08:24 -0400
From: "Karen E. Lewis (ba amst)" <klewis1@gl.umbc.edu>
Subject: Song Cycles

Hi Everybody!
I just wrote a final paper for my popular culture class on the function
of the Oranges and Lemons album as a song cycle, exploring birth, death,
and many things in between. I'm wondering if my thoughts on the songs on
this album all being connected in the band's views on the world comes
 from left field, or do other people agree with me?  Does anyone see this
pattern in other XTC albums?
Karen

______________________________________________________________________________
         "He wants a shoehorn, the kind with teeth, because he knows
                there's no such thing." -They Might Be Giants
-----------------------------klewis1@gl.umbc.edu------------------------------

------------------------------

Date: 16 May 1995 16:00:26 -0400
From: "Russell Shaddox" <Russell.Shaddox@quickmail.cis.yale.edu>
Subject: It's a fair cop

OK, I give up. I admit it. I can't stand all this dissension in our happy
group, so if you'll all go back to being friends, I'LL CONFESS. Get
yourself a cup of cocoa, gather 'round, and listen to my horrible tale ...
if you can.

The year was 1979. I was an exchange student in philology at the University
of Swansea (studying variants of early Ugaritic), when four young
Swindonians came to the campus to play a gig at the local Buttery.
Naturally I strolled out to catch this plucky band, though I'd never heard
their music before.

Suffice it to say I was revolted. The abstruse guitar chords, the lead
singer's arrogant ranting and demented vocals, that geeky bass player whose
pathetic musical offerings make Rick Astley's songwriting sound like
mid-career McCartney, and that bongo-bashing Aussie-wannabe who couldn't
play his way out of a can of Foster's. And at the end of the show, Andy had
the audacity to make a reference to the Scorpions with a SMIRK on his face.
The bastard. They made me sick, I tell you, and of course back then I was a
rash lad ...

Yes, it was me who waited until the show was over and all the gear was
packed in the van, then drove off with everything to the nearest pawn shop,
leaving behind only a note taped prominently to a small thermonuclear
device. To my eternal shame, the note read:

"Dear XTChitheads:

You suck. You are undoubtedly the worst band ever to pick up instruments
and attempt to follow a lead sheet with little success. Andy, who told you
you could write music? Your mom? Everyone was just staring at you up on
stage, wondering how you can stand looking like such a talentless prat. I'm
surprised you don't break into a sweat before every show. Colin and Dave?
How do you STAND this guy's gargantuan ego? Do you EVER get to make any
musical decisions at all? Not that it would improve that fetid heap of
disjointed atonal garbage you call "your repertoire," but hey, anything's
worth a try. And Terry? My suggestion to you is go back to your girlfriend
in Australia, raise a bunch of kids, and forget this XTC crap. I took the
liberty of stealing all your gear and selling it to buy drugs and cheap
women. At least some modicum of happiness will come out of your music.
Yours truly, Pumpkin Peterhead."

For a whole year, I felt on top of the world. I had rid the Earth of this
musical menace. And then ... "Black Sea" came out. This superb album lifted
the fog from my eyes, and I regretted everything. But it was too late ...

Well, you know the rest. Andy developed stage fright, relations between the
band members hit a low, and Terry left for Australia. And it was all my
fault. I buried myself in my work, achieving worldwide honors for
translating the Gilgamesh into COBOL. But I couldn't forget. And the guilt
hammered away at me until it all came out all at once.

I'm glad I came clean. I only hope you can find it in your hearts to
forgive me.  Sniff.

Russell Shaddox
"And in my dreams, a snail's beneath your skirt." -- Andy Partridge

------------------------------

From: beye0024@gold.tc.umn.edu
Subject: Turn Everybody On!
Date: Tue, 16 May 95 16:56:33 -0500

XTC fans:
It's apparent that we all have somewhat similar musical tastes.
Somewhere, sometime in the past, somebody turned us all on to XTC, either
a friend, a DJ, a magazine, the guy who stocks the record store you frequent,
or just some dickhead at Virgin.  However it was accomplished, we were all
introduced to a great band.

How often have you been in a record store, with cash in your pocket, looking
for something new and cool to buy, and not known what to purchase?

I suggest we simplify matters.  If you know of some bands that you think
admirerers of XTC would like, lets turn everybody on to them.

E-mail me *privately* at:

    beye0024@gold.tc.umn.edu

with two or three bands that you would like to share with the rest of us.
Please do not send me the names of every band in your collection, just a
couple, preferably bands that won't be too difficult to find.  The sort of
music I am thinking of is intelligent, complicated pop.

In a couple of weeks I'll compile all of the submissions and post them to the
list.

Thanks in advance.

Tony Beyer

------------------------------

Date: Tue, 16 May 1995 19:04:13 -0700
From: Riches@Cyberstore.ca (Michael Riches)
Subject: Colin Moulding solo?

This is my first posting here and just wanted to pass along one of my wishes
that would make me XTatiC if it came true.  (Sorry, that "extatic" thing was
truly horrible.)

I have often wished that Colin Moulding would record a solo album.  I've
been increasingly frustrated with each new XTC lp as Colin's songs become
even more intriguing and wonderous, yet they're so few and far between.   I
think he's a wonderful songwriter and would really love to hear more of his
music.  Even when Colin's songs aren't great, he always does something
really different with his songs, and there's something about his voice that
makes me really listen.

I don't mean to slag AP, but he's had his soapbox now for a long time, and
even though I still find him a great songwriter, I can't help but feel
contempt when he dominates each new lp.  It's similar to the way George
Harrison was muzzled during the Beatle years (although I hope it's CM's
choice not to record songs, and not AP's).

To add one thing, I remember reading an interview with AP just after the
release of Oranges & Lemons.  He said, (I'm paraphrasing) "Colin has gotten
the hang of writing songs now and has written a whole bunch.  Who knows,
maybe the next album will be mostly Colin's."  Needless to say, 7 years
later and I'm still waiting...

Does anyone know what the chances are of CM recording an album of his own
material?

------------------------------

Date: 17 May 95 01:17:23 EDT
From: Tim Pacheco <74512.3073@compuserve.com>
Subject: XTC Sale List

Thanks to all those who bought something from my XTC sale list.
If you haven't already received a copy and would like to, please
email me and I will email you back my long list of XTC
collectibles!

Thanks...Tim Pacheco

------------------------------

From: J Ross MacKay <ross@drumz.grdl.noaa.gov>
Subject: VINYL INK Records WWW site
Date: Wed, 17 May 95 10:48:27 EDT

You can find VINYL INK Records at,

http://vinyl.ari.net/vinyl2.html

Click on [Q-Z], breeze down to XTC and pick up those old platters you've
been hunting for.
--

------------------------------

From: mallard@uclink.berkeley.edu (Chong Hyun Byun)
Subject: Sherwood's Antics
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 10:54:51 -0700 (PDT)

Okay, I have to say this:

Regarding Bob Sherwood's string snipping antics--Yes, it was wrong.  It
wasn't very nice.  I agree that if you have musical differences with other
"performance artists", you should voice your views in a reasonable,
democratic fashion.  But pacifist that I am, I still think those guys
DESERVED it.

Death to all headbangers!  Heh heh, just kidding!

Christie

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 15:51:00 +1200
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James)
Subject: In loving memory...

Alex.Stein@turner.com (Alex Stein) said:

>Guess I should come clean and admit this is my favorite XTC song of all.
>Always loved it without really listening to it or trying to figure out
>what it meant.

>Then had an odd experience of visiting Europe and walking in the footsteps
>of a relative who died in WWII. When I came back I listened again and it
>resonated more for my especially the part about the sermons "still echo
>round these churchyard walls."

Exactly. A luvly wee tune. It has a quite similar wistful feel and theme to
Kate Bush's 'Oh England My Lionheart', another favourite.

James (a Chalkhiller!)

James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

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

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 00:07:46 -0700
From: dfranson@execpc.com (Dave Franson)
Subject: Defending Sherwood's Honor, Domestic Radio 1 Live, Emperor Ultradisc, etc.

In Chalkhills #434, Bob Sherwood" <Bob_Sherwood@cpqm.saic.com> wrote a
lovely bit of HUMOROUS SATIRE entitled "Defending Our Honor."  You remember,
it started like this...

>     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

And for the satirically impaired, Bob made reference to his ALEHOUSE post a
few digests back in the apparently mistaken belief that all of us would pick
up on his bit of fun:

>     If this sounds unjustly harsh, just be glad they didn't rip on
>ALEHOUSE.

I just wanted to go on record (geez, I'm taking a stand) and say that I
enjoyed Bob's post very much.  As I posted in response to his ALEHOUSE epic,
I encourage him to continue with his offbeat humor and IGNORE the clueless.

////////////////

Also in Chalkhills #434, Wesley Wilson" <Wesley_Wilson@iegate.mitre.org> wrote:
>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.

That's because this is now available as a domestic release (at a much lower
price than the import).

///////////////

In Chalkhills #435, bk985@cleveland.Freenet.Edu (Craig A. Marciniak) wrote:

>Has anyone else out there bought the gold disc of _Skylarking_ and been
>disappointed with the sound?

I would have the agree that the sound is disappointing.  I think the
Ultradisc is almost entirely a case of "The Emperor's New Clothes," except
that my Geffen CD of "Skylarking" has a disconcerting drop-out in the
transition between "Ballet for a Rainy Day" and "1000 Umbrellas," which the
Ultradisc fortunately lacks.

///////////////

In Chalkhills #435, Gene (Sp00n) Yoon <ST004422@BROWNVM.BROWN.EDU> posted a
very impressive 3-cassette mix of XTC tunes.  Methinks I'll have to make
myself a set.  But when I FIRST scanned Gene's list, my overwhelming
reaction was the completely rhetorical question "GODS, IS THIS A GREAT BAND
OR WHAT?"

///////////////

Echoing that last thought, musnick <musnick@dnaco.net> wrote in Chalkhills
#436:

<snip>

> If
>you take the erratic, zany brilliance of the White Album and magnify it
>to the size of an entire careerful of great songwriting, varied
>production, as many genres of music that can be packed into a 15 year
>span, you realize that the group really has had an amazing string of
>great songs and projects. And this does not include the music in their
>sheds and bedrooms we haven't been allowed to hear yet.

I almost completely agree with this, except that I don't even think you need
to factor in the Beatles.  There, I said it.

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 12:04:05 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <ccoolidg@moose.uvm.edu>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #436

  Speaking of The Beatles, what do you think of the idea of George Martin
producing an XTC album?(Actually, he might have been a good choice for Sky-
larking)

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 10:06:10 -0600
From: Erik Anderson <aa393@broadway.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca>
Subject: xTc live in the USA 1980

I recently found another live xTc concert entitled "XTC USA 1980."  The
songs are in the same order as the BBC live release, but the song times
are different, usually shorter.  Does anybody know if this is the same
disk?  I bought it but haven't opened it as I may want to return it
seeing as though I already have the BBC recording.

Erik

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 10:21:58 -0600
From: Erik Anderson <aa393@broadway.sfn.saskatoon.sk.ca>
Subject: Video Tree Update

I've had about half a dozen "verbal" submissions so far.  Hopefully,
those tapes will be arriving some time soon.  The contributions seem to
be really good: some live stuff, live acoustic, interviews, and some of
the harder-to-get videos (ie. King for a day, Scarecrow people,
Wonderland).  So hang in there.  Hopefully, things will start to fall in
to place soon.

For those who have promised to contribute:

Please send in your tapes; I'm sure everyone is waiting.

Erik

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 95 12:37:52 CDT
From: chrikas@woolf.frco.com (Christopher Kasic)
Subject: Crowded House list address change

Pardon the XTC off-topic, but this is a correction to an earlier posting.

Some time ago, there was an address posted for the Crowded House mailing
list. They have since moved. To get your "Tongue in the Mail", keep reading.

** TO SUBSCRIBE to the "TALK" version of the list, send mail to
listproc@listproc.wsu.edu.  In the body of your message type:

         subscribe ch firstname lastname

** TO SUBSCRIBE to the "DIGEST" version of the list, send mail to
listproc@listproc.wsu.edu.  In the body of your message type:

         subscribe ch-digest firstname lastname

Enjoy,

chris

------------------------------

Date: 18 May 1995 14:46:13 -0500
From: "Wesley Wilson" <Wesley_Wilson@iegate.mitre.org>
Subject: David Yazbeck CD

I just ordered the David Yazbeck CD "The Laughing Man" from an importer. The
importer had only the Japanese version. Anyone know if the Japanese version
have any bonus tracks (as they so often do)?

By the way, I really like the tracks Andy co-wrote for ex-Specials' Terry
Hall's CD "Home." I'd be willing to trade a cassette dub of these and maybe
some other tracks for a dub of the "Hello" CD club Andy recordings. E-mail
me if interested.

Wes

------------------------------

From: 7IHd <ee92pmh@brunel.ac.uk>
Subject: Latest FAQ
Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 20:41:08 +0100 (BST)

Hi,

(Apologies if this one's been done before..,)

Regarding the latest version of the FAQ (15.5.95) and in particular the
new section on "what do all these English expressions mean"...

The Big Express, Swindon & the GWR: To just say "Swindon was THE main
junction of the Great Western Railway, hence the cover of The Big
Express (with the insert of the lads in their GWR uniforms)" is, in
my opinion, trivialising the whole album to a ridiculous degree. It
seems to imply that the only reason for the album's GWR livery is that
XTC are from Swindon, and that's the end of it. If this is what's
meant (possibly not, but that's how I took it), then I disagree entirely.

The GWR _was_ Swindon, basically. Swindon Works was where the GWR built
pretty near all of its locomotives for many years (and probably the
coaches and goods wagons too), as well as doing all of the major
overhauls and so on. For several decades, the Works was Swindon's main
employer, so its importance cannot be emphasised strongly enough. (See
also "place of former employment" on Colin's map of Swindon in Go2).
This importance continued long after the formation of British Railways
in 1948, as the GWR had always been a fiercely independant company and
this continued long after nationalisation. Swindon Works continued to
build locomotives, in fact the last steam locomotive to be built by BR
was built there in 1960. I'm not sure exactly when the Works closed,
I think it was during the '80s but I may be wrong. It may still have
been open when the album was made, but the writing would have been on
the wall even then. Regardless, the run-down and closure of the Works
must have been a disaster for Swindon, in terms of the town's heritage
as well as employment.

Of course, the album is not specifically about Swindon Works, or even
specifically about the GWR. These are used as tools to emphasise a
point; they are not the focus of the album in their own right. The
decline of Britain's railways has coincided with (I would be inclined to
say caused, at least in part) the decline of Britain as a world power,
the decline of social and moral values throughout the last 4 decades,
and I believe that The Big Express is, ultimately, a perhaps subtle
but, once you understand it, very powerful expression (pun intended)
of the beliefs and fears of 'ordinary people' who feel that they are
watching their country, their lifestyle, crumble before their eyes,
whilst they feel powerless to do anything about it. The album gives
us a useful history lesson on the rise and fall of the GWR's empire,
true, but it is also so much more.

Can all of this really be compressed into "Swindon was THE main junction
of the Great Western Railway, hence the cover..."? I honestly believe
that it can't and that the album deserves a better explanation.

Incidently, the FAQ mentions "Castles" and "Kings" as classes of steam
locomotive. (They were built in Swindon Works, of course). What isn't
mentioned is the reference in "Train Running Low On Soul Coal" about
Sprinters, so just in case you didn't know, a Sprinter is also a train,
but a modern one this time. They'd have been brand new when the album
came out, they're short (usually 2 coach) diesel units and are,
incidently, incredibly bad. Some of them are not much more than rail-
mounted busses. So now you know!

There's are a lot more British railway-specific references on the album,
if anyone wants me to delve a bit deeper, let me know. Having worked on
a UK steam railway since the age of 13, and now being full-time employed
by London Underground (and commuting to work on the old Great Western),
as well as having several old railwaymen as ancestors, I suppose I'm
qualified to talk about this!

Sorry this message has ended up so long, but at least it's constructive
(unlike a certain message about "defending out honour" in the last digest).

Cheers,
Phil.

PS: Leisure/Lazybones: You wouldn't be reading The Sun for job ads,
you'd be looking at "Fellas, look at Sally our sexy stunner who loves
to dress up in not very many clothes at all and pose in national
newspapers" and "Dear Deirdre, I've fallen madly in love with this man
I met on holiday, I've been having this affair with him for 3 months
but now I'm pregnant and I don't know if the baby is my husband's or
not," and the like. Entertainment value only I suspect (though quite
why anyone reads such crap is beyoned me). The guy in "Leisure" isn't
interested in getting a job anyway.
  _
 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||   http://http2.brunel.ac.uk:8080/~ee92pmh
 ========   (Now includes link to Shriekback/Barry Andrews discography)

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 18 May 95 22:19:23 PDT
From: John Relph <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Bubblegum, Sap, and Other Sticky Things

Eric Rosen <rimshot3@ix.netcom.com> asks:

>Looking through the Archives, I noticed 5 CD's whose label is listed
>as Extatic.  Does anyone know how these CD's can be obtained?

They are bootlegs.  My best suggestion is to go to a lot of record
swaps, hunt through all the used and import record shops in a large
metropolitan area, read record collectors magazines, and write in to
The Little Express classifieds.  Otherwise, good luck.

>Does anyone know the status of the bubblegum LP?  Is it permanently
>shelved?

As far as I know, yes.

>  Are there any tapes of this material making the rounds?

As far as I know, no.  Except for "Cherry in Your Tree" from the
_Carmen Sandiego Out of This World_ album and one or two of the tracks
 from the Hello Recording Club's Andy Partridge single.

>ii.     The Disappointed:       Great melody, excellent guitar work but
>                                ultimately sappy pop like "... Supergirl."

Yo!  "Supergirl" is one of my fave raves on that _Skylar King_ album!
Of course, I love sappy pop!  The Pooh Sticks Rule!  Vanessa Paradis
is cool.  I even listen to, yes, The Partridge Family once in a while!

>iii.    Omnibus:                Great rhythmic qualities, superb lyrics but
>                                the happy emotion seems labored.

TANSTAAFL.

>iv.     Smartest Monkeys:       like Roger Waters' solo stuff, i.e., the
>                                lyrics dominate so as to obscure all other
>                                aspects of the music.

You mean, "the lyrics are so ponderous, trite and overworked as to
obscure all other aspects of the music."  Perhaps you don't at that.
But I do.

John Lisiecki <JohnL16506@aol.com> writes:
>
>I've found it rather odd that they chose "Skylarking" as the album to make
>a hi-fidelity reissue.

I don't at all.  It's XTC's biggest seller in the States.  Of course
they chose that one.

>  As I believe I have said in the past, this is one
>of the worst-sounding XTC records ever made.

I should dig up the review of _Skylarking_ from _Stereo Review_.  They
harshed on the album quite a bit.

And finally, on another note (or two):

The Chalkhills Web and FTP service have moved.  In case you didn't
notice the administrivial intro to this digest, here's the new info:

    FTP archives:   "idaho.ig.com:/pub/chalkhills"
    World Wide Web: "http://chalkhills.org/"

By the way, David Yazbek's _The Laughing Man_ has now surpassed The
Pooh Sticks _Optimistic Fool_ at the top of my personal playlist.
Great stuff, especially in the 'phones.  I couldn't stop humming the
album the last few days.  Definitely the two best albums of 1995 so far.

Peace,

        -- John
--
http://idiot-dog.com/~relph/

------------------------------

Date: 18 May 1995 16:55:02 -0500
From: "Sherwood, Harrison" <hsherwood@btg.com>
Subject: Bob Sherwood--Pest or Menace?

Kids, y'all gotta forgive my wee bro, Bob. It's pretty obvious he's not
taking his medicine (even after he _promised_ Mom he would!). When he gets
into what our dear auld Mither used to call a "poopy fit," it's pretty much
time to batten the hatches and ride it out. I'm sure he'll be fine in a few
days. He has a tendency to go about three Delvins high on the old
Nukenburger Humorlessness Meter--and this time he just about pinned the
sucker out.

Bob, since this seems to be the only way we ever communicate any more, this
is the only place I can say this: PLEASE CALL HOME. Mom is worried sick,
especially since you've taken to signing her name to things. (Let's just
put it this way, Hillsters: his post in the last ish wasn't the _only_
thing he's been affixing his mother's signature to, if you catch my drift.
Anyway, Mom's been able to close the account, and everything's jake again
down at the bank, but it took some doing.)

And Bob, if it's the Operation you're worried about, please please PLEASE
set your mind at ease. Look: all that stuff about the icepick thru the
nostrils...  It's all MYTH, man. They don't DO it that way any more. They
just give you a shot, you go to sleep, and when you wake up, you're much,
much .... _happier_.

So Bob, please call Mom. And TRY to stay on the line for more than four
minutes. That's how much time the phone company says they need to.... well,
no need to go into that. Just PHONE HOME.

Obligatory XTC content:

Peter Pumpkinhead. Kids, kids, kids! _What_ are they teaching in Comp. Lit.
these days?!?!? Does the phrase "the Universal Arising Out of the
Particular" mean NOTHING any more?

It doesn't matter a donkey's left _nipple_ whether PP is "about" JFK or
Jeezis or Jimmy frickin' HOFFA! When interpreting a song lyric, or a poem,
or a novel, or any other literary enterprise, you have to take the text
EXACTLY as it stands. It is what it IS. No more. And what it IS, is...

Peter Pumpkinhead.

It's a critical fallacy to start plugging names in to the text--to
interpret the song as a "chanson a clef" (to coin a phrase). It does the
song and its author a disservice. Thinking to yourself, "A-HA! PP is JFK!"
is silly, and gets you exactly nowhere. However, if you think more along
the lines of, "PP sounds a bit like JFK, and a bit like Joan of Arc,
there's a bit of Jeezis in there, hmmm what do all of these people have in
common, well they're all martyrs of some sort or another..." THEN you're
getting somewhere. Now you're thinking about martyrdom in general, and not
about a specific case of it.

Remember John Lennon's line, "The Walrus was Paul"? Same deal. He was
telling all those extremely silly people who were looking for one-to-one
correlations (Walrus = John; Peter Pumpkinhead = JFK) in Beatle songs
exactly what I'm saying now. That kind of thinking leads nowhere. If Peter
Pumpkinhead _stands for_ John F. Kennedy, then Andy's telling us a story
*we already know*.

PP is an allegory: Martyr gets martyred. Not particularly new, or
interesting.  The key line of the song is, "Standing there he looked a lot
like you/and an awful lot like me." (Notice how Andy drags that line out,
invests it with a lot of Partridgean "ooomph"?) THAT's the thrust of the
song, class. You stick your neck out, try to do some good, try to enlighten
people and free them from ignorance, poverty, and hate, and you'll get
fried for it.

First three chapters of Barthes tonight, people. What's that? Groans? OK.
First SIX chapters, and we're having a quiz tomorrow.

Hey, gang! I've got a way-cool Alehouse T-shirt to trade. Will consider
some Budgie or Nazareth stuff! Posters? Bongs? Bandanas? The shirt's got
the Roger Dean Alehouse logo, with some guy in a Thor the Thunder-God hat,
about to smash open this dude's head with this bitchin' double-bladed
battle-axe. Of course, the Wizard from all their album covers is standing
in the background on this huge rock that kinda looks like a dick, casting
an evil spell over the whole scene. Totally baroque. I got it at the
Wembley '74 show, where they opened for Status Quo. It's got a little snot
on it, but that'll probably wash out.

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End of Chalkhills Digest #438
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