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Subject: Chalkhills #72


                  Chalkhills, Number 72

                  Monday, 1 January 1990
Today's Topics:
                         Slavery
                          Misc.
                 interview in new B-side
                       Random Notes
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Date: Mon, 11 Dec 1989 21:53:59 PST
From: John M. Relph <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Slavery

I was struck by the similarity of this passage to "Human Alchemy":

    Slavery, that was a kind of alchemy for White folk, or so
    they reckoned.  They calculated a way of turning each bead
    of a Black man's sweat into gold and each moan of despair
    from a Black woman's throat into the sweet clear sound of
    a silver coin ringing on the money-changer's table.  There
    was buying and selling of souls in that place.  Yet there
    was nary a one of them who understood the whole price they
    were paying for owning other folk.

[from _Prentice Alvin_, by Orson Scott Card]

    An alchemy, human alchemy
    We stole them from their freedom to be sold
    To turn their skins of black into the skins
    Of brightest gold
    An alchemy, human alchemy

    We stoked the fires of trade with human coals
    And made our purses from the flailed skins of
    Purest souls
    An alchemy, human alchemy

    Other lands became a larder full of all the good things
    All we had to do was go and take
    Blood the colour rain that grew our wicked harvest
    Black the colour icing on our cake
    An alchemy, human alchemy

    We stole their babes and mothers, chiefs and braves
    Although we held the whip, you knew we were
    The real slaves
    To alchemy, human alchemy

    Alchemy, human alchemy

["Human Alchemy", from _Mummer_, XTC]

Yeah.

	-- John

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Date:         Mon, 18 Dec 89 20:00:19 EST
From: Mark Hessman <ST601287@brownvm.brown.edu>
Subject:      Misc.

     Greetings!  I've been away from here a while... been very busy...
but I've recently been able to catch up.  My thoughts on a few rele-
vant items :

     *Go 2*  : I picked this up a few days ago, and, while it's not
as good as *White Music*, I really liked it.  "Crowded Room," with
its power chords, is a great song to dance to; I'll have to cue it
up at my house's next party.  =)  And the rest of Side 1 is quite
good... though "Are You Receiving Me?" is not on my copy.  =(

     *English Settlement* : Is this out domestically on CD?  I have
a feeling that no pre-*Skylarking* releases are, yet I'm almost
positive I've seen it in a 12" box.  At any rate, is there anywhere
I can get the 'full length version' short of buying an import?
What tracks are on the full length version, anyway?  I found an LP
copy recently that had 16 tracks; is that the 1-LP or 2-LP version?
(Couldn't tell directly, since the copy wasn't open).

     *Mummer* : Well, there is a CD copy available here (Providence,
RI) for about $19 plus tax, so I had a listen (this store has the
nice feature of letting one listen to any open CD before buying it).
I like the overall feel of the album very much, the quiet folky
introspective tone... but the more ominous, darker songs filled
with chants and such aren't among the better tracks, in my opinion.
I thought the six extra tracks were good overall (espeically the song
"Jump"), but that they, except for the instrumental with "Frost" in
the title, didn't fit well thematically.  So I bought *The Compact
XTC* import ($20), which has my three favorite *Mummer* tracks
("Wonderland," "Love on a Farmboy's Wages," and "Great Fire" --
doesn't have "Beating of Hearts" or "Ladybird," though.  =( ) anyway.
Plus, it has "This World Over," "Wake Up," and "All You Pretty
Girls" -- which I haven't heard, but which you folks have been
praising for the past few months... =)

*Beeswax* : Where can I find it?  I've never seen a copy in my life.
Is it any good?  B-side compilations tend to be of variable quality.

*Oranges and Lemons* : You know, I don't hate this one as much as
all that.  I was a bit put off on first listen by the lack of much
thematic or conceptual unity (likely, every song was intended to
sound completely different from the others)... but the album
grew on me.  Now, I like most of it.  My favorite tracks are "Scare-
crow People," "Poor Skeleton Steps Out," and "Cynical Days."
Several of the songs do suffer from extensive overdubs, most
notably "Across This Antheap," but overall it's not a bad record,
if a bit fragmented.

Still looking for *Drums & Wires*, *Black Sea*, *English Settlement*,
*Big Express*...

                                                 -- Mark

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From: sco!stewarte@ucscc.ucsc.edu
Subject: interview in new B-side
Date: Mon Dec 18 16:32:11 1989

The latest (Dec/Jan) issue of B-side magazine has an interview with
our boys.  About 2/3 with Andy, 1/3 with Colin.  This issue has the
B-52's on the cover.  $2.50 at yer local record store.  I may transcribe
it eventually, but I'd rather encourage people to support the rag...

-- Stewart

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Date: Mon, 1 Jan 1990 16:03:23 PST
From: John M. Relph <relph@presto.ig.com>
Subject: Random Notes

Some random thoughts for the New Year...

Lyrics from "The Everyday Story of Smalltown" have been going through my
mind for the last month or so:

      If it's all the same to you
      Mrs Progress
      Think I'll drink my Oxo up
      And get away
      It's not that you're repulsive to see
      In your brand new catalogue nylon nightie
      You're too fast for little old me
      Next you'll be telling me it's 1990

                                -------

This appeared in _Trouser Press_, October 1983, "The Case of the Missing
Andy Boy", by Harry George.

         A cassette of XTC's projected next album, _Mummer_, was
      a firm favorite of mine before my meeting with Partridge
      in his native Swindon.  The zest and invention of English
      pastoral classics like the Small Faces' _Ogden's Nut Gone
      Flake_ and the Kinks' _Village Green Preservation Society_
      typifies the 10 songs: Partridge has finally equalled his
      heroes on their own ground.  Yet he seems doubtful the
      public will hear the LP in its original form.

         "There's so many things against it even being
      released," Partridge says...

         "We didn't get on well with the producer [Steve Nye]
      and went on to another [Bob Sargeant].  Virgin [XTC's
      British label] said, `There's no singles on it, go away
      and write some more,' so I came up with `Great Fire.'  The
      put it out and the BBC ignored it; consequently it it
      never sold a light and Virgin got very pessimistic about
      the chances of the the whole album."

Does anybody actually know what this pre-release _Mummer_ had on it?
The article mentions that "Beating of Hearts" opened, and "In Loving
Memory of a Name", "Love on a Farmboy's Wages", "Ladybird", and "Funk
Pop a Roll" all appeared on it.  But if "Great Fire" didn't appear on
it, as implied above, then what was the original song list and running
order?

                                -------

It took the beginning of a new decade for me to finally figure out the
lyrics to "My Paint Heroes".  What's odd is that the lyrics I couldn't
decipher were those dealing with one of *my* favorite paint heroes,
Salvador Dali:

      In Port Lligat, liked his Gala
      Waxed antenna, brushes up a storm

Port Lligat is a small fishing village near Dali's home in Spain, Gala
is Dali's wife, and the antenna refers to Dali's extraordinary
moustache.

Here are the lyrics in full:

      All of Paris giggles with flags
      Laughing lions leap up from the page
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks good from where you paint from

      Barcelona, nuclear festive, wire women
      Wriggle from life's cage
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks good from where you paint from
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks like it's all a party
      Packed with my paint heroes
      Like it's all a party
      Packed with Rousseau
      Miro, Miro, on my wall
      I love you the most of all

      In Port Lligat, liked his Gala
      Waxed antenna, brushes up a storm
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks good from where you paint from
      Catalonia's atom caveman
      Cracks his whipline tipped in purest form
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks good from where you paint from
      My the world looks good from where you are
      My the world looks like it's all a party
      Packed with my paint heroes
      Like it's all a party
      Packed with Dali
      Miro, Miro, on my wall
      I love you the most of all

                                -------

Way back on 18 December 1989, Mark Hessman <ST601287@brownvm.brown.edu>
had this to say:

>     *English Settlement* : Is this out domestically on CD?  I have
>a feeling that no pre-*Skylarking* releases are

Yes, in fact the US _English Settlement_ CD (on Geffen) is so far the
only CD with the full complement of 15 songs.  The UK CD is missing two
tracks, "Leisure" and "Down in the Cockpit".

Also available from Geffen is _The Big Express_, with the three bonus
tracks, "Red Brick Dream", "Washaway", and "Blue Overall".

>*Beeswax* : Where can I find it?  I've never seen a copy in my life.
>Is it any good?

Keep looking in used record stores.  It's good.  Most of the tracks on
it are on various UK CDs (_White Music_, _Black Sea_, and the CD-3 of
_Senses Working Overtime_), but not all.

>Still looking for *Drums & Wires*, *Black Sea*, *English Settlement*,
>*Big Express*...

All are available on CD.  Buy or die.

                                -------

Those of you in the USA interested in finding XTC videos, try writing to
these people:

      The Lovejoy's
      215 N. Randolph St.
      Princeton, IL 61356-1664

Tell 'em Chalkhills sent you.  They have at least four compilation
videos available, which include _Look Look_, _XTC Play at Home_
(produced by XTC), _XTC at the Manor_, lots of live stuff, and much much
more.  I still haven't watched all the footage on those four videos.
They also have some audio tapes available.

                                -------

That's all for now.  Happy New Year!

        -- John

--
"You'll find my corpse in the Colour Supplement"

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