Precedence: bulk
From: Chalkhills <>
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #11-58

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 11, Number 58

                 Tuesday, 25 October 2005


                        A Theory?
                   Re: XTC Lyrics Test
          It's Friday, it's 5 to 5, and it's...
                      The Dutch XTC
                   Dukes gig got moved.
                 Re: the B*****s vs. g**s
                      XTC Geek List
  MCartney, The Apple Box, Value For Money and Mortality
           Holy Halloween, it's the Harridans!!
                      Why, oh Wiki?


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Air leaving slow / Still breathing though.


Date: Thu, 20 Oct 2005 02:09:43 EDT
Subject: A Theory?
Message-ID: <>

Hi Chalksters ...

Ocassional poster, longtime lurker Warren from Sacramento here:

I did indeed purchase the Apple Venus Box set (in advance) for three
reasons: One, because I really do want to see how the double disc would have
been sequenced; Two, because I have NO problem with spending my hard-earned
dosh on products put on the market by two of my favorite artists of all

And three; because I really, really, really want to download the new tracks

Which led me to ponder this.

The email from Idea said something about the rights to AV returning to Andy
and Colin's control. Could it be possible that they were dissatisfied with
the Cooking Vinyl deal and elected to let it run it's course by just putting
out the demos and the "sing along" AV's ... essentially going on "strike"

It would stand to reason, since they were unable to do the album "their way"
... hell, it cost them Gregsy in the process. So now, with the downloads
available, it would seem that they haven't just been watching the grass grow
at all.

So why make the downloads available to only those who by the box set? Think
it through, Chalkhillians ... Idea is an indie label, right? To make product
available, capital is required. Yes, they do have their studio in Colin's
garage, and I can attest personally to the amazing versatility of the POD
amp simulator and a Telecaster so the recording overhead is pretty low.

But to market the product you need to manufacture it, advertise it, and
distribute it. The distribution end could take care of itself; any number of
indies would happily sell a couple of hundred thousand XTC discs worldwide.
But I would think that Andy and Colin's distrust of the whole music business
would make them keep as much control as they could; there's plenty of
examples out there from Ani DiFranco's Rightous Babe label to NRBQ's recent
releases through their website on their own Edisun.

So if Andy has raised some fair cash from APE, and a few thousand true
believes pony up for the AV set ... bingo, cash for a new CD to hit the

It might be a total pipe dream, but I think it makes sense.

Oh yeah, this past Tuesday (October 18th) my wife and I brought a new XTC fan
into the world ... Ian Thomas McGaffic Bishop has already shown me the true
meaning of "Chalkhills And Children".


Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 00:06:29 EDT
Subject: Re: XTC Lyrics Test
Message-ID: <>

I am hanging up my XTC-fan hat and unsubscribing from Chalkhills.  I
only scored 63%.  Man, I stink.  There were songs on that test I'd
never *heard* of.  ;)

Thanks for creating the test, though.  It's not often that I get a
meme that actually makes me think.  It's not often that I post one in
my livejournal, either, but I just had to see if anyone else on my
friendslist would even recognize the band.

So when will there be a big fun gathering in Las Vegas??  C'mon, it's
a cheap place to travel to, I swear.  If you live in the U.S. or
Canada, that is.



Date: Fri, 21 Oct 2005 10:46:29 +0200
Subject: It's Friday, it's 5 to 5, and it's...
Message-ID: <>

Hi, again, people of the collines de craie,

In #57, some American-German-French-?? person wrote the following
re. rare television appearances of XTC aired recently at The Meeting
Place in Swindon:

>and weirdest of all, the moment at which XTC was a "household name
>band": the entire cast of a children's show (can't remember the name,
>help me someone), dressed in medieval or renaissance style, concocting
>a reason to sing a bang-on version of "Making Plans for Nigel",
>complete with all the bits you love to sing along with!  Excellent!

If I am not mistaken, the name of that television show was
"Crackerjack".  I am sure someone amongst the British 'Hillers will be
able to confirm this.

Au revoir!

- Jeff


Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 17:37:13 +0100
From: "Chris Evans" <>
Subject: The Dutch XTC
Message-ID: <000601c5d726$db711ec0$0201a8c0@acer20072f4638>

... a spot of news that is sure to be of interest to many XTC fans (and I am
one such). There is but one band in the world who are fit to lick XTC's
boots when it comes to sheer creative longevity, and that is the Nits.

Like XTC, they started as a New Wave band in the mid-70s, diversified into
all kinds of interesting areas and ended up with a core of just two members.
Unfortunately, they had the massive cultural disadvantage (from a rawhk
perspective, that is) of being Dutch. And they were further disadvantaged by
the fact that their record label (stop me if this sounds familiar) didn't
understand them and stopped releasing their albums in the UK and US. Those
they did release, they did their best to hush up.

For those few Brits like me who got to hear these wonderful records back in
the late 80s, however, the relationship has endured till this day, despite
the fact that the Nits have only ever played once in the UK - at a Womad
festival. But after much harassment from yours truly, they have finally
agreed to give British audiences another chance. They are playing a gig at
the delightful Bush Hall in Shepherd's Bush on December 9, with tickets just

Now I kid you not, for anyone who loves inventive, utterly distinctive pop
music of the kind purveyed by XTC, this really is a must. I promise you,
this is not just your standard issue hype. If the Nits had been British or
American, they'd be - well, at least as popular as XTC, and Prefab Sprout
and Stackridge, and all those other bands who don't fit the record
companies' marketing categories.


All the best

Chris Evans
Downtown Wolverhampton


Date: Sat, 22 Oct 2005 17:07:09 -0500
From: Chris Vreeland <>
Subject: Dukes gig got moved.
Message-ID: <>

The Dukes of Simpleton gig that I announced a couple weeks ago has
been moved across town. We're still playing Friday Nov. 4th, but now
the show will be at Threadgill's World Headquarters which is at 301
West Riverside Drive - Austin, Texas. We'll be playing from 9 to
10:30. Hopefully, the stars will align, and we'll get a little video
of this occasion on our site soon afterwards. Hope to see some of
ya'll there!

XTC content: Now playing on Radio Tejas: Scissor Man, by Primus --

Chris "whose idea was this, anyway?" Vreeland


Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2005 10:11:15 -0700 (PDT)
From: Todd Bernhardt <>
Subject: Re: the B*****s vs. g**s
Message-ID: <>


Mark Fisher pointed out:

> Interesting how much Gray seems to know about me on the basis of three
> short sentences. I happen to be a Beatles fan, but the Beatles thread on
> Chalkhills got out of hand years ago and it's never been reined in.

Well, there was a good reason for that. The Beatles thread had to do with
music, which we're here to discuss. The guns thread did not.


If the gods listened to the prayers of men, all humankind would quickly
perish, since they constantly pray for many evils to befall one another.
  Epicurus, philosopher (c. 341-270 BCE)


Date: Sun, 23 Oct 2005 22:11:08 +0100
From: "David Seddon" <>
Subject: XTC Geek List
Message-ID: <002301c5d816$4a76b1a0$0200a8c0@seddon>

Aside from music, one of the things I am passionate about is boardgaming -
which is something that Andy enjoys very much, too.  I've actually chatted
to him for 20 minutes about the very thing.

Anyway, if you've never been to BoardGameGeek, it's the best for this sort
of thing.  It's a great site to browse when thinking of a Christmas pressie
for someone.  Anyway, I've just done this list about the Songs of XTC.  Take
a look:


Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 10:23:55 +1000
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Subject: MCartney, The Apple Box, Value For Money and Mortality
Message-ID: <BAY109-F82813E56962CAE9BB2DA4D0760@phx.gbl>

RE: McCartney:

Listen to his obvious influence in songs like `I'd Like That', `Brainiac's
Daughter' and the extremely under-rated `Ladybird', (a song I dearly wish
had been covered by a singer like Nina Simone or Billie Holiday), and you'll
understand why he's relevant.

And I'll defend both `Let `Em In', (a study in Nursery Rhyme simplicity
that's hypnotic in its use of repetition, and I'm sure is intended as
nothing more than that), and `Magneto and Titanium Man', (which is an
obvious roots nod, and rocked my world with its comic book imagery when I
was 6 or so).

I guess growing up without watching an artist develop gives you a different
perspective.  I was able to listen to his stuff free of expectation or
comparison and take each song on its own merits.  (Which is probably why
`Ladybird' appeals to me so much, thinking about it, since I was working my
way back from `Skylarking').

RE: Apple Box and Anger

People aren't upset at the Apple Box existing, as such.  They're annoyed by
the use of `Bait Tracks' to force them to re-purchase what they already own.
  It feels exploitative.  And yes, there's the obvious argument that "You
don't have to buy it".  But when you pair it with the first airing of
eagerly anticipated new material in a few years, it seems a mercenary
business decision.

A few thoughts:

1) The releases of `Homespun' and `Homegrown' were the kind of things only
fans would buy anyway due to their premium price.  (They would have been
perfect mid-price releases).  If we pay the same monetary price for what
really are sketches of a finished product already available elsewhere, then
are we unintentionally sending a message that quality isn't important and
we'll buy any `sketches' that are lying around if they're slapped onto CD?
Where's the encouragement to properly record new material if we gladly shell
out for Fuzzy Warbles?

Each FW disc here is $30 Australian.  To put their lack of value for your
dollar I give you the following comparisons:

For an extra $6 more I bought a three pack of Bob Dylan:  "Bringing it all
back home", "Highway 61 Revisited" and "Blonde On Blonde".

For $5 more I can buy the three disc deluxe edition of the Kink's "The
Village Green Preservation Society".

For the same price I bought the 2 Disc Split Enz "Spellbound" collection for
an American Friend, (39 re-mastered tracks!).

For $20 you can buy 2CD packs of Crowded House: "Crowded House" & "Temple Of
Low Men" or "Woodface" and "Together Alone".  That's almost their whole
catalogue for $10 more than a FW!

For $20 you can buy a pack of the Beach Boy's "Pet Sounds (Stereo and
Mono)", "Smiley Smile" and "Wild Honey".

So, for $30 for "Fuzzy Warbles Volume 1" I got six inferior demo versions of
songs I already owned, half-arsed instrumentals, some ok but slight
material, a few jokes and two lost gems: "Dame Fortune" & "Wonder Annual".
Brilliant songs but not worth $15 a pop.  Loving a band and wanting to be a
completist shouldn't mean I have to become a unquestioning consumer, and
coupled with the Homegrown and Homespun albums, turned me into a 'buy
anything XTC without question" fan, into a "What am I really getting with
this purchase?" one.

Which now gives me the power to look at the `Apple Box' and think `meh, I
can live without hearing those songs".  (All that being said, they'd want to
be *killer* songs, or people are going to be pissed).

2) Not enough time has passed for this kind of re-release.  I consider
`Black Sea' and `Skylarking' two undeniable classics.  I have a sneaky
feeling that `Apple Venus' might be their third, but it's going to take a
lot more water under the bridge to make me feel that way about `Wasp Star'.
More than likely, the unsold stock of all four albums were returned to the
band by the record companies, and it's a way of putting these unsold cds to
waste by putting them in new packaging.

3) As to finding a studio etc-  Didn't the band build their own studio with
their advance?  I thought there were pictures on this site of it somewhere.
If the guitar for `I'd Like That' was done in Colin's hallway, and the
guitar for `Knights In Shining Karma', and the harmonica from `In Another
Life' were both lifted from their demos, then why do you really need to head
down to Abbey Road?  Why did they go to all that trouble to build the studio
but don't seem to be putting it to use?

4) The other possibility is the guys *did* put it to use, and slipped out an
album under a pseudonym that nobody's picked up on yet.

5) And, well, rather tactlessly - the guys *are* getting on in years.  We're
impatient because there's only so many years in a life and each wasted one
is that one step closer to when the book is finally shut for good.  I'd for
one, would like to hear more of what they have to say.



Date: Mon, 24 Oct 2005 18:28:40 -0700 (PDT)
From: Todd Bernhardt <>
Subject: Holy Halloween, it's the Harridans!!
Message-ID: <>


Everyone who lives anywhere near the Washington, DC, area is cordially
invited to howl with the Harridans this Saturday night (29 Oct.) at Jay's
Saloon and Grill, 3114 10th Street North, Arlington, VA (near the Clarendon
Metro stop), 703/527-3093.

Who are the Harridans? They are:
  Harrison Sherwood: geetar, voices (in his head)
  Todd Bernhardt: drooms, sangin'
  Bob Sherwood: the big thing with four strings, yodeling

And you want scary? Well, Bob lives in Massachusetts and the four of us have
never played together before, so we'll be rockin' with some classics -- the
B*****s, Chuck Berry, Carl Perkins, Little Richard, et. al. (even some XTC)
-- strictly by the seat of our pants. Or trousers, if you're British. In any
case, it'll be an audacious audio adventure with plenty of potential for
patastrophe (hey, alliteration is hard sometimes).

How cool is Jay's? This cool:

Where is it? Here:

Come on down and say hi. Tell us Chalkhills sent you, and we'll play a song
just for you. Really we will.


The first 40 years of life give us the text; the next 30 supply the
commentary on it.
  Arthur Schopenhauer, philosopher (1788-1860)


Date: Tue, 25 Oct 2005 08:08:39 +0200
From: "don device" <>
Subject: Why, oh Wiki?
Message-ID: <001b01c5d92a$8ba83e40$a43e4251@computer>

In the Hitchhiker's spirit of things,
I thought the following link might be of interest to some of you. It's from
Thr Guardian, and is basically a bunch of 'experts' rating the respective
entries in their various specialities and rating them on a scale of 1 to 10.
I thought it might be amusing for us (''experts' in XTC that we all are,
'natch) to do the same thing with the XTC entry and then to write a few
lines as to WHY in our posts, along the same lines as The Guardian's
LEt's try to resist the temptation to fix the mistakes we find until the
games's over, so as to not invike the spectrer of Heisenberg too ovetly)....
Anyone game?


End of Chalkhills Digest #11-58

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