Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-1

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 1
                Tuesday, 19 September 1995

Today's Topics:

             Back with a vengeance (whimper)
                        New demos
                       New Demos???
                     Bad dreamsville
                  Well, it's about time!
                  XTC VIDEO COMPILATION
        Nice to see you again, Testimonial Dinner
                 Favourite Songs (con't)
                       Welcome back
                        Dance Mix
                 Crosswired and Confused
                  Making Plans for Nigel
                      Skeleton Crew


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Bringing sugar time back...


From: Thomas C Keekley <> (Tom Keekley)
Subject: Back with a vengeance (whimper)
Date: Wed, 13 Sep 95 16:47:16 -0500

Its good to have Chalkhills back! May I ask why Sir Relph is no longer in
charge? Did I miss something before Chalkhills conked?? I happened to be
listening to O&L when the new info came thru . . good timing. I hope
SOMEONE has info about some NEW music!!

Tom Keekley (keeks n/a)                  "Get the rope, Smithers."

	[ Did someone say I wasn't in charge?   -- John ]


Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 20:00:01 -0400
Subject: New demos

Thank goodness Chalkhills is back! I was starting to get worried.

A tape of new Andy demos has started to circulate. The titles on the 14 song
tape are:
River Of Orchids/You & The Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful/Wonder Annual/I'd
Like That/Knights In Shining Karma/Easter Theatre/Prince Of Orange/My Brown
Guitar/The Last Balloon/Church Of Women/Dame Fortune/The Greenman/Bumper
Cars/Your Dictionary/I Can't Own Her.

My favorites are Dame Fortune and I'd Like That. Some of the songs seem to be
about the break up of Andy's marriage, especially Your Dictionary. Here are
the lyrics as best as I could figure out:
Your Dictionary

Is that how you spell love
In your dictionary
Pronounced as kind
Is that how you spell friend
In your dictionary
Black on black
A guidebook for the blind

Now that I can see
My eyes won't read
Now that I can hear
Well your song sounds cheap
Now that I can talk
You'll hear my faith leap
And I'm not so sure
That Joey wed a Virgin Mary
There are no words for me
In your dictionary

Is that how you spell kiss
In your dictionary
Pronounced as care
Is that how you spelt me
In your dictionary
For I'd fool ?????????
????????? everywhere

Now that I can see
It's the queens new clothes
Now that I can hear
For the poison prose
Now that I can talk
With my tongue unfrozen
I'm not so sure
Of santa or the bucked tooth fairy
There are no words for me
In your dictionary

Now your laughter has a hollow ring
But the hollow ring has no finger in it
So let's close the book
And let the day begin
And our marriage be undone

More details next post...............


Date: Wed, 13 Sep 1995 21:01:01 -0400
Subject: New Demos???

Wow, welcome back! I thought Chalkhills moved & left me no forwarding

I've heard a rumo(u)r that Andy has let some new demos out to some lucky
folks. If you are among the lucky, or have any details, please let me (& all
Chalkhillians) know.  Also, does anyone have the release date, label & track
listing info for the tribute album, or any info on Martin Newell's release???


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 07:10:27 EDT
Subject: Bad dreamsville

Re-entry complete and this is the greatest group of freaks
I've ever not been the leader of. The absence of Chalkhills
just reinforces the fact that some groups have just got to
have a list. Nice to be home.

Boy, you look a little funny. Best lie down. I'll get some


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 95 10:24:44 EDT
From: (Patty Haley)
Subject: Well, it's about time!

Hi everyone:

Talk about timing!  I was reading the latest _Baltimore City Paper_
yesterday, hot off the back of the delivery truck, and I just so
happened to be listening to our lads via _The Big Express_.  I'd
not listened to 'em for a long while.

Lo and behold, as I'm reading, what appears on page 31 but an article
about John Flansburgh's Hello CD of the Month Club.  The article mentions
this:  "Other '94 CDs include a set from XTC's Andy Partridge, including
two songs from his unreleased _Bubble Gum Album_."  Now, I thought all
the cuts for his CD were demos/versions/whatever of the stuff to appear
on the new XTC LP, (should we be calling it _Phoenix_, as per a listmember's
logical assumption?).  I recall the _Bubble Gum Album_ being mentioned
in past digests, or don't I?  Was this shelved for any particular reason,
or is it just the usual contractual woes?  Or is it still waiting for release?
It's been so long since I've talked XTC shop that I'm rusty on this one.
I've really been longing for some new "product" from the band--a bit of
bubble gum of this type would be most welcome on my CD player.  No calories!

So while I read this yesterday, I thought, "Geez, it would be nice to be
able to post this to Chalkhills," so the message I saw this morning that
the list was up and running again was timely news indeed.

Nice to see you all (virtually) again.


Catherine Wheel World Wide Web Home Page:
Catherine Wheel/Belly co-tour the U.S. in October


Date: Thu, 17 Aug 95 11:20:11 EDT
From: Jeff Rosedale <>
Subject: chalkpost

Tidbits perhaps already savoured
If you trust the Net for info:
The tribute album will be called Testimonial Dinner
Scheduled to be released in October
TMBG will play 25 O'clock (I thought I saw something different earlier)
The Dukes will be reconstructed fromm their cooking accident to play a

                Gravy, man... Real gravy.



Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 13:23:24 -0600 (CST)
From: Erik Anderson <>

Because of the hiatus we've all been on, I would (again) like to hear from
anyone who has any xTc video footage they would like to include in the

I must specify that I only want to hear from those who have some form of
video footage to offer.

The Video Compilation will be released on 29 September 1995.  I will post
a "sign-up" sheet for everyone (and instructions) earlier that week.


Erik Anderson


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 12:23:15 -0700
From: (Dean Martucci)
Subject: Nice to see you again, Testimonial Dinner

I was only a loney lurker before - never knew how much I would miss
chalkhills until it was gone for a while. It is very nice to see you all

I've heard that XTC will in fact participate on their own tribute record,
Testimonial Dinner, as Terry and the Lovemen! Doing the Good Ones. Does this
mean a really, truly new XTC recording?

Dean Martucci        San Mateo, CA  USA
      "It's a dog life in a rope leash or a diamond collar"-EC


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 19:24:20 -0400
From: Ted Harms <>
Subject: Favourite Songs (con't)

After a lengthy, absence, nice to see Chalkhills in my inbox.

With regards to the favourite song/album debate, it'd like to say that as
for most fans, there's usually a rotation of the favourite albums.  (For me,
it's usually whichever tape I've got in my car tape deck and that I keep
forgetting to take out.  Right now, it's "Drums and Wires" and "Black Sea")
But I will agree with pre- and post- Barry Andrews and the pre- and post-
touring lines.

But I'd like to cast a vote for the XTC 'epics'.  You know, those songs
that might come close to or even surpass the 10 minute mark -
"All Along The Watchtower", "Complicated Game", "No Language In Our Lungs",
etc.  (All with the exception of "Books Are Burning".  I don't know why I
don't like it - it seems a little lame lyrically and musically.)  I find
that usually the length of these songs gives the band a chance to strech out
and work on a monster groove that gets beyond their ususal instant hooks or
quirky riffs and that's also loose enough to let everybody do their own thing.

All this brings me to my question.  Where the heck is Nithilon (as in
"Travels to ..")?  I know Nineveh was a city in ancient Bablyon, but
Nithilon?!  If any there are any historians/anthropologists amongst us that
might provide insight, please respond.

Ted Harms                            Library, Univ. of Waterloo                 519.888.4567 x3761
"Entia non sunt multiplicanda praeter necessitatem." - William of Ockham


Date: Thu, 14 Sep 1995 22:40:10 -0800
From: (Craig Vreeken)
Subject: Welcome back

Welcome back Chalkhills Digest!  I was getting worried there for a while.
So is it true that the XTC tribute album will be in stores next month?
Can't wait to hear Ruben Blades doing "The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul"

Craig Vreeken


Date:         Thu, 10 Aug 95 20:26:27 EDT
Subject:       Dance Mix

Helllooooooooo Chalkheads!!

Long time no mail!

Here is the message I tried to post when we were so rudely interrupted.
Might as well pick up where we left off!

----------------------------Original message----------------------------
OK, so a couple of you out there LIKE the Cockpit Dance mix???!?!

To each his or her own, but come on!  I can forgive them anything else.
I'm not a big White Music/Go2 fan, but I have a certain fondness for
them, wonky keyboards and all.  And those dark thick dense songs I
dislike like Nihilon, Elements and Alchemy I can at least appreciate
for their lyrics, and the watered down Respectable Street is downright
comic, but XTC were NEVER cut out for disco.  And thank god!!

Now usually what happens on this list is someone will dis something or
someone, lots of people will agree and then lots will jump to its or
their defense.  This time no one agreed with me.  But I know you're out
there, so Dance Mix haters stand up and be counted and let's see how
dead we can beat THIS horse!!

Saturday night saw him stretching over our fence.


P.S.  But of course I like Chuckling Guy.


Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 02:54:35 -0500
From: (Gene Yoon)
Subject: Crosswired and Confused

I've taken an extended leave-of-absense from all things networked (it was
an intentional fasting) and just recently got back into the email groove.
Thank god Chalkhills also went on hiatus for a bit, or I'd never get
through the back issues I missed (a must, you know).

Random thoughts which sprung up as I perused recent issues:

I finally got Acoustic Tales this past summer and heard Blue Beret, which
is a wonderful, magical tune (performed live at KROQ, Los Angeles).  I love
the way Andy and Colin's vocals overlap and layer, going in and out of
harmony.  I don't believe the two of them have ever shared vocal duties as
much as they do in this song.  Of course, the demo tape of Blue Beret
probably is just Andy (?), but this rendition made me wish they cooperated
more with other songs, as their voices blend quite nicely.

I also got Drums and Wireless and a recording of the entire BBC Richard
Skinner Show of '89.  In the latter, XTC performed a beautiful version of
Meeting Place.  I never loved the song on Skylarking, but somehow the BBC
version is leaps and bounds better without being too different in
production from the original.

It's slightly more upbeat, Dave's piano playing is gorgeous (especially the
"twiddly" end bit), and Colin's vocals don't sound as strained (he has a
penchant for singing just out of his register sometimes).  If it were up to
me, I'd have this track instead One of the Millions on the Drums and
Wireless compilation.  D&W-less, by the way, has a couple tracks that sound
better than the LP versions, but I wouldn't consider it a must have.

Speaking of Meeting Place, what is the missing lyric that isn't printed in
either the Skylarking sleeve or the archives (last I remember)?  I'm
talking about the first echo line sung by Andy in the second verse:

        Strolling under grimey skies
        <Don't let the smoke get in your eyes> (?)
        Machines that make you kiss in time...

Does anyone have a clue what in heavens Colin is talking about in this
song, anyway?  The lyrics seem rather cryptic.

All this talk in July-August about Go2 and Barry Andrews made me wonder,
whatever happened to the missing Andrews songs from the Go2 sessions?  To
quote the Twomey bio, "When it came to making a final track selection, five
of Barry's seven songs were dropped, while virtually all of Andy's and
Colin's were used...."

One would think they would have appeared squashed in the middle of the CD
reissue, which leads me to think they must have been pretty horrible, or
Andy's ego just wouldn't have it (an equal or greater number of non-Andy
songs is unheard of in XTC-dom).  The missing songs have evaportated, it
seems; no mention in the web site, either. Just curious, I guess, since I
like the music (not the lyrics) of My Weapon and Super Tuff.  The keyboard
intro in My Weapon is very cool, as someone else mentioned.

Good to be back, and please forgive the length of this posting,



Date: Sat, 16 Sep 1995 18:18:20 -0700
From: (Dave Franson)
Subject: Making Plans for Nigel

Way back in Chalkhills #460, James Kosmicki <>
wrote of "Nigel:"

>THIS is what everyone's been talking about?  This is a silly,
>repetitious, non-adventurous fluff of its time radio style single.  I
>wouldn't even include this on my top 5 songs from the entire album, much
>less from their entire catalog.
>Can somebody please post why they like this song so that I can better
>understand this song's nigh-mythical status?

Well, I can try.  Please understand that this is going to be necessarily
extremely subjective.  I also must plead guilty to having placed "Nigel" in
my all-time XTC top ten way back in '81, and it still has a reserved parking
space there.

First, the voice... "Nigel" is narrated by a "we" who are apparently well
intentioned and believe that the best they can do by Nigel is to totally map
his life out for him. They "only want what's best for him," and they're
determined that all will be well with "that helping hand."  Furthermore,
since Nigel isn't giving them any indications to the contrary, they figure
that "if young Nigel says he's happy, he must be happy..."

Now, here's where my extremely subjective, personal reaction comes in.
Having come from a family where the expectation was that I WOULD go to
college immediately after high school, and being one who immediately defied
that expectation, "Nigel" resonates strongly for me.  Although I WAS in
college when I first heard this song, I certainly didn't have a CLUE as to
what I was going to do (well, except maybe "plastics" <g>), and I still had
well intentioned folks making suggestions.  There is a certain terror, or
maybe it's just a powerful sense of absurdity, in hearing this song after
you've exhausted your blue-collar pursuits after five years, you somehow
made it to college, but the future looks both wide open and absolutely
closed at the same time.  That's why "Nigel" slid into my psyche and stayed

Musically, I have to say that I still find "Nigel" compelling after all
these years, and I don't really agree that it's "a silly, repetitious,
non-adventurous fluff of its time radio style single."  The song has always
grabbed me right off with the heavily treated drum intro, a certain drum
sound that was absolutely unique for its time.  (I think there was an
involved discussion of how this effect was achieved many, many digests ago.)
The song is propelled by lazy, loopy rhythm that's a bit sing-songy and
evokes a certain naivete, until that fourth drumbeat that just SLAMS through
the sonic layers.  Actually, there's a very interesting, understated
industrial thang going on in the background throughout the song that
complements the lyric "he has a future in British Steel."  I also love how
the high vocal chorus conjures up a set of futility, and the sense of
inevitability that's relentlessly punctuated by the fade.

"Drums & Wires" on the whole, and "Nigel" in particular, were the Steve
Lillywhite productions that really made me sit up and take notice of what
Lillywhite had been doing.  I was already acquainted with the first two
Psychedelic Furs albums that Lillywhite produced, and it caused me to back
and take note of a couple other Lillywhite productions that had found their
way into my collection, most notably Peter Gabriel III.  I'm sure we're all
aware of how he went on to work with that Irish band, but I have to say,
without pretending to have heard all Lillywhite's productions, "Drums &
Wires" and "Black Sea" are my faves.

It's also been my experience that "Nigel" will catch the ear of an XTC
initiate as well as the oft-cited "Senses Working Overtime" does.

Hope this adds up to something,

* Now I try hard not to become hysterical     *
* But I'm not sure if I am laughing or crying *
        -- Declan MacManus, "Brilliant Mistake"


From: Kevin Carhart <>
Subject: Skeleton Crew
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 1995 23:04:38 -0700 (PDT)

Well I'm glad to see the Chalkhills list up and running.  I've been wanting
to post for a while about Skeleton Crew, which seems to be a band run by
Fred Frith..  I heard a couple of their songs on college radio, and kind of
thought it was Andy, although I knew it couldn't be.  I think they would
appeal to XTC fans..  does anyone know if there is a new reissue out or



End of Chalkhills Digest #2-1

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