Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-23

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 23

                 Monday, 6 November 1995

Today's Topics:

               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-19
    How did Harold & Andy meet?  Here's a guess......
                T-shirt copyright concerns
                    Re:  Ambien(ce)ts
                   Years of Catching Up
               ...and that settles it!...?
     Colin; Bonus Tracks; D&W Freak number 342987523
                   Terry (trivia quiz)
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-22
                       Colin Cancer
                     Song inspiration
                       Covering XTC
                       Nigel video
                         RE: Puke
                      ambient stuff
               Drums & Wireless (a review)
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-22


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

A bed is creaking as the new messiah comes.


Date: Fri, 3 Nov 1995 18:41:02 -0500 (EST)
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-19

  I can't resist responding to the question of which XTC songs I dislike. To
be honest, there aren't many; there's a number that I find a bit dull or dead
compared to their best(like "Books Are Burning," "King For A Day," "Dying,"
"Sacrificial Bonfire," "Strange Tales, Strange Tails," "Wait Till Your Boat
Goes Down"), a few I find rather problematic,("My Weapon," "This World Over,"
"Dear God," "WarDance," "Bungalow")failed experiments that are nonetheless
interesting(too numerous to mention), but the only one I can think of that
I dislike is their cover of "All Along The Watchtower" on White Music. I
find it unlistenable, and it interests me it's the only cover they've ever
  Speaking of "Dear God," I agree with Andy's assessment that it wasn't
quite what he meant to say, but I suspect that what he did mean to say
I'd take exception to even more. As it stands, however, it's the oldest
trick in the book to tell a God you don't believe in that you don't believe
in Him. We're The Smartest Monkeys, aren't we? I submit that if you can i-
magine that something exists, it exists in some form; maybe not exactly the
way that you imagined it, but nonetheless it exists because someone needed
it to. There is nothing that exists that we can't conceive of; by saying
something doesn't exist gives it the same energy as saying it does! My cen-
tral point is: if God didn't exist in some form(by this I mean a higher cre-
ative power, not any one institutional interpretation)we'd be completely o-
blivious of the very idea. Non-existence means exactly that. You can't con-
ceive of something that doesn't exist, and you can't make something up out
of thin air. An XTC song consists of some of the same notes you find in a
Gregorian chant or a Beethoven sonata, and even if they didn't, they'd be
some distillation of what has gone before at some time. There is nothing
new under the sun.
  Suffice to say I have philosophical differences with Andy, but so be it.
Andy, you're still one the great songwriters and poets in the English Lan-
guage, but if there's no "God," then the basic laws of physics don't apply
either, and the universe could have already collapsed in on itself and we
won't have noticed.


Date: Fri, 3 Nov 1995 22:27:33 -0700 (MST)
From: Mark Rushton <>
Subject: How did Harold & Andy meet?  Here's a guess......

>From the keyboard of Laura Parent <>:
> Does anyone else out there really like the Budd-Partridge disc "Through
> the Hill"? I swear it is the best sleeping music ever.
> Does anyone know the history of their collaboration?

I would venture to guess that the linking of Harold Budd and Andy Partridge
is probably a result of mutual friends who have (surprisingly) never met
each other - Brian Eno & Bill Nelson.  Harold did an album with Brian in the
very early 80's called "The Pearl" which is fantastic.  Bill played acoustic
& electric guitars on Harold's 1991 album "By the Dawn's Early Light."

Andy knows Brian who's worked with Harold who's worked with Bill who is
friends with Andy.  just a guess...

Mark Rushton, author of the: Bill Nelson WWW site:
stop by and visit....


Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 01:40:10 -0500 (EST)
From: "k.a. hehir" <>
Subject: Virgin

this is my first time posting but i've been around for a few months.
a few things have finally enticed me to join the fray:
the t-shirt idea is grand, the thing is, in canada i have never not been
able to get one. with either the drums and wires or oranges and lemons
cover. but if you will allow me to relay an anecdote. i had a friend paint
the drums and wires cover on the back of a jacket for me about 6 years ago.
not to long ago, a young woman asked me if i advertising for that rave
staple; ecstacy. funny, but i had to explain about the band and the
somewhat fanatical devotion of its followers. her reply was .."cool".

but this may not be the case anymore as TD reaches the masses. i overheard
someone buying it for the Crash Test Dummies track, while there was an
obvious oblivion to xtc, if he likes what he hears then maybe the boys
might start to move some of the back catalogue.

2 quick questions: 1. to any industry types- how is TD selling?
                   2. how many of you are woody allen fans as i see
                      some parallels, either love'em or hate'em.

cheers all,

                 "What I really like about you
                  is the back or your head
                  when you leave the room"   Adam West(the band, not the ?)


Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 1:22:55 -0600 (CST)
Subject: T-shirt copyright concerns

As to concerns about possible copyright infringement that might result from
the use of the chalkhorse on a t-shirt,  since the chalkhorse is an
illustration of an ancient angle (or saxon -- I can't keep 'em straight)
earthwork, there shouldn't be any problem with copyrights.  Anyone who
could have held a copyright, had such a thing existed at the time, is long

Lore Guilmartin,  Data's evil twin, Resident Director of an Insanely
Large Dormitory at Texas A&M University


Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 13:13:16 -0330 (NST)
From: Elizabeth Noseworthy <>
Subject: Re:  Ambien(ce)ts

Eno also worked with Jon Hassell in some wonderful music.



From: (Al Curtis)
Subject: Years of Catching Up
Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 13:22:22 -0400

I'm hoping this gets in. I was having mail trouble a couple weeks ago when I
first posted. First let me say that I'm truly XTatiC to have found this list
a couple of months ago. I've been living xTc since 78 when I first heard
them(proof on file). For many years I thought I was the only one. To this
day I cannot understand their lack of public popularity. It's not like their
songs are difficult or inaccessable. Just great, hummable, intelligent
music. Oops, I guess that last one explains it. Anyway, I intend to be an
active participant in future discussions and have many years of xTc related
anecdotes and trivia to share. I was fortunate to have grown up in the
Boston area which has some of the best record stores and radio stations in
the country (sorry, New York). For those of you looking for hard to find xTc
stuff, check out which is Newbury Comics.  You can
order online. Thanks for letting me ramble.
BTW my first post had to do with xTc- Richard Thompson connections. Fill ya
in later.

You're only lit once..


Date: Sat, 4 Nov 1995 15:14:01 -0500
Subject: ...and that settles it!...?

Kevin Collins <> writes:

<<<<But I think the author should always have the last word in his own
work.  May I paraphrase a bumber sticker into my thoughts on to what an
author may say about his own work? "Andy said it, I believe it, and that
settles it!" :)>>>>  The artist never has the last word when dealing with any form
of art.  The purpose of music (as well as any art) is to put forth an idea
or concept, and to let the recipient have his or her own experience.  Once
something has left the artist's hands, it leaves his control.

I'm not saying that this is good or bad, but necessary to artistic
function.  All arts are interpretive, no matter how simply they are

John Lisiecki


Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 16:18:46 +1000 (GMT+1000)
From: Vzzzbx <>
Subject: Colin; Bonus Tracks; D&W Freak number 342987523

 #> From: (Steve-O Lutz)
 #> I find most of the tunes I dislike are
 #> Colin's.  But I think he provides a necessary counterpoint to
 #> Andy, and an XTC album wouldn't be nearly so eclectic or
 #> relistenable without Colin's contributions.

Some of Colin's songs [Ball And Chain, Smokeless Zone, Washaway] are up
there with my all-time favourite songs by anyone ever.  That's providing I
don't listen to the lyrics... is Washaway *really* that superficial?  :)

 #> From: 7IHd <>
 #> I must admit that this is one time I don't mind the bonus tracks
 #> being stuck in the middle [of Drums And Wires]

I love the idea of the bonus tracks being put in the middle of the albums.
It's almost like having a three-sided album, especially with Mummer and
White Music.  And, being CD, you can always skip the B-sides.

 #> Who is it that says 'Is this the right
 #> tempo we're at at the moment?' at the start of 'Officer Blue'?

I wish I knew, it's the same voice that says 'Ladies and gentlemen,
presenting for the very last time' in Dear Madam Barnum.  I always thought
it was Andy, but I've never heard him speak normally.  :)

 #> From: (Peter Mullin)
 #> I've found that songs
 #> that didn't really work for me on the first (few) listen(s)
 #> became favorites on further listening.  Some things just have to
 #> grow on you, maybe...

I find this to be true with everything XTC's done [except for Black Sea,
which hit me like a cannonball the very first time I heard it].  That's
the best part of their music IMHO, you can listen to a track 10-20 times
before it grows on you, and then it'll take thousands of listens to get
boring.  :)

Okay, now to the Drums And Wires bit... my copy [which I ordered from the
UK and received a few weeks ago] is different to all those listed in the
Discography.  The closest one to it is:

 #>        + CD, Virgin UK, CDV 2129, 1990?.  front cover has
 #>          ``Compact Price'' stripe and white border, back cover yellow,
 #>          correct track listing. reissue.

...but my copy doesn't have the 'Compact Price' stripe, or the white
border, and the back cover is the same as the front with different colours
[I assume this is in the style of the original D&W release on vinyl].

All the tracks are listed correctly, but Limelight is attributed to Andy.
I know something's wrong here, because my copy of the No Thugs single
[with the funky stage and cut-out characters] says Colin wrote it.

Oh... one more thing.  I managed to pick up a copy of the 3D EP [yup,
original 12 inch] for AUS$1.00 [ I think that's about 40-60p in the UK,
60-80c in the US, and $1.20-1.40 in NZ, in case you're not sure of
Australian currency].  The record itself is immaculate, not a scratch on
it.  The cover's a bit worn, but it's not creased or anything.

I went back to the same shop the next week, and found another 3D EP with a
slightly better cover, for AUS$20.00!  So... did I get a good deal?  :)



'The music business is a hammer to keep you pegs in your holes, but please
 don't listen to me.  I've already been poisoned by this industry!'
                                                          -- Andy Partridge


From: 7IHd <>
Subject: Terry (trivia quiz)
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 16:47:41 +0000 (GMT)

Well, well done to the following people, all of whom got it right. I
received the entries in this order:

(1) Steve Wilcox, (2) Kim Williams, (3) Robert Dickau, (4) Megan Heller,
(5) Richard Manfredi.

The answer to 'in which song does Terry get his name mentioned' was, of
course, "The Rotary" off Mr. Partridge's _Take Away/The Lure Of Salvage_
EP and more recently to be found on XTC's _Explode Together - The Dub
Experiments_. Yes it was that easy. :-)

Bonus marks to Megan for getting the origin of the quote I used in one
of those last messages, even though I didn't ask for that. (For the
uninitiated, it was from 'My Paint Heroes').

 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||


From: 7IHd <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-22
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 17:17:25 +0000 (GMT)

# From: (Peter Mullin)
# Subject: Ramblings
# >And I think The Hight Llamas, Pulp, REM, Shriekback, Stereolab, Paul
# >Weller, Suzanne Vega and Yo La Tengo should be on there, but I'm stuck as
# >to which songs.
# How about Paul Weller doing 'Omnibus'?  I always thought it had a sort of
# late Jam feel to it...Stereolab could tackle 'Travels in Nihilon', maybe.

I have a problem with 'Omnibus', namely, I don't like it. Hence, I'm still
stuck for Paul Weller. You're right about Stereolab doing 'Nihilon' though!

# On the subject of liking and disliking XTC songs, I've found that songs
# that didn't really work for me on the first (few) listen(s) (such as
# 'Rook', 'Pink Thing', 'One of the Millions', or 'Helicopter') became
# favorites on further listening.  Some things just have to grow on you,
# maybe...

I find this with albums (hence I can only assume 'Mummer' is their greatest
work of pure genius ever, as it's the only one I've never really got into
properly), but I generally find with songs that if I don't like them after
about 150 playings then maybe I'm not going to. :-)

Someone (probably in the other digest, as I didn't see it in the one I'm
replying to) said something about Blur and strings. Since I think the
comment was in response to my TD2 list which gave Blur something off
Skylarking (for the strings), a reply: Yes I know they've been using
strings since their (approx) their second album - that was, in fact,
when I first became a Blur fan - but they've never been more important
than they have become on 'The Great Escape', hence my comment.

Make sense? Possibly, I dunno.

Complete aside, recently got hold of the 'Love On A Farmboy's Wages'
12", which includes (amongst others) a live version of 'Burning With
Optimism's Flame' (sic) on the B-side. Is it just me, or is Andy
_really_ enjoying himself on that particular live performance?

 |_)|_ *|
 |  | )||


Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 17:58:49 -0500
Subject: Colin Cancer

>If it is a t-shirt, I believe "You can't get the buttons these days"
>would be most appropriate.

I like that.  Here are some others:

You look smart in a suit.
Put your cleanest dirty shirt on.
The whole street's talking about my white shirts looking so grey.

>From: relph (John Relph)
>Andy Partridge co-produced and co-performed on Thomas Dolby's debut
>single ("Urges" b/w "Leipzig").  I don't know how they met, but there
>it is.

I thought Dolby was a big fan of early XTC, and when he learned they lost
Barry in early '79 he started bugging them to audition him, writing letters
and sending tapes of his work.  Andy liked his stuff, but he couldn't
handle the idea of another keyboardist with a mind of his own ("Barry II").
But they remained friendly and kept contact thereafter.

>From: (James Dignan)
>I would love to hear Ms Vega sing "In loving memory of a name"...

Exactly!  Even before everyone started on ideas for A Testimonial Dinner
follow-up, every time I'd listen to In Loving Memory of a Name I'd imagine
Suzanne Vega singing it.  The melody suits her style (meaning it can be
sung at very low decibels in a small range), it's acoustic (she can play
it), and the mildly plaintive lyrics are not unlike something she would
write.  Kinda like "Wooden Horse" and "In Liverpool".  She and her band, I
read a while back, played Oranges and Lemons on constant repeat during the
'Days of Open Hand' sessions.  Odd.  No XTC influence heard on that record.

By the way, be nice to Colin.  A new wave of anti-Colin sentiment lately.
But really, his songs have defined XTC as we know it.  No Ball and Chain?
Grass? I Remember the Sun? NIGEL???  Nuh-uh!  Fewer though they are,
Colin's tend to be my favorites, cuz he has a great command of melody and
his words are honest and simple.  A bit too simple on Nonsuch, I must
admit.  Around that time he complained that years of no touring had sort of
mushed his songwriting muscle, so I have big hopes for the next album now
that he's worked extensively with other artists, which includes the superb
Sam Phillips CD 'Martinis & Bikinis'.  D'luv to get my paws on L'Affaire
Louis Trio.  Should brush up on my French.

Plus, he seems like a really nice guy.

Okay, I promise that's the last time I'm getting defensive for Mr Moulding.
Sorry in advance.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ __ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
______________my karma ran over my dogma______________


From: Richard Aaron Manfredi <>
Subject: Primus
Date: Sun, 5 Nov 1995 17:25:35 -0800 (PST)

   I was just wondering what anyone else thought of Primus' version of
"Nigel"?  It's off their "Miscellanous Debris" EP, a collection of covers.
I think that it's one of their best songs, and a surprisingly straight-
forward version of the original.  Les Claypool has said that Colin was one
of his bass idols growing up, so I guess that's pretty good company.  I
think it ranks as maybe better than anything off of ATD.  Comments?

Richard Manfredi
"I can't write songs about girls anymore/
Now I have to write songs about women."


Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 15:50:55 +1000 (GMT+1000)
From: Vzzzbx <>
Subject: Song inspiration

This might be a topic that's been covered millions of times here already,
but does anyone have any XTC songs that could have been inspired by other

I think Desert Island bears a striking resemblance to a song of the same
name, written by Bill Oddie and Michael Gibbs for UK TV show 'The
Goodies' [the episode where they go to the Lost Island of Munga].  Both
versions even have the 'doo-doo-doo' bit.

Also, My Bird Performs sounds similar to the US single version of Ten Feet
Tall, and the opening riff sounds like the repeated one in the verses of
Jump.  Again, I could be way off, but this is what I read into the song.

If anyone can think of others I'd love to hear them...



'The music business is a hammer to keep you pegs in your holes, but please
 don't listen to me.  I've already been poisoned by this industry!'
                                                          -- Andy Partridge


Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 00:54:09 -0500 (EST)
From: heller megan j <>
Subject: Covering XTC

well, even though I don't have the cd yet (grr...), I thought I'd comment
on a couple of the suggestions for future covers.  I think Liz Phair
would be a great idea.  I got _Exile in Guyville_ recently, and I fell
completely in love with it.  I had it on constant rotation for about
three days.  It's funny and perverse--I can definitely relate.

I also like the idea of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones covering "Jumping in
Gomarrah"--when I thought of that, I realized that it would work.

as for the question about seeing an ad in the back of Rolling Stone a few
years ago with a "Drums & Wires" t-shirt, it _may_ have been the Burning
Airlines company in New Jersey.  I just remember that they always used to
list XTC as a band they had merchandize for.  I believe that they're
still advertised in the back.

megan h.


Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 12:03:13 +0000
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: Nigel video

I've just bought a new video compilation with the highly misleading title
*The Best Punk Video in the World . . . Ever!* which features 20 tracks
including that well-known punk anthem Making Plans for Nigel. It turns out
to be the same video as appears on Look Look (Andy clowning around with
whitened face and dark lipstick, Colin sticking his face right up to the
camera, lots of board game imagery, a Nigel character being pushed around
>from straitjacket to business suit, Terry and Dave jamming away in the
background). My copy cost 10.99 (pounds stg) and is released by Picture
Music International (MVL 4914383) in VHS format. Apart from having a
strange idea about what constitutes punk, the collection isn't bad - the
inevitable Sex Pistols plus new wavers like Blondie, Bow Wow Wow, Flying
Lizards, Undertones, Ian Dury etc.

Mark Fisher (,uk)


Date: Mon, 6 Nov 95 11:37:53 GMT
From: (Jon Eva)
Subject: USA_1980

In digest 2-20, Giovanni Giusti mentioned the "Live in USA 1980" bootleg cd:

> I am in the possession of an XTC bootleg CD recorded in 1980 during an USA
> tour. The CD was produced in Italy. It's nothing special, one of the many
> bootlegs from the "Black Sea" era. It's quite long though, and not badly
> recorded (probably from the radio).

I have a copy of this cd, and I'm almost certain that it from the same
Hammersmith show is recorded on "This Is Live", "Live In Concert",
"Black Sea Tour '81", "BBC Rock Hour #212", "BBC College Concert #9" &c. &c.
(Hammersmith, 22nd December, 1980). The "It's great to be back in England"
at the end of the Life Begins At The Hop, and the audience singing the start
of Respectable Street are dead giveaways.

If anyone wants a copy of this concert, they're probably best off buying the
legitimate (hence cheapest!) "Live In Concert".

Jon Eva


From: "Burgess, Christopher (msx)" <>
Subject: RE: Puke
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 08:18:23 -0500

>I sure hope that whoever proposed that Vanilla Ice
>cover an XTC song was kidding, retarded, or on drugs!!

Yes, and while we're on the subject, how can anyone
mention Nine Inch Nails and XTC in the same sentence?
Blecch!  Send Trent Reznor back to the "Alice Cooper"


Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 11:34:48 -0500 (EST)
Subject: ambient stuff

All this yackin' 'bout this ambient stuff (from Stuart McDow) makes me
think of a CD I just bought that frankly I do not care for.  It is the
Andy Summers/Robert Fripp album "Bewitched" Is anyone interested in
buying this off me? It would be less expensive than buying it used at
your local used CD store.  I can definitely hear the Andy Summers
guitar in there, but in spite of my fannism of the POLICE, I can not
say I enjoy it.

(Please respond privately)

John Barber


Date: Mon, 06 Nov 1995 08:41:40 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Drums & Wireless (a review)

DRUMS AND WIRELESS -- BBC Radio Sessions 77-89
BBC Enterprises/Nighttracks Records (1994)
  CDNT008 / 5 017644 800823

Tracks:  Opening speech / No Thugs In Our House / Runaways / You're The
Wish (You Are) I Had / Poor Skeleton Steps Out / Crosswires / Seagulls
Screaming Kiss Her, Kiss Her / Real By Reel / Into The Atom Age / Meccanik
Dancing / Ten Feet Tall / Scarecrow People / I'm Bugged / Dance Band /
Jason And The Argonauts / One Of The Millions / Roads Girdle The Globe

Players (in order of appearance):  Andy Partridge (vocals, guitar,
keyboards, zippy zither, drum programming), Colin Moulding (vocals, bass
guitar), Barry Andrews (keyboards), Terry Chambers (drums), Dave Gregory
(guitar, keyboards, vocals, drum programming)

A review (of sorts)
When I got this CD I was hoping for some startling revelations in the form
of re-invented versions of the songs (akin to the acoustic Oranges & Lemons
radio tour).  Instead, I was astonished to discover how faithful these
"live" versions are to the renditions that appear on the original albums --
it is important to note that the recordings follow hot on the heels of the
completion of the respective albums.  Certainly some of the vocal
inflections are different (notably from Partridge), but a cursory listening
isn't sufficient to hear the differences.  And it some of the nifty fills
(like the euphonium on "Seagulls") are replicated on a synthesizer.

A petty gripe:  the songs are not presented in chronological order, so the
flow of the album is rather choppy.  But that's easily repaired with the
"program" button on the disc player, although occasionally the end of one
song is mixed into the next.

But for the good points:  first, it's XTC!  Second, the early songs (up to
and including the Drums and Wires material) are "edgier" ... they are, I
think, preferable to the originals.

Third, the playing is exceptional.  One expects that hurried live
recordings to fall short of the polished, fussed-over studio versions ...
missed notes, slightly off-key vocal harmonies, generally sloppy playing,
and missing details.  That is not the case here.  These are astonishing
replicas of the familiar album recordings.  I am more impressed with XTC's
ability as musicians after hearing this album ... not that I doubted that
they could play, but it takes a great BAND to be able to pull this level of
performance off.  Particularly impressive are the three English Settlement
songs, recorded on a single day in 1982.  You can't record demos in your
attic, diddle about a recording studio for a bit making an album, and then
head down to the local radio station and lay down tracks like this without
Musicianship.  (Note:  the three O&L tracks sound like the album, and bear
little resemblance to the acoustic radio tour versions.)

The recording quality is very good.  Instruments sound as they should, and
there's no evidence of tape hiss.  Certainly it's not as polished as a
studio album, but infinitely superior to assorted bootlegs I've heard.

But is the album worth owning?  Hmmm.  That's a tough question ... I've
forked over the cash to buy it, and have listened quite a bit in the past
week, so my current opinion may be coloured by that.  But as I've stated
above, there aren't any radical insights to be found ... the songs are
presented pretty much as we are familiar with them.  So I'll have to pass
on making a final judgement on the CD -- but at this juncture I rather
doubt it will survive as much more than an interesting appendix to the XTC

And I'd be curious to hear the opinions of other Chalkhills folk who've had
the opportunity to hear the album.

Finally, a question:  "Scissor Man" and "Another Satellite" on Rag & Bone
Buffet are also BBC sessions.  Has XTC made any other BBC recordings,
notably in the wake of Nonsuch?

 "I hate quotations" -- Ralph Waldo Emerson


Date: Sat, 04 Nov 1995 21:20:38 -0500 (CDT)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-22

Anybody who wants to buy my copy of Testimonial Dinner, e-mail me,
and we can play "let's make a deal".

Joe Ierano


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-23

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