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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-55


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 55

                  The End of 1995 Issue
                 Sunday, 31 December 1995

Today's Topics:

   The end is not here...if you heard the Nonsuch demos
                     thou kiddest...
                    Look, "Look, Look"
                       Re: The End
              notating or tabbing XTC songs
                      avalanche/fini
              Christmas Dukes!  Whoopeeeeee!
                       Re: The End
              Yes Virginia there IS an XYC!
                     XTC/John Leckie
                      Ann Arbor XTC
                 XTC Stuff Seen for Sale
                     ends and nonsuch
                         Icehouse
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-54
         P. Blegvad, B. Folds 5, Demos 4, and...
                  What's on Windowbox?!
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-54
                  XTC listed in new book
                     Shudder to Think
                   Change Must Be Earnt

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Another year's gone by, the world's grown older.

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

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 1995 14:28:39 -0800
From: rimshot3@ix.netcom.com (ERIC ROSEN )
Subject: The end is not here...if you heard the Nonsuch demos

>From: HOOKWORM@delphi.com
>Subject: This Is the End
>
> I've been a devoted fan for more years than I want to count, but I really
>think the boys from Swindon should pack it in.  They're long past their
>prime and aging poorly, and another few records like "Nonsuch" could ruin
>what remains a rich and impressive legacy.

Although the album contains some solid tunes (Books, Humble, Bird, That
Wave, Crocodile, Appeared) I too have this nagging feeling that there's
something stale, overripe, pat about Nonsuch.

I would be far more disturbed by this if I hadn't heard the Nonsuch
demos.  Since I have demo/outtake material for nearly all their albums,
I've come to judge their official releases in light of the sessions
rather than the official releases themselves.

Nonsuch could have been 50% longer than it was and quite frankly it
would have been a much better album.  Somehow, some great tunes were
left off and as to why I'm bewildered.  "Goosey, Goosey", "Rocket,"
"Where do all the Ordinary People Go?," "Car Out of Control," "Didn't
Hurt a Bit," & "Down a Peg" would have done much to bring up its GPA
(notice the preponderance of Colin tunes).  Some others that would have
atleast maintained the GPA were "Always Winter, Never Christmas,"
"Goodbye Humanosaurus," "Snowing Angels," and "The Man Who Murdered
Love."

These demos didn't sound stale.  They sounded somewhat maudlin but
inspired nevertheless.  Still looking to cut new swathes.

So, I don't know who makes these decisions.  Maybe Gus Dudgeon is to
blame. :)

>Could this be the same band that whipped itself into a frenzy on the
>recently issued "Black Sea" concert?  Or conjured up the warm, murkey
>pastels of "Mummer"?  Or, even as recently as "Oranes and Lemons," courted
>U.S. airplay without selling out, through the sheer inspiration of their
>songcraft and playing?  Usually when a band makes an album as rotten as
>"Nonsuch," they never realy pick up the pieces aain.

Failure to pick up the pieces again usually involves a refusal to tour.
As was the case with the Beatles.

Part of what made O&L so refreshing and spritely was the acoustic tour
that went with it.  The anticipation of having an audience again did
much to enliven what had the potential to be pop drivel.

So another acoustic radio tour is strongly recommended if that's the
best we can hope for.

>After finishing the book, the only member I had any respect for was Dave
>Gregory, one of the most neglected guitarists in rock history, a player so
>facile in so many idioms and so modest in his desires that by comparison he
>shames Partridge's various genre exeriments and his Hamlet routine,
>respectively.  How Gregory puts up with the two of them is quite beyond me.

Partridge's genre experiments, more than anything else, are what has
made XTC, XTC.  That willingness to try their hands at any style is
what gave them their experimental qualities.  Though pop has been their
long running obsession of late, I don't think this willingness to check
out other styles will ever fade.

Nonsuch was the first recording where they chose not to screw with time
signatures and play straightforwardly.  I, for one, could forego it for
much genre experimentation (howabout funk, guys?) but this was, for
them, a sort of experimentation.

>	I can't help thinking that The Dukes of Stratosphear were both the
>rose and the thorn.  XTC's commercial resurrection can be largely
>attributed to their reinventing themselves as a '60s retro band.

I'd agree that this classic pop bent has gone on longer than it should.
I'd say it got started with Skylarking and has continued thru Nonsuch.
I've enjoyed it thoroughly but it has come at a price.  I miss the more
experimental period of 1980 to 1985 (especially the Beefheartian chord
clashes, the rhythmic slice and dice of ska and reggae).  It was as if
their experiments pulled them along (as if they didn't know where it
would take them) whereas now the pop thing is them pushing it forth (as
if they can point to the bleachers and hit the ball there).

Since all this pop resurrection has failed to gain them pop fortune,
perhaps there's no opportunity cost for them to start experimenting
again.  Afterall, the Beach Boys and Beatles are not formulas to gain
the hearts of the biggest purchasers of CD's i.e. teens and early 20
somethings.

So, maybe orchestration is the way to go.  Give them that excited sense
of discovery which is ageless and hope that it comes thru in their
future recordings.

>First in fun, then in earnest, they took up the studio mantle of The
>Beatles, and

Sometimes people forget just how much guts it takes to assume that
mantle and how much songwriting muscle it takes to come up with stuff
that stands with it proudly.

>since that's come to a dead end ("Earn Enough for Us" devolving into "The
>Loving" devolving into "The Disappointed"), they have nowhere to turn.  The
>band that carved the pop soil out of the hillside, exposing the baroque,
>angular, almost sinister chalk of "English Settlement," well, those guys
>haven't been heard from in some time.

Again, let the demos give you faith.  Also, choice of producer here is
critical.

When Costello released the Juliette letters, he had nowhere to turn for
his next recording and put out Brutal Youth which was his return to
rocker form complete with the Attractions.  I saw that tour and the
tunes were interspersed heavily with This Year's Model and the crowd
responded just as favorably to the new stuff.

If worst came to worst, I'd gladly take XTC recreating BS,ES,BE though
I don't expect it.

Again, judge XTC by sessions and not cannonical recordings.  This makes
their legacy far richer.

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

From: ChrisMezzo@aol.com
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 09:28:50 -0500
Subject: thou kiddest...

>"Oranges and Lemons," on the other hand, I really, really liked for a
long time.  Now I can't listen to it.  Same syndrome: cute, clever, cute,
clever.  Absolutely hideous production.  Ditto for the cover (ack!).
Maybe three or four good songs on there, plus my vote for Worst XTC Song
of All Time: "Chalkhills and Children."  (I'm putting on my asbestos suit
as we speak ;).  I've never been able to listen to this song, for several
reasons: I hate the Beach Boys; songs about how it's great to be boring
are usually boring; the image of Andy floating in the sky makes me think
of a nightmarish Thanksgiving parade balloon; and gratuitous use of the
word "nonesuch.">

Got that suit nice & tight? Suggestion: go listen to some New Kids on the
Block, your ears seem to be turning to mush. I realize the " ;) " but I
couldn't let that go by. "C&C" is without a doubt *my* most favorite XTC
tune, yea verily one of the prettiest, compositionally sophisticated and
provocative pop tunes of all time by ANY artist. (even the - here it comes -
BEATLES!!!!!!, and this from a - get ready - BEATLES!!!!!!!! freak of some 31
years) Wanna know what I think sucks *comparably*? The early stuff like
Radios in Motion and Do What You Do, with Andy half-whining, half-"George is
my friend", unintelligibly!! Poor-man's Police. (not that I *hate* it, but
after hearing O&L, tough to swallow.) Production: You ever produce a record?
This is far from "hideous", borders on masterful. Hideous maybe in your
opinion compared to earlier XTC but in no way in fact.

Dictum: listen again to the (ack) Beach Boys' "Pet Sounds" and some of
"Smiley Smile" like "Wonderful". NOW. You must not like "Pale and Precious"
(yes, Andy's Alliteration) either...I hated the BB too til I started
LISTENING and understanding Brian (reading his pseudo-autobiography helped I
think)

Whew. Not sure if I'm amused or pissed off.....(much but not all of the above
is :-)  )

FACTOID: "Oranges & Lemons" is the title of a Laurel & Hardy short. (for
those who didn't know)

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

From: Meadam@aol.com
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 1995 20:13:25 -0500
Subject: Look, "Look, Look"

Hello Chalkhills,

I noticed that Ruben Blades hosted a bilingual Christmas special for kids on
PBS. Is this the same Ruben who appears on the tribute album? His picture is
in the Dec. 25 Style section of the Wash. Post.

Also, if anyone is in the area of Madrid, Spain, there are about 4 copies of
"Look, Look" for about $25 each at Madrid Rock (Gran Via).

Ben

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

Date:         Tue, 26 Dec 95 12:50:53 EST
From: "John M. Chamberlain" <JC7704A@american.edu>
Organization: The American University
Subject:      Re: The End

In much of this talk on J.R. Jones' prophecy of doom,
I keep seeing O's & L's and Nonesuch mentioned as two sides of a coin.
Am I the only one out there who thought that O's and L's was The End, only
to breathe a huge sigh of relief on the first listen of Nonesuch?..who
thought that O's and L's tried to make up for a lull in songwriting
inventiveness by overdone production and forced "energy"?  That Nonesuch is
a much better written and more organically produced album (drums especially
sound better)?  Or are my tastes, like the other handful of Big Express
fanatics, off the beaten track?  Like many of y'all, I'd like to see a
little more bite in the boys, and I think the backing vocals on the past two
records are a bit out of hand, but I'd rather hear a mellow masterpiece like
"Wrapped in Grey" or the semi-laid back "That Wave" than the bluster of
"President Kill" or "Merely a Man."
     Hey--I just got ATD as a Secular Humanist Day (Dec. 25) gift--anyone
got any info/opinions on P. Hux?  Or am I too late for that discussion?  jc

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

From: vancha@microcity.com
Subject: notating or tabbing XTC songs
Organization: Micro City Systems
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 15:30:08 EST

Recently, there has been some need expressed to find XTC songs for
guitar or bass which are not readily available commercially. A couple of
people have approached me through Chalkhills and the Internet to write
XTC songs out for them. I teach guitar and have taught numerous songs to
students in the past and I've learned XTC songs to play in cover bands I
was in years ago.

The best and easiest way, I have found to learn the Xtc stuff, which is
significantly more complex than most rock guitar is to have the tab and
a slowed down version of the song on a cassette tape which I can record.
This is even easier than notation for those who read.

If you have any interest in having any XTC songs or any others written
out for you, please get in touch with me.

Sincerely,

Mike Vancha

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

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 18:30:02 EST
From: Jeff Rosedale <rosedale@columbia.edu>
Subject: avalanche/fini

Great bait.  If I didn't want to bite I wouldn't belong on the list.

OK, I'm in the camp that believes Nonsuch is subpar.  The word
DERIVATIVE absolutely flew off the screen and stuck to my forehead.
Now maybe it's the evil of restrictive recording contracts that force
creative people into square pegs spaced perfectly one year apart
causing the alchemist to degrade the quality of the gold.  But I have
not heard any of the new demos, and I did like the "Hello" selections
>from Andy quite a lot.  Andy being derivative of Andy still finds a way
to please.  Same goes for Stan Ridgway and Elvis Costello- in fact
those guys may be producing some of their best work right now!  (If you
have doubts, the August preview shows from Elvis were stunning, and
Stan's release with Drywall is a must- has anyone heard Black Diamond
yet?????).  Maybe XTC has reached the end of the line, and we'll all
have three solo careers to keep us poor and busy.  Perhaps not so
tragic, seeing as they will probably never play live again.  Yes, if
they release another one I'll buy it, I've got that mindless product
loyalty that makes me look at new Chevies just because of my deeply
soft spot for the old Corvairs.  Go figure.

PS for those Dave G fans, remember that he said of the latest demos
that they were some of the best songs Andy has ever written.  He seems
to know his music...
				--Jeff

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

From: joel-virge@genie.com
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 95 00:04:00 UTC 0000
Subject: Christmas Dukes!  Whoopeeeeee!

Hello again --

    I love Christmas!  This year's special gift was a CD by an
    obscure group of musicians called The Dukes of Stratosphear.

My friend, Holly, went to our local record store (The Wherehouse) and
ordered their album, "Psonic Psunspot," and recieved, instead, "Chips
>From the Chocolate Fireball."  This is a very good thing, considering
that she got "Chips..." for $10.  Again, this is a very good thing.

        I had never heard any of the songs on the CD, although I have
        "Testimonial Dinner" and am, consequently, familiar with "25
        O'Clock."

    I can, now, confidently say that I know what you guys have been
    talking about.  I understand the references to Woody Allen; I can
    see why there's some confusion as to who sings what;  I know what
    all this "Red Curtain" stuff is about; and, most of all, I now
    know why you've all been raving about the Dukes.

Some of these songs are among XTC's best.  I absolutely adore "Bike
Ride to the Moon."  I haven't noticed a similar sense of playfulness
since "Drums and Wires."  The opening riff of "Vanishing Girl" is
perfection.  "Your Gold Dress" is the best T.Rex impression I've
every heard (I think it's T.Rex I'm hearing).  "Pale and Precious" is
absolutely hilarious for its derivativeness and wonderful for its
craftsmanship.

        Is the fourth guy in the photos John Leckie?

            Most of all, it's got a great beat and I can dance to it.

                    More Content Than Most,

                                ---
                                 |diot
                                ---

N.P.  "The Mole From the Ministry"

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

Date: Tue, 26 Dec 95 20:35 CST
From: Russ Omens <psychro@wwa.com>
Subject: Re: The End

I'd like to add to what I feel is the most interesting thread I've seen on
the list. Mostly I lurk, de-cloaking now and then. While I admire the
dedication to the band and their works, sometimes the list gets a trifle
mundane.  This isn't anyone's fault it's just that we are talking about a
band that neither records nor tours and so what else can we do but wait for
a new release to judge whether they still "have it" or not. The gap between
albums has had a deletorious effect on fans and the band alike. I for one
have enjoyed every release except NONSVCH, which was a huge dissapointment
following the spectacular O&L. I'm surprized by how many of you seem to like
it; I'm glad you do.  The point is that as XTC is not allowed to grow and
progress (due to non-tours and label woes), we too cannot progress and grow.
I need new material, and we, as a list, need to take a more proactive stance
to help the men from Swindon. What can we do to facilitate and speed the
process? That is what I suggest we mull over. I'm tired of waiting, let's do
something. (A new years resolution?) What do y'all think.
Russ Omens

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

From: Ewalther@eworld.com
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 1995 20:21:25 -0800
Subject: Yes Virginia there IS an XYC!

Not running on slow coal - new ES in a stocking with an R&B Pudding for
dessert!!  (washed down with a dressing of J.S. Bach & a main course of
Captain Beefheart)

Feeling a tad off about all the bad vibes here lately ie, 'The End' and
Nonsvch threads.  Lighten up folks!  It's only a band (albeit none better).
James D. summed it up most eloquently last issue.  We all have our faves;
the songs that MEAN something , the melodies we remember - Psonic Psunspots
all!  Knuckle down boys (&grls).

1,2,3,4,5,  Overtime in the New Year for all!!
Erich W.

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

Subject: XTC/John Leckie
From: wwilson@mail07.mitre.org (Wesley H. Wilson)
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 95 08:26:11 -0500

What *is* going on with XTC these days, anyway?

This is the story as I know it: the band is still in litigation with
EMI/Virgin Records, and this prevents Andy, Dave, and Colin from recording
as XTC. Apparently, Nonsuch was the last contractual obligation album for
EMI/Virgin. But...some clause that EMI Virgin put in their contract
prevents Andy from recording for another label.

Andy and Colin have songs (and, I presume) demos written and recorded on
home equipment. Andy talks about the songs in the latest issue of The
Little Express.

Any word as to whether a label is interested in them? I'd love to see them
go with Ryko or Indolent.

Three plus years is an eternity to wait for a new album, whether it be
studio perfection or not. Maybe John Leckie should produce them again. I
like the job he did with The Fall's "This Nation's Saving Grace" album.

Wes

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

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 95 13:12:39 EST
From: "John Christensen" <christej@vrinet.com>
Subject: Ann Arbor XTC

XTC fan (and wannabe drummer) seeks fellow southeast Michigan "children
of the chalk" for some Swindon jamming and perhaps a little SKYLACKING.
Passion for XTC valued over musical ability! I am most anxious to Burn
with Optimisms Flames ... anyone have the charts/tabs?

Please e-mail me privately if interested. Commuters welcome.  Free
houseplant to anyone who brings an actual XTC member (except Barry
Andrews).

Jasper

Natalie J: You're on the list already.
Mike S: I know you're lurking!

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

From: JakeKristy@aol.com
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 14:56:13 -0500
Subject: XTC Stuff Seen for Sale

Hello, Hill Hounds.

Here we begin installment one of my new regular feature: "XTC Stuff Seen
for Sale."  No great mystery here, I just make a note of the Fab Three fare
I find in the latest issue of Goldmine magazine.

I can't remember the last time I found a Goldmine product that was a "must
have" for me.  (Ug, have I been collecting for too long?).  So I will pass
along all the leads that I find.  Fair enough?

If this seems an objectionable flavor to many Chalkhills citizens, I will
stop the process with this first installment.

I decided to try this because I have noticed so many Chalkhillians who have
been listening and gathering for only a year or two--hard to image.  Heck,
I don't need these gems, so maybe someone else does.

This is a semi-public service only, with no claims made for the accuracy of
my typing or the veracity of the ads.

And now, on with our show.

>From the January 5, 1996, issue of Goldmine:
+ Nonsuch (UK 17-trk double vinyl LP, new & unplayed, p/s V2699) US$15; page
7; Esprit Records UK; e-mail "1000307.3627@compuserve.com"
+ Making Plans for Nigel, promo 7" 45, US PS DJ M/S VG++ VA67009, US$5; page
41; Yesterday & Today Records, phone 301-279-7007
+ Senses Working + 2 (w/open out sleeve 7") UK Virgin/Ltd Pack VS462 VG/NM
US$20; page 163; Dixon Music, dixmus@aol.com
+ Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead Parts 1 and 2 Import CD Single US$10; page 159;
Time Traveler CDs, phone 216-923-4408 or 800-348-6521
+ Skylarking Interview 1986, Record Co., 1 LP, M&I US$40; page 157; The Old
Hippie, phone 913-749-9315
+ Nonsuch 40"x60" promo poster US$8; page 158; Smogtown Records, phone
818-358-8878
+ 3D EP UK 12" US$10;
  Ball and Chain UK/Ltd. Ed./3 Tracks 10: US$15;
  BBC Radio 1 Live in Concert UK CD US$25;
  Go 2 LP US$10;
  Great Fire UK/PS 7" US$15;
  Live Rockplast - German TV 84 English Settlement Tour Video US$15;
  Oranges and Lemons Three 3" CD Singles in Card Deck Size Box US$20;
  Play at Home 1985 BBC TV Special Video US$15;
  Ballad of Peter UK CD Single US$11;
  Ballad Promo Single w/Edits US$5;
  The Big Express LP Lyrics on Inner Sleeve US$5;
  The Difappointed UK CD Single US$11;
  This Is Pop UK 7" PS US$15;
  Towers of London + 3 Two 7" US$15; page 125; B-Bop Records, e-mail
"BBopShop@aol.com"
+ Mummer CD 16 Tracks Japanese Virgin 28111 US$25; page 123, Larry's Records,
phone 800-551-9070
+ Senses Working Overtime Canada 3-song ltd. ed. 12" Virgin USX1138, NM/NM
US$10; page 96; Michael Nelson, phone 817-355-1474
+ Shriekback CD "Psycho"/"Cayenne" live US$8
  XTC "Barnum" CD DJ US$8
  XTC w/VA "PostModern" CD DJ US$12; page 90; Ellis Audiotics, phone
718-622-0923
+ Making Plans for Nigel/This Is Pop 7" Virgin VIP2792 Japan US$30; page 86;
Soundwaves, phone 206-877-0755
+ Mayor of Simpleton + 3 Virgin VSCD1158 UK issue 3"CD, 3 demos US$15
  Mummer Virgin VIL6042 Japanese LP, sample sticker WLP US$35; page 45;
Amoeba Music, phone 510-549-2340
+ A Testimonial Dinner CD US$15; page 191; Music Machine, e-mail
"musicmac@aol.com"

That's all, folkies.  Have fun.

:x) :t| :c(

    [ You might consider maintaining this list as a Web page.  -- John ]

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

Date: Wed, 27 Dec 1995 16:51:50 -0600 (CST)
From: "Jeffrey with 2 f's Jeffrey" <jenor@csd.uwm.edu>
Subject: ends and nonsuch

Well, this debate has accomplished at least one thing: spurring me on to
put on _Nonsuch_ again and listen closely (as opposed to having it on
while i read or type pointless messages via the internet).

I don't know--in many ways, _Nonsuch_ still impresses me: the quality of
the arranging, lyrics, music, etc. I rather think one of the problems
might be that it's just too long--the deeper the music the further the
mileage. My suggestion: try breaking it up into two halves (not
necessarily in the order it's programmed), and see what you think. Mix up
the slower/softer and more spritely tunes. It's not their best,
agreed--but I think it's a bit soon to say "this world over."

--Jeff

Jeffrey Norman                        "[clever or pithy quote from someplace]"
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Dept. of English & Comp. Lit.                             --[source of quote]
e-mail: jenor@csd.uwm.edu

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

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 1995 15:33:18 +0100
From: sellheim@zfn.uni-bremen.de (Erich Sellheim)
Subject: Icehouse

Hello everyone,

just wanted to tell you that Australian band Icehouse joined up with
singer Ivy Davies (I'm not quite sure about the name) on their new album
which I think is called "The Berlin Tapes" and which is a collection of
cover versions one of which is a song originally recorded by XTC!
Up to now, I don't know which song it is, but I will surely order a copy
of the album. I also wonder if Terry Chambers has anything to do with it,
as I think he drummed on the first Icehouse album.
Hope this is of interest,happy New Year to all of you and best wishes,

Erich

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

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 00:08:13 -0500 (EST)
From: Natalie Jane Jacobs <gnat@umich.edu>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-54

Oh, you kids - I leave for a week and you're still bickering... :)
Seriously, though, it's nice to be back from my trip to California, where
the only XTC-related thing I encountered was a partridge I saw in the San
Diego Zoo.

Well, this is probably my last message of the year, so I just wanted to
wish you all happy holidays, and to say that you lot are some of the most
articulate, polite, and intelligent music fans I've ever encountered.
XTC truly has a fanbase worthy of them.  See you next year.

Natalie Jacobs
**************
"Gods by the bushel!  Gods by the pound!"

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

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 00:30:39 -0600
From: jh3@cencom.net (JH3)
Subject: P. Blegvad, B. Folds 5, Demos 4, and...

Just a few things.

I just obtained the new Peter Blegvad CD. "Hell's Despite", the Andy P.
collaboration tune, sounds like it was probably an old "King Strut" outtake
that ol' Pete threw on to convince XTC completists like myself to buy the
record. Frankly I didn't like "King Strut" much, except of course for the
Andy appearances... "Naked Shakespeare" was better, but this disc, "Just
Woke Up", is easily the best thing Blegvad has done since he started his
solo career with the "Karen" single. I think the title cut is the best
non-XTC-collaborated song he's ever recorded. (And yes, the track listing
seems to be fairly well messed up.)

I also got the Ben Folds Five CD recently. I'm guessing that this record
has completely flopped, since I got it used for a mere $2. The cover art is
terrible, and the concept of a piano-bass-drums 3-piece probably scares a
lot of people off. Nevertheless, this is a fine record, and quite XTC-ish
in many ways--mostly in terms of chords and progressions rather than style
and instrumentation, but the similarity is definitely there. It also
reminds me of Joe Jackson somewhat, only with more energy. If I'd known how
good it was I'd have bought it at full price when it came out...

And last but certainly not least, "Demos 4". A few of you referred to the
three drunken covers at the end of this CD as "perhaps best forgotten" and
"embarrassing." Why? They're a scream! And the recording quality isn't all
that bad, either. As for the Helium Kidz tracks, I think these were
distributed for a while in the mid-80's as bootleg cassettes by Helium Kid
guitarist Dave Cartner. (I have one, but there are three tracks on mine
that aren't on the CD for some reason.)

Finally, this whole business of people recommending that XTC "pack it in"
is ludicrous. How anybody can compare XTC's situation to that of geriatric
cases like the Stones is completely beyond me. I shouldn't deign to speak
for anyone other than myself, but I know there's a loose cadre of XTC fans
out there, such as myself, who believe very strongly that there is simply
no such thing as a "bad XTC song." The very concept is impossible for us to
imagine. I would rather hear the roughest XTC demos and b-sides in
existence (yes, even "Cockpit Dance Mixture") than 99.99% of whatever else
is out there, including Messrs. Blegvad, Folds, etc. I only listen to other
stuff because, well, too much of a good thing...

Anyway, I would encourage anyone who's been disappointed by XTC's recent
work in relation to their earlier stuff to just remember who we're talking
about here, and to maybe think of it in relation to other people's stuff
instead. XTC could put out a record with a drastic drop in quality that
would still be better than anything Blur, Oasis, or the Beatles or the
Stones could ever dream of producing, even if they all got together and
spent the rest of their lives trying to get it just right. (And these are
good bands, too.)

Suggesting that XTC "quit while they're ahead" or "exit gracefully" is
similar to the mindset that your favorite (cult) band can't have a hit
record because it would "spoil" them, or that certain unsophisticated
people (i.e., kids) shouldn't be told about them because they can't
appreciate them "properly." Nonsense!

Bear with me here. XTC _deserves_ to sell zillions of records, and
_deserves_ to be adored by screaming teenage girls at their (non-existent)
appearances. Just because they themselves don't necessarily want this to
happen doesn't mean it shouldn't happen. And sure, all of that might spoil
them, but I'd rather they were spoiled by success than led into quitting
out of discouragement and frustration, especially at the hands of their own
fans.

Blah, blah, blah.

-- John Hedges
   Still looking for "Rip Van Ruben"

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

From: JakeKristy@aol.com
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 11:24:05 -0500
Subject: What's on Windowbox?!

Hello, all.

Can anyone tell me the track listing of the Windowbox cassette?
Confession: I've never owned a copy.

Egg and redness are on my face because someone assumed I had a
complete collection then asked me what is on the Windowbox tape.

I'm betting that I have a copy of all of the songs on Windowbox, but I
don't know what they are.

Can someone tell me what's on Windowbox?

Thanks,
XTOTX

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

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 1995 18:12:06 -0600 (CST)
From: Greg Singer <gregs@bitstream.net>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-54

Howdy Chalkhillians:

I'm flabbergasted by all of the negative talk I've been hearing. "I don't
like O&L, I don't like Nunsvch, The boys are past their prime."

My response goes something like this.

        1. (as we all know) these are just your OPINIONS. (as these are mine)
        2. If you don't like them, you can choose not to listen to them.
        3. Maybe it's you and not the songs. (I think AP, CM & DG have
grown, learned and matured throughout their ~18 years, It only makes sense
that their music has also. I heard when Nonsvch was being recorded, their
was an album's worth of material written, but the "humans of little taste"
at the record companies rejected that material. This happened twice. So,
there were three albums. I think it's silly not to expect XTC to change
their sound and style after three albums. Isn't that what makes XTC GREAT
anyway. Name two albums that are the same, or even similar. It's their
intelligence, introspection and creativity that we love that comes out in
the changing  styles of their music. XTC wouldn't be XTC if they didn't
change and evolve!
        4. Yeah, I didn't like/love every song the first time I heard them.
I urge you to listen and re-listen to this music. Some of it is very
complicated, that's why several listening are necessary. Listen many times
to understand the music, its theory and its progression.
        5. If you'r listening ONLY for the music... LET THE LYRICS
PULL YOU IN!
        I've been listening to XTC for a long time, and they've done things
for me and my life that I never thought music could do  :^)

Peace,

Greg s
... prevention is better than cure, bad apples affecting the pure...

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

From: vertigo@well.com (Giancarlo Cairella)
Subject: XTC listed in new book
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 02:16:53 GMT

There's a new book out, titled "Cult Rockers" by Wayne Jancik and Tad
Lathrop.  It's a guide to "150 of the most controversial, distinctive,
offbeat, intriguing, outrageous and championed rock musicians of all time"
(as stated on the cover).

One of the featured band is XTC, with a two-and-a-half pages long
chapter. The text isn't 100% accurate (their hometown is listed as
"Swinton") and the emphasis is put only on XTC's later output
("Skylarking", "Oranges and Lemons" etc.) but the reviewer obviously
appreciates the band and there are a couple of snippets from Andy
Partridge's interviews.

The book (about 350 pages) is published by Fireside Books (a division of
Simon and Schuster) and costs $14.00. It's aimed at "beginners", but it's a
good introduction to alternative/new wave rock bands. I liked it better
than the recent (and horrible) "Guide to Alternative Records" published by
Spin.

Ciao,
GC

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

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 1995 23:21:42 -1000
From: motherwest@InfoHouse.com (Michael)
Subject: Shudder to Think

Hello All,

I'm listening to my roommate's CD of Pony Express Record by Shudder to
Think. There's no cover with it and he knows nothing about them.  I find
this to be quite challenging but oddly rewarding in an XTC kind of way. Can
anybody tell me anything about them?

Michael.

motherwest@infohouse.com
  http://www.please.com

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

Date: Sun, 31 Dec 1995 15:16:27 -0800
From: relph (John Relph)
Subject: Change Must Be Earnt

Burn up the old...

The last message of 1995, addressing issues from a few recent issues
of the Chalkhills mailing list.

John Morrish <morrish@dircon.co.uk> writes:
>
>God/Non-God: I think Partridge is a Zen Buddhist, although he probably
>doesn't think about it in those terms. Zen embraces spirituality, reverence
>for creation, and a belief in the meaning of existence, without requiring
>the presence of a personal God, creator and judge.

Well put.  But then again, Zen seems to encompass a large area of what
is being called "secular humanism".

ISKSA@aol.com asks:
>
>    Can anyone tell me the real meaning of the song "Real by Reel"?  I don't
>have the lyrics with me.....

This seems to be a simple song decrying the fact that everything you
do is being watched and tracked.  When you use your credit card, get
your paycheck, pay your bills, there's a record.  When you go to the
liquor store, the department store, the bank, you're on video.  When
you get your driver license, they get your fingerprints.

In a way, it's another echo of George Orwell's _1984_.

    In this secret time, invading on our privacy
    Unknowing we mime, we play for the ministry

    Real by reel
    Busy little bees recording everything you feel
    On real by reel
    Documented down like rats

The last verse is a twisted section of The Lord's Prayer or something:

    Now I lay me down to sleep
    Knowing that your lenses peep
    Now I eat my daily bread
    And into the tape spool I'll be fed

Instead of giving thanks to the Is, our protagonist can rest easy
knowing his every move is being taped.  He is being saved, perhaps not
his soul, but at least his image.

mmoffatt@mustang.uwo.ca (Mike P. Moffatt <Asmodeus the Evil>) quips:
>
>> I was reading Brit music magazine "Select" today and they had an
>> interview with Edwyn Collins (who he?) in which he said that Blur would
>> never make it in the US because "No-one ever made it in America sounding
>> like a second-rate XTC."
>
>R.E.M.'s made a great career of it! :)

Actually, I think the writer in _Select_ meant a *British* artist!

richard.pedrettiallen@octel.com writes:
>
>  I mentioned a few postings back about radio station KFJC playing an XTC
>  special a few years back.  In reviewing these tapes I found a recording
>  of Andy offering twisted advice for the lovelorn, puzzled and emotionally
>  torqued under the moniker of "Agony Andy."

Yeah, those "Agony Andy" appearences are amusing once or twice.  But
they have been mentioned in these bits before.  Check out Issue No. 94
and a few subsequent issues.

>  I could transcribe a bit every once in a while if the masses are
>  interested.

Sure!  Send in some quotes.  Definitely worth a laugh.

Jim <ZITTEL@aol.com> queries:
>
>As mentioned before, Andy co-wrote a song on the new Peter Blegvad CD called
>'Just Woke Up' the song 'Waste Of Time' is listed as track 6 but is actually
>track 13. Are all the copies like this?

Yes.  The correct track order is listed in the Peter Blegvad
discography (http://reality.sgi.com/employees/relph/music/blegvad.peter).

> We need to talk Dave into letting us hear some more
>of his song forgeries.

Yes, I asked him about that when I saw him with Aimee Mann in San
Francisco.  I told him we all loved the Hendrix cover and "Strawberry
Fields", but he seemed embarrassed by the idea.  I'm all for it, myself!

>Perhaps the CD I had the most trouble tracking down is the Affaire Louis Trio
>CD 'L'homme aux Mille vies'.

Yes, I'm still looking for that CD.  Anybody know where I can find a copy?

BugRoom@aol.com points out this:
>
>Just spoke to Ian.  SKYLACKING is still in the works and is still
>in need of some tracks.  Everyone get your studios, jamboxes,
>and Steam-Victrolas out

That's right!  If you've always wanted to cover an XTC song (and then
be ridiculed in front of your XTC-loving peers for it), now's your
chance!  Check out the new _Skylacking_ page on the Chalkhills Web Site!
(http://reality.sgi.com/employees/relph/chalkhills/skylacking.html)

Okay, so I suppose it's time for us to compile our Best of 1995
lists...

	-- John

                                        ...Ring in the new

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

End of Chalkhills Digest #2-55
******************************

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