Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-77

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 77

               Wednesday, 28 February 1996

Today's Topics:

                  An artist in action...
                   Swindon: just don't.
            Interpretation on Interpretations
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-76
                    Brain-dead morons
                      Guernica Story
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-76
                 XTC's soporific effects
          Last few days for Desert Island Discs
                   Tribute Tape Update
                  Was I Misinterpreted?
           getting the trivial out of my system
                       Romantic XTC
             Andy marches to his own drummer.
                  Re: Skylarking concept
                   academic discussion
                 FS: King For a Day 3" CD
                     Clearing the air
                   Tribute Tape Update
               Groundbreaking Right-Wingers


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

All of Paris giggles with flags.


Date: Mon, 26 Feb 1996 20:02:02 -0500 (EST)
From: SPORTO <>
Subject: An artist in action...

Anthony Ciarochi,

	Re: Guernica/Madam Barnum

	I absolutely LOVE your sarcasm. I also do enjoy the lively
debate about different song meanings & interpretations here on
Chalkhills. I hope they continue, especially if you keep up with your

	Entertained and smilin',

  "Ignorance is not a simple and passive lack of knowledge, but it is an
   active stance; it is the refusal to accept knowledge, a reluctance to
   possess it; it is rejection."
					Ryszard Kapuscinski - Imperium


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 04:06:21 +0000 (GMT)
From: William HamBevan <>
Subject: Swindon: just don't.

Some people from the States have intimated that they might want to visit
Swindon to see firsthand the sort of background our boys hail from.
Hmm... REM once sang 'Don't go back to Rockville'; I'd be inclined to sing
'Never ever ever bloody ever go to Swindon'.

The place is renowned throughout Britain as a city planner's equivalent
of Lou Reed's 'Metal Machine Music'. There is absolutely nothing to
redeem the place. The wonder seems to be that people live there at all,
given that everyone I know who has lived there expresses a violent
loathing for the place (and I've met a fair few, Oxford being only about
35 miles away). The best thing about the town is its bypass. And, by God,
if you dare leave the bypass, you get sucked into a traffic control
system that ensures that you will never be seen in the civilised world

Indeed, the most well known landmark in Swindon is a complex of traffic
roundabouts: it consists of one whopper of a roundabout surrounded by
five baby ones. If you encounter it ill-prepared, you can expect to
travel in neat geometrical patterns for at least half an hour, without
displacing yourself more than 300 yards from your starting point.

I'm convinced that there is more than a nod and a wink to this monstrosity
in 'English Roundabout' - anyone who knows the place want to enlarge on this?

I'm surprised that this Thatcher business is getting so much attention
(and I have to admit to having been very drunk when posting the last
comment, although the general sentiment stands). She was on the TV this
evening, and looked like she had been dug up for the occasion (a speech
in the House of Lords). Wonder who'll cork it first - her or Bush?

One other thing - can anyone who has Frank Zappa's 'We're Only In It For
The Money' explain to me what 'pooting' means? Or 'numies' for that
matter. I assume this is US scatological slang.

adios amoebas

William Ham Bevan
Jesus College, Oxford


From: Benjamin Woll <>
Subject: Interpretation on Interpretations
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 00:34:20 -0500 (EST)

	I enjoyed reading Anthony's episode about not being able to see
the forest through all the trees in the last issue of Chalkhills, but I
believe that seeing Another Satellite as just a metaphor for an unwanted
affair, or reading Dear Madum Barnum as only a political songs cheats the
art that is interpretation.

	Andy way very well have written Another Satellite as a love song.
His intentions might be perfectly clear, and he might cry out to his dying
breath that reading anything else into it is foolhardy, but to be frank, I
do not give a damn.  Once the strings in 1000 Umbrellas or the jazzy
sophistication of I Remember The Sun ooze out of my speakers and into my
room they belong to me and anyone else who finds these songs rewarding
listening.  They take on meanings completely independant of what Andy or
Colin might have intended, and that is wonderful.  Art that can take on a
life of its own, music that is rich enough to be appreciated in many
different ways (even some which might be conventionally regarded as wrong)
is great music.

	Saying that Ladybird is about bologna sandwiches might be
ridiculous, but before I knew what I bought Myself a Liarbird was "really"
about it reminded me of a parakeet in my neighboors kitchen which would
not shut up when it was sunny outside, and for me that image brings more
to a head, is more fulfilling than analyzing the complexity of XTC's
relationship with Ian Reid and Allydor.  So I listen to the song, and
think of the parakeet, and damn the manager!

	I guess I'm trying to say two things.  First, music does not
belong to the artist.  He may have copyrights, she may get loyalties, but
it should be a conversation - an exciting conversation - between the
artist and the critic, or the artist and his audience.  Divergent, even
risky and wacky points of view should be brought to the floor.  With no
element of danger, there is no chance for glory.  Second, criticism, even
though most of us cannot stand it, is every bit the art music is.
Seeing and expressing the nuances, values, and meaning in a work is as
important as the creation act itself.  Art is a two way process, and if
artists cannot deal with that fact, they should get out of the business.
Oh, and by the way, I hope to write in the next issue of Chalkhills the
rationalization behind my belief that Life Begins at the Hop is about the
common ground Jesus, Buddha, and Moses all share.  Cheers, Ben


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:03:31 +0000
From: Iain Clowery <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-76

>> And speaking of stories (as in Morning Glory), I'll take
>>Oasis over Blur any day of the week... sure Noel's an arrogant bastard,
>>and wears his influences on his sleeve, but it all works... there's
>>nothing precious about them... you can tell alot about a band based on
>>it's audience... that said, anyone care to check out the juvenalia on Blur??

This statement belies the fact that most of a bands audience is obtained by
the preconsidered targeting of the marketing men in the bands record
company, much to many bands regret as they mature in years. When a band is
tender in years just getting a record contract is enough, but when they have
'made it' the acquired teenybopper audience becomes a millstone around their
neck. An example of this is 'take that' who once the members of the band
tire of the adulation of a teenage audience realise they have no option but
to split. I believe that both Blur and Oasis are both excellent bands but
you have to ignore the marketing hype dreamt up by their respective record
companies (especially the ridiculous sales competion organised in early 95).
I only hope that they both have the tenacity to foil the ploys of the record
company and avoid becoming mainstream teenybopper bands.
>Iain Clowery                                     Tel: +44 (0)1223 423355
>                         Fax: +44 (0)1223 420724


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:21:34 +0000 (GMT)
From: Kevin Donnelly <>
Subject: Politics

In the latest issue of the Blur mag "Blurb" (which is my sister's copy,
not mine, thankfully), it says that Andy recorded some material with Blur
for Modern Life is Rubbish, but for one reason or another, it was all
shelved. I wonder why.
BTW, it is true that Brits slag off the govt. This is because since 1990
we have had the _worst_ govt in living memory, who miraculously (it
seemed at the time) won an election and proceeded to screw the place up
still further (ERM, health cuts, educ. cuts, VAT on fuel, tax rises,
privatisation and the rest and now the Arms to Iraq farce) and we all
hate them. It doesn't make us feel any better to have such a dreadful
govt, it makes us feel terrible, and complaining is a valid way of
expressing this as is voting them out, which we will surely do at the
next election.
See Oasis sucking up to Tony Blair at the Brits? Makes you sick, doesn't it?



Date:          Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:26:42 GMT
Subject:       Brain-dead morons

Big Earl said about the British Government:
> war, the harrasment in N. Ireland, etc., it simply saves the Brits a lot
> of time to just call them a bunch of brain-dead morons and nod in
> agreement. (Any actual Brits beg to differ?)

I shake my head at that.  They aren't brain-dead morons.  They are a
bunch of people doing a very hard job very badly.  They are a bunch
of rotters with not a shred of compassion between them.  They don't
care about anything but image, but then it's probably not their
fault; just products of the mould that is their job.  I'm sure that
they are forced to lie to the house, trade arms to Iraq at the time
of the Gulf War, have affairs amid a 'back to basics' campaign about
the family, send their children to an 'opted out' school when the
party manifesto is against it, and I could go on...

Poor bastards, that's what I say (excuse my French.)

XTC have written a few overtly anti-britain behaiviour songs (not
including the (im)possibility of Dear Madam Barnam) namely: New Town
Animal, Desert Island and I'm sure that there are more but I can't
think of them off-hand.

Someone once said that the desire to be a politician should
automatically preclude from doing the job.

Dames TWD (UK resident for 25 years and severly pissed off with

(Life is good in the greenhouse:XTC)
(You told me you saw Jesus, but I could only see a tree: Amber)


Date:          Tue, 27 Feb 1996 10:34:43 GMT
Subject:       Guernica Story

Ha, ha! :-)  That was very funny and poignant.  Whether over-analysis
is going on or not, it is good fun. ;-)


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 09:37:13 -0500 (EST)
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-76

Whats the current word on the next Xtc release? Anybody? And is there a
way to hear or get existing tracks as of now. Somebody mentioned on a
previuos Chalkhills (the one about mellowing rock musicians and mellow
music vs. earlier angry stuff) something about hearing the newest
Partridge composition (the name of which escapes me now) How would
someone go about hearing such a thing?



Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 10:12 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <>
Subject: Imperialist?

From: Big Earl Sellar <>
>The basis of the argument in LTAC is a good example: every person I've
>ever met thinks that the US government's policies on Cuba are out-dated,
>moronic, and badly in need of revision. Cuba is about as much a threat to
>the security of the American populace as Grenada was. What Cuba needs is
>international aid, especially in terms of education and practical aid (as
>opposed to monetary aid), not a boycott because of their idealogical bent.

I suppose then I'm the first person you've "met" that disagrees with you.
Your sort of idealistic policies are why people like Castro, Saddam Hussein,
Mao, and Stalin stick around for years sucking from and murdering their own
people.  Oh, the Cuban government is so good, they just need a little
education to make them understand that shooting down civilian airplanes is
bad.  Tsk tsk.  Let's just send them some love and it'll solve everything.

What is interesting is how even a right wing "moron" like myself can
appreciate XTC and understand their liberal views.  Who's more open-minded
here -- the knee jerk conservative or the idealistic liberal who wears
blinders to reality?

Jeff L.


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 10:20 EST
From: Jeffrey Langr <>
Subject: History

Big Sellar wrote:
BS>The Cuban Missle Crisis almost caused a nuclear war, not because of the
BS>threat to US security, but because the very thought of "powerful Commies"
BS>(despite that at the time Havana didn't have the electrical resources to
BS>launch the missles)  were so damn close.

Gee, has someone forgetten what Soviet doctrine and the concept of
satellite nations is all about?

BS>And if you don't believe me, ask any non-american what they think of the
BS>yankee tourist. Ghia, you hear some *great* stories! :)

It always amazes me every time I hear this bit -- your sort is elitist
and so much better than all of us idiot Americans, but nevertheless always
glad to take those American tourist and aid dollars.  Hypocrites.

Jeff L.


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 11:03:37 -0500 (EST)
From: Natalie Jane Jacobs <>
Subject: XTC's soporific effects

My friends' 1-year-old daughter, Gwynneth, is a fussy baby.  She hates
going to sleep especially, and cries a lot and makes a big deal out of it.
And yet, somehow, every damn time, the chorus from "Senses Working
Overtime" will get her to stop crying.  Even when her mother sings it
horribly out-of-tune, it works.  Gwynneth also likes "Towers of London,"
though is indifferent to Elvis Costello and the Pogues.

I just have this strange feeling that someday she's going to listen to
"English Settlement" and wonder why that one song sounds so familiar...

Natalie Jacobs
"Are we not proof that the universe is a drooling
idiot with no fashion sense?"	- Mr. Nobody


From: Ben Gott <>
Subject: Contest?
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 11:50:00 est

Hi Chalkies:

In a desperate attempt on my part to get e-mail (and to expand my XTC
collection), I'm starting a neat new contest. Here it is:

Anyone and everyone - e-mail me with your most unusual XTC items for trade
(tapes, CDs, a lock of Andy's hair, etc.) I'll compile the entries, and, on
Monday, announce the winner, who will receive *a copy of Andy's new demos*,
and possibly other things (if they fit on the tape.)

The only reason I'm limiting this to one person (or possibly two, if there's
a tie) is because I have no money :-)

As well as a trade, also include in your e-mail "Why I Love XTC." If I get
enough responses, I'll post 'em on my web page (and maybe John will too!)

Push those pedals.


XTC SONG OF THE DAY: Living in a Haunted Heart


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 13:35:58 -0500
From: (Chris Van Valen)
Subject: Last few days for Desert Island Discs

Hi all

If any of you are planning to send me your votes for the ultimate Desert
Island Discs (3 only please!), please e-mail me by this Friday (3/1).


If you have an unpleasant nature and dislike people
this is no obstacle to work.
                                --J.G. Bennett
Help us save "Forever Knight"!


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 11:31:50 -0800
Subject: Tribute Tape Update

  I have received six offers to contribute songs to the proposed tribute
  tape.  I will need a minimum of say... 15 songs (16 if someone covers The
  History of Rock and Roll) to fill a 60 minute tape.  I would ideally like
  to get about 24.  This should roughly fill a 90 minute tape.

  Nunsuch runs 63:25 with 17 songs (two songs over four minutes and two
  under three minutes, the rest are between three and four minutes long).

  Get those kazoos a-buzzin' (and maybe think twice before trying to cover
  something from Explode Together!)

  Cheers, Richard


From: Ben Gott <>
Subject: What?
Date: Tue, 27 Feb 96 14:32:00 est

This was in a Blur review on CDnow! Who wants to explain?

XTC's Andy Partridge was originally slated to produce "Modern Life Is
Rubbish," but the relationship between Blur and Partridge quickly soured and
Street was again brought in to produce the band.



Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 12:50:50 -0800
Subject: Was I Misinterpreted?

Although I still stand by my motto 'dance music must die',  I think I was
misinterpreted regarding the place and function of the synthesiser.

The point I was trying to make was that there's far too much noodling about
on these machines without any musical theory or compositional skill.  It's
easy to program a sequence, sample a sound bite, and throw a beat box behind
it all.  Hell, I've done it on my own synth.  What I find lacking  in so much
of the crap out there in dance land is the total absence of compositional art
in the 'classic' sense;  composition with a beginning, middle and end -
songcraft if you will.

Yes, the synth has a place ( Riuichi Sakamoto, Zawinul, Japan, even the
Runt),  but not as a replacement for human musicians. There's a lot of us
going hungry trying to compete with triggers and loops.

I suppose in my parents' day they'd have lamented about how the electric
guitar took the place of the horn section.

What's the XTC spin on this?  Well,  if the synth rules, why did Dave bother
to arrange a string quartet for 'Great Fire' (and others)?  I don't think it
was  simply to say he could do it;  he's proven his arranging genious  on
every album he's played on.  I'd love to hear him stretch out a little more
with an orchestra!

Finally, is there any synth on Go-2?  I've always thought it was a Yamaha
organ thingie...

<<Music by the yard>>


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 15:50:53 -0500
From: "Brian T. Marchese" <>
Subject: getting the trivial out of my system

Hello, everyone. I've yet to see any posts yet from this neck of the woods
(Amherst, MA), so I thought it time I stop passively reading Chalkhills
every day and join all you(s). Well, I could make my introduction all
formal, but maybe later. First off, I'll pose a trivial question.
I've noticed the drug subject rear its ugly head time and time again
(and I'm just as interested as the next guy), so here's a possible drug
reference I don't believe anyone's brought up: Smokeless Zone.
What is that song about? I never really gave that song much time until
I read the lyrics. Sue me, but I picture Colin Moulding hanging out
in his abode, bummed out because he's totally "jonesing" for some smoke.
And his window sill is no help because "everything (he) grow(s) it kills"!
This being quite ironic because England was once so green and pleasant.
How penicillin fits in to all this is beyond me, but maybe he was reading
one of Andrew Weil's self healing books at the time. OK. I've purged myself
of dumb questions. I'll be good from now on. Thanks for having me aboard!
And thanks for letting me know that the  next L.E. is on its way!
And stop dissing Skylacking--I'm gonna be on it (Supergirl).

Quote: By this time the suitcase was getting very heavy.


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 12:03:10 +1005
From: (Computer Center Lab)
Subject: Romantic XTC

Hello again.

First off, last time I wrote "has anyone noticed that David Gregory does
the news?".  I did not mean _the_ David Gregory, just some guy with the
same name!  My apologies for confusing anyone.  Just shows what happens
when you leave out an article ("the" rather than "a").

On to my topic for discussion:

Ben referred to Wordsworth and Coleridge in his post to Chalkhills 2-76.
Some of you, not to demean anyone, may be thinking "What do two dead guys
have to do with XTC?".  Well, a lot.

I think that I will compare XTC to Wordsworth, only because he is the most
accessible poet of the Romantic Age.  There are, however, many similarities
between most Romantic poets or writers and XTC; this is inherent to the
general feeling of the time period and the way that Andy and Colin write
their song lyrics.  Anyway, I digress and will sum this up at the end.

Let me speak about Will.  Although too long to reproduce here, (as if this
isn't going to be long enough already), in Wordsworth's poem The Old
Cumberland Beggar he expresses the idea that everyone is worthwhile,
although this is simplified to save space.  Well, Andy summed that up in
The Loving, ("all the rich and poor, even those we fight at war"), in Wake
Up, ("'Who cares', you stayed in bed"), and more.  How about Willie's poem
The Thorn.  Similarities in that to Grass, Wonderland, those "pastoral"
*poems* that Andy and Colin write.  One of Wordsworth's most anthologized
poems Nutting expresses the violent rape of nature (again, oversimplified),
and as someone recently pointed out, relates to the violent rape theme of
Grass,  the memories Colin recalls in I Remember the Sun, and those other
songs which produce the feeling of regret and remorse over actions which
were morally wrong.   Finally, in Wordsworth's most famous poem, The World
is Too Much With Us, similarities on all levels relate to XTC songs.  It is
only about twenty lines and is an "easy" poem.   Well, it does relate to a
lot of XTC songs; here is what I can find just scanning my discs:  Ball and
Chain, Leisure, Day In Day Out, The Man Who Sailed Around His Soul, Wrapped
in Grey, Wardance, What in the World, Too Many Cooks in the Kitchen, Garden
of Earthly Delights, King for a Day, One of the Millions, and probably the
closest analogy, Desert Island.  And that's only the released songs!  I
know some of these songs deal with different topics within themselves, but
each relates to The World is Too Much With Us in a special way.

To Wordsworth, Nature, (within and without), and the expression of a
"spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings" was important.  To XTC, or more
specifically Andy, "Chalkhills and Children" and "logic and love [which
gives us] power enough to raise consciousness up and for lifting humanity
higher" are important ideals which he holds dear.  Regardless of their own
individual ideas, each think similarly.

Well, I've probably bored you all to death, (Melissa, wake up!), and my
fingers hurt, so I'll leave this for now.  I know that I have not even
scratched the many similarities between Wordsworth's and the XTC canon, nor
have I even mentioned any other Romantic poets.  Regardless, I have always
found similarities between XTC and the Romantic age, including my favorite,
the oddly eccentric and "quirky" William Cowper, (he even had a nervous
breakdown after beginning to publish work), and I hope that you all too can
begin to see some similarities.

So my question to you all, and I may start and argument here, so I
apologize, is:  "Is XTC, as an individual consciousness, typical of
Romanticism, or as Ben suggests, "Coleridge would have been more of an XTC

Let us hear your ideas.

One last thing, (I promise), in the same Chalkhills, Anthony wrote, "If
Andy Partridge were to read...the Chalkhills Digest...he would write a
song...[about]'a bunch of twidgets trying to analyze _I Resign as
Clown_'.".  Does anyone know if Andy reads these?  I don't but I'm sure
that if he does, he would be proud of the intellectual stimulation which
pours from the minds of us "bunch of twidgets".  What is a twidget?  Is
that someone who twiddles?

That is all, thanks for listening, and take care.


Date: Tue, 27 Feb 1996 23:56:52 -0500
Subject: Andy marches to his own drummer.

Something to consider.......

I keep hearing references to Andy Partridge's claim of having at least 2
albums worth of material ready for the studio.

If this is true my fellow chalkhillians, with all due respect, isn't the
recent discussion of the proposed direction of the next album (Retro,
orchestral, etc.) essentially a mute issue.

Sounds to me as though the material's already been written.
Thought for the day:

The male libido is like a marching band holding a firehose.


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 96 15:20 GMT
From: (Psion plc  Joe Odukoya)
Subject: Re: Skylarking concept

From: (James Dignan)

>>Anyway, I have two questions: (1) This may be a stupid question, but I
>>couldn't find it on the web or in the FAQ. I noticed that in Skylarking,
>>it says "Continuity Concept by Todd Rundgren". Now, does this make
>>Skylarking a 'concept album' per se? I've heard that it was, and I'm
>>having trouble piecing together all the songs. All of them seem to
>>revolve around a man and a woman, but I can't figure out the 'story', if
>>there is one.
> It's not so much a "story" as a general progression from summer, when
> everything is happy and relationships are beginning, through "autumnal"
> feelings of restlessness and disenchantment, to the "wintry" feelings of
> death, followed by the ritual rebirth of the new year in a "sacrificial
> bonfire"

Sorry James but I beg to differ - I seem to remember reading in an music
mag interview at the time (I will try and dig out the exact copy and post
details) that the concept was to make the songs sound like the
progression through a single day.
It starts early morning Summer's Cauldron and by the time you get to
"Earn  enough" you are at midday then gradually winding down to evening

I am sure I remember this correctly because I remember re-listening to
the album with this in mind and thinking "Wow it does make sense".  Also
Andy Credited (& complimented) Todd Rungren with the idea..

However I must admit I do like your theory and it probably works too!

- Joeo -


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 18:09:10 +0100
From: Luc Haasnoot <>
Subject: academic discussion

!Amigos de XTC!

It was good to see some reactions to my earlier posting in which I
stated that it is nonsense to call XTC songs "groundbreaking" or "big
departures from any other popsong" (It is still going to be a difficult
job to convince me of the contrary...) I liked Benjamin's remark about
XTC "imbueing complexity with simplicity in their music". I agree with
this description, and I might add that (for me) it is the simplicity
that makes the complexity bearable.

Ben's response featured the complexity (or was it the "not-normalness")
of XTC's music as an argument against the opinion that "XTC just uses
the same old pop formula". Don't bristle Ben: without judging your
argumentation, "XTC using the same old pop formula" was NOT my standpoint
in the first place.

By the way, I have tried playing XTC tunes, and they are far too difficult
for me. I am not sure which chord in "All of a sudden" you are referring
to, but could it be the "Bflat maj.7/F"? (I do not know if this is a proper
international notation; "spellt" from high to low E-string it is
"1,3,2,3,x,1" and this is what the acoustic guitar is playing before the
Em, whereas the 12-string electric guitar is doing something like the first
four strings of the Dm on position V).

Apart from all this, I actually dislike the whole academic approach to
popmusic, but that is what you get when you have to wait years and years
before a new album comes out! Otherwize we could all just simply discuss
whether the latest album was "super", "fabulous" or "excellent".

Well, I am off to the record store to buy the latest from Hootie and the
Blowfish. All the best.



Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 13:54:52 -0400
From: (Andrew Kim)
Subject: FS: King For a Day 3" CD

Hello folks. I have a mint copy of the following up for auction:

XTC - King For a Day 3" CD (UK #VSCD1177)
        King For a Day 7" mix
        King For a Day 12" mix
        My Paint Heroes (home demo)
        Skeletons (home demo)

      In specially designed crown shaped packaging, a real hoot!

I'm asking a minimum of $20 and will accept any bids through Monday
morning 3/4. If you have any questions, feel free to email me. Thanks

- Drew

Andrew Kim
Coordinator of Special Services
Dept. of Police and Security
Brown University Box 1842
Providence, RI 02912


Date:         Wed, 28 Feb 96 15:16:45 EST
Subject:      Clearing the air

In 2-75, Christopher Burgess took issue with a few remarks I made about
age.  Perhaps I should have articulated my position a little better - I did
not mean my posting to smack of age discrimination.  I was referring to
Elvis's musical direction, not his age, so "middle-age" wasn't the best
adjective, perhaps.  At no point, however, did I make any disparaging
remarks about being 40 - how can I as I rapidly approach that age myself?
My point was that rock music with anger as a motivation is generally better
music - lyrically the songs hold more relevance and musically deliver a
more forceful blow.  Hey, the over 40 Elvis made "Brutal Youth," which I
think is one of his best.

And, BTW, I personally can't stand Bush or Candlebox.

To Janice on the BBC Radio One CD - if you live near a Best Buy, you can
probably pick up a copy of this disk fairly cheaply.  The BB in Akron had
two copies (as of last week), both for $14.99.

To Earl Sellar - thanks for the warning.  I'll stay home and vacation
somewhere in the U.S. this summer...


Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 13:10:44 -0800
Subject: Tribute Tape Update

  Thanks for all the interest but we still need more!

  I have ten responses.  ...and if Ween and Beck can record and release
  songs, there's no reason that anyone can't.  I realize that the intent is
  not to destroy one of our favorite songs (even though some people feel
  that way about Testimonial Dinner) but have some fun with this concept!
  How about a water-glass-xylophone rendition of Then She Appeared?  ...I
  Need Protection with a true gun shot & garbage can rhythm section?
  ...get your four year old neighbor to sing Toys or your mom to sing Red
  Brick Dream while you play the old Lowrey organ.  I know that somebody
  out there took accordion lessons when they were young!  Dust of that
  Hohner and get the bellows flexing!  We come in peace.  We mean no harm.

  As for the original plans for this tribute... sorry, I'm new at this.
  After receiving a few responses I see how other tribute tapes have worked
  (good points and bad).  I thought people would record whatever they
  wanted to and submit them.  I didn't want to produce a "Making Plans for
  Nigel-athon" or "Mayor of Simpleton-orama" so I figured that some weeding
  would have to be done.  I now understand that this is the wrong approach.

  I see now that the better way is for people to select a song and
  "reserve" it with me.  First come, first served.

  I don't want to be involved in a "tape tree" project where multiple
  generations of tapes are made and the quality is generally disappointing
  and frustrating.  I also don't want to spend the month of August and
  September making one or two copies at a time.  If the total request for
  tapes is under 20, I can make them.  More than that and I'll have to seek
  professional mass duplication.  The good part is that I'm "in the
  industry" so I can shake out a respectable deal.

  Legally, as long as it is not done for profit, we'll be okay.  We are not
  releasing this to the "general public" and there is no intention to
  defraud the artist.  It is not for commercial distribution.  "We are just
  a bunch of people with a common interest and we are sharing our feelings
  and interpretations of that interest."  (We can also send the Swindon Set
  a gushing letter of inspirational thanks and copies of the tapes).

  The cost would be the price of the tape, dubbing and shipping EXACTLY.
  The estimated cost for a "Chrome" tape up to 96 minutes long with labels,
  J-cards and domestic shipping will be less than $6 if the total quantity
  is less than 50.  Less than $5 is the quantity is more than 50.

  The final cost will really depend on the amount of songs I get and then
  the amount of copies requested, and also what kind of deal I can swing.
  If we have 50 requests for a tape less than 45 minutes, the costs should
  be below $4.  These figures are all just based on the dubbing facility's
  rate card and will likely be lower when all is sung and done.

  In any event, I think we'll get enough responses to do it on a small
  scale and maybe more.  I suggest July 27 as the submission cutoff date
  (this is when my life will returning to "Normal").  This should give
  people plenty of time (hell, that's enough time for the diligent to learn
  an instrument).  Let me know if you think that's too soon.  I know that
  the hungry want to be fed as soon as possible but we must be realistic.

  Hope that clarifies my intent and inspires a few more to become involved.



Date: Wed, 28 Feb 1996 16:49:20 -0500
Subject: Groundbreaking Right-Wingers

>>Lucas - Fair enough, but I believe that XTC is grounbreaking within the
 medium in which they work...that of the pop song structure<<
>> XTC's expertise is taking that which is large - love, death, religion -
 and making it more immediate.  It goes back to the conversation James and I
were having... XTC are groundbreakers in their chosen medium because they
imbue complexity with simplicity (and sometimes vice-versa) artfully.<<

I love XTC to death, but I must also disagree with the notion that they can
legitimately called "groundbreaking." This term I think can only honestly be
used in connection with bands who either spawn a legion of imitators (REM,
Sex Pistols, Velvet Underground, Big Star), or who are so innovative  that no
one quite knows what to make of them (Tom Waits, Captain Beefheart). Neither
of these descriptions apply to XTC. And I doubt that 20 years from now you'll
see an entire genre of music taking its cues from those classic old XTC

XTC indeed has its imitators (Jellyfish, Posies), but they are small in
number, and there are other artists (Beatles, Queen) who more quickly jump to
mind as their more significant influences. I would also say that a band does
not warrant the "groundbreaking" label if its own influences can be easily
pegged; in the case of XTC, especially of late, their Beatles and Beach Boys
influences are glaringly obvious, while the band's early influences were
Beefheart and punk rock (though not quite as glaringly obvious).

XTC have perfected a rich and complex pop style, but they are not
groundbreakers. An interesting question, however, is who from the last 10-15
years will be cited by future artists as a major influence? Some might
mention XTC, but I'll bet there will be many more who will take their hats
off to the Smiths. Any other ideas?

>>Does the confession of a number of XTC fans to a liking for right-wing
 rockers Rush, plus the recent mailings by a couple of people with decidedly
anti-social opinions about tax policy, imply that Chalkhills is a hotbed of
closet reactionaries? I hope not.<<<

Rock bands, especially those of the alternative bent, tend to overwhelmingly
lean toward to the left, so I wouldn't worry about a conservative rock n roll
revolution very soon. Personally, I'd love to see it, but am not counting on
it. BTW, where are the conservative minded alternative bands? Does such a
thing even exist?


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-77

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