Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #2-80

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 2, Number 80

                  Tuesday, 5 March 1996

Today's Topics:

                       Gentle Giant
                     Psycho analysis
             XTC reissues and address change
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-79
                The song remains the same
           ...on technology and dance music...
                 <irrelevant title here>
                    RE: intimate tour
               Re:  Double yer pleasure....
               Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-79
                  Making Plans for Blur
                        XTC Trade
                     cappy beefheart
                    Skylarking GOLD CD
                Shirts, pegs and contests
               Desert Island Discs results
                   Tribute Tape Update
                      Dave Sighting
          Smokeless Dead Poets, new Chills album


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Just to stroke them would disgust her.


From: "Anthony Ciarochi" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 00:47:12 +0000
Subject: Gentle Giant

>> any GG fans out there?

Oh yes, been a Gentle Giant for longer than I like to admit, although
I haven't listened to them since I retired my turntable for a CD

I recall one album being a particular favorite, although I can't
remember the title.  It had a playing card face on it, I believe the
Jack of spades, King of hearts or something.  The song title "So
Sincere" stands out in my mind.

That album had some of the most beautiful and occasionally
frightening arrangements I've ever heard, and the melodies still pop into
my head on occasion.  In fact, I used to play the album for a guitar
player friend of mine, but he claimed it gave him nightmares.

That guy went on to play for a band in Portland, Oregon  called the
Dan Reed Network, and guess who their manager was?
Kerry, from GG!  I believe my friend is now in heavy therapy...  :-\

Anthony F. Ciarochi                      On-line Administrator --                         CS Major, Univ. of CA, Riverside

                 'Spend at least 15 minutes every day
                  listening to something you hate...'


From: "Anthony Ciarochi" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 00:47:12 +0000
Subject: Psycho analysis

somebody wrote:

>>...once an artist releases a song, he no longer owns it.  It now
belongs to everybody to do with as they will.

If that's true, how come I haven't been receiving my royalty checks?

I agree with your statement in general, but in this particular case
it tends to imply that we're doing something creative by analyzing
these songs.  I say, if we obfuscate the artist's
intended statement, then that creativity is in question.  i.e.: if a
graffiti artist spray paints over the Mona Lisa, is he creating
something or destroying it?

Also, if we are simply "doing what we will", then why do almost all
of these analyses start with "Maybe what Andy meant was..." or "I
wonder if Colin could have been talking about...".  That indicates to
me that finding a new interpretation is not the main goal -- it's a
search for truth that we are on, and as such there are a couple of
obvious rules you must follow.

1) If the vast majority of the 'clues' point in a particular
direction, then you should thoroughly investigate and discredit those
rules before moving on to the others.

2) If that vast majority points in a particular direction, but only
if you cross your eyes and stand on your head naked, you should
probably discredit them immediately and move on to the fewer,
but more definite, clues.

What I'm trying to say is this. Before presenting the possibility
that "I Resign As Clown" is about a coven of salamander worshipping
midgets in South Uffington, you should probably explain why you DON'T
think it's about a cheating girlfriend.


Anthony "God, I can be pompous" Ciarochi
Anthony F. Ciarochi                      On-line Administrator --                         CS Major, Univ. of CA, Riverside

                 'Spend at least 15 minutes every day
                  listening to something you hate...'


Date: Sun, 3 Mar 1996 23:02:45 -0800 (PST)
From: Steven Reule <>
Subject: XTC reissues and address change

Fellow members:

The four XTC CD's which were deleted (O&L, Big Express, Nonsuch, and Rag And
Bone Buffet) are due for reissue on May 12 and at a very low list price.  I
don't know if the packaging is the same or not.  More on this as it developes.

Also, for those of you who have mail-ordered from Obsessed With Music, the
e-mail address has changed.  It is now:

In XTC we trust...


XTC song of the day - "Outside World"


Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-79
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 1996 03:36:38 EST
From: Gilbert Leung <gleung@MIT.EDU>

In reply to (Paul Brantley)'s message, I would
like to add that I often find XTC's songs, especially those written by
Andy, creative in the use of dissonances.  I study contemporary classical
music composition and definitely find Andy's harmony clever among all rock
music.  Does anyone know if Andy composed any contemporary classical music
before? I would be interested to listen to those. :)



From: Aaron Pastula <>
Subject: Sunday
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 96 1:35:54 PST

> Boil that dust speck!

I'm glad there's lemon-freshened thorax in you.

> The above paragraph was posted on the Gentle Giant mailing list (any GG fans
> out there?).

Yes, and actually I found out about them via XTC.  They're great; they've
gotten me into other stuff (King Crimson) as well.

> "I, uh, would like to start things of with a bang by saying something
> that it would be just like me to say (?).  This thing is really
> meaningless; it means nothing to me.  <pause> that's just how I feel.  I
> don't care about this at all.  I don't know who would care about... er,
> my dad would care.  He died when I was really young and I never got to
> know him <pause>  He would care, though.."

Oh Eddie, we all know you're so damn TROUBLED, aren't you?



Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 11:16:30 +0000
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: The song remains the same

John Christensen referred to his Maoist interpretation of *Millions* in
defence of some other interpretations of XTC toons that have cropped up on
Chalkhills. But there's a difference. His theory, as I remember it, was
credible - there's no question that the song has *something* to do with the
East - and informative. Perhaps Partridge didn't intend every nuance John
suggested, but the theory is consistent with the language used in the song
- if Partridge doesn't mean those things what *does* he mean? As with the
best academic criticism, you can learn more about the song and appreciate
it better from the kind of insights that John offered.

This is quite different from someone just randomly applying their pet
interest or current preoccupation to whatever song they happen to be
listening to. If you are looking for references to God or religion, you can
find them anywhere, but why are you looking for them in the first place?
Like anyone, I could tell you that certain songs or albums in my record
collection remind me of things quite unrelated to the record itself (the
sunny day when I bought it/ the girlfriend I'd split up with/ or whatever),
but it's of no relevance or interest to anyone else.

The lazy theory that songs can mean anything the listener wants them to is
just indulgence. If people are so keen to let songs mean whatever they feel
like, they should be writing their own.

Talking of which, did the subscriber who asked for suggestions for
XTC-related band names ever choose one to use? If so, which one was it?

Mark Fisher (,uk)


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 04:16:01 -0800
Subject: ...on technology and dance music...

The comments made on soulless dance music prompted me to go back to an
interview with da boys on KROQ (Los Angeles, 5-29-89) during the
Oranges and Lemons radio tour.  When asked if improved technology made
making albums easier, Andy said,

"In some ways technology makes things tougher.  The thing about
technology is its only machines and machines are only any good when
they are in the service of man.  They're not any good as machines.
You can't just poke them and say 'be wonderful for me, machine.'
Because it won't."

Interviewer: It only gives back what you put into it.

"Exactly.  And too many people just click that 'on' button and push
that drum machine on, push that sequencer on, touch that synthesizer
patch and they think it's going to, you know, they think that its
called art.  It's not, it's called turning a machine on, so let's get
it right."

Peace, Love and Understanding,



Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 09:51:26 -0500
Subject: <irrelevant title here>

>I remember it was something thusly: XTC song
>titles have little if anything to do with the songs. For the life of me, I
>don't see how someone can make a statement like that.
>            Does anyone else out there feel a statement like that has any

Well, duh!  Their song titles are words they sing in the song, and usually
repeatedly in the chorus.  Pretty conventional.

If you want really obscure song titles, try the Cocteau Twins, e.g. "Theft,
and Wandering Around Lost" and "Iceblink Luck", which, even if you read
interpreted lyrics (it takes a trained ear to figure out what Elizabeth
Fraser is saying, and they don't publish lyrics) you would never guess what
they had to do with one another.  I end up identifying C.T. songs with
references like "the one with a lot of reverb and layered vocals" (and that
could be all of them).

On a vaguely related note, Combustible Edison just released their latest
long play, "Schizophonic!"  Related because only a few of their songs have
vocals, but all their song titles evoke the mood of the song very well.
"Checkered Flag" does indeed put the listener into a 60's road rally, like
Monte Carlo, with all the glamour and fast cars.  "One Eyed Monkey" has a
surreal, jungle-like quality.  "Short Double Latte" has the frenetic drive
of a overdosed caffeine buzz.

Combustible Edison, if you're wondering, is nothing like XTC but I have a
feeling Andy Partridge would appreciate their nouveau lounge/jazz/surf rock
sound.  And as has been mentioned, we are an eclectic bunch.  C.E. did the
soundtrack to the movie "Four Rooms", a recent Quentin Terantino flick that
I liked but nobody else seemed to.  "Schizophonic!" is fun and has some
excellent musicanship, weird, percussive arrangements.  To use their
terminology, "It's Fabulous!"

Sorry for the little/none XTC content....
Stay lovely,



From: "Burgess, Christopher (msx)" <>
Subject: RE: intimate tour
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 11:16:10 -0500

I'll throw my name in the list.  I'll even set up the show for
them.  I'm a good cook, too.

Alas, I suspect that this would  never work, though, as there
would probably be roadies, lighting techs, managers, ad
nauseum.  I'm sure as hell not going to put all of *THOSE*
up for the night! :-)  Maybe they could go for a really low-tech
tour - I remember seeing "The Police" where they pulled up to
the club in a station wagon with all their gear piled in the back.
Do you suppose the label would spring for a mini-van?

I guess I'd better mention this to my wife.


Date: Mon, 04 Mar 1996 09:35:39 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Re:  Double yer pleasure....

Adam J. Ostermann wrote:
>>From: "Kendrick, Tim" <>
>>Subject: Latest from Little Express
>>   The latest info (from THE LITTLE EXPRESS) is:
>>    - Andy wants to release a double CD, with the 2 CD's
>>      each having a very different sound;
>>      one orchestral, the other electric guitar based.
>^Dave and Colin and the Infinite Andy^????? Sorry, bad joke.

  Not a bad joke at all -- it just adds a great punchline to my

  I for one am eager to hear what they will do with "orchestral"
  arrangements ... I imagine (hope?) that they will be chamber music
  arrangements, with a limited number of instruments at any one time.
  This approach could be used effectively to add colour to a
  stripped-down XTC (acoustic guitar, acoustic bass guitar [ABG], and
  funky old-fashioned keyboard instruments like pianos, harpsichords,
  and celestas), rather than just having vocals with strings.



From: 7IHd <>
Subject: Re: Chalkhills Digest #2-79
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 18:31:16 +0000 (GMT)

# From: relph (John Relph)
# Subject: Myriad Divers
# On an unrelated note, what are the backing vocalists singing during the
# second chorus of "The Loving"?  ("Strange Trip"?)

I've always heard it as "Strange Tales" (as in 'scribbled on a uni...form'),
but further investigation proves that one wrong; "Strange Trip" is certainly

However, I think it's more likely to be something like "Straight Here" or
possibly "Straight To You" (with the "To You" pronounced "T'Ya"). This makes
more sense in the context of the immediately preceding line "The Loving's
Coming..." too, but I'm by no means certain, that's just by best guess.

Any more offers?

Incidently, this exercise has led to me hearing things in that song I'd
never noticed before, as I stuck the headphones on - think I'll
rediscover the entire album later. Same trick also works for Nonsuch
incidently - the arrangements are much more complex that first appears to
be the case and Nonsuch has gone way up in my estimation as a result. :-)

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


From: Stephen Gilchrist <>
Subject: Making Plans for Blur
Date: Mon, 04 Mar 96 13:42:00 PST

Dear Everyone,

In reply to Blur and Andy production:  It is true Andy was employed to
produce Blur, but only for the single "Sunday Sunday".  The reason given
for why they did not hit it off, albeit only a rumour, was that on meeting
Andy, Damon said "I really love all your work, I am a big fan of Xtc,
especially "Making Plans for Nigel".  This did not go down to well and the
sessions were abandoned.  I don't know if this is strictly true but its the
only story I have heard.

I also wrote recently to Chalkhills about Cardiacs and Xtc. I had no replies
so I assume none of you have heard of them.  This is a real shame as they
draw a lot of influence from Xtc, Albarn also sights them as an influence:
listen to Blur's  "Globe Alone" from "The Great Escape" - this is pure
Cardiacs.  Also try and get hold of Cardiacs "Is this the Life" and
"Bellyeye" singles.

The other day I was in Northampton and I saw the local paper which had the
headline "Making Plans for Nigel".  Intresting but dull eh?

Bye Bye,

P.S.  Sorry about my spelling and grammer etc.


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 16:27:15 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Chortlin'

It gave me a certain pleasure to read about the Zappa inquires. I never
thought I would be able to answer a question about slang in music on the
XTC list.

And I'm glad Alanis and Hootie won those Grammees, now they can go the
way of Christopher Cross and Milli Vanilli.
"I love my baby
 My baby don't love me"
   Robert Johnson


From: Keith Hanlon <>
Subject: XTC Trade
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 1996 19:18:10 -0500 (EST)

Hello folks!

I recently started collecting guitar picks. I was told by the Little
Express that they used to have a pick that says "This Is Pop?" on it.
Since they had none left, they sent me a button with the English
Settlement cover and Little Express logo. If there's a chance in hell that
anyone has that pick laying around, would a button/pick trade be possible??

Also, can someone make a tape of these mysterious demos for me? I have the
stuff on the Mayor of Simpleton 12" and the Disappointed CD single. Is
there more??? (Skylarking era, perhaps?)

Almost forgot: my local CD store has the Captain Beefheart tribute CD
(featuring Ella Garu") used for $9. If anyone is interested, I'll pick it
up for them! Email me.

Song of the Day: Are You Receiving Me?


From: Greg Kuchmek <>
Subject: cappy beefheart
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 02:07:32 +0000

dearest chalkhillians; I just became aware of a Captain Beefheart tribute
album with XTC doing Ella Guru! Has anyone heard it? Is it available yet?
Is the rest of the album good enough to warrant purchase??


Date: Mon, 4 Mar 96 20:22:18 CST
Subject: Skylarking GOLD CD

Gals and dudes,

Who among us has heard the re-mastered Skylarking (on Gold CD) put out by
Mobile Fidelity Sound Labs?

I'd be curious to hear anyone's opinion whose heard it...

--Doug Downing


From: Ben Gott <>
Subject: Shirts, pegs and contests
Date: Tue, 05 Mar 96 10:49:00 est

Hey Chalkies:

Here's a question for you...<I think> that Colin is wearing the same shirt in
two of the photos in "Chalkhills and Children." Check it the second
section of photographs (the one begins with the contact sheet of the live
shows), there's a picture of Colin, Andy, Dave and Dave Mattacks, and a
picture of the band with Terry Chambers. These pictures, according to the
dates below, were taken at completely different times, yet Colin is wearing
an ugly paisley thing in both. Hmmm...

Also - could anyone tell me what Colin's song "Down a Peg" is about?
( analyzing now...)

Finally - I had a winner in the XTC "Weird Stuff to Trade" contest. Thanks,
everyone, for playing. When I get back from March break, we might just have
another one!




Date: Tue, 5 Mar 1996 12:34:21 -0500
From: (Chris Van Valen)
Subject: Desert Island Discs results

Hi All

I'm reporting my findings although I feel it's not representative of
anything (less than 30 people responded). But here it is. Enjoy.

1.(tie) XTC-The Big Express (4 votes)
        XTC-English Settlement (4)
3.      XTC-Skylarking (3)
4.(tie) Pixies-Doolittle (2)
        XTC-Oranges and Lemons (2)

All other entries received one vote each, listed alphabetically:

Tori Amos-Little Earthquakes
Beach Boys-Pet Sounds
Beatles-Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
Ben Folds Five-Ben Folds Five
The Clash-London Calling
Elvis Costello-Imperial Bedroom
Cream-Wheels of Fire
Crowded House-Temple of Low Men
Crowded House-Together Alone
Miles Davis-Kind of Blue
Dukes of Stratosphear-Chips Fom the Chocolate Fireball
Marvin Gaye-What's Going On
Genesis-The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
Gentle Giant-Playing the Fool
Goats Don't Shave-The Rusty Razor
Grateful Dead-Live/Dead
Happy the Man-Crafty Hands
Incredible String Band-The Hangman's Beautiful Daughter
Jellyfish-Spilt Milk
King Crimson-Starless and Bible Black
King Crimson-Thrak
Kinks-Are The Village Green Preservation Society
The Lilac Time-Paradise Circus
Low Pop Suicide-The Death of Excellence
Pat Metheny-Secret Story
Mussorgsky-Pictures at an Exhibition
Prefab Sprout-Jordan the Comeback
Radiohead-The Bends
Red Hot Chili Peppers-BloodSugarSexMagic
R.E.M.-Life's Rich Pageant
Roxy Music-Country Life
Todd Rundgren-Hermit of Mink Hollow
Shriekback-Big Night Music
Jane Siberry-When I Was A Boy
Smiths-The Queen is Dead
Supertramp-Crime of the Century
World Party-Bang
XTC-Drums and Wires
Yes-The Yes Album
Neil Young-After the Gold Rush


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, 5 Mar 1996 10:25:43 -0800
Subject: Tribute Tape Update


  I am accepting no more tapes for the tribute.  We have 32 planned songs.
  That is plenty.  With a 20% dropout (wild guess), I can expect 25 songs.
  Averaging four minutes each, that would be 100 minutes!

  If you haven't selected a song yet, please do so.  I won't put two
  versions of the same song on tape and if you are saying "...I'll either
  makes it harder for people to select a song.  Please submit one song
  request and do your best to stick to it.  If you later decide to change,
  you've just screwed the person who wanted to do that song but it was
  already taken (This has already happened).

  The songs listed below with asterisks are songs where people are
  undecided.  If unclaimed by the original requestor, I'll offer them to
  the first requestor on March 11.  Sorry... not trying to be a jerk...
  just trying to get this thing moving without too much slack in the

  Here is the list so far:

  1000 Umbrellas*
  All of a Sudden (It's Too Late)*
  Ballet For A Rainy Day*
  Battery Brides*
  Bike Ride To The Moon*
  Dear God
  Disque Bleu
  Generals & Majors*
  Great Fire*
  I'm Bugged*
  It's Nearly Africa
  Living In A Haunted Heart
  Making Plans for Nigel*
  Meeting Place
  My Love Explodes
  Over Rusty Water
  Respectable Street
  Sacrificial Bonfire
  Season Cycle
  Statue of Liberty*
  Ten Feet Tall
  Thanks For Christmas
  The Disappointed*
  This World Over
  Travels In Nihilon
  When We Get To England
  Where Did The Ordinary People Go*
  "XTSea" Medley
  Your Gold Dress*

  It is pretty obvious at this point that I will have to MANAGE, not
  coordinate, this project.  With management comes directives (and the
  inevitable disdain from some).  If I can pull this thing off without the
  Skylacking scorn, then I have (imho) succeeded brilliantly.

  I still look forward to this being a satisfying project!  I will do
  everything in my meager power to make it so.

  Thanks, Richard

  p.s.  To the doomsayer:  I'm not dead yet.


Date: Tue, 5 Mar 96 12:58:00 -0600
From: "McDonnell, Dan E." <>
Organization: RMT Inc.
Subject: Dave Sighting

Our boy Dave will have no cobwebs to clear if and when XTC return to the
studios.  He appears on an album by Brian Stevens called Prettier Than You,
as noted in Musician (April):

"..............But its guest star Dave Gregory, on leave from XTC, who
steals the show here.  His guitar work, alternately fluid and stinging,
leads one to wonder yet again why such a phenomenol player is so

Brian Stevens is referred to as an "ex-Cavedog".  Who knows about The
Cavedogs and this particlular release with DG?  I prefer stinging myself,
but fluid has its place.

And, can someone tell me where the song Some Lovely (My Brown Guitar) is
from, as shown in Tab format recently?


Date: Wed, 6 Mar 1996 17:14:15 +1200
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: Smokeless Dead Poets, new Chills album

>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.

A smokeless zone is a region of an inner city in England where the smog and
pollution is so bad that by-laws have been introduced to ban open fires and
large chimneys. So living in a smokeless zone is living in a polluted inner
city. In this case, an area so polluted that respiratory problems have set
in, so penicillin is needed. No other drugs reference, sorry! :)

>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 fan?".

well, similar. I get a very PreRaphaelite feeling out of a lot of XTC's
songs. Which I suppose is comparing it to painting rather than poetry.
Coleridge does approact the same English Pastoralism as XTC, it is true
("Frost at Midnight" is a good example), but I see it as all part of the
same continuum that stretches through English culture from before the time
of Shakespeare, but came to its full flowering in the middle of last
century (partly at least as a backlash against the industrial revolution).
XTC is not alone in continuing this trend - a host of English rock
musicians, from Kate Bush ("Oh England My Lionheart") through to Jethro
Tull ("Heavy Horses", "Ring out Solstice Bells" and many others).  As
someone has pointed out, the pro-individual, anti-"government", and
occasionally reaching-beyond-the-mundane-to-grasp-the-spiritual that is
quite common with the songs of XTC is also reminiscent of William Blake.

I've just been listening to the new Martin Phillipps and the Chills album
"Sunburst", released here last week. And boy is it lovely. For those who
know the Chills, this has some of Martin's happier, more upbeat tracks (he
plans an album of what he calls his "Shadow ballads", the darker songs,
later in the year). If the album notes are to be believed, Daves G and M
appear on all the tracks, but they deliberately understate their work for
the most part to allow Martin's songs to shine through. No US or UK release
date yet (the Chills arrangement with Slash fell through and no new label's
come along yet). However, for those of you interested, the album is
released on Flying Nun in NZ and Australia, catalogue number is FNCD303
D31538. And if you want more info, contact


James Dignan, Department of Psychology, University of Otago.

Ya zhivu v' 50 Norfolk St., St. Clair, Dunedin, New Zealand
pixelphone / steam megaphone NZ 03-455-7807

   * You talk to me as if from a distance
   * and I reply with impressions chosen from another time, time, time,
   * from another time                     (Brian Eno)


End of Chalkhills Digest #2-80

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