Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-141

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 141

                  Tuesday, 22 July 1997

Today's Topics:

                       Re: Matador
                 A Scoop? ('twas for me)
                   league of gentlemen
                       Random Noise
                       XTC musings
                  Ryko und so weiter...
              Re: How about Matador Records?
                  Making Plans For Andy
                   Re: Matador Records
                      Music In Print
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes, you know what those are for!!!!!)
                 An Interesting Sidenote
                    Cherry in my Tree
                    italian connection
            Must be something we get at birth
                    Rupert Hine & XTC
                  (Not un)like a Virgin
                  California dreaming...
         Re: King for a day & We can work it out
                   XTC in Stereo Review
                 Those wacky non-XTC fans
           Greetings from chilly San Francisco
                    Rant On Aesthetics


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Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 19:16:19
From: Keith Hanlon <>
Subject: Re: Matador

> How many people out there write posts
>and are just a little bit scared of getting the facts wrong and being
>jumped all over for it.

Me! I'm either criticized or ignored. (Sniff)

So here I go correcting someone!

>Matador also has some bigger, more mainstream names, and they seem to have
>the correct distribution outlets necessary because you can get their
>releases anywhere.  And, Andy, Colin and Dave could have their picture
>taken with Madonna (the label founder)!  Well, maybe not. Anyway, just my 2
>cents (or pence; take your pick).

Madonna owns Maverick, not Matador. Easy to confuse such similiar names!
XTC on Matador is an interseting idea. They'd be label mates with Thinking
Fellers Union 282!! However, from what I can tell, the label founder and
owner, Gerard Cosley, is a very opinionated man who only signs what he
likes. I spent a summer in his old house in Jersey City (I was subleasing,
so I never met the man). All of his records were there (the biggest
collection these eyes have seen), and I don't recall any XTC. Oh well.
Maybe he loves them so much that he couldn't leave his collection at home!

And Mitch wrote:
>Occassionally you may have seen references to a band
>called The Mommyheads on this list. No doubt these references would have
>been written by myself or Keith Hanlon; both of us being very big fans.

Thanks Mitch! I spoke too soon - I'm not ignored!

>I implore anyone who listened to past Chalkhills advice
>and purchased and enjoyed The Sugarplastic, Jason Faulkner, Martin Newell,
>etc. to sprint to your nearest record store and buy The Mommyheads on
>Geffen. You will not be dissappointed, in fact you may be blown away.

Yes yes yes yes yes. Mictch, we must do this, right? We must spread the
word! However, there will be repercussions:

a) People will like it and thank us.
b) People will hate it and damn us.
c) People will damn us for the lack of XTC content.
d) People will damn us for posting the occasional "if you like XTC, you'll
e) People will thank us for posting the occasional "if you like XTC, you'll
f) all of the above

The correct answer is f. This _IS_ a mailing list, right? We've all seen it
a million times.

Let us know what you think, and if you like it, I'm sure Mitch and I can
tell you which Mommyheads to buy next.


	  Norton's Orchestraville Homepage


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 19:59:48 -0400
From: Kevin Keeler <>
Subject: A Scoop? ('twas for me)

   I'm sorry If this has been stated (I was on the list for awhile then
wasn't (mail server problems) and took me awhile to resubscribe)...anyway.
I was at my local Best Buy store earlier today and what was hidden behind
the $9.99 copies of UDA (god I love that price...makes me wish I didnt
already own all the songs on it)?   Oranges & LEmons as one of those
"Original Master Recordings (tm)" 24k gold CD's.  I was pretty impressed.
Now, I'm a bit too young and inexperienced to know how obscure or big XTC
was back in '90 (no! wait! '89! :p   ), but I sort of assumed that they
wouldnt be considered for one of these, even tho Oranges was prolly their
biggest CD.  Then again...I also have absolutely no idea how exclusive these
gold Reissues are (they could be doing everything under the sun).  Either
way, I was impressed.  Please don't hate me if I'm the repeater, and
*please* dont tell me to read all the backissues. I'm gonna try to be more
active in the list.  Hope they'll start coming more often....    off

         Kevin Keeler
       Master of Reality
"Horses are made of chromium steel
  and little fat men shall ride them"
     -The Illuminatus Trilogy


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 21:01:42 +0000
From: dke <>
Organization: Prodigy Internet
Subject: league of gentlemen

Hi there!,
   I too am a huge fan of Elvis Costello, as well as many other bands
and artists, but a complete lack of fire resistent clothing has kept me
from saying as much thus far on this list. (There does seem to be quite
a few pyromaniacs on board here.) This tendency to jump at the chance to
flame each other is somewhat understandable, though. We have all been
waiting for 'anything' new, XTC-wise for quite awhile now, so it's not
that surprising that even a bunch of fine, level-headed, kind-hearted
folks like all us XTC fans would be gettin just a bit cranky by now, and
thus lash out at any appreciation of other artists.

   Hopefully, once we all get our long awaited 'fix' from a new XTC
release, we will all stop seeing the spiders, the withdrawl pains will
stop, and we will all respect each others views and opinions once again.

   One final note, Ted Harms wrote that he saw somewhere that Barry
Andrews was once a member of King Crimson.  I _don't_ think so. He was
however, a member of "The League of Gentlemen", another Robert Fripp

  (slinking back into a lurkers obscurity)...doug


Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 18:51:34 +0000
Subject: Random Noise

Hmm... not that any of my previous posts HAVEN'T been Random Noise,

> From: Chaos Harlequin <>
> Okay, it's got a decent bridge, although I still find the song as a whole
> to be somewhat boring. (Sorry.)
Agh!  Sorry... All of a Sudden is one of my favourite songs... the
reason I picked up English Settlement over Mummer and Go 2.  You know
how awkward it is to wander around my local Tower for two hours
holding several CDs??  It's very, yet I do it all the time... And for
the last 4 or 5 times I've come out with XTC... twice with an import!
 Although last time, I was surprised/happy to see someone else
hanging out in the XTC section for once... unfortunately, bands with
talent aren't very popular here...

> From: "Macdonald, Robert" <>
>  The radio station I had playing was KNDD 107.7  "The End" from
> Seattle.  This is a "new music/alternative" station that plays lots of
> Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana, Silverchair, Bush, Radiohead, Verve Pipe,
> Ben Folds , etc. etc. They also play some 80's "new wave" music and the
> like, although I had never heard them play XTC.  The song that was
> playing was Mayor of Simpleton, so I turned it up as I drove away. Now I
Ahh... I know the reason The End played Mayor of Simpleton... I
didn't request it... just venting my spleen a bit more on this
particular radio station... I've called to request songs about 3 or
so times, (I don't remember what the first was, the second was TMBG's
"Sleeping in the Flowers" and the third was Mono Puff's "The Devil
Went Down to Newport"... ON THE DAY IT CAME OUT!), and every time
they say, "Oh yeah, we're just about to play that!" (in fact, with
the Mono Puff one, they kept me chatting on the phone for about 15
minutes), and I listen to the station for 3 hours listening to the
normal mainstream crap (sorry, I've never had a real high regard for
popular music) and they never play the song....Feh on them!  Ah well,
it is nice that they actually DID play something worth listening to,
even though I did miss it...

> From: "Witter, Karl F" <>
> Matt Keeley, Scott Taylor, and other fellow Lehrer-philes: It's just
> one cult after another here, isn't it?
Oh, of course... although I always did love Lehrer... but now it's
Frank Chickens... even though you can't get any of their records in
America...8(... Other bands I love to the level of following a cult:
They Might Be Giants, Barnes and Barnes, Shonen Knife, XTC (duh),
Weird Al... the list goes on and on (and on and on and on)...

> From: John Relph <relph>
> Ah, yes.  It must be summer.  The traffic on Chalkhills has finally
> eased up.  I put it in a letter, what could be better?
Ah... I got worried... this is my first time on Chalkhills during
summer... for a little while, I thought I'd been dropped! Just
another one of my paranoid fantasies...

Hmm... on a side note, at Vinyl Vendors (, they
have a lot of XTC stuff, including a copy of the Mayor of Simpleton
single "autographed by ANDY"... I've been trying to figure out if
they know who Andy is, or if they just thought they'd share that some
guy signed his name on a record...heh...

Ah well, that's this world over....


(Who really thinks he should put that in his sig so he doesn't have
to type it over and over....)
     -=>Matt Keeley<=-
Living Through | Visit my home page
Another        |
Cuba -- XTC    | I used to be temporarily insane!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now I'm just stupid! -- Brak
(ICQ UIN: 1455267, Name: MrMe)


Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 19:16:02 -0700
Message-Id: <l03102800aff56b5ad35e@[]>
From: Dave Blackburn <>
Subject: XTC musings

Greetings Chalkfriends,
	Just a few musings pertaining to the great ones...
	First, although I've been a major fan of XTC since 1978 and have
all their work, I confess I'd not been picking their CDs out to play that
much in the last few years; no new releases etc. But since I went (came?)
online a few months ago, typed  "XTC" into my first search engine request,
discovered Chalkhills, then Bungalow, Perdix and of course this list, I
have been listening to them with sheer delight again. This forum has
definitely re-stimulated my fandom, partly knowing that there are so many
others out there who have been touched by the brilliance too.
	Second, I am an equally huge Joni Mitchell fan, and thought I'd
check out their list and I must say I have never read such a bunch of
bickering, off the subject, and shallow posts. Although her website itself
is quite incredible, I have no wish to continue on their list/cafe. Not all
digests are created equal I guess. I'll be fine with my Chalkhills digest,
	There was a thread going a few weeks back about the Upsy Daisy
mastering, which is kind of up my alley as a producer/engineer. Now that I
have my copy I'll put in my 2c worth. The remastering is quite wonderful;
perhaps a tad heavy on the low end but since that brings Colin's work more
to the attention how can that be bad? The tracks from the  original CDs
suffered from crummy early era analog to digital converters and gave OL and
TBE in particular a rather tinny sound. That is now fixed. There is a new
depth of field and a smoother top end that lets you turn it up without
hurting the ears. The compression in the remastering has been done
uniformly from track to track so songs from different eras and studios flow
better together. All in all, UDA is worth the money (on sale for really
cheap at CD Now) for the improved sonics IMHO. Now why'd they have to go
put Life begins... first? It is a weak tune and appeared first on the BBC
Radio 1980 collection too. And if they had left it off they could have
included Wrapped in Grey twice!
	Questions: has AP regained his hearing yet? Is he receiving royalty
checks yet for his labors or is Geffen sucking em dry? Please can I be a
fly on the wall when the lads finally get into the studio to do their long
awaited new album? Someone, make it so...

Have a great summer, all.		Dave Blackburn

Dave Blackburn/Robin Adler;


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 21:37:00
From: Chaos Harlequin <>
Subject: Ryko und so weiter...

>Nothing like a Ryko Reissue campaign to rediscover a master songwriter.

Ryko reissues are manna from heaven to music fans. While I haven't sampled
the Costello or Zappa ones, the Bowie re-releases are excellent. And they
have those cool green jewel boxes...

>By the way.... have you posted to the Ryko message center recently? No?
>Well... don't just sit there... go to it! XTC on Ryko!

Of course, if the Ryko message board gets many more XTC posts, the Ryko
people will get as annoyed about *that* as they did with the Mono Puff
postings (and believe me, that is *annoyed*...)

>I wanted to share a great quote I heard, attributed to Laurie
>Anderson, and regarding our discussion of critics a few months ago:
>"Writing about music is like dancing to architecture."

I will merely stand in the wings and point out that, if true, this would
render the entire existence of Chalkhills somewhat pointless...

Besides, who says you can't dance to architecture?

Mitch tantalized us thusly:
>By the time you'll be reading this you will have already heard the long
>awaited news . . .

Ack! Don't just leave us hanging there, man! Spit it out! :)


/---------------------------Joshua Hall-Bachner---------------------------\
|   |
| "We all have our idiosyncracies -- maybe thinning hair, or gum disease."|
\---- Kowanko, "Will You Come To?" ------ Thank You, And Goodnight. ------/


Message-Id: <>
From: "A. David Wright" <>
Subject: Re: How about Matador Records?
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 02:39:17 -0600

Michael D. Myers wrote...

>Matador also has some bigger, more mainstream names, and they seem to have
>the correct distribution outlets necessary because you can get their
>releases anywhere.  And, Andy, Colin and Dave could have their picture taken
>with Madonna (the label founder)!  Well, maybe not. Anyway, just my 2 cents
>(or pence; take your pick).

I'm guessing you're confusing Matador with Maverick Records, the label
Madonna founded. Personally I like the over all lineup of Matador Records a
LOT. I mean, Liz Phair, Yo La Tengo, Bettie Serveert, Pavement, Mark
Eitzel... Add XTC, and how could you possibly go wrong?



Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 13:39:38 +0000
Subject: Making Plans For Andy

Dear Chalkers,

While we are all waiting for some real good news on the XTC front
Andrea asked about a CD:

> About three years ago, I found in an import bin a CD, produced in 1990
> by Multicoloured Music (Italy) on Living Legend Records,
> entitled "Making Plans for Andy".

This CD is indeed an Italian bootleg.
The tracks are from an unidentified London concert in 1978 and from
the show at the Amsterdam Paradiso (March 8 1982); one of their last
live shows ever...
The sound quality of the 1982 tracks is really terrible on this CD -
my own recording of the FM broadcast sounds much better!

There is also a Swedish version of this CD; including two tracks by
the Spyz. At one time it was rumoured they were yet another
XTC "spin-off" like the Dukes of Stratosphear.
The Italian one is quite common (for an XTC bootleg of course!)
but I have never even seen the Swedish one. Any offers? :)

BTW:  my copy of this CD has a tiny red "official" Italian stamp that
says copyright has been paid... what a sense of humour!


Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
an unofficial XTC website at
===> Mark's Random XTC Quote <===
No weeping willow was ever as beautiful sad as you are


Message-Id: <>
From: "Steve & Lauren Perley" <>
Subject: Re: Matador Records
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 08:51:59 -0400

In issue 3-140, Mike said:
> And, Andy, Colin and Dave could have their picture taken with
>Madonna (the label founder)!  Well, maybe not.

I would say probably not.  I'm pretty sure that her label is called
Maverick, not Matador.  I think that her big discovery up to this point is
Candlebox (yawn...)  Although I agree with just about everything you said up
to that point...  GBV is a very cool band, and if they can get their lo-fi
sound on Matador, maybe that would be a suitable label for the
much-discussed-but-probably-not-gonna-happen Andy's Shed album!



Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 09:23:02 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Music In Print

Despite Laurie Anderson's fabulous line quoted in a recent Chalkhills, you
may wish to check out:

1)  an Andy Partridge interview at

2)  The Big Takeover" -- the world's biggest and best-written music fanzine.
 The written version is a must, but Internet site is also cool -- address is

See you round,


Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 08:54:46 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <v01510100aff62e3b282c@[]>
From: (Mitch Friedman)
Subject: !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (yes, you know what those are for!!!!!)

Hey there Chalkhillbilliebarties,

No it won't be official until this coming mid-week but yes XTC will be
signing a contract! Now the specific and amazing news . . . they are
starting their very own label called Idea. You may ask how that's gonna make
them money and how we're going to be able to find their music. Well they are
also signing a bunch of deals with lots and lots of major distributors that
are all linked together in some network way with Cooking Vinyl. So once Idea
is written in ink, XTC gets some money from one of their distribution deals
to fund the making of an album or two or twenty and then they record, press
them up and pay for the promotion themselves.

You might wonder if this is the best way for them to make money and
truthfully unless they have an enormous hit album they weren't going to be
me making tons of money no matter who they signed to. Andy says that the way
this is going to be structured, they will make 6 times as much from the sale
of an album as they did when they were on Virgin. Plus they will now have
the artistic freedom to do whatever they like without some A&R person
telling them they should veer to a more ZZ Top sound.

Assuming the whole band ratifies it, he is also thinking of signing artists
he likes who have made an album already but can't get it released, like
maybe Jamie Block for instance.

Anyway, that's the long awaited news and we should all be thrilled and



Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 18:55:14 -0700
From: David Hathaway <>
Subject: An Interesting Sidenote

>Date: Fri, 18 Jul 1997 11:13:08 -0400 (EDT)

>Terry Chambers turned 42 on July 18.  There was/is a nice little write on
>the band on the Addicted to Noise birthday roll which can be found at

Close, but not quite the URL :

>Also contained an interesting bit of info: I didn't know that Barry
>Andrews was once a member of King Crimson

Ah no, yet again, ATN is slightly out to lunch..Barry Andrews has worked
worked with Robert Fripp in the past, but not with King Crimson. The band
was called "The League Of Gentlemen", and a few of the tunes that they
wrote for their single, solitary album were re-worked for King Crimson's
Discipline release, but, thankfully, ( 8) ), Barry and Robert never argued
in KC together. The LOG album isn't bad, but not great, buy Discipline

Interesting sidenote, Sara Lee was the bass player in League Of Gentlemen,
and she also did an album and tour with the B-52s, Love Shack era. (Just
for the rivia buffs out there...)

Not XTC connection at all...except the timing of League Of Gentlemen was
probably right after his departure from King Crimson and just before he
wound up Shriekback.

David Hathaway                 
The Electric Mail Company                  +1 (604) 482-1111


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 19 Jul 1997 21:38:26 -0600
From: Patrick Cannon <>
Subject: Cherry in my Tree

I've heard most things by XTC, but not Cherry in my Tree since it was, to
my knowledge, only released on the Carmen San Diego soundtrack.  Can it be
found anywhere else, and if not, is it worth buying the aforementioned
collection, (assuming I can still find it)?


Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 19:11:39 -0400 (EDT)
From: Andrea Rossillon <alr@UDel.Edu>
Subject: italian connection
Message-ID: <>

I have to say, finding other XTC fans has kind of overwhelmed me....  For
eight years now, I've been alone, and as a result I don't know much about
back-room rumors and discussions.

So:  what's the XTC Italian connection?

Also:  a friend of mine has a vinyl EP of the guys recording at K-ROC
(KROK? KROQ?) in L.A.; they did "Love on a Farmboy's Wages" and three
others.... Does anyone else have these?



Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 20:10:51 -0500
Message-Id: <v01530500aff820038627@[]>
From: (John Yuelkenbeck)
Subject: Must be something we get at birth

>>I've posted this before, but I'll say it again.  I find "King For A Day"
>>similar to TFF's "Everybody Wants To Rule The World", thematically and
>>musically, but I don't consider KFAD a rewrite, a rip-off, or anything
>>else but a great song.

Tears for Fears has publicly acknowledged their debt to the Clash's
"Charlie Don't Surf" for their song.

no guru, no method, no signature


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 20 Jul 1997 23:06:50 +0100
From: Ken Clinger <>
Organization: Bovine Productions
Subject: Rupert Hine & XTC

The following was posted to the Rupert Hine list. Rupert is mainly known
as a producer these days, but I got to know him thru his solo albums from
the early 80s, "Immunity", "The Wildest Wish To Fly", and "Waving Not

Anyway, does anyone from the "XTC side of things" know anything about

Subject: XTC + Rupert Hine

Hi there RupertFans !

>Which artist would you like to be
>produced by Rupert ? Why ?

XTC definitely. I think that Rupert would be the
best guy around to help Andy and Colin capture the
right mood and atmosphere that would best suit their
songs. I think that Rupert could help to bring
their music to a bigger audience.

Rupert said that he was asked by XTC to
produce them back in the '80's. They should ask
him again.



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You may now resume your previously-scheduled life
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Message-Id: <v01540b01aff85c335141@[]>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 01:55:56 +0100
From: (Peter McCulloch)
Subject: (Not un)like a Virgin

Ted Harms writes:

>Matador also has some bigger, more mainstream names, and they seem to have the
>correct distribution outlets necessary because you can get their releases
>anywhere.  And, Andy, Colin and Dave could have their picture taken with
>Madonna (the label founder)!

I believe you are referring to Maverick, not Matador, which Madonna
founded.  Anyway, I can't say that I agree that Matador would be a good
choice for XTC. While they do grant their artists creative freedom, most of
their artists tend to be  raw, low-fi college rock types: Superchunk, Jon
Spencer, Bettie Seveert, and one of their newer bands currently gaining
underground attention, "Fuck" (obviously destined for international
stardom). My friend's band, "The Lynfield Pioneers", just got signed to
Matador, and they're kind of like Pavement meets Dinosaur Jr.

Mitch writes:

>This is the story . . . Occassionally you may have seen references to a band
>called The Mommyheads on this list. No doubt these references would have
>been written by myself or Keith Hanlon; both of us being very big fans.

Count me in as a fan as well. They're simply one of the freshest, most
creative pop bands around, and the level of songwriting just gets better
with each new release. I just picked up their major label debut, and I'm
just trying to find the time to delve into it deeper.

Ted Harms writes:

>Also contained an interesting bit of info: I didn't know that Barry
>Andrews was once a member of King Crimson

Barry was not a member of King Crimson, but a member of Robert Fripp's
project, "The League of Gentleman". I must admit, in all the years I've
come across this album in record bins, etc., I've only been slightly
compelled to buy it, as I'd heard that it wasn't that good. Are there any
chalkhillians out there who could offer futher insight?

For squandering metropolitan NY fans:

For anyone still looking for the limited edition Fossil Fuel (with ammonite
relief), HMV on 34th and 6th in NYC has a couple of copies for a whopping



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 10:50:11 -0400
From: Ira Lieman <>
Subject: California dreaming...

Howdy Chalkfolk...
No, this is not another "Pet Sounds Revisited" posting, not only because
I have yet to hear it. But I digress.

I went to Los Angeles last week. And it was good. It meets my approval,
but then again I could never live there. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool New
Yorker, and although I live in New Jersey, it's Hoboken. And it's
connected to New York by our interstate subway system under the Hudson
River (the PATH) so it's close enough, dammit. LA is too spread out for
this city boy.

Anyhoo, the first full day we were there (my girlfriend and I), we put
on the radio on the way to Universal Studios. And what do we hear?
"Making Plans For Nigel!" I mean, it was so cool. We actually thought
California radio was great, for a time. Alas, that was the last good
song we heard until the day before we were to leave LA-LA Land.

Also, I FINALLY met our fellow Chalkhillian (and big-time lurker) Bob G.
("Hi, I'm Bob. And I'm a Chalkhillian." "Hi Bob.") and we had a blast.
Of course we spent more on CDs than we will when he comes to New York
(Gotta love St. Mark's Place), but I don't care.

I highly recommend the 3-D Laser '80s show at Griffith Observatory. Bob
suggested this a couple days before we came out there, and I squealed.
Well, maybe not squealed, but OK. Anyway, they played GREAT music.
Talking Heads, Howard Jones, Oingo Boingo, and...hold on to your
fez...SENSES WORKING OVERTIME! I don't know how many of you have seen a
laser light show set to music, but it's generally really cool. And when
XTC started playing, a roar went up from our section. Oh, it was
nirvana. Or close to it. We had to end the evening then, because it
would have been impossible to top that.

Oh well. I'm about a week late in reporting this, but it had to be said.
Anyone who wants more information on that Griffith Observatory show, let
me know -- I could possibly be of service. Hope you're all having a
great summer!


In the CD-Rom Drive: Elvis Costello, "IbMePdErRoIoAmL"
On deck:             Todd Rundgren, "Nearly Human"


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 12:46:37 -0700
From: Sansibar Oy <>
Organization: Mediayhtio Sansibar Oy
Subject: Re: King for a day & We can work it out

Stormy Monday said:

>I think that if anything, it [King for a day] is a tribute,
>but he'd be tipping his hat to Lennon.

Thanks for the clarification.

>I don't hear the melodies as being too terribly similar.

OK, not the whole bridge/chorus, but take the following lines:
"You're only here once so you got to get it right"
"Life is very short and there's no ti-i-i-i-ime"
If you ignore note durations and listen to pitch alone, the melodies are
the same.



Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 11:41:11 -0400 (EDT)
From: FA ken clinger <>
Subject: XTC in Stereo Review
Message-Id: <>

The August issue of Stereo Review has a "box" in their review section that
comments on Upsy Daisy, Fossil Fuel, and the recent Gold disc, as well as
news (already familiar to Chalkhills) about changing record labels and the
backlog of songs to record.

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Message-Id: <>
From: "JH3" <>
Subject: Those wacky non-XTC fans
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 11:23:16 -0500


The recent posting about the Jellyfish fan who decided he couldn't
stand XTC after only one listening reminded me of several similar
situations I've seen over the years. We all have to remember that we
(at least in the United States, anyway) live in an
instant-gratification society, where increasingly busy people with
short attention spans and an alarming inability to patiently absorb
nuances and details over time have become a dominant cultural force,
simply because there are so many of them. This works against bands like
XTC, who tend to stay away from the safe and familiar and thus aren't
so easily digested.

I remember three incidents in particular involving my attempts to
expose others to XTC that failed miserably, simply because the people
involved refused to accept the idea that songs that are not
"immediately memorable" (i.e., in the Top 40) can be any good, and also
refused to believe that most songs that *are* immediately memorable are
usually that way only because they steal blatantly from stuff we've all
heard before many times.

1. In 1983, I was working in a record store in Herndon, VA, and every
chance I got I would play "English Settlement" for our wonderful
customers. Occasionally, members of the Washington Redskins (football
team), whose practice facility was only a few miles away, would walk in
to buy records. One day tight end Clint Didier -- who, as I recall,
normally bought "California rock" records -- showed up while "Jason &
the Argonauts" was playing. It didn't take long for him to walk up to
the counter and say, "this stuff is *weird*, man -- who is this? Is
that that "new wave" shit?" I offered to put something else on for him,
but he shrugged me off. As for the Redskins, they had a good season,
but lost badly in the Super Bowl to the (then-L.A.) Raiders.

2. In 1988, one of my co-workers was driving around with a friend,
listening to a tape I'd made for him that had "Making Plans for Nigel"
on it (along with several other XTC tunes of course).  Apparently the
friend -- whose musical fave was Kenny Loggins -- claimed that the song
"drove him crazy," and afterwards whenever he saw me he would repeat
the word "Nigel" over and over again, to the point that this eventually
became his name for me. So, while the song clearly had some effect on
him, he was simply unable to get past the repetition of that single
word. He was later killed in a street accident, mostly due to his
failure to pay attention to oncoming traffic. (I'm not making this up.)

3. In 1993, I was driving a female co-worker (different job) to the
Taco Bell "drive-thru," giving me a chance to expose her to about four
XTC songs from my own mix tape. Even though the songs she heard are
usually considered relatively accessible (SWOT, Mayor of Simpleton,
Battery Brides, Rocket from a Bottle), this person -- who normally
listens to country music though she claims to like "anything" -- later
told another co-worker that she thought the stuff I listened to was
"scary-sounding." She's still alive, but is, alas, pregnant.

--John H. Hedges


Message-Id: <v03007802aff8e0992b4d@[]>
From: (David Friel)
Subject: Greetings from chilly San Francisco
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 12:50:42 -0400

'elo mates,

I have this demo of songs Andy put together in 1995 that a friend passed
along to me.  It has about 25-30 songs, including some he did for "James
and the Giant Peach."  Some of the songs are "Green Men," "Dame Fortune,"
"Bumper Cars," and "Church of Women."  Has anyone heard this tape or any of
these songs?  They're fu-kin' great!  I feel like I have a new XTC album
(even though it's from 1995).  Speaking of great bridges, there's a great
one in "Bumper Cars."  I'm curious if these songs are common knowledge
amongst XTC buffs, or if this is a rare find.

- Dave (freezing his arse off in SF)


Message-ID: <>
From: "Sherwood, Harrison" <>
Subject: Rant On Aesthetics
Date: Mon, 21 Jul 1997 13:23:46 -0400

From: Chaos Harlequin <>, quoting somebody else whose
>name is lost unto us
>Subject: I have a bridge for sale...

>>Most importantly, Senses Working Overtime, where the melody of the bridge
>>so cleverly and beautifully mimics the melody of the church bell chime
>>mentioned in the chorus.
>I like the little mutterings as well: "England's Glory!" "A *Striking*

Ah, an opening for my favorite rant on aesthetics: "Reflections in the
Net of Indra, or Discipline Me, Hot Mama of the Critical Zeitgeist!"

Consider "The Mayor of Simpleton"--I know _I_ frequently do. Now I'm
firmly in the camp of those who believe that MoS is, beyond a shadow of
an atom of a breath of a doubt the greatest piece of high-camp bubblegum
froth ever written. And I include in this category such masterpieces as
"Sugar Sugar" and "That Thing You Do" from that recent movie (Sub-rant:
"That Thing You Do" uses a *blindingly obvious* cop of the I-VI chord
progression from "The Vanishing Girl." Anybody notice this?).

Now by definition, a bubblegum song _must_ be catchy. It must have a
simple melody that sticks in the head and doesn't let go--even defying
the palliative of a self-administered bullet into the cranium. (This
last is frequently the case with "Sugar Sugar." I once attended a
postmortem seance: "OK, Jim, you blew your own head off because you
couldn't get "Sugar Sugar" out of your mind. Are you at peace now?"
[tortured moans of the damned] "Awww honey... Awww Sugar Sugar...")

My contention is that it's the _arrangement_ of MoS that pulls it above
ordinary bubblegum catchiness and into the realm of Perfect Polished Pop
Diamond. It is full of exactly the same sorts of reflections and mimicry
that the poster refers to above. The bass part, though busy as a
one-legged man at an ass-kicking contest, never strays from commenting
and providing variations on the central C/D 11 arpeggiated guitar riff.
During the lead-ins to the choruses ("but it's nothing that I care
about") and again during the chorus itself (" thing I know and
that's I love you") the 12-string guitar is varying the central riff but
in ascending and descending inversions, again reflecting the riff yet
refreshing it.

We get outside allusions as well: think of the jangle piano part that
follows "Just feel I should say" in the bridge: It's a quote from the
Beatles' "Misery": "I remember all the little things we've
done...(ding-de-ding-de-ding...)." But in quoting that phrase Andy also
further elucidates his own agenda: It's _still_ a descending variation
on that central guitar riff, setting the table for Dave to pick it up
and make it full and glorious and bring it home after the next phrase:
"It takes brains to do that anyway...(and anyway!)"

Or consider the octave interval leap between "don't" and "know" in "I
don't know how many pounds...," which anticipates the harmonically
related leap between "one" and "thing" in "One thing I know and that's I
love you." The tension between what the singer _doesn't_ know and what
he _does_ know--the central tension in the lyric as a whole--is
reinforced, reflected, in the melodic arrangement.

Recalling, tying together, reflecting, tightening, alluding back. It's
the sort of concise artistry of extreme ecomomy that we expect from a
great short-story writer: Wasn't it Poe who exhorted the author of short
fiction to include absolutely no word that doesn't in some way elucidate
the story? "The Mayor of Simpleton" is a brilliant illustration of that
principle of economy applied to musical arrangement: There is not a
single note in the song that doesn't signify.

When people ask me what raises XTC (and of course the Beatles and a few
others) above the crowd, it's this sort of thing that I point to.

Harrison "That and the tasteful matching mohair suits, of course"


End of Chalkhills Digest #3-141

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