Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-147

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 147

                  Sunday, 3 August 1997

Today's Topics:

          My mind sure does wander late at night
                    Please, please...
      Time To Test The New E-mail I Just Got Given!
                 In Like Clinton, Styling
                  I de-lurk for a moment
     Rather shorter than the last post... but well...
                         XTC PLC
"I'm the enchanting wizard of rhythm"/Radio, Radio part 2
                   Re: Dear Mr Branson
                         Sara Lee
             Prefab Sprout, Blue Nile & Kinks
                  Just the soft centres?
          Re: Dolby Digital, DVD Blah Blah Blah
                      My Dictionary
          some small thoughts from one small man
      Algebra, Sexual Mores and the E Street Shuffle


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Sunday lunchtime, beer-for-Punch time, while his dinner's far from hot.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 03:07:59 -0700
Subject: My mind sure does wander late at night

Yee haw my little chalkbillies!
Well life on the farm is kinda laid back
and the plastic lamb is STILL flying at the
Burbank CA Virgin Megastore for $7.99.Yes you can have a "free listen" to
UDA at the "special listening booth"(It still tickles me to see it up and
running!) this week between prodigy and k.d.lang!(or someone like that)
They have added some new releases but kept our boys right out front.
Amazing, it's like having an abusive parent."You're a piece of crap but I
love you anyway".
Maybe Kevin Bacon shops there? We could help him out eh?
Maybe there is a soundtrack to "She's Having a Baby" with "Happy Families"
on it.
Or he could get Rag and Bone Buffet,with the liner notes to explain that
the song was in the movie.
I never saw the movie but according to the bio Chalkhills and Children less
than thirty seconds of the track was used.
So be gentle with Mr. Bacon he really may not know.
I received a copy of the '95 demos from a very nice gentleman from the
right coast.This is truly great music.Thank you!
Now as to the person who slagged off Runt's Utopian dream as "techno crap".
I would like to gently nudge you in the direction of a few albums.
I too felt the same way of Utopia,once upon a time.
A fan steered me in the right direction.
Check out 1.)Deface the Music
2.)I'll call it the "white album" the vinyl has two discs and it has them
on the cover in all their skinny tie glory!It just says Utopia on the cover
and it is "white" with a black border at the top and red U.
3.)Swing to the Right- with the ever poppy "One World".
Try'em you might like 'em, really.
To the Robyn Hitchcock fan,.... yes! here is another!
One more gentle nudge to newer fans or wannabe fans of Robyn.
Try the "greatest hits" disc. It is sure to please.
Thanks to whoever turned me onto the Mommyheads.
Very good but alas has me pining even more for a new XTC release!
Now as for wanting an album from the band RIGHT NOW.
Here is one man's opinion, this is only an OPINION!
Maybe we should let the fetus gestate before it is born.
Starting a record company is a lot of work... in advance.
To run the company and be the artists is double the work.
American Heritage Dictionary:ges-tate(jes'tat')2.To conceive and develop
(a plan or IDEA for example).
That is word for word no help from me.(except for the capital letters)
There is also the reference to birth but i figure you all know that one.
More music,less talk!   Most of all I remember the sun
                                      john murphy


Date: Thu, 31 Jul 97 10:54:43 GMT
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Please, please...

     I'm jealous as hell!!!

     Can anyone help in sourcing me a copy of this tape of 'demos' that
     some of you are rapidly wearing out with repeated plays? Are there any
     copies floating around the UK? Please get in touch. I'm ready to do
     almost _any_ sort of deal to just get a listen...


     I'm already on my knees, next stop, the hospital ER.



Message-ID: <>
From: Gary Minns <>
Subject: Time To Test The New E-mail I Just Got Given!
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 18:28:41 +0100

Flint or Flynn?

I reckon Flint.  The films were 1965 and 1967, just the period we know
that AP takes huge amounts of inspiration from.

Loved the Flynn phrase, though.  I never heard that before.


>...I love XTC they have been a part of my collection for the last decade or
so but I also love the Prodigy, Radiohead, Supergrass and a variety of
other quality British 'indie' bands.  The thought of eating, sleeping,
breathing XTC...doesn't exactly light my fire...<

Too true but you have to add Blur and Cafe Tacuba to that list.


>...I'm all for the whole shameless innuendo on kiddie records!  Mess with
their minds a bit...<

I agree again.  Those of us brought up in the UK of late 20s, early 30s
age might recall the children's TV shows Captain Pugwash and Bill & Ben.

All the characters in Captain Pugwash had oblique sexual references in
their names: Seaman Staines, Master Bates and Captain Pugwash himself
(plug wash, geddit?).

Bill & Ben made strange "flub-a-lub" noises.  The actors who did the
voiceovers were, it is alleged, swearing all the time rather than saying
polite little kiddywink phrases.

I can vouch these references never fucked up my brain!


Currently reading: Don Quixote (Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra)
Currently listening to: Georgie Girl (The Seekers)

Hmmm!  Looking at my own reading and listening choices I think I must
withdraw the comment about my brain not being fucked up by Captain


Message-ID: <>
From: "Sherwood, Harrison" <>
Subject: Abstrudel
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 11:42:46 -0400

>From: Stormy Monday <>


>I have been enjoying his clever and insightful posts ever since,
>including his latest, where he used the word "abstruse".

I _did_? How recondite of me!

Harrison "549. Unintelligibility" Sherwood

P.S. Thanks, Stormy!


Message-ID: <>
From: "Sherwood, Harrison" <>
Subject: In Like Clinton, Styling
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 16:41:43 -0400

>Message-ID: <>
>Date: Mon, 28 Jul 1997 17:41:43 -0700
>From: Stormy Monday <>

>For those who've been following this thread, I think that the title of
>the movie "In Like Flint" was a pun on the original "In like Flynn"

Trust me to forget what I was gonna say, after all these nice comments
from people last ish. Too much preening and not enough meaning, that's
my problem.

Aaaaanyway, I was going to point out that "Optimism's Flames" is a
mighty, mighty fast little song, and those lyrics in the verses go by
like the Bullet Train. Mr. P., rare fellow, took a leaf out of the
Gilbert & Sullivan Patter-song Manual for that one. Whether he _knew_ he
was doing it is another matter--the New Wavers of 1979 weren't
particularly famous for their love of Victorian light opera--but
consciously or not, he absorbed the lesson.

One of the major requirements of patter-song writing is that the lyrics
have to be easy to sing quickly. Try this on for size, read it out loud
as fast as you can go. (And don't worry about the quizzical looks from
your neighbors; just tell 'em it's vital psycho-linguistic research.
You'll be at least one-third truthful.)

          I am the very model of a modern Major-General,
	  I've information vegetable, animal, and mineral,
	  I know the kings of England, and I quote the fights historical
	  From Marathon to Waterloo, in order categorical;
	  I'm very well acquainted, too, with matters mathematical,
	  I understand equations, both the simple and quadratical,
	  About binomial theorem I'm teeming with a lot o' news,
	  With many cheerful facts about the square of the hypotenuse.

If you've ever heard "The Pirates of Penzance" you'll know this is
delivered at about the same breakneck speed as "Optimism's Flames." The
crowd invariably goes wild. (Honestly, it doesn't take much to get a
light-opera crowd to go all squishy and swoony.)

The salient characteristic here is the relentlessly alternating vowels
and consonants: this stuff is _designed_ to be sung at high speed. It's
all ta-ta-ta-ta-ta: lots of strong labials and plotives (p's and b's and
t's), many fewer weak fricatives (s's and f's). Note in particular
"teeming with a lot o' news,"  _not_ "lot _of_ news"--leaving the "f" on
"of" would break the rhythm and force the pronunciation "lottofnews,"
which doesn't roll off the tongue.


Now say "In like Flynn and styling" real fast and compare it to "In like
Flint and styling" said equally fast. That "t" on the end of "Flint"
lets you dig in and push forward aggressively into "and styling," while
the weakness of the "n" sound in "Flynn" makes for a little stumble
coming into that phrase.

It's a no-brainer, right? Especially if you're both the guy who's
writing it _and_ the guy who's gonna sing it.

My candidate for the Ewww! Gross! Prize in "Optimism's Flames":

          What on earth is bringing up this stream?
          The cat who got her cream is licking her lips and smiling
                 like her Cheshire Cousin

Harrison "Though it's wonderful for the complection, I hear..." Sherwood


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 19:08:09 -0400
From: JES <>
Subject: I de-lurk for a moment

I think it was Natalie Jacobs who was responding to "That's why I let that
supposed Laurie Anderson quote slide.  When she said "Writing about music is
like dancing about architecture" she was quoting Frank Zappa." By saying
"I've heard that quote attributed to so many people!  I originally heard it
attributed to Elvis Costello.  Does anyone know the real provenance of this
quote?  Just curious. . .  it's a good quote, whoever said it."  Actually, I
think that Frank Zappas most famous quote about music critics was something
along the lines of "critics are writers who cant write writing for people
who cant read."  But I could be wrong. asked "Does anyone play XTC songs at their local open
mike!"  Yes, I have played "Peter Pumpkinhead" at Limerick Junction in
Atlanta with my friend Kevin Lewis (who performs there regularly write to
him at and beg him for an itinerary, you wont be
sorry and often Im playing with him), and a band I was in a long time ago
played "10 Feet Tall" with a segue into one of our originals. One of these
days Im going to bang up the nerve to play "Dear God" at the Junction,
which is a regular request (since a lot of people who come to see me play
know that Im an XTC fan).

>From Phil Hetherington comes "The 'proper' League Of Gentlemen album, just
called 'League Of Gentlemen', is vinyl-only."  Not sure that this is
correct I think that it may have been issued on CD at one time or another,
although I do not own the CD copy myself.  Fripp then recorded a solo album
called "God Save The Queen/Under Heavy Manners" which featured one side of
"pure" Frippertronics (his surreal/ambient/soporific experiments in
long-delay tape loop recordings featuring ultra-distorted guitar) and the
other side featuring Frippertronics with bass/drum backing (and the title
song featuring the vocals of David Byrne).  The LOG album is extremely good,
with Fripp in a very playful and exciting mood, and the beat very dancable
(which I attribute to Sara Lees excellent bass work and Barry Andrews
exuberant Farfisa tickling).  The Frippertronics albums are good for
background music while doing work that requires concentration.  "God Save
The King" was a compilation (on vinyl and CD) from both of these albums.

Jerry Sumrell


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 22:57:19 -0700
From: (Danny Phipps)
Subject: Questions...


I have a few questions for all the other XTC
fans still interested in waiting for a bit of
new music to come from our boys from Swindon --

...and I'm SERIOUS with this, so really THINK
about it before answering please.  Okay, here
goes:  Is it possible to wait so long for some
new material from a band that no mattter how
devoted and avid a fan you are, you feel like
you may be losing interest?  I'm really wonder-
ing about this one!

I've been an XTC fan(atic) since first hearing
the "ES" album -- on VINYL!!! -- and have been
hooked by Andy and Co. ever since.  Each new
album coming from this band has been met by me
with much happiness and as equal an amount of
excitement as a kid getting his one major wish
from St. Nick on Christmas Day!  (Melodramatic
analogy, I know, but hey!  Deal it with folks,
this band EXCITES me!!)

But now, with all this litigation bullshit going
on now with so damned many and various record com-
panies, plus the band's "creativity" now seems to
have been personally put on hold by each band member,
I really want to feel that whatever these guys event-
ually release is gonna warrant this "timeless" wait-
ing that we're all experiencing, you know?  God!
The guys are starting to remind me of another "classic"
band who are doing the fans and others the same way
-- I'm talking about YES here, people!  You see, they've
waited so long to put out anything new (with a promise
that they WOULD be releasing some new material) that
now I've simply lost interest from all this waiting
for it to actually be released.  I really don't want
to start feeling the same way about Andy, Colin, and
Dave...but damn!!  HOW MUCH LONGER, GUYS???

If all this makes me appear as a selfish bastard by some
standards, then so be it, but I honestly feel that the
guys in XTC have all this wonderful music and talent
just overflowing from each individual personality.
Why the hell are they keeping it from being shared?
I swear, it's GOT to be more than just finding the
right record company / record deal! If that be the
case indeed, then I wish them all the very best luck
with the IDEA idea.  At least this way, they'll be
able to actually release some NEW material for a
change...instead of all this "greatest hits" packaging
and repackaging!  Yeah, "FF" and "UDA" are both great
discs, but they're simply "teasers."  I can't even
imagine how a finished, "XTC-fied" song would sound by
the guys now, it's been so long!!  It'd probably send
me into a coma if I heard it and knew it was actually
THEM, you know?  But, I digress...  :-(

I'm sorry if this post seems to be a "whining" episode
or whatever, but I honestly don't want to lose interest
in XTC simply because the guys are taking so friggin'
long to release some new material!  Believe me, the
classic stuff by XTC stills stands up and always will
for me, but when I hear that they've so far amassed a
collection of over 40 songs COMPLETED (!!!), why the hell
are we all waiting around to hear this new stuff?  How
much longer are Andy and Co. gonna have us wait until
it can be shared with the public again?

Come on, fellas!  PLEASE!!!!!!!!!  Release something
already (...before I possibly lose interest in caring
anymore...There!  I actually said it.).

So, there you have it, Chalk-folks.  Does any of this
warrant a possible ponder or should I just chuck this
feeling of possible doubt about XTC and continue to
wait around?  This is really bugging me...

PS -- Sorry 'bout the wordiness, but sometimes I tend
to get a tad "long in the tooth," as it were!

Peace through Music,

/Dan Phipps <>

* -------------------------------------------------------
"I would have made this instrumental, but the words
 got in the way."  (Andy Partridge)
"Imagination like a muscle will increase with exercise."
(Peter Blegvad)
"We all have deeply hidden chords that someone else must
 strike to hear the very ringing of the psyche."  (Stephen Duffy)
* ----------------------------------------------------------


Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Thu, 31 Jul 1997 23:43:51 +0000
Subject: Rather shorter than the last post... but well...

I again apologise for the relative hideousness for that parody... ah

> From: Simon Sleightholm <>
> Park To Memphis" were fun (but I expect that these are to Sprout fans as
> "Sgt Rock" is to XTC fans) and "Jordan" didn't alter my pulse even a little.
I don't know... "Sgt. Rock" always got on my nerves... First time I
heard it, it was OK, but now there's about a 50/50 shot I skip it.

> So, it comes to my attention that Andy is keen to work with arch dance bods
> the Dust Brothers.  Yowza!  I always wondered about this kind of thing; Andy
> is so rhythmically inclined, even within his melodies, and we've seen some
> wonderful dance/rock collaborations recently - Noel Gallagher/Chemical Bros,
I don't know much about the Dust Brothers, although I did like their
remix of Snail Shell... After reading that, I feel like one of those
people who goes, "They Might Be Giants?  They're pretty cool, because
they did Particle Man!" (or, more topic related: "XTC?  They're
pretty cool, because they did Dear God!")... Actually, Andy is very
talented with rhythm... I think he could probably pull it off well...

> From: Ira Lieman <>
> Song of the day: "Snowman" -- which I am currently playing for the 9th
> time today.
Ahh, you think you're so hot... I measure songs by HOURS I listen to
them!  8)

> From: Cheryl <>
> I just want to correct one little thing.  I almost thought I could
> let it go but I just can't do it.  Mitch! I'm not a Brit like you
> supposed.  I, too, am American.  As much as I want everyone to think
> I'm some English Rose just wallowing in the English-ness of England I
> just can't deceive people like that.  I must be honest to the end!
> How horribly boring of me.  : )
It's good to see I'm not the only one who wants to be British... I
even use Britishisms in speech, although I lose them when I get
flustered... sort of like how (according to TV) people revert back to
their native language...  Ah well...

> From:
>      I like Mummer as much as the next guy, but what's with those extra
>      tracks messing with the flow. It's enough to make you scratch them off
>      the cd!
I love the Mummer bonus tracks, but after buying the vinyl, I really
wish they put them at the end... maybe drop the Homo Safari ones... I
don't know... but I couldn't do without having a copy of Jump and
Toys... more so Jump.

> From: Thomas Slack <>
> Last week, while having friends over, "Wrapped in Grey" came on the radio.
> Anyway, we were
> all caught up in the mood of that song, a fairly poignant moment, similar
> to other descriptions I have heard of listening to this song. Then the coda
> came on at the very end of the song, which seemed to me a complete
> departure from the feel that had built up, and which just kind of leaves you
> hanging. I really wished it had been left off.
I am a bit biased, but I love the coda... it does kind of leave you
for more, but I'm pretty sure the only way to make WiG better is to
lengthen it to about maybe 15-20 minutes... In a Gadda Vida, indeed.

> From: John Leith <>
> It bothers me a little to see all the Todd bashing here as well. I am a huge
> XTC fan but must admit to being an even bigger Todd fan. I have pretty well
I don't know much about Todd, but I did see one of his videos on VH1,
when I stayed up to see if they played any XTC (nope, they didn't
play ANY X letter videos at all!)... I did like it, and I've thought
about buying one of his albums.  I might actually get around to it,
if I see one in a cut out bin...  He obviously has talent though, I
think everyone's main problem with him was his ego... but I don't
know... I should speak for myself, I suppose...

> From:
> XTC:   "This Is Not The New Album"  catalogue number PROCD4396.
> Would seem to be a US promotional item.  They're asking 7 pounds for it.
> Can anyone shed any light on this item and its contents, please?
I think it was just a few tracks from Nonsuch... it's listed in the
discography.  I don't think it was demo versions or anything.

Hmmm... Like I've said, XTC vinyl is great, even though that doesn't
have much to do with anything...

Ah well, that's this world 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)


Message-ID: <>
From: Gary Minns <>
Subject: XTC PLC
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 10:35:33 +0100

Cheryl wrote:

>...people have been discussing the idea of contributing to the promotion of
XTC.  Wouldn't it be better if they went the route that David Bowie
took of having people invest in the band...It's like people have stocks
or shares...<

Now that is a damn good idea.  Probably all of us on this list want to
help out and make Idea Records a success but, unless we have any
multi-millionaire lurkers out there, what could we do but stick up a few
posters and mail some leaflets?

My limited financial resources can't cope with giving #500 to, what in
essence, would be charity but if you turned it round and made it an
investment then, hey presto, all of a sudden you've talked me into
giving up my life savings!  It doesn't necessarily have to be shares in
XTC PLC it could be, say, The XTC Investment Trust!

In 5 years time it might all go belly-up and you've lost your cash but,
the flip side, XTC release a worldwide monster success CD or sign up the
next Spice Girls and everybody's happy!

As I said to Cheryl, I wish I'd thought of that idea myself.

Gary -- who's still reading Don Quixote and may well be reading it for
the rest of his life, due to the fact it is 940 pages long!


Message-Id: <l03020901b00786d6ef64@[]>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 09:14:04 -0400
From: Natalie Jacobs <>
Subject: "I'm the enchanting wizard of rhythm"/Radio, Radio part 2

Simon "Seal-Boy" Sleightholm yelps,

>So, it comes to my attention that Andy is keen to work with arch dance bods
>the Dust Brothers.  Yowza!

Yeah!  I mainly know the Dust Bros. as the folks who helped put together
Beck's god-like "Odelay" - I like the idea of them going to work on some of
the more guitar-y new XTC material.  It's about time Andy started
acknowledging that the '90's not only exist, but actually have something
good to offer.  I suppose he avoids such modernity for fear of appearing
"cool" or trendy, but I think someone as talented as him can absorb new
influences without sounding like the flavor of the week.

The XTC radio show is go!!  It's going to be on Tuesday, August 12, from
12-3pm.  Again, the station is WCBN, 88.3 Radio Free Ann Arbor.  I know
most of you won't be able to tune in, but even if you can't, and you have a
few bucks to spare, you can always give the station a call at 313-763-3500
and say hi.  You'll get your name mentioned on the air and you'll be
famous!  We're also going to be taping the show for posterity but I don't
know if I'll be able to make dubs.

A few words in praise of WCBN: they will play *anything.*  Whether it's
Negativland-style cut-ups or entire Firesign Theater albums or just
"Snowman" on a snowy day, they'll do it.  The XTC show is only one of a
series of such shows - there was a six-hour Eno show, a six-hour Velvet
Underground show, and, when Frank Zappa died, several DJ's got together and
presented a nine-hour Zappa show.  A friend of mine once played 1 1/2 hours
worth of versions of "Mack the Knife," and the only reason he didn't go
longer was because he ran out of versions.  Sometimes WCBN can be maddening
- I don't *want* to hear Tibetan monk chanting at 6 in the morning, thank
you! - but it's frequently brilliant.

remain in light,

Natalie Jacobs
Perdix: The Andy Partridge Appreciation Page

P.S.  Whoever mentioned the similarity between the Mac start-up chime and
"Miniature Sun," thank you!
We use Power Macs in my office and every time someone turns theirs on, I
end up humming "Miniature Sun" all day.  This is definitely a good thing.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 08:38:32 -0500
From: Mark Rushton <>
Subject: Re: Dear Mr Branson

>Dear Mister Branson
>(Andy Partridge (the good bits)/Matt Keeley (the other bits))
>Parody of "Dear Madam Barnum" by XTC

<song lyrics edited out>

Forgive me, but wasn't Virgin sold to Thorn/EMI back in 1992/93?

Besides that, I'm under the impression that Richard Branson has spent the
last ten years or so spending all his time on both Virgin Atlantic (the
airline) and trying to fly around the world in a balloon.

If I'm wrong, let me know, but I think the above lyrics are a bit
misdirected.  Perhaps a song should be made up to villify the
nameless/faceless suits that really controlled the label.

Mark Rushton, author of the Bill Nelson/Be Bop Deluxe/Red Noise/Channel
Light Vessel web site:


Message-ID: <>
From: Jon Leslie Davis <>
Subject: Sara Lee
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 06:38:51 -0700

Sara Lee has worked quite a lot with Indigo Girls. I have seen her twice
with them, including their current tour. She also has toured extensively
with Ani DiFranco (seen her twice there, too) and features prominently on
Ani's live album Living in Clip.

As for seeing one musician in multiple situations, my record goes to Tony
Levin, whom I've seen with King Crimson, Peter Gabriel, and Anderson Bruford
Wakeman Howe in a tie with Bill Bruford, whom I've seen drumming with Yes,
King Crimson, and Earthworks. I've seen Dave Mattacks (XTC content!) with
Fairport Convention and Richard Thompson, and Dave Pegg with those two as
well as Jethro Tull. Oh, and how about Adrian Belew with King Crimson, David
Bowie, and the Bears?

The exclusive Triples Club...

Jon Davis
(infrequent but still listening)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 09:02:19 -0500
From: Douglas Hardin <>
Subject: Prefab Sprout, Blue Nile & Kinks

Hi Chalkies:

I have to agree with Lee Lovingood on Prefab Sprout, Two Wheel Good is
the one the try out. Not the best thing I have heard in my life but
worth a listen.

Was reading the Rifff transcripts on Bungalow (Thanks Simon) and was
surprised to see that Andy and I share a love for Blue Nile. If some of
you haven't heard them, highly recommend them. Not very XTC but
beautiful melodies and a fine voice on Paul Buchannan (I believe that's
his name). All three albums are great but especially A Walk Across the
Rooftops and Peace at Last. It's a shame they only seem to put out an
album every 7 years.

Listened to Kinks - Waterloo Sunset and Autumn Almanac (on Andy's
suggestion) and he is right on. Pure pop melodies and wonderful hooks. I
can hear the influence they have had on him.

Sorry for the lack of XTC content. I was only following Andy's lead.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 16:33:01 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Just the soft centres?

From: "Matt Keeley" <>

>I don't know... I've heard whirlybird quite a bit (not as common as

Back in the mid 70's, during the UK school summer holidays, we used to get a
hodge-podge of imported TV shows to keep us entertained in the mornings.
There was a strange (French, I think) version of "Robinson Crusoe", "The
Banana Splits", something about jet pilots from the Eastern Bloc which was
called, I think, "The Aeronauts" and there was a show called "The
Whirlybirds" about a helicopter crew.  I _think_ this was a US show - I
couldn't swear to it - and that's where _I_ first heard the term.  We used
to play "Whirlybirds" at school by taking our coats off, putting the hood
over our head and then waggling our heads so that our coats swivelled around
us like a rotor blade. Kudos went to Andrew Coombs who, because his family
were quite well off, has a coat with a fur lined hood which lubricated the
process and allowed him to complete several complete rotations in one go.
Those were the days... Whatever happened to "Captain Pugwash?" - Ah, "Master
Bates" and "Seaman Staines"; kids' TV was so _educational_ in those days.

Ralph D. wrote:

>life of me, I cannot figure out why I have read so much Todd R. bashing
>in Chalkhills in the past.

Apart from the fact that some people simply don't enjoy what he does, I
think what has aggrieved some XTC fans is that there has been a certain
implication from some of the Todd supporters that Skylarking lived or died
by Todd's input alone, and that it is more his album than XTC's.


>XTC:   "This Is Not The New Album"  catalogue number PROCD4396.
>Would seem to be a US promotional item.  They're asking 7 pounds for it.

I bought this a few years ago at a record fair for 1 pound.  It's a sampler
for Nonsuch, and there are no new tracks on it.

From: Jim Dupuy

>I'm sure he may not be thinking that he
>will write a song with a certain progression (or is he)but I believe that
>he may, at times, know where he wants to go with it.

Some of Andy's own comments bear that out to some degree. To (wildly)
paraphrase a quote I can't find - "You're messing about with your guitar and
suddenly you think, 'Oh, that's a nice _foggy_ chord'.  You mess around a
bit more and you find another _differently_foggy_ chord.  And then you play
these chords until you can't stop thinking about fog and foggy things."

My own experience has the process down as a mix of inspiration and
perspiration.  The initial impetus is usually a bolt from the blue, a real
smack between the eyes - be it a chord change, a lyrical idea, a mood,
whatever - and then the _work_ starts.  I have so many fragments of song
lying about that have, say, a deeply summery vibe to the verse but for which
I can't find a complimentary chorus structure.  I don't for one minute claim
to be in the league of Mr Partridge, nor to know what's going on in his
head, but having heard so many of the home demos and spotted bits that later
emerged in other songs, it seems there is a little evidence to suggest that
a certain amount of conscious reworking does take place.  Of course, we'll
never know if "Goodbye Humanosaurus" begat "Then She Appeared" because Andy
simply found the latter to be a better home for a musical phrase he'd become
fond of, or if the one really grew organically out of what was sown in the

Oh, and I just read that in the '70s there was a proposal for a movie about
the life of George Gershwin, to be directed by Ken Russell (!) and to star
Al Pacino in the title role (!!).  Now, _there's_ a movie I'd like to have

An XTC resource - "Food for the thinkers..."


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 10:55:07 -0500
From: Don Lindbergh <>
Organization: National Library of Medicine
Subject: Re: Dolby Digital, DVD Blah Blah Blah

> From: (David McGuinness)
> Subject: T-shirt sighting and surround sound
> Michael Myers wrote about the coming of 6-channel surround and stuff.
> Well, don't trash your stereo yet.  I was discussing the whole Dolby
> Surround thing with a sound supervisor here in the BB of C yesterday, and he
> says that after trying various experiments, what worked best was recording
> in boring old stereo and then just turning the decoder on for playback.
> So stereo will not become obsolete in the foreseeable future!
> Just thought I'd put your minds and credit cards at rest ...

This is a mis-interpretation/mis-understanding/way oversimplification.
5.1 dolby digital has nothing whatsoever to do with the hideous hack
known as Dolby Pro-Logic which uses analog phase cancellation within a
stereo signal to try and decide what to throw in the mono rear channel.
THX is partly another hack on top of a hack and partly a good attempt at
a standard for some related things which I won't get into.  Lots of
people seem to like what a Pro-Logic decoder (THX approved/enhanced or
not) does with boring old stereo recording which is purely random and
coincidental, basically depending on how much relative out of phase
information is in the stereo signal.  Note that there are a few obscure
stereo recordings which contain a purposely encoded Dolby Pro-Logic
signal designed for such a system.  You could play such a recording on a
regular stereo system and depending on your ears, experience, and
familiarity with the recording, not notice any difference.  Nothing
would happen/come out of the speakers if you tried to decode a boring
old stereo recording with a 5.1 dolby digital (AC-3) decoder as this
system is based on 6 discrete channels encoded within a single digital
bit stream.

DVD audio only is probably quite a ways away and no announcements of any
such material have been made by any record companies to date for either
two channel beyond 44.1khz sampled music or for music mixed to 6
discrete channels, though I think the latter sounds cool as hell for
certain things (the old discrete quad Pink Floyd recordings for
instance). 6 channel discrete digital sound is of course available now
for the home via movies on laserdisc and DVD if you have the decoder for
either/both the Dolby Digital/AC-3 or DTS signal.  Dolby Digital and DTS
are the nineties version of VHS and Beta (we never learn) See and for

I tried to be brief, there are lots of boring, endlessly technical
if/ands/buts, none of which of course have anything to do with XTC.
They just need to get a godammned record out any fucking way they can
before they or we are all dead and won't be interested in decoding



From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 13:04:24 -0400
Subject: My Dictionary

Shame: O&L was NOT produced by Andy in his recording shed. (Hey, why not
produce the new ones, Andy?)

Paradox: 25 O'CLOCK was recorded in 1985, and produced by the same man who
produced White Music

Tease: The Upsy Daisy Assortment (I bought a box of chocolates and listened
to Waxworks instead)

IDEA: The release of a CD box set of demos (sounding good) and even (gasp)
instrumental tracks

Pipe Dream: see IDEA

Labyrinth: The path of the collector

Minotaur: The Music Industry

Future: rather promising, and you?

Military: psychedelic

Demo: Better

Drugs: cigarettes or beer from a jug

The Wind: freedom, change, reminder

Grass: BOTH

Animal: human

Cage: The City

Scarecrow: politician

God: sex

Satan: Jeff Lynne

Truth: Taken with rain


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Aug 1997 16:00:54 -0400
From: Pandrea <>
Subject: some small thoughts from one small man

> Speaking of the Prodigy (I forget who actually was). The singer reminds
> me of Viv from "The Young Ones". HA.
>HaHA. Too True. But then which one is "neil"?

Also I have to agree with the post (I think it was Simon?), who made the
point of distinction between dance music and DANCE music. Any
listen to some of the techno being produced today shows easily
who some of the more serious and interesting artists are. There
is some innovative, and intelligent stuff being produced. To
  Aphex Twin(could you imagine if Richard James could work with
              the boys? Either scary or beautiful, maybe both)
  Autechre, Spring Heel Jack, Orbital, U-ZIQ, the Chemical Bros,Meat
Beat Manifesto (fellow "Swindoners"),and yes, Prodigy. There is some
exciting music out there, if you take the chance on it. Loving XTC (like
we all do), has never stopped me from genre-hopping, it's probably
strengthend me instead to be a little more receptive of the new. I think
it would be pretty cool if the Dust Brothers did some work with the
boys. (probably won't happen though)

For what its worth,


Message-Id: <v01540b00b007ee8fd14a@[]>
Date: Fri, 1 Aug 1997 16:37:56 -0400
Subject: Algebra, Sexual Mores and the E Street Shuffle

Sometimes I just want to take this damned computer-dependent culture, ram a
big M-80 up its nose, light the fuse and run away cackling insanely.

I had a MONSTER of a post going about "Optimism's Flames" and the
Flynn/Flint business, using Gilbert & Sullivan patter songs as a model for
how to write lyrics that are optimized for high-speed delivery, quoting an
entire verse from "The Modern Major-General" and proving by algebra that
Andy chose "Flint" because it's much easier to sing. (Try singing them both
really fast and you'll see what I mean.)

Sent it off yesterday, well pleased with my efforts in Synchretic XTC
Scholarship, only to notice that #146 was _completely free of my post_.

Turns out the company mail server cacked yesterday afternoon, and that
sucker is _archives_. Even my "Drafts" folder is a howling empty wasteland.

Shite and onions. So now I'm posting from home.

>From Thomas "fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-fa-ta-ta-ta, don't need another asshole" Slack

>what Andy did
>_not_ do, which is to add a quirky bridge or coda that departs from the
>overall feel of the song. (Yeah, there's a bridge, but it fits in well
>and leads perfectly back into the verse.)

That's because it's a _bubblegum_ song!

I remember reading or hearing or perhaps dreaming that Andy felt a great
deal of pressure at the time to come up with a truly commercial single; MoS
was the result. (There's a certain..._sarcasm_ about it, if you think about
it...? Something of Zappa-esque manipulativeness?)

Andy's "quirky" bridges are of course commercial suicide; that's what we
_love_ about him, right?

James Dupuy <> wrote

        (quoting me):

>>I don't for a minute suggest that that
>>sort of analysis is going through Andy's mind while he's writing and
>>arranging a song.
>I believe there is a creative intuition that many good songwriters
>might have but I have for some time now wondered if one could consciously
>arrange really good works of art. I don't write much and have only just
>got back into it. In highschool I wrote by feeling and by developing
>progressions that I stumbled on by accident, but I have recently been able
>to hear with my mind's ear where I wanted the progression to go in order to
>accomplish the feeling. Is this "intuition and experience" that has been
>developed through the years?

That's the "intuition" part. You hear the song in your head, and you write
it down. The "genius" part of composing. The John Lennon,
these-are-the-chords-and-kiss-my-arse-if-you-don't-like-it approach. Ever
taken a good look at the chords of "I Am the Walrus"? They make _no_ sense
whatsoever, they follow _no_ rules.

The "experience" part is more the workmanlike, more labor-intensive,
probably less creative aspect, but plenty of people make great and moving
art with it. (See Elvis C. comments below.) What I had in mind here was a
thorough knowledge of what songwriters of the past have done to solve
problems and create effects. For instance (I'll use the Beatles because
that's probably the universal _lingua franca_, right?) you can get a very
good hint about what period a particular Beatle song comes from by checking
the frequency of V augmented chords. In the early days both Paul and John
used them like crazy as a substitute for the more cliched, bluesy V7. When
you see George & Paul going "woo! into a microphone while shaking their
puddingbowls as the teenyboppers soak the theater seats with tender female
effluvia, you can bet the farm they're flogging an augmented chord. (George
& Paul, I mean. Not the girls. The girls are flogging sexual mores.)
Augmented V chords became so characteristic of the early Beatle sound that
they became a cliche, which the Fabs themselves dropped along about "A Hard
Day's Night."

Nowadays, if you want to sit down to write a song that invokes the early
Beatles sound you _have_ to use augmented V chords. Check the end of the
bridge of "I Must Be In Love" by the Rutles for a textbook application of
this principle--woo! (In fact, just check the Rutles, _period_. Neil Innes
is God Incarnate.)

Robert Christgau, in an unfriendly review of "Oranges and Lemons," accused
XTC of being "pop formalists." I take that to mean that in his opinion they
write songs "in the style of" other people, of not having a style of their
own but promiscuously imitating those of others. He may indeed have
something of a point, in that O&L really _is_ a collection of XTC "doing"
lots of other styles (it is, after all, the album where the Dukes and XTC
finally merged!), including quite a lot of the aforementioned Beatles.
OTOH, that was the _Zeitgeist_ of 1988 fer chrissakes, so FU, Christgau.

>I guess my point is that it may be realistic for
>someone to consciously create the awsome stuff that Andy has created.
>I have always believed that Elvis Costello had a fairly good handle on
>what he wanted to do musically.

Well, it's a very interesting question: Which is better? Building on the
experience of other writers or attempting to come up with something totally
original? To use our Beatle paradigm, John was supposedly the more
adventurous, while Paul the more conservative, songwriter. John used
intuition and inspiration, and Paul mined the past for neat little tricks
and cool stuff from many different idioms. (Not _at all_ accurate, of
course, but this is how the Executive Summary version of history sees
them.) Elvis C. is _definitely_ a mine-the-past songwriter. _All_ his songs
are POMO pastiches. (Don't get me wrong; I would crawl over broken glass
for a mere gobbet of Elvis Costello's used toothpaste, but I always get the
impression that Elvis songs started out as homework assignments: "Write a
song that expresses ambiguous marital hatred. Arrange it to evoke both Ben
E. King and the Zombies simultaneously. Use horns.")

>BTW, Harrison (is that what you go by?)

That and "Sugarhips."

Harrison "They Call me Mr. Tibbs" Sherwood

P.S. Tomorrow I'm taking Harpo, Chico and Margaret Dumont off to the Outer
Banks for a couple of weeks. Catch you on the flip side. --H.


End of Chalkhills Digest #3-147

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