Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-58

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 58

                 Sunday, 15 December 1996

Today's Topics:

                  Slade:  no hit wonders
  I'm New Here (Damn, you probably hate these things...)
                      Jerry Maguire
          music turns up in the darndest places
                   A steal by Gregory!
                  strange, strange tales
              Living Through Another Nuance
                  Dave pictures & Martin
                       Summer Grass
           Go **** Yourself With Your Acronyms
                         Catch up
                      JOHNNY NEXDOR
             Re: XTC News Alert System Needed
                   Of kings and radios
            Making the big movie royalties...
                     Re: Randy Newman
            taunting taunting/gershman's army
    A refiner's fire (or, music vs. lyrics, round six)
            This street has changed so much...
                        first XTC
                      XTC vs. radio
                What does "b/w" stand for
                   Politically lyrical


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Just relax, we're not gonna eat you, boy...


Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 10:22:30 -0500
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Slade:  no hit wonders

A note and thought from Chalk56:

SLADE:  James Dignan tallyed up the Slade chart positions (31 charting UK
singles!) and laughed at the idea of them being called one hit wonders.  In
America they had 31 less chart hits, which would qualify them as, in US
standards, another UK band with no hits (along with the Jam, Move, etc.).
 Most US folks only know their songs as done by Def Leppard (it took me a few
post Leppard years to discover the songs as they were meant to be heard).

It's so hard to remember that the chart placings in my country aren't the
same for everyone else on this board.  Something huge in the UK often only
makes a small critical dent in the states (I know, it goes both ways).

Currently enjoying:
  RADIOHEAD - Pablo Honey (it took me a few years to finally relise that this
is a great album)
   Best of the THE MOVE (between all this Roy Wood talk on Chalkhills and the
power pop board I had to go back to one of the most underrated bands of the

Sleap Cheap
Dale (


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 10:43:51 -0500
From: Evan Chakroff <>
Subject: I'm New Here (Damn, you probably hate these things...)

Hi. Okay, that's over with. I just got my first XTC album about a week ago
(Skylarking), and I got A Testimonial Dinner two days ago. I figure this
would be the best place to ask.... Which one should I get next? Please
reply to me personally, cause I'm sure you've already had a "My favorite
album" thread here...
Evan Chakroff
The Internet Mystery Spot
This Statement Is False


From: Aaron Pastula <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Jerry Maguire
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 96 8:51:31 PST

But, for those of you who are interested, the new film Jerry Maguire
has "Through The Hill" from the Partridge Budd album in the soundtrack.

You can hear it near the end when Tom Cruise gets emotional...which is
actually quite often.

For the record, one of the best XTC "nuances" EVER is the tricky guitar
part of "English Roundabout" that starts right around the "cars and buses
go puffing out thier smoke" line.  Magic.



Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 09:21:57 -0800
Message-Id: <>
From: (Wesley Paul Hanks)
Subject: music turns up in the darndest places

Hello all Seperated Chalkhill Twins,
Recent posts have touched on a favorite diversion, hearing good music
over public address systems and the hearing-the-last-song/group-you

Some recent spottings:
"King for a Day" overheard at an Applebee's in Las Vegas. (Only good
thing about my lunch. ick!)
"Alison" heard at the Fiesta Hotel's buffett.

And, I'm-not-making-this-up Muzak treatments I've encountered:
Talking Heads - "Take Me to the River"
The Smiths - "Girlfriend in a Coma"
The Clash - "Train in Vain"
David Bowie - "Changes"

Of course there are many more...these were the ones that made me stop
in my tracks and say "...the hell?"

Happy Hanukkah!


Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 13:01:31 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v01510100aed853b6ae28@[]>
From: (Paul Brantley)
Subject: gnomenclature

So what XTC lyric would inspire the name of your new band?

mine: (The?) Pineapple Wet Heads



Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 13:07:36 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v03007802aed84c73dea5@[]>
From: Ira Lieman <>
Subject: A steal by Gregory!

Benjamin Rubin pondered:

>XTC content:  Dave Gregory looks just like Jeff Hornacek of NBA fame.
Now that you mention it...that's funny (!)
But I don't know if Jeff plays an instrument, and I'll doubt Gregsy can hit
the long jumper.

And again: Costello/Nieve is STILL a great set.


"Go ahead and jump..."


Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 10:35:34 -0800
Message-Id: <>
From: (Wesley Paul Hanks)
Subject: strange, strange tales

Hoo boy!
Moments after I sent my previous post regarding muzak treatment of
songs/bands, I went to do shopping. As I was in the Albertson's filling
up my cart I hear the muzak and its...steady now, "Mayor of Simpleton".
Saints preserve us!


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 14:56:20 -0800
From: Troy Peters <>
Subject: Living Through Another Nuance

I've been enjoying the XTC favorite nuance thread, and most of mine have
already been mentioned, but there is one I don't think I have already
seen here:

* At the end of "When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty", Andy sings the
title phrase over and over again.  It is five beats long and
superimposed on a straight 4/4 so that the accent shifts from syllable
to syllable every time he repeats it.  When I was 14 (in 1983), this was
the coolest thing I had *ever* heard.  It's still pretty fun.

Have fun, kids.

Troy Peters


Date: 14 Dec 1996 20:28:29 -0000
Message-ID: <>
From: "Ben Gott" <>
Subject: Dave pictures & Martin

Could the gent who had the pictures of Dave Gregory get in touch with me?
I'd love to have one for my XTC shrine...To all of you who made fun of the
shrine (almost exactly) a year ago: BITE ME. It has survived both a move and
a summer with high humidity, and is growing daily. It also helped to sell
our house: apparently, a family came to look at the house, and they (2
parents and 2 kids) entered my room. According to our realtor, the kids
exclaimed "Cool room!  What's XTC?" They bought the house the following
week. Hah. I'm going to give them a tape of "English Settlement" for
Christmas to assuage their anger about the leaky roof in the master bedroom.

Also - does anyone know where I could find Martin Newell's "Off-White Album"
in the U.S.? I've checked some places, but it costs about as much as a used
Yugo.  Please advise.

Merry Christmas, everyone...My next e-mail will be my yearly winter
cancellation of Chalkhills so I don't have 500,000 digests in my box when I
return in January.

Unlike Mr. Garcia, I'm *almost* done with exams. Two more to go.


* -------------------------------------------
Ben Gott
The Hotchkiss School
"It frightens me when you come to mind..." XTC

* ---------------------------------------------------------
Get Your *Web-Based* Free Email at
* ---------------------------------------------------------


Message-Id: <>
From: "Simon Knight" <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 08:18:50 +0000
Subject: Summer Grass

JHB wrote about Grass
>Ack! How did I miss that? While it doesn't really work in the verses
>(no real way to fit pot in there, AFAICT), it works perfectly in the
>chorus, adding an interesting twist to the song. Damn, what was *I*
>smoking when I wrote that?

Uhh, hate to burst your delusion for the verses as well Josh, but
anyone who accidentally inhaled too deeply during their teenage
experimentations would know exactly what Colin means by "my heart
it flares like fire".

And as for "Your mate has gone, she didn't want to be alone".  Was
she one of those people who gets paranoid whilst under the
influence?  Scared to be alone whilst high but scared of being caught
smoking with her friends?

It's apt it's preceded by "Summer's Cauldron", which sounds like
Andy's take on the same subject.  "Breathing in the boiling batter",
"Fruit of sweating golden inca".  "Please don't pull me out, i'm
relaxed in the undertow".

Flame me gently, the interpretation's only my own, and not important
enough to spend weeks fighting over here.


Message-Id: <v01550100aed8cf4e058d@[]>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 16:42:57 -0600
From: (Insane Boy)
Subject: Go **** Yourself With Your Acronyms

Dear Friends and Family,

The subject header is not intended maliciously, it's merely
a play on the backwards thang at the end of "Mole".  However,


Da fuck does that mean?

>There are a lot more evil things in music than Muzak.

Like, say, Wesley Willis.

>My brother Philip and I still can't figure out how "Senses"
>wasn't a major top forty hit...

Um, maybe you forgot to carry the three... it was top 10 in
the U.K.

>I didn't realize Reign Of Blows was so political at first.

Yeah, at first I wasn't quite sure what he meant with the line
"by the half-light of burning republics Joe Stalin looks just like
Uncle Sam." :)

>what would the Beatles have sounded like had Ringo quit while they were
>making, say, "Magical Mystery Tour", and they'd used session drummers
>after that?

I don't know.  All I can say is that it's a good thing Paul really
wasn't dead and that George didn't know Jeff Lynne.  Otherwise...

>So what your saying is that [insert every "classic rock" band name
>you can think of] should just drop off the face of the earth????

Uh, no.  Actually, what I was saying (if you're interested) is that
music's not going to GO anywhere new if all we keep hearing on the
radio are regurgitated classic rock-style songs.  The whole point of
classic rock was attitude covering up for lack of quality.
Sure, these bands had hits (and often the hits were good songs).
But can you honestly tell me that you like an entire Guess Who album
(discounting hits compilations)?  I doubt it.  Most of the songs
are filler.  They did it then and others are doing it now.  I just
want to move on, that's all.


Speaking of that, has anyone ever tried to play along with that
on bass and succeeded?  I always get tired at the end.  How does
he DO that?!

Other things I like:
The tinkly keyboard/guitar intro to "I Am the Audience"
The last chord to "Love on A Farmboy's Wages"
"Right now I'm feeling okay, I'm turning night into day-YAY-HEEEEYYYYYYY-
yadadadadadada-da-day!" CHANG!
The drum fills from the "wo-oh"'s to the end in "Generals & Majors"
   (quite similar to the end of Blondie's "Heart of Glass")
        Drum fills are almost *exactly* the same throughout
        the bass line
        the way the guitar mixes with the bass line
        Andy's sax solo (but I'd mentioned that before)
        The bit at the end that he lifted from somewhere.."Lazy boy..."

There's some article I read in the Chalkhills Archives where Andy
says how Terry would often do his drum parts first, go down to
the pub, and the other guys would just fill in the rest!  I
wonder if "Leisure" was one of those...I can definitely see how
"It's Nearly Africa" might have been recorded that way.

Any day now.
Jason Garcia [Slightly More Sane than Previous]


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 01:39:51 +0000
From: Phil Hetherington <>
Subject: Catch up

Dear Chalkhills Digesters,

I'm lagging somewhat behind here, so this relates to what was in
digests 24-44, with the quotes being from 39-44. 36 never arrived
- does it exist? Anyway, advance apologies if a lot of this is now
old news.

<Lengthy political bollocks omitted since a sneak preview at 3-56
suggests that the "discussion" is no more>

The remainder of this message typed in offline a few days ago:

An old quote from someone who knows who she is:

# As far as I'm concerned, there is no such thing as alternative music
# anymore.  It died when <snip>

There is such a thing as alternative, but unfortunately you haven't
heard of it. Neither has anyone else, so fear not.

Well, Yo La Tengo might be close. Check out 'Painful' or 'Electr-o-
Pura'. :-)

Bob Estus <>, quoting Stephen Larson

# >Also, in _The Smartest Monkeys_ (I just know y'all can't wait to carefully
# >analyze the lyrics here :-)):  "To the subways of the modern world, How
# they >pack so many in".  This makes sense to me only in the American meaning
# of >"subway" not the English walkway under a road.

I'm sure others have realised this, but it's definitely UK subways, i.e.
where scores of homeless people end up sleeping every night. The other
interpretation makes no sense in the context of the rest of the song.
IMHO, of course.

# Subways to be read as two words "sub" "ways", meaning inferior ways. That's
# not much forward progress at all is it?

Interesting interpretation. I suspect Colin didn't think of it, but I
like it anyway. :-)

By the way, 'The Smartest Monkeys' is the one song which got me _really_
hooked on XTC, so there. :-p

From: "Witter, Karl F" <>

# However, Virgin did manage to set aside one of the eight pages for
# instructions on the care and feeding of a compact disk.  And about
# time!  I own ten, she owns hundreds, and I laud them for finally
# teaching me on which side to drop the needle.

This has always irritated me, and it seems to be an affliction borne by
many of the early CDs published. OK, so once it was useful to know that
I had to wipe from centre to edge, but I'm sure the CD player's manual
said that, and I certainly don't need it in 4 different languages on
every CD, where a nice picture of Colin scowling at me would have

Anyway, foo.

XTC songs to play LOUD: I can't believe nobody has (at the time of
writing) mentioned 'This World Over'! Whenever I reach this point on
TBE, the volume (already creeping up by this point) gets thrown _right_
up. The drumming is awesome!

Try it. You might find out why I'm less than keen on 'Red Brick Dream'
too. :-)

The Flaming Stars have a 7" out called 'Ten Feet Tall'. It's an
original, not a cover. :-)

Currently playing: Danya Donelly "Sliding & Diving". (Gorgeous!)
Before that: Juno Reactor "Beyond The Infinite". (Not recommended for
Before that: Billy Joel "Streetlife Serenade". So sue me; Chalkhills
made me put it on anyway. :-)

Off to see the High Llamas tomorrow (11/12/96). Wahay.

Love and hugs and kisses to all,

Phil Hetherington


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:49:53 +0900
From: NaoyuKing <>

Hi, Chalkies!!!

Yesterday the greatest a-cappella group ROCKAPELLA did a promotional
live show in Tokyo, and of course, I went and saw them.  I was sick
then and I had a serious headache while waiting for them to appear,
but once the show began, all of my sickness went away.  They sang
about ten songs, all of which were great, and espacially, "LAND OF
A THOUSAND DANCES" was outstanding, IMO.  I hadn't liked this song
before, but once I listened to their version of this song, I came to
like it.

Of course I bought their new album _LUCKY SEVEN_ which includes some
more covers, such as "STAND BY ME" or "LOVE ME TENDER," and it is
fantastic!!!  It isn't "XTC-ish" at all, but whoever likes "BIG WET
RAG" (from the CD _CARMEN SANDIEGO_) will love it.  It's strongly

Finally... I talked to "JOHNNY NEXDOR" himself after the show!!!
I could not talk with him so much because of my poorest English,
but I had a really good time (and also did he, I hope).  He said
he was sorry not to have contributed a song to the tribute tape,
but he had been really busy with ROCKAPELLA.

Anyway, I'm really happy to be on this list.  If I didn't subscribe
Chalkhills, I wouldn't have such a great experience!!!


---- NaoyuKing, the department           "And when you cry
     of Economics in KEIO Univ.           I'll be your tears...
                                          With every step
  E-mail :    I'll be your ground..."


Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 20:17:30 -0800 (PST)
From: A Sattler <>
Subject: Re: XTC News Alert System Needed
Message-ID: <>

In Chalkhills Digest #3-55, wrote:

> ... it struck me that folks who have news to convey can help us out by
> prefacing their subject headers with something like "NEWS:"  ...
> This would allow us backloged readers to scan the topic index for
> important newsworthy items instead of muddling through the voluminous
> opinion messages for tidbits of what the boys are up to.

Those of you who really want to know what is going on with XTC,
straight from the source, and haven't already started a subscription to
the Little Express, do it now, you won't regret it.  The address is:
The Little Express, P.O. Box 1072, Barrie, Ontario L4M 5E1, Canada.
Write for current subscription rates.  Postage to Canada is cheap.
Do it.  It's worth every penny.
  (Thanks again to Mitch Friedman, David Yazbek, and the others in touch
with the band, and those who continue to offer useful, informative
(and too infrequent) posts and questions to Chalkhills.)



Date: Sat, 14 Dec 1996 23:43:20 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v01540b00aed8d1015118@[]>
From: (Irene Trudel/Peter Keepnews)
Subject: Of kings and radios

De-lurking and a little behind in reading posts as usual. Some thoughts on
the following...

>while calling a local hospital I was treated to
>a "oh so smooth" Muzak version of Mayor Of Simpleton...very soothing. ;)
>Lots >of velvety sax sounds and a lovely flute doing the "please be
>upstanding for >the mayor of simpleton" part..


Last July, sitting in a diner with my brother and sister-in-law (who
probably own 10 CDs between them-- no XTC) I heard something familiar
drifting out of the background music. Gentle brush-tapped drums. Pleasant,
bell-like chords on the keyboard. Bah-dum, bah-dum, bah-dum-dah-dee-dum. My
shriek of recognition for "King for a Day" was met by blank stares. (And
this cushy version was note-perfect minus vocals!)

My vote for most difficult "translations" to muzak: "Oh Lord Deliver Us
from the Elements", "Travels in Nihilon", "Roads Girdle the Globe",
"Helicopter", "Complicated Game".

Kris ( (Miss Piggy) said:
>Thank you DeWitt, I have warm fuzzies all over again.  Actually, I'm not
>overly fond of most commercial radio formats myself, which is why I chose a
>career path in public radio (shameless plug!).  In the non-commmercial
>world we still have relative freedome to assess community needs and desires
>and program accordingly.  Or at least we try!

I too am a strong believer in community radio, deserting the commercial
world after 8 stress-filled years. I can thank the sadly departed WPIX
radio for my first exposure to XTC (circa Drums & Wires), but they're a
"square peg" of a band in terms of classic rock radio programming. (I'll
never forget arguing with the program director of the station I worked for
about his refusal to add "Dear God" to the playlist when it clearly was
becoming a hit. "The song just isn't very good," he said, then added it a
week later due to trade magazine pressure.) I am most grateful for the
station I belong to--WFMU --because they play music that falls through the
cracks. And great bands like XTC, along with the most obscure ones, will
always have a home there. Lots of good stations like this disappear from
the U.S. every year. Lest I start becoming a Public Service Announcement
;), I urge you all to discover the stations "left of the dial" and  throw
'em a chunk of change when they fundraise. They're where everything musical
starts and ends up.

>...or, maybe all you need is a head, a heart, and a pair of ears.
>Natalie Jacobs

That about sums it up!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 10:08:14 -0800
From: Troy Peters <>
Subject: Making the big movie royalties...

More money for Andy:

Something from "Through the Hill" appears in the new movie "Jerry
Maguire."  I'm pretty sure it's not on the soundtrack album, but I'm
also fairly certain he'll still get broadcast royalties for the film and
further mechanical royalties for sales of videocassettes.

And it's a good movie.

Troy Peters


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 16:43:25 +0100
From: Tim De Cock <>
Subject: Re: Randy Newman

If you want to check out  >"I love that ELO" by Randy Newman< you
 should know that is actually called "The Story of a Rock And Roll
 Band". But it's on the album "Born Again", sure thing. And it's
 great. Like all of Randy Newmans work. Sigh. After our Andy, rAndy
 (huh-huh) is the artist I have the most CD's of.

Nice transcription, BTW, Michael Kearns! Dit-dit-dit-dit...

Second post on Chalkhills, and already no XTC-content. What in the

Tim (only one on the list?)


Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 07:53:38 -0800
Message-Id: <>
From: studio seventeen productions <>
Subject: taunting taunting/gershman's army

our own fine mentor [John Relph] taunts us with his programming skills (and
then implies that we have none):

>Produced using John Relph's Digest package (V3.3).  Neener neener.

the pain...

 * * * *         * * * *          * * * *

and the fine Dave Gershman then says (among other things):

> but the first 4 C.T. albums up through that one are all
>classics of pop songwriting, particularly the first two, "Cheap Trick" and
>"In Color." Anyone with an appreciation of power pop, from the Beatles to
>Big Star, from the dBs to the Posies, would be truly missing out to ignore
>them. Take a listen to "Mandocello," "Oh, Candy," or "Drowned." "He's a
>Whore" stands up to the best of the Buzzcocks

HE IS RIGHT YOU KNOW.  Cheap Trick's first two records are pop monsters.
"He's A Whore" rocks like mad.  I think lots of Chalktypes would really like
these.  But DO absolutely stay away from the later stuff...

the other dave

the       dave at studio seventeen


*    *  *  *  *  *       I am not a number...
*                  *            I am a FREE MAN!
*                          *
*                        *

seventeen: the ambient music page



Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 11:21:19 -0500 (EST)
From: Natalie Jane Jacobs <>
Subject: A refiner's fire (or, music vs. lyrics, round six)
Message-ID: <>

Since I am going to participate in a community "Messiah" sing this
afternoon, I thought it would be appropriate to add to the thread about
song-lyrics' content interfering with one's enjoyment of a song.  Like
Kris, I'm a singer, and I'm also a writer; hence, I'm very sensitive to
lyrics and, although I tend to respond to music and lyrics in equal doses
(XTC got to me through their music first - that amazing triple drumbeat in
"Beating of Hearts" - and their lyrics later - the internal
"blister/mister" rhyme in "Great Fire"), the lyrics to a song can and
often do ruin a song for me.  There are several XTC songs - "Scarecrow
People," "Melt the Guns" - where I really like the music and, in fact,
agree with the lyrics, but I absolutely DESPISE being preached at.  I
don't care who's doing the preaching.  So what if it's the guy who made me
swoon* with "Yacht Dance"?  He's telling me to "get down on your knees,
clasp your hands and pray, start quoting me," and as far as I'm concerned,
he has no authority to tell me what to do, or what to think.  It bothers
me to the point that I can't listen to the songs - which is a real loss,
as I do like the songs musically (the barnyard fiddles in "Scarecrow
People," for instance).  XTC's preachy songs bother me for other reasons
as well, which I won't get into, but the preachiness is the heart of the

The reason I mentioned "The Messiah," though is because it's one example
of music transcending the lyrics.  I am most emphatically not a Christian,
and the Biblical verses taste sour in my mouth when I sing them, but oh!
"Rejoice, O daughters of Jerusalem!"  Beautiful stuff.  So maybe I'm a
little edgy in a church, and maybe I wince a little when I sing about
Jesus, but who cares?  The music makes it all worthwhile.  On a much
smaller scale, there are XTC songs that do that for me, too.  I objected
to "Knuckle Down" for a while because I thought it was preachy, but who
can resist such a fun tune and the "big [crash!] bang" bit?  Maybe those
preachy lyrics aren't so bad after all... heck, it's a great song, what am
I talking about?

"Thanks for Christmas," though, is much too slight to overcome my
annoyance at the lyrics' happy burbling about how EVERYONE loves Christmas
(the Jewish woman in the back raises her hand - "Mr. Partridge?  Hello?").
It's a nice little song, I suppose, but as far as I'm concerned, the only
Christmas song worth listening to is the Pogues' "Fairytale of New York."

the trumpet shall sound,

Natalie Jacobs
Visit the Land of Do-As-You-Please!

*the word "swoon" is (c) Simon Sleightholm, 1996.  All rights reserved.


Message-Id: <l03010900aed9c537db0a@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:37:31 -0500
From: Gene <>
Subject: This street has changed so much...

Belatedly sending my thanks to Tim Kendrick for the Northeast Chalkhills
gathering in Connecticut last week.
(  It was fine to meet all of you.
Some special award goes to Olaf, who traveled all the way from Japan JUST
TO JOIN US!  (Well, okay, he was on vacation visiting for the holidays and
he just happened to be in the Boston area.)

No women, not too surprising I guess.  Andy would not have been too pleased
at this Church of Men.  Anyway, I loved hearing the new demos, and in the
usual XTC fashion I wasn't sure I liked all of them at first listen but now
think they're the most musically daring stuff AP has done.  (Still not
crazy about 'Bumper Cars' however)

We were all in befuddlement over Colin's '91 demo 'Where Did the Ordinary
People Go?'.  "There's one thing that I'd like to know..." why didn't XTC
record this gem of a pop song for Nonsuch?  It catches Colin at his
catchiest best.  It wouldn't have been out of place on Nonsuch, which was
sort of a grab bag of musical styles anyway.  And then there was Colin's
'It Didn't Hurt a Bit', another great tune, which they actually started
studio sessions on but dropped it abruptly.  I suppose Colin got cold feet
since the song seems to be about his extra-marital affair in Australia
while on tour in '79 (it's in the Twomey bio).

I really hope, in the event that the music for the next album landslides
into Andy Partridge territory, that XTC will resurrect these wonderful
Moulding compositions, as well as the O&L demo 'Skeletons'.  They put my
complete faith back into Colin's songwriting talent.

It'd be great to arrange another Chalkhills gathering next year, perhaps in
New York, when the next album comes out.  (This is not conditional--there
WILL be a next album, dammit!)  Maybe we'll get some of our female members
to come out of the woodwork this time--for nothing else except some lively
conversation!  (Fearing that some of you might be questioning my

>From: Simon <>
>I love "Human Alchemy" for its sentiments and its
>spine-tingling music

If you haven't already, I hope you have a chance to see the video for it.
Very well done--especially for a song that wasn't even a single!  Among
other things, it's got Dave, Colin and Andy doing their best Grim Reaper
impersonations, shot outdoors around a bonfire at night.  I would like it
just for the weirdness factor, but it's very well executed as well.

>This is my LAST POST until next year! Today is my last exam, and after today
>I wont have access to computers until January 24, which is going to suck
>seeing as I'm so addicted to email and all.

It's a wonder you've been able to study for your exams at all, you've been
posting and posting to Chalkhills like nobody's business.  (Some have
coined the term "to jhb" meaning long posts, but "to AMANDA" is to have
three or four per issue.)  Well, I guess now the digests will drop back
down to the reasonable two or three per week.

Finally, I know that many of us (myself included) have been awfully curious
about the demographics of Chalkhills, as far as things like gender, age,
geographic location, occupation, etc.  So here I would like to volunteer to
do a simple survey, and then posting the results (my first survey!).  But
before doing so, I'd like to know if anyone thinks this is a bad idea.  I
also might want to wait until the end of January for the college folks to
return.  Like AMANDA, I too went without Chalkhills during my long winter

Let me know whatchall think of this.



Message-Id: <v01510102aed9e6f1160e@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 07:38:35 -1000
From: (Jim Smart)
Subject: first XTC

My first exposure to XTC:

I was a college student at UCSB in 1982. I lived in an overpriced beach
apartment with 5 roommates. Our landlord was a real control freak asshole
named......(drum roll please)....(preferably the drum roll at the beginning
of Dear Madam Barnam)........NIGEL!

Those were the days when you could hear XTC on a "New Wave" radio station,
along with the Cars, the Heads, the Clash, and all that. And I remember
when Making Plans for nigel came on. We cranked it up loud. I had never
heard XTC before, but by the end I was spazzing around the living room,
twitching and shouting the word Nigel over and over, like a demented
assistant to Dr. Frankenstein.

I think it really helped our relationship with our landlord to be able to
vent our anger that way. It also introduced me to a great band.

.                                                          .
. "What kind of sycophant are you?"                        .
.    asks Cruella De Vil, in 101 Dalmations.                       .
. "Uh...uh...what kind of sycophant do you want me to be?" .
.      replies her servant fearfully.                      .


Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 13:17:27 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v01540b02aed986e80c69@[]>
From: (Irene Trudel/Peter Keepnews)
Subject: XTC vs. radio

Hi Chalkies!

Yikes! Two lengthy postings in two days!  (Now they'll never be able to
shut her up....)  :)

Nothing fires me up like a good discussion on radio and the politics of
popularity! While we all wish success on our heroes, I don't see them
adapting to the process of fitting into a mold that appeals to the "lowest
common denominator", which is what commercial radio is all about.

>From: "Michael D. Myers" <>
>There has been some scuttlebutt lately on this list about strategies to make
>XTC more popular.  While I love their music to death, I hope none of us is
>holding their breath waiting for this to happen. Consider:>
>- The quirky nature of XTC music.  Let's face it, while we all worship the
>ground they walk on, it's an acquired taste that most of the record-buying
>public won't be patient enough to appreciate.  And before we go railing at
>the record-buying public, they buy what they hear and like.
>- The inability/refusal to write a hit single.  I know this is
>controversial, but think about it.  "Dear God" was a total accident;

I think this is especially true. At the time, I came to believe the
controversy sold the song (no matter how good I thought it was).
Idealistically, I think it's extremely important to build a solid fan base
that will buy nearly every scrap a band's ever released. This will
hopefully tide them over between new albums and things like being dropped
from a label. But generally, the record buying public is not nearly as
involved in their music as those of us on this list are. For them, radio is
background, and repetition is an essential motivator in terms of getting
those people to actually buy what they hear.

>- On a related issue, they generally play well on college radio.

Yes. Depending on the popularity of the artist, most commercial stations
will only play one cut (the "Hit") from a given album by a less-than
mega-platinum artist. College/ Non-commercial stations tend not to have
such rigid playlists.

From: DeWitt Henderson <>
Michael Myer's opus on XTC's popularity and/or lack of:  I think you're
right, and much of this has been discussed in this list before.  It really
boils down to the same thing as saying "why don't more people read good
books?", or even "why don't more people read?".  "Why do 100,000 times more
people rent "Top Gun" than "Restoration"?  "Why does everyone think the only
vacation choices are Las Vegas, Disneyland (or DisneyWorld), and Hawaii?"
It's the old lowest common denominator thing.  Our boys just ain't for the
masses, no matter how much we'd like for them to be more popular (I would,

Well put!

So what your saying is that Aerosmith, KISS, Rush, the Doobie Brothers,
Steve Miller Band, the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath, ZZ Top,
Bob Seger, the Guess Who, and a modicum of other bands should just drop off
the face of the earth????

I could live the rest of my life very happily without ever hearing any of
those bands again! It boils down to the repetition thing-- it destroys my
enthusiasm. Bands like XTC get occasional airplay, but they're by no means
in that same  heavy rotation. Once in a while, even I have to put my
favorite artists aside briefly in order to appreciate them with a fresh
perspective. Those same artists were popular in the 70's when I started
listening to radio. And they're still being pushed today, in part because
they consistently sell product, leaving less room on the airwaves for new
artists to break in. I won't get into the issue of good vs. bad--
everybody's entitled to their opinion. I just prefer more options to listen

Off that soap box to this--

From: David Goody/M&G <>
I attended a local presentation of the hit UK TV series "Shooting
Stars" in Ipswich on Wednesday evening... Simon and myself
could not believe it, when Martin Newell came forward. Unfortunately, it
seemed that only Simon and myself were aware of his talents, as we gave him
a tumultuous welcome, in stark contrast to the lukewarm "who the hell is he"
that the rest of the audience gave him.

Shame they don't air that show in the U.S.
FYI-- You may already have heard about this, but just to be redundant, John
Relph's put together a nice website for Martin, along with a "jangly music"
discussion group. I'd love to see more traffic on it, so I urge y'all to
check it out:

Fade out to the sound of radio dial flipping...



Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:40:34 -0600
Message-Id: <v02110100aed9a18f19d5@[]>
From: (John M. Hackney)
Subject: What does "b/w" stand for


        Maybe someone can answer this question:  I often run across the
term "b/w" in discographies, those of XTC and other groups as well.  It's
an old industry term, applied originally to 45's, I think.  I realized
yesterday that I don't know what it refers to, even though I know it means
something like "on the other side of the record".  Does anyone know what
this term abbreviates?  "Backed with" comes to mind----


John M. Hackney
Department of Botany
University of Wisconsin-Madison
430 Lincoln Drive
Madison, WI  53706

(608) 273-4361 Home
(608) 262-0657 Lab
(608) 262-7509 FAX


Message-Id: <v01540b00aed9f1d96f12@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 13:36:21 -0500
From: (Derek Miner)
Subject: Politically lyrical

>Date: Wed, 11 Dec 1996 22:23:54 -0500 (EST)

In Chalkhills #3-56, Joshua Hall-Bachner <> wrote:

>>Besides which, most of their political songs are somewhat
>>disguised and not quite as overt as other bands' songs may be.
>I'm still looking for someone to back this statement up. XTC have a lot of
>political songs that make no bones about their content, and more than once
>they've stepped over the line into inanity. If they're less so than most
>popular political songs, that only goes to show how incredibly horrible most
>popular music is today.

I work in a record (more like a CD) store, and the managers have played
this CD by a country singer named Iris DeMent several times, and I'm
_really_ sick of it. Even Andy's diatribe in "Melt The Guns" directed at
the U.S. pales in comparison to this woman's song "Wasteland Of The Free"
which comes off as extremely bitter and badly written. She has lines in
there about politicians taking money from groups who then "kiss those
people's ass." Then there's lines about kids wearing designer jeans who
can't pass an eighth grade reading test, but know a lot of stuff on TV;
tobacco companies; and a sentiment which is not hard to disagree with, for
me, but is just badly written:

  We fight a war for oil then throw a party when we win
  [Someone stands up for what they believe in] and we call that the sin

And, of course, this is all wrapped up with a chorus consisting only of
"Living in the wasteland of the free."

Frankly, I'd rather hear "War Dance," which is also blatant, but is not as
crude and has more character.

= Derek Miner =


End of Chalkhills Digest #3-58

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