Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-59

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 59

                 Monday, 16 December 1996

Today's Topics:

                     "It relaxes me"
          Off Topic Police Alert: Skip This One
                    Todd & Skylarking
                   Only in Canada? Pity
             Kate Bush - factual corrections
                        Re: ELO +
             Kiss her lips and make her glow
                      divers alarums
                 This From Consumable...
    Nuances, and how I became aware of xtc on the air
                    "Frequent Artists"
             RE: Tricksters Moving in Ecstacy
              "Fossil Fuel" in Swedish press
                     The Dub Old Days
                  Re: Early BBC sessions
                    More Holiday Hits!
                  it would shock you too
The longest lurk (Whats on the end of the stick? Ipswich!)
                 Collideascopic carpentry
Muzak ain't ALL bad; Hey! Sarge! ROCK!; a modest proposal
                     Busman's Holiday


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Invite the whole street through your door.


Message-Id: <v01550101aed9f04a34ed@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 12:48:51 -0600
From: (Insane Boy)
Subject: "It relaxes me"

--Annie's excuse for doing it stoned in "Annie Hall"

Hey there, everybody.

>I prefer to remain blissfully ignorant and just think about

Well so do I, but in this case it just seemed to make
sense (Colin's double meaning).

>Amanda's movie of the day....Mystery Science Theater 3000: Manos, the Hands of

"Ah, the haunting 'Torgo Theme'"

> Andy apparently just wouldn't stand for them
>getting stoned in the studio.

Hmm.  I talked with Sara Hickman, a folky Austin artist whose
last album was produced by Paul Fox, once a few years
ago and asked her if Paul had anything to say about working
with XTC.  He said for Oranges and Lemons they all got really
stoned and goofed around a lot.  I didn't buy this as gospel
but there you go.

>The best songs get you to believe in them for at least their duration

Ooooh!  That's good!  EXACTLY.

Wow.  I didin't have much to say this time.  But LOOK OUT
(Here Comes Tomorrow).

Jason Garcia


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 02:40:21 -0800
From: Stormy Monday <>
Subject: Off Topic Police Alert: Skip This One


>-- Both have the bassist and a guitarist as strong frontpersons, with
>the other guitarist getting less notice but being more the virtuoso.

Let me preface this by saying that I love George.  But,
Paul was the virtuoso of the band, John and Paul were superior songwriters
and musicians.  George had the fortune/misfortune of being in a band with
two of the most talented artists of the 20th century.

I know some of you are thinking "John, a superior musician?  Songwriter,
yeah, but ...".

John WAS a GREAT musician.  No, he didn't tear up the frets on the guitar
like countless rock guitarists, but he played great stuff all of the
time. And from what I can tell, he contributed as much to the arrangements
as did Paul and George Martin.



>If you're going to trash the band, go get one of their CDs from the library
>or from a friend and give it a couple listens first. I can guarantee you
>that songs like 25 O'clock are certainly the exception, rather than the
>rule in TMBG's music.

>>>lack of *musical* content doesn't even make the list.
>>It makes mine.

>Again, because you haven't heard *Their* music. You've heard Them doing
>other people's music.

Back when their first? album (The one with "Don't Let's Start") came out, my
friend made a cassette copy for me, and I liked it.  They were no doubt
clever and had a knack for quirky hooks and interesting pop melodies.  I
even put "Don't Let's Start" on one of my compilation tapes for the car.
But then, they started to grate on me.  I found the "I don't want to live in
this world anymore/ I don't want to live in this Woor-err-err-orld!" to be

Then, MTV started to play the video of the one from the (at the time) new
album that went: "I'm your friend/ I'm your only friend/ I'm your little
glowing friend" or some-such, and that annoyed me as well.  Hasn't anyone
else been annoyed by a band that many other people love?  I *know* that they
are talented, but I don't hear the *musicality, I just hear the quirkiness.
I know that I'm in the minority of XTC fans that are aware of TMBG, but I
still say that their version of "25 o'clock" is without merit.

Please bear in mind that I know that music is subjective.  Nobody is right
and nobody is wrong.  I'll not say another word about them until I've
listened to "John Henry" three times.  (That is my recommendation to XTC
uninitiated: If you've never heard them, you've got to listen to
"Skylarking" (to my ears, the BEST album since Abbey Road) at least three
times before you say that you don't like them).  I've already ordered John
Henry from BMG Compact Disc club.

As far as taste goes, many that I've offended would have a field day
trashing aspects of my CD collection.

Favorite Artists of All Time:

The Beatles
Steely Dan

Second Place:

Peter Gabriel / Old Genesis (pre mid 80's commercial success)/Joe
Jackson/The Talking Heads /Yes (The Yes Album/Fragile/Close To The
Edge/90125)/Eric Clapton/Jimi Hendrix/Allman Brothers /The Rolling
Stones(Keith is sooo cool)

and then LOTS of other stuff:
Clash/Elvis Costello/Elvis Presley/Elton John/Bush/Nirvana/Tony
Bennett/Mozart/John Coltrane/ Buddy Guy/Miles Davis/Dave Matthews/Joni
Mitchell/Gentle Giant ("Free Hand" will shock and amaze many XTC fans!) and
many more

Artists that have my respect but don't get a lot of eartime for various

REM/U2/David Bowie

Bands I Love to Hate:

JEFF LYNNE and ELO/John Mellancamp/Bob Seger/Asia/Kansas ("Dust In The Wind"
will be playing constantly if I go to hell!)/The Ramones/Lou Reed/Blondie)

"Everybody says join their own religion to get to heaven
 I say no thanks, why bless my soul, I'm already there."

Stormy Monday


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 02:41:32 -0800
From: Stormy Monday <>
Subject: Todd & Skylarking


Say what you will, but if Skylarking was the only thing that XTC ever
did, they still would be the best.

And I know that it was a painful album for them to make, but I WISH that
they would make another with Todd at helm.  The entire record is a
*nuance* from beginning to end.

"Now I'm crawling the WALLPAPER that's looking more like a roadmap to



Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 17:13:25 -0400 (AST)
Message-Id: <v01510100aed9cf61386c@[]>
From: (Erich W.)
Subject: Only in Canada? Pity

>Besides, Drums And Wires went gold in Canada, as
>did several of their other albums(most likely English Settlement,
>Skylarking, and Oranges And Lemons). How can the only country in the
>world that can make that claim be in even the smallest way evil?

We are an enlightened people. Alanis, Celine, and Bryan don't live hear
anymore which makes many of us Canucks sleep better at night (if only Geddy
would move away...)

First XTC memory: At a friend's place just after Drums and Wires came out
he played the album LOUD and I nodded through most of it ('that's
interesting, but it's no Zappa'). Then came 'Complicated Game'. Life
changed, the sky opened, and my life has not been the same since.

Speaking of nuances, 'a compla, a compla, a compla, a compla, a compla....'

Life begins at the Hop!!
Erich, in the city that brought you Alanis, Bryan, Cockburn, and (lets not
forget, Paul Anka!)


Message-Id: <>
From: "William Wisner" <>
Subject: Kate Bush - factual corrections
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 13:40:29 -0800

jes <>:

> (E.B.) said "I'm not sure about the story behind the
> scenes, but I believe that Kate Bush's debut was originally on Harvest,
> which was also Pink Floyd's label, and that Gilmour played an instrumental
> part in Harvest signing her. If I'm wrong, someone correct me....."  It is
> my recollection that Bush and Gilmour were lovers, and that Gilmour plays
> guitar on "The Kick Inside."

Kate Bush's debut was, as were all her UK releases, on EMI.  David Gilmour
is credited with discovering Kate Bush and was indeed instrumental in
getting her signed to EMI, but they assuredly were not lovers.

Gilmour did not appear on that debut album, The Kick Inside, though he was
involved as executive producer of two of the songs.  He did play on
"Rocket's Tail" from The Sensual World (1989), a song which for me is a
high point of Kate's catalog.

While Kate's music is generally a far cry from XTC, most of it is
mind-blowingly amazing in its own way.  One looking to acquaint himself
with her work could do worse than to start with the compilation The Whole
Story (1986), a good overview of her first five albums and eight years.
The Dreaming (1982) is widely considered by fans to be her greatest work;
Hounds of Love (1985) is damned good itself and rather more accessible.


Message-Id: <v01540b07aeda2b170b11@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 15:36:28 -0700
From: (E.B.)
Subject: Re: ELO +

>From: (Dean Martucci)
>>There truly is no accounting for taste.  Hearing their music, (excepting
>>"Telephone Line", although the "Oh, Oh's are horrendous") makes me feel
>>angry and alternatively ill.  "Turn to Stone" is torture, and "Don't
>>Bring Me Down" should be banned from the radio forever.

I kinda liked "Telephone Line" and "Livin' Thing" at the time, but that's
about it. Back then, it seemed like there were three albums which everyone
I knew owned: Dark Side Of The Moon, Endless Summer and Out Of The Blue. I
never understood the latter choice.  ;)

BTW, the Sugarplastic plan to go into the studio in January.

BTW#2, Celine Dion makes me a lot more ill than ELO.  ;)

Eric B.


Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 19:51:04 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <>
From: Joshua Hall-Bachner <>
Subject: Kiss her lips and make her glow

>Actually, the more I think about it, I can come up with a couple of
>other XTC-Beatles parallels:

Also think Black Sea = Revolver. Not only do both mark the "transition"
period in the band's history, the beginning of their real "emergence," but
they even end the same way -- Travels in Nihilon / Tomorrow Never Knows. I
guess that would make Drums And Wires Rubber Soul, Nonsvch Abbey Road (think
BaB!) and ES Sgt. Pepper (or, depending on the fan, The White Album) Hmmm....

>I promise to (probably!) not blather on so much in future posts!

On the contrary, I'd like it very much if you always provide as much to the
list as you do in your first post. I would assume that most of the list
doesn't mind long posts, or else I would have had my arse booted off a long
time ago. :)

>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???? Nah.

Personally, yeah. :)

Really, though, the entire "Classic Rock" station mentality is based on
"Them there crazy kids, they listen to all that crap now. Give me the good
ol' music o' the 1960's and '70's so I won't have to think about the
possibility that good music is actually being made today..." Not everyone
who listens to those bands is like that, obviously. But the stations
themselves and a lot of the listeners (at least those *I* know) do.

>Again, because you haven't heard *Their* music. You've heard Them doing
>other people's music.

I hope nobody takes my statements on that issue as being obnoxious...I'd
just rather someone come to me and say "I've listened to two TMBG albums and
every song on them is awful!" rather than "I heard that one TMBG song and it
sucks, and the band must suck too!"

>That's all I can think of, but I'm sure there's something else.

And way down inside you, you can feel it coming back.

>Oh by the way...I must admit that anyone trying out the stuff from
>English Settlement must be bonkers....the lads did do rather an
>amazing job after all.

The best way to cover a great song is to completely bastardize it. If you
make an all-new arrangement, tempo, style, etc. and do it well, people will
respect and maybe even like your cover because you're reinventing the song.
If you try to keep it similar to the original, there's almost no way you'll
improve it.

>     This comment was uncalled for and I give the following reasons:

Jason, you're right (and I e-mailed you about it at length...) Just let me
say that I committed the error I always hate, of dismissing something
without giving a reason for it. I'm sorry; it won't happen again. :)

>Calling a Quebecois a Canadian is an insult as far as most of them are

Until they secede they are in every sense of the word Canadian, damnit, and
I'm gonna call them that.

>  Canada is much like Switzerland only much, much bigger.

LOL! Heh, that one's going in the file. :)

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


Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 15:35:31 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <v01540b0aaedb1c4c0ae5@[]>
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: divers alarums

>>("this isn't John, honest!") "Can't get it out of my head".

>Ahh! Another one I forgot! No kidding, for the longest time I thought that
>was some obscure Lennon track I had never heard of.

methinks deliberately a Lennon take, too. the line "I saw the Ocean's
Daughter" is a giveaway (since Daughter of the Ocean, in Japanese, is Yoko

>"Don't Bring Me Down" [ELO, not Beatles]

and yet another one for the mistaken lyrics department - where Jeff Lynne
sings "Don't bring me down, gross" in the chorus. I spent ages trying to
work out who Bruce was...

>Hey Insane Boy - can it be that we have another Monkees fan on this list?
>That would make three of us, this is scary!

only three? The porpoise is laughing, goodbye, goodbye! (Okay, so I like a
LOT of different types of music!)

>As John Lennon once said (and I think I'm slightly paraphrasing here):
>"Say what it is, simple English, and put a backbeat behind it and you've
>got a song."

this is the same guy who wrote 'Happiness is a Warm Gun' and 'I am the

>        -- Both bands quit performing live, albeit for different reasons ...
but both bands started making MUCH more complex records after that.

Lennon was a frequent sufferer of stage fright (he used to throw up before
going onstage) and this is one of the reasons they frequently gave for
stopping touring.

>The survey question was: what are the top most frequent artists in your
>CD, LP and Tape collection? Don't count bootlegs or dubs, just genuine

Well, that's an interesting exercise! Depends on the rules of course - I
daresay 50 or more of my albums are either by Brian Eno, feature him as an
additional musician or were produced by him. However, The Beatles, Brian
Eno, & Robyn Hitchcock account for 20 or more albums each (including boots,
etc). Jethro Tull is next, then XTC and King Crimson. If you add solo
albums by group members to group totals, then the Church, King Crimson and
the Who reach the 20 mark.  Other 'honourable mentions' with more than a
dozen albums are Elvis Costello, Paul Simon/Simon & Garfunkel, Talking
Heads/David Byrne, and Tangerine Dream/Edgar Froese. If you count Split
Enz/Tim Fiinn/Crowded House as one item, it would also get into this

top ten albums of the year? don't know if I could limit it to ten, but I'll
have a go at naming the 16 albums I'm gladdest about adding to my
collection this year... unapologetically there's a lot of NZ stuff here.

*Andy's Demos 1995 - natch
*Mossy Liquor & Moss Elixir (Robyn Hitchcock) - at his sublime (and
ridiculous) best. Just him with a couple of backing musicians, a good
compromise between his 'completely solo' and 'full band' styles. Great
*The Ghosts that Haunt Me (CTD) - yup, okay, I succumbed finally. 'The
Superman Song' did it for me.
*Unknown Country (The Clean) - no longer underproduced thrash pop. This is
dark, deep and clear, like fish shining at the bottom of a lake. Dive in.
*Magician among the Spirits (The Church) - deep and dark. A bit much
Meddle-era-Pink Floyd influence at times, Wonderful atmosphere, and songs
that will take years to wind their way into the brain.
*Bewitched (Luna) - proving that Americans have finally worked out how to
make good New Zealand pop music.
*Into the Labyrinth (Dead Can Dance) - these guys make Enya sound like
Motorhead. Some of the most haunting music imagineable
*Partial Rapture Theory (James Dignan) - heh! sorry, couldn't resist! But,
while on the subject of demos by Chalkhillians...
*Demos (Andy Clements & Jeff Ward) - take a bow, Andy! This stuff's great!
*Real Zealmen (Dark Tower) - About time too. Rap, but rap with a
difference. Real kiwiana rap. What other band in the world writes rap songs
about sheepfarming in the high country, or collecting shellfish on Oreti
Beach? Bizarre but fun.
*Anthologies 1-3 (B**tles) - Rip Off? Sell out? Or fascinating glimpse at
the group that changed the face of music? A bit of all three, I suppose,
and what a glimpse!
*Stomping through the Boneyard (The Cake Kitchen) - loud ambience from NZ.
Think what My Bloody Valentine would sound like if their lead vocalist had
one of rock music's richest baritone voices.
*Abbasalutely (various) - a truly stupid idea. NZ's top indie rock artists
get together on a tribute album to the band they love to hate, Abba. Some
are too near the original, but a chirpy Chills version of "Tropical
Loveland", a daft camp take on "On and on and On" by Chris Knox and a most
evil slide-out-of-a-boggy-swamp-at-midnight version of "The name of the
game" by Straitjacket Fits mainman Shayne Carter and Headless Chicken Fiona
McDonald are worth the price of admission.
*Nine objects of Desire (Suzanne Vega) - too new to be fully assessed yet,
but it seems to be a continuation of the fine fettle of 99.9F.
*Envy of Angels (Muttonbirds) - Damn but these guys are good. And they'd
probably appeat to XTC fans, too. Catchy music, intelligent and
occasionally skewed lyrics. Good stuff.
*ALBUM OF THE YEAR: Night Song (Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Michael Brook).
Traditional Pakistani Qawali singing meets western ambient/trance
sensibilities. You heard NFAK on the soundtrack to "Dead Man Walking".
Brook has worked with the likes of Eno, David Sylvian and Peter gabriel.
Together, and with some of the dubbiest basswork around (courtesy of Brook
and Robert Ahwai), they have woven magic. I cannot say further. Listen. If
you cant feel it, you have no heart.

Near misses: Bob Mould (Bob Mould), For my mink (Mink), Backspacer
(Supergroove), Good God's Urge (Porno for pyros), Trainspotting soundtrack
(Various), William Bloke (Billy Bragg), Vicarious (Strawpeople), Inside Out
(N-joi), 20 Mothers (Julian Cope), and various other sets of demos I've
heard during the year some of them by listmembers here!

um, XTC, right. Next year's album of the year?

James (That's JRD, Todd! :)

on now - the Orb remix project
next: Crisis? What Crisis? ;)


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 22:16:22 -0600
From: Dean Zemel <>
Subject: This From Consumable...

This from the most recent issue of the excellent e-zine, Consumable:

> XTC Update: It's going to be a fairly hectic year for
>the band because they've been looking at both indies and
>majors for a new deal. The band is rehearsing at present
>and there is talk of adding a permanent drummer (after
>16 years of sit-ins) and possibly a keyboard player.
>Geffen is putting out a greatest hits CD currently titled
>_Upsy Daisy_. A box set is to follow sometime in the
>autumn and Andy Partridge is taking part in working up both projects.
>One of the tunes from Andy/Harold Budd CD _Through the Hill_
>is being used in the new Tom Cruise film (Jerry McGuire).


Message-Id: <v01510103aeda276808b2@[]>
Date: Sun, 15 Dec 1996 18:02:25 -0500
From: (Matt Naranjo)
Subject: Nuances, and how I became aware of xtc on the air

Seasons Greetings, Chalkophiles;

I must express my amazement about the activity of this list recently.  When
I last posted here, we were publishing about 2 times a week.  Now it seems
that we're doing this almost daily!  I'm thrilled, but also way behind in
my reading.

As far as XTC nuances go, I feel a need to include the robust whistling
from "Generals..." and "Take This Town", which seemed to be their signature
at the time.

DeWitt Henderson recently asked who first became acquainted with xtc over
the air.  I'm one of those people, although I did not know it at the time.
"Generals and Majors" was played daily on the nearby college station:
WPRB-Princeton; yes, Ivy League, and could have passed for NPR, except that
they were very cool in 1981 when I lived in the area.   I was in a personal
rut musically when this song seeped into my cranium.  I was more into Peter
Gabriel/Brian Eno/Robert Fripp experimantalism at the time, but then came
along this excellent double album: Music and Rhythm.  It was a  compilation
of world music and world influenced western pop. I picked it up because it
had one unreleased Gabriel track on it at the time,"Across the River", but
I was once again introduced to xtc with the inclusion of "It's Nearly
Africa".  Finally, I picked up a copy of "Black Sea" in 1983, after I moved
to New York and found it sitting in the cutout bin of my neigborhood record
shop.  The rest is History, as they say.  I was completely hooked with that
Any more stories?


Message-Id: <>
From: "William Wisner" <>
Subject: "Frequent Artists"
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 00:06:05 -0800

>The survey question was: what are the top most frequent artists in your
>CD, LP and Tape collection?

The question is unfair, as completists such as myself may well have many
recordings by prolific artists that don't spend much time in the CD player.
 I own several dozen Depeche Mode CDs, for example, that between them don't
get listened to as much as my beloved (and well-worn) copy of Michael
Penn's March.  (If you don't own this album, drop everything you're doing
and buy it immediately.)

And since I've ventured into these waters, now I'm going to chart them more
fully.  Following is a list, in no particular order, of a few of my
mandatory albums: recordings that seem to keep finding their way back into
my CD player again, and again, and again.  These are not necessarily the
best albums I own; they're the ones that mean the most to me.  I love them
dearly.  I couldn't possibly live without any of them.

* Michael Penn - March
* Aztec Camera - High Land, Hard Rain
* Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark - Architecture & Morality
* The Clash - Combat Rock
* Elvic Costello - Spike
* Danny Wilson - Meet Danny Wilson
* Pulp - Different Class
* The Pogues - Peace and Love
* Peter Gabriel - Peter Gabriel ("face", his first solo album)
* Echo & the Bunnymen - Ocean Rain
* Tears for Fears - Elemental

I suspect the Sugarplastic's Bang, The Earth Is Round will be on this list
in a year or so.

And my favorite XTC song to play really loud is Toys.  Oh, baby.



Message-ID: <>
From: "Leopold, Dale" <>
Subject: RE: Tricksters Moving in Ecstacy
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 05:46:10 -0500

I'd like to second Dave Gersham's kind words for Cheap Trick, and point
out a few other things that might attract Chalkhillers to them.  They
produced some of the best metallic-laden power pop of the late
70's/early 80's. They were definitely (along with Rockpile and Elvis C.)
among my very favorite bands during that time.  They could straddle the
line between arch pop and stoopid metal without ever really falling into
the latter.  Rick Nielsen is a hot-shit and *very* entertaining
guitarist, but his true strength lies in his clever arrangements (like
"Mandocello"--damn near perfect). He can also pack a song full of
borrowed hooks without making it sound derivative--no mean feat.  And
Robin Zander is certainly one of the most underrated vocalists in
rock--he can handle McCartneyish ballads and Lennon primal screams with
equal aplomb.  I caught the Trick at the 9:30 Club in DC this summer
(first time I'd seen them in 16 years), and am pleased to say they can
still rock the house quite nicely.  Zander in particular was
amazing--how he can sing that powerfully night after night and still
have vocal cords left is beyond me.

The recent box set "Sex, America and Cheap Trick" charts their rise and
late-80's slide, while making a case for some of the overlooked later
material, and a nice selection of previously unreleased stuff.  The
problem was a hodge-podge of producers (George Martin--intriguing but
disappointing [just for fun, try sequencing "Stop This Game" after "A
Day in the Life"], Todd Rundgren--not bad, their poppiest 80's album,
and BTW Nielsen was in a post-Todd version of the Nazz, Roy Thomas
Baker--awful, and a bunch of other schmoes--ditto) as well as a decline
in songwriting quality.  But there are loads of fun touches. They were
huge Who and Move fans (there's a cover of J. Lynne's "Down By the Bay"
and Roy Wood himself turns up to share a vocal with Robin on another
tune), and there are tasty live covers of Beatles, Dylan and Velvet
Underground tunes (and unfortunately, it does have that ghastly MOR
ballad "The Flame").

Compared to XTC, CT certainly come up short in the lyrics department,
but that's not really where their attack was centered.  Their overall
*sound* is what grabs you, and as someone else on the list mentioned,
that's what pulls me in first--lyrics are icing on the cake.  And that
reminds me--I've noticed that several Chalkies put XTC on as background
music for work or studying--to quote Gerry and the Pacemakers, *how do
you do it*?? If there's anything that was *not* designed as background
music, it's XTC. The quirky rhythms and keening vocals *demand* full
attention and won't take no for an answer.  I've found that if I put on,
say, O&L and try to do something else, I just get nervous and annoyed
until I stop what I'm doing and just listen. I just canna do it,
(This last paragraph was a test to see if anyone actually bothered to
read this far...)

"Never underestimate the power of attorney"--John Lennon


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 11:41:37 +0000
From: Jonas Lind <>
Organization: Skurups Folkhogskola
Subject: "Fossil Fuel" in Swedish press

Greetings, Chalkhillians.

I thought you might be interested in what the Swedish music press has
had to say about "Fossil Fuel". The review below (which I've tried to
translate to the best of my ability, although some forms of expression
may seem a bit awkward) is from the Swedish magazine POP and written by
Martin Theander.

   "Not only was XTC the missing link between black punk, white pop and
far-fetched avant-garde. Also, in their lyrics XTC stood for a clearly
pessimistic image of a rather miserable time, an 80's marked by the cold
war between Reagan/Thatcher and the Soviet union. Nobody knew wether
Reagan's brain would keep going on autopilot; the question was more one
of when he'd accidently push that button. Nor did anyone know what was
going on in a Soviet union that continuously claimed larger territories.
   Everybody in the West was walking around in a sort of constant fear
of a doomsday evoked by humans - the sky lit up by flashing nuclear
missiles. When XTC didn't sing directly about this, they sang indirectly
about it, by describing the infinite smallness of the "little man" in
the context. Usually to a lively tune you could bring along to wistle on
upon your saturday walk in the park.
   In the rearview mirror, with XTC in one's headphones, many of the
band's contemporary collegues seem unaware of judgement day. The Clash
and The Jam dwelled upon workers' issues, ABC and Wham! was discussing
table manners and choices of shampoo, The Cure and New Order devoted
themselves to arachnofobia and hangovers. XTC knew better.
   Already in an early stage, the heavy cap of the bomb gave the band
leader Andy Partridge a complete stage fright, and after their forth
album "Black Sea" the band crawled into their Swindon studio and never
made their way back out. Six more albums made their way out though, plus
two more under the pop-psychedelic pseudonym The Dukes Of Stratosphear.
Partridge, together with bassist Colin Moulding, has let out all sorts
of pop songs, sometimes brilliant, sometimes mediocre. When the two and
their constant companion Dave Gregory have deserved so, they have been
getting a fair amount of attention. At those times they have often gone
into hiding again and complicated things, so that they could keep
complaining that nobody wants them.
   The same attitude probably guided the making of this compilation.
Sure, it's complete, and if you want to fit in all the singles you will
require two CD's. Sure, it can be amusing to make fun of your own
antique status, put an ice age shrimp on the cover and call the album
fossil fuel. Sure, old fans like myself of course find a record like
this... practical.
   But isn't the general idea of compilations to awaken the interest of
possible new fans? That the record shouldn't be called "Greatest hits",
but still have that same function, a bit like a jukebox? To get you
hungry for more?
   Not in this case, because it is below XTC's dignity to just pick the
raisins out of the cake. If you want XTC, you will have to take them as
they are, including some of the more atonal excesses. There are not many
of us who think that the raisins taste any better just because the rest
of the cake is getting harder to swallow, but still we stand closer to
the speakers than anyone. Because, persistant artists are hard to come
by. I guess that's why this album makes me whistle along to the
choruses, happily, and missing the time when we only had the bomb to
worry about."

Personally, I don't think much of this review. For one thing, the
conclusion that XTC is all about fear of a nuclear war seems
extrapolated. Sure I can think of a few songs dealing with the subject,
but to assume that this is XTC's main concern is to simplify things too
much, I think. Furthermore, I don't agree with the assumption that the
bomb had anything to do with Andy Partridge's stage fright. And being a
review of a pop album, it doesn't tell us all that much about the music
and its development from "Science Friction" to "Wrapped In Grey", which
is quite an interesting subject of discussion.

What do you all think?

Jonas Lind (Lund, Sweden)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 12:54:50 +0000
From: Jonas Lind <>
Organization: Skurups Folkhogskola
Subject: The Dub Old Days

Kara Kalkskallar (dear Chalkskulls);

   I believe that "Explode Together" beats anything that Tricky, Massive
Attack or any other modern dub artists ever recorded. "The Day They
Pulled The North Pole Down" puts "Hell Around The Corner" or
"Protection" in a deep shadow. And I can't stop listening to "Beat The


Jonas Lind (Steam Fist Futurist)


Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 12:16:44 +0200
Message-Id: <>
From: (Paul Hosken)
Subject: Re: Early BBC sessions

Last week I sent an email to the list enquiring about some early BBC

>  Back in the late 70's XTC did a couple of BBC 'Sight & Sound In Concert'
>sessions. The 2 sessions that interest me contained:
>  Session 1              Session 2
>  ---------              ---------
>  Big Town               Radios In Motion
>  Mecahnic Dancing       Cross Wires
>  Rhythm In His Head     Statue Of Liberty
>  Battery Bride          Set Myself On Fire
>  This Is Pop            New Town Animal In A Furnished Cage
>  Crowded Room           All Along The Watchtower
>  Statue Of Liberty      This Is Pop
>  Science Friction       In A Dance Band
>  Set Myself On Fire     Neon Shuffle
>What I'd like to know is when were these sessions recorded, and
>which of the songs (if any) have been released on official albums?

The last sentence here is a little misleading because what I really wanted
know was 'which of these LIVE VERSIONS (if any) have been OFFICIALLY



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 10:13:30 -0800
From: Ira Lieman <>
Organization: Not in this lifetime...
Subject: More Holiday Hits!

Surfing around at work, I found on USA Today a page that reviewed this
year's holiday offerings...

New Wave Xmas. This is a holiday spinoff of Rhino Records' Just Can't
Get Enough series of New Wave Hits. Topping the 17 selections are
Squeeze's Christmas Day, Los Lobos' Rudolph the Manic Reindeer, Wall of
Voodoo's Shouldn't Have Given Him a Gun for Christmas and the Peace on
Earth/Little Drummer Boy medley by David Bowie and Bing Crosby.

Just Say Noel. Beck's The Little Drum Machine Boy is the best of three
originals. Among the offbeat covers are Sonic Youth's revival of Martin
Mull's satiric Santa Doesn't Cop Out on Dope, the Roots' remake of De La
Soul's Millie Pulled a Gun on Santa and Southern Culture on the Skids'
Merry Christmas Baby.

Festival of Light. Hanukkah is celebrated in four originals and eight
traditional tunes by Peter Himmelman, Jane Siberry, the Klezmatics, the
Masada String Trio and others. Marc Cohn, backed by the New York
Ensemble, sings Rock of Ages.

Well, I'm surprised they didn't mention XTC on "Just Say Noel" but I'm
happy that Squeeze made a compilation as well. I also had to include the
Chanukkah one -- is it just me or has anyone else NEVER seen a Chanukkah
album? Oh well. Back to our regularly scheduled programming.



Message-Id: <l03010903aedb107c6b81@[]>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 10:17:45 -0500
From: Gene <>
Subject: it would shock you too

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

Not at all, I was going to post something to the effect myself, but wasn't
as bold about revealing the things *gasp* I've done on grass.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 17:31:28 -0800
From: Michael Chisholm <>
Organization: Hewlett Packard FCO
Subject: The longest lurk (Whats on the end of the stick? Ipswich!)

In response to David's posting in Chalkhills #3-56; I sat in the crowd
during "Shooting Stars" and wondered if this was the same Martin Newell
that is held in such high esteem in these very pages??  He was
introduced as a local poet!  I still haven't heard anything by him

On the subject of the best albums of the year I remember about 8 or 9
months ago that someone said that Andy Partridge liked Ash.  Does anyone
know what songs by them he was referring to? Its scary how quickly Ash's
songwriting is improving; listen to Goldfinger on the 1977 album - these
guys only left school about a year ago!  BTW the new Blur stuff sounds
interesting - they've given up competing with Oasis and tried to do
something a little more challenging.

I am also interested in trying to work out some XTC songs with any
guitarists over e-mail??  I am going mad here myself.

Thanks to the bloke from Scotland who sent in the 'Ecks TC Working
Overtime' headline from the Daily Rangers; I did laugh.

Do I win a prize for lurking over a year?  Will this message encourage
other lurkers to 'come out'?  Who knows??



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 96 12:47:00 -0500
From: dgershmn <>
Organization: AMS
Subject: Collideascopic carpentry

Someone said a couple of digests ago:
>Not forgetting the sawing noises on said song - I always imagine
>someone sawing off their wooden leg at this point - don't know why.

It could be because that's the way that Andy described it during one of the
1989 acoustic radio tour shows (Charlotte or Toronto). He made the comment
midsong, where the sound was supposed to come in. Or maybe you just think
the way Andy does, which is a nice or scary thought, depending how you look
at it! :)

Dave Gershman


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 12:41:27 EST
From: "Todd Bernhardt" <>
Subject: Muzak ain't ALL bad; Hey! Sarge! ROCK!; a modest proposal

Hi Chalkaholix:

Continuing the chat about muzak, Wesley Paul Hanks said:
>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!<

Yeah, I've heard it, and it's disconcerting, but I smile when I remember
that every time it gets played, the boys get paid.  :^)

From: (Insane Boy) on nuances:
> "Right now I'm feeling okay, I'm turning night into
day-YAY-HEEEEYYYYYYY-yadadadadadada-da-day!" CHANG!<

Ah, yes, I agree, but you left out the triplet-snare-pattern intro to Sgt.
Rock, which IMO *must* be grouped with that ending! Even hearing them do
that song (BwOF) live, I always want them to segue into Sgt. Rock, even
though they don't.

And now for something completely different ... a man with three buttocks.

No, no, that's not it. Wait. Oh, yeah. I was listening to the demo for "Then
She Appeared" the other day, and I began wondering what direction XTC's
music would have taken if the Dukes had never reared their psychedelic heads.

Let me explain. I'm a big fan of "progressive" music, and have always
admired the intelligence and complexity that XTC bring to pop. I especially
liked Mummer and The Big Express when they came out because it seemed that
the band was delving even deeper into complexity and were in danger of
becoming an "art-pop" band (you know, incorporating elements of jazz, world
music, etc.).

Then 25 O'Clock comes along. Loved it. Over-the-edge, kitchen-sink
psychodelia (misspelling intended). Its only flaw is that it's too short.
Seemed like a hilarious, one-off type of project. Then comes Skylarking,
with TR behind the controls. Very '60s in style and substance. Hmmm.  Then
Psonic Psunspot, which, IMO, is not nearly as good as 25 O'Clock -- the
songs are too *good,* too modern, not enough of a parody. Since then --
despite the Dukes' death in a bizarre gardening accident (or was it a
kitchen accident?) -- on O&L and Nonsuch, Andy has no problem wearing his
'60s influences on his sleeve, much to some fans' delight and to others'

In a way, then -- thought I as I was listening to that demo -- this very
question could sum up a lot of the disagreements that people are having on
Chalkhills: Were the Dukes good or bad for XTC? Did their appearance change
the direction of the band's music for the better or the worse?

Having proposed this question for discussion, I retire to the wings...



Date: Mon, 16 Dec 1996 12:44:29 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <>
From: jes <>
Subject: Busman's Holiday

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

Presently I am involved in a band that calls itself janice@ten, but that is
something of a busman's holiday.  I am toying with starting my own
three-piece pop outfit.  And when I do, I'm going to pick from three names
for this band.  They are:

Radios In Motion
This is POP!
Or... Another Roadside Attraction.  Any comments?

>Subject: Go **** Yourself With Your Acronyms

Does anyone know what HERKA means?

>From: (John M. Hackney)
>Subject: What does "b/w" stand for?

For once in your life, you are correct.  "Backed with."  Sometimes you will
also see, in really old publications, the acronym "c/w" which stands for
"coupled with."  I'm old enough to know, y'see.

And finally, may I add my two cents and suggest, for Christmas giving
pleasure, the new John Cale album "Walking On Locusts," easily his best solo
release since "Helen Of Troy," which came out in 1975, I think.  Brilliant.
The Song of the Year is "What Do We Learn," and the fact that it will
receive little or no airplay equals the criminal nature of keeping "The
Disappointed" and "Mayor Of Simpleton" under wraps.



End of Chalkhills Digest #3-59

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