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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-78


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 78

                 Monday, 3 February 1997

Today's Topics:

                    Here we go again!
                    SKYLACKING update
                      Opening Tracks
                     Meta-Discussion
   Possible, practical but not from our end of the deal
              And the wine all sliding down
                    Weird Al does XTC
                   Videos and Weird Al
       No XTC content--but a Yazbek review instead!
                 Exploding citrus fruits
                 The King of Rock'n'Roll
                      Mermaid Simes
          weighty issues and other comic fodder
                      more sundries
                       TMBG vs. ??
                         Weird Al
                   Metal machine music
              Orgys and Limos (hell, yeah!)
                       Q the music
                      Rude Gestures

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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Shout it clear for all to hear!

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Fri, 31 Jan 1997 10:02:11 -0600 (CST)
From: AMANDA OWENS <ACOEA@jazz.ucc.uno.edu>
Subject: Here we go again!
Message-id: <01IEUWXFGZCU8ZP7RS@jazz.ucc.uno.edu>

Once again, someone who doesn't know me has resorted to name calling to get
his fire and brimstone point across. In a personal email I received this
morning, I was called ignorant because I don't have the same beliefs this
person (who shall remain nameless simply because I really don't care what
his name is.) has. Yes, this has to do with my bumperstickers. Out of the
many emails I have received on the subject, only Joshua's and this guy's
had anything REMOTELY negative to say. And Joshua had the good sense to be
rather subdued and eloquent about it and didn't personally attack me, God
bless the guy. The other em's have said along the lines of "Those wer really
funny", "Cute stickers", "Keep up the needling", etc., etc.

So for point of clarification. I do not have a vendetta out for all ARAs
and vegetarians. Hell, my damn boyfriend is Vegan! What I was venting about
was this.....I surfed onto the PETA (People For Eating Tasty Animals) board
to see what the big deal was, and I was shocked at the hate mail that the
guy who started the board was getting. There was a twelve year old girl who
told this man every last detail of how he should die, and other people told
him he was going to die a horrible death and burn in hell for his beliefs!
I applaud those who can hold strog to their beliefs without resorting to that
kind of (strog? I mean STRONG!) violent diatribe. I'm a semi-ARA myself. I
don't wear fur or leather, I get sick to my stomach when I think of it. But
I eat meat, fish, chicken, etc. And I don't tell people that they're wrong
because they don't believe like I do. If I can across that way, I apologise
from the bottom of my heart.

Now that I've commited another Chalkhills no-no (Not talking about XTC..oooh!)
I'll get onto the Lads.....

I went home and viewed the videos for Life Begins at the Hop and Towers of
London, and I did see Terry drop his drumstick in TOL. Right after he hit a
cymbla, his stick went flying. I'm still not sure if Colin's simulating
tossing off in LBATH, though. He could be doing that, he could be doing a
very bad air guitar. (And did you also notice that the girl in the zebra
striped outfit, you know, the one with her chest hanging out every which
way, pulled a piece of the set down whilst dancing with Andy?)

Later,
Amanda
AMANDA'S song lyrics of the day
"I'm a dog, and I can smell your smell right through your clothes.
And I espouse some views that you yourself just might not hold."-CT Dummies.
"There's some debate, about whther instincts should be held in check.
Well I suppose that I'm a liberal in this respect."-Dummies.
"There's not time to dicriminate, hate every mother****er that's in your way"-
Marilyn Manson
AND FINALLY
AMANDA'S SOUL-SEARCHING QUOTE OF THE DAY.....
"All things begin and end into eternity"-David Bowie "The Man Who Fell to
Earth."

------------------------------

Message-ID: <32F392CB.3D10@netwalk.com>
Date: Sat, 01 Feb 1997 11:00:27 -0800
From: Ian C Stewart <stewart@netwalk.com>
Subject: SKYLACKING update

Drumroll please...
this is the end!  This is the part where all the titles come up, and you
have no more Skylacking in your cup...

Yes, it's sad but true:  SKYLACKING, the XTC fans' tribute cassette has
officially SOLD OUT COMPLETELY.  And I don't mean it's doing Nike
commercials and guest-hosting 120 Mintues either.  The whole XTC tribute
tape series was a monumental success on all fronts, thanks to everyone
who contributed material, helped with the cover design or just bought the
damn things.  From this moment forth SKYLACKING is no longer available.
Not from me anyway.

Time for a moment of reflection.  I think I'm entitled.
I only joined Chalkhills in November 1996, after lurking for a long time.
 John Neil was kind enough to act as my Chalkhills presence before I got
my own setup at home.  TA JOHN!

I saw the new Chalkhills Search Engine thingy last week and I thought
"cool!  Let's see what was said about SKYLACKING before I arrived!"

...Whoa!  "SKYLACKING Backlash?"  Huh?

The first XTC tribute tape I did was in 1992.  Back when most of you were
still listening to Van Halen.  The second tribute tape came out 1995 and
was much better.  It was called BEASTS I'VE SEEN.  And through a strange
series of coincidences I managed to get a copy to XTC themselves.
Imagine the bowel-rocking joy of getting a POSTCARD from Dave Gregory to
say he and Andy enjoyed the tape!!! Wow!  They like it!  (Dave and Andy
liked it anyway.  I doubt Colin was consulted.  He probably wouldn't care
anyway since BEASTS was all AP songs)  SKYLACKING was already about 1/4
complete before Johns Neil and Relph took up the Chalkhills end of
things.  A few of my favorite moments from the XTC tributes:

Paul Myers' a capella "Bushman President"
John Neil's "Life Is Good In The Greenhouse" w/crazy screaming samples
Peter Murray's reggae "Ladybird"
Chris Dodge's grindcore "Meeting Place" uuuuugggggggggah meeting plaace!!
Obviously John Relph's "Another Aerostar" will always occupy a special
place in my heart.  Homeboy hit the nail right on the head with that one.
Sniffle.  I get all misty just thinking about it.
Daniel Prendiville's "Man Who Sailed Around His Soul".  You'd be forgiven
for thinking Dan had written it himself.

and that's not meant to exclude anyone else who gave up their time and
effort to add to the mix.  Everyone involved did a hell of a job and I
for one know the tapes were all wonderful and stand alone as heartfelt...
sniff.  I love you guys, man.  I promised myself I wasn't going to cry.

If you never heard SKYLACKING, you could try asking people to dub it for
you-- start with John Relph's mom!  Not a wicked joke (for once), she
really ordered the thing!  Awesome!  Keeping it in the family!  Wish my
mom would buy tapes I'm on.

on the CD player:  Pantera.  It's one of those kind of mornings.

bye-yee
Ian

------------------------------

Date: Sat, 1 Feb 1997 09:51:00 -0800
Message-Id: <199702011751.JAA05735@dfw-ix2.ix.netcom.com>
From: whanks@ix.netcom.com (Wesley Paul Hanks)
Subject: Opening Tracks

Hi all,
It was mentioned previously about the ending track on xtc albums. How
about the psychidelic tint some of the opening tracks share? I'm
thinking of:

Beating of Hearts - Mummer
Wake Up - The Big Express
Summer's Cauldron - Skylarking
25 O'clock - Chips...
Garden of Earthly Delights - Oranges & Lemons

They do share a bit of a "welcome to the album, why don't you have a
seat, relax and enjoy yourself" quality, hmmm.

Cheers,
Wes
>From the wonderland that is Las Vegas where the (Dukes of) Stratosphere
Tower just filed bankruptcy.

"It adds to the mystery when you don't know what's going on."
Crow T. Robot

------------------------------

Message-Id: <3.0.1.32.19970201184844.0078dcd4@mail1.electric.net>
Date: Sat, 01 Feb 1997 18:48:44 -0800
From: David Hathaway <davidh@electric.net>
Subject: Meta-Discussion

Warning : Heavy non-XTC content

>From: "Purnell, Vernon" <VePurne@kpsgroup.com>
>Subject: a concerned response
>
>I'm fairly new to this list, and I was completely taken aback by Amanda
>Owens' offensive attack on the deeply-felt personal beliefs of others.
>I certainly hope such intolerant attitudes are not prevalent on this
>list; ignorance and intolerance are not appealing characteristics of any
>discussion group.  XTC has impressed me over the years with the ethics
>they've displayed and relayed through their music (not a specific value
>system, mind you, but certainly an open-minded attitude); this list
>should follow their example and do the same.  They, and we, deserve it.
>
>Sincerely (and concerned),
>Vernon

Sigh. Why is it that whenever someone posts a potentially contentious
posting, someone crawls out of the woodwork to bash upon the poster? It's
called an "opinion", a "view", a "stance". We all have them, probably all
different, but nonethless valid all the same. Intolerant attitudes are
displayed when the righteous decide that their particular belief has been
trampled upon, thus, it becomes time to wave a flag. Amanda's post did not
state anything like "vegetarians are morons", she stated that she had been
reading some info on animal rights activists that had ticked her off.
Entirely her right. She mentioned some bumper stickers that vegetarians
might find somewhat offensive, but carnivores might enjoy. She also backs
her view by mentioning that had it not been for research on animals, we
might not have a way in this time to control diabetes, which Dave Gregory
has, who could quite possibly not be with us without that research.

The simple thing to keep in mind is that if one is on a mailing list with
numerous people, the odds are not bad that someone might make some type of
reference that might offend you. This is called "the real world". I for one
would leave this list in a second if it descended into some manner of
politically correct maelstrom of politeness. I *like* hearing differing
views. I might not agree with all that is said, but, then again, I also
have the right to comment. As do you, which you have done.

Enough! Onto some XTC...minimal though...

The monkey-boy.com web site is being completely redesigned, and the entire
time the editing is being done, there is some XTC playing...

  David Hathaway                                davidh@electric.net
                 The Electric Mail Company Inc.
               Internet Electronic Mail Solutions
                 Web: http://www.electric.net/

------------------------------

From: nihilon@crisscross.com
Message-Id: <v03007800af1a3be8022e@[202.217.215.168]>
Subject: Possible, practical but not from our end of the deal
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 13:52:08 +0800

Good afternoon,

In Chalkhills # 76 I wrote,

>While I appreciate that many of the fans wish to simply recompense the boys
>for the material, it's not really practical / possible.  If Andy wants
this,
>he can always release the tapes through Chalkhills or The Little Express,
>much like the previous tapes.

In Chalkhills #77 Trent responded,

>I fundamentally disagree.  It is practical and possible to distribute music
>digitally, network or CD, and provide a return mechanism for funding.  As
>the technologies behind computers and sound reproduction (and other
>technologies) continue to converge, it will become more practical and
>possible.

Yes, Trent.  I agree it is practical, possible and probably the way for the
entire future of music purchasing.  I remember reading an article recently
that spoke of CD stores in the next few years.  They would have NO CDs
actually in the store - just advertising, and catalogues from which the
customer could choose the CDs they wished to buy.  The store clerk would
then drop a blank disc into the computer, which would download the music
(charging the store automatically) and print out the inserts from a
printer.  The clerk would then assemble it for you and you would leave the
store three minutes later with a new disc.  (I guess that would mean the
end of extra stock on shelves, but also bargain bins!) Of course the
article also mentioned this would reduce the cost of discs - a line I've
heard before, but I don't seem to recall actually ever happening.

But I didn't make myself clear in my original posting, and I apologise for
that.  What I'm talking about there is recompensing demo tapes that are
currently out and that were not meant by the artists to get out.  I'm
particularly referring to Andy's latest demos - and how it's impractical /
impossible (OK, that's a strong word - very difficult) for us, as the fan
base, to set up a system of recompense, which Andy and the boys are legally
probably not able to accept anyway.

If the next set of demos appear magically from Swindon (or from XTC's
Management) with a note  attached or a post in Chalkhills that we are all
to send a couple of bucks to some account somewhere, then that's a
different story. (And let's be honest - I don't think *that* many people
would be bothered going to the trouble to send money to make it worthwhile
for the band!)  If Andy wants us to have the demos, then he will release
them on a tape (as he has done), release them as B-sides etc, or make the
Bootleg Album that has been mentioned here.  I don't think he will send out
a copy to one person, tell him to start dubbing and ask that everyone sends
him money.

But I've definitely gone to Maximum Verbosity Level here - Sorry.

As for the videos.  Yes, Amanda, I've always figured the girl in "Nigel"
and "Hop" were the one and the same.  BTW, does anyone else lament the low
number of good shots of the redhead (the girl who jumps out of the chair at
the beginning of the clip) throughout the rest of the video?

BTW, Is anyone else here in Tokyo heading off the see the Brendan Benson
shows on 22nd or 23rd February?  Should be good.

Yours verbosely,

Steve (MGV)

P.S. - Still looking for someone who can help me complete my XTC video /
demo / live collection.  I have a large number of other artists that I can
trade.

*----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                Don't ask me how I feel - I might really tell you!
                             (Terry Scott Taylor)
*----------------------------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 00:33:17 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199702020533.AAA14929@cyber1.servtech.com>
From: Joshua Hall-Bachner <particle@servtech.com>
Subject: And the wine all sliding down

>and then a few years later I chanced upon hearing "Bungalow" at a party.
>That did me in completely.  I mean, I don't profess to "Marxisizing"
>everything I see and hear, but a guy rhapsodizing over a cottage?  Yoikes!

So you heard one song off the new album, the one which no one in the history
of the universe has ever liked on the first listen, and refuse to buy the
album?

I'm not trying to be obnoxious here, but it seems rather silly to me to make
a decision on the last two XTC albums based entirely on a single song,
especially on albums that are 15 or 17 songs long. Why don't you borrow the
CDs and listen to them for a week? I think it might alter your opinion a
little bit. And even if it doesn't, get someone to dub you Andy's demos for
the next album -- I doubt any warm-blooded XTC fan could dislike those.

<Guided By Voices>
>	I love these guys, in spite how much a friend says I shouldn't,
>as they've been over-deified by the critical thinkers at SPIN magazine.

Could the fact that one of those SPIN writers was a member of the band have
anything to do with it? :)

I've just purchased their _Alien Lanes_; it's really good, although
obviously an album with 28 1 minute songs can't succeed all the time --
where the hell did "Pimple Zoo" and "Hit" come from?

>Funny this should come up.  Years ago, in the days before CDs, a friend of
>mine INSISTED on two rules about the album Revolver.

YES! Although, I'd stick PBW/Rain in the middle, rather than at the end
(supporter of the XTC bonus tracks in the middle that I am...:) Revolver
really showed us the potential the Beatles had, and even today it stands up
as an excellent pop album. Not a snigle dud on the entire album. PBW/Rain
fit perfectly as well -- they show exactly the same advanced pop/rock
sensibility, expanded lyrical themes, and budding musical experimentation as
the album itself.

JHB
I'm only sleeping...
/-------------Joshua Hall-Bachner-------------Chaos Harlequin-------------\
|     particle@servtech.com    http://www.servtech.com/public/particle/   |
|"We all have our idiosyncracies -- maybe thinning hair, or gum disease." |
\---- Kowanko, "Will You Come To?" ------ Thank You, And Goodnight. ------/

------------------------------

Message-ID: <01BC3CA6.C9897DC0@pm1-17.cyberramp.net>
From: Ed Miller Laptop <edmiller@cyberramp.net>
Subject: Weird Al does XTC
Date: Sun, 30 Mar 1997 01:07:45 -0700

Well, we have reached a new, all-time low here at Chalkhills with this
recent post from AMANDA......

And I quote....

"This is a very banal, asinine, general question that came to me whilst I
 was watching some Weird Al videos I have on tape. The question is...if
 Weird Al were to cover an XTC song, what do you think he'd do? Which XTC
 songs do you think he could poke fun at?"

Well... being a big fan of the banal and asinine, I am compelled to reply.

Weird Al does satirical farces of current radio hits.  So, I guess he'd not
pick any XTC song.

As far as which song he could poke fun at, I would guess all of them, but
not as well as the Dukes could...

One more comment, though... Given Al's complexion, I would suggest "The
Mayor of PIMPLEton."

Bon soir,

Eduardo

------------------------------

Message-Id: <3.0.1.32.19970202013218.006964a0@mail.anet-chi.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 01:32:18 -0600
From: "LaShawn M. Taylor" <shonnie@zeus.anet-chi.com>
Subject: Videos and Weird Al

Wow! It's been a while since I posted! Guess RL is getting too much of a
hold on me...

Does *anyone* know where I can get these videos of the boys at?  I ordered
some from Erik Anderson at least a year ago, and I never heard a word about
it again. I got the Look Look videos, but I need something more *current*,
darn it!

As for the good song Weird Al can do, I've always had this weird thought of
him singing "Respectable Street", but doing it polka-style.  It could work!
/\     LaShawn M. Taylor (shonnie@zeus.anet-chi.com)
|^ ^|\    Ranma: What's more important? One brief moment of happiness, or
the
 \v/\|    Nanniichuan Spring?!
    |\    Ryoga: One...brief...moment...
    \|    				(Ranma 1/2)

------------------------------

Message-ID: <32F4CB01.536E@netwalk.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 09:12:33 -0800
From: Ian C Stewart <stewart@netwalk.com>
Subject: No XTC content--but a Yazbek review instead!

Do any of you lovely people happen to collect live/rare/videos by my
OTHER favorite bands like Japan (esp solo Sylvian and Karn), Chameleons
UK, Cocteau Twins and American Music Club (esp Eitzel solo).  I have all
the XTC goodies you could want.  Please contact me ONLY only *ONLY* if
you have something from my list of favorites to trade.  This isn't a call
for XTC-XTC trades.  I'm set there, thanks.

While I'm on the subject of stuff I want, who has some live Yazbek they'd
like to deal me in on?  Yaz?  You hear me?  Give me live.

Speaking of Yazbek...  since I've been cleaning house anyway, here's my
review of THE LAUGHING MAN for MOO magazine, which is this cruddy little
midwest free paper kind of thing.  :

YAZBEK "THE LAUGHING MAN"
This CD answers why David Yazbek didn't contribute to the XTC tribute
disc he sired last year--- he was saving up for his own full-length
homage!  While there are no actual XTC covers here, the sound, feel and
songwriting are very similar.  This is perhaps due to the presence of
Andy Partridge on 2 cuts.  Stylistically, Yazbek's songwriting is the
missing link between They Might Be Giants' cleverdick musings and
Partridge's pop mastery.  And with few exceptions (such as the
shoulda-been-a-butter commercial that is "No More," the unfortunate faux
heavy metal of "Pinnochio's Nose" and the virtual Benjamin Hanby cover
"666"), this is a MASSIVE album of classic, intelligent pop.  The lyrics
are crafty and smart.  Like Thomas Dolby's later work fused with the
Partridge grit of Nonsuch.  "Fight The One Armed Man" is the requisite
sign-of-the-times political protest song that could possibly be about Bob
Dole... This album is sweeter than fresh cookies and orange soda.
Guaranteed summertime car music.

Ian C Stewart MOO May 1996.

THE LAUGHING MAN was on my personal TOP 5 of 1996 (along with
IDAHO three sheets to the wind
RED HOUSE PAINTERS songs for a blue guitar
GODFLESH songs of love and hate
MARK EITZEL sixty watt siler lining
thanks for asking!)

e-mail me with your list if you got the goods.  Yours gets mine (as it
were).

Ian (aka Mr Poopy)
ps, when *I* was 19 I was in a death metal band that sang exclusively
about food called EVIL BREAD, my favorite bands were Napalm Death and XTC
and I saw Public Enemy in concert, finally.  So let's not start the "I'm
so neato because I have a diverse CD collection" crap.  As small men
everywhere like to say, it's not the size (of your music collection) that
counts, it's what you do with it.  Phew! I feel better now!

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 12:38:15 -0500 (EST)
From: Natalie Jane Jacobs <gnat@umich.edu>
Subject: Exploding citrus fruits
Message-ID: <Pine.SOL.3.95.970202120652.9385C-100000@galaxian.rs.itd.umich.edu>

Kids!

The estimable Simon Sleightholm rhapsodized eloquently upon the pleasures
of "Explode Together," but I'd like to add that most of the time I can't
identify the songs upon which the tracks are based, but I like them
anyway, just because I like weird noisy shit.  I can't live off pop alone
- it's like living off sweets all the time; you need a few sour things to
pucker your tongue once in a while.  I suspect Andy, with his love of
Beefheart and such, might feel the same way.

The unhappy Don speaks of his inability to like certain XTC records, among
them O&L, Mummer, and The Big Express.  I must ask a very important
question: have you listened to English Settlement?  Not only is it my
favorite XTC album, along with Skylarking, but, with its acoustic textures
and slightly quieter mood, paves the way nicely towards Mummer, which is a
much more uneven album but also very fine.  Mummer was the first XTC album
I ever bought and I have a big soft spot for it, so I can exalt it at
length if you like.

O&L was the second or third XTC album I bought - it came out only a few
months after I first started getting into XTC when I was sixteen - and
I remember sitting in front of the TV for about 3 hours waiting for "The
Mayor of Simpleton" video to come on.  What was your objection to this
video? I thought it was hilarious.  (It helped, too, that Andy looked
surprisingly cute in it. :) Did you just think it was dumb?  Too
rock-star-ish?  It was supposed to be a parody.  If it really did ruin the
song for you (quite an achievement!), then I guess it's just further proof
of Andy's negative statements about videos.

I can't defend "Bungalow," but again, I'm curious about what you found
objectionable about "Pink Thing."  Too crude?  Too silly?  Granted, it's
lightweight - O&L is a lightweight album, especially compared to the
albums you mentioned as your favorites (D&W, Black Sea, and Skylarking)
but, as I've learned upon giving O&L a few spins recently, it's just as
enjoyable. Fizzy pop is a nice change sometimes from the heavy
stuff - though, as noted above, you can't live off it.

Oh yeah, and in case you were wondering whether I'm one of those young
college sprats - if you do the subtraction you'll find I'm 24 (25 in
September) - still a bit of a sprat but not that young - and the
university address is because I'm an employee.

I sit in the snow,

Natalie Jacobs
Visit the Land of Do-As-You-Please!
http://www-personal.umich.edu/~gnat

P.S.  The phrase "immaculate reception" was used on MST3K last night -
probably a football reference, though.  Still, I smiled secretly.

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 18:41:30 +0100
Message-Id: <199702021741.SAA12022@iol-mail.iol.it>
From: Maurizio Villotta <villotta.maurizio@iol.it>
Subject: The King of Rock'n'Roll

Cheryl wrote:
>"Hot dog! Jumping frog! Al-BU-querque".  I have no clue what band
>this is or what the title of the song is but in my head it is!

Oh dear, you really had to quote one of the most embarassing songs of an
otherwise good group... That bit's from "The king of Rock'n'Roll" by Prefab
Sprouts, taken from the "From Langley Park To Memphis" LP, without any doubt
their worst work. If you really want to listen to something very good from
them try their first two LPs, expecially "Swoon".
While we're at it, I seem to recall that Andy was very impressed by the
first Blue Nile LP, "A walk across the rooftops". I read in an interview
that they were among his favourites. If you happen to come across their
records, give 'em a try, they contain incredibly simple and deep pop songs.

Maurizio
villotta.maurizio@iol.it

------------------------------

From: nonsuch@dircon.co.uk
Message-Id: <2.2.32.19970202175822.006a9cd8@popmail.dircon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 17:58:22 +0000
Subject: Mermaid Simes

>From Cheryl, McGREGOC <McGREGOC@regents.ac.uk>

>"Hot dog! Jumping frog! Al-BU-querque".  I have no clue what band
>this is or what the title of the song is but in my head it is!

"The King Of Rock and Roll", by Prefab Sprout.

>What songs draw you in emotionally and take you for a ride?

Good question. The first song that drew me in on Skylarking was "Mermaid
Smiled". The rush of guitar strummery that makes up the opening few bars of
that song sent shivers up my spine. I was brought up near the coast - our
house was mere yards from some preciptious cliffs (now I think of it, my
parents bought me a LOT of kites, I may have to bring that point up with
them one day) - and the instrumentation really does conjure up pictures of
the waves racing in across the long fingers of rock that curled into the sea
from Salter's Gate.

I can't hear the galloping beat (sea horses?) or the echoing bell without
thinking of the half-submerged burst boiler of the sunken ship just off
Silver Sands - the waves would close over it on stormy days, scudding
through the gaping rust-bite holes and rocking the whole sorry mess. A buoy,
thethered nearby to warn off the boats of potential divers, used to ring out
a clear bell of notice.

It helps that the song is all about childhood, the lost innocence, the
sudden realisation that mermaids, dragons and small cats in waistcoats are
things you are expected to stop believing as you age. So the mermaid, silver
and  slippery, elusive as smoke, is, for me, that innocence - that fleeting
view of yourself you get from time to time, when you gape in wonder at
something new and remember, for a tiny while, that same feeling from the
time when EVERYTHING seemed to leak magic.

I played the song over and over; it pulled me back to the days when things
were as simple as the ABC's I had just learned, when all I needed to get
through the day was a stick and a dog to throw it for. For me it is just the
most *magical song*.

When Andy said that it had been inspired by a book he had as a kid, a book
with a thick back cover which actually held a case of water filled with fish
and divers that could be glimpsed through cut outs in the preceeding pages I
nearly swooned dead away. I had one of those books too, and like him it
fascinated me for hours.

So, while "Mermaid Smiled" may not be my favourite XTC song ever, it is
certainly a song that takes me for a real ride like no other. I become five
and a half (half years were important then), and the past just floods in :
blonde hair and scabby knees, pockets stuffed with seaweed and shells,
clarty plimpsolls splattering wet sand with each step, me and my dog chasing
monsters through the gorse, scratching for fossils in the shale, getting cut
off in the cove and wondering which of the two death defying options (climb
the cliff or swim around the corner) is likely to be the least fatal,
leading an army of invisible knights as we lay siege to the hollow shell of
Dunstanburgh Castle.

A great song.

And finally, for those of you who are still awake, am I right in thinking -
after the recent Mike Nesmith mentions - that a segment of his "Rio" video
is shown on the "Sony Entertainment Centre" in XTC's "Respectable Street"
vid? I only saw the "Rio" vid once, but from memory it looked like it.

Grown to child,

Simon

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 14:06:07 -0800
Message-Id: <v01550101af1aafff6b47@[146.6.72.25]>
From: h.h.name@mail.utexas.edu (jason garcia)
Subject: weighty issues and other comic fodder

Hi.  There.

> But the question is, can I learn to like the bookends of the XTC
>discography?

Well, all I have to say is this:  don't judge "Nonsuch" solely
on the basis of hearing "Bungalow"!  I, personally, happen to like
it but I realize that it is a song about which people tend to have
strong (usually negative) opinions.  Listen to the whole album,
then see what you think.  Same for "O&L".  There are some real
gems on that record, my personal favorites being "Cynical Days"
and "King For a Day" (I think that album contains my favorite Colin
songs).  "Hold Me My Daddy" is also excellent, and in general the
album is buoyed by a fresh vibrancy that, while some would call it
overproduction, definitely lends it a bright sound that was lacking
from its predecessor.

Have you heard "English Settlement"?  This record is unquestionably
brilliant.  Predominantly acoustic, it takes the spare arrangements
of "Black Sea" and adds warmth and depth.  The songwriting reaches
a new peak on this record.  Gone are the "silly love songs" in the
mold of "Rocket From a Bottle" or "When You're Near Me I Have
Difficulty".  The Andy on "ES" is a world traveler, a keen observer
of human nature.  Colin's efforts are similarly direct.  The album
speaks of injustice without being overly preachy, and the songs
are different enough to stand on their own in the manner of the
later Beatles.  The playing is excellent, and Terry Chambers in
particular really shines on this album.  If you haven't heard it,
get it immediately, if not sooner.

>What songs draw you in emotionally and take you for a ride?

Always, ALWAYS, every time I hear it, "My Bird Performs".  Possibly
the best song Colin has ever written.  Probably because I identify
with it so strongly-- I myself have a very strong performing instinct
and I'm not incredibly well read, and "fine art never moved my soul."
Yet, even though it's all about lack of class, or perceived lack of
class, the song itself is VERY classy.  All I can think about when
I hear it is the aftermath of a black tie affair, when everyone's
gone and you're alone with your own thoughts.  I usually like to have
the lights dimmed when I listen to it.

On "Dear God":
I came across a vinyl copy of "Skylarking" at a used record store
yesterday and on it was a sticker which said this:

"Includes the hit single 'Dear God'.  Also features the song 'Earn
Enough for Us'"

I laughed.  "Take on Me" was a hit single.  As for "Dear God"...
well, I imagine it fell a little short.

>The question is...if Weird Al were to cover an XTC song, what do you
>think he'd do?

Well I know what he WOULDN'T do:  make millions of dollars.

>By the time the new album comes out XTC will have missed the whole
>Seattle grunge scene.

Sometimes I wish I had missed it.  But we're safe and sound now,
back in good ol' 1955. (that was a reference)

>one other Lennon song ("She Said, She Said?") that the North American
>versions clipped

No, you were right with just the three- "Dr. Robert", "And Your Bird",
and "Sleeping".  Still, the American version is definitely Paul-heavy.
And George has 3 songs to John's 2!  What's up with that?  Unprecedented!

I love going off-topic.
Jason

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 15:54:12 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <v01540b00af1bba5abf0b@[139.80.25.195]>
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: more sundries

>>( can you imaging a 12 minute version of Deliver us from the Elements,
>>Chalkhills and Children, or Travels in Nihilon???).

>Funny you should mention that...

>The original version of Travels In Nihilon had a very long
>instrumental/drum intro lasting almost 2 1/2 minutes. According to our
>Hero A.P. : "it was just like a steamroller!" In the end the long intro
>had to be cut in order to fit all the tracks on the album... alas!

heh... I can just imaging Terry C. yelling something about blisters and
fingers...

which reminds me - who said the White album should be chopped??? Hoelter
Skelter is proof positive it could have been a dozen minutes longer!

oh, and AMANDA...
>AMANDA'S FAVORITE BUMPERSTICKERS

one I've seen recently: Become a vegetarian! Kill carrots! Maim rice!
Torture broccoli!

James

JOL, RIP

------------------------------

Message-Id: <v03020701af1b080b2e3c@[207.77.26.140]>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 1997 22:23:18 -0500
From: Ira Lieman <ira@myself.com>
Subject: TMBG vs. ??

Howdy Chalkholios...

Yep, right now I'm listening to They Might Be Giants on WNEW's "Idiot's
Delight" -- whoever on the list mentioned it, THANK YOU MUCHLY! I owe you a
beer.

Anyhoo, for those who weren't able to hear it, they played part of EVERY
song off the first album!! It was quite funny. And I *TRIED* to call up
WNEW to get them to play either "XTC vs. Adam Ant" or "25 O'Clock" but I
can't get through. :( It's a pain. But the Johns are almost more engaging
than Andy on the radio...it's quite an aural experience. Wish I remembered
to tape it. :(

If anyone is in the NYC area who wants to go see Them in Irving Place
sometime in February, e-mail me privately. I want to go but I have no one
to go with who hasn't recently seen Them...

BTW: For those who don't have it, John Flansburgh's Mono Puff album is
pretty good!

Back to our regularly scheduled flamefest.

-ira

------------------------------

Message-ID: <32F58D07.4E2B@sprintmail.com>
Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 23:00:23 -0800
From: Stormy Monday <stormymonday@sprintmail.com>
Subject: Weird Al

Folxtc,

"Roasted Chicken burns my fingers,
 That recipe still lingers"

"Living through another Too-oo-oo  BA!"

Stormy Monday

PS especially for Amanda

"If you don't eat your meat, you can't have any pudding! HOW CAN YOU
HAVE ANY PUDDING IF YOU DON'T EAT YOUR MEAT"?!!!!

------------------------------

Date: Sun, 02 Feb 1997 16:16 +0930
From: "VanAbbe, Dominic" <dominic.vanabbe@faulding.com.au>
Subject: Metal machine music
Message-id: <01IEZGXRM3MQ00GZUM@faulding.com.au>

Cheryl MacGregor wrote:
>"Hot Dog! Jumping frog! Al-BU-querque". I have no clue what band this is or
what >the title of the song is but in my head it is!

That'd be "King of Rock N' roll" by Prefab Sprout (great song indeedy!)
produced by Thomas Dolby (he that may have been of XtC fame), from the LP
"From Langley Park to Memphis".

I could go on about Prefab Sprout, but isn't this the XTC mailing list? (Jay
or "Hedblade" or whatever- you bloody great cynic you...)

Todd B. wrote:
>Yeah, it's easy to get frustrated with off-topic postings, but hey, XTC
hasn't put out an >album in quite a while.

While I have to concur with those who find the rambling
issue-after-flaming-issue of off-topic postings irritating, I am positively
*HORRIFIED* to think what is going to happen when XtC *DO* in fact release
new product.  New product which, more than likely, is going to be *OLD-NEW*
product for a percentage of Hills folk.  I can see it now.  Some of those
who've clamoured for the new-demos will whinge that "it's anti-climactic"
 or "they've changed the lyrics of the second bridge for the worse" or "the
demo version was better"-  who are they going to have to blame?  (BTW,
before I'm flamed I *DO* have the new demos, but have made a point of giving
them only a cursory listen for this very reason.  The older demos are far
more interesting as a gauge of song genesis/producer input/etc ).

I don't think *ANYONE* on the list objects to discovering new
bands/interests/whatever from the list, but at least keep the
"signal-to-noise-ratio" within the bounds of sensibility.  Politics? Cola
wars? Animal testing?  I'd sooner discuss whether Partridge wears blue or
red boxers to bed (and frankly who gives a flying fuck!!).  But then, I've
got the "page down" button haven't I???

And finally to Bob T. and Todd B. again, as to whether or not people leave
this list, it's up to them really innit?  Why the flames for leaving the
list as P@ul-of-Oz so rightly asked.  Shit, it's a free world, baby...
Fortunately we have the likes of David Yazbek, Paul Bailey and Mitch
Friedman (occasionally) on-line to kick our reality up the arse from time to
time.

Dom

------------------------------

Message-Id: <1.5.4.32.19970203065424.0068aff4@pop.mindspring.com>
Date: Mon, 03 Feb 1997 01:54:24 -0500
From: "Jason 'Buffy' NeSmith" <jnesmith@mindspring.com>
Subject: Orgys and Limos (hell, yeah!)

Well, hey there Hillbillies! (Chalk-abillies?)

John Mietus <sirchuck@macomb.com>, asking that musical question,
>Has anyone heard any of the Lemon Dukes demos?  I have "Snowing Angels"
>and "Candymine" on a tape a friend made for me, but I have no idea where
>he got them.  A pity they never got around to doing that one.

I bet he got them off the EP Andy did for John (TMBG) Flansburg's Hello
Music Club.  I think it's US$40 to subscribe for a year, and you can order
CD's from a previous year, but I think you have to get the whole year.
(I'm not sure about that) Andy's CD is fockin' grait.  I mean, it was
such an exciting thing to hear after 3 years of no-new-XTC that Andy
was still in top form.  As Mike Nesmith would say, And the Hits Just
Keep On Comin'.  They've released some other great stuff that I've heard
through my friend who subscribed for a couple of years.
Brian Dewan, for instance.

McGREGOC <McGREGOC@regents.ac.uk> happened upon a worthy thread thusly...
>Now, my question to you folks, if this doesn't delve to deep into
>your souls, what songs affect you emotionally?  There have been times
>where I have cried in frustration listening to Train Running Low on
>Soul Coal.  What songs draw you in emotionally and take you for a ride?

Most of the songs that affect me emotionally are about relationships.
Fer instance...
--"Snowman" Lyrically, it's not perfect, but it's emotionally charged.
It's a boiler of an arrangement/performance.  As much as I love
"Complicated Game" & "Travels in Nihilon" (notice they all end their
respective albums), they're sometimes too heavy for me.  "Snowman"
conveys the same level of tension and frustration, but contains it better.
--"Earn Enough for Us"  such a wonderfully hopeful and honest song. A band
that writes and records a song such as this deserves a record deal from
paradise.
--"Pale and Precious"  Stands on its own, even though the production is
a Beach Boys immitation.  The way the melody dances up and down and the
stunning images he describes the woman with are guaranteed to get me
misty-eyed.  Damn, I'm a softy!

And these next few are from other artists.
Sebadoh "Soul and Fire" from Bubble and Scrape, the first verse and
chorus, especially.
the dB's "Never Before and Never Again" from The Sound of Music.
Fleetwood Mac "I Walk a Thin Line" from Tusk.  A masterful, sparing outline
of a breakup.  Lindsay is my hero.

peter.wright2@virgin.net relates a truly sad tale...
>In 'Digest' #3-76 , I was be-moaning the fact that I had never witnessed
>the great XTC 'live' experience. That isn't to say, however, that I
>haven't had THE chance.........

Wow.  Bummer, dude.
Everyone, what have we learned here?  Peter has warned us of the
consequences
one faces when one doesn't support one's local music scene.  Now, for
homework tonight I'd like you all to go see a local band perform in a club
and report back to jnesmith@mindspring.com with your findings.  And those of
you in close proximity to Atlanta, your lesson is a little easier.  Go see
Orange Hat next time they play.

I can't belive I typed the whole thing.

love and scooby snacks,
Buffy
________In Heavy rotation on WCAR (my tape deck):______
-------------Alastor: Javelin Catcher-------------------
Frank Black: The Cult of Ray-------------The Faust Tapes
Peter Gabriel: "melt face"---------This Is the Moody Blues
visit the Orange Hat Cyberhose Page, or you won't have any fun!
http://www.mindspring.com/~jnesmith

------------------------------

Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 09:51:53 GMT
Message-Id: <v01510100af1b5c9f5ce4@[194.128.83.69]>
From: fisher@easynet.co.uk (Mark Fisher)
Subject: Q the music

I've noticed the newly trendy Mark Owen has been making a few TV
appearances here in the UK. The couple of times I've seen him, his band has
been made up of bright young things with no sign of our Uncle Dave on
guitar.

A number of XTC sightings in the new issue of Q. First off there's a quote
from the Record Collector article (Andy slagging off REM); then there's a
review of *Whatever and Ever Amen* by The Ben Folds Five, of which Ian
Cranna says, "Not since the early days of XTC has so much joyful
tunefulness, pent-up energy and clever wordplay been combined to such
irresistible effect"; and finally in the import section there's a four-star
review of Nonsuch by David Quantick - this, as far as I can tell, is the
regular Geffen release, so the only reason I can imagine for it being on
import is that Virgin have deleted it in the UK. Can this be possible?

- Mark
http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~fisher/

------------------------------

Message-Id: <v02130500af1b62fd8f7f@[134.32.48.177]>
Date: Mon, 3 Feb 1997 09:56:54 +0000
From: varga@ferndown.ate.slb.com (Stephen Varga)
Subject: Rude Gestures

With Amanda Owens bringing up the topic of the Life Begins At The Hop
video, this has reminded me of a couple of rude gestures in that video.

In one scene, just before Colin sings "Tell me what do you say ..", he
holds the microphone tight with a clenched fist and then shakes that fist
up and down in a fast violent motion. You know, the old five finger knuckle
shuffle routine.

Later in the video, Andy is waving his cardboard guitar handle to and fro
reminiscent of an ejaculation.

Anyone else made these observations before?

------------------------------

End of Chalkhills Digest #3-78
******************************

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