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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #3-89


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 3, Number 89

                 Thursday, 13 March 1997

Today's Topics:

                   meeting Andy (long)
                 Captain Sensible BOX SET
                 Skylarking Crappy Review
                     Randomly Direct
                        Breathing
                     Meat the Bagels
     Chalkhills Tape - Additional information needed!
                   Who could care less.
                  Relph on Sugarplastic
                      Upsy Diasy???
                   Rolling Stone Review
           Skylarking -- Rolling Stone reviews
           Tattoos, Random Thoughts, and Amanda
                      Difficult Age
       I'm getting nostalgic....anyone remember....
                     New Flamblution
                    where IS swindon?
                        XTC guitar
                    Skylarking Review
            Sugarplastic/Paperback writer/Jet
                 re: gregory and Gabriel
                      the beach boys

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

Message-Id: <199703092306.PAA19117@sgi.sgi.com>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <peterfit@MICROSOFT.com>
Subject: meeting Andy (long)
Date: Sun, 9 Mar 1997 15:10:14 -0800

Ok,
I'm trying to put together a few answers to questions and such so I've
pulled together a "what we did on our holidays" type essay (those of you
who were educated in the UK or Ireland will identify with *that*)

Right, first : how did I come to interview Andy ? Well, I can't say as
much as I'd like to right now. But I promise that just as soon as I get
the OK I'll have an extremely cool announcement for you all. Yes, it
involves Andy. Yes, it involves music and ......yes, it involves
computers.......sort of.
promise
promise
promise : I'll spill the beans just as soon as it's ok.

So, I flew over to London from Dublin (a 7:50am flight) on Wednesday
morning. Bumped into Boyzone on the flight (who ? those of you in the UK
and Ireland will know....a reasonably famous boy-group from Dublin). Got
some autographs for my 8 year old niece (..now you see where that group
is pitching eh ?).
I had to do a quick business meeting at the Townhouse in London W12.
(the Townhouse is well known as a recording studio and record mastering
facility...they also do some very cool video stuff too).

Met my colleagues at Paddington Station at 11:30am (no...I didn't bring
any marmalade sandwiches......). Took the noon train to Swindon, about
50/55 minutes.
Arrived at Swindon station and was assured by one of my colleagues (who
had been there a few days before...and had a brother who lives in
Swindon) that Andy's house was a short walk away.............yeah right.
I was laden down with a portable DAT, camcorder, camera, microphones and
miscellaneous cables. (though I shouldn't complain....I was definitely
surplus to requirements but my colleagues knew I'd never forgive them if
I didn't go along as an "assistant")

After a brief walk up every hill in Swindon we arrived at Andy's house.
A smart, council-type house in a nice area. Andy answered the door and
upon seeing me remarked that my colleague's female companions had been
so much prettier last week............ha ha.....we were off to a good
start !

"Would I like a drink ?"................oh....of course I would
Andy......Tea would be great....thanks..
Dammit.....I don't even drink tea..........I'm a sworn coffeeaholic.
Go figure.....

So we talked for a little while. I looked around Andy's front room and
spied some pictures that looked strangely familar [ pictures over the
fireplace of farm animals...right now I can't remember where I saw
them.....probably on a record inner sleeve or something ]. On a shelf in
the corner I spied the Beatles Anthology Video Box Set. (ooooohhhhhh,
I'll save *that* till later I thought.....I'm also a huge Beatles fan).
On the stereo a CD of Robert Johnson was playing. We chatted about the
blues and stuff.
Getting down to business we took a look at some sketches for the project
Andy is working on. One of my two colleagues departed. He wasn't feeling
to good and didn't fancy passing it along to any of us.
I set up my DAT and 2 microphones while Andy got some more tea, juice
and stuff.

When Andy came back into the room he immediately spied some CDs on the
floor.
"Oh ?? What are these ????" He said.
What they were : I had managed to get a copy of the "Chalkhills Children
96" master tape from Richard Pedretti-Allen. (Who went to considerable
personal expense and effort to get the tape to me the day before). I had
made a CD copy each of the "album" for Colin, Dave and Andy. (plus an
extra one in case he wanted to give it to a record company type ...)

Before you ask : NO !!!!! There are no more copies. It was a condition
of getting the tape from Richard that it was only for these specific
CDs. Strictly limited edition as they say. So, please don't ask.....I'll
only have to say no.

Andy was absolutely flattered. He was well aware of Chalkhills and had
heard "Skylacking".
The main interviewer was happy too : this was a good start plus the
whole topic of fan tributes / XTC tributes formed an important part of
the interview.
To say that he was happy to know that fans had gone to so much trouble
is putting it mildly.
He promised to give the copies to Colin & Dave.
I'm sure he has probably already listened to it because he referred
(during the course of the interview) to specific tracks on "Skylacking"
and "Testimonial Dinner" (or "testicular dinner" as he called it.....)

So , the interview began. I can't go into specific's because it lasted
two and a half hours and I don't have a transcript yet.
Before anyone asks : the interview is probably the property of Andy or
my employer or both. So I can't forward copies of the tapes. So please
don't ask. BUT : I'm trying really hard to get a copy of the transcript
to publish on Chalkhills. I know that the project won't use more than a
few minutes of the interview. Probably the material that is of most
interest to you all *won't* make it into the final project so I'm pretty
optimistic it'll be made available in a few weeks.

But in summary :
Andy is in great health and so are Colin and Dave.
Off the top of my head here are some snippets of information :

Part of the seettlement deal with Virgin includes the release of a "box
set". Just what the contents will be are a mystery to me, you and Andy
too. Also included is a video release. (Andy had some very clear
opinions on the whole video thing).

Yes, Terry has been in touch with them recently !!! He has phoned Dave
at unearthly hours (remember : Terry's in Australia). From the way Andy
mimic'd Terry's voice it sounds like Terry now has an Australian accent.
Apparently the conversation(s) consisted of Dave waking up....and
Terry's son playing the drums very loudly down the
phone.....................hahaha

Trading tapes......a personal question from me. This is the bottom
line: it's ok with Andy SO LONG AS THEY'RE NOT AND SOLD. He has no
problem at all with them being traded.
So relax everyone. Just don't sell the things.
Also : I mentioned that some of us on the list were more than happy to
see the band receive some money as a result of these tapes. Basically
Andy said not to bother. He was touched by our honesty *but* the band
will NEVER see the money.........so don't bother.

He answered a number of your specific questions (ones that hadn't been
covered in the main part of the interview). I mentioned who sent in the
questions and (if it made sense.....) where they were sent from.
Where's Andy's favourite place in the world ? (from Jim in Honolulu (!)
)
Answer : Bed.
ha haha

Charlie Parker (his dog) was sent over to his father's house to spend
the last year of his life. He has gone to doggie heaven. Currently Andy
doesn't have any pets. The cat was also given to someone.
Andy's current girlfriend can't live with animals in the same house.

There are about 36 songs prepared for the next album. No a deal has not
been signed........yet.
In fact Andy mentioned that Paul Bailey (XTC's current manager) was off
to the USA the next day for meetings.
Andy cannot wait to get "back to work". That is very apparent. He's
really excited about the material and, having heard some of it, I agree.
With the right production it'll be a great album.
The dual album idea ( one orchestral, one band/rock-like) is still very
much something Andy wants to do.

The "bootleg album" mooted on Chalkhills is also something he'd like to
do but Colin isn't into it.

So.....when the interview proper died down I asked Andy some of the
above questions and a few others. I then proceeded to have my CD covers
signed. Which proved to be an interesting exercise.
Having lived in NewYork for a few years I have a mixture of Virgin and
Geffen releases ( a source of interest to Andy). Added to that was the
Japanese "Demo Tracks" release. Andy had never seen one of those ! Plus
I got it signed. Anyone who has seen the sleeve will recognise it as a
variation on the Nonsvch sleeve. Andy added a set of wheels and a
driving/steering wheel to the building.
Where possible he drew something on the cover. At one point he said
"oh....I hope you don't mind me doing this".
AS IF !!!!!!!! [Wait 'till you see what he did to the "Oranges & Lemons"
sleeve. ]
The "Go2" sleeve posed a problem. So, looking at the map of Swindon on
the back , Andy marked a red dot at each place he had lived (all around
the Penhill Estate area, top left hand corner of the map)

I'll scan the covers and put them on my website. Hopefully I'll get
around to this soon.

I then got more brave as I chatted with him. "Could I see the shed ?"
"Of course" !
This was great : not only did I get to meet one of my major musical
influences but he was really cool.....he realised I was a fan
straightaway and couldn't have been more charming.

On our way to the shed he brought me into the dining room (for those of
you unfamiliar with UK type houses - the dining room is the room to the
rear of the living room. The kitchen typically adjoins the dining room).
There he showed me his new guitar - personally made for him. I was too
busy playing the damn thing to take a photograph. [I'll find out later
who made it].

We strolled out to the "The Shed". Once in there he handed me a couple
of DATs to see which songs I *hadn't* heard. So, we listened to some of
the more recent demos that haven't been circulated. They're good. Damn
good.
Technical details ?
An Alesis ADAT - the eight one he has had, they keep breaking down on
him.
Drums and orchestral sounds are from an Emu Proteus 1/XR.
He recently purchased an Alesis DM4 (for drums) but it doesn't really
appear on any demos yet.
There's a Roland D-50 there but it seems to be only as a master keyboard
controller. Though I spied a Roland PC200 (?) "computer type" keyboard
lying on the floor.
There were a couple of bass guitars in the corner  - he adds bass to the
demos himself.
Monitoring is courtesy of Yamaha NS10M's (oh dear - while they're
popular I personally can't stand them)
The mixing desk is an Allen & Heath. looks like a 24:8
There's some outboard stuff like a Yamaha SPX90II and others.
Sequencing comes via Cubase running on an old Atari.

Yes I have some photos and I also took some video too.
I'll transfer the photos (I bought one of those new APS type cameras
that will give me prescanned images) and digitize the video. They'll be
on my website soon as possible.
No, I didn't take any video of his home - after all, it *is* his home.
Before I took any pictures or video I checked with Andy that it was ok.
And he was great about it - making faces for the camera at one point !

Soon it was time to get going (I had to get back to Heathrow Airport).
So we said goodbye and went on our way. Needless to say I had a couple
of drinks in the bar while waiting for my flight back to London. ("had
it really happened ??")

All in all it was a great experience. Andy was so nice. I am still like
a bloody teenager all over again. My wife thinks it's hilarious.

Keep an eye for more information on the project he's working on. Once
it's announced you'll have to be quick.

Cheers All,

Peter

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

Message-Id: <199703101817.NAA25580@mime3.prodigy.com>
From: Moonsilver@prodigy.com (MR NOBLE K THOMAS)
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 13:17:19, -0500
Subject: Captain Sensible BOX SET

Mr Relph inquired about the availabilty of the CAPTAIN SENSIBLE Slice
Of CD. It is to be included in the upcoming CAPTAIN SENSIBLE Up Ya
Box which also will contain the Meathead CD and a cut-out-and-dress
CAPTAIN SENSIBLE doll. I do have available as I type the Martin
Newell Box Of Humbug box set (GLE plus OWA plus Let's Kiosk EP). The
GLE also has the new added tracks. The Oranges and Lemons GOLD
Ultradisc CD is slated for release this week. E-mail me or visit the
web site for further details. Toby at Silver Moon Music

http://home.earthlink.net/~moonsilver/Moonsilver.html

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

Message-ID: <332469F5.17E8@mci.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 13:07:17 -0700
From: "Jeffrey Langr" <Jeffrey.Langr@MCI.Com>
Organization: MCI
Subject: Skylarking Crappy Review

I may or may not still have it, but I clipped the original Skylarking
review of Skylarking in Rolling Stone.  I will try to dig it out.

Indeed the brain-dead magazine gave Skylarking a lame review when it
first came out.  I think they made up for it by giving Oranges & Lemons
four stars (and the lead review spot) when it was released, and also by
putting Skylarking in the top 100 albums of the 80's (but where was
English Settlement?).

Jeff L.

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

From: jason.phelan@mcmail.vanderbilt.edu
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 97 13:11:17 CST
Message-Id: <9702108580.AA858028494@in2.mcmail.vanderbilt.edu>
Subject: Randomly Direct

     To the Chalkhellion who posted:

      [Geggy Tah has just released a new album, don't know the name, new
     single is "The Battle of Who Could Care Less"]

     Who told you that?
     Not sorry to say "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" is none other
     than the amazing and fantastic trio: The Ben Folds Five. And not Geggy
     Tah.

     Geggy Tah is slightly more annoying than Ben Folds. ( Don't flame me,
     babies, I still like both bands )

     I am so exited about all this computer/Andy stuff coming up. New stuff
     for the fans. And I definitely agree with whoever said upon hearing
     the new demos, an English Settlement 2 could be coming. Unless the
     band chooses Kathy Lee Gifford as the producer and a deaf ape with the
     abnormality of having 10 thumbs instead of fingers,.... then I believe
     it is safe to say that the album will be AMAZING.

     I am sorry to say that I won't be buying "Upsy Daisy" and I don't care
     if it gives the band more money or not. I have spent all that I can
     spend on that useless "Fossil Fuel" garbage and the last thing we need
     is "Waxworks" re-release #442.

     So when is "Upsy Daisy" coming out??? I need to reserve my copy.

     Sucker #443,
     Phelan

     P.S. If anyone has a trade I have got an extra copy of "KINGS FOR A
     DAY" The Live Acoustic Boston Radio Shows and I just wanna trade
     anything it doesn't even have to be that special. just XTC related.

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

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 17:55:32 -0500 (EST)
From: Christie <cbyun@cep.yale.edu>
Subject: Breathing
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.3.91.970310174846.10677A@www.cep.yale.edu>

I had the headphones on, listening to Dear Madam Barnum last night,
volume cranked up to 11, as usual, and I made a discovery!  Right at the
very end, after the little whistle, you can hear someone (presumably
Andy) take a breath.  Wowee!!  So I had to listen to it ten more times,
just for the sake of hearing Andy breathing.  You can chalk this
discovery up with the cello reverb and the "1 2 3..." in Sacrificial
Bonfire.

See what happens when it's too long between XTC albums?

Can any kind soul out there help me figure out the guitar parts to Always
Winter, Never Christmas?  I would be eternally grateful.

Christie

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

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 17:54:18 +0500 (EST)
From: Thomas Slack <tgs@telerama.lm.com>
Subject: Meat the Bagels
Message-ID: <Pine.3.89.9703101739.A5720-0100000@joust.lm.com>

Howdy Chalksters,

I thought Mitch's story about the Jewish Beatles game was pretty darn
funny! (Helter Schmelter was my favorite.) I came up with a few more song
titles:  Lean Kosher Mustard, Day Schlepper, Loxman

Seems like a fun game, hope no one's offended.

Tom

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

From: Richard.PedrettiAllen@octel.com
Message-Id: <c=US%a=_%p=Octel%l=EX-CAMPUS1-970310231639Z-11825@ex-campus2.corp.octel.com>
Subject: Chalkhills Tape - Additional information needed!
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 15:16:39 -0800

Philip McEachern (Collideascope) and Naoyuki Isogai (Goosey Goosey)
please contact me via email as soon as possible regarding your
contribution to the Chalkhills' Children tape at:

richard.pedretti-allen@octel.com

Thanks, Richard

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

Message-Id: <v03010d02af4a3c4eca2b@[128.148.19.74]>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 18:23:47 -0500
From: Gene Yoon <Gene_Yoon@brown.edu>
Subject: Who could care less.

>From: Greg Brady <shadow@mad.scientist.com>
>
>        Geggy Tah has just released a new album, don't know the name, new
>single is "The Battle of Who Could Care Less".   As to "Your Woman" it's
>done by a group called White Town. Album is _Women in Technology_.

Isn't "The Battle of Who Could Care Less" Ben Folds Five's new song?
(Pandora's Box Alert.)

Thank you to all who replied to my queries.

To report:
As Mr Relph rightly said, Geggy Tah has two albums, the current "Sacred
Cow" an interesting pastiche of funk and pop and a touch of jazz.
Recommended for someone who enjoys the disjointed-melodic-rhythmic aspect
of early/mid XTC.

White Town is not actually a band, it's one man under the auspice of a
band.  From England.  Incidentally, the riff from his current song "Your
Woman" is taken from Darth Vader's theme from Star Wars.

Throw That Beat in the Garbagecan! (exclamation point included) is a German
band whose name is inspired by a B-52's song, produced by David Byrne on
their album "Mesopotamia" (actually, I knew that much already).  Two women,
four men, known now as just Throw That Beat, their sound is likened to
"Kiwipop", whatever that is.

XTC is a trio from Swindon, England who still haven't recorded a followup
to 1992's "Nonsuch" and don't tour, persuading fans like myself to write in
about alien music.  I can't wait to read the Andy Partridge interview, and
find out about The Big Secret.

>Later,
>Amanda

Yes, we can always count on that.

Gene

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

Date: 11 MAR 97 10:43:29 DST
From: PCulnane@dca.gov.au
Subject: Relph on Sugarplastic
Message-ID: <0000gkmsaoya.0000ftjtrrxj@dca.gov.au>

In 'Hills # 88 our esteemed John Relph writes:

(The Sugarplastic's "Another Myself") *doesn't* rip off "Paperback Writer",
it rips off Paul McCartney's "Jet".

I tend to agree with Paul Haines' view.  To me, the song is frighteningly
reminiscent of Paperback, particularly the harmony vocal parts.

I s'pose, with the exception of Van Gogh and John Paul Getty Jnr, everyone's
got their own ears!

PS - Peter Fitzpatrick: Three cheers for your resourcefulness in securing an
interview with Andy.  Eagerly awaiting the results!

PPS - Becki DiGregorio and John Wedemeyer: Congratulations on completing
your CD with contributions from DG and AP.  Good luck with it and your
future ventures.  Please put me down for a copy of the CD!

....great to see some positive, imaginative, creative folx on the list
getting up and doing something interesting.  Sure beats reading about Dave's
beard every issue, don't it?


p@ul-of-oz

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

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 15:44:41 -0800 (PST)
From: Stephen Mahoney <stephenm@nethost.multnomah.lib.or.us>
Subject: Upsy Diasy???
Message-ID: <Pine.SUN.3.91.970310153216.5453A-100000@nethost.multnomah.lib.or.us>

	O.K., Now we're talking! The fab three have found a producer and
a record company, I take it. I have been completely out of touch with this
fan news group for awhile, due to frustration from waiting for a new
product--guess I'm impatient or something. So could someone fill me in on
any of the details of this relaese like the number of songs what
producer( or producers) what drummers(or drummer) and when is the release
going to happen--this summer, this fall --end of the year?
	I just picked up testimonial dinner and was thouroughly impressed
with they might be giants' version of "25 'o' clock" , but of course andy
dave and colin do the best versions of XtC songs.
	Stephen Mahoney , portland, oregon.

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

Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 19:58:46 -0600
Message-Id: <v01530500af4a159803d3@[204.153.64.120]>
From: musicvil@idir.net (John Yuelkenbeck)
Subject: Rolling Stone Review

YES, I remember vividly the lukewarm Skylarking review at a time when I was
playing "Grass" over and over. I was also struck by the hypocrisy of
Rolling Stone later saying not only what a good album it was, but how
important the band was to the 1980s, especially when they were lukewarm in
their response to most of XTC's albums.

As many of you also know, I do quite a bit of work for roots rocker Tom
Russell. When his "Box of Visions" albums came out, it was treated to a
good written review, but a lukewarm number of "stars." Tom told me that the
writer had given it 4 stars instead of 3, but Rolling Stone's policy was to
cut back on the number of stars given to albums released under non-major
labels. Probably a similar situation happened with XTC.

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

Message-ID: <3324FD7B.301D@mci.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Mar 1997 23:36:43 -0700
From: "Jeffrey Langr" <Jeffrey.Langr@MCI.Com>
Organization: MCI
Subject: Skylarking -- Rolling Stone reviews

I found my Rolling Stone XTC reviews for Skylarking, as well
as a couple of other interesting articles from the New York
Times and the Washington Post.  I will type them in as time
permits...  For now, the Skylarking reviews.

Enjoy,
Jeff L.
-------
Rolling Stone #496 26 March, 1987
[ almost exactly ten years ago!
  Note that this review was written when Rolling Stone suffered
  an unfortunate bout of political correctness and decided that
  rating records was no longer cool.  My guess is that the
  following review would have netted XTC 2, maybe 2 and a half
  stars. ]

Records section
Skylarking
XTC
Geffen

NOT THAT LONG AGO, XTC WAS A NEARLY perfect band. It corrupted its
bountiful hooks with unsettling harmonies and rhythms and rocked hard
enough to compensate for the solemnity of its often-shallow political
protests. But after guitarist and singer Andy Partridge fell ill during
the English Settlement tour, the band members retired to their country
houses in the south of England - and Partridge decided he was Paul
McCartney. XTC's subsequent releases have been dominated by Partridge's
flowery love songs and an obsessive exploration of modern-production
possibilities.

On Skylarking, the band is joined by producer Todd Rundgren, a studio
recluse with a Fab Four fixation of his own. Todd lures XTC out of the
house - the LP was recorded in San Francisco and Woodstock, New York -
but exacerbates the band's techno tendencies. The result is as
thoroughly fascinating as it is ultimately unsatisfying.

As craftsmanship, Skylarking is a remarkable achievement, surely the
most accomplished neo-psychedelic LP to date. Each one of the fourteen
songs is defined by a series of structural details - strong melodies on
both verse and chorus, striking harmonies, a lyrical phrase or two and
instrumental hooks. Sustaining this for nearly forty-five minutes, as
XTC almost does (the end of side two falters), demonstrates how much the
band has learned about composition in the past decade.

But if craft is your definition of genius, you may as well stick with
ELP and GTR. Partridge reveals the limitations of his pastoral vision
through his reliance on repetition. "Earn Enough for Us" recycles the
theme of "Love on a Farmboy's Wages," from Mummer, XTC's 1984 effort,
and the tears of rain in "1000 Umbrellas" first appeared in that LP's
"Great Fire." Partridge goes outside and sees a "silent film of melting
miracle play," spends a hot day bathing in "mats of flower lava,"
magnifies a "verdant spiral" until it becomes a reflection ron pantheism
- and that's just on the first side. Unfortunately Patridge - unlike,
say, Van Morrison - isn't the sort of singer who can convincingly
express the rapture he finds in the countryside.

This trading of the acute modernism that marked such classics as "This
Is Pop" and "Making Plans for Nigel" for domestic solitude dampens the
band's punk-roots energy and also limits its emotional spectrum.
Consider "That's Really Super, Supergirl," a terrible title with an
irresistible chorus. "You stopped the universe from dying/But you're
never gonna stop me crying," Partridge complains. But then he
*apologizes* to his ex for being "rude" to her. Being rude is the
*point* of breakup songs, and a shot of rudeness is just what XTC could
use now.
	-Rob Tannenbaum

[ now for the turnaround, magically, not even three years later ]

Rolling Stone #565, 16 November 1989

The 100 Best Albums of the Eighties
[ the twits actually made this into a book, with I think
  each cover taking up a glorious full-color page.  I
  didn't really have too much problem with most of the
  selections except maybe for ZZ-Top's Eliminator showing
  up at #39 ]

#48
Skylarking
XTC
Geffen

"THIS IS GOING TO SOUND POMPOUS AND arty," says XTC's Andy Partidge,
"but the whole album is a cycle of something: a day or a year, with the
seasons, or a life. It's a cycle of starting, aging, dying and starting
again." He is referring to Skylarking, the British trio's superb eigth
album.

Recorded largely at Todd Rundgren's studio in Woodstock, New York,
Skylarking's fourteen songs abound in elemental imagery and music that
is pastoral, understated, and carefully arranged. The album is a
celebration of nature and particularly of summertime.

"The atmosphere of the album is one of a playfully sexual hot summer,"
says Partridge. "On a hot day, a lot of life is going to be made
somewhere, and it's probably gonna be outdoors on grass. It's just about
summer and being out in the open and discovering sex in a stumbly,
teenage way."

The concept of the album as a song cycle is underscored by musical
interludes and incidental sounds between tracks. The songs are related
by key, tempo, and subject matter. Oddly enough, the thematic framework
was not the band's idea but producer Rundgren's. Guitarist Patridge and
bass player Colin Moulding, XTC's principal writers, had worked up
thirty-five songs, which they sent Rundgren in advance of their arrival
in America. He selected fourteen of them, decided on a line-up and
instructed the band to be ready to cut them in that order.

"He tended to go for the gentler songs, for songs of a certain
atmosphere," says Partridge. "We'd sit down and talk about where the
emotion was headed: the emotion, the atmosphere, the heat, the
geographic place, the time of day - this journey you're supposed to go
through on the whole record."

Patridge's iconoclastic "Dear God" was left off the album at his
insistence. Relegated to the B side of a twelve-inch single, "Dear God"
generated such an overwhelming response when played on radio that it
became XTC's unlikely first hit in America - and was added to later
pressings of Skylarking. "I thought I'd failed to precis the largest
subject in man's mind, which is man's belief of what the truth is,"
Partridge says. "How the hell do you condense that into four minutes?"

Skylarking, as it turned out, was the album that broke XTC to a larger
audience in America - and it couldn't have come at a more opportune
time. "We were at our lowest ebb, moralewise, because we weren't selling
any records and it wasn't the LP that Virgin and Geffen wanted made,"
Partridge says. "They wanted a slick, hard, American rock album: The
quote was 'Can you make it somewhere between ZZ Top and the Police?' "

Though subdued and sublime, Skylarking was not an easy album to make.
The band members argued with Rundgren and one another; Moulding actually
quit at one point, and Partridge repeatedly threatened to fly back to
England. Though he didn't like the album initially, Partridge's opinion
of Skylarking - and of Rundgren - has softened. "I now see with the
benefit of hindsight that it's a fine album and he did some sterling
work," says Partridge.

Producer: Todd Rundgren. Released: March 1987. Highest chart position:
Number Seventy

[ In all fairness, I guess Andy saw the error of his
  initial opinion and so did Rolling Stone. ]

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

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 97 02:07:39 -0600
From: svie@maryville.edu (Stephanie Vie)
Organization: Maryville University
Subject: Tattoos, Random Thoughts, and Amanda
Message-Id: <353142.ensmtp@maryville.edu>

In response to the always idiotic excuse, "But it'll HURT!" may I just say
to anyone considering getting a tattoo, it doesn't hurt....unless, fifty
years later, you look at it and think, "Why?" So if you're going to get one,
get a good one....cause it's painless.

In response to all the postings by Amanda (and you've calmed down a bit
lately), I'd like to pnder why you're on a David Duchovny mailing list and
an XTC mailing list. You must not have anything else to do but post to
mailing lists and then read the resulting muddle. Hmmm.....

And just plain old random thoughts.....Are there any other fans of techno
out there? The Chemical Brothers have a pending release in April.....does
anyone else like Spring Heel Jack or Moby?

Stephanie Vie
svie@maryville.edu
"A dangerous resolve-The Christian  resolve to find the world ugly and bad has
made 		 the world ugly and bad. " -Nietschze

--

Maryville University Saint Louis

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

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 11:27:48 GMT
Message-Id: <199703111127.LAA04273@popmail.dircon.co.uk>
From: Simon Sleightholm <nonsuch@dircon.co.uk>
Subject: Difficult Age

In a few days time I will be 30. Not a particularly special event in itself,
but notable for me because that age has always rung like a bell in my head
since I heard the gut-wrenching "Train Running Low..." in 1984. Back then I
was a chubby 17 year old, and thirty seemed as far away as the other side of
the moon.

And now here I am, and now here I am thinking about it. By the time Andy had
reached 30 the band had their "hitmaking" days behind them, had released at
least three bona-fide classic albums and yet still had whole ornate worlds
of songwriting to uncover. And yet Andy has always claimed to be "Mr
Everyday, the Genghis Khan of Nothing-Particularly Happening", and has
always played the band down as being just three guys next door.

I don't know about your neighbourhood, but I know for a fact that the guy
next door to me was not responsible for perhaps one of the greatest songs
ever written (Easter Theatre), nor has he toured the world (however
unhappily) playing great music to adoring fans. I've seen him mending his
bike from time to time, but that's about it. I can see why the band choose
to be so self-effacing. Fan mail, and posts (like this one) in this list
would be enough to inflate even the slightest ego to bursting point, but
let's be honest, it's a nonsense isn't it? These guys are not normal.

When I think about what I've achieved in my thirty years, and the potential
within me (a dirty great seeping zero on both counts) I cannot help being
filled with awe, not just for the members of XTC, but for anyone (Hi Becki)
who has climbed the tree and shaken down the fruit. Speaking as one who
always seems to stand on a rotten branch, or has a habit of reaping empty
coconuts, I am grateful that there are others who can reach these places of
wonder and send back their findings. I'll never reach the spiral rivers of
joy and invention that inspired "Easter Theatre", but the song opens a tiny
window into that world and lets me peek through so I can share in the
treasures. I suppose that is what art is all about, that doorway, the
communication of fantasy and reality, the sharing of a dream.

When I think about it, the music I least like is made by the "spandex and
big-hair" rock bands, and following the reasoning above, maybe that's
because they thrive on the "Rock God" image, that whole big car, big house,
hard-bodied groupies, "look what we've got that you'll never have" thing.
XTC, because of their "normality" - more a solid rooting in the real world
than a description of their personalities I would say - seem to come from
more of a "look what a wonderful thing we've found, come and take some for
yourself" attitude. And more power to them - I'd sooner spend an afternoon
in a small garden with the person who planted each flower by hand, than be
herded in an anonymous tourist group around the grounds of some gaudy
palace. Andy's reluctance to force the band into people's faces may be part
of this - he's always said he prefers people to stumble upon and unwrap the
band for themselves - as soon as you start pushing you stop sharing, and I
think that distinction is important to them.

As I creak into my fourth decade I am as much a child in wonder as I ever
was, and I salute XTC and everyone else whose belts clink with the keys to
these places, and who can do my wide-eyed journeying for me. If I ever had
the chance to pass on a message, I think it would simply be "Don't forget to
write."

Simon

*---------------------------------------------------
http://www.users.dircon.co.uk/~nonsuch/bungalow.htm
*---------------------------------------------------
No Thugs In Our House, only XTC.

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

Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 09:50:54 -0600 (CST)
From: DAVE GREGORY IS GOD <ACOEA@jazz.ucc.uno.edu>
Subject: I'm getting nostalgic....anyone remember....
Message-id: <01IGDEEHGU4G8XB1DS@jazz.ucc.uno.edu>

their first post to Chalkhills? I do believe mine was about the fact that
there wasn't enough about Dave on the list....I remember even back then I
was posting more than once to each digest, because in the same digest were
my disparaging (spelling????) remarks about Testimonial Dinner. (I think I
called it an overpriced appetizer....called it the same thing in a review I
wrote of it for my school paper.)

Later,
Amanda
What's in my cd player: FOSSIL FUEL, IN SEARCH OF ANGELS, HEARTS OF SPACE,
THE BIG EXPRESS, THE FUTURE-Leonard Cohen, IXLANDIA
What's in my VCR-
Schindler's List (I've watched this movie in its entirety for three days in
a row. I can't get enough of it.)
Je me souviens le soleil

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

Message-ID: <2F43D82F01291300@ametsoc.org>
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 97 12:17:00 -0500
From: dgershmn <dgershmn@ametsoc.org>
Organization: AMS
Subject: New Flamblution

Howdy...long time no post.

 Well. Mm. I was singing Beck's "New Pollution" to myself throughout the
morning one day last week, and for some strange reason found myself
constantly blending that into XTC's "The Loving," oddly enough. So I stopped
for a moment to try to figure out why that was so...Turns out that the verse
of "New Pollution" has a melody very similar to the part of "The Loving"
that goes, "The loving's commmmming" followed by that little falsetto backup
part. Anyone else notice that? Not that I'm trying to say it was a conscious
borrow on Beck's part, but I just found it interesting.

Anyway, Simon Sleightholm said, at the end of his last post:

>PS. If anyone knows where I can get a 1986 Simkins And Mankdust
>"Spang-o-matic" cross-levelled cringe coupling for my reverse-felched
>cooling jib (rubber coated), I'd be absurdly grateful...

Well, Simon, I don't have the 1986 cringe coupling, but I do have the 1984
Simkins and Mankwell (this was before the name change) "Grig-o-lator"
changle-spoked fribulating dyna-clop. I hear that it is often
interchangeable with the "Spang-o-matic" when one needs to simbunate their
linderfoz, as long as one is mindful of the glent. Let me know if this'll
help...

Holbastically yours,

Dave Gershman

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

From: HENTOE@aol.com
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 12:53:59 -0500 (EST)
Message-ID: <970311125358_208585618@emout11.mail.aol.com>
Subject: where IS swindon?

First, I'd like to say that I just now read the whole "your mate has gone"
Chalkhills--and am very pleased to finally KNOW what that meant! I was
always, confused to about the "she" and all....So, to the one who first
asked--you were not alone!

Anyway, I will be in London in about two weeks, and I just realized that I do
not have a clue how to get into Swindon! So, if anyone has any
suggestions....(the person I am visisting doesn't know either).

Thanks a lot, in advance, for any help!
-kate

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

From: davidc <davidc@westminster.ac.uk>
Message-Id: <199703111807.SAA00567@antelope>
Subject: XTC guitar
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 18:07:25 +0000 (GMT)

I have a 6-string Antoria acoustic guitar signed and previously owned
by Andy Partridge of XTC which is to be sold at Christie's of London
in May.

It was won on the BBC's Multi-Coloured Swap Shop TV programme in 1981
when Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding were guests. Does anyone know
if it was used on the first four albums or in their concerts and is
there any evidence in print of this?

Amongst other items to be auctioned are the framed original artwork
for the Sgt. Rock single and a gold disc for Canadian sales of
"Drums and Wires".

Thanks

****************************************************************************
        David Clapperton
        University of Westminster
        London
        E-mail: davidc@westminster.ac.uk

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

Subject: Skylarking Review
Message-ID: <19970311.165206.3662.0.Wiggum@juno.com>
From: wiggum@juno.com (Kerry P Hinton)
Date: Tue, 11 Mar 1997 16:53:54 EST

As for Charles' question:

Yes!  The RS review did exist -- I remember being so angry, also.  I also
used to save Rolling STone, but threw mine away also.  The review (this
is from memory, mind you) said that XTC was guilty of mining the same
ground, ie. Love on A Farmboy's wages being too thematically similar to
Earn Enough For us, etc.  The only song that was really reviewed
favorably was "Supergirl," but I may be wrong.  The overall attitude of
the review was that Messrs. PArtridge needed to grow some and play.

That's as much as I remember.
Hope it helped...

Kerry

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

Message-ID: <c=AU%a=_%p=JDEAUNZ%l=MEL_SERVER-970312033418Z-101@mel_server.jde.com.au>
From: Paul Haines <Hainesp@melbourne.jde.com.au>
Subject: Sugarplastic/Paperback writer/Jet
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 13:34:18 +1000

 Re John,

>>I found The Sugarplastic in a sale bin the other day and bought it.  I also
>>recognisied the first song 'Another Myself' as being the one I had heard
>>on the radio ripping off 'Paperback Writer'.

>It doesn't rip off "Paperback Writer", it rips off Paul McCartney's _Jet_!

You sure? I'm not a Beatles or McCartney fan by any means so I could be
wrong here, but wasn't Paul's brother Mick McCartney in the Beatles?
Maybe he copied 'Jet' off him, and sugarplastic copied both of them.

'You're becoming a late riser' ---> to be a paperback writer? I hear it
this way wanyway. if you could point me to the 'Jet' reference I will go
and listen to them both again.

Haines, kiwi in OZ

And, hi back too Cheryl...(whispered)

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

Message-Id: <v01540b04af4ccffd807a@[139.80.25.187]>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 16:27:24 -0500
From: james.dignan@stonebow.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: re: gregory and Gabriel

JVMerritt@aol.com queried

>Interested in getting any information on Dave Gregory's involvement with
Peter Gabriel's third solo LP.  So if anyone knows the story behind this,
please post.

Dave Gregory played guitar on several tracks: I don't remember and  Family
snapshot were definitely two of them.

James

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

From: monnickj@ubk.co.uk
Message-Id: <199703121334.NAA01018@sys4.cambridge.uk.psi.net>
Date: Wed, 12 Mar 1997 11:52:02 +0000
Subject: the beach boys

what have you guys got against the beach boys ?

are they not the most influential pure pop band from the USA ?

your answers, or favourite vegetables, please

I don't know of you are aware of how popular they were here in the UK in the
mid/late60's, a very influential time in Partridge et al's musical
development.

I'd only suggest that you might want to progress beyond the greatest hits
stuff - we all started there - and listen to any studio releases between 65
to 70, from Summer Days through to Sunflower . You get a sustained series of
very imaginative/creative albums. Unlike the beatles the beach boys didn't
give up creativity in 68 but kept going until Holland in '74.

You might want to compare/contrast the beach boys and xtc's business acumen
as well as brian wilson's and AP's ability to keep it together.

love'm both.

does anybody heard any AP demo's subsequent to the river of orchids et al ?

szegerely signs off for now

Jon monnick
*----------------------------------------------------------------
The views expressed are of the individual, and do not
necessarily reflect the views of The United Bank of Kuwait PLC.
*----------------------------------------------------------------

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

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