Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-10

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 10

                 Monday, 20 October 1997

Today's Topics:

                         Duke box
                      Bear up Bison
            Lilys Can't Make Your Life Better
              King for a Day Single spotted
                       Phish Taped
             Smartest monkey & bumpiest song
                    The Final Cut????
                        Okay, now
               C'mon Baby Light My Quibble
                       Boone's Farm
                  Centermost XTC effort
   Hmm... I finally put my 2 Yen in on the Solo mess...
               Into the ear of the beholder
                  XTC live and in person
       It was just an ordinary Sunday afternoon...
                  Re: Good vs. bad music
                      And I will say
     What does one do when one is in pre-production?
             Inclusive and Exclusive Thought


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The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

Chalkhills is digested with Digest 3.5 (John Relph <>).

All that fancy play-talk / Sticks in the throat like cocktail swords.


Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 15:15:14 -0700
Message-Id: <v01510103b06d82355319@[]>
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: Duke box

If there are fans in the Leeds area (UK), there's a second-hand record shop
there which has a US promo 12" of The Vanishing Girl for 15 pounds. I was
down there this week, but I didn't fancy spending that much cash on it.

Can't remember the name of the shop or street, but e-mail me privately and
I'll describe where it is.

While I remember, has anyone else seen a book that's called something like
A Punk Diary (sorry, I'm not too hot on specifics today), which goes
day-by-day through the 70s listing anything that happened, like the Helium
Kidz getting their photo in Sounds in about 1974. XTC have quite a number
of entries, but I didn't get a chance to look at them all because my
7-month-old son bawling the shop down.

- Mark


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 18:10:49 -0700
From: Wesley Hanks <>
Subject: Bear up Bison

Well then why didn't Shonen Knife incur the wrath of Mattel with their
song "Twist Barbie"?

Fall means English Settlement. Yesssss.



Message-Id: <l03110703b06dd6045061@[]>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 21:13:43 -0600
From: jason garcia <>
Subject: Lilys Can't Make Your Life Better

About to leave for San Francisco to see my long-lost love (oh joy,
oh bliss).

I thought I should respond to those who have been championing
The Lilys as the new gods of pop...seeing as my last post was
NOTHING but XTC, I feel I've a right...and this WILL be short.

I gave "Better Can't Make Your Life Better" an (admittedly
incomplete) listen at the local record store the other day and
frankly wasn't impressed.  Melodies were buried in a muddy mix
of loud guitars and unnecessarily busy drums, and making lyrics
for the most part inaudible.  My first impression was that they
were trying REALLY REALLY hard to be The Kinks, and I always
hate it when bands try to impersonate an earlier, worthier
artist.  It's like, if I wanted to hear The Kinks, I'd put 'em
on, you know?  I DID quite enjoy "Nanny In Manhattan", however,
and the album is worth checking out (but perhaps not buying) for
that song alone.  Just a cautionary reminder that liking XTC
doesn't automatically mean you'll like the bands mentioned (but
you guys already knew that).

Just throwing in my two cents before they become worthless
in San Francisco...



Date: Fri, 17 Oct 1997 23:59:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Minature Sun <>
Subject: King for a Day Single spotted
Message-ID: <>

I ran across the KFAD single on vinyl with the dance remixes on it. It was
cheap, so if anybody is interested in it, message me and perhaps we can
negotiate a trade or I can collect money for it plus shipping. . .


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

weshaw@teleport.COM       	We will skate across the storm as if we're
				wheeling sea birds . . . .
							-A. Partridge


Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 09:16:39 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Phish Taped

>I will do some checking into Phish's version of "Melt the Guns." My old
>math teacher had over 350 tapes of concerts...He should know, right?

  That's probably a good start; I was down at their corporate office the
other day dropping off a package but I was on a tight delivery schedule and
didn't have time to talk to anybody.
  One thing that's rather unique about Phish is every now and then they'll
cover a certain favorite album in its entirety in concert. On one occasion
they did Who's Next(man, I would have loved to see how they pulled off "Won't
Get Fooled Again"), on another they did The Talking Heads' Remain In Light.
Anybody planning to see Phish in concert soon, lobbying for English
Settlement wouldn't be a bad idea.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 11:33:03 -0400
From: gregory <>
Organization: InfiNet
Subject: Smartest monkey & bumpiest song

(Cured yet?)

>>Re: Amanda bashing:
>Ooooohhhhh! YEOW! Gettin' back to the ol' Chalkhills knock-down drag-out -
YEEEEEEHAW!!!! Bash away, bash away, bash away all! I'm game!! YEAH!!

>>;) for my sake, won't you put your knuckles down, boy?<<

>hey - this list has become somewhat heated lately, no? Let's all calm down
and behave like we're the smartest monkeys, huh?<

James Dignan, there ya go, starting trouble... the first line here was
mine, and you have taken it out of context. This is how a lot of this
crap that goes on here gets started... besides proper behavior, correct
thinking, too, makes us the smartest monkeys.


I, for one, kinda like "Bumper Cars", and I think it's a tune that would
benefit from that ol' XTC studio magic I mentioned at one time; in fact,
if I was taking any of this music into the studio, don't you know that
ALL of it would get the once-over. Especially since it's been around two
years since this stuff appeared - what new spin could I put on it now?


Eating future and shitting past...


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 12:34:16 -0400
From: Pandrea <>
Subject: The Final Cut????

Hiya Chalkies,

 The recent posts about the new album and which demos should/should'nt
make it, has brought up interesting viewpoints. Also the number of
the demos we all know and love that actually make it to the final cut
is something I'm mulling over. I think that being it is almost '98,
and the demos are from '95, Andy, would have to have more material
written, and like someone else said (sorry, I already deleted the last
issue), maybe the newer material would gain precedence over the older
demo stuff. I usually expect the unexpected, so it wouldn't surprise me
if half or so of the new album is stuff we've never heard, as much as I
would really love hearing all the great demo songs. I am just going
to trust the boys, and I really just expect a fantastic album (that is
not unexpected, either...) Should be a great day for all of us. And,
yes, I will smell that new CD.....ahhhhhhhh.....

Catching the Last Balloon,



Subject: Okay, now
Message-ID: <0017110000579563000002L132*@MHS>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 13:48:35 -0400

Well, you've really done it now, Amanda. Did anyone make you the official
spokesperson on Chalkhills? No? Didn't think so. Therefore, my dear,
when ranting and raving, please do not feel that you are the Voice of
Chalkhills. I've received quite a few personal emails from Chalkhillians
who feel the exact same way that I do about seeing women's butts,
Marilyn-type or otherwise, and I'd have to say at least 50 percent of us
don't have a problem with it. Even if you take alternative-lifestyle
points-of-view into account, at least half of us like it -- probably more, if
you include those who appreciate a glimpse of a shapely butt simply as a
matter of aesthetics. Buh-bye now. Use common sense and the "down"
key if you don't like what I have to say. But it's all good, nothing but love
for you.

(Following Natalie's fine example, here's an explanation for the
humor-impaired: The above rant is all in good fun, and modeled after and
quoting liberally from Amanda's rant in Vol. 4, No. 5. The little parody
above is meant to show how silly our little squabbles can be.)

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

No, that's not it. Wait. Oh, yeah, Jon asked:
> A while back we were discussing the roches et al. I enjoyed their first
one and have sought without success the other Lp recorded with Robert
Fripp ; is it still available (starting in London , if not the UK) ?  The
first LP is great ; thanks for recommendations<

It is indeed. It's called "Keep on Doing" and definitely is available though
mail order, though I've seen it in plenty of stores here in the States. To
find out more about ordering, go to

And to Harrison "Holy Kee-ryst I'm articulate" Sherwood and his defense
of our right to believe in the badness of certain music, I have only this to
say to thank him for his presence on this list:
(Actually, we are, so keep the posts coming.)



"It's not a guitar passage, it's a mid-life crisis."
-- Harrison "I make other people wish they'd said that" Sherwood


Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 16:07:28 -0400
Message-Id: <971018160728.21211f68@RCMACA.UPR.CLU.EDU>
Subject: C'mon Baby Light My Quibble

Just wanted to thank all of the responses for my palindrome requests. I am
in palindromic heaven. The thanks for the I palindrome I header must,
however, go to our beloved Lord of the Chalkhills Manor, the Inimitable
Mr. Relph who made that tasteful editorial decision. He is truly our unsung
hero without whom none of our quibbles would ever come to light. Thanks
indeed, John.

And, while in a grateful mode, thanks to all who suggested Jason Faulkner
whose music just keeps growing on me. "Afraid Himself to be" has to be one
of the niftiest pop songs I have heard in awhile, especially in the face of
such a dearth of material from Swindon, demos notwithstanding.


Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 20:41:28 -0400 (EDT)
Message-ID: <>
Subject: Boone's Farm

>And Harrison, I knew somebody was going to bring up Old Metal Head Pat
>Boone. The odds were 3-2 that you'd be it and I collected handsomely.

  Could have just as well been me; I just picked up his recent album of metal
covers at the local Woolworth's going out of business sale. The amazing thing
is, it works! Those charts his arrangers came up with really cook! Raises it
somewhat above the level of a Joe Piscopo pisstake, that and Boone's new
found discovery that some of these heavy metal lyrics are actually quite
poetic and articulate.(Next project I'd like to propose: Pat Boone sings
post-punk classics of the early '80's! Hint Hint.)


Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 14:52:22 +0100
Subject: Centermost XTC effort
Message-ID: <>
From: (Patrick M Adamek)

Karl F. Witter wrote in #4-9:
So here's the question rephrased: XTC have made albums all over the
place. What record do you put in the centermost of their map?

I thought this was a very well written question.

My Answer?      Difficult to say the least to come up with ONE.

of the first four, I'd say Go2 epitomizes the quirkiness, energy and
imagery the best.

Of the next several, I'd say the Big Express represented the more mature
song crafting and move away from dance-club stuff

The latter part of their output I'd nominate Oranges and Lemons for it's
move to a bit lighter, imaginative lyrics (certainly the latter part of
XTC's work is more palpable).

OVERALL:  The Big Express    for maintaining some of the energy (Your the
wish....) and some of the more palpable, easier going but smart songs
(Liarbird, Seagulls), and the ready-for-radio (in a perfect world) hit

I really wanted to say Skylarking, but in my book, it sort of stands on
its own....with it's own characteristics and special charms.

By the way, bravo to whomever recommended English Settlement for the fall
weather.  It reminded me of always reaching for Skylarking when Spring
came, so that I could listen to "Grass"  on my portable with some added

Also , I like to pump up "Go2" (say....mechanic dancing "Oh we go") when
going out on Fridays.

Anyone else have favs for certain times, moods?



Message-Id: <>
From: "Matt Keeley" <>
Date: Sat, 18 Oct 1997 21:50:25 +0000
Subject: Hmm... I finally put my 2 Yen in on the Solo mess...

Ah hello...
> From: "David vanWert" <>
> An answer to question #2: A solo exceeding five seconds in length is
> sometimes acceptable, but a solo played by more than one person is not.
> I'll leave it to Merriam, Webster, et al, to explain why.
Well, I always considered the end of BAB as 4 separate solos, like it
says in the liners... Anyway, I'm not a big fan of guitar solos,
especially en masse, but I love the end of BAB, and all of the solos
XTC's done, for that matter.  I suppose that solos have their place,
but they can be overdone.  Witness They Might Be Giants' "Factory
Showroom"... "How Can I Sing Like a Girl" alone has 3 or 4 solos....
and most of the songs have at least 1 or 2.  The multiple solos on
HCISLAG ruin the song for me (that and it sounds almost exactly like
"Free as a Bird"), and to boot, it's not Flansburgh doing the
solos, it's Eric Schemerhorn, one of the worst guitarists I've
heard... I'm glad he left for one... I say that you should use
distortion sparingly, so people can tell that you actually DO know
how to play... anyone can sound good if you distort the sound enough.
 Ah well, this is the XTC list, not the TMBG one... but I just had to
get this off my chest...But the worst thing about FS, aside from
the lack of truly kick ass songs, and the songs that they LEFT OFF
the album that were some of the best they've ever done, were the
constant masturbatory guitar solos... which reminds me of something
I'd like to do during a concert, but I won't bore/disgust you anymore
on this topic.

> From: Della & Steve Schiavo <>
> >Are we sure all of the demo songs we have are going to be recorderd for the
> >album?
> We can be sure that all of the demo songs *won't* be on the album(s) -
> that's the torture, eh?  If the plan holds up, only half will be of the
> orchestral type (like the demos) and the rest will be guitary.  And are
> there not more orchestral songs that are not on the tape?
I thought that they were going to do the Orchestral Album and the
Guitary album... that's what I'm hoping for anyway...

> From: aka Louise <>
> i agree with whoever said that Barry Andrews added something different when
> he came aboard for his brief and troubled stay, but i don't think it was
> necessarily the pop - certainly the first half of _Go 2_ is short and sharp
> enough. actually i think his contribution was to make things catchier, as
> if Andy needed any help in that department - "My Weapon" and "Super-Tuff",
> despite their lyrical belly-flops, are catchy as all hell, and even Andy's
> avant-garde explorations (namely "Battery Brides") are more melodic.
Granted, Barry Andrews' songs are musically pretty good, but
lyrically... OY!  I can't believe I came to the defense of "My
Weapon"... god damn, that's an offensive song... Ah well, just
opening up another kettle of beans...

> From:
> One other thing before I forget..............
> The guitar solos in Books are Burning are great! I don't know how you can
> think they suck. What does suck is the ending to Garden of Earthly Delights.
Ah, the ending to GoED is cool!  The thing that sucks is the shouting
bits of "Red"... (ah, just doing my part to make sure this thread
doesn't die anytime soon)

> From: Natalie Jacobs <>
> >I'd like to know if anyone else has shared in this frustration, or maybe
> >do I need to listen more closely to Oasis?!
> I don't like Oasis either - I find them monotonous and cliched, their
> lyrics are terrible, and they constantly recycle their own ideas until
> every song becomes a carbon copy of the previous song.  It seems odd the
> brilliant.  As for Oasis being a "successor to the Beatles," if copping the
> Beatles' riffs and being super-popular means you've been handed the
> Beatles' torch, then I guess Oasis fit the bill.  Obviously talent doesn't
The thing that annoys me about Oasis is how they're always saying
that they aren't trying to be the Beatles and all, yet they rip them
off every step of the way... I mean, look at the video for
"Wonderwall"... in fact, "Wonderwall" was most likely taken from the
name of George's first solo album "Wonderwall Music" (or songs, I
can't remember which... and it's out of print anyway... oh yeah,
surprisingly the Zapple release of George's "Electronic Sound" is
still in print somewhere... it's on CD import at CDNow... wiggy)

> From: Simon Sleightholm <>
> motif, but it's not over-egged - a touch of Barry Andrews-style organ, a la
> "Are You Receiving Me" pops up in the middle eight, too.
Ah, I'm just curious, what IS the middle eight?  I first heard the
term when I bought the Rutles' "Archaeology" and I was curious to
what it was... ah well...

Hmm... this was a very opinionated post.  And it had a misspelled
version of "opinionated" or two.  And it started a few sentences with

Ah well, that's this world over...

     -=>Matt Keeley<=-
Living Through | Visit my home page
Another        |
Cuba -- XTC    | I used to be temporarily insane!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Now I'm just stupid! -- Brak
(ICQ UIN: 1455267, Name: MrMe)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 03:52:00 -0400
From: Rob Hill <>
Subject: Into the ear of the beholder

Here's what the man said:
>Music is nothing but wiggling air molecules ((c) F. Zappa, 1990).
>Nothing is inherently good or bad about wiggling air molecules. Any
>value judgment about music is an artificial construct erected by the
>listener and informed by tastes acquired through the interplay between
>accumulated experiences and learned cultural values.The listener and
>composer enter into an agreement whereby the composer is given temporary
>permission to manipulate the listener's emotions, through invoking and
>commenting on their shared culture and humanity. Without this agreement,
>there can be no artistic dialog. If the composer's emotional
>manipulation is coarse, or cynical, or unoriginal, or done in bad faith
>or is dishonest or dissembling in some way, then the music is _bad_. If
>the manipulation cuts off the dialog between the listener and the
>composer, then the music is _bad_. If the manipulation is done not for
>humanistic reasons but rather for the glorification of the composer,
>then the music is _bad_.
xtc... I mean, etc...

Three chairs for Harrison Sherwood. Many a-time I've found myself in the
midst of a two-fisted philosophical streetbrawl attempting to explain a
similar concept of art, and receiving only bleary stares for my
troubles. I thought I was the only one.

The difficulty with criticism is that the observer can only view so many
angles at once. Hence my grandmother laments the passing of Jeanette
McDonald and curses the noise of punk rock. From where she's standing,
she can't understand why anyone would give up someone as "technically
gifted" as McDonald for someone with "obviously no vocal training" like
Johnny Rotten. Likewise my mohawked friend in the front row who is tuned
in to punk's energy has no use for someone who can flutter up and down
scales if you can't pogo to it. Some of us get to feeling like we
understand the value in all sorts of things, but give it time and
something will come along and blindside us. Every generation goes
through this. The dad looks at the contraption his son just build out of
cereal boxes and pop bottles and says "this is a terrible banjo, son. It
doesn't even stay in tune." To which the son replies "it's not a banjo,
dad. It's a telescope." Value comes out of odd corners when you least
expect it.

>The amount of pleasure a piece of music brings any particular individual
>is irrelevant. The proposition that "That which brings pleasure is
>necessarily good" is rejected by every culture (not to mention every
>responsible adult) in the world.

I wonder about this part, though. Irrelevant? It's all we've got to go
by! All I know is Train Running Low on Soul Coal gives me considerable
amounts of goosebumps. I really enjoy the way that particular molecule
wiggles, so I'm going to slap a "good" sticker on it. You can try
explaining to me with piecharts why any given song might be deemed
officially good, but if it doesn't affect me biologically, it's of no
use to me. I feel safe in calling XTC a decent band because, though not
selling elephant-loads and profiled on lunchboxes everywhere, they are
well respected by lotsa intelligent folks. But that's unimportant. The
goosebump factor is what counts. And if enough people have goosebumps,
then the music in question becomes democratically and perhaps
historically "a-ok", but this means nothing and will die when the
supporters do. The music will then return to its status as wiggling air

So how do we convince each other something is superior to another and
should be treated as such? We could point out that something was
harmonically more sophisticated, but all that means is we currently
value sophisticated harmonies. How would we gauge something like
originality? Can it be mathematically proven that the Beatles were more
original than Gerry and the Pacemakers? We all say "yes, don't be silly,
of course the Beatles were more original", but what if in ten years our
culture learns to value a different perspective which had never occurred
to us before. And by gum if Gerry doesn't look pretty damn original from
that angle. It might happen.

In fact, the only method of measuring this stuff is via popularity
contest. Either a work (let's use literature, shall we?) is popular with
a mass audience (name your bestseller) or popular with a smaller but
academic audience (Joyce), or occasionally both (Dickens). The academic
audience is capable of filling entire reams of paper with WHY they like
what they do, whereas the other often responds "cuz it's groovy", but
there's ultimately little difference. Values come and go in both
circles. And in the end, after we're all wormcake, the book that will
survive the longest will be the one with the most durable binding.

(Pant) Well, let's hear it for disorganisation.

Incidentally, Sir Sherwood, having read numerous guffaw-inducing posts
of yours of late, I was prompted to search the finer bookstores in my
area for your collection of whimsical humour-laden yet disturbingly
insightful tales of epic scope, certain I would find them sandwiched
neatly betwixt Thomas Pynchon and John Kennedy Toole, but alas, there
was nary a one to be found. Please explain this oversight. Perhaps you
use a pseudonym?


P.S. As for "that which brings pleasure" being not necessarily good--if
it brings pleasure and harms no one, I have no objections to calling it
good. (Note: certain factions of music such as disco may be considered
harmful by many, but I'm sure headphones can be issued)


Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 06:14:12 -0400 (EDT)
From: Sean Hennessey <>
Subject: XTC live and in person
Message-ID: <>

Hallo all,

A bit daft, but I thought I'd share this with you who might care.

Tonight I met with one of my oldest and truest at a show in Boston, where
we downed maybe a few too many...  To make the long story shorter, we
ended up back at mine listening to what, I have to say, is one of the best
recordings of XTC I've ever heard.  My mate, Erich, had been going on
about this radio recording of XTC live at the Paradise in Boston on the
Drums and Wires tour, saying that it made him hate the original D&W by
being so much more visceral, and now I have to agree.  We listened
through, from the unbelievable Battery Brides to Making Plans For Nigel, a
song I always though lacking in the original, agast.  The sheer
musicianship, attitude and power of the songs was, well *amazing*!

Funnily enough, I've had the boot fot ages, but never really listened to
it (I'm more of an album than live recording man).  Now I think I'll be
listening to naught else for a time...

Sorry to blather, but you seemed the lot to share this with! :)

tara - Sean

                  Sean Hennessey, President of the Boston Reds,
                an 'unoffical' Manchester United Supporters' Club
               email:       *Bassist: Slippy Keane*


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 16:26:07 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: It was just an ordinary Sunday afternoon...

And then the phone rang....

Yup, Andy called me again today - and there was me so engrossed in my
college project. (It's a novel excuse anyway; "Please miss,  Andy Partridge
ate my homework...")

There's still no drummer for the album - mostly through budget restrictions
than anything else (Dave Mattacks cost the band 10,000 pounds for the album
sessions - more than they themselves saw - and they're looking for someone
to work this tune for around half that). One possibility is Prince's (I
_know_, but I don't have that squiggle symbol on my keyboard) drummer
Michael(?) Bland ("a big black guy with tall hair"). I asked if they ever
considered Ian Gregory as their "regular session drummer" but apparently
he's very much a part-time drummer and isn't really that committed to music.
The last two albums cost around 250,000 pounds and they're trying to put
this one together for nearer 100,000 (with money borrowed from their
Japanese record company). They don't have any pulbishing deal as yet - in
fact they had to fight a little with EMI to get the rights to the Virgin-era
home demos (the Easter Theatre, River Of Orchids era demo tape) so they
could use them.

Now here's an offer for all you musical "fix-its" out there; Andy has an old
Selmer(?) Truevoice amplifier at home; one that he used on early tours and
has used almost constantly until it broke. He asked me if I knew anyone who
might like it... Basically if you think you can fix it, and you want it then
mail me and - when he next calls me in a few weeks or so - I'll let him
know. Whoever takes it has to be willing to arrange and pay for its
collection though.

The two-disc notion for the next release is still very much the aim, though
there was some thought when it was discovered that Andy's initial textured
cover ("like something immersed in water") would cost something like an
extra 80 pence per copy. It looks like we'll get a plain sleeve and two
discs. The album will be recorded in Chris Difford's studio and, as can be
expected, the band are itching to get into the studio.  There are 21 songs
sheduled for the sessions and these are split between those we almost all
know (the Virgin-era demos) and the newer demos (Playground, Wheel And The
Maypole,etc.) that virtually no-one has heard (me included...). He didn't
have the list to hand so I couldn't get any titles I'm afraid.

Andy has several projects still on the go; the "Thunderbirds" style TV show
Ravenheart; co-writing for the Verve Pipe with the bands guitarist and a
complete illustrated history of military uniforms since the time of the
Spanish Accession (a bigger task than he expected as there are _thousands_
of them) - he's painting all the illustrations himself, of course. And in
his _spare_ time he's working in the shed with his girlfriend, Erica - a
singer/songwriter - on some of her material.

We talked about the Neville Farmer book for a short while, too. It seems
that the band _are_ in line for a share of the book's profits (if there are
any). It might have seemed like a dumb question, but I just didn't know how
these book deals worked and whether the subject was necessarily entitled to
the any of the proceeds. It seems they made about 500 pounds between them
off the Chris Twomey book (Doomy Twomey they called him, apparently he was a
bit of a dour sort), but Twomey himself has been messed about by Omnibus who
it seems haven't really audited the book's sales properly.  Some of the
advance for the Farmer book _was_ intended to go to the band, but because
Farmer is hard up and needed the advance to get a word-processor and
interviewing gear and stuff they have waived their percentage in favour of a
profit deal (again, if there are any.) The band weren't overly enamoured of
the Chalkhills And Children book - they liked the first chapter, but felt a
lot of the best stuff was missing. Twomey only used about 10% of what they
told him, but he was pushed into a quick turnaround by the publishers. For
those of us hoping that they might get a good deal on this new book, be
aware that Hyperion books are a division of Disney.

The Mervyn Peake project Andy was working on was to have been an animated
film of "Letters From A Lost Uncle" - he was working one of the animators
who put "James And The Giant Peach" together (sorry about my problem with
names here, but my copy of Cinemania is on loan), but they only managed to
secure the rights for a year and, having approached Miramax with the idea,
the film company took rather a shine to the animator and took him on their
staff, effectively wrecking their plans.  So, as he said, "not only do I
have four songs about a big peach, but I have one about a lost uncle too."
he then sang me a bit of it (!) :D

He has seen the Wildstar comics and quite liked them, though he thought the
artwork was merely _okay_. He admitted that he finds it hard to get excited
by comics now; it's a something that he feels he's, well, he used the term
"outgrown" but he said he didn't mean it had anything to so with maturity,
just that it was something he used to do but now didn't.

He said he'd ring me again after they'd been in the studio for a while and
let me know how things were going.  I shall, of course, keep you all informed,

I get knocked down, but I get up again - I don't know which is the most
surreal, getting phone calls from Andy or Chumbawamba not only releasing a
truly great record for once, but actually having a massive chart hit with it

It's a wild world, to be sure. :D


-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-  (
An XTC resource - "Saving it all up for you..."


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 02:13:34 -0700
Subject: Re: Good vs. bad music

>From Harrison Sherwood:

>I'd pit Dave Gregory's 14 bars in "No Language in Our Lungs" against any
>guitar solo you'd care to name for emotional power, technical rigor, and

Natalie Jacobs beat me to it - she mentioned Verlaine and Lloyd.
Television's "Marquee Moon" is the best guitar rock record of all time
(objective truth!). The longest solo in the title song lasts several
minutes and is simply overflowing with the above-mentioned qualities. So
is practically any solo on said album.

And Harrison, I agree with pretty much everything you've said during
this "guitar solo" thread. Just for argument's sake:

> If the composer's emotional manipulation is coarse, or cynical, or
>unoriginal, or done in bad faith or is dishonest or dissembling in some
>way, then the music is _bad_. (...)If the manipulation is done not for
>humanistic reasons but rather for the glorification of the composer, then
>the music is _bad_.

Are there any objective criteria for distinguishing between original and
un- , bad faith and good, etc? I can easily imagine a Lynyrd Skynyrd fan
judging "Me and the Wind" arty-farty and thus dishonest and, by
definition, bad music.
If there are no such criteria, we haven't really come any further than
the "Band X sucks and band Y is cool" statement. Hm?

>Mark Stevenson emphatically said:
>>All music is good.<
>I think there are exceptions to this rule: William Shatner and Leonard
>Nimoy have both recorded albums, remember?

Hey, careful now. William Shatner's "Transformed Man" is *good*, no
question about it. His interpretation of "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds"
is simply *devastating*.



Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 14:47:38 +1300 (NZDT)
Message-Id: <v01540b05b071201c3c44@[]>
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: And I will say

>Don't worry. Ueberstar was quite correct. It was actually, did you but
>know, a play on Nietzsche's Uebermensch, or superman. Just because super
>didn't translate to ueber in one instance doesn't mean you want to replace
>all your uebers with ultras.

To quote Flanders and Swann - "wonderful national anthem they have -
'German, German overalls'"

Oh, and to all you what are getting annoyed at guitar lead breaks in XTC
songs I have just five words to say "Life begins at the hop"

James (and I will say - what will you say? - five words!)


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 19 Oct 1997 23:50:18 -0400
From: "Jason 'Buffy' NeSmith" <>
Subject: TRIO!

Warning: long post, relatively little XTC content, but the way things have
been going lately, it doesn't much matter.

Demo reviews continued...
'Bumper Cars'...really cool in the way that parts of McCartney II hit me.
Maybe it's stupid, but I love cheap electronic blips, especially in the
context of a pop song.  And the chord structures are strange, indeed.
'Temporary Secretary', anyone?

Okay, I'm out of the closet...
I'm an unabashed TRIO fanatic!  Amanda mentioned them in a recent post, and
I jumped a little inside my chubby little frame.  I lived in Deutschland for
four years right at the end of the eighties, and I picked up a copy of their
first German release.  I had fond memories of DA DA DA and Anna
(letmeinletmeout), but I had no idea...  You would not believe how hard it
rocks! The arrangements are mostly guitar, drums and vocals, with a little
cheesy Casio (ever since the source of my favorite keyboard sounds) and some
occasional bass.  Very minimal and extremely effective.  The rerelease that
Amanda mentioned is made up mostly of track from the second album, which is
a bit more ornate, but still brilliant.  I surfed over to CD Universe
(http://www.cduniverse/com)and found two more I'd never heard of.  At twenty
bucks a shot for the imports I'm still shameless!  Any other TRIO fans out

I'm listening to Waxworks right now.  I love the version of This is Pop, and
as I've stated in previous posts, I think 'Are you Receiving Me?' is a
kick-ass spazzy pop song.

In other Buffy news, I just got a CD burner, so if anyone's got a really
good copy of any demos, I'd love to send you a five-or-so-inch shiny
aluminum disk for your troubles.

For any Zappa fans out there, Ryko, the world's coolest record company, just
reissued 200 Motels, the LAST unissued album in the Zappa catalog.  The
sound is still not nearly as good as I wished, but it's wonderful to finally
have it on CD.  With cuts like 'This Town is a Sealed Tuna Sandwich', 'Would
You Like a Snack?' and 'Does This Kind of Life Look Interesting to You?',
it's one of my absolute Zappa favorites.  It mixes the complex dissonantly
beautiful orchestral stuff with the raunchy rock stuff very well, and the
band features the two lead songers from the Turtles.  PERCUSSION BY RUTH
UNDERWOOD.  Highly recommended.

Okay, that's one long-ass post.  Out.
now playing:  Geraldine Fibbers 'Butch'
Lookit Meee! rekkids...


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 11:38:07 +0200
Subject: What does one do when one is in pre-production?


As the subject already indicates, I'd like like to know just what they
start doing next week.
Are they just going through the songs together with the drummer (and/or
producer), are they just going to rehearse, will they argue about the parts
they are supposed to play, is Andy thinking about the artwork or does it
just mean their manager is counting the advance money and planning a flight
to the bahama's (god forbid)?



Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 07:33:46 -0400
From: Mark Stevenson <>
Subject: Inclusive and Exclusive Thought
Message-ID: <>

I feel I must reply to Harrison Sherwood. Poor, misguided, emotionally
stunted Harrison. Sherwood, first and foremost: an argument is best stated
in terms that are easy to understand. No amount of clever quotes and ill
used multi-syllabic words will add weight to an argument - it merely makes
you look pompous and conceited. When I'm not writing music for a living I'm
writing books and I think I can argue that the cleverest way to communicate
a message is to make it simple to understand (that is not to trivialise the
idea of course, but to communicate it elegantly). For someone who seems to
find 'noodling' guitar solos offensive your writing style appears to be the
literary equivalent of the Steve Vai's "Passion and Warfare". Of course, all
debate is good and the way you argue obviously brings you some perverse
pleasure, so what can I say?

> put it a bit more bluntly: You want a better signal-to-noise
>ratio, then post some signal, don't whine about noise. You want content,
>then post some. You don't like the way an argument is going, then argue
>back. This is a collective effort. We are not here performing for your
>amusement, Mark.

Who ever suggested that I think the chalkhills is here for my amusement? Why
on earth would I subscribe? I mean, I subscribed to this list specifically
because I wanted to feel miserable. I didn't for an instant think I'd derive
any *enjoyment* from reading the views of other music fans around the world.
What was I thinking of? *Of course* chalkhills is here for amusement - for
everyone on the list. And of course, it is many other things as well - to
you, for instance, it is place you can show off with all that word-wank -
tell me you didn't feel a frisson of excitement when you posted off your
polemic. And what on earth did you think I was doing with my post? Wasn't I
doing exactly what you suggest - arguing back? Perhaps I should have posted
more often to please you. But there again, perhaps none of the other
arguments have really made me think I had much to contribute. I posted
because I felt *strongly* about something - surely the best reason to post.
Of course no-one is performing for my amusement. Again, what a pompous thing
to say. It does seem however that you are posting for you own amusement.
Showing off can be great fun don't you think?

>> "All music is good".

>I'm sure you can't actually mean this. This must be some sort of
>oversight; perhaps in the course of spreading the cleansing odor of
>sanctimony and exorcising the demons of Chalkhills, your censer has
>blown smoke into your eyes, temporarily blinding you.

>Music is nothing but wiggling air molecules ((c) F. Zappa, 1990).
>Nothing is inherently good or bad about wiggling air molecules. Any
>value judgment about music is an artificial construct erected by the
>listener and informed by tastes acquired through the interplay between
>accumulated experiences and learned cultural values.The listener and
>composer enter into an agreement whereby the composer is given
>temporary permission to manipulate the listener's emotions, through
invoking and
>commenting on their shared culture and humanity. Without this
>agreement, there can be no artistic dialog. If the composer's emotional
>manipulation is coarse, or cynical, or unoriginal, or done in bad faith
>or is dishonest or dissembling in some way, then the music is _bad_. If
>the manipulation cuts off the dialog between the listener and the
>composer, then the music is _bad_. If the manipulation is done not for
>humanistic reasons but rather for the glorification of the composer,
>then the music is _bad_.

Frank Zappa (of whom I am a big fan - although I do not feel the need to
agree with everything he says like so many of his fans do) also said "Music
is best".

You say "If the composer's emotional manipulation is coarse, or cynical, or
unoriginal, or done in bad faith or is dishonest or dissembling in some way,
then the music is _bad_". Again, such incredible pomposity. How you wrap up
in words, with talk of contracts and so forth the very essence of music. If
the "emotional manipulation is coarse"? What do you *mean*? What is coarse?
Simple chord progression? Banal lyrics? Not up to certain accepted norms of
what is 'good'? What is coarse to you is direct and heart-breaking to
someone else. If is done in 'bad faith' then is it 'bad'? Hello? Do you mean
to tell me that the 1812 overture, written quickly and hated by it's own
composer is a 'bad' peace of music? What is 'bad'? It is word. Poorly used
by you - and that is all it is in the context of your posting. Dishonest
music? Again, what are you getting at? Do you mean a cynically written piece
of music, designed purely to push certain buttons and enjoy success is
'bad'? Do you include 'Every Breath You Take' in that category then? What
you are saying, I think, is that *if you don't like it* then *it is bad*. If
it doesn't connect *to you* then it is *bad*. What a narrow viewpoint.

>The amount of pleasure a piece of music brings any particular individual
>is irrelevant. The proposition that "That which brings pleasure is
>necessarily good" is rejected by every culture (not to mention every
>responsible adult) in the world.

Oh come on! "The amount of pleasure a piece of music brings any particular
is irrelevant"?! Ha, ha. Then why would we bother doing anything at all, us
song-writers? Of course it is important. That what song-writers *do*. They
want to bring pleasure to individuals - even if it's only themselves. And I
use pleasure in a wide sense of the word. Gorecki's powerful work on the
Holocaust is beautiful and in it's own way pleasurable but I'm not
suggesting that everyone jumps up an down smiling when they listen to it.
Again, what you're saying is that if it doesn't bring pleasure to the
individual called Harrison Sherwood, then it is irrelevant.

And I didn't say ""That which brings pleasure is necessarily good". I said
"All music is good" which is a different statement. Please pay attention.
Your response is from the 'All Cats Are Grey' school of thought.

>"The Lynyrd Skynyrd guitar soloing style
>I've been happily trashing would fall into the "self-glorification"
>category, along with a healthy dollop of "unoriginality." I think the
>"Books Are Burning" solos, while not self-aggrandizing in that way, are
>a cheaply manipulative and cliched attempt to end the album on a
>valedictory note, along with a "la-la-la" singalong that attempts to
>invoke a communal spirit that the weakness of the song's subject matter
>doesn't deserve. And worst of all, they're not even faintly original--I
>mean, come on: squeals and Floyd Rose dive-bombing--on an XTC record?
>It's not a guitar passage, it's a mid-life crisis.

You must of course be right. I mean, that Lynyrd Skynyrd soloing style is so
bad that nobody gets any pleasure from it, surely? My brother raves about it
and so did a whole bunch of DJs, Journalists and music buyers the world
over. That doesn't make it *good* in itself, but it does point out what it
connects to certain people - not you, maybe not me - but to trash it on the
grounds that you simply don't like it - to get so pompous because it's not
to your taste is short-sighted and arrogant. I love those solos on 'Books
are Burning'. I love them, love them, love them. You hate them? So what. Do
I care? No. But I do think it's worth saying something when you try to argue
a different point based on your own prejudices. Your post reeks of 'that
which I don't like is bad'. Now that is a bad attitude - a far more damaging
than any piece of music could ever be.

>We expect better from XTC, and we have _heard_ better.

No, no, no. *You* expect better - and by better you mean *more to your

>I'd pit Dave
>Gregory's 14 bars in "No Language in Our Lungs" against any guitar solo
>you'd care to name for emotional power, technical rigor, and
>inventiveness. The solo in "That Wave" is harmonically adventurous,
>unpredictable, and affecting. The quality both solos share is that they
>comment and expand on the melody of the song: they _serve_ the song,
>they're organic, they exist for a good reason.

Oh good, something *you like* - some *good* music. Now I see, the weight has
been lifted from my eyes. Of course only music like this is good. What a
fool I have been - all that studying and listening to all music forms - the
huge smile that spread across my face when I heard 'Books are Burning' for
the first time - what nonsense it was.

>I think the BAB solos are
>tacked on, artificially, for no good reason except to have something to
>fade out with.

Sure, you do. But don't damn free thought in the process. Don't mock a mode
of thought that is inclusive rather than exclusive.

I enjoyed that you know. Thank you.

Mark (

But of course.... "Opinions are like arseholes - everyone's got one and
people rarely want to know about yours".


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-10

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