Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-111

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 111

                 Wednesday, 15 July 1998

Today's Topics:

                   Dear God dribbles on
                        Oh gawd!!!
                  New Head on the Block
                  God, John, Paul & Andy
               Dear God, Books Are Burning!
                      Rook Revisited
                     Various replies
                 AOL XTC Chat Grumblings
             An Ex-Employee of TVT Speaks Out
                  A Case of the Baffles
                    'Good bye' comment
                  Possible Inspirations?
              A Smashing Pumpkinhead Thread!
                       Dear Humans
                  An Open Letter To God
                  Allow Me To Retort....
                    Youngest XTC fan?


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I hope your god is pleased.


Message-ID: <>
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: Dear God dribbles on
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 09:53:15 -0500

Sorry to prolong this, but Bob O'Bannon wrote something that begged a reply:

"And for the record, Andy has written to me personally that he does not
believe that God exists, so the theory that he is only expressing his
anger to a God he does believe exists does not hold water. But then
we're left with a major inconsistency in the song's lyrics: How can Andy
address someone he doesn't believe exists? And if there are "no saints,
no sinners, no devil," then you're left with a situation in which you
can't even define what evil is because no one is to blame. And at this
point you've entered the land of the absurd, which is the logical
conclusion of a worldview that denies God. At least Andy's honesty makes
this conclusion discernable."

Okay, two things.  (No flaming.)

1)  I've heard it said before that Dear God invalidates its own premise by
addressing a being who, the song argues, doesn't exist.  I don't see it; I
mean I see your point, but I don't agree.  I think you need to examine the
song's argument as more of a process than a predetermined conclusion.  The
tone of the lyrics gets perceptibly harsher as the song progresses, from the
jokey, almost throwaway line about the price of beer, through people
"fighting in the streets," to the final catalogue of offenses including
drowned babies and wars, culminating in his aggrieved shouting of "if
there's one thing I *don't* believe in--!"  He's taking you through the
process of the argument, in effect showing you what brought him to that
conclusion.  The fact that this screed is addressed to God is what a lit
student (as I once was) would call the song's conceit--the premise you must
accept in order for the argument/story to make sense.  That it literally may
not hold water is quite irrelevant, to my mind--you wouldn't slag the movie
"Babe" on the grounds that pigs can't talk.

2)  You say "if there are 'no saints, no sinners, no devil,' then you're
left with a situation in which you can't even define what evil is because no
one is to blame."  This I don't follow either.  I certainly can't speak for
Andy, but as an atheist myself I'd point out that the concept of "evil" and
the concept of "sin" are not interchangeable.  Sin is an offense against a
deity (often committed against a human, I know, but you're still bound to
ask forgiveness of God, at least in Catholic tradition), while evil is an
offense against humanity.  The act of composing/performing "Dear God" would
presumably be a sin, since it's blasphemous by definition, but you'd be hard
pressed to call it evil.  I'm not 100% sure what evil is--how I would define
it--but its causes are manifest and certainly not dependent on a devil (or
an uncaring deity).  How does having someone to blame make it easier to
define evil?  I think Andy is saying that there are no saints and sinners
because there are only men and women, treating each other with cruelty and
love in equal measure.  And so it goes.

Back to lurking,



Dan Wiencek
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
(847) 384-4125


Message-ID: <>
From: Don Rogalski <>
Subject: Oh gawd!!!
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:37:11 +0800

I'd thought that the Chalkhills list was a safe haven
for agnostics and atheists, especially in light of the
fact that XTC, our erstwhile MAIN topic of conversation,
could not be construed as anything other than a band
firmly espousing very _non-christian_ sentiments --
they are there in the obvious songs.

What I find irritating, is the following...

>From: "BOB O'BANNON" <>
>Subject: Dear God

>If someone wants to disagree respectfully, let's talk.

Mr. O'Bannon, it's very simple.  Atheists don't believe
in a gawd, and agnostics are going through the process
of deciding either/or.  Obviously, you are a christian.  When
you tut-tut about how Andy is acting like a typical "unbeliever"
on a list like Chalkhills (many of whose subscribers, but
not all, are "non-believers") you are showing disrespect.

Now and then in life one comes across things that are
shockingly simple.  One of them is the stalemate that
all discussions between "believers" and "unbelievers"
inevitably arrive at.  The "believers" argument is premised
upon the notion that there is a gawd, and the "unbelievers"
arguments rests that there is no evidence of such.

If you want to proselytize for your religion, I suggest you
look for other forums that might be more conducive to
the exercise.  Many of the members of this list have amply
illustrated a distaste for such crude christian behaviour.

> But the lyrics are hostile to all things Christian and actually
>fit the very definition of blasphemy, which is simply to attribute
>evil to God.

The underlying theme of the song is that if there were a
gawd, how could it allow all these terrible things to
happen?  Admittedly, I find this suspect as well.  Good
and evil are the basis of culture as we know it -- without
this dualism there is no struggle, no conflict, therefore
no stories.  Stories are culture, culture is stories.  This
is one reason that the song "Dear God" isn't a very
powerful anti-christian statement, as it's more of a
knee-jerk reaction to the sentiment "God is good".
For my money, I'll take Tom Waits' good-natured
dismissal "don't you know there ain't no devil, that's
just God when he's drunk!"

> By writing that "Father, Son and Holy Ghost is just somebody's
>unholy hoax," Andy is taking the most essential and sacred
>beliefs of the Christian tradition and calling them false and

Again, too knee-jerk for my taste.  Still, it's a lovely song.

>His honesty does not excuse his arrogance...

Oh?  Does it follow, then, that your honesty doesn't
excuse your arrogance?  Eh tu, Brute!!

>But I am also bewildered by so-called Christians who can't see
>how offensive those lyrics are to the God who has given Andy
>everything he has, including the talent to write such a song...

Then why did he write the song?  Or is this where the
devil comes into play?

>...and who has the right and the power to snuff out his life in
>an instant.

Dear Gawd, please don't snuff out Andy's life in an
instant.  Deep down I'm sure he's really sorry for
writing such a terrible song about You.  If it helps,
I'll pray to You night and day, as long as you spare

But just one quick question, Gawd.  Who gave You
this right and power?  Wait a minute, I feel some
courage arising up from the depths of my soul:

Gawd, if it's all the same to You, could You just
fuck off and leave us alone?

> How can Andy address someone he doesn't believe exists?

It's a narrative ploy meant to tweak your brain cells.
See the above three paragraphs.

>And if there are "no saints, no sinners, no devil," then
>you're left with a situation in which you can't even define
>what evil is because no one is to blame.

That's because evil isn't so simple.  Killing a person
is bad, I think we'd all agree, but would killing Hitler
have been bad?  What about Stalin, Mao Zedong,
Jim Jones, General Pinochet... or even, erm...
Jesus Christ?  What if the "messiah" hadn't been
crucified?  Wasn't that the plan, that he was to
"die for our sins"?  Didn't Judas' betrayal set in
motion the events that were to "save" humanity?

Hmmm.... food for thought.

>To any of you getting ready to start flaming my head off,
>I would request one thing: If Andy is correct in singing
>that there are "no saints, no sinners," then don't accuse
>me of being a sinner while holding him up as a saint.

Bob, you are a sinner.  You'd better be careful,
because your gawd has "the right and the power
to snuff out your life in an instant".  I suggest you
go find some spiritual comfort in the alt.sinners

And, on a completely different topic:

>Subject: what band?

>What other parallels are there between XTC and The
> Smashing Pumpkins?

Absolutely none.


Don Rogalski


Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 13:03:03 -0400 (EDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Michael Kearns <>
Subject: New Head on the Block

Bob O'Bannon writes:

>I have refrained from involving myself in the rerun of the "Dear God"
>thread because I thought it would die quickly, but since people seem to
>be interested, I will put my head on the block.

OK - as long as you make room for mine! :)

>If someone wants to
>disagree respectfully, let's talk. But keep in mind that I'm only
>answering a question, I am not demanding that anyone believe like I do,
>I don't hate anyone, I am not bigoted, and I don't burn books.

I think I would describe myself the same way. I hope you (and other
Chalkhillians) don't take anything that follows as a personal attack, though
to some my statements will be seen as highly disrespectful to your deity. I
am merely a man, using my rational and limited mind to speak about "Dear
God". Does God exist? I don't know, but I tend to think not. At least, His
existence has not been revealed to me.. not that I've looked very hard. I
tend to seek out His stash.. nature, grace, good people, love, ethical
living, XTC..

Nowadays when many people speak vaguely of God, they describe Him as being
the essence of these things, which already have names. Perhaps the mighty
yet fragile interdependence of these things is the closest thing to God that
I can believe in. But I don't feel the need to call it God. By the way, I do
believe Christ was one of the greatest men who ever lived. And I hope people
who do believe in God are right about Him being good.. maybe He's just
having a hard day's night. I get overloaded at my job too. Glorious failures
are the most dignified of beings in that they always try the hardest. Keep
trying God, who knows, maybe I'll see you.

>Musically, I think "Dear God" is gorgeous,

I agree. This one has been growing on me more and more lately, though
lyrically as well as musically. In this
miniature-atheistic-sermon-slash-pop-masterpiece, I think Andy touched on a
lot more than even he suspects he did in 3 minutes and 36 seconds. The vocal
treatment is inspired, and the guitars are quite ginchy. Cool video too!

>But I am also bewildered by so-called Christians who can't see how
>offensive those lyrics are to the God who has given Andy everything he
>has, including the talent to write such a song, and who has the right
>and the power to snuff out his life in an instant.

First you make God sound like a generous dude, then you make Him sound like
a dick. If this is His nature, then "I don't believe" he should be so lofty.
The "right and power" to snuff out Andy Partridge's life indeed!

>And for the record, Andy has written to me personally that he does not
>believe that God exists, so the theory that he is only expressing his
>anger to a God he does believe exists does not hold water. But then
>we're left with a major inconsistency in the song's lyrics: How can Andy
>address someone he doesn't believe exists?

Inconsistent? I think of his addressing a non-existent God as ironic. Irony
(mixed with contempt) abounds in this songs: "I _pray_ you can make it
better down here" and "All the people you made in your image" and "I know it
ain't , and so do you." I see all this as irony, not inconsistency.

And if there are "no saints,
>no sinners, no devil," then you're left with a situation in which you
>can't even define what evil is because no one is to blame. And at this
>point you've entered the land of the absurd, which is the logical
>conclusion of a worldview that denies God. At least Andy's honesty makes
>this conclusion discernable.

"The wars you bring, the babes you drown, those lost at sea and never found"
-- the logical conclusion I draw here is: to have faith in a God, a
supposedly kindly-but-stern heavenly Father, who allows so many of his
children to experience hopeless suffering and destruction, is absurd.

"And it's the same the whole world round, the hurt I see helps to
compound.." and so on, as absurdity begets absurdity: "See them fighting in
the street cause they can't make opinions meet about God". It's like: Come
on people, it's 1998 -- get it together! We're ALL humans. Every other label
we use to describe ourselves or others is very secondary. If we really try,
WE "can make it better down here"!!!

So then, what can one believe in if belief in God is beyond our ken (or our
taste for absurdity)? Granted, faith in humanity, reason, democracy, arts
and science are not always any more reliable than faith in God, but if we
don't put our faith in those tangible tools we have in order to attempt to
create a heaven on earth, what kind of "life" would we have the absurd right
to expect in an eternal Heaven?

Myths inspire great poetry and art, and bring to our lives wisdom and
wonderment, but I cannot fool myself to buy into all of it. "Dear God, I
can't believe in you".

>To any of you getting ready to start flaming my head off, I would
>request one thing: If Andy is correct in singing that there are "no
>saints, no sinners," then don't accuse me of being a sinner while
>holding him up as a saint.

Bob, given that logic, I could do neither. Besides, in your post you strike
me as a rational, tolerant, well-spoken Christian who is a fan of XTC.
What's not to like? Other than that, I won't label you. I believe in your
human goodness and I'm glad you don't hate people and burn books..

Unlike John Calvin, who had no qualms about burning book AND author, as in
the case of Michael Servetus ("On the Errors of the Trinity") in Geneva. (To
be fair, Calvin did give Servetus several opportunities to cry uncle..)

>By writing that "Father, Son and Holy Ghost is just somebody's unholy
>hoax," Andy is taking the most essential and sacred beliefs of the
>Christian tradition and calling them false and deceitful.

Too much to go into here, but it is well documented that even the
authorities of 16th century Christendom split numerous hairs over
interpretations of the Trinity: that is, three beings ("persons") sharing
the being ("substance") of God.. a concept not even to be found in
Scripture, but rather an formulation, or perhaps a revelation, to members of
the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 450, and assumed as doctrine ever since.

I'm not sure what triggered Andy to write this line, but to me what makes
Trinitarian doctrine come off as an "unholy hoax" is that if you were not a
respected member of the prevailing ecclesiastical forensic club, and
expressed doubts about, culminating in denial of, the doctrine, you were put
to death. So much for "essential and sacred beliefs of the Christian
tradition". It's not even the word of God.. rather "us crazy humans wrote
it." God _should_ have taken a look.

Oh, and a "big reduction in the price of beer" would be nice..  ;)

Peace brothers and sisters, I'm more interested in what you can tell me than
what little I can tell you,

Mike Kearns

"Nobody expects the Spanish Inquistion" -- Monty Python

P.S. I'm LOVIN' the new Brian Wilson CD!!!


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:19:26 -0400
From: Michael Versaci <>
Organization: Stormy Monday Enterprises
Subject: God, John, Paul & Andy


Just when I was ready to abandon the moniker, "Stormy Monday"!

First, on the never-ending "Dear God" thread,

>to the God who has given Andy everything he
>has, including the talent to write such a song, and who has the right
>and the power to snuff out his life in an instant.

Spirituality is a deeply personal matter, and we are all entitled to our

I can't imagine wanting to "snuff out" one of my children for being
petulant, let alone having the right.  The reason us
"agnostics/atheists" get exasperated  with certain "Christians" is often
because of statements like that one.

If you're tired of the Paul/John stuff, page down here...

Let me start off by saying that I think that Paul McCartney's
contribution to the Beatles was equal to John Lennon's.  He is clearly
the most influential rock bass player,  he has an almost unparalleled
gift for melody, (Lennon and Partidge), a beautiful and versatile
singing voice and he helped change the world for the better along with

In the words of the Jim Carrey character from "The Mask",


>He's the most successful Beatle, and the most talented.
>Period.  Anyone who argues about Lennon has to explain or get around his
>years of (hard) drug abuse

And how would you have reacted to the unprecedented amount of fame that
the Beatles enjoyed/suffered?  John was brutally honest about his
weaknesses.  He paid for his "years of (hard) drug abuse", dearly I
would say.
Listen to the studio version of "Cold Turkey".

>and untimely death

"F-U-C-K", is how I spell SHITE in my dictionary!

> Yoko.

John loved her.

>They also have to come up with his contributions outside music and
>weigh them with McCartneys.


>emptyheaded commercial compromise of Mind Games.

I'm almost dumbfounded here.  "Mind Games" is a wonderful album, with
songs like "I Know I Know" and "One Day At A Time", and is almost

>I find it incredibly sad that Mr. McCartney's work has been belittled next
>to John Lennon's, merely because Lennon had the horrible misfortune to be
>murdered. The amount of revisionism that has been affixed to Lennon's solo
>work would make any good Stalinist proud.

The reason that Paul's  Post Beatle work has been belittled against
John's has little to do with John's murder.   I do think that Paul is
often maligned in the press and is given far too little credit for his
priceless contributions to the music world, but let's face it, his
post-Beatle lyrics are not that great.  With songs like "The Fool On The
Hill" under his belt, it is easy to forgive him for the lyrics to songs
like "Let 'em In" and "Magneto and Titanium Man".  John, on the other
hand needs no forgiveness.  Since somebody mentioned "Sometime In New
York City", (and album marred by a mediocre band) I'd like to point out
that it contains the brutally honest "Woman Is The Nigger of The World",
perhaps the first feminist song written by a man.

>Now that he is a Saint, his work as a solo
>artist and as a Beatle is generally considered to be superior to that of
>McCartney. I gotta tell you, it just ain't so.

Maybe not, but his music is at least as good, and his lyrics are
superior to everyone's save Mr. Partridge's.  And this includes Ray and

(Quick, break out the asbestos!)

>Lennon was reduced to doing interviews where he started taking credit for
>writing many of McCartney's most famous songs. He may have added some to
>songs like Hey Jude, Eleanor Rigby and The Fool On The Hill, but he
>certainly did not write these songs himself, nor was he was the principal
>writer. It was really almost pathetic.

I recall John wanting to get credit where credit was due.  I think he
was tired of people thinking that "Paul wrote the music and John wrote
the words", and "Paul is the musician, John is the Mind".  Paul did the
same thing.  He wrote the music to one of John's most celebrated songs,
"In My Life", and he has mentioned that point in interviews as well.
They are (were) human.

>How Paul McCartney has maintained
>his stiff upper lip while constantly being slagged next to John Lennon (for
>God's sake, Yoko Ono just referred to him as Salieri to Lennon's Mozart) is
>a tribute to the kind of person McCartney really is. It must be incredibly
>difficult to have been responsible for half of the catalog of arguably the
>most influential popular music act of all time and to still have your work
>deemed inferior for all the wrong reasons.

This is true.  However,  I have trouble mustering too much sympathy for
Paul.  Except now that his lovely Linda is gone.  He has had a great

>In the early years esp., he was the driving force in the
>band. Even during the later years, when they were writing separately
>within the band, I believe John and Paul were still in fact writing
>_for_ each other (IMO, esp. Paul, who it seems wanted to
>please/impress John), and so their songs then were better and more
>even in quality than their later stuff.

Todd, you are the man!  "Strawberry Fields Forever", "I Am The Walrus",
"Dear Prudence", "Revolution No. I."!

>2) Paul blows.

Man, that is uncalled for, and perhaps the most absurd opinion that I
have ever read in this newsletter!  Paul is a musical genius who leans
towards the sappy sometimes, but also penned rockers like "Helter
Skelter" and "I'm Down"!  Songs like "Penny Lane", "You Never Give Me
Your Money", and  "Yesterday" are pop masterpieces.

>4) George still owns "The Best Beatle Solo Album" award. (All Things
>Must Pass, of course.)

Sorry, no.  That honour belongs to John Lennon's "Plastic Ono Band".

"Flaming Pie" is pretty damn good too.

So, is this really relevant to XTC?

On Saturday night, I was spending some time with my lady, my brother and
his lady.  The four of us are Andy Partridge / XTC devotees, and I
pulled out the '95 Demos.  We marveled at "You And The Clouds", "Easter
Theater", "The Green Man" and "All I Dream Of Is A Friend".  We also
listened to "Me and the Wind", "Pale and Precious", "Albert Brown" and
"You're My Drug".

We agreed that:

1)  Andy may be the "Mozart" of the 20th century.
2)  His songs are perfect.  They work on every level.  They are
simultaneously complex and simple.
3)  He is a synthesis of Lennon and McCartney.  He has it all.  The
melody, the musicianship, the voice, the lyrics, the wit, all of it.

Come to the "1998 Atlanta Bash in Honour of XTC", Saturday, August the
E-mail me privately for the details.

Mike "Stormy Monday" Versaci


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:20:44 -0400
From: Ralph DeMarco <>
Subject: Dear God, Books Are Burning!

Dear One Armed Bandits and Affiliated Members:

I have been pulled out of my passive non-posting mood.  Bob
O'Bannon wrote, regarding Dear God, that he liked the music
of the song but...:

>the lyrics are hostile to all things Christian and actually fit
>the very definition of blasphemy, which is simply to attribute
>evil to God.

>And if there are "no saints, no sinners, no devil," then you're
>left with a situation in which you can't even define what evil
>is because no one is to blame.

Andy is asking the age old question, "from whence comes
evil?"  If God created the Universe, than...where did evil come

Andy is talking about how God has been used to explain
away and justify war, slavery and natural disasters.  Andy is
frustrated with the power that religions have over people.  The
book burners are not defined by belief in God but by their
destructive fanaticism and intolerance with any who dare
disagree with them.

Oh, and most of the world is not Christian,  it is Moslem,
Buddhist, Hindu, Pagan, Agnostic, Atheistic to name a few.
Are we all evil and damned to Hell for not believing in YOUR
version of God?  Just asking.



From: Aaron Pastula <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Parallels
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 98 12:21:48 PDT

> What other parallels are there between
> XTC and The Smashing Pumpkins?

Lead singers experiencing hair loss.



Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 15:40:39 -0400
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Rook Revisited

"Rook, rook, read from your book..."

Where did I read that the crow, a related American bird, accompanies
souls to the afterworld, or perhaps carries souls to the afterworld?
Does the rook have a similar mythology in Britain?

Thanks to everyone who responded about The Dead Milkmen; I'm all set
and seem to have a swap in the works!

(Finally, and gosh, I'd like a sanity check on this, but am I the
only one who thinks that Dr. Laura [of radio fame] sounds and acts
at times as if she has some problems of her own? E-mail me privately
on this. To me, she just sounds a little unhinged herself.)

Wes (who's listening to "Kontiki" by Cotton Mather, and liking its
Lennonness, circa "Across the Universe")


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 15:51:42 -0400
From: Adam Tyner <>
Subject: Various replies

<<Why don't a bunch of you articulate chalkers figure out how this Fanatic
thing works and give it a go.>>

Fanatic seems to focus only on bands in heavy MTV rotation.  :-(

<<Is there a sound clip or something on the net? If so, where?>>

I could make an mp3 of the track off of the demo CD if you'd like.  For
others of you out there with this particular CD - are you having trouble
making mp3s of the songs off of it?  I have to set the encoding rate from
128 kps (which I usually use) to 256kps in order to avoid heavy audio
problems, which leads to a doubling of the size, of course.  I can still
make one though, but it'll be somewhere around 9 or 10 megs.

<<A spokesperson for TVT Records told MTV News late Monday that the band
has inked a deal with the record label that should bear fruit early
next year.>>

Bleh.  I guess this means no BBC sessions stateside, or at least not for a

<<Why don't you try to talk Andy into sending the members of Chalkhills
an early copy of the New Album.>>

The major problem I have with this is...wouldn't it affect the sales stats
for the album?  I'd rather get it from TVT, which would be one more sale
for them to enjoy having XTC as part of its roster...  I realize that last
sentence was rather poorly worded, but I think you know what I mean.  ;-)

/=---------------- ----------------=\
The home of He-Man, "Weird Al", Yoo-hoo, Killer Tomatoes, and more!
   Demented music list admin           O-         MiSTie #67,326


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:08:36 EDT
Subject: AOL XTC Chat Grumblings


I just wanted to repeat what I said in my last posting.  The AOL Chats that I
do these chats for people who can't get IRC, ICQ or Webchat.  I might have
IRC, and I will maybe do a chat soon on that.  But for now I will be
continuing the chats on AOL.

Bye for now.



From: "Suzanne Cerquone" <>
Message-Id: <85256641.006C37C4.00@>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:20:30 -0400
Subject: An Ex-Employee of TVT Speaks Out

Oh dear.  I hope to not dash too many hopes for XTC fans out there, but let
me fill you in on a few things about TVT Records.  I worked there three
years ago in a retail sales capacity.

Here were my findings:

1.) For an indie, they do have good distribution.  I was there when we
built it up, and I can only guess that they've improved retail
relationships since I've left.   The president of TVT is proud to be an
indie and has refused to be bought by the majors.   When I was there, they
did have, however, some bad relationships with certain one-stop
distributors and chains, so distribution could potentially be spotty.  But
what's nice is that they have mail-order, so if all else fails, you can
call TVT directly (or order through their web site,

2.) TVT has very decent cash flow for an indie, thanks to the
platinum-selling "Pretty Hate Machine" by TVT.  TVT also has partial
royalty rights to all NIN releases since leaving TVT, which pisses off
Trent Reznor to no end.  Good cash flow means a good potential for TVT to
invest some $$ in retail and radio promotion, and perhaps some consumer and
trade advertising.

3.) Outside the States, distribution is pretty bad.  They don't have any
overseas offices or distribution branches.  They had only one foreign
license for one band in 1995, and export shipments could be spotty. I can
only hope they have gotten a firmer grip on the international scene.  Or
hopefully XTC is being smart and exploring label options in Europe and
other areas besides TVT.

4.) Partridge relayed to his Chalkhills friend that he's happy with the
contract.  I surely hope so.   The president of TVT is no stranger to
iron-clad bad-for-the-artist contracts.   See Trent Reznor.

5.) TVT, like many labels, don't offer a lot of band loyalty.   There's a
good initial push, but if the record doesn't create a life of its own after
awhile, you can kiss future promotion good-bye.  TVT will move on to their
next latest and greatest, and QUICK.

6.) There is an abundance of cool music on TVT:  Underworld, Connells,
Catherine, Wax Trax artists and ambient techno series, Gil Scott-Heron.
There's a lot of crap, too.   One reason I left TVT is because they were
dumping money into rap singers who had crafted one or two songs.  TVT gave
them free reign: food, cars, clothing, even office space for smoking
blunts.  When these Freddie Freeloaders started eating my lunch out of the
office refrigerator, I had had enough.   This is something XTC has no
control over either, but it's still maddening.  (BTW, these rappers have
yet to hit the big time, as far as I can see.)

9.)  When I was there, the radio promotion and publicity departments were
largely ineffective.  Let's hope that's changed as well.

I certainly wish XTC all the best in their contract with TVT.   And I hope
my comrades at TVT give them the biggest push possible.  There is an
abundance of wonderful, hard-working music fans that work at TVT who
potentially could get really behind this record.   Let's hope for the best!


From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:24:48 -0400
Subject: A Case of the Baffles

Why is there this illusion that Paul is still making music? You might
consider that time is of essence and there is a lot to follow, and not all
of it is going on now I'm afraid. Considering Macca still valid is an
unhealthy thing for you and for me. And those of you who truly prefer
Paul's Beatle songs to John's... 'Tis a baffling case, but not an
interesting one. Therefore I'll close it.

"There is the jabber of a chimpanzee - the motion of your mouth looks much
the same to me"
                              - you tell me


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:37:21 -0500
From: (Bill Peschel)
Organization: The Herald
Subject: 'Good bye' comment


Trent & Todd wrote...
>>I remember being scared after hearing the end of FPAR, where Andy
>sings "Bye-Bye" thinking that this might be their last album!<

I believe in the upcoming book, Andy says he thought that would be the
case. The song was his way of venting some very bad spleen.

(BTW, one of the other members commented in the interview after Andy's
comment: "In that case, you should have said 'hello' at the beginning of
the next album."


-- Bill Peschel
Book page editor, Rock Hill (S.C.) Herald


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 15:41:07 -0500
From: John A Lane <>
Subject: Possible Inspirations?

File Under 'Passing Thoughts':

While listening to the Andy Partridge demotape,
I couldn't help notice that that Easter song ("Easter Theatre"? the one
with "stage LEFT", etc. in the lyrics) --or speifically the ending to that
song bears a distinct similarity to the fade-out harmonies from
the Beach Boys' "Surf's Up", with the same harmonies that wrap-around
Anyone else notice this?

Other influences I think:
"Knights in Shining Karma" = the Beatles' "Julia", White-Album-Lennon
and then there's another song (title slipping my mind) in which
the background reminds me of the Beatles' background vocals in the refrain
of "She's Leaving Home".



Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 15:42:25 -0500 (CDT)
From: Marshall Joseph Armintor <>
Subject: A Smashing Pumpkinhead Thread!
Message-ID: <>

 <<Let's not carry this thread for too long, but I see this as almost
a "Lincoln-Kennedy coincidences" kind of idea.  What other parallels
are there between XTC and The Smashing Pumpkins?>>

 1. Like AP, Billy Corgan also got divorced relatively recently.
 2. James Iha (the group's 2nd songwriter) has kinda the same hairstyle
    as Colin Moudling.  They also have similar singing voices, al-
    though Iha's is a good deal weaker, and he's never written a hit
    song, unlike Colin.
 3. D'Arcy (the bass player) could well have been a model, ditto for
 4. Surprisingly enough, the Smashing Pumpkins' first big hit was also
    entitled "Making Plans for Nigel."
 5. Both drummers went bye-bye after the fifth record album (if you
    count _Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness_ as two and _English
    Settlement_ as one, and you discount Terry's trax on _Mummer_)
 6. Their closest link is Brian Eno:

    XTC --> Eno --> Flood --> Smashing Pumpkins

 7. As with Smashing Pumpkins, there's been talk of that minx
    Courtney Love pestering Andy to write songs for her new album.

Okay, obviously I'm running out of even made-up shit to make this
  I admit it: Smashing Pumpkins are admittedly a guilty pleasure for
me, kinda like Queen, the _Die Hard_ films and Hegel's _Phenomen-
ology of Spirit_.  All four things are big, loud, glittery,
bombastic, somewhat wrongheaded, and totally unconnected with reality,
but they affect me emotionally in unexpectedly powerful ways.  My
recommedation for SP would be _Siamese Dream_, unquestionably (in
my mind, anyway) the album of its year (1993).


Marshall Armintor/ Dept. Rice University/
Fondren IT Guy x5833 <<I had my first cigarette and kissed my first
girl on the same day.  Since then I have had very little time for
other pursuits. -- Toscanini >>


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 17:39:12 EDT
Subject: Dear Humans

Oh, how I adore a good religious debate/discussion! <grin> Don't worry, I'll
make this relatively short.

Todd Bernhardt <> wrote:

<<Except _us_!  That's the point of the song, IMO -- Andy is criticizing
people for trying to foist their responsibilities on some immaterial Being,
rather than accepting that our fate is in our hands.  And I use the term
"immaterial" on purpose here, not to imply some disrespect toward your
views, Bob, but to point out that God isn't really the point of the
song. _Humanity_ is.>>

I agree.  An excerpt of my private response to someone else on the list:

"I believe in a higher power, but not necessarily the Christian God.  You
must realise that it is the humans who are imperfect--we were created in the
image of God, and 'sin' is literally just missing the mark of being perfect
like God.  We have all missed the mark.  None of us are perfect.  Therefore,
we make faulty judgments as well as rash decisions."  Oh...and let me add
"no matter what religion or non-religion we live by."

Thank you, and good night.

- Piriya

"Your heart is the big box of paints,
and others, the canvas we're dealt."


Message-Id: <l03110700b1d18dc4afad@[]>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 16:38:58 -0600
From: Jason Garcia <>
Subject: An Open Letter To God

"Bob O'Bannon" wrote:

> But then we're left with a major inconsistency in the song's lyrics:
>How can Andy address someone he doesn't believe exists?

I always thought he was being just really sarcastic throughout the
entire song, like "hey God, yeah, if you're up there, say something,
do something.  Ha, just like I thought, you don't exist."

Just my two cents on a probably already-overdone thread.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 07:49:48 +1000
Subject: Allow Me To Retort....

A few things in recent digests have caught my eye. I'd like to add my
thoughts to those already expressed....
In #4-109, Brian opined :
>> George still owns "The Best Beatle Solo Album" award (All Things Must
Pass, of course).

Couldn't agree more - with the exception of Side Four, mind you (could this
statement get me flamed? Ooh, I hope so!)

Then our resident lighthouse-keeper Mark Strijbos came up with this
response to my earlier comment about the annoying qualities (at least to
me) of "Funk Pop A Roll" :
>> Say what? Are you on the right mailing list? (snip) Give it some time,
it'll grow on you.

Well, I *thought* I was on the right mailing list - isn't this the one
where people discuss their opinions about XTC? Gee, that's what I *did*,
isn't it? I've had about six or seven people, either directly or through
the digest, tell me in no uncertain terms that I am wrong about this song -
I must admit, "Funk Pop A Roll" still hasn't grown on me - God (Buddha,
Vishnu, whatever) knows I've given it ample growing time. It seems strange,
though, that in the same post where I was bagging Andy's FPAR, I also
condemned "Wonderland", commenting that it was "a bit wet" - nobody has
leapt to the defence of Colin's song yet....

Still on #4-109, Eric Rosen had this to say about the Pumpkinhead
conspiracy :
>> My own take on the meaning of a third gun is that it is symbolic of
Martin Luther King taken together with JFK & RFK, but maybe it's a stretch.

Maybe it is - I'd never thought of Martin Luther King being in the
threesome (so to speak) before. I always thought the third gun might have
been a reference to Lee Harvey Oswald (or the CIA, or whoever was allegedly
responsible - there are that many theories circulating, I don't think we'll
ever know with any certainty who was behind it all).

Edward Percival (the bane of "old slags" this world over) wrote :
>> I searched for about 10 years for a copy of Skylarking which had Dear
God on it, rather than Mermaid Smiled...

My copy of "Skylarking" has "Mermaid Smiled" on it (being the Australian
copy, which is presumably the British release) - in fact, the first time I
saw a copy of "Skylarking" that included "Dear God" was last week, when I
first met fellow Chalkhillian Paul Culnane. He was carting around a fairly
hefty bag filled with XTC paraphernalia, including the copy of "Skylarking"
and a limited-edition copy of "Nonsuch" - amazingly (or perhaps, incredibly
and shamefully), this was the first time I had *ever* seen a copy of this
album. I don't suppose anyone out there has a spare copy? (I'm only

XTC Song of the day : When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty (for
Non-XTC Song of the day : Eight Miles High - The Byrds



Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 14:16:05 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Charles Komanoff <>
Subject: Youngest XTC fan?

In my four months on board I've seen only a few Chalkhillers
mention their *kids* and XTC. I hope I'm within bounds to post
about my 3 and 1/2 year old son Daniel and his love of XTC.

I only found this list because of Daniel. There were lyrics in English
Settlement he wanted to know that we couldn't make out by listening.
And there's no lyric sheet in the album. So one day I went on the Web,
found XTC, downloaded ES lyrics, and as a bonus got to Chalkhills!

Six months ago, just after his third birthday, Daniel started paying
heavy attention to my 27-song, 110-minute XTC compilation tape.
(It's mostly ES, Skylarking, Oranges & Lemons, and Nonsuch; yes,
I'm more of a latter-day XTC'er.) Before long he had memorized
names of songs, figured out which one was coming next, figured
out some lyrics, asked me for words he couldn't quite hear, played
the tape on his own, etc. (It helped that the tape was on the bottom
shelf of my tape collection, with the Y's and the Z's.)

Every song had some magic for Daniel. Yacht Dance was
wondrous -- "how can boats dance?" On Love at First Sight (Black
Sea) we traded off  "what they want is" with the title lyric."
Runaways had that gorgeous and distinctive 5-note descending
piano melody toward the end. Sacrificial Bonfire was about ... a big
fire! Daniel invariably found the words funny, strange, intriguing -
abetted of course by the beautiful musical settings, the textures of
the singing, etc. He particularly fell in love with Ten Feet Tall (as I
did on the radio in '79). The song's happy-sad quality seemed to suit
us both, and Daniel thought it was neat that a song could be both at
the same time. We played and sang it over and over.

Of course, we soon graduated from my compilation tape to the full
CD's. One day Daniel wanted to know the words to Ball and
Chain. I pulled out the ES lyric sheets I had downloaded, and saw
that what I had inanely thought was "the dingus and the tower of
praise" was actually "[save us from] the digger and the tower
cranes." Amazing ... Ball and Chain is a song about people's houses,
city blocks, whole neighborhoods being torn down to make bloody
office towers! Another XTC song about something real, political,
yet catchy and not preachy. Alright! For the three thousandth time,
what an amazing band.

Around the same time I dug up a 12-song XTC compilation tape a
friend of my sister's had sent me back in '84 or so, that I had barely
played. Daniel and I listened together to "brand new" songs like
Train Runnin' Low on Soul Coal and Love on A Farmboy's Wages.
(He fell in love with these lyrics too, spelling them out with his big
plastic alphabet letters in the bathtub.) Coming onto "new" XTC
with him was as thrilling if not more than having him fall in love
with my old favorites. And now that this list has made me aware of
other great XTC stuff out there, I'm gonna get to the record store

(I've written this in past tense 'cause we haven't played much XTC
of late. Daniel has a new baby brother and we're switching the
rotation a bit -- bringing in tunes I can dance the baby to, like
M'Shell, and ambient stuff like Eno and Morton Feldman.)

For those of you who got this far, I'd be really grateful if someone
could post me an accurate chord chart to Chalkhills and Children,
including the 2-part vocal harmony halfway through, I think the
lyric is "I'm skating over thin ice, upon blunted blades of metal
soft." I have a decent ear so I ought to be able to notate that section
myself, but it is so achingly beautiful, and growing more so after
who knows how many hundreds of times, that when it comes on I
have to "turn off my mind" (J Lennon) and just bathe in the music's
pure gorgeous glow. So I could use some help here. Thanks.

  -- Charlie Komanoff / NYC


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-111

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