Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-127

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 127

                  Monday, 17 August 1998

Today's Topics:

                  Andy Getting Married?
                 Re: Long Term Investment
                    The Avengers Sucks
                   Atlanta Bash Report?
                Re: Whitechocolatespaceegg
                   the art thing again
                     Wait a second...
                     Live and Insane
                       Re: Blegvad
                       Homo Safari
         JamTV article - XTC Beginning Round Two
                      As Advertised
                        Re: Frith
                      Re: Split Enz
                   Calling for the Book
                     Re: Duran Duran
                      spare a Finn?
                 Sixpence None the Richer
               Ouch! My Ears Were Burning!
                    Other "pop rushes"
       Newsflash..."Swindon's a hole" sez Scotsman


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Big day come and big day go.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 23:21:18 EDT
Subject: Andy Getting Married?


I just read the last digest.  Is that thing about Andy getting married true?
Well, girls we'll have to look someplace else.:)



Message-Id: <>
From: "Ben Allen" <>
Organization: The Dead Cat Revolutionary Army
Date: Thu, 13 Aug 1998 22:22:48 +0000
Subject: Re: Long Term Investment

> > >10) If astrological influences don't depend on distance, why is there no
> > >astrology of stars, galaxies and quasars?
> >
> > because they are not solarcentric, perhaps? There is no reason to believe
> > that, in the dim mists of the future, a human born on Rigel IX would be
> > influenced by Mars of the Moon. It would be influenced by Rigels I to VIII,
> > plus Rigel.
> Rigel is a giant blue double star. No human could possibly live there, let
> alone be born there. Scads of radiation, horrible rads. Take sunblock.
> ;-) peter (as long as we're talking minutae...)

However, presuming astrology works (a big assumption, but, what the
hey...), a well-trained astrologer *could* calculate the various
effects of Rigels I though VIII upon the personalities of
whatever sort of creatures could survive the Rigellian environment.
In fact, this would prove quite useful if, say, Son of SETI were to
establish contact with a Rigel IXian civilization...I mean, if we
knew the president of the Rigel IX World Government was a VIncer as
opposed to a Vemini, I'm sure that information would come in handy
somehow. But only if Rigellian presidents have _very_ long terms =)

You know, if I wasn't so busy I could probably write a halfway decent
Science Friction filk about this thread...
Ben Allen -
Duty now for the future


Message-Id: <v04011701b1f99cbf5989@[]>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 09:07:26 +0100
From: Stephen Varga <>
Subject: The Avengers Sucks


Don't waste your hard earned cash on this film. It is utter, utter crap. Why?

1. The script is incoherent.
2. The eccentric Englishness lacks subtlety. It's far too self-conscious.
   Whilst the tea jokes seem funny at first, they wear a bit thin as they
   get recycled.
3. Uma Thurman gives an uninspiring performance. It's a big mistake to cast
   an American actress to play a Brit when there are so many fine Brit
   actresses to choose from.
4. For a 50 million pound film, where did the money go? The special effects
   failed to impress. They lacked any kind of realism and spectacle
   especially regarding the models used and the weather effects.
5. "Blow You Away" and most of the the other songs on the soundtrack album
   do not feature in the film. This is the third turkey XTC have involved
   themselves in after "Times Square" and "She's Having a Baby"
6. At 90 minutes, this is unacceptably short. It does not allow enough
   momentum to build up into a real climax.
7. Some of the scenes from the trailer, do not feature in the film at all.

Any good points?

1. The opening credits/title sequence is one of the best I've ever seen.
2. It starts promising from the first 2 minutes or so, but goes downhill
3. The teddy bear scene is hilarious. The only really funny bit in the
   whole film.
4. The electro-mechanical wasps were mildly exciting to watch.

Stephen Varga


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 08:12:58 -0400
From: Brent Bonet <>
Subject: Atlanta Bash Report?

Maybe I missed the post.  If about a report on the Atlanta Bash?
I was set to go but I had to go to a wedding that weekend.


Brent Bonet
Hallman Interactive Productions - Atlanta


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 09:19:05 -0400
From: Jim Samuelian <>
Subject: Re: Whitechocolatespaceegg

>   Well, Joel, in spite of your advice not to buy Liz Phair's new
> album, I got it yesterday morning. I've listened to it 3 times now and
> I love it.

I think it's a winner too.  I've listened to it about 5 times so far and
it gets better every time.

> Granted, no album will ever match Exile in Guyville, but
> it's certainly better than Whip Smart

I'm always surprised by how many people didn't like Whip Smart.  I think
it's such a great album, nearly as great as the debut.  I just saw Whip
Smart referred to in that Spin rag as "a dud"...huh??  Dogs of LA, Cinco
de Mayo, Support System...these are such great songs!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 06:54:05 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jeff Langr <>
Subject: the art thing again

> America has taken control of the worlds intake,
> to some degree, the majority eat what they're
> told to eat.  I think a cultures music is
> closely related to it's food intake.  Take the
> US, where did McDonnalds come from?  We are
> raised on fast food, instant gratification...
> thus our music industry is filled with one
> hit wonders, hollow, candy like, instantly
> enjoyable "hits" that soon drive you nuts if
> you hear it one more time, but have no fear
> another one is right there to replace it
> when it does.

I think I'd characterize England this way moreso
than the US.  In general, here it takes considerably
longer for an act to establish itself, and once
they've done so, they're around for a long time.
In England, pop stars come & go on a weekly basis.
Unfortunately, here in the US we have losers like
the Backstreet Boys, who will probably never go
away.  If you want to talk about "flavors of the
week", let's talk bands like the Spice Girls,
Chumbawamba (yeah I know they've been around a
while), and Elastica (can we say Wire ripoff?).

The fast food phenomena is not so much about
instant gratification as it is about comfort level
-- i.e. laziness.  People go to McDonalds not because
it is "instant gratification".  They go because
they know what they are going to get, they expect
to get the same level of cleanliness and service,
and they don't want to try anything new or
challenging.  The US music scene is not nearly as
much filled with unique, one-hit wonders as it
is filled with artists who all sound like someone

> If the industry promoted real art it would sell,
> but how many real artists are out there compared
> to the Minilli Vanilli's.

I suspect that by your definition, if the real art
sold well, you probably would no longer consider
it real art.

> Geeze, I live in Seattle, Grunge was a flavor of
> the week... was Hendrix?  Grunge went global
> before it went local (I wonder how that happened).

Grunge survived for about 7 or 8 years before
it started catching a lot of backlash for over-
exposure (1995 or so?).  The Mudhoneys, who helped
define what grunge is, were putting out stuff in
1988 (and probably earlier).  I think that
disqualifies it from being a flavor of the week,
then.  If grunge hadn't become famous, it wouldn't
have gotten copied so much.  Which means you and
all the other arbiters of what is art would still
be hailing it as a good thing.

XTC won't make it here simply because they don't
sound like anyone else and try to challenge
the listener with each record (well, up to O&L
at least).  It's too much work for the average
Joe to get into.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 10:05:45 -0400
From: Ira Lieman <>
Subject: Wait a second...

Can someone pinch me?

Someone go here:

And look at the review of Primus' new album "Rhinoplasty." Are they
covering "Scissor Man?" Does this sound weird to you? Does this sound
like something we would have expected? Am I just dreaming? I know I'm
really tired but I feel the keys underneath my fingers as I type this.

And they also tell me that they covered "Making Plans For Nigel" in a
previous album of cover songs. Huh? Have I been living under a rock?

I'd really appreciate an explanation/review of how Primus mutilated XTC.
Any takers?


-ira, one tired weasel.


Message-ID: <>
From: "Jason Phelan" <>
Subject: Live and Insane
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 08:12:33 PDT

Dear Chalkhillians,

Here is an interesting review of a live show from the 80's. The writer
actually though their albums were better than them live. Maybe they were
right to stop touring.

Hey and ATTENTION everyone who has sent me a blank tape to record
the demos on and haven't recieved it back yet:

It will come, trust me, I am in the process if a move across town, and
my fiancee has been in the process of graduating so I have had to keep
the music to a minimum while she goes crazy insane.

I do not plan to steal your blank tapes, just be patient. I still
welcome anyone who wants to to do so. I love XTC, chalkhills, Molly, and
Amanda and everything so be cool.

Love Jason

Jason M. Phelan


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 13:12:11 EDT
Subject: Suggestion


Now if this thing with Andy and Erika is true, maybe we should do something
for them.  I'm not sure what though.  If we had Andy's address we could send
him cards.  I just think we should do something to congratulate them.  What
do you guys think?  Send your feelings to my e-mail address at

Bye for now.



Message-Id: <>>
From: Jonathan Monnickendam <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 17:29:26 +0000
Subject: Re: Blegvad

>The News:
>Although not Cuneiform acts, our friends PETER BLEGVAD, JOHN GREAVES and
>CHRIS CUTLER will be doing a small US tour, and this
>is too good not to list! More info [addresses, phone numbers] soon.
>Monday, September 14th - Pittsburgh, PA - Millvale Ind Theater [with
>David Thomas & Two Pale Boys]

Lucky Pittsburgh , blegvad and thomas at the same gig ; whew !

Any ideas as to perfect song for those two to do together on stage ?

Perchance are they playing in London ?

a week's holiday ahead and what better place to start than with the
latest cd from John Renbourne ? JR being one of the great guitarists,
a fusion man in the sense that it includes the 16 century as much as
the 20th.


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


Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 13:22:41 -0500 (CDT)
From: Marshall Joseph Armintor <>
Subject: tangents
Message-ID: <>

  For those interested Beefheartophiles, there's a multi-CD set
of rarities in the works, including an entire CD of demos for
 _Trout Mask Replica_, and maybe the full original _Bat Chain
Puller_...but as the Zappa Family Trust has control over that
material (I don't know why, though), it may not see the light of
day as yet.  (To quote Reagan for the only time in my life, "If
not us, who? If not now, when?")
   Anyway, all that stuff's here:

  About GBV: if anybody else's curious about the obsessive, beer-
swilling world of Bob Pollard, contact me off list.

Marshall Armintor/ Dept. Rice University/
Fondren IT Guy x5833 <<"Rock music is mostly about moving big black
boxes from one side of town to the other in the back of your car."
 - John Thompson, of Pere Ubu>>


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 22:15:21 +0000
Subject: Homo Safari

Dear Chalkers,

Two interesting but rather conflicting statements from last issue:

> Andy Partridge is to marry Erica Wexler. No other details on this at
> present.

and the Lady Cornelia Plum (C.O.D.) found this on AOL:

> "Did you know Andy Partridge is a h*mo b*tch who takes it up the a**?"
what, a French horn ?

Ah well, whatever makes him happy... :)

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 18:53:59 -0400
From: Adam Tyner <>
Subject: JamTV article - XTC Beginning Round Two's an article cut and pasted from

Hoping this doesn't appear 2 or 3 times in the next couple of digests (heh),


XTC Beginning Round Two

"Don't call it a comeback, I hate that word!" cries Andy Partridge,
keystone member of XTC. "Call it our second trip to the shops." Or, more
simply, the breaking of a seven-year silence.

One of Britain's most inventive bands, XTC has been making fascinating,
idiosyncratic music since 1977. There's been only one XTC album in the
Nineties, though: Nonsuch, which appeared early in 1992. For much of the
ensuing time XTC have been sitting out their contract with Virgin U.K. -- a
five-year recording strike, in effect -- while continuing to write new
material. When they finally inked fresh deals for their Idea label last
year (they recently signed to TVT in the U.S.), writers Partridge and Colin
Moulding had amassed more than forty songs between them.

But recording their eleventh album has hardly been a stroll in the park.
Record companies dissuaded them from cutting the double CD they had in
mind, saying it would be both expensive and tough to market, but Andy
thought they'd try anyway. However, according to Andy, initial sessions had
to be scrapped when the tapes were retained by Squeeze's Chris Difford
following a disagreement over time in his studio. Plan B involved dividing
the songs into two separate albums: one of what Andy calls "orchoustic"
songs -- XTC unplugged with a full complement of strings added at Abbey
Road -- and another of more typical, electric material.

"I think the orchestral feel follows on from the best stuff on Nonsuch," is
Andy's explanation of this strategy. Unfortunately, that didn't satisfy
guitarist Dave Gregory, who couldn't wait any longer to take his instrument
out of the case and quit the group in favor of session work.

"He accused me of making a solo album," says Partridge, "and hasn't spoken
to me since. There's a lot of anger in Dave, and I think he's demonized me
for not touring [XTC have not stepped on a stage since 1981]." Partridge --
who has a reputation for being an intractable chap in the studio -- sounds
genuinely bemused by this turn of events. "We used to be good friends," he
sighs, adding that the tracks Dave worked on before his quitting will be
left as they are.

One manager and a producer have also decamped, but now Partridge and
Moulding are happily occupied in Colin's front room putting finishing
touches to album one before mixing begins. Andy thinks they may remain
there for the second album too. "Colin has a big double garage he doesn't
use. I'm trying to persuade him to convert it into a studio. So it's back
to the garage for us!" The orchestral album -- as yet un-named -- is
currently scheduled for January 1999 with its successor close on its heels
in July. (Jim Irvin)
/=---------------- ----------------=\
The home of He-Man, "Weird Al", Yoo-hoo, Killer Tomatoes, and more!
   Demented music list admin           O-         MiSTie #67,326


Date: Fri, 14 Aug 1998 16:07:39 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: Bob Estus <>
Subject: As Advertised

Hi Chalk-Types,

Believe it or not, I made the paper two weeks ago in Swindon's Evening
Advertiser. The article ran in a regular column about websites. This was no
chance appearance as the article was written up by Graham the twin brother
of Brian Carter my collaborator on "Go2 Swindon" (at the Roundabout). Here's
how it read:

Evening Advertiser, Saturday, August 1, 1998

WONDER WEB By Graham Carter

Surfin' USA?
For California read Swindon

WHEN WE were kids we used to listen to The Beach Boys and dream about going
to California. Now the opposite happens, thanks to the power of the
Internet. Over in California, they are listening to Swindon band XTC and
dreaming about coming here.

XTC were belting out records from the late 1970s until 1992 when they fell
out with their record company. Yet, despite six years off, their popularity
has continued to grow, fuelled by a large fan base among Internet users,
especially in the States.

They have spent the last six years dissecting every chord and every syllable
of XTC's output and have helped to give the band a kind of cult status.

One such fan is Bob Estus who spends his weekends surfing in the Pacific
Ocean close to his home in San Diego, California - and spends his evenings
surfing the Internet, trying to learn more about Swindon.

The 34-year-old computer graphics wizard has never been to the town, but as
a fan of XTC, he can't get enough of the place. He has spent the last six
months compiling a 77-page Internet site which brings together the many
references to Swindon in XTC's work. The site, called Roundabout and
featuring a section called Go2 Swindon, offers an explanation of the lyrics
to baffled American fans.

But Bob lives a life far removed from that of the average Swindonian.

"I work for Sony on PlayStation titles," he explained. "I make the little 3d
movies that precede a video game, as well as backgrounds, characters
or effects needed in these games. It really is fun, but challenging work.

"I'm entrenched in the newer middle class suburbs. I do partake in that
hopelessly cliched California sport of surfing, but I have been known to
whistle All You Pretty Girls (an XTC single) while waiting in the choppy
interval between waves.

"The rest of my family doesn't understand the fascination with either the
band or Swindon.But their music satisfies my needs for intelligent lyrics,
catchy melodies, and impeccable musicianship. It always puts me in a great
mood. The records are superbly crafted and inventive.

"And, of course, as an XTC fan you're continually hit over the head with
'XTC are from Swindon'. It's not long before you begin to wonder what this
Swindon place is all about."

The idea for the website came after a real Swindonian, who happens to be my
twin brother, began correcting misinformation that had been placed on
the Internet regarding Swindon and references to it in the songs. One site
actually refers to Swindon as "decaying", but Bob is better informed.

Armed with cuttings from the Evening Advertiser and photos of landmarks, he
has been able to construct the definitive Swindon guide for confused XTC
fans worldwide.

Now he is planning a make a "pilgrimage" to see the town in real life.

I asked him what will be on his tour itinerary.

"The Railway Museum would be a must-see," he said. "I would like to snoop
around the old railway works too, take a walk up to the Uffington Horse.
Maybe I'll try my hand at navigating the Magic Roundabout."

When he asked me whether he can take a balloon trip over Ermin Street, I'm
pretty sure he wasn't joking.

Bob is definitely a case of a beach boy picking up good vibrations from
Swindon - and if you don't understand that, ask your dad.

To visit Bob's site, just type in the address box. If
you're from Swindon, it will make his day if you also post an e-mail before
you leave.

This prompted a quite a few swindonians to write to me. Two of interest were
Ian Gregory's former band mate Graham Mills, of Front Page and none other
than Miss Holly Victoria Partridge (Oh...and my Dad said HI!), I very nearly

Oh, I had a great time meeting up with fellow chalkie and "blissed out" XTC
fan Randy Hiatt in Orlando. We hit it off famously and as we found out enjoy
many of the same art and prog rock outfits.

from my psunspot,

BTW, video voyeurs I finally switched reels at:


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 09:29:19 EDT
Subject: Re: Frith

>Anyone in NY for the 7th (boy am I jealous) should note that Fred Frith,
>quite apart from being one of the greatest guitar players of all time, also
>had the good taste to share with Andy Partridge the privilege of being a
>guest on the Residents' Commercial Album in 1980 (or was it '79?).
>Admittedly AP did call himself Sandy Sandwich, but even so ...
>Go and hear Frith and have your mind blown to bits.  Stick-on 'Fred'
>eyebrows will be THE fashion accessory of 1999.  Or perhaps not.  I'll have
>to make do with going to hear John Zorn in Edinburgh in a week or three.

  Not only is Fred Frith one of the most creative and original guitarists
around, but the guy's egoless enough to switch to bass and viola when in a
recording studio with Henry Kaiser and Richard Thompson. I mean, three
amazing guitar players in one band is a bit much. He's really better off not
trying to sing, though, judging by his few efforts on record and in
concert(though his vocal work was suitably surreal in The Skeleton Crew)



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 09:29:23 EDT
Subject: Re: Split Enz

>Firstly SPLIT ENZ (they formed in New Zealand, then migrated here in
>1975) - influenced by The Beatles and David Bowie, they were considered
>very ahead-of-their-time in their early days.  (Their song "My Mistake",
>for instance, came out in 1977 but could have been released in "82!)
>Albums which are worth hunting down are _Mental Notes_ ('75/76), _True
>Colours_ ('80), _Waiata_ ('81) and _Time and Tide_ ('82 - co-produced by
>Hugh Padgham, by the way).  Their innovative (even q****y at times!)
>brand of pop endeared them to many in Australia & New Zealand.  (Bryan
>Ferry thought they were the best thing from this part of the world, too,
>when he toured here with Roxy Music in the '70s.)  Their stuff was
>released on A&M (at least in America).

  I second that; Neil Finn reminds me of what might happen if some mad
scientist crossed Andy with Glenn Tilbrook of Squeeze(Glenn's perfect pop
voice and pure pop sensibility, with Andy's tendency to throw a wrench into
what might otherwise be a very commercial pop song. That's a compliment,
coming from weird old me.). I'm a fan of his more recent band Crowded House,
but Split Enz was amazing at their best, though many of their albums are
uneven; Time And Tide is their best IMO(not a bad track on the album; can't
say that much these days), with Waiata a close second. True Colours is a bit
too early 80's generic new wave for my taste, though the single "I Got You"
is one of the great lost pop hits of the era. Their last two albums,
Conflicting Emotions and See Ya Round are very uneven, but both have three
or four great songs padded with half-realised experiments. My Split Enz
collection goes back only to Frenzy, a collection of late 70's material
culled from various Down Under-only sources, depending on whether you have
the Canadian or American version.(the Canadian, which I have, includes
material from two different sessions from around 1978, plus the slightly
older single "I See Red." The American version is somewhat different, I

>A band from Brisbane (the 1.5 million-strong city where I live), who
>made extremely classy pop records in the late 70s/80s, were The
>Go-Betweens.  Especially look for their 1986 album _Liberty Belle and
>the Black Diamond Express_.  It was released by the indie label Beggar's
>Banquet, I think.

  Another great Aussie import; I only have their last two albums myself, on
which they added the very pretty Amanda Brown on violin and oboe(the rest of
the band, with the possible exception of bass player Mike Vickers, look more
like librarians than musicians)for extra tonal color and presumably visual
appeal. I heard some of Liberty Belle when it came out and it didn't set me
on fire, but I found the two aforementioned albums used a while back and
decided to give them a chance. Glad I did. Now, if Liberty Belle pops up
again somewhere...



Message-Id: <>
From: "J & J Greaves" <>
Subject: Calling for the Book
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 08:05:55 -0700

I called the local mega-bookstore (Chapters) to see if they had the XTC
Song Stories book on order for their store(s). The fellow I talked to
checked on his computer and said it was not yet available and was not
ordered to be stocked in at this time. Luckily, or perhaps because of the
alignment of the planets :) ,this person turns out to be a fan of XTC and
was quite excited by the description of the forthcoming book, so he will be
making sure that the book will on the shelves. I told him about the new
music for 1999 too, as well as the excellent websites on all things XTC.

It might be a good idea to call your local bookseller and ask if they are
going to stock the book, even if you are ordering it direct from the
publisher. People like the clerk mentioned above, who are fans but aren't
up to date on XTC, will have a better chance of coming across the book if
it's on many bookstore shelves.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 15 Aug 1998 18:41:53 -0700
From: Rich/MetalMan <>
Subject: Re: Duran Duran

>There are lots of comparisons to be made between XTC and Duran Duran.
>For a start, both lead singers are male, and both groups released >albums
>in the 80's.  I don't know why I never noticed the similarities before
>now.  Maybe it's because one of them is crap.

   Oookay, THAT came out of nowhere! I'm gonna have to defend Duran
Duran on this one -- sure, they were really cheesy and you could tell
that most of their songs meant absolutely nothing to them, but IMHO
the songs are at least fun to listen to, and the 80's cheese isn't
badly produced, compared to stuff like Human League and Dexy's
Midnight Runners. ("Come On Eileen," what did ANYONE see in that song?)
   Anyway, on an XTC note, I just recently picked up a copy of the
Dukes "Chips From The Chocolate Fireball" CD...I'm gonna have to
warm up to it more, I think, because only a few of the songs are
really catching on to me. I'm gonna have to listen to it better, though,
because I know it's psychadelic parody music and is loved by pretty
much the whole XTC fan base. Give me time...

* ----------------------------------------------
Rich Bunnell or "Metal Man," whichever sounds more insane
* ----------------------------------------------


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 09:29:53 -0700
From: Wesley Hanks <>
Subject: spare a Finn?

In light of the recent Aus/NZ postings, wanted to share the wonderful
show last night by Neill Finn at the Hard Rock Hotel here in gleaming
Las Vegas. Great show, sat first row. He played well over two hours. Its
always cute the reaction various artists react to playing LV, neill was
no different, percussionist in lounge-lizard tuxedo jacket, the
rendition of "Do You Know the Way to San Jose"

kiwis to all



Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 11:45:52 -0700 (PDT)
From: Michael K Ong <>
Subject: Sixpence None the Richer
Message-ID: <>

Sixpence None the Richer's new single "Kiss Me" has been getting a lot of
airplay here in the Bay Area on 97.3 KLLC (Alice).  Thought you might be
interested in this quote from CMJ New Music Report (April 20, 1998) as
they talk to Matt Slocum, the main songwriter:

CMJ: How have your musical influences affected this record?

Matt: For me, U2 and the Sundays are two huge ones. XTC,
Innocence Mission....

The new single is definitely catchy - worth a spin, IMO. Looking to go
pick up the album too.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 16 Aug 1998 21:49:41 -0600
Subject: Ouch! My Ears Were Burning!

Howdy All...

Just got back from 2 weeks in the woods -- great trip to Yellowstone --
only to find the hot flames of astrology critics licking my virtual
feet.  (Brings to mind that cute little image of Peter Pumpkinhead
burning at the stake.)

I won't beat a non-XTC chalk horse, but I do have some short comments:

1)  Did I ever ask anyone to believe in astrology?  No.  I asked for the
birthdays of the band members in order to *calculate* some astrology.
(And the incomplete birthday info on the various web sites pointed to a
serious lack of thoroughness in XTC fan land.  Tip o' the hat to Brad
Wood for actually responding to my inquiry about the birth info.)

2)  What's the deal with the backlash?  If astrology is as irrational,
immature, and irrelevant as its critics claim, what is there to fear?
At the very least, it's an amusing diversion from the banality of daily
life.  (And healthier for humanity than fanatical religious conviction;
at least astrology is nature / people centered.)  So put your vigorous
scientific minds on hold and let me have some fun.  Oh, and to our
devout Christian Chalkhillians... Isn't it nice to know that there is a
belief system that is more despised and reviled than yours?

3)  Thanks to all of those folks who e-mailed supportive comments.  Like
one said...  "astrology -- either you get it or you don't.  You can't
convince, recruit, or convert someone to it.  They have to find out for
themselves."  I agree.

4)  Still looking for birth *times* on the boys.  Three of them are from
Swindon.  Anyone in or near Swindon willing to go to the hall of records
and check birth certificates?  Photo copies would be nice additions to
the various web sites (hint, hint).

- The Gingerbread Man


Message-ID: <>
From: "Brent John Palmer" <>
Subject: Other "pop rushes"
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 00:13:06 PDT

Greetings Chalkhillians,

Recently, some of us have shared which songs  provide them with a "pop
rush"; songs which evoke a strong reaction, that "goosebump factor", you
could say.
     Personally, I'm finding that the Mellotron usage in "Human Alchemy"
and "Seagulls Screaming..." gives me a real buzz (combined with the
Beach Boys-esque drumming in the latter)!  (BTW, it's great that they're
starting to manufacture 'Trons again!)  Add to that the left-field
masterpiece "Fly on the Wall": this is something else which should've
been released as a single!
     Non-XTC songs which evoke in me that "pop rush" are:
     "Primrose Hill" - Madness
     "Food for Thought" - UB40
     "Cattle and Cane" - The Go-Betweens
     "Spacelab" - Kraftwerk
     "Ghost Town" - The Specials
     "Shipbuilding" - Elvis Costello
     "Birdhouse in Your Soul" - TMBG
     "Dead End Street" - The Kinks
     "Penny Lane" - The Beatles
     "Air" - Talking Heads

Anyway, perhaps I'm going off on a tangent!  It is unfortunate that the
music which gets the most exposure is the stuff which is geared towards
"target-markets", demographics and fashion. Quality, musicianship, etc.
is not the currency in this realm at all. Popular culture is in the
constant process of being "dumbed down" (Those inane "funniest home
video" shows, for instance).  In fact, methinks it's actually frowned
upon to nake intelligent choices and analyse things - "you're not one of
these intellectual snobs, are you?"
     For that reason, it's probably unrealistic to expect that XTC will
ever become a unit-shifting hit machine.  Their fans do not fit _any_
demographic (which stumps the record companies and radio stations).  So,
in contrast to the mass-produced product you can find anywhere you go,
XTC will be instead be a special-quality niche market, catering for
those of us who are (rightfully) oblivious to pop-culture.

XTC song of the month: "Human Alchemy"
Non-XTC song of the month: "Poor Boy" - Split Enz


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 17 Aug 1998 13:13:34 -0400
From: Ira Lieman <>
Subject: Newsflash..."Swindon's a hole" sez Scotsman

Hey folks.
1000 Umbrellas upturned couldn't catch this crazy thunderstorm that's
happening thru my window, but I'll only be staring at this window for
the rest of the week then it's on to the "bigger and better" world of
women's fashion -- wait -- I'm not going to be *WEARING* the clothes ...
I'll be helping them with their data warehousing projects -- but I guess
the damage is done. Oh well, I digress.

Went out with friends this weekend in NYC, and my friend's new fiance is
originally from Glasgow. Loved the accent, but he didn't sound like
Trainspotting -- then again that would be Edinburgh. David said
Scotland, for a country of 5 million or so people, has about 10
regionalized accents that he can distinguish -- I was impressed.

But David had lived in (gasp) Swindon for a little over a year before he
moved to New Yawk (culture shock times 10, he said). He told me this
after I mentioned XTC, and he said he bumped into Andy in a Chinese
restaurant in Swindon's Old Town once. But other than the XTC ties to
the town, he said, "Ugh, Swindon's a hole." Just thought I'd share it. I
still want to find out first hand, but I'll take David's advice if I
ever make it out there.

Talk to y'all soon...

-ira, who has all these Skylarking images in his head...


End of Chalkhills Digest #4-127

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