Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #4-70

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 4, Number 70

                  Friday, 17 April 1998

Today's Topics:

         XTC and the Planet Hollywood connection
                     offtopic request
                  Baltimore Tribute Tape
                Oh, What A Lucky Man I Was
                       Saints alive
                   Chalkhill's Children
                      I've Been Away
             Living through another Cu-u-u BA
                   Re: XTC vs. Squeeze
                     fashion victims
                         Da Book
                        More stuff
                      I'll tell ya!
                     Thanks everybody
                      Magic Moments
                      Treasure Trove
                       Pesky person
                         faq # 32
                     tribute tape '98
               confessions of an XTC addict
                   Re: New Japanese CD
               new XTC links and cover MP3
                just got back from London
I Saw The News Today....oh boy <very long report on recording ses


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    Chalkhills is compiled using Digest 3.6 (John Relph <>).

The fog hides much but one thing is clear.


Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 15:26:50 -0500 (EST)
From: Kara N Berryman <>
Subject: XTC and the Planet Hollywood connection
Message-ID: <>

Hello fellow Chalkers!

Well, it seems that I am always posting with my XTC moments, but I am
always so thrilled that I feel the need to share with other people who can
appreciate my excitement.

I went to Planet Hollywood in Indianapolis, Indiana this past week.  For
those of you who have never been in a Planet Hollywood, it is a very
in-your-face atmosphere.  Big tv screeens, cardboard cut-outs of stars,
movie stuff, and loud music.  Loud well-known/popular "Men
in Black"  and then out of nowhere "Mayor of Simpleton" came on!  HOW COOL
IS THAT!!!  My friend thought I was insane when I started flipping out and

just wanted to share!

I know this has probably been covered before, but is anyone on this list
from Indiana, Kentucky, Illinois, Ohio, etc?


Visit my awesome homepage!!!


Message-Id: <v01540b05b15727b363a5@[]>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 14:25:36 +1200
From: (James Dignan)
Subject: offtopic request

sorry to pester the list with this, but I know there are a lot of people
onn Chalkhills who live in England. Can anyone tell me, offlist, how bad
the flooding is (if at all) round the Banbury/Brackley/Bicester area? Many
thanks, and sorry again for the bandwidth...



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 21:54:18 -0400
From: John Irvine <>
Subject: Baltimore Tribute Tape

There seems to be some interest from Chalkhillers in tapes of the
Baltimore XTC/Pink Floyd tribute night what was held back in February.
I am working on getting permission from the other bands involved to make
copies.  It's a soundboard recording from a small and crowded club with
a spotty PA, but there be some fine performances.  Email me if you're
interested mateys.

Song for the day- the Kinks, Lazy Old Sun
"kiss me with one ray of light from your lazy old suuuuuuuuuuuuun"

John Irvine


From: BobCrain <>
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 12 Apr 1998 23:47:52 EDT
Subject: Oh, What A Lucky Man I Was

I am extremely pumped for making the list for Chalkhills' Children '98. As a
relative newcomer to this group, I feel so lucky to get the chance to vent my
XTCish musical dreams at your expense :^).

To those long-time members who were bumped by me, I can only promise to do my
very best in tribute to our three favorite musicians.

For those who may not know, another person on this list (John Irvine) is
(was?) a member of a fine group in Baltimore MD called the Jennifers. Look for
their stuff, I think you'll like it a lot. I wish I could have made it to the
XTC tribute night a couple of months back he mentioned in a couple of digests
ago, but it was not to be. Oh, well, do it again next year, John!

Oh yeah,  Stereolab is GREAT, I have definately been bitten by their bug.
"Mars Audiac Quintet" was my first purchase last week, after seeing them live
a number of times.  Very beautiful stuff.


Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 02:59:28 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <v01510103b157a08a251a@[]>
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: Saints alive

Does anyone else think the Yazbek/Partridge collaboration *You Are Here*
sounds like *Never Ever*, the UK number one single by All Saints? No worse
for that, either


Message-Id: <v03007800b15811520542@[]>
Subject: Chalkhill's Children
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 19:06:47 +0900


Bad day at work.  Came home to find that I hadn't made the 'A' list for
Chalkhill's Children.  Due to my work schedule, I missed the first two
until the lists were full.  This time I was quicker, but not quick enough.

Our good friend Richard wrote:

>To all who
>missed out, I truly am sorry (but to produce an eight cassette release
>is NOT the solution!).  Some people who made excellent contributions in
>the past missed out.  I feel really bad for the people who wrote things
>like, "I missed out the first two times but I'll try again." and didn't
>get on.

Well since you did mention in the initial request that this mey be the last
time, how about at least a double cassette?

>I can think of no other way to do it that is equitable except
>to provide an email announcement.

How about first opening it to those who haven't contributed before.  A bit
of variety?  How about a deadline for people to request inclusion and then
a draw rather than first come, first in?

>At least this time John Relph worked
>with me to make it a special announcement.  I realize that people in
>other parts of the world were fast asleep when the message went out
>but... it's always nighttime somewhere, so... rats!

It's always night time here in Japan. ;-)

It does kind of make it harder for those of us not in The U.S.  And for
those of us who don' work with a computer right in front of us.

Oh well, being nuber 7 on the list of reserves, here's hoping 7 others drop

Yours disappointedly,

Steve (MGV)

* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
                     Life is what happens while you're busy making plans.
                                                (John Lennon)
* ----------------------------------------------------------------------------


Message-Id: <l03110700b158146e7bf0@[]>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 13:17:51 -0600
From: Jason Garcia <>
Subject: sidenote

>How is it possible that a hack like Kurt Cobain can sell boatloads of
>records and our favorite band can't get a decent record deal???  Is there no
>justice in the world (apparently not!!!)

Whoa, let's not assume that everyone on this list thinks Cobain was a
hack.  Personally, I think he wrote some of the best songs of the
early 90s.  Then when he died, real hacks like Pearl Jam and STP
took over.  Sorry about that digression, but I just had to respond.


Shameless self-plug:  my self-produced "demo" CD of 3 songs is coming out
soon, if anyone would like more info go to


Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 15:16:37 -0400
Message-Id: <>
Subject: I've Been Away


The past few weeks have been a little hectic for me: I've started
a new job.

So I'm hoping that I'm up-to-date with XTC. Have I gotten
everything I should have re: XTC?

I have the most recent Chalkhills tribute tape from R. Pedretti-
Allen. SOmeone was kind enough to send me the Andy demos a while
back, so I have those.

But I don't have Tock. And I don't have the new Japanese "Greatest"

Have I missed something? Any CDs, tapes, t-shirts, mugs, kitchen
magnets, placemats I should order?

Some Chalkperson please reply! Did Dave play guitar on one track
of an obscure 7-inch within the past three months, and I missed
it? Did Colin grow a beard, go to Ibiza last summer, and record
some bass lines that are now on a Peruvian CD? Is there a tape of
Andy's NEW phone greetings floating around?

All kidding aside, if someone could ease my paranoia and let me
know what's worth purchasing these days, I'd appreciate it.


"It increases my paranoia, like looking in a mirror and seeing a
police car."

--David Crosby


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 17:36:32 -0500
From: (pancho1)
Subject: yazbek

Hey Chalkhillers,

Just wanted to make a suggestion.......I personally don't have anything
against Mr. Yazbek, in fact what I like most about him is that he likes
Andy Partridge. I do however think that of late he gets way too much
space on this list. I am afraid chalkhills has been invaded by troops of
Yazbekian acolytes and my humble suggestion is that you all get together
and start your own list. I personally don't really care for his music
and would rather hear less about how I should buy his album etc. or any
other form of Yazbek fawning. I know it is a free world but its just
getting a tad heavy on the Yazman.



PS- Presently listening to Big Star.....boy is it tickling my fancy!


Message-ID: <007201bd6748$4dd40a10$>
From: "Michael Roden" <>
Subject: Living through another Cu-u-u BA
Date: Mon, 13 Apr 1998 21:54:37 -0400

Andy Partridge sang some 17 or 18 years ago:

>We get through this lot all right, we're due for
>replay 1998.

Is Andy a prophet as well as a songwriting genius?



Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 00:10:50 -0700 (PDT)
From: "J. Brown" <>
Subject: Re: XTC vs. Squeeze
Message-ID: <>

Jeff Wrote:
> On another note, people have been talking about Difford and Tilbrook and
> while I agree that they are great songwriters, they are no Partridge and
> Moulding, compare the lyrics of "Up the Junction" to "Earn Enough for
> Us", just doesn't quite make it up to snuff does it?

This is a really unfair comaprison.  Comparing Herky-jerky early squeeze
to XTC at their prime?  I mean compare "Dance Band" to "His House her
Home"  and see where that gets you.  Which is not to say i think Difford
and Till brook are actually better than Andy and Colin (there most
certainly are not)  but that was just really unfair.

 Jason Wilson Brown
 History & Canadian Studies Major
 President- GEEK The Secret Society of the College Bowl  (206) 632-4905
 P.O. Box 45822
 Seattle, WA 98145-0822
"Thought I knew all the steps quite clearly, I don't have a clue"
                                -Elvis Costello


Message-ID: <214D5E35BA1FD111AD1C0000F8412E30857A8B@healon_mes.hea>
From: Cait Wright <>
Subject: fashion victims
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 14:59:51 +0100

whilst listening the line from Life Begins at the Hop which goes 'we're
back next week with another ridiculous tie knot' I wondered if this was
a purely British phenomena. Did all you US types spend your days at
school sporting either a tiny, tightly knotted tie with a long bit of
fabric winding itself around your knees or a huge cravat type thing
which made you look like a bunch of minature Noel Cowards?

It brought back to me the lengths that boredom will make a load of
twelve year olds go to. In our school the little label (saying 100%
polyester, do not dry clean - not classy) in your tie was confiscated on
day one in the first year by rival gangs of no-gooders all trying to
beat the record for a collection. If this left you partially throttled
then UNLUCKY. I bet they still do this especially in Swindon which let's
face it, isn't swinging.

Happy days.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 17:19:41 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Da Book


I just spoke with Neville Farmer and he tells me that the proofs for his
book (about the stories behind each and every XTC song, for those new to the
list) have landed with him and he's about to read the thing back for the
first time in ages - a nervy moment, he says.  American publishing date is
tentatively planned for Summer, but as far as he knows there is no
publishing deal finalised in the UK yet.  The book will contain discussion
of the upcoming album but, of course, the running order wasn't finalised
before the book went to the publishers so there may be some discrepancies -
in an attempt to counter this the book does dip a toe into the recent demos.


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


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 19:23:08 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: More stuff

Me again,

Having tried numerous times to call him I just got a letter from Mike
Foster, organiser of last year's fun/fan convention.  He hasn't, I'm afraid,
organised anything similar this year but has asked me to pass on some news...

1) He's written to Cooking Vinyl to see if they'd be interested
supporting/organising an event to mark the album's eventual release.  No
news as yet, but he'll let me know as and when.

2) There are NO convention T-shirts left, but - as he still has the design
templates with the supplier - he is willing to print more up when the orders
total exceeds 25 (his break-even point).  He's a little short of that number
as yet, but if anyone wants one they should get in touch at:

Mike Foster
41 Coronation Road
RG21 4EZ
United Kingdom

Thats it for now,


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


Date: Tue, 14 Apr 1998 18:31:54 -0700 (MST)
Subject: I'll tell ya!
Message-id: <>

Rick avard wrote:

And in response to the fact that Mayor of Simpleton was not a hit, it is my
firm belief that the general public doesn't have the musical sense to really
grasp what a gift Mr. Partridge has for songwriting.  The general public
can't seem to get past 3 chord songs (Hanson - and a multitude of others).
How is it possible that a hack like Kurt Cobain can sell boatloads of
records and our favorite band can't get a decent record deal???  Is there no
justice in the world (apparently not!!!)

it's simple! they aren't 13, with prepubescent voices, don't wear
platform shoes, and don't dress in skin tight clothing! :)



From: MFa2707621 <>
Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 00:08:30 EDT
Subject: Thanks everybody


I just wanted to thank everybody who wrote to me.  I'm still recovering from
the accident, but I'm getting better.

I read the last Chalkhills Digest, and I agree with Jeff about Testimonial
Dinner.  I love Spacehog's version of Senses Working Overtime and Sarah
McLachlan's version of Dear God.  Sadly, I let one of my friend's borrow the
CD, and she hasn't given it back to me yet.  I do have the Dear God song on
tape though.

I'm confused, I read that the new album isn't going to be called, Firework.
Is this true?

Well, until next time.

Buffalo, NY


From: Rhoblidnen <>
Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 11:10:28 EDT
Subject: Magic Moments

This topic may already have a layer of mould on it, however:

1. The incredible chord Andy creates with himself at the end of Mayor of
Simpleton using the word 'Mayor.'  Also, the overlapping 'Please be
upstanding...' bits are pretty exciting also

2. Terry's crisp drumming on Helicopter, especially over the words 'When she's
up there twirling.'  The drum production is very nice, bringing out those
marvellous flams of his.

3. The harmonising of the guitar with the voice over 'All around the world /
Every boy and every girl needs the' and related lines in The Loving.

4. The silly intro to I Am The Audience.

5. The intro to When You're Near Me I Have Difficulty

6. The incredible guitar part to Scissor Man (I'm still beating my band's
heads in to cover this song)

7. The acoustic guitar on Terrorism

8. The manic piano and guitar intro to Science Friction

9. The build up to the loud ending of Take This Town

10. The anger in Andy's voice when he shouts 'The kind of look that says
THEY'RE PERFECT!!' on the album version of Respectable Street.

And there I'll stop.



Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 18:56:50 +0000
Subject: Treasure Trove

Dear Chalkers,

First a message for Keith Beck: please send me your new email
address as my mail keeps bouncing back to me...

Yesterday I opened a new section of the Little Lighthouse called the
Treasure Trove. It will feature a different XTC rarity every other
week or so and the first item on display is a Nonsuch 'pirate'
cassette tape from the Gulf region.
Check it out at

Now, some time ago I've come across a tape called 'Go 2 Rough Mix'
with a couple of tracks from the album of the same name and some
outtakes like Strange Tales, Strange Tails.

But what's _really_ interesting about it is the mix.
The keyboards in particular are much more prominent and 'up front';
even in a track like Are You Receiving Me.

Could this mix have been made before the arguments with
Barry 'My Weapon' Andrews developed???

These are the tracks on the tape :
Beatown - Are You Receiving Me? - BatteryBrides - Strange Tales etc
- Red - Us Being Us - Looking For Footprints - Sargasso Bar - Instant

If anybody knows more (or has a tape with more songs!) please post it
here or email me privately

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
 the XTC website @


Message-Id: <>
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 21:17:35 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Pesky person


Me _again_.  Sorry, but I forgot to mention something last time.  Neville
Farmer told me that Omnibus (or whoever currently owns the publishing right
to Chris Twomey's book, "Chalkhills And Children") has approached Andy with
the notion of updating the book to cover events up to present time.
Apparently, though, Andy refused on the grounds that he'd rather concentrate
on the forthcoming book.

And Becki, it looks like your photos made the book...  Speaking of which it
seems that there will be plenty of unseen pictures in the book, taken by the
likes of Neville himself, Paul Fox and, of course, the band members themselves.

And now - and this time I mean it - bye,


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


Message-ID: <B9B4268C8F87D11195DC0000F840FABEC7F37A@DUB-MSG-02>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <>
Subject: faq # 32
Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 21:42:03 +0100

for some strange reason I was browsing through the FAQ on Chalkhills
>>32. What is the "Homo Safari" series?
>>Andy Partridge explains the "Homo Safari" series, in a telephone
>>interview with Stewart Evans for a KFJC radio special, in the fall of 1987:
>>What happened was, we actually did the instrumental "Homo Safari"
>>[the B-side to the Life Begins At The Hop UK single], and it came
>>out, and everyone said 'what a strange little track, the
>>instrumental on the other side', and we were quite chuffed that
>>people actually noticed it. For some reason, there's a film in
>>existence of us doing a playback to this on Irish television. I
>>don't know if there are any Irish fans out there who happen to have
>>a video recording of this, but it's probably one of the most bizarre
>>instances -- all of us are set on a row of stools playing this
>>inside-out instrumental, "Homo Safari", to one half of the stereo
>>because the TV station botched up the taping thing and there's just
>>one half of the stereo! So we're miming to one half of the stereo of
>>a very strange B-side.

I can have the Irish TV station here do a little research for me.
I was planning to do this anyways but having seen this I'm definitely going
to have them dig it out for me.
For a small fee they will give me a dub of the original videotape. Knowing
some of the people who work there I can absolutely believe that they screwed
up the playback.



Date: Wed, 15 Apr 1998 20:24:38 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <>
From: (becki digregorio)
Subject: tribute tape '98

hi folks,

a special thank you to richard pedretti-allen for taking on the h-u-g-e
task of doing yet another xtc tribute tape for '98!!

as i was listed as one of the upcoming contributors for this complilation,
i just wanted to list my correct email address in case any of you wanted to
a hold of me for any reason:
(not the hotmail one)

for those of you familiar with my cd "seven worthies... of the bamboo
grove," the one that has our own dave gregory contributing guitar and
keyboards to a number of tracks, my guitarist john wedyemeyer and drummer
randy hayes will be joining me in doing an xtc cover for richard's tape.
we're very excited to be
a part of it,  and from the list of names and tunes to be included it looks
like this one will be a doozy...

peace to all,

--becki digregorio, one of the seven


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 06:36:44 -0400
From: randy <>
Subject: confessions of an XTC addict

hello people,
               I've enjoyed chalkhills for about a year now but have
never written anything to the group.I guess mainly because I never
really had anything to say.I can't promise that I do now but I thought
I'd try and see where it led me.I've bee a XTC addict from the moment I
saw the "Making Plans For Nigel" video on Burt Sugarmans Midnight
Special back in `78 or`79.I can't really remember but  this was long
before MTV.In fact I don't really remember seeing  any other "videos" on
the program.Maybe thats why it left an impression on me.At the time I
was heavily into Led Zepplin,Neil Young,Emerson Lake and Palmer
,Tangerine Dream and Zappa (weird combo,I know).I  never jumped on the
"punk train" but  artists like XTC,U2,The Police,Talking Heads,Joe
Jackson and Elvis Costello began  grabbing my attention.20 years later
I'm proud to have grown up listening to these artist, watching them
mature and develop into some of the best songsmiths of all time(in my
book).Punk never spoke to me like Andy,Elvis and Sting did.Later as I
began writing music myself.I always used XTC as the standard of what my
songs should sound like.I was nowhere near the talent level,but I knew
what good music was.Songs like  Making Plans For Nigel,Language In Our
Lungs,Snowman,Love On A Farmboy's Wages,Dear God and Wrapped in Grey
rank right up there with  Strawberry Fields Forever and Wouldn't It be
Nice (in my book).So what's next...well the last ten albums I spent good
money on in the past few years were Spookey Ruben's "Modes of
Transportation",Radiohead's "The Bends" and "Ok Computer",Sarah
McLachlan's "Fumbling Towards Ecstacy" and "Surfacing",Supergrass's "In
It For the Money", Garbage's "Garbage"and........hmmm,I guess there were
only seven(sad but true).Now don't get me wrong,I've "listened" to just
about everything new that came out since "Nonsuch" ,but I haven't bought
into it.Lets hope the future gets brighter.
And lets hope XTC gets their album out soon, we need it.

PS ...I lost a chalkhiller's address, so I couldn't thank him for
passing on a copy of the demo,so thanks John I owe you one...
 Write me again,ok?

Loyal Follower of the Church of Andy,


Now, that wasn't so horrible...I might just do it again


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Organization: The Little Lighthouse
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 00:15:58 +0000
Subject: Re: New Japanese CD

Dear Chalkers,

Those of you who want to see the artwork of the new Japanese
XTC compilation CD 'The Greatest' should direct their browsers
(any flavour) to

Toshiba-EMI used quite a nice group picture for the front cover
and if you like Dave you'll love it ! (HI Amanda!)

Domo ori-gato, Steve san :)

yours inevitably,
Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse
 the XTC website @


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 1998 22:25:37 -0500
From: Eric Adcock <>
Subject: new XTC links and cover MP3

>From the guy who inflicted "Blue Overall" on CC97:

A brief all-text XTC page:

Notes on "Blue Overall" and a review of CC97:

A MP3 tribute page, currently featuring a primitive cover of
"Too Many Cooks In The Kitchen," along with an old Cure song:

Apparently my CC98 reservation e-mail was lost in the seas of spam, so
"I'll Set Myself On Fire" may appear on the above page in a few months.

Thanks, EA


Message-ID: <B9B4268C8F87D11195DC0000F840FABEC7F386@DUB-MSG-02>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <>
Subject: just got back from London
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 10:25:36 +0100

summary : I spent yesterday in Abbey Road studio one with Andy, Colin,
production team, Neville Farmer and (for a while) Richard Pedretti-Allen.

The songs sound great - although the only songs I heard were those for the
orchestra overdub session that took place.

A truly memorable experience.

I am absolutely exhausted and about to go into the office for a few hours.

Lots of good positive news in the report to follow.

Video clip and a couple of photos for the Chalkhills site to follow as soon
as possible.



Message-ID: <B9B4268C8F87D11195DC0000F840FABEC7F3A3@DUB-MSG-02>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <>
Subject: I Saw The News Today....oh boy <very long report on recording ses
Date: Fri, 17 Apr 1998 23:27:04 +0100

I just don't know where to begin.

last saturday I phoned Andy to ask if it would be ok if I took Richard
PedrettiAllen along to meet him the following weekend.
(Richard was to be in London on business and I thought it would be more than
Richard deserved for his wonderful work on CC96, and 97).
At first Andy said "hmmm. might be difficult" but in the same breath said
'well, we're recording in Abbey Road on thursday....why don't you both drop
by then ?'
a miniscule silence followed.
"yeah, sure Andy I'm sure that would be, uh,  cool".

No Shit.
I had to wait until I hung up the phone before I started jumping up and
down. Then I phoned Richard.

Cut to Wednesday evening - Richard phones me here in Dublin. Bad news, the
worst. His father passed away the night before. Richard is having a tough
time re-arranging already complex travel plans in order to get home where he
needs to be. We agree to try and meet next morning at Abbey Road anyways -
flights permitting.

So, Ieave Dublin on a 7:15am flight to London. A short train & taxi ride
later I'm at the steps of Abbey Road around 10:00am.
This time I'm going they say in all the best movies.

Richard is standing there - he's got two suitcases and is waiting on his
taxi. Considering all the stuff he has to deal with, he's quite in control.
It transpires that he's on the way to the airport but managed to spend a
little time with Andy, Colin and others. Got a few photos and is on his way.
We promise to hook up again (preferably in Swindon - hey, who knows !?!)

So,I go inside (feeling a little guilty for having left Richard to that long
journey home) and go downstairs into Studio One.
Goddammit ! This is STUDIO ONE !! This is A DAY IN THE LIFE !!!! This is all
those orchestral overdubs for SOMETHING, HERE COMES THE SUN, STRAWBERRY
FIELDS...all that good stuff.....all those good things. Oh my god - so much
of the stuff I've listened to since I was soooo high was created here.

As I wander into the control room I spy Colin on the left hand side next to
Paul Bailey (XTC Manager), nearby are seated are the tape-op, Haydn Bendall
(producer) and the unmistakeable short haircut and glasses that is Andy
Partridge. To his right is Mike Batt - the guy who has arranged all the
parts for the overdub session. Another chap (who I find out later is Neville
Farmer) is seated at the arrangers table (normally this studio is used for
film soundtracks.

DISCLAIMER : I'm likely to remember this stuff out of sequence, in fact next
week after I've looked at my videotapes I'll remember stuff. Soon as the
memories start to come back I'll post to Chalkhills....

I start my videocamera (having checked with Andy by fax that this would be
ok , he explained that so long as I didn't video the session musicians [it's
a union thing] he had no objection to video / cameras whatever ......... too
cool...) and sat down.

After a few minutes I pulled out a copy of Chalkhills Children 97 (on CD)
and gave it to Paul Bailey. We had spoken on the phone recently regarding
the lost Rifff prizes. I handed one to Colin who was (as I expected...) very
quiet and reserved. A little chat about Rifff, Chalkhills Children ensues.
Immediately Colin starts to look at the track listing for his Chalkhills
Children CD.
"Down A Peg ? ? ? " he says with a smile. "I dont' suppose you've got
something I can play this on ? I'm really curious to hear this".
Of course I don't, and it's not like we're about to waste hundreds of pounds
of valuable XTC recording time to listen to that when there's an orchestra
outside going through "GREEN MAN". Suffice to say Colin is chuffed - it
almost makes up for the demolition I did on "Nigel" last

A bunch of discussion with Mike Batt concerning the phrasing of the string
parts - they're not quite slurpy and Arabic enough. Later Andy will express
a little dissatisfaction that they had to waste time on this - time is of
the essence. They have an awful lot to do and it's costing them a fortune.
Remember folks - Virgin isn't there with the bank account anymore.

Some further orchestra rehearsal and takes result in a very very very nice

Ok, break for the musician/trainspotter types among you.....
they're using a Sony 24-track digital machine, AMS/Neve flying faders
system. On the reel of tape are about 4 to 6 tracks copied from the master
multitrack. Guide vocals, rhythm tracks, guitar tracks and keyboard tracks
are there as guides. They've also taken Andy's original MIDI sequences from
the demos and (using better samples than the Emu Proteus module) put guide
orchestra tracks on tape too. There is also a click track.

Ok, back to the session.

I take a peek at the music manuscripts. They're planning to work their way
from a 36-piece orchestra down to a single trumpet. That way, they only pay
the musicians as they need them. Clever eh ?

RIVER OF ORCHIDS is next. This is going to be the opening track on the album
and it's going to be magnificent. If you've heard the demo then you'll know
that the riff is complex and the little changes they've made really make it
a fascinating opener.

this is a tricky tricky song to record, it takes a while but Andy and Haydn
know exactly what they want.

At some point here I chat with Neville Farmer. He's doing the book we've
heard about (SIMON !!! Neville says hi, BECKI !!! Neville says hi.) and it
was this very day that he had the first proofing copy to show.
Colin is going through this making corrections and suggesting little fixes.
Andy will do this later in the weekend. Paul (Bailey) is looking through

During this long day I get to look through bits of the manuscript and I can
safely say that Neville has struck the right balance between trainspotter
attention to detail, lots and lots of content from the band (in his words
"we wrote it") and lots of previously unseen photos, drawings etc.
Typical examples of the drawings are Andy's first sketches for the ORANGES &
LEMONS cover, flyers for early XTC gigs and more.
This book is a MUST BUY. I strongly recommend that you pre-order it. Tell
your friends, etc etc
(apart from which - Neville is a nice guy and a fan. he truly cares about
the band & they trust him)

With River Of Orchids complete (the horn parts would be done later) I say hi
to Andy. "oh Hi!, how many days have you been there ?" (I promised I'd stay
out of the way and be discreet - I wanted to make sure that Andy wouldn't
regret inviting a fan to a session so that he might repeat this in the

Time for lunch.

"want to join us for some lunch ?" Andy & Colin said.

ok -'fess up : how many of us have dreamt out hearing that ? ? how about
lunch in the Abbey Road restuarant ?

So we had a nice lunch, talking about everything from Father Ted (sorry my
American cousins - it's an Irish TV thing that's big in the UK)
[funny how we also talked about this at the UK fan gathering last year
too....] to the various topics of conversation that are far too polite to
repeat in mannered & respectable company. It's amazing how Colin and Andy
manage to bring the conversation right down to schoolyard level.
We try not to choke on our lunches......these guys are a riot. I can only
recall stories about disastrous gigs and the time Richard PedrettiAllen
taught me how to gamble in Las Vegas - I won (still down't konw how....) and
bought a guitar on my way home...

After lunch the orchestra has diminished to just string players. They do
some work on EASTER THEATRE, HARVEST FESTIVAL and eventually diminish right
down to a copule of cellos for YOUR DICTIONARY.

Oh boy. Oh my lord ! With the right promotion this could be HUGE. The vocal
is sad, the guitar is angry, the strings are heartbreaking. 'Nuff said.

I didn't hear a guide vocal for Harvest Festival and it's kinda strange to
tell what it's all about. In fact at this point I realise that I can only
make sense of these songs because I've heard the demos.

In between tracks I wander out to the recording area. Andy is there and we
go over to investigate the Steinway grand pianos there.
He starts playing "Wrapped In Grey". It sounds EXACTLY like the version we
know so well. This is too much.
Yes, I've got this on video and I promise to try and digitize this and put
it onto Chalkhills.
Andy then tries Hey Jude - considering where we are it's quite

The day is getting more blurry (it's currently 24 hours later and I've had
maybe 4 hours of sleep, a flight home and a day in the office....) but I'll
try to figure it out.

We go and have some dinner. We all go for the veggie-curry. Andy doesn't eat
meat, Colin does. Andy and Colin ask me about my music - like do I write any
stuff myself, I tell them that I'm writing some stuff with Dan Prendiville
and have to pinch myself to see if I'm dreaming. These guys are seriously
asking about my music ! This is too much.

Upon our return I give Phil Corless' Chalkhills T-Shirts to Colin & Andy -
yes Phil , I got a photo. Mr. Bailey remarked on the shirts - they're
organising a merchandising deal but he was assured that this was strictly a
stop-gap measure by a fan who was filling a much needed niche in the 90s
fashion market (!)
Andy said that he couldn't honestly wear it - " it's a bit gauche wearing
yer own t-shirts eh? ". But they gladly modelled them for a photo.

At various points during the day I spoke with Colin & Andy about Chalkhills
Children and the impression I get is that they're genuinely touched by our

Colin is interested in my video camera and spends a little time shooting
some video of the session - i wonder if he resisted the temptation to zoom
in on someones nose or something appropriate like that. I'll have to take a

In the evening session work begins on Colin's FRIVOLOUS TONIGHT. Yes folks,
he's done it again : another BUNGALOW !! This song is so brilliant. They've
done a great job on the arrangement. Very nice indeed. Lovely backing vocals
and bits of horns. I can still remember it now - you'll all be singing it
after 2 or 3 listenings.

The horn players then did some overdubs on EASTER THEATRE, and THE LAST

I'm sure more bits will come back to me as I play through the videotapes I
made. Sure enough I've forgotten something.

I left Abbey Road at 10:30pm and flew back to Dublin this morning....

What an experience.

As I remember the stuff Andy and Colin told me I'll post to Chalkhills. I'll
have some images for the website in a few days and hopefully some video
clips too.



End of Chalkhills Digest #4-70

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