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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-10


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 10

                Thursday, 22 October 1998

Today's Topics:

                   Tom Waits for no one
              "Scissor Man" tab (intro only)
          Unterberger's Unknown Legend of a book
   Last Call for All Baltimore/DC/NoVa Chalkhillers...
              Re: Song Stories / The Church
               Tired of being actionless??
                   cash reductions r us
 re: Andy Partridge's Signature and Other Question Marks
              Re: Swindon's OTHER finest son
                     Personal dilemma
                Re: the latest DG item ...
                        Andy Candy
                   song stories fav bit
              Jason Phelan...just curious...
                 Peter Blegvad album out
                     Paul is chuffed
                 Re: Ozzyism (Ozzianity?)
                      My radio show
                   xtc videos for sale
                    those XTC demo cds
                 can I just point out?...
                  Person of the century
     Munster Cheese on that Pizza--Hold the Self-Pity
              I'm in a bit of a quandry....

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    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

    Chalkhills is compiled using Digest 3.6b (by John Relph <relph@sgi.com>).

This is the part where all the curtains come down.

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

From: CCooli9575@aol.com
Message-ID: <3b7ce285.362a09c9@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 11:31:21 EDT
Subject: Tom Waits for no one

>All those who'd like Rod Stewart's version of 'Downtown Train' banned

>from the airwaves raise your right hand.

>Phil

  No no; don't do that. Tom needs the royalties. Now, all those who'd like Rod
Stewart's version of Dan Hill's "Sometimes When We Touch" banned from the
airwaves, raise your hand.

Chris

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

Message-ID: <362A91BD.E1F272D3@yonkitime.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 18:11:25 -0700
From: Fred Hamilton <fred@yonkitime.com>
Organization: Yonkitime
Subject: "Scissor Man" tab (intro only)

I saw a special plea for "Scissor Man" tab on the Chalkhills site,
so I thought I'd get the ball rolling.  Here's the tab for the
intro.  Maybe this will inspire someone to figure out the next part?

-Fred

Scissor Man intro:

E-----------------------------------------------------------------
B----3---0---1---0-------0-------0--------------------------------
G--------------------2-------0------------------------------------
D------0---0---0---0---0---0---0---0------------------------------
A-----------------------------------------------------------------
E-----------------------------------------------------------------

E-----------------------------------------------------------------
B------0-------0-------0-------0----------------------------------
G-----------------------------------------------------------------
D--2-------0-------2-------0--------------------------------------
A-----------------------------------------------------------------
E----3---3---3---3---3---3---3---3--------------------------------

Snipping snipping snipping...

G  Bm D
So be kind...

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

From: STakesh@aol.com
Message-ID: <e8b6ae90.362aa276@aol.com>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 22:22:46 EDT
Subject: Unterberger's Unknown Legend of a book

Chalkies!

Rock critic Ritchie Unterberger (Option magazine; All Music Guide) has a
book out, "Unknown Legends of Rock 'n Roll," which has earned a write-up in
The Onion, at:

http://avclub.theonion.com/avclub3411/words3411.html

He covers 61 such generally-unsung artists as Can, Love, Screaming Lord
Sutch, Syd Barrett, and Martin Newell.  And these are only the ones I recall
reading about in Chalkhills!

Disclaimer: I haven't read it yet myself.  It sounds like a great concept
for a rock book, and one long overdue.  Has anyone come across this yet?  If
anyone wants to discuss this, it might be better to email me privately...

Love & rockets,
Stephanie

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

Message-ID: <362B170E.1CFA4B0F@erols.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 06:40:14 -0400
From: Todd and Jennifer Bernhardt <toddjenn@erols.com>
Subject: Last Call for All Baltimore/DC/NoVa Chalkhillers...

Hi folks:

Well, it's official -- after sending out a flurry of messages and
considering a variety of options, our merrie bande of Chalkfolk has decided
to descend upon Springfield, Va., on the night of Oct. 24 to meet, eat,
drink and then journey to area club Jaxx to see FOA (friend of Andy) Mike
Keneally and his band Beer for Dolphins tear up the stage.

We're going to meet at a nearby restaurant at 7ish and probably head to the
club around 10. Anyone wishing to join us should contact me at the above
address, and I'll fill you in on the details.

Oh, and Cheryl M. says hi to everyone -- she's safely settled in Boston,
Mass., and is looking for a used computer so she can get back online and
up-to-date XTCwise. Anyone wishing to write her can reach her at
cxtc@rocketmail.com.

--Todd

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

Message-ID: <362AC844.790E@telusplanet.net>
Date: Sun, 18 Oct 1998 22:04:04 -0700
From: Keith Clark <clarkkj@telusplanet.net>
Subject: Re: Song Stories / The Church

> They also said they had virtually no promotional duties for the book
> which I took to mean nobody in the media was interested.

Chapters finally received three copies of Song Stories (only C$19.95); I
called the music editor of a local weekly and asked him if he was
interested in a copy (I'd pay $20 for some XTC advertising in my area).
He said he loves XTC and was hoping the publisher sent him a copy to
review. Given that he voted for Skylarking as the best album of the 80's
in his mag, it's one more reason to spot him a free copy. He has also
mentioned in his column the 4Cd box set's immenent(?) release. If only
he had pull at any of the local radio stations!

Great book BTW; only 1/4 of the way in and had to reread it twice.

> ... there is a fairly fine mailing list for the Church called Seance,
> run by matthew green <mrg@eterna.com.au>.

Great list; even in digest mode I average almost 2 per day; note that
traffic is up considerably with the new CD and the North
American/European tour.

Cheers, eh

Keith

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

From: Kate_L_Burda.ALDRICH@notesgw.sial.com
Message-Id: <862566A2.0076BFF7.00@notesgw.sial.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Oct 1998 16:34:58 -0500
Subject: Tired of being actionless??

(sung to the tune of "Generals and Majors")

Some men and women of chaaalk,
A whole 28,
Have act'lly responded to me.

I've gotten lots of great thoughts,
And ideas too,
But I sure need a WHOLE LOT MORE!

Annn-dy and Colin are going
to get this info, so please send your wants!

I'll admit that that was pretty bad, but if it got your attention it
was worth the embarassment.  My second (and third!) call for
replies yielded a number of responses for the merchandising
poll, but it's still not enough.  I'm up to 28- sort of a sad total
when you figure there are 1100+ of you who get the digest!
International responses (non-US) have also been few and
far between.  I'm still waiting on the "regulars"- John, Mitch,
Amanda, Ben, Molly, Simon, and all the others- to reply.  But,
have no fear- you still have a chance to jump into the fray and
add your secret XTC desires!

Yes, I am still taking responses and will post all results by
mid-November.  Please have everything to me by October
30th.  So, put it in a letter- what could be better?  Once again:
     - No more than 10 TXC-related things you'd buy
          (and the country you're from)
     - Cheap and easy ways to advertise the band

Also, if you have NO intention of purchasing XTC stuff, tell
me!  Everyone's opinion is important.  (Yes, I have
received messages from people who don't want anything.)
I've gotten some great ideas & responses so far and I think
everyone will be pleasantly surprised when the results
come out.  Respond to kburda@sial.com!!

Thanks,
Kate Burda
kburda@sial.com

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

Message-Id: <199810201033.LAA22437@uks447>
Date: 20 Oct 98 11:25:45 +0100
From: "CTSWEENE.UK.ORACLE.COM" <CTSWEENE@UK.oracle.com>
Subject: cash reductions r us

In response to the mailing about the Arch Drude's "Modern Antiquarian".  If
you order this book via the Guardian Culture Shop (don't know the web
address, but look for the Guardian), you'll get a couple of quid off.

Meester Blackburn - yup.  I sort of agree with you, and I understand what
you're saying. Personally I either like a song or I don't regardless of
whether the writer later tells the world that he/she hated it's guts,
although I'd obviously rather it meant something to them, too.  But so what
if it doesn't - it's on my turntable and I'm going to carry on listening to
it. In a way, the less I know the better.  So why did I read the book?  I
don't know.

I wish I hadn't, but I'm also glad I did.  Call me Pandora.

And when it comes down to it, they're just blokes like the rest of us and we
shouldn't put them on pedestals.  You do that with anyone and you're always
going to be disappointed.

Having said that, my high opinion of Mr Gregory has not been damaged by the
book.

Witter, witter....

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

Message-ID: <B9B4268C8F87D11195DC0000F840FABE04A4DA23@DUB-MSG-02>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <peterfit@MICROSOFT.com>
Subject: re: Andy Partridge's Signature and Other Question Marks
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 12:28:19 +0100

>From: Shawn Brooks (Bastable@aol.com)
>
>A Lurker will now introduce himself.

Welcome Shawn !

>   Now comes the harder request.  I also have been lucky enough to be able to
>purchase a CD copy of GO2 used for 4.50 USD.  Upon getting it home I
>discovered, across MOULDING'S STREET PLAN OF SWINDON, what seems to be Andy
>Partridge's signature (The signature starts just above Rodbourne Recreation
>Ground and runs up and to the right through Rodbourne Cheney, Pinehurst, and
>Upper Stratton.  Below the signature, starting at Gorse Hill and running
>parallel to the signature is a word in large letter that I cannot decipher.
>This word has an arrow running from the underside  towards the end all the way
>back to Rodbourne Rec. with a large "x" directly over the "o" in Rodbourne.).
>Well as you can imagine this discovery knocked me on my ass (or is it arse?
>I'm so confused).  I can think of no way to authenticate this signature and
>would dearly love to.  If anyone out there can help I would appreciate it.

Not hard.

You can compare the signature with the signatures on my signed CD covers at
my (new !!!) website http://www.shabbyroad.com go to the "music" section and
follow the "XTC" links.  On my cover he marked the places where he had
lived....this sounds like something he usually does.

Hope that helps

-Peter

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

Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19981020104405.007f9140@cyberus.ca>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:44:05 -0400
From: Alan West <downsman@cyberus.ca>
Subject: Re: Swindon's OTHER finest son

I was in Swindon this August at the Moose hall in Old Swindon for the
Richard Jefferies 150th Anniversary weekend.  Apart from the Railway Works
and, of course, XTC, Richard Jefferies seems to be one of the few claims to
fame of the Swindon area.  (Jefferies was a nature writer, essayist,
novelist, nature mystic and general misfit--see my breathtakingly brilliant
piece on him in Fitzroy-Dearborn's "Encyclopaedia of the Essay").  With the
notable exceptions of  a rather eccentric old lad at the Sun Inn at Coate,
and a fox cub in an otherwise-deserted Swindon car park, I didn't really
meet any actual Swindonites native to Swindon.   My question is this:  Does
anybody know if XTC make any references to Jefferies in any of their songs?
 They obviously have an interest in the downland and its ancient history,
as he did.   Perhaps if I ever come across Song Stories here in the GWN I
can satisfy my curiosity on this point, but otherwise I would be
embarrassingly and nauseatingly grateful for any information.
Yours `umbly
Alan West.

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

Message-ID: <B82F8C4D16A0D1119FDC0001FA6A4BC901D39FE9@hfd-exch003.hartford.aetna.com>
From: "Witter, Karl F" <WitterKF@aetna.com>
Subject: Personal dilemma
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 10:22:10 -0400

What would you do if you woke up one day to discover a favored pop artist
from one of those cool places on the continent (Austin, TX) has become, em,
a bit of a fixture in French rock 'n' roll?

The singer/songwriter in question is Peter Kingsbery, late of Cock Robin.
I could have lived for years without knowing this, but thanks to the
Internet I found out.

Any suggestions or such may be sent privately.

Baby I can't drag you into this mess,
Karl

PS Isn't it Eeeestrrr TheeAYE-trrr?

PPS Song Stories will be heavily dropped as a gift hint for my birthday.
I urge anyone who doesn't have it in their paws to create the Xmas rush
by begging their friends and loved ones. Now you too can hear those close
to you groan "God, not more XTC!" :-)

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

From: Robert.D'Aprile@metagroup.com
Message-ID: <852566A3.005B06AC.00@metagroup.com>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 12:24:58 -0400
Subject: Re: the latest DG item ...

Is it just me, or does this track sound like Captain Sensible or what? ...
sounds like an instrumental playing on the PA before The Damned come on
stage. and if you haven't seen The Damned, you're missing a great, great
show. The latest tour was their best in years.

Bob D'Aprile
robertd730@usa.net

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

Message-Id: <2.2.32.19981020190346.006ae798@popmail.dircon.co.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 20:03:46 +0100
From: Simon Sleightholm <simon@nonsuch.dircon.co.uk>
Subject: Andy Candy

Hi

I know some people get grumpy when I start a post with "I just spoke to Andy
tonight", But...

...I just spoke to Andy tonight and he had lots to say about lots.  Firstly
let me tell you that the band have been doing lots of interviews for
publications on both sides of the Atlantic - fans should check out upcoming
issues of the Guardian (this week, it seems), Raygun (they did a huge photo
shoot for this), Pulse, Mojo (a BIG feature on its way, apparently), Record
Collector, Bassist magazine and either (he couldn't recall which) Guitar
Player or Guitar magazine.

Colin and Andy are heading out to the US on November 5th to do some instore
and promo stuff for "Song Stories", the big push for both album and book
publicity seems - unfortunately for we Brits - to be the US, it's the
biggest market the band have at present.  On this note Andy assures me that
he does, indeed, say _Arse_ - "with about six A's, the hint of an R and a
lot of ZZZZ" - and that Hyperion insisted that Neville Americanize the
spelling and idiom to suit the larger, parent, market.  One suggestion for
US Song Stories publicity was a series of readings by Andy and Colin in
coffee houses, an idea Andy rejected because of the obviously fake nature of
reading an edited version of actual conversation as if it were a considered
'text'.  He regrets also that Neville (whether by choice, at the behest of
Hyperion or because they were the best bits) seems to have chosen to use the
most "sweary" bits of conversation.  He claims that he won't let his
daughter Holly read it...

It seems doubtful as to whether there will be a single for the first album -
Andy had just got off the phone after a long conversation with TVT who were
asking him how, exactly, they were going to market "Apple Venus Vol. 1".  He
told them they could wait six-months for the "dumb album" if that would make
it any easier.  They aren't waiting.

The album is all finished apart from the running order - he's going to spend
the next few nights running through it a few times to get the best
mood-swell possible - the final mastering of the disc is to be 3rd of
November, and Transistor Blast hits the shops around November 16.  There
have been a few teething troubles - the neon (!) plastic for the cases has
proved very caustic and has eaten various other bits of the package during
testing.  American fans should be aware that TVT are relasing an 8 track
sampler CD called "What do you call this noise?" into record stores at
around the same time.  If anyone wants to arrange a trade for one of these,
I'd be _potently_ grateful.

The bootleg series of CDs is still planned and will run, Andy hopes, to six
volumes - most of Colin's demos remain lost, presumed gone forever.

I asked him if the current UK movie release "Still Crazy" is the very movie
for which Andy was approached to supply music for.  He said yes, and that he
was initially under the impression that by "'70s band" the producers had
meant a glam band, but when the script revealed a Rainbow-style metal band
he lost interest. He also didn't find it very funny and agreed with many of
the more serious reviewers over here that it's basically a TV play with
pretentions. Sadly, it looks as if the film is going to be a big hit (at
least over here) and the soundtrack album could have been a big seller...

And yes, Martin, the name Sir John Johns was _definitely_ inspired by J'onn
Jo'nzz, The Martian Manhunter.

I think that's about it for the 'news' content of the conversation other
than the fact that he's just been working with Terry Hall again.  I asked
about this process - imagining something like those publicity shots of
Lennon and McCartney stooped over acoustic guitars in a corner - and it
seems Andy has a unique variant on this notion.  The prospective
collaborator sits in front of Andy, is bombarded with a torrent of musical
and lyrical ideas for hours on end and is then ejected - bewildered,
blinking and I imagine a little punch drunk - with pockets full of paper and
tapes from which to go away and form an album.

I'll let you know if anything else comes to mind,

Simon

-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
http://www.nonsuch.dircon.co.uk/bungalow.htm  (http://come.to/bungalow)
-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-
An XTC resource - "Saving it all up for you..."

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

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 15:13:53 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199810202213.PAA27716@zoon.lafn.org>
From: bg769@lafn.ORG (Ian Dahlberg)
Subject: song stories fav bit

        One of the things that made me laugh out loud while reading Song
Stories was picturing the guys playing the "Munsters" theme when Todd
Rundgren was walking up to the studio.  heh heh

                                                Ian

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

From: Kimberly Martin <kimbriel@arches.uga.edu>
Subject: Jason Phelan...just curious...
Message-ID: <SIMEON.9810202026.A@ucns.cssites.uga.edu>
Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 20:56:26 -0400 (Eastern Daylight Time)

Hey...
	I'm just curious about someone on this list, a fellow named
Jason Phelan.  If you are still indeed on this list, maybe you could
tell me--don't you live in Arkansas or Kentucky or somewhere in this
general area??  If so, I'm wondering if you are the same person I used
to write to (via snail-mail) about, oh, 4 or 5 years ago??  I'm asking
because I used to write a guy named Jason, who lived in Arkansas, who
had a girlfriend named Sheena, and who also LOVED XTC.  Is this you??
If so, I've talked to you on the phone once (you called me back around
the same time).  If not, sorry to take up space here in this digest,
but I was just wondering if it's you!
--Kim

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

Date: Tue, 20 Oct 1998 21:45:02 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <199810210445.VAA15492@mando.engr.sgi.com>
From: John Relph <relph>
Subject: Peter Blegvad album out

This comes from Gary Davis and The Artist Shop (http://www.artist-shop.com):

    On our ReR Recommended Page <http://www.artist-shop.com/rer> you'll
    find a new release from Peter Blegvad.  Peter Blegvad/Hangman's Hill -
    Musician, songwriter, author and illustrator, Peter Blegvad was born
    in New York City, but spent most of his life in the UK. Today he finds
    himself with one foot in the avant-garde music scene (as a
    collaborator with Faust, Henry Cow, and Slapp Happy) and the other in
    pop music.  He is joined on his new CD, Hangman's Hill, by old
    bandmates John Greaves on bass and Chris Cutler on drums.  This trio
    recently finished a tour of the states, playing much from this CD,
    that got rave reviews from the fans!

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

From: a.de.koning@bpa.vnu.com
Message-ID: <C12566A4.0027B5CD.00@bpa.vnu.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 09:40:53 +0200
Subject: Paul is chuffed

Hi all,
While clearing out drawers I came accross this snippet I tore from an
english newspaper last juli. We had just had the Big Chuff Debate here on
CH so I had a good laugh, I'm sorry it's a bit late (but maybe we can start
chuffing again :)
In it Paul McCartney said: 'My mum and dad would have found it very hard to
believe that the house is now a National Trust property - you expect the
National Trust to own places like Blenheim Palace, not a little terrace
house like this. But they would be chuffed about it... and so am I.'

And a big THANK YOU goes to Paul and Mark for the Terry Chambers interview!
Good Stuff! (I was chuffed)

Andre

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

Message-ID: <362DFC8A.7CEDB263@tmn.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 11:23:54 -0400
From: John Schoneboom <schone@tmn.com>
Subject: Re: Ozzyism (Ozzianity?)

With reference to this exchange between Bob and Dom:
> Bob says:
> >>I'd like to affirm Tom's genius and give praise to God as the ultimate
> originator of this blissful noise.
>
> Well, a reasonable point, but I think it's a little unfair to give Ozzy all
> the credit...

I just had to say that Dom's response here is without a doubt my
favorite thing I have read in at least a month, and I'm not just talking
about this list.  It uncannily stimulated my joy reflex and I couldn't
keep it to myself, so here you go.  I'll have you know I plan to steal
this line frequently from now on.  In fact I can't wait until somebody
asks me if I believe in God now.  ("Oh yes, I *know* he exists, I've
*seen* him live!")

You don't suppose in Dear God, Andy was really writing about....naaaaah,
probably not...

your pal,
John

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

From: MFa2707621@aol.com
Message-ID: <86f33275.362e2875@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 14:31:17 EDT
Subject: My radio show

Chalkers,

This Friday (10/23) I have my radio show from 3-4pm, and I'm going to play a
whole hour of XTC.  I just thought it would be a great idea.  I'm going to
play songs from "White Music" to "Nonsuch", I would play a song from the demo,
but I can't find it right now.  If I find it by Friday I will definitely play
a song, but not Your Dictionary.  I'm also going to play a song from The Dukes
of Stratosphear.

My play list for this week's radio show and last week is on my web page at:
members.tripod.com/~MollyFa/index.html.

Molly

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

Message-ID: <362E9931.DD488672@earthlink.net>
Date: Wed, 21 Oct 1998 19:32:17 -0700
From: KenL <herne@earthlink.net>
Subject: xtc videos for sale

While perusing alt. music bootlegs I came across an announcement
heralding XTC videos.  I went to the site and found an astonishingly
thorough set of tapes...7 in all covering videos, tv appearences and the
like.  Only $20 each.  If it's all for real it would be a deal.  Take a
look.

www.netwalk.com/~stewart/xtcvideo.html

Herne

now playing---Is this Desire?---PJ Harvey and wondering why her vocie
gets more distorted on each cd.  Somebody get her away from Flood!

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

Message-Id: <TFSIBGMP@ubk.net>>
From: Jonathan Monnickendam <monnickj@ubk.net>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 10:08:43 +0000
Subject: those XTC demo cds

Midnight Records hsa all 8 cds of XTC demos according to its its current
mail shot. Needless to say I have nothing to do with Midnight Records or
the people making those cds.

Tom Waits
In all the recent chalkhill chat his eariler incarnation, the beat
comedian as on 'Nighthawks at the Diner', did not get much credit. It
must have been a lot more fun that being a bootleg beefheart.

jon

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

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

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 11:38:43 +0100 (BST)
From: Mandy Taylor <mandyt@central.susx.ac.uk>
Subject: can I just point out?...
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.96.981022112943.23196A-100000@sunx1.central.susx.ac.uk>

(In Neville Farmer's book, it says of Love On A Farmboy's
Wages, that the single sleeve was photographed using Andy's own wallet,
with the song title and "XTC" written in gold on it. He had to throw the
wallet away as he was too embarrassed to show it in the pub. However,
Andy didn't throw it away in the bin, rather gave it up for sale in a
charity auction. I know cos I've got it [complete with Wiltshire library
card to Mr A.J.Partridge and two 1 pound notes]. Good, eh?)
(80 bloody quid, it cost me. I'll be buggered if I spent that much for
it to be thrown away in the book.)
(Never *met* the guy, or anything worthwhile like that.)

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

Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 13:23:09 +0200
Message-Id: <l03130300b254e0f3f80e@[10.1.0.22]>
From: Jonas Lind <jonas.lind@student.mm.se>
Subject: Person of the century

Chalkies!

Vote Andy Partridge "Person Of The Century"!
Here's the address:
http://cgi.pathfinder.com/time/time100/poc/century.html

Partridge for president!

Regards,
Jonas Lind
Lund, Sweden

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

Message-ID: <362F3BFF.5A50353D@intermetrics.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 10:06:55 -0400
From: Harrison Sherwood <sherwood@intermetrics.com>
Subject: Munster Cheese on that Pizza--Hold the Self-Pity

> From: Dave Blackburn <dblack@access1.net>
> Subject: Song Stories musings

[Excellent, thought-provoking post snipped]

Thank you for brewing that up, Dave. I particularly liked your juxtaposition
of "the government's flagrant disregard for quality of life in its zeal to
'modernize'" and XTC's "maintain[ing] the honesty of their writing in spite
of the pressures to cop the prevailing hit styles." In a way, it sort of
sums up the birth and death of Punk. I think Farmer's best writing in the
book is in those passages where he ties XTC to their home soil and points up
their inseparability from Swindon. I sense genuine anger in his descriptions
of the rape of history by the forces of commerce, and wonder how much of
that originates in Farmer himself, and how much from Our Village Green
Preservationists. One suspects a mutual agenda.

> I'm not sure I feel much sympathy for grown men who
> can't even bake a potato to feed themselves, or don't notice the beauty of
> nature in upstate New York, or can't find something to do in Los Angeles
> but watch old Brit films and be homesick.

I think this is a result of a flaw in the process of
self-mythologizing--which, when you get down to brass (brarse?) tacks, is
really what "Song Stories" is. Given the rare opportunity to define oneself
for history, there's an all-too-human temptation to overdramatize the
adversity one has had to conquer--particularly when one's story is almost
nothing *but* a dubiously successful struggle against long odds. I don't
interpret literally that Andy and Colin lived exclusively on frozen pizza for
the entire duration of the recording of "Skylarking" in Woodstock (courting
scurvy!); but in the Hall of the Munster King it must have felt that way.

Put it another way: the book is written on the universal premise that we find
other people's pain fascinating, but pleasure is dull unless it's our own.

Another thing to take into account: any thrown-together group of people that
experiences hardship for long periods of time--army unit, harried office
staff, football team, rock group--will, given the right mix of personalities,
develop a culture of Creative Griping that feeds on itself and becomes a
competitive pastime, a game of one-upsmanship to see who can come up with the
funniest lines about bad shit. Ever notice that? And this group habit is all
over the interviews in "Song Stories"--which isn't surprising, given how
hysterical Old Fartridge can be.

> Much of what I had
> believed to be carefully wrought arranging turns out to have been random
> tossing onto tape any old instrument laying around the studio.

But surely you appreciate that no stroke of artistic genius is planned in
advance, and that the Happy Accident is the Hardest-Working Composer in Show
Business? The mark of a master musician isn't that he never makes a mistake,
but that he knows which mistakes to keep. The modern recording studio has
made it possible for us to track the sausage-being-made process of a song's
birth--follow, for example, all 233,567 takes of "Strawberry Fields Forever"
that are out there, and you'll hear "random tossing onto tape" until you
want to scream. But accident's playing a part doesn't make the process any
less creative.

[Note to self: it is just be possible that the phrase "random tossing onto
tape until you want to scream" might not be the _mot juste_ for our
Transatlantic Cousins. Recast before posting.]

> Songs are
> cobbled together out of scraps and numerous ostensibly powerful lyrics are
> apparently not about anything much at all.

But Dave, isn't this the *very image* of creativity, made flesh and set
loose to walk the earth? Think of the original premise of "She Said, She
Said"--Peter Fonda was being overbearing at a party! Or, as Jason mentioned,
that "Got to Get You Into My Life" was "an ode to pot." Everything
originates _somewhere_, and nothing ever springs fully-formed from the
cloven forehead of its creator. For my part, I feel privileged to be given
insight into the process of the construction of a brilliant edifice; that
behind the Nonsuch Palace three panicky architects are frantically
buttressing with chewing gum and baling wire only emphasizes the thing's
humane beauty.

> the band pretty much hated the making of almost all their
> albums, hated touring, hated not touring, hated most of their producers and
> hated some of their own songs.

To varying degrees, I suspect, you've described just about any commercial
musical group that ever existed. See "Creative Griping" above.

Imagine a book by a bunch of Pollyannas who never regretted a thing, who
loved every minute of it, who loved their manager even as he cheerfully
fucked them out of every penny they made, and who never had a second thought
about any of the decisions, artistic and otherwise, that got them from there
to here: "The Archies' Story In Their Own Words!"

Harrison "Chapter Three: Josie and the Pussycats--All Flashbulbs at
Airports" Sherwood

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

From: LadyCPlum@aol.com
Message-ID: <c4e1d6a0.362f8472@aol.com>
Date: Thu, 22 Oct 1998 15:16:02 EDT
Subject: I'm in a bit of a quandry....

I am currently in the process of trading some stuff through my ad in LE.
Anyhoo, one person who answered my ad was Brian Steffan. He's got TONS of
video stuff I don't have, yet crave. HOWEVER, Mitch has just sent me two
postings from older Chalkhills saying how much of a ripoff dealing with him
is. Now I'm lost! He's got some things I really want, but I'm sure as hell not
paying 20 bucks for two hours worth of footage. I just started a new job, I
don't have that kind of money!

So.....please direct your attention to the Chalkhills classifieds and see my
wants. list. If you have anything I'm looking for, I will bow down in eternal
thanks if you'd tape it for me. I will pay or trade, just NOT as much as he's
asking.

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

End of Chalkhills Digest #5-10
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