Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-101

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 101

               Wednesday, 24 February 1999

Today's Topics:

                      XTC Web Chat!
                  Don't lose your temper
                    Oh Happy Day!!!!!
                     XTC on the brain
                        At Last!!!
              Apple Venus In Shining Colors
                      the green man
          XTC in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?
Then it appeared - Apple Venus on a record store shelf...
                     andy in toronto
                  AV1: First Impressions
                AV1 - Then She Appeared!!
                   Give ya 3 guesses...
                    What can I say...
                 XTC at Tower Music, NYC
                    one more thing...
                   Oh I give up looking
                      AV1 first time
                 <errrrrrrrp> excuse me!


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    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

    Chalkhills is compiled with Digest 3.7 (John Relph <>).

An unknowing church will amplify his call.


Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 13:25:14 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <>
From: John Relph <>
Subject: XTC Web Chat!

Hey folks,

I'm still recovering from yesterday's rollercoaster: the high of the
new album and the low of the near-disaster with Chalkhills.  (Many
thanks to those of you who re-sent your posts.)  That said...

It brings me pleasure to tell you that XTC will be doing their first
web chat on AOL on March 4, 1999, at 4:00pm (PST) / 7:00pm (EST).
The chat will be available on both AOL and the web and will run for
two full hours.

Here's some official blurb with the details:

    XTC will chat in Entertainment Asylum's "Studio-i," the world's
    first interactive Webcasting studio, which will enable the band
    to answer questions from fans on both AOL and the Web.  The Web
    audience experiences streaming audio and video of the interview,
    accompanied by chat.  The AOL audiences experiences a text chat
    accompanied by refreshed images of the celebrity on a Webcam.
    All interviews are available for viewing at any time following
    the chat, in Entertainment Asylum's On-Demand Archives on the
    Web.  On AOL, fans will be able to access highlights of the events
    in slideshow format and can download transcripts of the chats.

    Fans can find out how to participate in the chat on AOL at
    Keyword: EA Music and on the Web at

I hope to see y'all there!

	-- John


Message-ID: <>
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: Don't lose your temper
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 17:21:30 PST

There has been a lot of guff about the Andy vs. Dave situation. Here's
my 2c worth ...

Harking back to Digest 5-87, Robert Dassie <> said:

>Speaking of frothy, Andy seems to be spitting the acid lately, no?
>From all that I have read, it appears that Andy a) has a piss poor
>temper, and b) doesn't think much about keeping personal issues
>personal.  He may be completely justified in all that he's saying, but
>to spill it out at every chance he gets is spreading the bad Karma
>something fierce.  That's the same feeling I got after reading Song
>Stories.  Andy comes off as bitter and I think it's 'bout time the boy
>heals a bit.  Putting that negative energy into something healthy is
>what I would like hear.

Think so, Robert? Having gained an impression (mainly from the
Chalkhills book) of Andy being that grumpy old curmudgeon, especially
ca. the Nonsuch sessions and his supposed pissing off of Dave 'Mr Nice
Guy' Mattacks, it would have been easy to conclude that he was a bitter,
cranky, misanthropist locked away in his shed, grumbling at the world
and making enemies whenever he steps out..

Yet on Chalkhills we read delightful first-hand stories of fans dropping
in on Andy - at home - unnannounced - and being invited in for coffee,
taken down to the shed, and given previews of the new album. Doesn't
sound too grumpy to me. How many other "stars" would do that?

Having read the infamous Raygun interview, I fail to see what all the
fuss is about. Frankly, it sounds like Dave *was* being a pain to work
with. With all due respect to Squinty, who is a fine, fine player, it
seems open to conclude that Dave had basically outlived his usefuless to
the band, that he knew it, and that he and was taking out his
frustrations on Andy.

He was brought into a working, touring band to replace a previous
member; he was selected because he was known and admired by the band for
his considerable playing and arranging skills. But that was twenty years
ago, before their third album. They were all young and fairly green. Now
it's 1999, they have just delivered their 11th(-ish) album, and they and
the world are much changed.

Interpretations may differ, but to me Andy's attitude seems pretty
understandable for someone in his position, and frankly he has every
reason. He has been ripped off blind by his former management, treated
like shit by his former record company, abandoned by his former wife. He
is a massively talented musician and writer who has been sidelined
simply by his inablility to tour. And because his wide-ranging talents
can't be labelled by critics for easy mass consumption, he is treated
with a condescending tone and characterised by the constant use of the
dreaded epithet "quirky".

Amidst all that crap he has had to keep being the boss of XTC, if only
because that is all he has ever done, and he's fucking good at it too.
As Zappa observed, you don't make friends being a boss. Then, as they
record what they hope will be a major 'comeback' record for them, they
get stiffed by Chris Difford, who seizes all the tapes they had been
working on, and they have to start again from scratch. Finally, as they
get to work at last, his old friend and colleague Mr Gregory starts to
buck against his directions and leaves the band in a huff.

Wouldn't *you* be a bit pissed off?

And does Andy strike you as the sort of person who will brook any
interference with or divergence from his his objectives? Not me, kiddo.
He is, in the estimation of many, a genius. Very talented people are
typically not easy to work with (although Colin has managed pretty damn
well for over twenty years). Hence the sparks which flew when he locked
horns with Toddzilla.

And, as Andy himself points out, he is older, surer of his craft and has
more time and technology at his disposal to do the stuff he formerly had
to delegate to others. Evidently, his demos are no longer merely
sketches - they are detailed blueprints, and he wants things done that
way, because he knows what he wants. What's the problem? As he said, if
Dave wanted more input, why didn't he write some songs? Now I admit that
offering a songs to the likes of Andy and Colin would be a pretty
daunting prospect, but surely he could have had a go? I don't doubt that
he has the talent.

As for Andy's "spilling it out every chance he gets", well how many
chances are we talking about? The Raygun interview? What else? Seems to
me there have been a handful of occasions, and they *were* interviews,
let's remember. Andy has offered, and/or been asked for, his version of
why Dave left the band. He is undoubtedly bitter about it - sorry, but
that happens when old friends split up acrimoniously. But it's part of
the ongoing story and he either wants to say these things or has been
directly asked about them. What's so bad about that. You'd prefer him to
lie, and pretend everything is rosy and they are still best mates?

It's very sad, after all the lovely music they've done together, that
Andy and Dave have split like this. But lets face it - we are talking
about two very talented, very opinionated, mature men who have a lot of
history together. These things happen. Get used to it. Andy will speak
his mind. So will Dave. Just be glad we get to hear from them at all.



Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 20:08:51 -0600 (CST)
From: James Reimer <jrreimer@DELTA.IS.TCU.EDU>
Subject: Oh Happy Day!!!!!
Message-id: <Pine.PMDF.3.95.990223195409.809057B-100000@DELTA.IS.TCU.EDU>

I finally get my own copy of AV1 today, though I am lucky because I got to
review it for a local college station that my roommate happens to be
program director of, so I will consider myself a little blessed...
After listening to it about a billion times, I find myself still craving
more, as if the 7 year gap was not completely filled, but then again it
may be me just always wanting more by them...

When I first heard it, I wasn't sure what to think; it didn't sit well
with me.  But listen after listen, it slowly began to crawl under my skin
and I have to listen again and again.  It seems to be right where they
left off, as if in a coma for seven years, and then waking up with a new

But there seem to be some ringings of albums past with it also....River of
Orchids seems to be a microscopic part of Garden of Earthly Delights, not
as bubbly for sure but similar in vocal delivery and rhythm.  The Last
Balloon also seems to be a tale on a small part of Chalkhills and
Children, but I could be smoking something there, just seems that way to
me.  Your Dictionary seems to be the darkest song since Dear God, though I
don't think anything is quite that dark...

AndI really think Colin's songs are wonderful on this album...both
lyrically and musically..though his voice really sounds different...7
years can do a lot on the voice I am sure...

I don't know where I would put it on the XTC scale of great albums, but I
am having trouble finding weaknesses; of course, the test comes with their
first album Sans Dave.  Still, I will wallow in this one for a while...

A lone XTC fan in the vast wasteland of Texas,



Message-ID: <004601be5f9b$4c3a2080$d9ef90ce@default>
From: "The Singers" <>
Subject: XTC on the brain
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 20:13:39 -0600

Greetings fellow Chalkhillians,
As I am sure everyone agrees, the new album is wonderful and brilliant.
I decided last year not to purchase the demos because I did not want to
prejudice my maiden listening to AV1.
But now that's history.
Does anyone still have a copy to sell

Feel free to mail me personally.


Greg s

Now that we have AV1... life is different... and life is good


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 20:37:26 -0600
From: David Lake <>
Organization: Blushift Productions
Subject: Bravo!!!!

The day is here at last...
The weeks, so long, have past...
A sound so full and vast...
I'm shouting from the mast...


It was well worth the wait, I must say.  Stopped off at Tower after they
opened and picked up a copy.  Thank the gods I can listen to a cd at my
desk.  But the real volume made itself known at home.  As of Tuesday
night, Music Blvd pop chart position is at #10 -- WOO-Hoooooo! has it at position #23.  Only 4 behind Alanis!  Move aside
'ya skanker.

Looking forward to meeting everyone on Thursday here in Chicago at the

We're all so Friv - o - lusss,  2-nite
(damn, Colin's done it again... another song stuck in my head that will
trigger insomnia)

Cheers, Spanky (Still known as David - new email)


Subject: At Last!!!
Message-ID: <>
From: Meredith Brechtel <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 21:58:27 EST

The wait is over...I have AV1 in hand, or in the CD player, as the case
may be.  So far, so good.  Still experiencing the aural bliss.  But
what's the deal with the sleeve?  No lyrics???  Only one picture???



Message-ID: <>
From: "Bob Crain" <>
Subject: Apple Venus In Shining Colors
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 19:01:51 PST

I approached the CD section of Borders Books with slight trepidation.  I
blew it yesterday, searching three stores before it hit me in the face
like the kiss on the end of a wet fist...AV1 comes out tomorrow, dummy!
I casually walked up to the New Releases kiosk, scanned the CD covers in
front of me.  Nothing.  Damn.  I glanced over my shoulder, no one was
watching.  Slowly I circled the kiosk, to examine the display of CDs on
the other side.  A glint of green and coppery gold reflected the
fluorescent lights of the shop.

There it was! at the very top left corner of the display, the first CD
in the rack, obviously in a place of honor.  Two of the slots in the
kiosk held copies of my prey; the upper slot holding three copies, the
slot directly below it holding one.  I surmised two CDs had already
departed, and it was 700 PM, not bad for only being on sale for 10
hours!  I looked away, blinked, and looked back.  Apple Venus Part 1.  I
closed in, stepping toward the kiosk like I might a skittish cat, so as
not to scare it away.

I took the CD carefully from the rack, and held it in front of me!  I
could clearly see that the left-pointing tip of the beautifully printed
peacock feather was positioned absolutely correctly, as the title of the
CD was printed in the part of the U-card showing behind the hinge area
of the jewel case, so as to encourage viewing the cover tipped at a
precise 90 degree clockwise angle from the vertical.  The light
reflected differently off the feather as I rotated AV1 from side to
side.  The most beautifully printed XTC cover since the English edition
of "English Settlement", I remarked to myself silently.

I placed AV1 back in the rack, and headed immediately to Best Buy to see
if they could beat Borders' price of $12.99.  No such luck, the saps at
Best Buy didn't even have AV1 out on display yet!  I took my time
strolling back to Borders...I knew what I would do when I got there.

-Bob Crain,
"The Man With The Double-Entendre Emblazoned CD In His Hand"


Message-ID: <001d01be5fa2$50144940$a5499cd0@alexivie>
From: "Eddie" <>
Subject: the green man
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 21:03:51 -0600

I'm sure we all have our copies of Apple Venus.


The cassette looks like a cigarette pack.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:04:19 EST
Subject: XTC in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame?

In Chalkhills 94 Belinda wrote:

++Who is it who was looking for a name for their band?
++In the film 2001 (you probably all know this) they named the
++computer HAL after IBM being I after H, B after A and M after L.
++So how's about YUD? (your girl fans or your website could then be
++called the YUDbirds hohohoho).  Or have I suggested this before?

With your formula, wouldn't that be WSB, and not YUD?

On Monday the 22nd I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in
Cleveland, Ohio and took a leisurely stroll through the artifacts and
materials that described Rock's past.  Then on the 23rd I took a stroll
down to my local CD store to pick up a copy of AV1.  I am so happy with the
results that it had me thinking if XTC would ever be inducted.  They
clearly are in keeping with the spirit of much of the inductees as well as
other representations of bands and acts in the hall, as they move to expand
on their own skills and challenge the listener to hear more in the music.
I only hope that someday they will be recognized in this way for their
efforts.  They are eligible for induction in 2002 (25 years after the
release of their first work).  I would settle for ANY representation of
theirs in the hall, however.

      "I'd Like That" is an instant single and "Your Dictionary" has that
simplified appeal that could stir up just enough controversy to make the
album sell.  I was in heaven for 50 minutes and 6 seconds as I finally
heard the album that I'd heard discussed, contemplated, debated and defined
for what feels like a year.  It is the first time in memory that I received
a full review by multiple sources and even a track by track description
(thanks Song Stories) before I ever heard a note.  It was all worth it for
such a wonderful album.  I loved the slow, deliberate intro to "River"
which reminded me of Mummer.

     Most of all, I am happy that all of us Chalkhillians actually HAVE a
recent album to discuss and enjoy.  It was WAY too long.



Subject: Then it appeared - Apple Venus on a record store shelf...
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:15:26 -0500
Message-ID: <01be5fa3$ec6802e0$>

Hot Damn!  I know that there's gonna be a lot of posts just like this one,
but what a rush buying a new XTC album (disk, whatever...) for the first
time in 7 years.  I left early for lunch today to haul ass over to Newbury
Comics, went straight to the new releases, plucked an AV1, plunked down my
$13.88, and beat it back to work to listen to it 4 or 5 times.  I probably
could've shopped around for a better price but I GOTTA HAVE IT RIGHT NOW,
DAMMIT!!!  I'm sure you understand.
It's times like this that I'm glad to be a CADD guy - I can listen to CD's
on the CD-ROM drive and listen pretty much undisturbed!
Go get yours now!


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:18:32 -0500
From: David Oh <>
Subject: andy in toronto

this morning (feb. 23), i heard an advert on edge 102.1, it went something
like this (i am paraphrasing here);

"edge 102.1 [] presents a rare opportunity to meet
andy partridge of xtc this saturday at the yonge & queen location
[downtown] of tower records at 2pm. [dj] alan cross will be hosting an
in-store question & answer session with andy about the forthcoming new xtc
album "apple venus vol. 1."

there was more info in the advert, but this was the gist of it & it
confirms, at least for me, that andy will really be here in toronto on
saturday at 2pm. this is the latest information i have, but i intend to
call tower on wednesday to get their confirmation.

i've never been one to be star-struck. i've met a few "rock stars" & "movie
stars" in my time & "celebrities" are really not all that different from
"non-celebrities", at least in my opinion. however, meeting andy will mean
a great deal to me, as he is one of only three people that i've always
respected & wanted to meet, the other 2 being peter gabriel & robin
williams (go figure!).

all week long, i've been thinking about what i'd like to say to andy, but
i'll probably only be able to say, "hummana-hummana-hummana..."


btw, i will be bringing several of my prized xtc items in the hopes that
andy will sign the all, tower be damned! if it's available, i will finally
have my copy of av1. i'm just now starting to shake...

ps: southern entrance to eaton centre (queen st.) sounds good to me. i'll
be there, with my wife kathy in tow, at 8am. ;-D. no really, i'll be
leaving for downtown at about noon & meet up at 1pm. ok?

davidoh identifier: 6ft, close cropped auburn hair, reddish goatee, 3 gold
hoop earrings in left ear, black leather jacket & walking with a cane (a
loonnnnggg story, don't ask!).
kathy indentifier: 5' 1", blond shoulder length hair, really cute little
thing, doesn't need a cane (you can ask!).


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:29:18 -0500
From: (Keith Hanlon)
Subject: AV1: First Impressions

It was 11:00 AM when Federal Express dropped off my package from CDNow. I
had been avoiding work thinking about the CD all day, and now it was in my

First aside: I haven't been this excited about a new album in God knows how
long. Maybe Prince's "Sign o' the Times" in 1987, or PJ Harvey's "To Bring
You My Love." Seven years without new XTC can make a difference!

Anyway... I had tons to do at work today, and I didn't want to load it into
my CDRom. Too many distractions at work. I had to wait. I took off at
1:00pm, telling my fellow employees that I'd be working at home for the
rest of the day. "I've got to get this project done, and there are too many
distractions here." No resistance.

1:35pm: I make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, grabbed a Guinness from
the fridge, and I sat down between my stereo speakers with my cat. I took a
sip of brew. I pressed play.


Second aside: Ok, I know all of Andy's new songs. I've had the demos for a
couple years now. Many people have expressed their desire to listen to
these songs with virgin ears. I have a huge amount of respect for that
discipline. The day that demo tape arrived in the mail I experienced all
the anticipation I could muster. Listening to those demos was a magical
experience. I've already been through that process, and now I can just
enjoy the final product.

All I can say is that I sat there for 50 minutes hearing it all with virgin
(or is it TVT?) ears. Sure, I knew all the lyrics, the melodies, and
structures. But that orchestra... wow. After "Green Man," I thought to
myself that this is indeed a new direction for XTC. Same ol' Andy and Colin
(Kinks, Beatles, Beach Boys in plain view), but the landscape has changed.

But I'm getting ahead of  myself. I don't want to bore you with my
impressions of every song, but I will anyways. I have to make up for my
lack of posting!

River of Orchids - What a bold opening statement! I'm glad the Cooking
Vinyl excerpts didn't give away the first minute of the song. When
listening to the demo, it was difficult to find the "one" while counting
through the measures (I'm a drummer, I can't help it). Maybe I'm just used
to it now, but everything made sense to me once the song actually kicked
in. "I had a dream that a car turned into a fossil." Love that vocal track!

I'd Like That - Of all the songs on this album, this one is the most like
the demo. It was a perfect recording to begin with! Nice vocal track this
time through, and I love Andy's lap-slapping.

Easter Theatre - I'm glad Andy annunciated "breasts swell." Two years ago I
posted what I thought were the lyrics to this song. I think I wrote
"breasts smell," or something equally silly. Of course, I got gently
picked-on for that one. "Breath smell? LOL!" It's nice to hear that
McCartney-esque bass line.

Knights in Shining Karma - Did I say "I'd Like That" was most like the
demo? Although I could never get past that title, listening to this one
again was nice. I love the choice of guitar chords. Very "White Album."

Frivolous Tonight - I love Colin's songs! He's surpassing Andy for Ray
Davies influence.

Greenman - I always thought the demo version was monotonous, but this
version is so lively! I really dig the strings on this track...

Your Dictionary - Andy just keeps turning in wonderful vocal performances
on this album!! Very passionate. It's always been one of my favorite demos,
but I think the string arrangement makes it even better than the demo.

Fruit Nut - Colin don't give a hoot! Bug spray?!?! This just cracks me up.
I want to hear more of Colin's songs on the next album!

I Can't Own Her - Better than the demo, but it's still my least favorite
song on the album. In my opinion, if Andy wanted to avoid Phil Collins
comparisons because of "divorce songs," he should have left this one off.

Harvest Festival - I've only had the demo of this one for a month, so I'm
not as familiar with it as the others. Maybe it's the attentive listening
this time around, but the lyrics floor me! Rhyming "festival" with "best of
all" makes for the perfect transition to the bridge. Just makes me realize
how much our lives revolve around the seasons, and how XTC always picks up
on it.

The Last Balloon - I think I like the demo better, but who knows what I'll
think in a week. It's nice to have a real trumpet instead of that synth.
The perfect closer to a near perfect record.

I'm sure glad they didn't go for a double album. This record works! I
appreciate more than anything a record with no filler, and this one is
certainly chalk full of goodness!

If you've read this much, I would like to thank you for reading my longest
Chalkhills post ever. Hell, most of you probably don't even recognize my
name. I am certainly a lurker. With XTC active again, perhaps I'll start
talking more.

Bring on the rock album!

Orchestraville Online


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:34:55 EST
Subject: AV1 - Then She Appeared!!


I spent all morning hearing "Then She Appeared" in my head (specifically the
"apple venus" line) over and over and then got my copy of AV1 this afternoon.

it's AWESOME!  (note - I was previously "demo-less").

My initial thoughts after 2 listens are: 1) River of Orchids is a
masterpeice.  2) I am most surprised by "Your Dictionary" which judging
from comments made here, I didn't think I would like - but really is great.

I won't bore you all with the rest of my opinions but just had to let some
out on this great day in XTC-history!  Hope the rest of you are sharing
some of the same moments today --- hoping to see Andy in Beantown tomorrow
and get autographs.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 22:57:55 EST
Subject: xtc

Had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Partridge and Mr. Moulding in NY this
evening.  The line was extremely long.  They arrived a little late, about
6:30, and I guarantee they will be there until at least midnight.  Awesome
turnout.  I mentioned to Andy how their last 3 albums have been named after
a lyric from the prior album, and was it intentional.  He said the first 2
weren't, but this one was intentional, and they were starting a trend.
Then I reminded him how there is no lyric on AV1 that says "Apple venus,
volume 2", and he just smiled.
It was wonderful meeting them.  I got a pic with them, and some autographs.
Really genuine, down to earth fellows.  A lot of you probably know that, but
I'm just relating my experience having never met them before.
who hasn't listened to anything besides AV1 for 2 weeks straight


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 20:12:15 -0800
From: Randy Hiatt <>
Subject: Give ya 3 guesses...

Oh heavenly day, what can I say.

Tower in Seattle had 90+ of'em (a good sign).  I got mine on
the way to work and played it all day.

I had the demo's so consider the release to be pure shit and
a real let down.  ;->   I'm glad to be ready to listen to
these now, I'm past the oddities and QUIRKINESS and now I
can enjoy the vision they must have had.  I often forget to
quit singing along so I can hear it!  Again, timeless stuff
(no suprizes for them... or do I expect too much?).

1st impression as a drummer....I know..I know... is:

not very much drums and
when they are near they're not near enough.
But there is plenty of rythm elsewhere.
Not much bass (wonder which notes are Colins) but
it fits the orchestra motif...
I'd just like and extra helping of motif.

I don't expect to hear alot on air but as long as I have
mine...  oh heavenly day

There will be those who hate the twists and turns so bad
reviews will make their way to the masses.

Steve Pitts & Rich said:   >> it really disturbs me that I
finally get a reader comment [...] and it's such a
disparaging, anti-XTC comment <<
>I wouldn't sweat it Rich, it is far more common to receive
negative reactions to such efforts than positive ones<

Fact is it takes fewer muscles to make a bad review than a
good one.

I'll be back.

Randy (loven Greenman) Hiatt


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 01:33:34 EST
Subject: What can I say... of the greatest joys I have ever experienced in my short 34 years on
this planet has been dancing with my 3-yr-old daughter to "I'd Like That".
Hell, my wife (who normally refers to XTC as "that weird stuff you listen
to") had some gracious things to say about it.  My aforementioned daughter
thinks "Greenman" sounds like it's from "The Lion King" soundtrack.
Could I be ANY happier right now?
Thanks, Andy, Colin, Dave, and Prairie.
You've really made a piece of magic.
Chris W


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 01:58:38 EST
Subject: XTC at Tower Music, NYC

So, here's how it goes--

They're really looking great, folks! They showed up at 6 sharp, as
scheduled, and schmoozed and did photo ops inside for a half hour after
that.  Andy's looking almost trim and Colin's let his hair grow out long
again.  They both looked well-rested, in spite of the publicity mill
they've been grinding through.

Word got out: Andy would sign anything!  They both would!  And forget that
rumor that Tower would enforce a rule of one-sig-only&
only-for-the-new-album.  Andy and Colin graciously tackled pretty much what
people brought them.

Even with minimal publicity, the line stretched out a full city block.

The line moved verrrry slowwly, because Andy and Colin were seeing people
one at a time and spending at least a minute each with them, sometimes
several minutes per.

We figured out that we could see a lot more of them by taking turns
breaking off from the line outdoors, walking in like a regular customer,
and watching them from behind the barricade in the store.  Line of sight
was excellent for photos, and some of us took advantage of this spot before
being shooed outside by the Tower people.  This sort of "cheating" was
especially tempting as the temperature outside was in the 15-20 degree
range, with a negative wind chill factor.  (And Andy thought it was cold
INSIDE the store!)

The hours passed.  A store employee reassured the line-squatters that Andy
was determined to see everyone and had promised as much; XTC would not be
leaving arbitrarily at, say, 9 or 10, and leaving a line behind.  This was
good news, indeed.

AV1 was on continuous replay, and if it was rather quiet inside the signing
area, it was partly because for many in line this was their first listen.
It was really a combination of the fans' reverence and, probably, trying to
think of something wonderful, warm, and witty to say to them!  (Forget it,
people, it's hard to stay completely poised when you walk up to their
table...  I had planned to ask Andy to sign my fedora, but forgot all about

A couple of tips that I'll try to remember myself for the next time --
start out with a smile, a "hi," and a handshake (I know, it sounds stupid
and patronizing to even say this) -- but it seemed to really break the ice
with both of them to shake hands and return fans' greetings, and they were
a bit more uninhibited with those people.  (I had a sudden attack of
shyness, mumbled too much, and failed to make quality eye contact, and
regretted it afterwards.)  And if you give them the booklets from, say,
four of your favorite CDs to sign as I did, or similar excess, you'll feel
apologetic to impose on them that way, and, besides, they can't converse
with you as much as if you had less stuff to sign.

But do bring some large vinyl item if you have it, and invite a doodle!  I
saw Andy draw wings on one woman's vinyl English Settlement, and he drew
pupils on the figure on my "Wake Up" EP.  (My challenge, as I slid it to
him, was, "O.K., Andy, deface THIS!")  Not all that many people had brought
vinyl, and he still gets a kick out of doing it.

And bring a camera, dammit.  Most didn't and regretted it.  Andy and Colin
were gracious enough to get up and pose with anyone who wanted their pic
taken with them (namely, everyone who had remembered to bring one...).  I
think a lot of us were surprised that they were doing this.

And the line was moving noticeably faster after 9 o'clock, so you might get
a bit more time with them if you're in the first two hours' worth of fans.
Andy joked, as they quickly signed my stuff and posed for photos, that they
were just standing up at that point, not bothering to sit down only to
stand up for the photo shoots.  Both were very soft-spoken and obviously
tiring, although they were most gracious in their willingness to
accommodate us.

And a very few of us brought gifts, always a good idea.  One guy brought
Andy a huge set of some kind of collector's cards, smaller than baseball
cards; I couldn't make out what they were, but they had a nice little chat
about them.  I gave Andy a little museum gift shop book on the history of
men's hats, and he quickly thumbed through it and was tickled with it, and
seemed to think I was a mind reader or something.  (Although it's no secret
how much he loves hats!)

I'd read it would be just Andy at the signing, and felt a bit awkward not
having brought anything for Colin.  Next time, I promise!

Bottom line: Tower did this right (very good crowd control, low ambient
music, and a very quiet store, considering), and Andy and Colin did
extremely well by their fans.  A really classy job, all around, and a
memorable experience.  But go with friends if you can, or find some
interesting people to hang out with in line, 'cause you'll be spending 2-4
hours with them, and only a minute or two with XTC, as excellent chaps as
they are.

I'll go out on a line here and predict many lurkers and first-timers will
be joining us shortly... there was a lot of Chalktalk in line, so brace
yourselves, people!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 02:37:08 EST
Subject: one more thing...

Rereading my big post, I'm much chagrined over this....

>>But go with friends if you can, or find some interesting people to hang
out with in line, 'cause you'll be spending 2-4 hours with them, and only
a minute or two with XTC, as excellent chaps as they are.

I didn't mean to imply that the guys I was lucky to hang out with were
anything less than wonderful company.  God, we talked about every
conceivable topic in the four sub-freezing hours of we were in line
together, and we ended up sharing everything except bodily warmth!
One of these fine fellows, who shall remain unidentified, even offered
to share his flask of whiskey!

So, hat's off to new friends (like David and Larry and the others) and to
those who promised to check out Chalkhills and/or start posting!



Message-ID: <>
From: "Molly Fanton" <>
Subject: Oh I give up looking
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 02:48:58 EST

     I'm sorry to say this, but I don't think Andy's coming to Buffalo.
I looked around, asked the local alternative stations and Borders Books
and no luck.  I e-mailed Borders and I got a message the had no clue
what I was talking about.  Does anybody know anything?  I'm so
desperate.  Since it's only three days until Feb. 27.  Does anybody have
any idea?  I really, really want to see Mr. Partridge.  I know people
here would say, "I would too, but sometimes you can't get get what you
     If you knew my situation you'd probably understand.  I want to
thank Andy for what XTC has done to my life.  I mean if it wasn't for
Skylarking I would have gone crazy in my hospital room.  I listened to
that album as much I could.  And listening to their music helped me cope
through my recovery from my accident last year.  So that's one reason
why I want to see him.  Do I sound like a crazy person?  I don't mean
     Well, enough of my ramblings.  I hope this posts, because I've been
having e-mail troubles.  Darn Hotmail.  :)



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 08:21:55 +0000
From: Brian <>
Subject: AV1 first time


OK, I now have possession of AV1.

Definitely gives you a different feeling when you see the cover at

I've only had the chance to listen through it once, and these are my
comments for the moment, and I undoubtedly will have more to say about
it, like the rest of us:

I was surprised at how little song restructuring and fleshing out that
was done between the demos and AV1. I had expected there to be a big,
lush, XTC-style production to what I had heard before, but that really
never materialized (remember, this is only from one listen). This is not
a bad thing.
What is (sort of maybe) a bad thing is the fact that I'd already heard
the demos, so the fact that the album versions were a lot like the demos
was - oh, what's a a kind thing for a huge fan to say about it - just a
touch of a letdown.
No, too strong a word...
Anyway, I'm not at all disappointed. Hell, how could I be? The first
real XTC in 7 years?
As soon as my son takes off for school here shortly, I'm gonna put it on


* Digital & traditional illustration/animation
* Caricaturist-for-hire
* RENDERMAN ~ One-Man Band Ordinaire


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 03:29:32 EST
Subject: <errrrrrrrp> excuse me!

<< Hmmm... does that mean that the
redneck, cheap-beer-swilling fans of Skynyrd are just generally more
reserved in their appreciation of the greatest thing to come out of Dixie?

Or maybe whenever they try to express their adoration they keep puking beer
onto the keyboard? >>

I really really really really dig Lynyrd Skynyrd.  And XTC.  No joke.  So I
don't know how I feel about these comments except that generalizations
don't usually do anybody any good.  (Ask Molly!)

I gotta go get a towel for this puke now.


End of Chalkhills Digest #5-101

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