Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-108

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 108

                 Sunday, 28 February 1999

Today's Topics:

                     AV1 - Gimme Two!
              ahhhhhhh......finally, relief!
                    Andy liked my box
                Florida Fans Get Together?
                    I Can't Own Her...
                I'd hate you to grow mild
           Another Lurker Surfaces From Atlanta
            AV1 is on the shelves in Australia
  Spreading the good news of AV1/distribution troubles?
                   XTC in Guitar Player
                   Andy charms Chicago
         Rolling Stone review, Heed the Greenman
                   more of the same...
     GRABBING YOUR ATTENTION- who sells the t-shirts?
                     Listening Party
                  AV1: First impressions
                 Just back from Chi-town
                Heaven On Earth (Long...)


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We can't go on meeting / This once in every year.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:17:34 +0000
From: "Neal H. Buck" <>
Subject: AV1 - Gimme Two!

You prolific posters,

It took all of AV1 to read the multitude of Digests I've accumulated
after missing only one day! Started playing the CD on my Mac as I
accessed the 'Net, and even the irritating modem sounds blended in
perfectly with the beginning of "River of Orchids".

So obviously, I got it. Just the short story of how -

I went to Best Buy in Columbia (MD) on Tues., and didn't see AV1 w/ the
other "New Releases". Went to the XTC section - nothing. Accosted a
clerk and found it wouldn't be in 'til NEXT Tues. "Disappointed" I went
home, consoling myself that I would be part of the "next wave," pulling
up sales after the initial push (God, I shouldv'e been a General [or at
least a Major]). Later on I was at Borders (practically next door to
Best Buy), and with my white cocoa, ventured over to the music section.
Borders usually has a good selection of "obscure" music, but is also
more expensive. Went to the XTC section, and lo and behold! AND... it
was on sale for $12.99, the same price Best Buy charges for their new
CDs. I picked up two, and I might order a $6 special from music
boulevard for good luck. I later found more copies in another "new
releases" rack. The clerk told me that it had been selling VERY well.

Now to the album itself: I love it, of course. The "orchestrated" songs
("River of Orchids," "Easter Theatre," "Greenman") are AWESOME! The rest
are excellent, as well - not too forced, as I found some from "Nonsuch"
were. I was disappointed a little in Colin's selections, but they're
growing on me. I'm looking forward to his AV2 contributions, since his
"rock" numbers I sometimes prefer to Andy's. How to say this - I won't
say that releasing this "Taj Mahal" first was a mistake, but given the
trend of "modern rock," I'm not sure how well it will do. If nothing
else, hopefully the album will still sell well (how's that for poetry!),
tho' we may not hear it on the radio much. But now that the pump is
primed, AV2 should Rock the Casbah! One interesting sideline to this -
Because of it's subtlety, this is a CD I feel safe to play to some older
(50+) friends, like my mom, and people from church. I almost feel like
this could go big with the NPR crowd or even (gasp!) MOR. Could you
imagine Andy & Colin picking up a Grammy for "Best Pop Vocal"? There's
no disgrace!

I notice on TVT's website that there is an upcoming interview on HFS (no
date yet). Keep me posted (I'll do my part, too).

Maybe I missed something, but could someone please post WHEN that Space
Ghost segment will run? Thank you!

Hey Kate - "Big Express" SUCKS! It's the worst thing they ever did!
(Note: Please disregard the above statement, it's an inside thing!)

I hope we're not so hopeless as "Last Balloon" suggests, I'll keep
trying to make amends.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 20:31:04 -0600
From: Elisabeth Norton <>
Subject: ahhhhhhh......finally, relief!

hey ho everyone.

I've been mostly lurking for the last 3 or so years and finally decided
it was time.  I've been listening to our dear boys for about 18 years,
D&W was my very first ever album purchase (I thought the cover was
cool--what a jolt & surprise to find such music inside!) and it's long
been a toss up wether Dave or Andy was my first rock & roll crush.  Not
your typical Midwestern teen girl I suppose.  ah well.

I've been backed up on the digests for a while, usually letting them sit
about for a few months then catch up in one big burst.  I had to start
from the end this time though--all the excitement about AV1 is great
compared to some of the disgruntled frustration felt & expressed on the
list over the last couple of years.  Really though, what can be
expected, waiting for so achingly long as we have?

I got my AV1 at lunch Wednesday and waited till about 8pm when
everything for the day was completed,  curled up in a blanket with the
lights down low, left a crabby leave-me-alone-or-else note on the locked
door, turned the phone off, lay down between the speakers, and pushed
play.  Absolutely splendid.  I started to drift about Greenman and think
that now I will be forever imprinted with the near-dream images that the
sounds conjured up--yow!  Woke back fully during Your Dictionary and was
thrilled to the end.  ahhhhhhhhhhh......



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:57:24 -0500
From: Don & Sue Parker <>
Subject: Andy liked my box

Hello Sidewalk Chalkers,

Not your average weeknight - Don left work early, we got a babysitter,
and hopped on the subway to Tower Records. Pretty convenient considering
the store is directly above the T stop.

Stephanie :  This sort of "cheating" was especially tempting as the
temperature outside was in the 15-20 degree range, with a negative wind
chill factor.

Here, the entire line waited *inside* the store, snaking up and down the
aisles - with AV1 playing the entire time. Regretted not having printed
out the lyrics and brought them with us. I'll never again have two solid
hours with nothing to do but listen to AV1 and read lyrics at the same

David Oh :  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..."

While in line, Don (who loves to discuss anything with anybody, and even
more so when it comes to all things XTC) said that he wished he'd have
more time to talk with Andy. So I (who feels very uncomfortable talking
with people I don't know) told him that I'd be happy not saying anything
at all and then Don could have all my time as well. When it was my turn,
I just went up to the table and put my stuff down to be signed. So Andy
said, "Well, you're awfully quiet." And then I explained that I was
giving all my talk time to my husband. To which he replied, "Is that
like a Russian talk time?"  But I had no idea what that meant so I just
shrugged my shoulders and hoped I didn't look too much like an idiot.
(Is this a British expression?)

Eddie :  The cassette looks like a cigarette pack.

Yeah, and my one pathetic claim-to-fame is that MY cassette box was the
FIRST ONE Andy had ever seen! I was pretty surprised since Boston wasn't
his first stop and I was near the end of the line. He said, "Wow, is
that the cassette? I haven't seen one of these yet."  He spent a minute
looking at it and discussing it with one of his guys on the side. He
seemed to really like it.

As we say in Boston, the box looks "wicked cool", except for the fact
that it really does look like a pack of cigarettes.

I had wanted Andy to sign my cd insert across the bottom,
pointy-end-of-feather up. But when he took it, he turned it around and
started signing it across the bottom the way they were originally
packaged, pointy-end sideways.  I said, "No, not that way, the other
way", but he had already started writing. He smiled and said, "You can't
ask someone to stop in the middle of a signature. It's like trying to
stop in the middle of a big piss". I answered, "I knew you couldn't get
through a conversation without mentioning a bodily function." And he
laughed. So much for not saying anything.

Regarding "I'd Like That":
1st listen:  "That's so stupid. Couldn't he have found a better word
2nd listen: "Which song is this? I like it."
3rd listen:  "Wow, now I LOVE the line about a really high thing.".

Take care,
Sue Parker
* -----------------------------------------------

"We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams."  -  W.W.


Subject: Florida Fans Get Together?
Message-ID: <>
From: Meredith Brechtel <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:57:43 EST

X-tatic greetings to my fellow 'Hillians

Several Floridians have replied to my post asking about the possibility
of getting together to celebrate the AV1 release; since TVT didn't give
us an excuse to get together (well, I guess they gave us The Album, which
is the ultimate excuse), we'll do it ourselves!

Seems like Orlando is pretty central for the people I've heard from.  Any
others interested, or any other location suggestions?  Please e-mail me

And keep buying those CDs!  I have 2 copies so far.  Let's get the lads
up on the charts!


XTC lyric of the day:  "Each drop would make me grow up really high,
really high, like a really high thing, Say a Sunflower"
Non-XTC lyric of the day:  "The world is headed for mutiny when all we
want is unity - Creed


Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 21:41:07 -0600 (CST)
From: James Reimer <jrreimer@DELTA.IS.TCU.EDU>
Subject: I Can't Own Her...
Message-id: <Pine.PMDF.3.95.990225213841.970460B-100000@DELTA.IS.TCU.EDU>

An observation left off of my last it just me or does I Can't
Own Her sound mysteriously like a recent Joe Jackson song?  Just Curious


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 22:58:24 -0500
From: Mark Griffin <>
Subject: I'd hate you to grow mild

Hi, Chalkers-

I'm just de-lurking to commend Duncan Kimball on his letter in #5-101 in
defense of Andy's post-Dave comments to the press, who are always itching
for something inflammatory to be said anyway. I thought his points were
eminently fair to both parties and so well stated that I hope that's the
end of that thread of discussion. It's not anyone's *fault* that Dave
decided it was time to move on, it's just the natural progression of the
changing priorities of two creative people. Life goes on.

And for those who feel Dave's departure is an egregious wrong, who's to say
that he might not return one day for a more electrified project? If time
can soften Andy into recognizing the unique contribution of Todd Rundgren,
it could certainly do its part for the current rift between these two
longtime partners, whose musical visions can't be *that* far apart or they
would not have created as much terrific music together as they have these
twenty years. As evidenced all around, one should never say never in the
land of rock and roll.

Oops, NOW I hope that's the end of that thread of discussion. Some example
I'm setting...



Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 23:11:15 -0500
From: Doug <>
Subject: Another Lurker Surfaces From Atlanta

Hello everyone.

Yes the new album has prompted me to write like the other lurkers.  I am on
my second listen even as I write this and am growing more addicted to this
disc every minute.  I think I was too excited last night on the first
listen to really form an opinion but now I'm much calmer and reallying
enjoying the music.

I have been listening to XTC since the mid 80's.  My first introduction was
English Settlement and Big Express. I have scanned this digest on and off
for the past couple of years but with this new album and the in-person
appearances I am reading it frequently.
(The disc just finished and, with replay on, it's starting again. Ah yes
River of Orchids. mmmmmmmm.)

Anyway, I didn't hear any of the demo's or anything from them (sans Yazbek
stuff) since Nonsuch and I am so glad XTC are back in business. I agree
with some postings that Andy performs some great vocal work on this album.
The "open" sound of the mix/arrangements(I don't know  how to describe it
otherwise) reveals his voice clearer than some other albums and he sounds
strong, confident, and steady. I just realized that the mix is incredibly
good (to my taste). It sounds great!

I'll stop gushing about this because most of you probably know what I mean.
 Just thought I would share.

From "one of the millions" around the globe and the local Atlanta fan base.


Message-Id: <>
Date: 26 Feb 99 15:51:26 +1100
From: "Adam Davies" <>
Subject: AV1 is on the shelves in Australia

I just walked into HMV in Melbourne [Bourke Street mall] and saw it on the
shelf.  Not prominently, mind, and not on the listening posts as they
claimed, but it's there all right.

I scanned the New Releases section and saw it sitting in between Elvis
Costello and some braindead teenie-chick band, and my brain switched off.
I must have been staring at the cover for literally twenty seconds like a
moron before my brain chugged back into action and I've thought, 'THAT'S
APPLE VENUS!!'  I did my standard trick that I always used to do when I'd
find an XTC item I'd spent ages looking for, and bolted to the counter
clutching this CD like it was keeping me alive.  The guy behind the counter
must have thought I had a problem because I couldn't speak properly.  'I
had... had the, um...  the XTC on order for XTC and my name is, um... I
rang up and... it doesn't matter now because here it is so you can,
umm... can I have it now please now money <slap>' The look on his face said
it all really, but it's all academic now because I HAVE THE ALBUM!!!!

Ahem.  So there you go.  Run don't walk to your nearest HMV in Bourke
Street and fork out your hard earned for the most... uh... the
greatest... uh...  well I haven't heard it yet.  But I will.  Oh yes... I

Adam [they're going to take me away ha ha]

      The statements and opinions expressed here are my own and do
         not necessarily represent those of Oracle Corporation.

Seven years... seven long years...


Message-ID: <>
Date: 25 Feb 99 21:57:08 MST
From: Jeremy Mathews <>
Subject: Spreading the good news of AV1/distribution troubles?

In my duties, I have already convinced three people to buy AV1.

After purchasing Apple Venus from a CD store on monday (I'm a regular
customer and the owner sells me stuff early and still gets it on soundscan)
and preceded to play it for my friend in the car.  I'd already converted
him to Yazbek and TMBG and was determined to get him into XTC.  It wasn't
very hard, actually.  I played it for him again tuesday and went with him
to purchase it on wenesday.

I'm concerned about the distribution, however.  We weren't near the indie
store I purchased it at, so we tried three other stores (1. Media
Play-usually good stock or can order, only mainstream store I repect in
these parts, music manager seemed mad about not having it; 2. An indie
store that I like, but is going out of business and didn't get it in;
3. Wherehouse- Complete shit, but we were passing by) and none of them had
it.  Boarder just opened a store here and they had it, finally, but Jesus,
less ambitious people aren't going to wander around their state looking for
an album, even if it is utter genius, so if the other people I convinced to
get it try to buy it this week, they probably won't even find it!  This
surprised me since I thought TVT was really trying to get word and
enthusiasm out. How are they going to debut big?!?!

Oh well, enough of my rambling, but I love the album and think "Easter
Theatre" should be the single rather than subject of ridicule.

Do what you will but harm none, you may enjoy AV2 (& one, and that rhymes),

Jeremy Mathews


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 00:11:19 EST
Subject: Lyrics

Part 1. Mr. Mike Keneally let slip in his own newsgroup:

as a site for all of the lyrics to "Apple Venus Volume 1."

Part 2. Does anyone have an interpretation for the lyrics of "Knights In
Shining Karma?"  I can't even theorize!

J. D.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 00:19:22 EST
Subject: XTC in Guitar Player

This month's Guitar Player (April 99) has a nice article on our favorite
Apple Venusians. For those trainspotters (fretspotters?)out there, it fills
in some nice details about equipment and techniques used to record AVv1.

For instance, that's Andy soloing on "Easter Theatre." I assumed it was
Dave.  Shows what I know...

Andy recorded "I'd Like That" in the front hall of Colin's house. He was
mortified someone would swing open the door and hit him.

Here's a question: Andy is always shown in the early days playing a black
Les Paul Custom, yet I've never read anything about it. He raves about his
Ibanez Artist, but I don't recall a picture of it. Does anyone know what
became of the Les Paul? (The Artist has been refurb'ed).

Since I'm already de-lurking, here's a few thoughts...

AVv1 is great. While I don't care for "I Can't Own Her," every other track
on the disc is great. Colin's are especially great. For the first time in a
long time, Colin's best ("Fruit Nut") is as good as anything by Andy. How
on earth do you get the balls to score a song like "Fruit Nut?" The goofy
baseball organ, the fuzzy guitar... jeez, I wish I could write like
that. And the recorders on "Harvest Festival" are sooo perfect.

Too bad "Your Dictionary" isn't 15 beats per minute faster and relieved of
the burden of that ending. It'd be a sure hit among the kids and an easy
extra 20,000 units moved out the record store door.

Confidential (not really!) to Kate, late of Baltimore(or maybe not?):
remember at the DC Chalkhills gathering we were talking about the AVv1
demos, and you couldn't understand how I wanted to wait to hear the album,
rather than listen to the demos? You probably don't. But anyway, I finally
caved and listened to the demo to "Harvest Festival." I'm really sorry I
did. It killed the magic off the song, and if I had heard the whole album
in demo form, it wouldn't have 1% the impact it does. Oh, and I bought you
a 'White Music' pin - want it? Let me know, if you're around.

Finally(!), to the Argentine who was asking about lyrics to help smooth
over the language barrier, let me just say I think I envy you, getting to
learn this crazy English language through the wonderous lyrics of Andy and
Colin. I can't think of any better lesson than lyrics like "harvest
festival / what was best of all..." Your vocabulary word for the day is
'sublime.' If your dictionary is any good, it will say simply, "See XTC."

Enough for now (and another 6 months of lurking),


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 22:14:39 -0800 (PST)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: Andy charms Chicago

Just returned from Andy's appearance at Border's in Chicago. It was,
needless to say, great! The format was about 20 minutes of Q&A
followed by the signing. Although he claimed to be nervous, it didn't
show. Most of the questions were good ones, and Andy's humor was in
full force. Did hear a lot of people around me in the signing line
bitching about the last question-someone asked Andy what kitchen
appliance he would want to be reincarnated as (?)
Border's was a little sneaky-the signing was across the store from
where the Q&A session was, so everyone who had a good seat for the
talk found themselves near the end of the line for the signing. The
line moved damn slowly, too. I waited for over 2 hours to talk to
Andy. This was due to his actually taking the time to talk with
everyone. He signed multiple items for everyone, was willing to pose
for photos, and was at his charming best. He was looking pretty tired
by the time I got to him, but was still very pleasant. He drew
pictures around the artwork on my cd covers of Rag & Bone Buffet and
Skylarking. He turned the handlebars of Rag & Bone into a face, and
drew a mask and cape on the woman on the Skylarking cover-he said he
was turning her into Batgirl (I thought it should be Supergirl).

I taped the Q&A session with a hand held tape recorder. Andy had a pa
system, so you can hear everything he says clearly. The audience
questions aren't as easy to make out. Any one want a copy-its about
20-25 min long-send me an e-mail. I'm willing to trade for it, and can
try to find something interesting to fill up some more of the tape.

Oh-I asked Andy about the demo cd set I've seen discussed on this
posting. It is a definate thing, but not for a while. They're doing
AV2 first. Andy said it could be anywhere between 2 and 12 cd's
depending on how many demos they can find and their condition. He also
said that it would be "really cheap".

So, I'm tired, but it was worth it! Hope everyone who attended the
gathering at Geordano's Pizza had fun, I unfortunately was unable to


Message-ID: <>
From: "Steve Stearns" <>
Subject: Rolling Stone review, Heed the Greenman
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 22:36:33 PST

Rolling Stone has an AV review. . .good comments for the most part but
they gave it 3 stars out of 5.  They have a separate section where you
can rate the album yourself and approximately 65% of respondents have
given it 5 out of 5 stars.

you can check it out at:

As I recall that's about the same review they gave Nonsvch all those
years ago.  Guess the general public is a few stars ahead of yr average
rock critic . . .

. . .I'm starting to think that out of all the tracks on this album the
best chance for a crossover hit would probably be "Greenman", save for
the length.  Six minutes is just too long for most program directors
these days, unless the six minutes in question is a dance remix of N
Sync or some other bull****.  I'd Like That is cool, too, it's just a
little lightweight for my tastes.  Anyone else think Greenman might be a
good single?

While I'm here I'd just like to say that "I Can't Own Her" is one of the
most heart rending pop songs I've ever heard.  Ever.  I could see this
becoming a standard like Gershwin or Cole Porter's finest.  Ok, enough
rambling, back to your regularly scheduled digest.



Message-ID: <001f01be6153$4f999e40$16e8e3cf@joel---virginia>
From: "Joel A. Enbom" <>
Subject: more of the same...
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 22:43:19 -0800

Since we seem to be introducing ourselves, allow me to chime in.  My name is
Joel, I've been reading Chalkhills for the last eight years.  I offer
sincere gratitude to John Relph for investing so much time in my

Since I've only posted a few times (at most), allow me the opportunity to
write a few things that have crossed my mind at one time or another
while/after reading the digest:

    1.    Harrison, your posts ALWAYS brighten my day.  I owe you many
smiles, and a few pondering-induced headaches.
    2.    Amanda, I feel like a proud, distant father when I read your
messages.  I've always appreciated your frankness.  Lately, I've also come
to respect your restraint.  If only I'd grown so much in such short time.
    3.    Dom, keep stirring the pot, please.  It keeps old farts, like
myself (age 31), on their toes.
    4.    I always thought it was "Stand Clear," too.  I, now, know better.
    5.    I love "Crowded Room," and most of GO2, as well.
    6.    I, too, have had dreams about the band.  Go figure.
    7.    I've got the girlfriend person all the way to humming.  She'll be
singing out loud soon.
    8.    Thanks for all of your great recommendations.  I now own CDs by
The Sugarplastic, The Grays, Jason Falkner, Fountains of Wayne, and Sloan
(amongst others, of course).

Well, needless to say, I picked up Apple Venus V.One yesterday and have
since had opportunities to form some very preliminary conclusions.  I will
not venture into a full blown review until someone asks for one and I've had
enough time to settle.

First, I don't think that Andy has ever sung better than he does,
consistently, on AV1, excepting the apparent difficulty reaching the high
note in "I'd Like That," ("Say agaiiiiiin...").  He sings particularly well,
I believe, on "I Can't Own Her," and the music is engineered in such a way
to make the sound of his singing voice unusually pleasant.  I will, in the
interest of warding off flames, point out that I have always liked his
singing.  There seems to be a little bit less Curt Smith in his voice this
time out.

Easter Theatre is, to my surprise, better than I could have hoped it to be.
My natural tendency is to avoid lofty praise for fear of feeling stupid
about it later, but I can safely say that I have not ever heard a work from
this century that has so overwhelmed me.   Mr. Partridge has crafted an opus
that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as the best of Gershwin,
Bernstein, and Lennon & Macartney.  Easter Theatre is only the second song
that I've had the privilege to hear that has provoked a physical reaction
(the final 10 seconds of "Dear God," being the other).  "I'd Like That" and
"Greenman" be damned, this is too good not to be released as single.  It
deserves as much exposure as it can get, and then more.

At first, I thought "Harvest Festival" just kind of laid there.  Not
anymore.  However, I think the low pizzicato strings are a little loud in
the mix.

The lyrics to "The Last Balloon" are extraordinary.  What a beautiful, sad

Whenever I listen to "I'd Like That," I'm immediately reminded of "Pink
Thing."  Must be the drum pattern ("...I'd be your..."  versus  "...Anytime
you call...").

Great slide guitar on "Fruit Nut."  Who's playing it, do you suppose?

"Frivolous Tonight," the best that Colin's ever produced?  Perhaps.  It's
tough to top "Dying," and "My Bird Performs," though.

This album needs a libretto.  The music is well suited to the stage.

I really enjoy "I Can't Own Her."  It's somewhat ironic that I hear more of
Todd Rundgren in that song than I do throughout all of "Skylarking."

With that dispensed, I will send out an open invitation, nay--plea, to all
of the list members in the Seattle area.  I will be hosting a listening
party March 6th (in my home) and I'd be thrilled to have you over.  I plan
to make this a real artsy affair with guided discussion and, of  I will be inviting non-initiate friends, so I could use the
support.  So, SEATTLITES:  email me please.  This means you, Randy.  Oh, and
to anyone else doing something similar, wanna do the whole internet hook-up

Thanks for indulging me.  I've enjoyed your company.

    Joel Enbom
    Junior Idiot (trainee)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 1999 23:19:34 -0800 (PST)
From: Mark Alan <>
Subject: GRABBING YOUR ATTENTION- who sells the t-shirts?

yeah, i too was jerk enough to order av1 through cdnow. cd when?
along with the off-white album and the kinks are the vgpr.  but to
those of you who are also waiting on it, think about this moment.
i've been anticipating this album since 97, some of you since 92. now
you know it's out and that it's coming to you.  waiting for it may be
painful, but you will look back on this time period with a smile.
about river of orchids, i didn't care for it at first. (i've been
regularly listening to andy's demos for more than a year now.)  but
it's grown on me.  it's a subtle song, and for some it may take
several listens for the beauty of it to get through to you, as it did
some of you may remember me.  i was on this list about a year and a
half ago.  i told a joke that involved some euro nationalities, and it
offended a few people.
as for this fight we have going on, i'm sorry but universe man does
always win.  but by now david bowie's starman has joined in, blown
everyones' minds, and fled with universe man to an obscure mountain
home in northern colorado.  no one knows for sure what they're up to,
but we know the fight is over.
well... my chalkhills shirt is pretty faded.  is there a new batch
coming along?  if so, please email mark at so
that i can order one.  thanks.

adios, mark

umm, to the guy who's in texas and doesn't like it... i'm from SA, and
before i moved i converted two of my brothers.  so you're not alone.

and now, the tasteless alternate names of our beloved albums:
bleak muzak, gotee, drunks and winos, lake ontario, irish foxhole,
bummer, the bug express, vulturing, orangutans and lemurs, and
nothing.  and for the earls of mezosphear, sips from the rum-spiked


Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 02:31:04 -0500
Subject: Listening Party
Message-ID: <>
From: Molly E Fanton <>

I'm planning to have two listening parties on the net after I get AV1,
which I haven't got.  I'll have one on AOL and one on IRC.  I'll let you
know the details once I get it.  I didn't realize Music Boulevard took
this long.  I should have ordered AV1 from CDnow, because they seem



Message-Id: <>
Date: 26 Feb 99 18:43:33 +1100
From: "Adam Davies" <>
Subject: AV1: First impressions


So far I've heard, in this order:  I'd Like That, Greenman, Your Dictionary,
I'd Like That, River Of Orchids, I'd Like That.  I'm listening to Easter
Theatre as I'm typing this, and I'll get to Knights In Shining Karma before
the end of the email.

One word sums this album up perfectly: BEAUTIFUL.  This is, far and away,
and with as much objectivity as I can muster, the most beautiful collection
of music I have ever heard.  Period.  And I've been playing the demos to
death for years.

I'd Like That is the first track I played, so it was my first impression of
the whole album.  To begin with I was disappointed slightly, thinking it
was a bit slow.  However, the second 'sunflower' piece has the most
incredible sonic textures!  The bloody thing came up from behind me and
propelled me through a tunnel at a ridiculous speed, and KEPT DOING IT.  I
can't stop listening to this track!  ELO knockers, take note; this is as
ELO as I've heard in a very long time.

River Of Orchids gripped me from the start and took me on this incredible
ride, kept grabbing me by the sides and shaking me, and threw me down
persistently, only to swoop from beneath me and pull me to heights I've
never experienced in music before.  This is simply a work of art to be
immensely proud of.  Given the right exposure, this would easily become a
modern classic.

Knights In Shining Karma... well, not terribly different to the demo, but
certainly a brilliant piece.  What can I say?  :)

Greenman [my girlfriend likes this too!] is so lavishly decorated that it
would be impossible to not get carried away with it all, even for bastard
sceptics like that Scene git who get off on themselves.  Sorry, bit of
editorialism there.

Easter Theatre: I've only heard it once so far, but it's a glorious and
very clever fusion of orchestral composition and electric guitar.  Again,
there's early ELO in this.  Have a listen to 'Eldorado' and you might see
what I mean.

The only problem I have with the recording is this: Andy P's voice seems to
be off-key some of the time.  Maybe I'm so used to the demos that I'm not
picking up notational differences here, but it doesn't really detract from
the feel of the album, which is essentially a very relaxed and pleasant
experience.  I'm sure the rest of the album is equally as surprising and


Believe the hype -- this is one *really* special album.  We may never hear
something of this calibre again.

Adam [on one of the five best days of his life]


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 02:34:38 -0600
From: David Lake <>
Organization: Blushift Productions
Subject: Just back from Chi-town

Well, well, well.  What a showing!  Borders could have been more
organized for this.  On the way down, I had the radio turned to XRT to
catch Andy's 30 minute radio appearance.  His story of the creation of
Easter Theatre was fantastic (the station left a guitar in the studio
for a prop - just in case).  Just like a visit to Storytellers on VH1.
I arrived at the bookstore a little before 3:30pm (probably too early,
but then you never know).

After surveying the area and gathering some info from the polite, but
detached store staff, I happened to run into some more Chalkhillers
including Jerry, Jeff and Jim.  As we settled into the greet area, more
familiar faces appeared like Jennifer (wait, there's a 'J' trend here),
Kate, Piriya, Dave and Dean.  There are many more, but so many names to

Almost at 7:00 on the nose, in walks Andy.  He claims that he doesn't
know what to do and that no one told him what the forum is to be.  Some
chuckles.  I'd have to say we had it a bit better than NYC as the entire
crowd was indoors.  Andy definitely looked nervous.  Possibly because
there were people surrounding him on all sides.  After 20 minutes of
Q&A, on to the signings.  Only now do we realize that there is about 300
people in the crowd.  Andy is moved to another area about 50 feet away.
Everyone who was close for the Q&A is now 2/3 back in line for
autographs!  Well, after about 2 1/2 hours in line, we get to Andy.
Jerry's wife (sorry, memory lapse on name among others'), was gracious
enough to step in as our own personal paparazzi.

There he is, right in front of me.  I stammered a weak intoduction, held
up my liner notes copy of CC98 and pointed to my name by my song at the
end of the compilation. "Oh, that's you!", he says.  "That was
brilliant!  It was scarier than the original."...
My mouth says: "Thanks a lot!"
My mind says: "Oh my fu--in' god!"

After getting a few items signed, and getting 'SCARY!' written with his
sig in the CC98 notes, a couple photos were taken, then I moved on to
gather with a few Chalkhillers.  Soon after, we retired to the close-by
pizza joint for much needed food and good conversation.  Much thanks
again to Jerry Kaelin for setting up the reservation.  Was great to see
familiar faces and meet some more new people.

I hope everyone in the remaining cities can enjoy his visits as much as
I, and I'm sure others, did.  What a trooper Andy is for going through
at least a 4 hour ordeal.  Genuinely nice, he is.  Makes me appreciate
him and the music he writes all the more.

Hope the story wasn't too long.  One response below though:

David Friel whines:
>P.S.  I find the melodrama on Chalkhills regarding AV1 quite hilarious.
>Did someone actually say he/she cried when he/she first listened to it?

You obviously have yet to hear a song that has genuinely moved you.  Too
bad.  Because if, and when, you do, you will realize how ridiculous your
statement was.

Cheers, David (aka Spanky)


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 26 Feb 1999 03:07:35 -0600
From: Dean Zemel <>
Subject: Heaven On Earth (Long...)

Man, where to begin?

I wasn't going to go to Chicago.  Honest!  I mean, I'm middle aged,
graying, and a professional with a wife of 21 years and two kids, one of
whom (God willing) is going to college next year.  I couldn't take off a
half day of work to drive two hours to wait in line for hours for a few
moments with a rock musician.  What would people think?  Sure I went to the
Princeton, Illinois convention a few years ago, but I didn't have to miss
any work for that and I was much younger then.  Being footloose and fancy
free was much more fashionable and feasible then.

So what if my friend and fellow Milwaukeean, Dave Franson (he of Nonsuch
Coloring Book fame) was going and even offering to drive.  Sure, Adam
Ostermann was taking the bus in from Madison to join him, but I was just
too old and responsible for that sort of thing.

Yet, with each daily Chalkhills digest, posts talking of the new CD and the
appearances by Andy or Andy and Colin in this city or that increased in
number and intensity.  People began to talk of driving here or driving
there with such excitement that it couldn't help but be contagious.  The
joy and enthusiasm steadily increased until it reached the proverbial
"fever pitch"  I found myself beginnning to wish that I could go too until
the moment came when I finally had to ask myself "why not"?

Damn that Chalkhills...

And damn responsibility and "acting my age" too!

Suffice it to say that I picked Adam up at the bus station and we arrived
at Dave's house right on schedule.  We parked and approached Borders in
Chicago at 4:45 PM for the 7:00 scheduled appearance by Andy.

Right inside the door was a placard that announced his appearance,
directing us to the third floor.  Since it was going to be more than two
hours before Andy would be there and since our shutter fingers were already
itchy, we began to take pictures of the placard.  Suddenly, we were
beseiged by "Borders patrol" who sternly told us that no pictures were
allowed inside the store.  We laughed and told them that surely they were
kidding, particularly when Andy would arrive.  The looks on their faces
told us that they had no idea what they were in for.

On the third floor, there was a table with a microphone, a display of AV1s
on the table, with many more displays all around the store on each floor.
In front of the table were about 30 chairs.  We thought there might already
be a line of anxious fans waiting for the moment but the 30 chairs hadn't
even been filled yet so we sat down and waited.

By about 5:30, people started to arrive steadily until by 6:30, there
seemed to be people hanging in every corner of that floor within eyesight
of the table.  Yet, it was a joy to be in the middle of that crowd.  People
talked with the people next to them, in front of them and in back of them.
There was a vibe that just was so joyful with people everywhere sharing
from where they had come, how they had come to enjoy XTC and all other
stuff related, even remotely.

Then, at 7, someone shouted the inevitable words "there he is", a hush fell
over the crowd and everyone extended their necks to see just where he was.
He took his place behind the table and the crowd gave Andy the expected
standing ovation with warm and loving applause.

He proceeded to answer questions for about 20 minutes and, despite his
claims that he was so nervous and had never done that type of thing before,
he seemed capable of having gone on far longer if the Borders people hadn't
instructed him that it was time to shut down the conversation and start
queuing the line for autographs.

That 20 minute "discussion" was as much fun as I can imagine having
without...well, let's just say it was a helluva lot of fun.  With any luck,
there may be some video available in the future somewhere on the web but,
at this point, that's just a mere possibility.  Because this post is so
long, I will leave it to someone else to describe what was discussed, but
you really had to be there.

Although the original rush to get in line to meet Andy was quite chaotic,
from that point on, we were models in patience and decorum.  It wasn't
easy, either, because Andy spent much time with each and every person,
rushing not one iota, autographing everything that was placed before him,
answering all the questions, accepting all of the compliments and gratitude
and posing for all of the picture.  In other words, the line moved with the
speed of a caterpillar.  No, actually a caterpillar moves much faster than
that line.  Yet, everyone knew that if they would just be patient, their
reward would come when it was "their turn".  AV1 softly played over the
sound system...once, twice and then three times before it was "my turn".

Andy is often described as having quite the ego and, I'm sure, there is
foundation for that.  However, he was the most humble, gracious,
appreciative and warm human being I could imagine with each and every fan
who passed through that night.  And it wasn't easy, either.  He started
signing and meeting people at about 7:30, we finally met him at 9:50 and
there was easily another hour and a half or more of people waiting for
their turn.  He had to be exhausted but he never stopped being all of the
things he had been when he met the first few people.

For what it's worth, I started out by telling Andy how incredible it was
that his music and the internet had brought so many people together, on
Chalkhills and private e-mail.  And my experience is that those people are
truly good people.  And not only do we write one another and share with one
another, but we seem to make every effort to actually meet each other.  He
seemed touch by the sentiment and the role he had played in that.

I told him that "You And The Clouds" was a song that transended being
merely music for me...that it evoked an emotion that really meant
something.  He said that it would, indeed, be on AV2 and that they had just
finished recording the background vocals for it.

He saw my XTC shirt and said that it was one he'd never seen before.  I
told him that I'd gotten it at the Princeton convention and told him about
what a wonderful time that had been and how his old, musty, but autographed
boots had fetched nearly $300 at an auction for charity (not realizing at
the time that farther back in the line was the owner of those boots, with
them in a bag to show Andy).  He showed me the boots he was wearing right
then and that it might be time to auction those off too.

I asked him about fans who visited Swindon and reported having summoned the
courage to knock on his door, to find themselves invited in for some tea
and a tour of the shed.  He said he really didn't like that but felt that
he had an obligation to invite those people in.  I thanked him for his
honesty and admitted that I had asked him that because there is an off
chance of my visiting England this summer but would certainly respect his
privacy.  He said he wouldn't be there anyway because of putting the
finishing touches on AV2!

Among the things I gave him to sign was the CD booklet for the Japanese
"best of" collection..."The Greatest" and he asked what on earth it was.  I
told him and he said he'd never seen it before and chuckled.

There might have been more discussed but this post is long enough and, just
as there were others waiting to meet Andy and have the same wonderful
experience that I did, there are probably others waiting to post that
experience right here.

Let me end by reporting that about 10 of us retired to a nearby pizza place
and had the perfect dessert to the most sumptuous meal my soul had ever had.



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-108

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