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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-112


         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 112

                  Tuesday, 2 March 1999

Today's Topics:

             S.F Bound and Counting the Hours
             Mr. Dog is way out of his league
                   Negative AV1 review
                the de-lurking rages on...
                    The Little Express
                    Synchronicity....
                   Seattle Chalker(s!)
                oh, and a few more things:
             A-ha, that's where Colin went...
                   ten things about AV1
                      sunda-ry items
                     My review of AV1
              7 1/2 minutes of blank tape...
                Andy On Space Ghost, Again
                          bitter
                      The Joy of AV1
                 Toasting forks and sheds
       The DC Comics connection, and Boston musings
                  Maybe it's just me...
          Now that I've Had the CD 4 a While...

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But if you have love then let it show like on the big day.

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

Message-Id: <3.0.3.32.19990301215226.006bbfb8@pop.napanet.net>
Date: Mon, 01 Mar 1999 21:52:26 -0800
From: "Elena F. Sirignano" <nycelena@napanet.net>
Subject: S.F Bound and Counting the Hours

Hi Fellow Chalkhillions,
               I've been waiting for this day for more then half my life.
I'm 31 and have been a hard core fan since I was 14. Anyone interested in
meeting me and my friends in line at Virgin( ironic is it not), e-mail me
at  nycelena@napanet.net, or just show up and let's party.  I'll be
reporting back after my journey.
                                          Elena

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

From: nedrise@MNSi.Net
Message-ID: <34F78A36.CF57F4B9@mnsi.net>
Date: Fri, 27 Feb 1998 23:54:32 -0400
Subject: Mr. Dog is way out of his league

  Slonedog says:

<Instead, we get 50 minutes of painfully bad
<singing and boring repetitive easy listening music.  XTC sound sadly older,
<past their prime

           and

<many off-key, straining vocal performances
<from Andy.

Well Mr. Dog, you are entitled to your opinion, and it's interesting to
hear what the dissenters have to say about AV1.  Obviously though, you're
way out of your league trying to say something coherent about this music.

You use 'off-key' and 'out of tune' often, but I really don't think you
have a clue as to what either term really means.  Yes, Andy's vocals take
some getting used to at times, he has his own style, and it's like no one
else.  But out of tune?  Hardly.  He sings more in tune than almost any
singer I've ever heard.  How else could he

add such gorgeous background vocals on every tune?  listen to the
"sunflower" chord he sings - that's a major 9th there - 4 or 5 vocal parts,
perfectly balanced, and beautifully subtle.  And some of those octaves he
sings are so perfect it sounds like one huge voice instead of two. There's
stuff like that all over AV1.

What, you never heard Andy strain before? That's part of his style, and
he's been doing it since the beginning, it's nothing new for him.  You must
not know too much of their material.

Yeah XTC is older, but past their prime?  My goodness, they haven't even
hit their peak yet!  Your mind obviously isn't open enough to comprehend
the changes in their sound.  You want more guitars?  Listen to Black
Sea. That was 19 years ago, but I guess that's where you're stuck.

Next time you try to do a review of an album, try something that's not way
over your head.  Aren't the Back Street Boys due for a new CD soon?

You did get one thing right though - yes, the album is 50 minutes long.

Micheal Stone

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

Message-Id: <3.0.1.32.19990223052510.0068b084@mcn.org>
Date: Tue, 23 Feb 1999 05:25:10 -0800
From: Jason Kirkman__Carol Kawase <jkirk@mcn.org>
Subject: Negative AV1 review

Hi, everyone--

Sorry to be the messenger for this one.  This is from the Sunday San
Francisco Chronicle Datebook section of 2/28/99.  The reviewer is Julene
Snyder.  I haven't paid attention to which reviews she's written in the
past, so I don't know if she's always out to lunch or not.  She gave AV1
two stars out of a possible 5, which means she thinks it's an "average"
release.  Here's her review:

"There are those who think that idiosyncrasy is its own reward, and that
paying homage to the Beatles is a God-given right for British pop bands.
Then there are the rest of us, who find little merit in self-important
lyrical missives and masturbatory journeys into the decades-old psychedelic
forays of the Fab Four.

"One might think that seven years of record company-induced hiatus would
have goosed XTC into exploring new musical directions.  One would be wrong.
 Leader Andy Partridge continues to sing more than a bit like Sting, and he
retains a highly structured style that he pompously refers to as
'orchoustic.'  The result is a pleasant-enough group of ditties that will
delight existing fans by breaking little new ground.  Those of us who never
saw what the fuss was about still won't have a clue.

"The band's vaunted orchestral arrangements pop up all over this album to
syrupy, sometimes baffling effect.  Beatles-inspired trackes like "Knights
in Shining Karma" sound less like tributes than rip-offs.  "Your
Dictionary," a bitter diatribe by Partridge reflecting on his recent messy
divorce, provides the only bite on the disc.  A bit more of that vitriol
would have helped cut through the treacle."

I think we can all agree with one sentence of her review:  she doesn't have
a clue.  Hands up, everyone who's baffled by the orchestral arrangements.
See, no hands up.

Masturbatory?  Sting?  Ditties?  Little new ground?  Treacle?

Not!!

On a more positive note, does anyone else get visions of belly dancers
listening to Greenman?  If anyone has connections to any belly dancing
organizations, be sure they know about this song--it'll increase sales of
the album.

Back to my regularly scheduled life,

Jason K.

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

From: jafra@itw.com
Subject: the de-lurking rages on...
Date: Wed, 24 Feb 1999 19:10:23 -0500
Message-ID: <01be6053$3d2157e0$LocalHost@oemcomputer>

All right y'all... I've been inspired by the recent de-lurkings, so after
almost three years it's time to take the plunge:

- Absolute best AV1 moment:  The way Andy's voice melts into the beginning
of the horn solo in "The Last Balloon".  Ahh... bliss.  To those of you who
are just getting to the core for the first time, AV1 gets better with every
play.  In Chalkhills #100, Austin gave what I think is an uncannily dead-on
analysis, so I won't repeat.

- The recent thread about producers and Los Lobos "Kiko" made me literally
shout "YES!" at my monitor.  Forget "best of the 1990's"...  this is likely
my favorite album of all-time (having owned it for 8 years this is no rash
judgement). Not only is the songwriting and performance outstanding,  but
the production is of the sort that I hear something new *every* time I play
the disc. Truly stellar.  (Other fave albums:  Dead Can Dance's
"Spiritchaser" and John Lennon's "Walls and Bridges" ).

- I'm surprised at all the busting on "Washaway."  I used to love playing
this track when I was DJ-ing.  In fact, I still like it.

Wonder why AP skipped Philadelphia during the promotional blitz?  Maybe
he'll put in an appearance when he comes through town to tape the "World
Cafe" bit.  If any Philly area fans know more, fill me in.

- Jason

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

From: Oralistix@aol.com
Message-ID: <6fb0acc8.36d81429@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 10:50:01 EST
Subject: The Little Express

Goodness greetings ... what a great week it has been ... besides the 20
listens the past month I must have plugged in another 10 since I bought
the real CD on Tuesday. I even went out yesterday and bought "Song
stories." It got me thinking about all the friends I have made when I was
a member of "little express" although I haven't paid dues in well over 3-4
years I still remember fondly June and Pete Dix. I even see they got thanx
in the liner notes :-} . Anyway i miss all the old buddies that i began
writing to eon's ago ... so.. if you are on the list below and you
remember me.. please Email me NOW It's been ages since I've spoken too any
of you ... thanx all

In no particular order
Megan Lynch ?  Melinda Bickers ? Debra Forth ? Tracy Cullow ? (sp ? )
Shelly Kubas ? The Woo sisters? Tanya Boerhave ? (sp? )  I Also want to
say hello to a few I still write too but may have lost address. Tracy
Williams and Brenda Thorne
thanks all....
Bill Goodfellow  box 7158  Syracuse Ny 13210-7158
or   REXGROOVI@aol.com
or   Oralistix@aol.com
or   Tazeriffic@aol.com
or    XXXTEECEE@aol.com

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

Message-ID: <19990227180720.11194.rocketmail@send102.yahoomail.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 10:07:20 -0800 (PST)
From: Tyler Hewitt <tahewitt@yahoo.com>
Subject: Synchronicity....

well, not really, but a fortuitous turn of events recently occured.
While sitting on the floor at Border's in Chicago last Thursday
waiting for Andy, I was glancing through the Chicago Reader, the
weekly news/events freebie paper here. What should I find but a 1/2
page ad announcing upcoming performances by the Residents right here
in the windy city! I was thrilled, excited, overjoyed, but had no one
to share it with-I suspect that many XTC fans also love the Residents,
but no one wants to admit it. Anyways, during the Q&A session I
managed to ask Andy what it was like working with the Residents (he's
a huge fan, and sang on the Commercial Album). And first thing today,
I ran down to the nearest Ticketmaster outlet and bought two tix for
the eyeball guys. Wow-new XTC record, meeting Andy, and tickets for
the Residents in the same week-I havent been so excited about music in
ages!
This week has cost me a small fortune, but what the hell?

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

Message-ID: <D1E125416F57D0118F4200805FBE808CA8D746@eas-exch1.eac.ea.com>
From: "Deasy, Sam" <sdeasy@ea.com>
Subject: Seattle Chalker(s!)
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 10:16:46 -0800

>> Are there only two or three of us on this list?

I know of at least one other chalker from emerald city. (Me!)  More
seriously though, I've seen (recent) Seattle postings from other(s?)  too.
So that makes at least 3!  A day trip to LA to meet the boys IS an
entertaining thought, but seems a bit over the top. No?  People at work
would think I've gone off my fruit nut! Hah!

>>I'm waiting on the mail lady as I ordered mine
>> over the net.  You should have seen the temper tantrum I threw[...]

You could get AV1 at a store now, and give the one coming in the mail to
someone as a gift. It would be worth it to have it sooner. :)

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

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 12:18:26 -0600 (CST)
From: Marshall Joseph Armintor <mojo@is.rice.edu>
Subject: oh, and a few more things:
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.3.96.990227115444.6647A-100000@is.rice.edu>

  1.  For the first 1:30 of "River of Orchids," doesn't it sound like
the bass is about to burst into "One of the Millions"?

  2.  Does it sound to you like there are shreds of "Julia" in "Knights in
Shining Karma"? [I'm talking like chord changes and arpeggiation.]

  3.  Homework: go find a copy of Ben Jonson's poem "Inviting a Friend to
Supper" [ca. 1616, it's widely anthologized] and compare it to "Frivolous
Tonight."

  4.  Andy can really sing ("Your Dictionary"), can't he?

  5.  To my ears, "Harvest Festival" is one of the ten greatest XTC songs
ever...probably because I got married just recently, but still.

   marshall

np: oh, just guess.

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

Message-ID: <36D84DF4.376812C2@vyo.org>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 14:56:36 -0500
From: Troy Peters <troy@vyo.org>
Subject: A-ha, that's where Colin went...

While I was at the Boston signing, I kept asking myself why our friend
Colin wasn't there.  I mean he'd been with Andy in New York the day
before, right?

Then Paul <Xtckinks@aol.com> wrote to Chalkhills:

> I got pictures back from the "eventful" Tower Records NYC signing...
> there aren't too many, but I did attempt to put them on a makeshift
> web page [http://members.aol.com/xtckinks/page/index.htm]

Well, the first photo on the web page explains it *all*.  It turns out
that apparently Colin was swallowed whole by Alanis Morissette.  It's a
shame, that...

But look for some very tasty bass lines on her next album ;-)

--
Troy Peters
Music Director & Conductor, Vermont Youth Orchestra
troy@vyo.org

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

Message-ID: <A292A05FDF99D211A0760090271E0FF5022BC65E@loki.augustana.edu>
From: "Allen, Paul" <PAUL-ALLEN@augustana.edu>
Subject: ten things about AV1
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 15:33:03 -0600

hello!
people seem to be rather hyper-critical of the new album and i find that to
be appalling.

here are ten thing things i love about apple venus volume 1.
here are ten things i love about Apple Venus Volume 1
1) the way River of Orchids slowly builds into the melody. oh the
anticipation!

2) how andy and colin's voices combine at the end of Easter Theatre

3) Frivolous Tonight - people have dissed it as childish, but i think it is
a perfect showtune. i could see it in My Fair Lady

4) the pet sounds intro of Frivolous Tonight

5) where the drums/cymbals come in at the beginning of Greenman

6) "four-eyed fool you led round everywhere"

7) the beach boys pastiche at the end of Your Dictionary

8) Harvest Festival as a whole- perhaps my favorite song

9) the part in Harvest Festival where Andy sings "we got screwed"

10) how andy's voice turns into the trumpet at the end of The Last Balloon

just some thoughts!  paul allen

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

Message-Id: <v01540b05b2fe15bcdad3@[192.168.0.72]>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 10:36:24 +1300
From: digja611@student.otago.ac.nz (James Dignan)
Subject: sunda-ry items

ey oop Russ!

>Hate to nitpick but Detroit has a south side like every other city in the
>world. And California has an eastern border like every other state in
>America. The above lame-ass phrases might be oddly worded and seldom used,
>but they do refer to actual places. But does anyone remember the original
>title of the movie "Volcano"? 20 points to the first person who can recall
>this glaring geographical mixup (one of the reasons the film's title was
>changed).

well, there was a movie about Krakatoa called "East of Java" - is "Volcano"
the same movie?

>James stated:
>>I'd use vaginal as the opposite of phallic and yonic as the opposite of
priapic <

>I'm afraid that the fine distinction between phallic and priapic is such
>that you've lost me. The only additional connotation to phallic, that I'm
>aware of, is the psychological one (ie. in comparison to anal, oral, etc.)
>and that doesn't seem relevant to this discussion. Having just received a
>postcard from Cooking Vinyl promoting AV, and therefore having the image
>in front of me as I type, I'd say that 'vaginal' is not an appropriate
>adjective, and that the only suitable terms are those related to vulva and
>yoni, with perhaps the latter winning out because of the additional
>definition as 'an image of [the female genitalia] as an object of worship'

Phallic means shaped like a phallus, up.
Priapic carries with it the implication of 'horniness'. Shaped like a
phallus, up and ready for use.
The difference is not one of shape so much as intent.

James

 James Dignan                ***NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS***
 Dunedin,                                <digja611@student.otago.ac.nz>
New Zealand                ***NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS***

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

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 17:56:21 -0500
Subject: My review of AV1
Message-ID: <19990227.175750.2814.1.MollyFa@juno.com>
From: Molly E Fanton <mollyfa@juno.com>

Okay, I've listened to this album so many times that I think it's time
for me to write my review of the songs.

River of Orchids - This song was fantastic.  I love the multiple vocals.
It made me think of The Beach Boys.  This song does sound great when the
volume is up, and in my CD-ROM.  This song is in my top five favorite XTC
songs under Grass.

I'd Like That - This song deserve to be heard on the radio.  Yes, it's
not what usually is played on the radio, but we need something different
out there.  I love the clapping so much I start clapping along with it.
This is a great song if you're on a bike race or jogging, because it has
that pace.  You wouldn't believe what I think about when I hear this
song.

Easter Theater - Oh this is a super song.  I love the beginning.  When I
think of this song I think Andy as a narrator for a video.  He's telling
of a story for a play, and the actors are acting out stuff on the stage.
It would be an interesting video, too bad they're not going to do videos.

Knights in Shining Karma - This song sounds like something Pink Floyd
would do.  The beginning sounds like something from Pink Floyd's The
Wall.  I love Andy's voice in this song.  He has a gentle quality to it
for some reason, but it's also so haunting.  I'm not listening to this
song at night. :)

Frivolous Tonight - Does Colin sound different in this song, or is it
just me.  His voice sounds more throaty than usual.  But I have to admit
I love this song.  I don't know if I'm the only one here who loves
Colin's songs, but this song makes me of happy things.  Don't ask me why.

The Greenman - This is definitely one of my faves off the album.  When I
put this on I start dreaming of stuff.  I could also see radio stations
playing this.  I also picture someone making a ballet out of this song.
It would be set in the Mideast or somewhere around that area.

Your Dictionary - Oh this is one of the greatest songs on this album.  I
would love to hear this song on the radio.  I don't mind the spelling out
of the swear words.  I think it's pretty daring.

Fruit Nut - Oh this is another Colin song I love.  I think some people
don't like his songs, because they're so witty and poppy not like Andy's
songs.  I love the lyric, "Til then I'll blow you a raspberry."  You've
got to love that.  :)

I Can't Own Her - This song is the only song I can't really stand.  I
don't know why.  Maybe it's the way Andy sings it or something.  But I do
like the orchestra.  It has a Eleanor Rigby feel to it.  I'm not saying I
hate the song, but I'd probably put this down on my list of XTC songs.

Harvest Festival - Oh you've got to love this song.  I love how it builds
up in the beginning.  You can picture being at a festival, well at least
I do.

The Last Balloon - This song makes me think of flying in a hot air
balloon.  It just flows like being in a real balloon.  It's very
relaxing.  When I listen to this song I close my eyes and dream.

Okay, that's my review.  I know it's not the greatest, but I'm a
professional critic.  I just told you my feelings about the songs, you
can agree with me, but could you write your comments to me privately.
Oh BTW, I wrote to one of the radio stations again to request some new
XTC, and the DJ that read it, said she's going to listen to the album to
see if she'll play it.  I have no idea what that means, but hopefully
she'll play it.  I also wrote to one of my DJ friends and recommend him
listen to this album.  I told him that it was like listening to The
Beatles, Pink Floyd and The Beach Boys all rolled into one.  He liked
that comment.

Molly

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

Message-ID: <000101be62a6$83cb8940$dcd67ad1@MRIS.mris.com>
From: "George Hedrick" <ghedrick@erols.com>
Subject: 7 1/2 minutes of blank tape...
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 15:11:28 -0800

Dear Chalkers,

To Tower on 2/23 at lunch and picked up the CD, & impulsively bought the
cassette, too, so I could listen in the truck on the way back to work.  When
I arrived home, there was my Music Blvd copy from UPS _and_ my ebay auction
copy of "a is for..." whew!  Plenty of copies to spread around...what a
wonderful album...

As has been mentioned, some thought went into the cassette packaging...very
nice design.  To follow the sequencing of the CD, there is however 7 1/2
minutes of dead tape between Frivolous Tonight and Greenman (between sides
of the cassette).  I would be interested in suggestions from Chalkers as to
a way to fill this void (never heard demos/don't have access to them) and
although it screws up Andy's original plan, I'm going to record something in
there.

Does Colin's voice on AV1 remind anyone of Keith Richard(s) on his 1988
"Talk is Cheap"?... ;^Q

In 30+ listenings since Tuesday, IMO, one of the strongest pieces is
I Can't Own Her; so to each their own.  It's rapture to have eleven new
songs for we amateurs to critique after seven years.  TVT: bring on AV2
quick, and DC _must_ be included on the next promo tour!

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

Message-ID: <000b01be62b9$0d7cb120$7c2a56d1@mabrey>
From: "Andisheh Nouraee" <mabrey@mindspring.com>
Subject: Andy On Space Ghost, Again
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 20:24:12 -0500

I was asked by a few people to post the story.   I guess that putting on my
website just isn't good enough.  Damn your fickleness!

I Met Andy Partridge, Now I Am A Man
by Andisheh Nouraee
22Feb99

Upon hearing that Andy Partridge of XTC would be a guest on an upcoming
episode of Space Ghost, I immediately e-mailed a couple of my friends at the
Cartoon Network.  Bee and Colleen both informed me that, rather
fortuitously, another Cartoon Network-employed friend of mine, Anne Susan,
happens to be a production assistant for Space Ghost.  Anne Susan and I had
already enjoyed an important Space Ghost moment together just a couple of
months previous.  She and I exchanged hats for several hours at George
Lowe's (the voice of Space Ghost) art opening.  Her hat had flaps!  FLAPS
DAMMIT!  Mine was a blue knit acrylic that I traded for several years ago.

With such a tight bond between Anne Susan and I, I knew that she wouldn't
let me down.  She didn't.  She told me to meet her outside of Turner's
Midtown Atlanta HQ at 9:30 A.M (Feb 19).  She met me up front and walked me
through a Get Smart-like maze of corridors that ended at a small-rectangular
soundstage.  Andy Partridge had not yet arrived.  The crew was setting up
the camera and microphones.  Because Anne Susan introduced me as Andy, the
name that most people call me, several members of the Space Ghost crew
thought that I was Andy Partridge.  The confusion was cleared up after a few
minutes.  Not only was I about to meet one of my heroes, but a roomful of
people thought I was him for ten minutes.  A fan's wet dream indeed!

Because of the amusement caused by the mixed up identities, one the Space
Ghost crew suggested that they begin interviewing me until Andy Partridge
showed up, at which time I should tear off the lapel microphone and run out
of the room.  So they sat me down in front of the camera and had me test the
lapel microphone.  Andy then arrived.  He looked over at me seated in front
of the camera and made a comment about me being his body double.

Andy prepped for the taping by watching an episode of Space Ghost with Beck
as the guest.  Andy had not previously seen the show and he wanted to know
what it was all about.  Beck seemed completely out of it, but Andy seemed to
get the theme of the show because he only watched a couple of minutes of it
before declaring himself ready to tape.

I hate to shatter any fantasies, but Space Ghost doesn't actually do the
interviewing.  Andy sat down in front of the camera and answered questions
asked by Dave, one of the show's writers.  The makers of the show will take
Andy's interview footage and edit it into the cartoon.  If you check out the
Space Ghost website you can how they've edited previous episodes.

The thrill of my life thus far occured when I was asked by Nina (Space Ghost
Honcho), God Bless Her, to sit to Andy's immediate left during the tape so
that he had someone to look at when he was pretending to talk to Zorak, the
show's praying-mantis bandleader.  I was so retardedly gleeful that I  sat
silently when Andy actually looked at me and talked to me a couple of times.
I was so incredibly star-struck that I might as well have been drooling.  I
might have been drooling, I'm not sure.

Some of the questions asked of Andy were:  who is Nigel and are your plans
for him good or evil, can you describe my muscularity; how are the other
members of the Partridge family, and my personal favorite, can I eat your
finger.

So how did Andy do?  Quite bluntly, he blew everybody away.  He was fucking
hilarious!  The entire room was rolling with laughter at his performance.
I'm not exaggerating.  Those of us who've read some of his interviews know
how funny he is, but he surprised the Space Ghost crew, several of whom said
that they'd never had a guest who was that quick-witted.  Said Nina, Space
Ghost Honcho and avowed XTC fanatic, "You can tell from how quick he was why
his songs are so creative."

I had him sign my Transistor Blast box before he left to 99X, an Atlanta
radio station, for an interview.  Upon pulling it out of my sack, he said,
"You actually bought that!" and laughed.  John, the guy from TVT travelling
with him stepped towards me and asked rhetorically,"Isn't that box set
awesome?"

My local record store was kind enough to let me pick up my copy of "Apple
Venus Volume 1" this evening.  Thank you Andy, Colin, Dave and the people
mentioned above.

*******************************************
http://www.mindspring.com/~mabrey
*******************************************

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

Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 21:12:37 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <l03130300b2fe1231b1d0@[209.195.84.66]>
From: Steady Eddy <bartok@cyberus.ca>
Subject: bitter

wow, slonedog, you're pretty negative here. i have to say that i'm curious
to know how you hear all of these 'out-of-tune' vocals by andy? i don't
understand. can you give bar numbers please?

harumpf.

****************************************
For a long time I felt without style or grace.
Wearing shoes with no socks in cold weather.
--David Byrne

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

Message-ID: <000201be62c1$a37ad960$4b384e81@home>
From: "Toni Adler" <t.adler@chass.usyd.edu.au>
Subject: The Joy of AV1
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 13:22:01 +1100

Greetings Fellow Chalkurians

This is my virgin post so please be gentle with me. I have only just
returned to Chalkhills after a break of 2 or 3 years.  I still lurked a
little here and there but basically lost interest because there was very
little coming out of the garden shed at that time.  XTC have been my
favourite band since I was 15 years old.  I reserve the right not to reveal
exactly how many years that is.  Since my return to Chalkhills a month or so
ago, I have felt like a 15 year old again.  It's been great - the
anticipation of a new album and so much enthusiasm out there.  I have
enjoyed living vicariously through your experiences, particularly those
which involve meeting Andy and Colin.  I am sure those of us in the
Antipodes will have no expectation of a promotional tour, so as far as I am
concerned keep em coming.

Following the discussion on Chalkhills about what's great and what's not on
AV 1 has been interesting.  It seems to me that XTC fans are as diverse as
XTC's music.  It is therefore hardly surprising that different songs appeal
to different people for different reasons.  For my own part, I am
immediately attracted to those songs which stir something deep inside my
psyche and make me want to dance.  Greenman was enough to make me swirl
around the sitting room in my nightie like a teenage Indian bride.  The
chorus of Easter Theatre made me bounce around the room like an Easter bunny
(thankfully, only the dog was there to witness this act of madness and she
seemed to enjoy it).  In my humble opinion these are the best tracks so far.
However, I am sure others will grow on me with further listening.  Some
songs will probably end up intellectually pleasing but those that ignite
this very child-like response in me are the most special.  I wouldn't dare
criticise any of XTC's songs just because they didn't do it for me.  Mostly
out of respect to Andy, who is without doubt, one of the best songwriters of
all time.  He writes with such an emotional honesty.  Your Dictionary is a
classic example.  It's not a pleasant or easy topic to write about but Andy
perfectly describes this major weirdness that happens in a relationship
breakdown.  Suddenly, these two people, who used to be able to read each
other's minds, no longer speak the same language.

Well that's enough on that subject; too much analysis can be a bad thing.
The decision not to provide a lyric sheet may have been Andy's way of
telling us to experience the music on a more instinctive level before
crawling up our own arseholes to intellectualise about the lyrics.  Just a
thought-

I think it's very encouraging that so many of us are still listening to XTC
after so many years.  Hopefully, it suggests we have evolved with the band.
Although, I still have soft spot for the earlier grungier songs with Terry
Chambers on drums, the new material is very fine indeed.  As far as I am
concerned there is no turning back from this very pleasant place that Andy
and Colin have taken us to.

Yours in blissful xtc, Toni.

P.S to John.  Do you have any idea how many Australian subscribers are out
there?

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

Message-ID: <d$tI9UAqvK22EwRi@emdac.demon.co.uk>
Date: Sun, 28 Feb 1999 02:37:30 +0000
From: Phil Hetherington <phil@emdac.demon.co.uk>
Subject: Toasting forks and sheds

Or, to put it another way:

Mojo vs. Q - content vs. form.

OK so Q gave it 4/5 but it was hardly complementary. The best review
I have seen was - surprisingly - in Time Out. Usually their writers
have their heads so far up their backsides that they clearly can't
hear a thing, but not only was their review of AV1 spot on, they even
managed to slag off the NME reviewer in the process.

Anyway, I wasn't going to add to the ever growing list of mini-
reviews, but I can't help myself, so... here's what I thought of it...

River Of Orchids:
  I found the demo almost unlistenable, to be honest, but this
  version is outstanding. Its place at the top of the album is
  essential - I suspect that if it had been at the end I'd have
  taken much less notice of it (which I've just realised is probably
  why I've never much cared for Travels In Nihilon, actually).

I'd Like That:
  I find this rather syrupy and lightweight compared to most of the
  album, but at the same time it's so damn catchy and clever that I
  can't help loving it.

  Incidently, there's a very slight cross-fade from this one into
  Easter Theatre. Does this mean that the US radio promos contain a
  slightly different version, or is it just lopped off before the
  end of the fade?

Easter Theatre:
  Awesome, and an obvious single candidate, but actually I think
  it belongs on 'Nonsuch'.

Knights In Shining Karma:
  Never cared for the demo particularly, and if I had to pick a
  'least favourite song' it would be this one. The title is a
  rather weak pun, the lyrics on the whole are ok but the music
  doesn't do much for me, I'm afraid.

Frivolous Tonight.
  I really hope this doesn't offend anyone, least of all Colin,
  but my first thought when I heard the opening of this one was
  'Happy Talk' by Captain Sensible. Please don't hurt me.

  Anyway, having overcome that small hiccup... sorry Andy, but
  THIS ONE is the hit single.

Greenman:
  I never understood all the people raving about this song in demo
  form... how wrong I was. This is really growing on me, and in
  fact contains my absolute favourite moment on the entire album.
  Don't ask me why, but the three drum beats at 0:29 on this song
  just make me want to go "yeah!". Or something.

Your Dictionary:
  This is a masterpiece, progressing as it does from spiteful and
  thoroughly depressing, to regretful and somewhat resigned. I
  can see this being a difficult listen for a lot of people
  though, so I've changed my mind about its single potential.

Fruit Nut:
  No! This is in completely the wrong place on the album. Apart
  from that, it's another gem. Not quite as single-friendly as
  Colin's other one but I think this is actually the better song.

I Can't Own Her:
  Hauntingly beautiful. The orchestra probably enriches this one
  more than anything else on the album.

Harvest Festival:
  This was one of the standout demo tracks, and the finished
  product is every bit as good.

The Last Balloon:
  The demo was good, but this is awesome... hiring in Guy Barker
  for the trumpet solo was an inspired move, and the "we're
  weighed down by our evil past" line is probably my favourite
  lyric on the whole album. In fact, if I must pick a favourite
  track then it has to be this one.

Overall impression:
  The tracks are in the wrong order. With a bit of tweaking we
  could have had Skylarking II (older, wiser, and post-7-year-
  itch). I'm going to have a play about with it once I've got
  to know the songs a bit better.

  The cover is all shimmery. Lovely.

  "A man must have a shed to keep him sane". A song about Andy?

  It's hard to imagine where a better album is going to come
  from this year. Or next year, for that matter.

  Wow.

Thanks for listening,
Phil
--
 _
|_) |_  * |    Me: http://www.emdac.demon.co.uk/phil/
|   | ) | |    Then for Shriekback add: shrkindx.html
===========    Or for Gang Of Four: gof/gof_indx.html

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

Message-Id: <3.0.32.19990227220009.00f8721c@acs-mail.bu.edu>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 22:00:11 -0500
From: Craig Sherman <csherman@bu.edu>
Subject: The DC Comics connection, and Boston musings

As I de-lurk...

I, too, had the great opportunity to see Mr. Partridge in the flesh at
Tower Records, Boston. After AP asked, "who here was at the Black Sabbath
signing last week?" to many a giggle, I had him sign two things for me:

1.) My brother's wedding invitation
My brother Jay turned me on to XTC ten years ago, and this invitation
marked his "Big Day," as I told Andy. I then asked him to sketch the
condemned man he had planned for the Big Day single cover, as mentioned in
Song Stories. He did, and I intend to put a scan of this item online as
soon as I can. The autographed invitation is my wedding present: good enough?

2.) The back cover of DC Comics' Kingdom Come, issue #2
We all know about XTC's DC Comics connection: Sgt. Rock (is going to help
me), That's Really Super, Supergirl, JLA in Melt the Guns, and, of course,
through the Dukes of Stratosphear, Brainiac's Daughter (penned by Sir John
Johns, an allusion to DC's Martian Manhunter). This selfsame Brainiac's
Daughter appears, as drawn and painted by genius Alex Ross, on the
above-mentioned rear cover. When I presented it to AP, I asked if he knew
who that was. He pointed to the central figure on the rear cover and said,
"of course, it's Green Lantern." I pointed out the female character to the
upper right of GL, and he said, "Debbie Harry?" I revealed to AP that the
character to which I was pointing was none other than Brainiac's Daughter,
as mentioned in the indexed cover in the KC trade paperback. He grinned,
and signed it, then writing "Where's the Pocket Watch?" Strictly brilliant.

I asked the manager if I could take, once the line had ceased expanding,
the promotional sign on the 1st floor window of Tower, which said when and
where the signing would be, highlighted by the AV1 inside cover photo of CM
and AP. Once I got permission, I carefully took down the 6' x 3' butcher
paper sign, rolled it up, and got back on the end of the line. (yes, Boston
Chalkhillers, that was I with the big poster, and yes, you should have
asked the manager for it first. :P ) Anyway, once I got back to Mr.
Partridge, he was indeed exhausted, but he sadly did not remember me. He
signed my AV1 cd and copy of Song Stories, then I unrolled the poster to
the photo, which he signed, "To Craig!" and proceeded to sketch, between
the photo of CM and himself, "the third member..." As I was about to
compliment him on his giving credit to Mr. Gregory, he then continued,
"Mooky. The quiet one." I played along, and this time I got to ask him if
anyone had asked to put AV1's music in a movie. "No, but somebody is doing
a ballet of it all." He couldn't quite remember the name, but after 3 hours
of doing this, as he joked, "I don't even remember what album this is for
anymore."

Needless to say, I plan on putting photographs of all these items online
eventually. Is there some sort of archive for this type of memorabilia?

That's my story. Oh, and regarding DC heroes, wouldn't it be great if XTC
had their own comic line, with their own super heroes?

-Scissor Man: Weapons
-GreenMan: Camouflage
-SnowMan: Arctic Assault
-The Man who Sailed around his Soul: Naval/Psychology expert
-Officer Blue: Law Enforcement

vs.
-Scarecrow People
-Crocodile
-Generals and Majors

With, of course, cameo appearances by the above-mentioned DC heroes. Silly?
Quite!

Re-lurking,

Craig

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

From: Rose Ellen Auerbach <auerbach@armory.com>
Subject: Maybe it's just me...
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 99 19:37:10 PST
Message-ID: <9902271937.aa25625@deepthought.armory.com>

Hi all,

Long-time lurker, first-time poster, blah blah blah...

So I was listening to AV1 for the first time, and despite my careful
avoidance of the demos, "I'd Like That" sounded awfully familiar.
Hmm.  Something about the notes in the actual words "I'd Like That"...
I knew I'd heard that before.  Somewhere.  I listened a couple more
times.  An idea started to form.

Is it just me, or does "I'd Like That" remind anyone else of
"Brainiac's Daughter"?

Well, like I said.  Maybe it's just me.

I do like the album, quite a lot, though I'm obligated to have it
share eartime with John Wesley Harding's "Trad Arr Jones."  (Disclaimer:
Yes, I run his web site.  But I'd be listening to it anyway.)

Anyway, I shall be at the in-store in Los Angeles next week.  I
have no idea what the line will be like, but at least we won't be
waiting outside in 15 degree weather.  *:)

--Rose

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

From: WWi8064839@aol.com
Message-ID: <4f72998.36d8c8ff@aol.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Feb 1999 23:41:35 EST
Subject: Now that I've Had the CD 4 a While...

Now that I've had the CD for a while, here's my 2 cents:

1. River of Orchids - Before production, Andy maintained that on this
"drummerless" album the sheer force of the "aurchestral" sounds would
propel the songs forward. Boy, does it ever on this tune; this is just the
first of many songs on this album that derives its dynamic this way. Good
to the last drop! Dig the syncopation. [9]

2. I'd Like That - Pleasant, pastoral, freewheeling. I like the cascading
keyboards after "I'd laugh so much my face would crack in two." Ever the
clownish popster, Andy can still crank 'em out. [8]

3. Easter Theatre - The opening violin strains remind me of Stravinsky's
"Rite of Spring." The chorus eases in very nicely with "Stage
leeeeeftttt...and Stage Riiiighht" I LOVE THAT! Also, terrific "faux-pomp"
wrap-up with the electric guitar and horns. Andy sounds confident that his
musical experiments of late, while not always successful (witness "Through
the Hill" a few years back), have nonetheless been instructive.  [9]

4. Knights in Shining Karma - Reminds me of a dreamy, psychedelic tune from
an old Pink Floyd album. Not particularly remarkable, though. [7]

5. Frivilous Tonight - Dark and cynical, Colin's songs bring you down (but
not out).  Gussied up with a big production, this one reminds me of Ray
Davies or even Roger Waters. [8]

6. Greenman - UNIQUE. I ask you, who's writing songs like this these days?
Who has the ability to produce such songs? Lush and inviting, recalling
"Beating of Hearts" from Mummer. [9]

7. Your Dictionary - This is how I felt after a bitter break-up. I'm seeing
this one get fairly dissed, but I tell you, if Alanis or some other
malcontente du jour did it, the folks over at Rolling Stone would be
falling over themselves with praise for its "frank candor"?! Too bad Andy's
a man. [7]

8. Fruit Nut - Ah, just a shade too light for my liking, and I love Colin's
songs. Maybe it'll grow on me. [6]

9. I Can't Own Her - I think back to the days when Simon and Garfunkel's
"Bridge Over Troubled Water" was something I played daily and Burt Bachrach
was on the charts. This would fit in there, somewhere, maybe. Showtunes?
Sinatra's orchestral musings of his September years? Overall, a feeling of
stumbling down city streets long after last call, musing endlessly over a
relationship. It has aspirations to that genre. Check out when Andy dubs
his voice over itself, and Colin pipes in. Whoa! [8, almost 9]

10. Harvest Festival - I hate to say it - Beatle-y. But I don't see nearly
as many Beatles' influences as many others do. Even if there ARE, so WHAT?
What a band to emulate! [8]

11. The Last Balloon - It's okay, it puts the album to bed, anyway. This is
Andy's "Fruit Nut" of the album. The air's gone out of the tires at this
point. [6]

So, overall I give the album an 8 out of 10. (But the songs that are 9s are
solid 9s!)

Wes (Wilson)

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

End of Chalkhills Digest #5-112
*******************************

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