Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-16

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 16

                 Monday, 16 November 1998

Today's Topics:

    My Love Explodes On the Last Train To Clarksville!
               Lemons, Beats, Presuure Boys
                    NO LEMON LOVE HERE
              O&L - XTC worst album shocker
                    Gimme that lemon!
        And now for a few words from our sponsors
                      Rude word band
                   Re: strange but true
                 Random Hold Me My Daddy
              Interest in XTC vinyl rarity?
              The Bull With The Golden Guts
                 BARRY ANDREWS on NEW CD
                Straight in at number 340
                      DG REAL AUDIO
                      Dominic & Phil
                         Volume 2
                       cumming out!
                   The Man, The Legend
      The band (and t-shirt) Seagulls Screaming KHKH
                         Re: ELP
                  Lozenges in heaven...


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Welcome to a billion Arabian nights.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Thuggerries R-Us" <>
Subject: My Love Explodes On the Last Train To Clarksville!
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 07:27:32 PST

Dearest Climbers of The Hills of Chalk,

Does "My Love Explodes" have the same descending musical line as "Last
Train To Clarksville" by them Monkees?

Think of the intro for "Last Train" and the line AFTER 'For You' in "My
Love Explodes".

I heard it and I was just wondering if everyone else heard it too.

Why oh why haven't there been more updates or at least more Chalkhills
lately with all the flurry of activity seemingly going on right now in
the XTC camp??? Are ye saving it up?

The Thug in your House


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:10:57 -0500
From: John Irvine <>
Subject: Lemons, Beats, Presuure Boys

I must agree with Mark Fisher that O@L is an L.  Even hearing Audiophile
CD and the demos did not change my mind (I'm tryin' here!).

As to the Beat, I had a strange experience with Paul Collins, leader of
the non-english Beat. He was mounting a comeback tour two years ago, and
decided to bring along some young(er) "power pop" bands along with him.
Nice idea, but...  He asked the Jennifers, saying he could "book much
bigger venues than you could on our own". Needless to say these giant
venues were for the most part empty, but we had some fun, and Paul did
pay for some nice hotel rooms.  Turned out to be our farewell tour. Not
sure where his career went.

Anyone heard of the Pressure Boys?  They were, I think, a NC pop-ska-ish
outfit from the early 80's.  Had a song called Round the World which was
very Drums and Wirey.  Never heard anything else by them. Anybody?

Also, just heard Andy and Colin on the local arterna-garbage radio WHFS,
in a brief call-in interview. Only caught a few seconds - Andy
explaining why Dear God was left off Skylarking -  no idea what it was
all about.

-John I


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:07:25 -0500
From: todd steed <>

I don't like Oranges and Lemons much, either...That sheeny production
is just too much on my poor analog ears...(I really don't like the way
most cd's are mastered these days...too harsh and shiny)  I mean,
sure, it's a good record compared to most...but..compared to other XTC
records it's not so strong.

After reading the songs books, it seems Colin isn't very impressed by his
part in that record...neither was I for that matter..he was below par.

But who cares?  I can listen to Skylarking instead and have a musical
orgasm anytime I want.

Jesticle Todd


Message-ID: <001601be0e75$9a725820$b9ffabc3@default>
From: "David McGuinness" <>
Subject: O&L - XTC worst album shocker
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 19:49:07 -0000

Mr Fisher suggested ...

>It recently dawned on me that O&L is XTC's worst album. Does anyone agree
>with me, or have I gone mad?

Well, I made a cassette of it to listen to in the car a few weeks ago,
having neglected it for a few years, and I'm finding it a tough listen.  The
over-production tires the ear, and the songs (some, like Miniature Sun,
works of astonishing genius) are often completely wrecked by high-gloss
arrangements with little substance and even less grit.  It just doesn't hold
together - it's lots of great material polished to such a shine that it
doesn't quite stick anymore.

well, that's what I think anyway - don't trust wanky producers with naff
hair and big glasses

Great trumpet solo in Merely a man though - interesting it was scored by


David McGuinness


Message-ID: <697A4CA51395D111A658AA0004005806891AA0@NT6>
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: Gimme that lemon!
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:28:24 -0600

Mark wrote:

There's a book out called something like "The Virgin Guide to the 1000 Best
Albums" - a guide for the perfect record collection. I flicked through it
in the shop yesterday, and noticed XTC storming in at number 340 with
Oranges and Lemons.

It recently dawned on me that O&L is XTC's worst album. Does anyone agree
with me, or have I gone mad?

No and no.  You simply have appallingly bad judgment. ;)

No, just kidding, just kidding.  But I love Oranges and Lemons.  It was my
first XTC CD and listening to it (over and over, in the wake of a break-up
w/ my then-fiancee) submerged me in the astonishing brilliance of Andy
Partridge, both his musical/technical fluency and, even rarer and more
delightful, the warmth and generosity that suffuses his writing.  He may
scorn Mayor of Simpleton as a hack song, but the joy and affection of that
lyric/performance can't be faked.  Of course, that's just one tune ...

Chalkhills and Children: Fragile, lovely, gorgeous, with a middle section
that almost moves me to tears ("Even I never knew this is what I'd be ...")

Garden of Earthly Delights: A bouncing, twirling techno-stew of a song,
living up to its title and more.

Poor Skeleton Steps Out: Brilliantly imaginative, with a great, fun,
un-XTCish performance

Scarecrow People: A fable for our times, managing to be both caring and
misanthropic at the same time; what more could you ask for?

Hold Me My Daddy: Simply the sweetest, most heartfelt and vulnerable
declaration of father-son love I've ever heard from a male songwriter.

I could go on, but this ought to suffice for now.  (Oh yeah--so you don't
think I sell him short, Colin's One of the Millions is brilliant: a song I
always remember when I'm tempted to be lazy and let things go by.)  And I
couldn't really pick XTC's worst album, though it'd probably be a death
match between Mummer and BE.

Thank you all,



Dan Wiencek
American Academy
of Orthopaedic Surgeons
(847) 384-4125


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 12 Nov 1998 18:40:19 -0800
From: Craig Vreeken <>
Subject: Sloan

De-lurking here for a moment to recomend a great new pop album to hold us
over until Apple Venus vol. 1.  It is "Navy Blues" by the Canadian group
Sloan.  They owe a big debt to Nazz and early Todd Rundgren, plus a bit of
The Greys, Jellyfish, and Michael Penn.  It put a big smile on my face.
Great hooks, great harmonies, a real gem.  Joe Bob says check it out.

XTC content:  I can't wait!
Craig Vreeken


Message-ID: <>
From: "Amanda Owens" <>
Subject: And now for a few words from our sponsors
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 05:45:29 PST

Lessee, C'est La Vie is definitely not ELP. There are women singing in
the chorus, and the lyrics don't look familiar. Could be Duffy, I dunno.

I would've wished Sir John Johns a happy 45th, but I was kinda busy
observing Memorial Day with me daddy. So, a coupla days late,


Tis all for now,
XTC song of the day-Ladybird
non XTC song-How Does Your Garden Grow?-Better Than Ezra


Message-ID: <>
From: "nick riddle" <>
Subject: Rude word band
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 06:23:49 PST

Isn't there a US band called Wank? I'm sure I saw the word leap out at
me while rifling through a CD rack. If there isn't, I must stop taking
that bad acid.

And yes, Mark Fisher, you've clearly gone off your rocker. O&L whips the
arse off anything else I heard that year.

By the way, has anyone noticed how terrible the Costello/Bacharach album
is? Aside from God Give Me Strength which they wrote several years ago
and is actually a classic. The song that compares love to maths is a
real stinker.

My first posting in weeks and I have nothing good to say. Perhaps I
should be quiet.


Message-ID: <>
From: "Doug Terrell" <>
Subject: Re: strange but true
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:15:36 PST

You know, my wife's birthday is also 11/11, and I've never seen her with
either of these gentlemen...

>Andy Partridge's birthday is 11/11.
>Leonardo DiCaprio's birthday is 11/11.
>I've never seen them together.
>Could it be?
>Go back to work now.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 11:19:07 -0500
From: Benjamin Gott <>
Organization: Loquacious Music
Subject: Videos?


Does anyone know if Virgin has any plans to release a video compilation? I
lent my copy of "Look Look" (and others) to a friend, who hasn't returned I'm getting kinda annoyed, eh?

Thanks for any info.


   Benjamin Gott :: Bowdoin College :: Brunswick, Maine 04011
  ICQ 7737594 :: :: (207) 721-5513
 Visit my website to buy the new album, "Education in Reverse."


Message-Id: <v04003a02b271eb3cd61f@[]>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 08:58:07 -0500
From: John McGann/Original Custom Transcription Service
Subject: O&L

Mark Fisher said:

>It recently dawned on me that O&L is XTC's worst album. Does anyone agree
>with me, or have I gone mad?

No, and yes.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 16:31:23 -0500
From: Todd and Jennifer Bernhardt <>
Subject: Random Hold Me My Daddy

Hi, everyone:

Thanks to everyone for their good wishes. Nancy Paulina Bernhardt arrived
11/11 at 1:41 p.m., weighing in at 8 lb. 6.4 oz, and measuring 20 inches
long. (I'd do the metric conversion for everyone outside American, but I'm
too tired. Sorry.)  Mother and daughter are doing fine; daddy and big
brother are proud of both of them.

Liked your subject line in the last issue, Mr. Relph.

On the subject of Random Hold, check out
to read more about Andy's view of the band, their relationship to XTC, and a
certain drummer the two bands had in common.

Back to the Great Adventure,


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Nov 1998 17:22:50 -0500
From: David Gershman <>
Subject: Interest in XTC vinyl rarity?

Hi all,

 I was in a used record store here in Boston the other day, and came across
some XTC vinyl that I have a strong suspicion someone here might be
interested in. I would have bought it myself, but was headed to a concert
afterward (Cheryl -- were you there? I didn't see you...though of course it
was "gettin' mighty crowded," as Elvis C. might say) and really need to
save bucks for my impending wedding next summer. But that's all beside the's the goods:

 **Still in the wrapper**, the double-vinyl, gatefold, import of
"Waxworks"/"Beeswax"! I've seen them independent of each other relatively
frequently, but this is the first time I've seen it as a gatefold album,
much less unopened. Anyone interested? If so, let me know, and I can go
back, hoping it's still there, buy it and ship it all for the very low cost
of $25. That's right, just $25. Go to your phones right now and dial
1-800-BEESWAX and get your copy now!

Uh, but seriously, do let me know, and I'll get over there as soon as I can
manage to get it for you.

Dave Gershman

P.S. Mitch's description of the Apple Venus songs in their "final" running
order left me breathless...literally. I NEED to hear it.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 00:23:37 +0000
Subject: The Bull With The Golden Guts

Dear Chalkers,

First of all: don't forget to browse the exclusive interview with
Andy Partridge at

I've recently acquired an original The Bull With The Golden Guts tape
and was really surprised when i played it the first (and only)
time. These tracks sound _much_ better than i expected, up until now
i had only heard them on a n-generation tape copy and the inferior
Ecstatic bootleg cd series.

This also made me take note of the songs a bit more and now i'm
wondering why i didn't really notice 'Everything' before. What a
great song and what a bloody shame it will never be recorded &
released properly

Anyway, i've immediately digitized the tape to transfer it to cd.
If anyone is interested in a copy of the cd, email me privately

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 01:29:01 +0000
From: Phil Hetherington <>

Well, thanks for the flurry of interest following my last posting
about 3 weeks ago (none! what's up with you people?) :-)

Anyway I can't spell it out any more clearly than that. There
is a NEW CD available NOW by THE REFUGEES and called LOVEJUNK.
I know that because I've got it, in fact it's blasting into my
headphones at this very moment.

The Refugees are:
  Barry Andrews - Accordion, Organ & Piano
  Kat Evans - Violin
    (Kat played on Shriekback's "Sacred City")
  David Marx - Vocals, Guitars, Bass, Double Bass, Banjo, Percussion
    (David played with Barry on his solo material just after Barry
    left XTC, and was also in Restaurant For Dogs)
  Kevin Wilkinson - Drums, Percussion
    (Kevin played with Barry in Restaurant For Dogs and Robert Fripp's
    League Of Gentlemen, and possibly on his solo stuff too)

Also features Anthony Thistlethwaite on saxophone. Not sure exactly
who he's played with but I think the answer is lots of people. The
Waterboys and The Saw Doctors spring to mind as possible, but I
haven't checked.

Neville's book actually mentions Colin as having gigged with The
Refugees at one point, but there's no mention of him on the CD.

Songs are all written/produced by David Marx, so no Barry Andrews
writing credits, but don't let that put you off. The sound is probably
closer to Barry's "Town And Country" EP (Sargasso Bar etc.) than
anything else he's worked on since. Swindon accents abound.

When I first played it I thought it was pretty good, but with repeated
playes it's turning out to be completely awesome... if short. It sets
off at a breakneck pace and keeps it up for pretty much the whole thing.

  Guillotine Gene / The Girl With The Child In Her Arms / Secondhand
  Kisses / Mirror Mirror / Love In The Asylum / Tomahawk Junky /
  Tel Aviv A Go-Go / The Madness Of Love / Nicotine Nixon / Without
  A Counterpart / Silky Sullivan / Gas Chamber / Cold Blood

The catch is that you can't actually buy it in the shops, unless you
happen to be in Swindon where it can be bought from Virgin Megastore
and The Beehive (which apparently is a pub). Other branches of Virgin
haven't heard of it, by the way.

However, there is an address on the CD:
  The Refugees
  c/o The Beehive Public House
  55 Prospect Hill
  SN1 3JS

Mine cost 8.50 UK pounds, which by my definition is a bargain...
I'm not sure what they're charging officially though, so I'd
suggest writing and asking (and sending a SAE/IRC to get a
reply wouldn't be a bad idea) first.

These details are also now on the Shriekback web site, see my
signature (below) for the address.

Buy this CD! Better than buying Gregsy on a Mark Owen CD by miles...

|_) |_  * |    Me:
|   | ) | |    Then for Shriekback add: shrkindx.html
===========    Or for Gang Of Four: gof/gof_indx.html


From: Huw Davies <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 15:15:06 GMT0BST
Subject: Straight in at number 340
Message-ID: <64380833F02@PARKLA1S.CF.AC.UK> (Mark Fisher) wrote:

>There's a book out called something like "The Virgin Guide to the
>1000 Best Albums" - a guide for the perfect record collection. I
>flicked through it in the shop yesterday, and noticed XTC storming
>in at number 340 with Oranges and Lemons.
>It recently dawned on me that O&L is XTC's worst album. Does anyone
>agree with me, or have I gone mad?

I too have recently seen this book. Considering that it's a top 1000
XTC were bound to get in there somewhere. However, the top end of the
list is depressingly predictable. Can anyone explain to me why "The
White Album" is always held in such high regard? I mean, it has it's
great moments, but I don't think it really amounts to much as a
whole. Anyway, I think the reason O&L is the only XTC entry in the
book is because it's one of their best selling albums and also
because of the slight American slant that the book has. Perhaps
"Skylarking" or "Black Sea" would have been more likely entries from
a music critic's point of view, but who cares really. Lists like this
are usually pointless anyway, as, I think, are discussions of whether
O&L is XTC's worst or best album. All XTC albums are good enough to
be at least someone's favourite.

Although "Oranges & Lemons" is not my favourite of XTC's albums I do
have a lot of affection for it as it was the album that introduced me
to XTC. I bought it for 50p at a second-hand record store.
Restrospectively, it was the bargain of a lifetime.

Huw Davies


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 13:10:58 -0500
From: xychq <>
Organization: INFINITY INC





AUDI, xychq


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 17:59:27 -0500
From: Michael Versaci <>
Organization: Stormy Monday Enterprises
Subject: Dominic & Phil


>From a few issues back,  our very own Rex Reed wannabe Dominic Lawson

>It co-starred the spew-inducing Phil Collins
>(whose new album title "Hits" must be the ultimate in telling anagrams - a
>bad joke, but a necessary one), a thespian titan in his own bigoted and
>imagination-free brain, as some kind of "crook" (fellow Brits will confirm
>how implausible this casting was for the diminuitive, cash-loving

Granted, Phil Collins has made some records that were in poor taste.
He also happens to be a brilliant and influential drummer, a good
singer, and has written some fine songs.  I recommend that you listen to
Genesis' first album after the departure of Peter Gabriel, "A Trick Of
The Tale" to find just how capable a musician the man is before you
dismiss him as being "spew-inducing" and "imagination-free".  (By the
way, do you listen to Phil before you sit down to write to

In fact, I'd wager that no matter what it is you do that you take pride
in Mr. Lawson, whether it is writing, singing, playing an instrument,
flaming Harrison Sherwood, reading Dr. Seuss books to under-privileged
hamsters, giving enemas to overweight, retired steel workers, whining
about the price of "Song Stories", accusing Americans of abusing our
credit cards, informing the writers and readers of this newsletter of
our lack of hipness because we don't listen to rap, or congratulating
yourself for being the clever, acerbic wit that you so obviously fancy
yourself to be, whatever that thing is,  you will never be as good at it
as Phil Collins is at making music.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 23:06:13 +0000
From: Phil Hetherington <>
Subject: Volume 2

Adam Tyner posted this in 5-15:

>Here's a very nice article.  I'd post the URL, but it's one of those
>atrociously long ones...
>XTC Continues As A Duo With Pair Of 'Apple' Albums
>* ------------------------------------------------------------------------
>(11/10/98, 12 p.m.) - The title of the first album in seven years by
>British popsmiths XTC, scheduled for release on TVT Records in January
>1999, will be Apple Venus Volume One.

All I can say is, argh! They _can't_ seriously be proposing calling
them Vol.1 and Vol.2, can they? That's such an ugly and unimaginitive
set of titles, and besides, the two albums aren't going to have
anything much in common.

Based on the lyrics-of-previous-album thing (and my very hazy
memory of those demos I've heard), I would suggest something
like one of these:

- Push Your Car
- Sunflower (actually, that would be a great album title)

Or of course, the one most guaranteed to boost sales:

- Nipple (to be marketed as "XTC's Nipple", obviously)

Well, someone had to.
|_) |_  * |    Me:
|   | ) | |    Then for Shriekback add: shrkindx.html
===========    Or for Gang Of Four: gof/gof_indx.html


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 14 Nov 1998 23:14:31 -0500
From: David Oh <>
Subject: cumming out!

awaken you chalkers, my cyber-name is david oh (a.k.a. stick) & i live in
toronto, canada. i've been lurking on the web & @ chalkhills for a few
years & now i'm ready 2 declare my longtime love of xtc 2 the world @ large.
or @ least, 2 all u other chalkhillers out there.

i 1st picked up drums & wires upon its release, in 1979 & have been lucky
enuf 2 have seen them twice. 1st, @ massey hall (in t.o., 2300 seats) on
10 march 1980 & then @ the masonic temple (a.k.a. the concert hall, t.o.,
approx. 1500 capacity) on 18 october, 1980. brilliant live band!

i possess a few items that would interest many xtc fans. 2 items r
viciously guarded by me; a black sea tour programme (not 4 sale @ any
price!) & andy's autograph (ditto!). i also have an extensive vinyl
(albums, 12" & 7" singles) & cd collection of the lads. i also have
sumthing that very few fans have seen b4

r u ready? @ both concerts i was able 2 get a camera in2 the shows. so,
yes, i have some original, unpublished photos of xtc in concert. sum of
them r quite excellent, if I do say so myself. just 1 problem, tho

all of the pix r presently in slide format. I don't have a scanner (nor
know of anyone who possesses said item as well) & i am unsure of how 2
convert the images from slides in2 bits & bytes! also, as i said, these r
my original photos & i have sum concerns about copyright issues (among
other unmentionable issues! - oh, nevermind).

oh, 4 the love of dogs, can sum1 assist me? Tell me how 2 get the images
in2 the digital domain? no, i will not mail/give them out as they r, but if
i can convert them, i'll b sure 2 share with all.

anyroad, if u got answers, i got questions please do not flood my email
box with junk, serious inquiries only, thank u!

ciao 4 now, stick


Message-ID: <>
From: "Sebastien Maury" <>
Subject: The Man, The Legend
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 04:01:55 PST

There are a number of reasons I love Australia. Paul Culnane is one.
What a legend.


Message-ID: <>
From: Dean Martucci <>
Subject: The band (and t-shirt) Seagulls Screaming KHKH
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 10:07:16 -0800

>> From: Martin van Rappard <>
> Seagulls Screaming Kiss Her Kiss Her Pink Soda 7" --
> Has anyone ever heard them?

Yes. About 2 years ago they played in San Francisco at the Kilowatt club.
Their lineup consisted of two women fronting and a guy on drums: Aiha
(guitar & vocals), Nao (bass) & Takape (drums). Not bad - your basic
Howling Wolf riffs, done with alternative attitude. Kim Deal-esque. But as
far as I can hear, there's no XTCness to their music.

After their set, I asked Aiha about the band name. She apologized that she
actually didn't know much about XTC - their manager had given them the
name.  Ooooh-kay.  But she also said she was impressed by how many XTC fans
were coming to see their shows.  Maybe that manager wasn't so goofy after

They also had t-shirts done up for this '96 tour. The song title/band name
done in a psychedelic, swirling-smoke pattern; the smoke wafting up from a
tobacco pipe. Hey, ask the manager what its' supposed to mean...

If someone has an interest, I can scan it for you; just ask off-list. Or,
if you must own one of these shirts, try their fan club address (although I
haven't a clue if it's still valid):

Seagull Fanclub:
"Super Model"
7-S-2-345 Funabashi
Setagayaku, Tokyo, JAPAN 156

Thank you Paul C. and Mark S. for sharing the full transcript of the phone
interview with Andy!

       Dean Martucci       <"}))><
      San Mateo,  CA


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 17:10:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Cheryl <>
Subject: Rebirth

Hey everyone!

I'm back!  I'm back!  I'm so excited!  I've missed
Chalkhills terribly.  I'm in the process of trying to
catch up.  Seems like there was lots to talk about in
my absence.  Isn't that always the case.  Murphy's
law or something like that.

I've been thumbing through Songs and Stories, taking
little tidbits here and there...  prolonging it that
much longer.  Welp, I suppose I should get down into
those digests so I can catch up on the latest talk

Anyone out there know when the release date is set
for the first of the new albums?  If someone could
clue me in. E-mail private so as not to bore the
others.  I'm sure if I dig around in the digests I
would find this info but I'm just being lazy at the

Take care all,


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 15 Nov 1998 20:49:01 EST
Subject: Re: ELP

>Alright, I know everyone's sick to death of me doing this, but yes, I
>need some help figuring out a song I can't get out of my head. I think
>it's called "C'est La Vie". (No, not the ELP or Robbie Nevil versions.)

Oops. I really should read those posts more carefully.


Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 15:06:21 +0000
From: SEBASTIEN MAURY 02 9950 3315 <>
Subject: Lozenges in heaven...

Look, I hate to bring up the hoary old question of "which album is the best"
etc, etc (and I'm not going to provide the answer, simply because there IS
no best, simply what I prefer, or what Mark Fisher prefers and so on), but I
do need to put in a personal plea for what is, possibly, after all, my
favourite XTC album...
I am loath to take issue with Mark Fisher, because he shares both first and
surname with the person who first got me interested in music!  Still, I find
in Oranges and Lemons such a wealth of extraordinary lyrics, fascinating
harmonies, glorious and disturbing melodic sensibilities and frankly, over
the top production that I can't help but fall head over heels in love with
it. I should show my hand I suppose. Born 1971. First exposure to Top 40 pop
in 1979 or 1980. Earliest pop memories Soft Cell's "Tainted Love", Elton
John's A Single Man album, Billy Joel's "It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me", and
Adam Ant and his Ant Music. Pretty standard fare, I have to admit. Although
my first vinyl purchase WAS a pair of Beatles albums, so I guess there was
some hope.  First XTC album:Oranges and Lemons (Ah ha, say all the cynics in
unison), although I think most people would identify with a fondness for the
first installment of anything that one has liked in the past. Gawn, admit
it. I actually have to thank Sydney radio station JJJ for my first intro to
XTC, and interestingly enough, I now work for the very organisation that
includes JJJ (the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ie the
government). XTC doesn't get a huge playing on JJJ, being government run,
it's poorly funded, and being national, it tends to focus on new music, much
of it Australian. And let's face it, there hasn't been a hell of a lot of
new music coming our way from Swindon town lately. Still I was listening a
few days ago to a kid DJ who I thought was a total dork who couldn't seem to
string a sentence together, let alone appreciate cool music, when he blew me
away by announcing that his favourite music group website was Chalkhills. It
came in the middle of a discussion with an author of a new book on musical
websites. Chalkhills doesn't figure, although the author suggested it may go
in volume 2 (!).

Which is a long-winded, gasbaggy, cirumlocutious way of saying how much I
love O&L. I do think it a great shame that producer (or someone) felt moved
to use bloody synth brass in Miniature Sun-certainly diminishes the song for
me. And in the end, I don't think XTC make "worst albums". Most of what they
do is so far ahead of the mediocrity that fills most radio play lists that
you can't help but wonder at the sheer splendour of XTC, despite fate,
record companies and indifferent sales.

On another note, does Song Stories include lists of British and US chart
positions for XTC singles and albums? If not, are these available anywhere?
I think I'm right in saying that The Disappointed was their first top ten
hit in Australia (please prove me wrong; I hope they've had many!!!).

Thanks again to Paul, the legendary Canberran, and to 2RDJ-FM for 3 hours of
bliss last Wednesday. All those who didn't hear it, sell your bodies to get
a tape (although sadly, not from me, as the first 30 mins is inaudible due
to furious static-it's a community station, not exactly high-powered).

Phew, what a novel. Flames due to boredom understandably accepted.
Cheers, Seb.


End of Chalkhills Digest #5-16

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