Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-163

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 163

                  Tuesday, 6 April 1999

Today's Topics:

          good news on the box set front (sorta)
                    Alright already...
           New reviews up--Prindle review site
       re Sgt. Pedant and his lonely history lesson
                        XTC videos
                 I'd like that (for one)
         Live At The World Cafe - Listen - Part 2
                   Music to massage by
                  XTC on Billboard chart
             Review of AV1 in Daily Nebraskan
                   Re: music theory 101
             RE: Your Dictionary/Billy Bragg
                  MOST RIDICULOUS SONG?
               NEW Yazbek Tour Dates 4/6/99
                       Re: Cyclists
                  Austin's SxSW web site
                   Dear God Only Knows
                      Organic Music
      Easter Theatrics, or Too Much Time on my Hands
                  Testimonial Dinner...
                    XTC & Syncopation


    To UNSUBSCRIBE from the Chalkhills mailing list, send a message to
    <> with the following command:


    For all other administrative issues, send a message to:


    Please remember to send your Chalkhills postings to:


    World Wide Web: <>

    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

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

No chain of office and no hope of getting one.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1999 20:38:41 -0400
From: james isaacs <>
Subject: good news on the box set front (sorta)

Hello, all,
Just a warning that this has no direct XTC content, but it is important
On May 18th, there will finally be a Captain Beefheart Box Set, titled
"Captain Beefheart and his Magic Band Grow Fins" (or something to that
I will be waiting in line for that one, which will be 5 disks, mostly
unreleased stuff, if my sources are correct.
Something to keep me occupied until AV2.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 05 Apr 1999 20:37:56 -0700
From: KenL <>
Subject: Pepperland


My Sgt. Peppers?  Hmm.  If this thread is about albums that just blew
your mind and led you into a realm of musical obsessions, there are
many.  But the most important of all follow:

Singles going Steady---The Buzzcocks---the album that turned me on to
"punk rock".  I strongly recommend everything they ever did til 1981 but
the strongest whole album is oddly this collection of singles.  Buy this
or die

This Year's Model---Elvis Costell0---The first EC song I ever heard was
probably "Watching the Detectives" but when I heard "I Don't Want to Go
to Chelsea" I was obsessed.  I had a friend who was visiting England buy
me the import version of the album and I just went berserk gobbling up
everything he ever put out...which back in those days was a lot.  Up to
three albums a year at one point.  I've seen him live more than 15
times.  He is god to me.  Although god's recent albums have been a
little less godlike.  The Columbia Years(1977-1984) were huge for me.  I
even quoted him in my High School Yearbook. "Sometimes I think that Love
is Just a tumor.  You've got to cut it out."  How true.

Abbey Road/The White Album---Abbey Road and Sgt. Pepper itself got me
into the Beatles at a very early age.  And we're talking like 4 years
old.  I found my hippy uncles copies and played them until they were
ruined. I then ruined the replacements.  Later in life I would
rediscover the Beatles through the White Album.  I think the random
nature of both these records appeals to me.

Are We not Men? We Are Devo---Devo---I heard Uncontrollable Urge and I
was hooked.  I was so into Devo from 8th thru 12th grade.  I think Duty
Now For the Future is probably better
but this one opened the door.  For those who think Devo is only Freedom
of Choice.  Go deeper.  They were years ahead of their time.  Maybe if
they hadn't sang about potatoes, they would have been bigger.

Monkees---1st album thru Pisces, Aquarius, Capricorn and Jones---this is
cheating on a grand scale but honestly they all blend together for me.
A friend of mine's uncle had given him all of his Monkees albums and he
didn't care.  So he loaned them to me.  I had always been a fan from the
tv show but could never find the records.  It was a year before I
returned them.  In recent years they were finally reissued with several
volumes of great unreleased material.  During these reissues I focused
in on Headquarters, which is their best album I think.  Pisces a close
second.  There was a year in the 90's when all I did was listen to them
and the Jam.  Speaking of which...

The Jam---All Mod Cons/This is the Modern World---A friend played this
is the Modern World for me in 10th grade and although they were slow to
grip me, the Jam would become one of my biggest obsessions.  All Mod
Cons is the best whole album IMHO but just about everything they ever
did is brilliant.

Los Lobos---Kiko---I've never recovered from my first exposure to Kiko
and the Lavender Moon.  It's a strange collage of styles.  Beautiful yet
clangy...probably why Mitchell Froom's name often pops up as an XTC
producer suggestion.

Lush----Gala and Spooky---again two albums but they might as well be

Clannad---Legend---the soundtrack to the 1980's Robin Hood tv series.
My Celtic Sgt. Pepper.

and lastly but not leastly...if I could pick only one.(Which was
probably what you were supposed to do for this thread)....

XTC---English Settlement---Generals and Majors was my first XTC pop
thrill but Black Sea was an acquired taste for me.  The songs seemed too
long.  And what was up with that Living Through Another Cuba?  What the
hell was that?  Another friend was obsessed with Love at First Sight.
He once played it ten times in a row when I was at his house.  Gradually
I got into the whole album...but the true explosion came with English
Settlement.  That album just swallowed me whole.  Right at a time when I
realized to my heartbreak, that no matter how nice you were, and how
hard you worked, the girl you liked would go out with your best friend.
The job you wanted went to someone's relative or somebody the boss
wanted to f***.  And that in all your hurry, you'd accidentally locked
the gate.




Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 03:34:37 EDT
Subject: Alright already...

I promised myself I wouldn't do this (being notorious for hating non-XTC
content), but here's a few of my "Sgt. Pepper's."  These are in the order I
discovered them.
1.  Captain Fantastic and the Brown Dirt Cowboy -- Elton John
2.  Alive -- Kiss
3.  Abbey Road -- The Beatles
4.  Discovery -- ELO
5.  Drums and Wires -- XTC
6.  The Yes Album -- Yes
7.  Discipline -- King Crimson
8.  Warehouse -- Husker Du
Nothing has really blown me away since that last one.  I must be getting
BTW I have decided that the best (and probably only) way for XTC to have a
serious hit is for some smart director/producer to feature one of the songs
as a recurring theme in a hit movie or TV show, a la "I don't wanna wait"
by Paula Cole.  (Yeah, I know she bites, but it was the best example I
could think of.)  What do the rest of you think?

Chris W

"I have been misunderstood by you a**holes for the last time"
-- Anonymous suicide note


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 00:40:06 -0700
From: Rich Bunnell <>
Subject: New reviews up--Prindle review site

Hey all. Earlier I shamelessly advertised my XTC review page on Mark
Prindle's Record Review Site at and now I'm once again
shamelessly advertising the page because of the fact that I've finally
posted reviews of Rag & Bone Buffet and of course, the almighty AV1.

If you go there to check them out, be sure to send reader comments as
well to be posted on the page--it helps the page grow since it's an
interactive site. Thanks!

* ----------------------------------------------
Rich Bunnell or "Taoster Man"--No, it's not a typo
"I'm tired of being a wannabe league bowler! I wanna be a league
bowler!" -Homer Simpson
"Take all the trouble that you can afford, at least you won't have time
to be bored!" -Midnight Oil, "Power And The Passion"


From: (Gary Thompson)
Subject: re Sgt. Pedant and his lonely history lesson
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 11:16:18 +0100
Message-ID: <000001be8016$83fbb6a0$>

Chris Vreeland wrote, in his otherwise very good post, that the reason for
Sgt. Pepper's importance was 'It was the approach to the recording concept
that made the record unique at the time. For the first time, a record was
not merely a means of reserving the original work of art, a collection of
songs. Rather, the recording itself became the work of art. The Beatles
(arguably, I'm sure) were the first recording artists to treat the magnetic
tape itself as a canvas, painting with sounds the way Jackson Pollack flung
paint. '
I'm going to argue. Brian Wilson 'arguably' was the first rock musician to
do this with 'Pet Sounds', an acknowledged ( by Paul McCartney & George
Martin ) influence on Sgt Pepper. Wilson used orchestral instruments,
unusual percusssion, and the usual rock instrumentation ( albeit
unconventionally ), and created a masterpiece - all of which ( arguably )
hangs together in a way which Sgt. Pepper doesn't i.e. the songs are
uniformly excellent, the performances exemplary, and the recording quality
even today is wonderful.

'We won't be told the past was pure gold
We were there and it wasn't'
Paddy McAloon


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 08:52:56 -0400
From: "TOM GRIFFIN" <>
Subject: XTC videos

OK - Just to interject something completely stupid (but fun) on this list.
I'd like to ask everyone what their favorite and least-favorite XTC videos
are.  I'll start...

Favorite:  "Mole from the Ministry" - If you haven't seen this one yet,
you're missing out big time.  I still roll on the floor laughing every time
I see it.  But, before you see it you must see the Beatles "Strawberry
Fields" video as well as "Magical Mystery Tour".  Then you can truly
appreciate "Mole".  2nd choice: "King for a Day" (even though I don't like
the song very much).

Least-Favorite:  Now this is tough.  they've done so many stinkers.  Even
though it's not a traditional promo video I'd have to go with "The Man Who
Sailed Around His Soul".  I know it was from a TV program, and not an
MTV-style video.  But, I think those dancers are putrid.  And, that quick
shot of that cat?  What was that?  (Oh well, I've never seen the TV program
- so I guess I have no context)

Anyway, there are my choices.  I'd love to hear everybody else's.



Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 06:11:44 -0700 (PDT)
Message-Id: <v01510106b32fb95b1d33@[]>
From: (Mark Fisher)
Subject: I'd like that (for one)

>Had Mr Partridge written a song called "River of Lettuce" where he
>instructs us all to '..push the steak from your plate.." no doubt this
>mailing list would be chock full of earnest 5-page dissertations
>about the merits of vegetarianism.

>with respect,

>Adrian Ransome

Of course they would. What is your point? That we shouldn't discuss the
content of XTC's records?

- Mark


Message-ID: <>
From: "Hank Tomczak" <>
Subject: Live At The World Cafe - Listen - Part 2
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 09:32:48 -0400

I wrote:

>I've posted the World Cafe interview in Real Audio at:


>It's an excellent interview - Andy making fun of my great state of New
>Jersey! I've cut the music out to decrease the download - no in-studio -
>just album cuts anyway.

My apologies to all - my initial upload of this file appeared to be
damaged - sometimes the download worked - sometimes it did not. I do not
know why. Anyway, it should now be OK. Please bear with me and give it a
second chance. I know it's a 7MB download and that can be a bear over a
28/56 K modem but the interview is worth it. I tried encoding it at a lower
bitrate but was not happy with the quality.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 09:48:35 -0400
Subject: Music to massage by
From: "Eddie O'Hare" <>

My own evangelism story:

I go for a massage about every other week, and have been obliging to allow
the therapist to select her own new-age type background music since I
started with her about six months ago. A couple of weeks ago, I took AV1
and popped it in the player, since I found it to be quite soothing.

Halfway through, she said she really liked it, and replayed a couple of
cuts (which was nice, since it had the added benefit of extending my
session time). When I made my next appointment, she said, "Hey, bring that
CD with you again."

Being the good evangelist, I bought her a copy of her own and gave it to
her. Yesterday, she told me she has played it about 50 times and still
can't get enough if it. She's played it while massaging others and about
five people who hadn't heard of XTC before asked for the name of the album
and the group so they might get a copy.

At her office yesterday, one of her friends arrived as I was leaving. She
introduced me as the guy who turned her on to XTC! Her friend said, "Wow,
that is a great album. I bought a copy and have been listening to it all
week while at the gym."

Of course, I ran out to the car and gave my therapist my old non-MFSL copy
of O&L to have, in hopes of burying the hook even deeper within her and her

We gotta do our bit to convert people one at a time.



Message-Id: <v03102800b32f4af943a8@[]>
Date: Mon, 5 Apr 1999 22:42:57 -0700
From: Richard Pedretti-Allen <>
Subject: XTC on Billboard chart

XTC inched it's way up to 48th from 52 this week, ten years ago with
Oranges And Lemons.

The international leader in the critic's choice category releases Apple
Venus Volume 1 and can't get above 100?!

There is no justice!


I don't listen to AVv1 at home any more.  Miles, our 3 year old abecedarian
is very keen on picking up ANYTHING from anyone willing to spell to him.
This makes "Your Dictionary" a potentially troublesome song.  "F-U-C-K, is
that how you spell not welcome at grandma's house?"

He'll learn those words and concepts soon enough.  No logic in hastening
_those_ lessons.  There are plenty of other things... like his musical
training which includes doppler effect, phase cancellation, centrifugal
force, decibels and additive synthesis.

What does centrifugal force have to do with music, you ask?  Centrifugal
force is what causes him to lose his plectrum when doing Pete Townsend
windmill strums on his mini-Strat!

Next weeks lesson:  Counteractive tensions (or how to bend the neck to
achieve a vibrato effect).

All during May he'll be listening to early XTC and working through an echo
unit wailing "Compli-compli-compli-cated-compli-cated-cated-cated" and
"Snippin it-snippin it-snippin it" for the next tribute.

Cheers, Richard


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 12:45:44 -0500
From: Peter Mullin <>
Subject: Review of AV1 in Daily Nebraskan

Our campus newspaper published a review of (at least some of) Apple Venus
Vol. 1 today (written by Opinion Editor Cliff Hicks; see

I just though I'd pass along some of the juiciest bits:

Regarding 'River of Orchids': "...begins with the sound of dropping water.
Then plucking strings meander in, horns start to flutter and gradually more
and more instruments start to fill in the sound, as Partridge's soothing
voice rolls across the tune..."  I love thinking of Mr. Partridge's voice
as "soothing"!

More on vocals: "A lot of the time, it seems like Partridge is the only one
in XTC, which actually makes 'Knights in Shining Karma' such a pleasant
listen. But this track, which holds only a simple electric guitar and
Moulding's almost lullaby voice..."  Oops.

And finally (and most egregiously): "On the flip side, however, 'Fruit Nut'
has spoiled and long-since gone bad and should have been struck from the
album long before it saw release"

Ah, least someone in Nebraska is listening to this recording
(Mr. Hicks did give AV1 an overall grade of "B") and maybe this'll tempt
some of the more adventurous to investigate further.

Peter Mullin
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Nebraska-Lincoln


Subject: Re: music theory 101
Organization: Harmonix Musick Systems
From: (Dan Schmidt)
Date: 06 Apr 1999 14:49:25 -0400
Message-ID: <> (Phil Smith) writes:

| Re: the questions about River of Orchids & Greenman - it always amazes
| me how many different responses these kind of questions get; almost
| makes you believe the answers are subjective!


| Sorry - this wasn't a multiple choice question...

You sure?

| From the posts I've read, I've only seen one person get it right on
| River of Orchids - sorry I've got primitive WebTV so I can't go back
| & credit the right person, but he/she pointed out how each section
| of the vocals in ROO begins on beat 2, 3 or 4 (never on 1) over the
| recurring accompaniment.

My hearing of the song is that the vocal phrases tend to start on 1.
I'm sure it's possible to hear it other ways as well, but I'm not sure
how you can prove that this hearing is invalid.

Here's my hearing of the two-bar phrase (make sure you have a
monospaced font):

      1     2     3     4     1     2     3     4
 str  D     F#    B           A  G  F# E  G  F# E  C
 bass    C        G        C        A        B

| (Incidentally, I can't quite understand how River of Orchids
| qualifies as minimalism, a la Philip Glass or Steve Reich; my
| understanding of minimalism is repetitive phrases which slowly
| evolve, often with just a note or two changing every 'X' bars. Back
| in the LP days, you could take a Glass orReich record, drop the
| needle at several places along the record, & hear dramatically
| different music. Then you could listen to the piece straight through
| & hear how it gradually moves from one idea to the next. In
| contrast, once River of Orchids reaches the first vocal line, the
| accompaniment is static & doesn't evolve any further.

That reaction strikes me as a little disingenous.  While River of
Orchids doesn't follow those sorts of processes typically found
in minimalist music, the surface texture is quite Reichian.  In
particular, the song bears an strong resemblance to the last
movement of Reich's orchestral work The Four Sections (which spends
almost three minutes building up the texture without developing
anything, incidentally).

| On to Greenman - the bassoon-like lick at the start begins on 2. The
| two bar rhythm is:
| Beat 1 (rest)
| Beat 2 (2 8th notes)  (F#, G)
| Beat 3 (2 8th notes)  (D, F#)
| Beat 4 (Quarter note, tied to...)  (G)
| Beat 1 (...this quarter note)
| Beat 2 (2 8th notes)  (F#, G)
| Beat 3 (2 8th notes)  (D, F#)
| Beat 4 (quarter note)  (G)
|        (or Beat 4 could be interpeted as a 8th note followed by an 8th
| note rest)

I hear the quarter notes as being twice as slow as you have them (so
the first note is played on the "and of one", and the pulse of the
bassoon is 16th notes).  If I think of a quarter note as being as
short as you have it, the whole song has a weird double-time feel.

By the way, the best place to hear the bassoon riff in context is at
3:50 (where almost everything drops out for the "Lay your head" part).

| To my knowledge, the entire song "Greenman" is in 4/4.


| And my vote for the hardest part of AV to transcribe - the 'distant
| piano' chords before the last verse of "The Last Balloon." What is
| that last chord?

If you mean the chords at 2:30, I hear the sequence as this, reading
from left to right, higher notes above lower notes (make sure you have
a monospaced fon, againt):

  G  A A# C#  E D  D Eb
          B     C      \
          F#    F       Gb
  C       B     Bb      Bb

I may be missing a couple notes, or hearing some ghost ones (particularly
the tenor voice), but that's basically it.

| If you know, please let me know - also, how you determined what it
| was!

I just have a good ear and absolute pitch.

                 Dan Schmidt ->,
Honest Bob & the      
Factory-to-Dealer Incentives ->
          Gamelan Galak Tika ->


Message-Id: <>
Date: 06 Apr 99 15:09:00 -0400
From: Jennifer Ralston <>
Subject: RE: Your Dictionary/Billy Bragg

Huw Davies wrote about Billy Bragg:

>"The Short Answer" from the album Workers Playtime
>which can be said to be an equally bitter song about
>the break up of a relationship. It also contains the line
>"Between Marx and Marzipan inthe dictionary there was
>Mary". It's also a very personal song as it was indeed
>about Billy Bragg's relationship with a woman named Mary.

Wow! Not being a BB fan (sorry) I didn't know this, but if
someone has the lyrics to this song can they please send them
to me? I know Mary from years ago; her sister was my best
friend in high school & so I knew the whole weird BB saga.

(Assuming this is the same Mary!)


Message-Id: <s70a19c7.042@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 14:26:55 -0600
From: "Steve Oleson" <Steve.Oleson@OAG.STATE.TX.US>

Ah, Nicole!!! Baring your soul so provocatively!
You showed me yours, so I'll show you mine...
I love "Afternoon Delight" and "On and On".

Forgive me Jill! It didnt mean anything to me.

Steve Oleson
Aus10, Tejas


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 12:36:04 -0700
Subject: NEW Yazbek Tour Dates 4/6/99
From: "Jillian Jenkins" <>

Hi there Yazbek fans!
I just wanted to make sure you all know about Yazbek's upcoming tour dates.
Show your support and go check him out!

***NOTE April's show is now on Friday istead of Thursday and starts at 10:00
instead of 9:00.

Jillian Jenkins
What Are Records?

4/30  Fri.     New York, NY    Baby Jupiter's 10:00PM   $5.00  21+
5/27  Thurs.   New York, NY    Baby Jupiter's 9:00PM   $5.00  21+
6/24  Thurs.   New York, NY    Baby Jupiter's 9:00PM   $5.00  21+


From: "john gray" <>
Subject: Re: Cyclists
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 20:49:47 +0100
Message-Id: <E10Ubs5-0002S4-00@tantalum>

>I used to love how most bikers wave at
> each other as they pass.  Bicyclists don't do this for
> some reason, boo hoo.
Whatwhatwhatwhatwhat?????? I do a bit (not enough) of bicycle
touring, and we are a pretty close bunch .
We wave , we have time to say hello at the speed we travel, we stop and
chat, we help each other out - I stopped and donated a spare brake cable to
a struggling German girl on a trip last year .

Apologies to non-cycling readers looking for the XTC connection - but
I feel a little better now .

John Gray


Message-ID: <900822C71730D2118D8C00805F65765C4E36C4@EINSTEIN>
From: Jill Oleson <>
Subject: Austin's SxSW web site
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 15:28:12 -0500

For several weeks each March, Austin, Texas, USA hosts
the annual South by Southwest (SxSW) Film, Music and
Interactive Conference.  This is an international event that
focuses on cutting-edge technology and creativity with special
emphasis on contemporary music by unsigned musicians
looking to get a recording contract.

Since the event has been mentioned numerous times in
Chalkhills, I thought supplying a link to their website would
be welcome:

The site looks a rather dead right now since the 1999 conference
just ended a couple of weeks ago, still I think it might be of
interest.  You might want to bookmark the site so you can check
it later to see what special events the 2000 conference might contain.

If you decide to attend next year's conference and want to get
together with the ever-hip-and-happenin' Austin Chalkers, let one
of us know.  We've been known to drink Guinness here too--
though a frozen margarita swirl has its own unique appeal.

Jill Oleson
Austin, Texas


From: "Michael Versaci" <>
Subject: Dear God Only Knows
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:00:11 -0400
Message-ID: <000001be8070$7690b4c0$>


Ben forthatmattered:

>For that matter, "Wouldn't It Be Nice?" and "God Only Knows" blow much of Sgt.
>Pepper's, if not all of it, out of the water in terms of songwriting.

Lennon & McCartney have never been "blown-out-of-the-water in terms of
songwriting" by anyone.

Michael Versaci


From: "Michael Versaci" <>
Subject: Organic Music
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 15:43:36 -0400
Message-ID: <000001be8065$c367bb00$>


Sunday was Easter.  It was a couple of hours before dinner, and "Easter
Theater" was playing in my head.  I decided to put the album on and hear it
for real.

I've probably listened to "AVI" 30 or 40 times and I still find it very
compelling.  I guess what strikes me most about this record (and many other
XTC records) is that the music sounds so organic.  I'm not sure I should be
using this word, because I can't exactly explain what it means.  I can say
that I first used it to describe the music of The Beatles.  Pure, devoid of
gimmickry and contrivance.  "Dear Prudence" from the "White Album" is a
perfect example of what I mean.

"AVI" is organic.  The music is timeless, effortlessly and seamlessly
combining styles and instruments from different musical genres and time
periods.  I don't like the word "pastiche" because I can see the seams.
Beck's (not Jeff) music is  pastiche.  Not that it is bad, but you can
easily break it down into its components.  Not so with "AVI".  The music,
the arrangements, the words, the record, all of it is in harmony and
presents itself as one thing.  This, I believe, is why Andy did not want to
include a lyric sheet.  The words are not meant to be dissected and
analyzed.  They are supposed to be part of the entire experience.

I know that the "lyric police" are quick to criticize lines like:

"And when I say I can't own her
I don't mean to buy her
It's nothing at all to do with money",

but Andy didn't write those lyrics according to any standard save his own.
He is expressing an emotion with the music supporting the words and the
words complementing the music.

"Apple Venus Vol. I." is largely about images and feelings.  Andy has done
"Melt The Guns" and "Scarecrow People", and even included "Your Dictionary"
(against his better judgement) on this record, but, the heart of this album
is not about "exactly", it's about "roughly" and "approximately".  After
all, it is art, not editorial.

The point was driven home to me on Easter Sunday.  I was sitting in the
living room, listening to the record.  My first moment of epiphany was
during "Harvest Festival".  I've never had a "headmaster" nor have  I ever
been to a "Harvest Festival", and yet I got chills because it felt like a
memory.  I can assure you that this would not have been the case had I been
reading the lyrics.  The second time was during "The Last Balloon".  My 9
year-old daughter came into the room and saw me sitting there listening to
the end of "Harvest Festival".  Without a question or even a word, she
climbed into my lap and rested her head on my shoulder and shut her eyes.
We listened to, or should I say, experienced "The Last Balloon" together.
No words were exchanged, and yet we both fully understood that special
moment.  For a few minutes, we were one with each other and the music.

The song ended and the moment passed, but the memory will remain forever-

Michael Versaci


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 06 Apr 1999 15:14:31 -0700
From: "Dane Pereslete" <>
Subject: Easter Theatrics, or Too Much Time on my Hands

(Don't say that I didn't warn you from the title)

"Dicking around" with Easter Theatre produced these
somewhat amusing anagrams:

see heart treat
the terre at sea
ere she ate tart
the rest are tea
Hearst ate tree    (so true, think of all those newspapers!)
area three test
a street heater
treat thee arse
he a tree taster
tease her treat
thee ear at rest

"These are the only ones
Of which the news has come to Harvard,
And there are many, many others
But they haven't been discovered"

             -Tom Lehrer ("dicking around" with Gilbert & Sullivan)

Logging in from beautiful Glendale, CA  USA
"Bored on a chilly and wet Tuesday"  -or-


Message-ID: <00fd01be807c$c45a39e0$c9d15c90@jay>
From: "Jay" <>
Subject: Testimonial Dinner...
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 17:28:14 -0500

Okay, this is my first post, and I'm declaring that I found XTC through
Testimonial Dinner about 2 years ago.  I bought it because I'm a huge
TheyMight Be Giants fan.  I really enjoy their version of "25 O'Clock"
although I now love the original version as well.  After noticing that
about half the songs from Testimonial came from the album Skylarking, I
bought that as my first XTC CD. I was hooked.  I now own close to all the
albums, and Apple Venus 1 has been in my CD player for weeks.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 6 Apr 1999 19:09:10 EDT
Subject: XTC & Syncopation

Hello Chalkers and Chalkherettes -

This is my longest post, and so be gentle with me.  Yeah, so I spelled the
unabomber's name wrong, and I drive a car because I have to, so what?

The real meat and bones lies ahead!

I proffer the following about Music Theory, XTC, and syncopation:

Please keep in mind, that the trouble with our format is that we don't have
direct interaction between ourselves.  Therefore, our diatribes become
monologues.  This, my fine feathered friends, besides being an
alliteration, is the rub to this technology: it is impersonal, and
limited. So please bear with me...

In order to follow along, without scrolling down and blowing me off, one
should put on a cd of your xtc choice, tie on the xtc musical thinking cap
and join in.

I choose to use the song *Mayor Of Simpleton* for this because of its
construction and generally easy listening vibe.

Listen to or think of *Mayor of Simpleton* now: Hear Andy's guitar in your
head?  Its a riff on 2 and on the 4.  Clap your hands to his guitar riff.
{Or, when you have the chance later, put this song on and try and follow
along is fun, educational, and you will learn quite a bit here!}
Next, find the drum beat.  Then, start counting by tapping your foot down
on each masculine note.  Andy's guitar is on the 2 and the 4.  Think of it
as "one drop" - like the reggae style.  The Drums set the meter on the
first note.

Read some of the lyrics while performing this exercise.

"Well, I don't know how to write a big hit song
And all crossword puzzles well I just shun"

Not more than 4 words fall on the exact notes.  Count the hand claps during
this phrase.

Did I lose anyone?  I counted 9 hand claps.

That means that it is off by one beat...assuming they can keep
time...4/4...should be 8 counts, right?  The ninth is ~ syncopation.  Or
said another way, there are syncopations in each of every single bar, and
they are phrased on the rests or the "breathes" in musical composition.

Its ... the well, and then..  the don't, and then..  the write, and then..
the big, then .. the song..and so on.  Those "and then the's" are the rests
within each measure. Speed it up XTC stylie and you've got quite a measure
going on...

Clap your hands to the meter, which incidently is 4/4 could be 2/4,
but is highly unlikely due to the lyrics.

Defining a tempo of *Four - Four,* as it's called, is tricky.

Its written as 4 over 4.  The top number equals the number of beats per
measure.  And the bottom number represents the count.

Therefore, if its 6 over 8: there are six 8th notes per measure.  And, if
its 3 over 4: there are three quarter notes in a four count beat, and so

Generally, if you can clap on the 2 and 4 and can tap your foot on quarter
notes?  It is 4 over 4.  Thus, *Mayor of Simpleton* is 4/4.

Sidebar here on theory:
The bass clef generally lie below the middle C in the scale, and are
written in the clef, whose two dots enclose the line for F below middle C
(music-babble, which coincidentally was invented in 1600), and the 4
measure treble clef on the same score is in the same "key" as the bass.
Without a clef, a note on a staff has no meaning.  The staff is the lined
bar graph we associate with published music.  Recall?


When you write music for symphony, you start with the piccolo, then the
flute, then oboe, and so on top of the other (at the same chosen
meter).  The last thing written, or scored, is the strings.  The
percussion, ironically, is between the brass and the solos.

Back to the 20th century:
Applied to XTC, and when they 'lay the tracks' in the studio, the producers
take from the score in a particular order.  This was why XTC considered
Todd Rundgren particularly anal about stuff in studio; it had to be in a
certain order.  Drums and guitar solos are almost always near the end of
each songs' *layers,* while the vocals are actually recorded last = the

The ''score" as it were, is the arrangement, one above the other, of all
parts that are to be played together in a musical performance.  Then
there's the meter at which the tempo is set for the score.

In syncopation, cadence is the thing we mostly concern ourselves with.
Cadence is a place to *breathe* in musical composition.  Just as words need
to be formed into phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, so are tones in music
to be grouped into sections.  This is done by planning rhythm, melody and
harmony so as to bring the flow of tones to various kinds of stopping
points - sometimes for a long time, somtimes briefly.  This is the key.
Now, whether Andy and the boys wrote music this way, I don't know.  But,
since the days of Mozart and Beethoven, it's been as above.

Cadences are therefore the focal point of my discussion...(I know, finally
the bugger came to the point)  :)

Cadences signal the end of large and small musical sections.  Without
cadences, music would be like a long stream of words without punctuation
and paragraphing.

Think of Major League Baseball.  When a pitcher "balks" his cadence is a
'beat off' {(pardon the pun....As a young drummer, I played like Phil
Collins/Chester Thompson style, and my band members always said I was "just
a beat off!"  :)} Well, the batter goes to first base because pitcher's
cadence was off, and while he wanted to throw home, his mind said one
thing, and when he attempts to threw the ball back to first, his body did
another.  Get it?

Well, cadence in music works the same.  Rhythm is the most important part
of a cadence.  There is a masculine and a feminine cadence.  The former is
the strong one and the latter is the weak one. (Yeah, I know it's sexist,
but what am I to do about it?)  Cadences are part of the architecture of
music.  Frank Lloyd Wright's architecture has cadences all over the
designs, for example, with his use of a frieze or a relief.

...and about the syncopation Johnny?


This is the accenting of a beat, or, the accenting of a part of a beat that
is normally not given such emphasis.  The accenting of the weak beats
(feminine) ocurr in exotic dance throughout the world, but can be mostly
found in American folk songs and jazz.

Syncopation must always be felt against a normal beat or accent.  A pattern
of steady quarter notes {one, two, three, four = no rests} has no feeling
of syncopation.  As soon as other instruments are added, and are found
where the song breathes, they show where the normal accent is.  That
"breathe" is the syncopation.  It is for this reason that most jazz has a
steady four count pulse under the rest of the patterns, which are

{ Think of *Song Stories,* which song was it that was considered *scored*
in reverse or written upside-down?  Anyone?  The drums were written in
reverse, the snare taking the high-hat line, the bass was in a
countermelody, and so on?  Which one was it? Oh come on everyone.  :)
"You're the wish you are I had."  That song's construction is one form of

The basic idea to syncopation is *not* to accent the heavy beats - the
first and third beats of the measure - but to accent the 2nd and 4th;
beyond this, the player must depend on his physical sensitivity to the true
nature of rhythm.

Earlier I asked you to clap your hands on the second and fourth beat.
Recall?  Why?

Because syncopation on the omission of strong beats happens, for example,
when a group singing a highly rhythmic song clap their hands on the second
and fourth beat.  Think of baptists, for example, swaying in their swagger
of blues, clapping their hands on specific beats while singing a wonderous
tune.  Their clapping on specific beats for a reason.  This is syncopation.

The coolest type is when composers, such as Beethoven and Brahms, put one
meter on top of another, with the resulting combination of accents.  These
composers were particularly fond of this device, bringing a melody in 2/4
or 6/8 time, for example, into a piece which was scored as a 3/4 melody.
Try that with an XTC song?

By far, the best example of that is again "You're the wish you are I had,"
and, "Pink Thing," believe it or not.  Follow along with the words in both
songs.  The last word in a particular versus' phrase both end that verse
and begin another: this is another form of syncopation.

"Pink Thing" actually has two types of syncopation: the meter changes {it
has 2/4, then 6/8, the first bridge is 3/4} and the singing on the 4th and
1st notes in each of the bars.

Also, listen to "Albert Brown," which also has the singing issue at bar.
What is syncopated is the 4th and 1st beats in each bar....the word *Brown*
both ends a phrase and begins another.

So, what have we learned tonight kids?  Start clapping, stomp your feet,
listen for cadence, and find the syncopation.  Incidentally, there are at
least 4 types of this cadence thing...and some of the tougher ones I don't
have a clue about either....these above, were the easy ones :o)

Got it?

Next post:  Chapter 2, in which Pooh meets Alice in the grassy knoll with a
suitcase filled with butterflies and fruit!

John Gardner


End of Chalkhills Digest #5-163

Go back to the previous page.