Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-17

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 17

                Tuesday, 17 November 1998

Today's Topics:

               XTC's universe : The Mabuses
                The damned negro problem!
                       Random Hold
                 Nomenclatural absurdity
                   O&L is not the worst
                        Re: Sloan
                   XTC mentioned on VH1
                 I agree with John McGann
                     Give me a break
                        Me & Phil
                    Re: Pressure Boys
                     Transistor Blast
                 C'est La Vie - Encore !
           Orange you glad I didn't say Lemon?
               Andy Partridge turns purple
                    XTC Survey & O&L!
                  Orangutans & Lemmings
             Re: Unloading an XTC Collection
                    Re: Dominic & Phil
                       O & L Lives!
        O & L "Sucks"? Why, Thou Speaketh Heresy!


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Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 08:53:20 -0800 (PST)
From: pancho artecona <>
Subject: britenglish

Hey there,

have been lurking awhile....finished Song Stories and it was a good
read. I still think Partridge is the Nazz, warts farts and all.
>From all the commotion about "arse vs ass" I thought the book would be
so american friendly as to be fool proof, but, maybe because I am
cuban, there where a couple of phrases I need a little translation on:
1-"Chambers would be a bit of a yob on the quiet" (p113)
2-"you didn't know whether I was taking the piss or not" (p127)
I also liked tha fact that Steve Nye was appreciated by his ability to
fart on order. Any help with the brithishisms will be appreciated.

Also, I have a request. I am not subscribed to the Little Express
mainly because my address has been changing every couple of months due
to educational commitments. I would, however, LOVE to read the
interviews on the latest issue to perhaps get a greater insight into
the whole breakup thing. If anyone could email it to me or copy it I
would be greatly appreciative and willing to make tapes or whatever.
ANy takers please contact me.

Anyhow, reading the book does not spoil my enjoyment of XTC. I really
believe that the fate of the fan is projection so I naturally imbue my
readings of the songs with all kinds of ideas as to what the writer
meant and all, all based on my subjective experience of things. Thus
the inevitable projection. I always did figure Mr. Partridge as a nice
guy with his personal idiosyncracies that can make him 'difficult' at
times, and also a good dad which for whatever reason is important to
me. And while it appears both things are true, I could only really
know if I did get to know Mr. P which means I never will. Oh well. I
do think that he is being extremely generous with the fans by giving
us as much personal information as he has, (can't think of many
artists who have ) and for which I am definitely grateful.
Well, that's enough of that. Any help with translation or the LE
article will be appreciated.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 98 18:05:52 +0100
From: (SOLANS, Frederic)
Subject: XTC's universe : The Mabuses

     Hi Chalkers

     It's my first mail...and I'm for mistakesssssss !!

     1/ the Mabuses

     Anybody here knows what's happen with this band ?
     not really a band but one man named KIM FAHY. A first record (the
     Mabuses) at the begining of 90's, a second (The Melbourn Method) two
     or three years later, + participation in The Egomaniacs (occasional
     band) between the 2 records. In each, Kim Fahy shows a wonderful and
     exentric talent, very close (in my opinion) to the Swindon Boys
     spirit.But no news, no credit, nothing, since the second album.
     Where is this guy ? if anybody knows...

     2/ Yuval Gabay (Soul Coughing drums)

     I saw this terrific drummer on stage last friday in Paris. He was
     already a phenomene (I know it, I saw all Soul Coughing's concert in
     France during the 4 past years), he becomes better, if it's possible.
     And I made a dream : Andy contacts him to work on one of his material.
     Pleasant idea, no ?

     That's all

     Fredo "fat bassman" Solans


Message-Id: <v04003a01b276029b7018@[]>
From: Ken Herbst <>
Subject: The damned negro problem!
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 17:24:58 -0600

Has anyone seen the documentary on
Bravo about the making of George Martin's "In My Life" His last album
(of Beatle songs) recorded with celebrities and friends"? I think they
should rename the album:

"Sir George: Retard Wrangler 2000!"

            or....     "My Name Is George. I'm Sorry. Who Is George?"


                 "A Hard Day's Nightmare On Elm Street: The Wrath Of John."

Seriously, the only song that didn't make my eye spasm was Phil Collins
covering "Carry That Weight".

Horrific Goldie Hawn huffs and haws her way through "A Hard Day's
Night" like a 1-900 Phone Sex Operator, while Sir George jumps up and
down sporting a boner.  Robin Williams sings "Come Together" as  Mork
on qualudes. Jim Carrey, impersonating Jerry Lewis impersonating Moe
from the Three Stooges, sings "I Am the Walrus." Celine Dion, as Jesse
Norman's Aida, covers "Here There &  Everywhere. And Sean
Connery...oh....pleash Dear God....I beg you......pleash.... shtrike

On a more poshitive note....whoever recommended "The Negro Problem"
thank you, thank you, thank you! Post Minstrel Syndrome is a really
good album. I hear shades of Andy P., Steely Dan, even Bob Mould.
Nicely crafted songs, and a full elpee's worth of tunes, too.

Anyone catch Neil Finn on his recent"acoustic" tour? I was sick, and
missed it here in Austin. Which reminds me, there's some art show on
PBS hosted by David Byrne that focuses on a bunch of different
musicians/artists. I read somewhere that one of the shows is on Neil
Finn. If anyone catches the date that this airs please post it here on


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:54:09 +1000
Subject: Random Hold

I hope this hasn't been mentioned already, and I hope this link works for
anyone who wants to check it out. The following is the address for a Random
Hold mailing list, which I found while looking for somthing totally

I didn't actually take a look at this list myself, but it might answer a
few questions that people have been asking about this group.


"The fastest way to a man's heart is through his chest" - Roseanne Arnold.


Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 23:06:24 -0600 (CST)
From: Marshall Joseph Armintor <>
Subject: Nomenclatural absurdity
Message-ID: <>

 <<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.>>

  I'll have to agree with that, but I could've stood it if "Firework"
stuck and they tabbed both dics with "volume" numbers. Ladies and
Gentlemen, XTC's  _Firework Vol. 1_ and _Firework Vol. 2_.  See?
I think it sounds a little better, anyway.  They picked a nice title,
it's alright...although it doesn't sound portentous of anything, and
let's steal a joke from Bono: Dark Side of the Apple Venus. Apple Venus's
Lonely Hearts Club Band.  The Piper at the Gates of the Apple Venus,
hmm...the more I roll it around, the more I like it.
  I was doing some carpentry yesterday listening to Anthology 3, and I
was wondering if anybody else thought XTC could do a really great
bluesy cover of "Cry Baby Cry," one of my five favorite Beatles tunes...


np Django Reinhardt & Stephane Grappelli, Le Quintette Du Hot Club


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 00:03:12 EST
Subject: O&L is not the worst


I totally disagree with that O&L is the worst XTC album.  It was my first
XTC album I bought.  I think that the people are over critical when they say
that this album is over produced.  I can't tell whether or not an album is
overproduced or not, nor do I care.  If the songs sound good I'll like it.
But everybody has their own opinions, and that's fine.

Also, I've changed my homepage.  I was having troubles with Tripod's Page
Builder, so I deleted my homepage.  I built a new one on Angelfire though.
My new URL is:  If you have
any problems please e-mail me at



Message-Id: <l03130302b276b568e4c9@[]>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 00:10:35 -0500
From: Rodney <>
Subject: Re: Sloan

Craig Vreeken says:

>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

And then check out their previous long player _One Chord To Another_.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 16 Nov 1998 22:07:00 -0800
From: Rich/MetalMan <>
Subject: XTC mentioned on VH1

Hey all, I was watching "Rock & Roll Jeopardy" on VH1 (not the best of
shows, but that's not my point) and under the category "Totally 80's"
under the $1000 box, the question (answer, whatever) was "This British
group's biggest hit was 1982's 'Senses Working Overtime.'" Well you can
imagine how surprised I was to see XTC get any VH1 exposure at all, past
"Dear God" being on their A-Z thingie. Of course, none of the stupid
contestants knew who XTC was -- go figure.

  Also, I couldn't help notice that SWO is regarded as a "Totally 80's"
song. Does the song really have much of an 80's feel to it?

Rich Bunnell or "Metal Man," whichever sounds more insane


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 02:59:49 EST
Subject: I agree with John McGann

O&L is fine, fine, fine..
John M., are you out there? Get in touch. We played a bit of music together in
the early 80's and I always wondered what you were up to.


Message-Id: <199811171035.KAA11987@uks447>
Date: 17 Nov 98 10:28:04 +0000
Subject: Give me a break

Michael Versaci wrote <rather a lot about Dominic Lawson> in the last

The thing is, though, Dominic is totally right about Phil Collins.  I have
listened to Trick of the Tale, more than once, God help me. However, I've
also listened to Selling England by the Pound, Nursery Chrymes - do you want
me to go on?  Collins is a complete load of old blx - Rat Scabies of the
Damned is as good a drummer, and more fun to boot.  And under rated, sadly.

BTW - this accusation that Dominic thinks himself to be an acerbic wit is
priceless.  At least he sends himself up about it.  That's part of the joke.

It's called irony - maybe his English sense of humour requires a Babel fish,
which disappoints me considering this is an XTC mailing list.  Ho hum,

Me, I'm not one for self promotional posturing, but I'm sure some of you
like it.  I think it's called 'diversity of opinion', and I'm all for it.
But I like my postings to have a bit of punch and a bit of dry self mockery.
Call me old fashioned, but that's why I like Dom.  And he stirs you up and
upsets you and I like that too.  Sorry to be perverse.  I'd hate it if we
were all anodyne, boring and suffered from an overdose of artifice.

Dom possibly talks as much blx as Harrison on occasion, but so what.  I
don't read Harrison's posts because they don't stimulate my intellect and I
wouldn't watch Independence Day for the same reason. But if it turns some of
you on, fair play to you and I hope he continues to send stuff that people
enjoy reading, even if that excludes me.  So why don't you adopt the same
logic and stop reading Dom's if it upsets you all so much.  Same with mine.
But If you've got this far, too bad.

While I'm about it, here are my personal opinions, like them or lump them.
I think Collins is the biggest load of shite ever.  Andy Lloyd Webber looks
like an ape.  Dave Vanian is a God, Neneh Cherry is a goddess.  Scotland is
the most beautiful country in the British Isles, but the Irish make better
whisky.  Relax and diversify.  Buy a Babel fish now, before you hurt

These are most definitely my own personal opinions and not those of Oracle.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 10:43:14 +0000
From: Dominic Lawson <>
Subject: Me & Phil

Michael says:
>>Granted, Phil Collins has made some records that were in poor taste.

Excuse me, my sides have just split. "Some records"??? "Poor taste"??? I've
already had it pointed out to me that slagging Phil Collins is like throwing
rocks at disabled kids (only more fun), but let's be totally truthful here,
Phil has made LOTS of records that were AWFUL. For "Sussudio" alone, he
deserved nothing less than public execution.

>>He also happens to be a brilliant and influential drummer, a good singer,
and has written some fine songs.

Yes, he's a good drummer. Unfortunately he sings like he's got chronic
constipation, and has written LOTS of songs that were AWFUL. No fine ones,
as far as I am aware.

>>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

Nice try, but I've heard "A Trick of The Tale" (blame my sister) and it's
only marginally less AWFUL than everything Phil and Genesis have done
since. Which is pretty horrendous.

>>(By the way, do you listen to Phil before you sit down to write to

No. What an insane suggestion. I listen to the sound of my own voice, and it
is good.

>>I'd wager that no matter what it is you do that you take pride in
Mr. will never be as good at it as Phil Collins is at making

Well, obviously it's all a matter of taste but personally I think I make far
better music than Phil Collins. I don't know anyone who would disagree.
Obviously I'm no Andy Partridge, and certainly no Ozzy (sing hosannas!) but
compared to Mr Collins I feel like a creative titan. It's not just about how
many records you sell, it's whether or not you suck that matters.

As for the rest of your searing indictment - heard it all before, and most
of it is nonsense. If you payed attention you might actually understand what
I'm on about, but no, you'd rather adopt the traditional knee-jerk pomposity
that precludes anyone from being "off-message". And, for the thousandth
time, I care not whether you are "hip" or not. I'm not that fashionable
myself, and have no desire to be. If you don't like Hip Hop then, IMO, you
are missing out on some truly thrilling music & lyrics. That's all.

A wise man sayeth:
>>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

Therein lies the problem with O&L for me too. Much as I love many of the
songs - and who would dare to suggest that it's not packed with corkers -
that clinical, gleaming 80s production borders on unpleasant at times. After
the warm, pastoral textures (ooh, journo-speak) of "Skylarking", O&L seems
just a little too polished. Besides which, I've got that irritating three
mini-CDs in a not-terribly-convincing cigarette pack thing, and it's
bobbins. Fiddly little things that attract cat hairs like, well, a
cat. Anyway, "Go 2" is the worst XTC album, because it has "My Weapon" on
it. So there.

Right, I'm off to congratulate myself on being a clever, acerbic wit.



Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 06:44:09 -0500
From: "Todd E. Jones" <>
Subject: Re: Pressure Boys

>From: John Irvine <>
>Subject: Lemons, Beats, Presuure Boys

>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?

Ah yes! The P-boys were an 80's band, mostly ska as you pointed out. They
were huge XTC fans, especially Rob Ladd their drummer, who has visions of
playing on an XTC album someday. Lest you think this wistful musing, he has
had many big gigs, including playing several tunes on the first Alanis
Morrisette album. The other guys do various things, such as working at a
local music store (Bryon Settle, guitarist), being a local music producer
(John Plymale, vocalist), selling a record store and moving to New York in
pursuit of a woman (Jack Campbell, bassist and former owner of Poindexter
Records), dying of a heroin overdose (Stacy Guest, trumpet), and going on
to form the Squirrel Nut Zippers (I forget which one!)

There was an intermediate band, the Sex Police, who were fun, but never
IMHO, as good as the P-boys. The SNZipper connection may actually be
attributed to the Sex Police rather than the P-boys, but the lineage is
there. The P-boys released an EP, two LPs and a compilation. They were lots
of fun and reminiscent of Madness, the English Beat, with a little Po-leece
and XTC thrown in for good measure. Great party band.

Keep an eye out for Rob Ladd. He's a helluva mofo on drums, with an
irreverent sense of cruel humor. He may end up playing for the Swindonians

More than you ever wanted to know...

Todd Jones
Manager, Producer, Insect Massage Therapist, Janitor
HUGE sound generation and capture facility
Cape Fear River Basin, NC


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 13:27:40 +0000
Subject: Transistor Blast

Will I be the first Chalkhillian to report that I've got "Transistor
Blast"? I doubt it.

The packaging and booklet are excellent, but I haven't had the chance to
listen to it. It also contains a card that you can return to Cooking Vinyl
to get placed on the XTC Priority Mailing list.

Our Price in Chelmsford have 2 more copies, at 23 UK pounds. If anyone
outside the UK would like them, I guess they will cost about 5 UK pounds for
postage and packing, so e-mail me privately and we'll work out the details
with the current exchange rates.



From: "Bill Curran" <>
Subject: C'est La Vie - Encore !
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 09:41:23 -0500
Message-ID: <005f01be1238$58d42800$>

Amanda sayeth,
> 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.

You're wrong and you're wright !   You are thinking of the Robbie Nevil
song C'est La Vie - 80's dance hit, while the old pharts are thinking of
Greg Lake's C'est La Vie done with E&P. Me, I'm just a lawnmower,
and ELP's song stands the test of time - along the lines of
... Still You Turn Me On and From The Beginning, both have that early
King Crimson feel to them.

O&L a lemon ? Like calling Fish&Chips a Fish, I think. It is Oranges AND
Lemons. Like most XTC elpees.

Bill Curran
SysProg OS390,OS2,WinNT, WIN95


Message-ID: <000d01be1239$f7edb860$f06dcec0@t24806009694.DOA.STATE.LA.US>
From: "John Voorhees" <>
Subject: Orange you glad I didn't say Lemon?
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 08:52:59 -0600

Well, hello again.
Not that I expect anyone to remember me, as I'm a 4 or 5 year refugee from
the list, but it's good to be back.  Thought I'd touch on a couple of quick
I'm not going to delve too deeply into Mark Fisher's O&L slam, but I will
say that I don't think the band have done anything to outshine Skylarking
yet.  Now with all this info about Apple Venus, I'm hoping that the trend
will be emphatically broken, frankly.  Guys, I have never heard this much
about a record 2 months before its release, even when I personally knew the
musicians making it.  (And despite the temptation, no, I _don't_ want to
hear the demos).  It's both exhilirating and frustrating beyond belief!
Between XTC's new one (two), a new blur record and a new friggin' STAR WARS
chapter, I just feel like opening my wallet to the world next year and
saying "Take it, you bastards!"
Making one more swing back to the issue of O&L, Nick Riddle said that it
"whips the arse off anything else I heard that year."  Well, I was a college
DJ that year, and I associate that time with the release of one of my
favorite Elvis Costello albums, Spike.  Call me sentimental...

John Voorhees


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 10:03:45 -0500
From: David Gershman <>
Subject: Andy Partridge turns purple

Howdy Chalk-tillians,

 I'm behind in my Chalkhills reading a bit, so I beg your pardon if this
has already been mentioned...

I was reading a special edition of the Boston Phoenix the other day that
had a special section on the 15th birthday of WFNX, the local commercial
alternative station here (and one of the stations that XTC included on
their acoustic radio tour way back in '89). There's a section within that
where Kurt St. Thomas, one of the long-time DJs there and the one who
hosted them in the studio that day, is recalling memorable events in his
time at the station, and one of them is their appearance there. Here's what
he had to say about it:

"It was me and the members of XTC. Andy Partridge has extreme stage fright.
The band began playing, and Andy kept sweating more and more. He was so
nervous that he was turning purple. It got so weird that I had to look at
the control panel so he wouldn't get more nervous. He barely made it
through the set."

Whoa! Close call! As one who listened to (and taped) that appearance, I
can't really say that it sounded like he was that uncomfortable, but I
guess he might have been expressing all his discomfort physically rather
than vocally. It does make me wonder, in any case, if that tour can
continue to be used as any sort of evidence that they might actually be
capable of some level of touring. If it was that bad in the studio with
just a couple of people present and the mere *thought* that large numbers
of people were listening, how would they survive an actual crowd? Of
course, that was nearly 10 years ago and things change, so who knows...
After all, he did somehow survive the David Letterman appearance that year.

Dave Gershman


Message-ID: <>
From: "Martin, Alan" <>
Subject: XTC Survey & O&L!
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 10:09:22 -0500

Hello all you chalkhillites,

First and foremost I have to say a big THANKS! to everyone who has taken
the time to fill out the XTC Music Survey at my homepage (if you can
even consider a simple little link a "page").  I have already begun to
compile the results and will be posting them on my website when I have
them finished.  If you haven't gone over and filled out the survey yet,
please feel free to do so.  The link is at
""  NOTE - you don't precede this
with "www".  That got some people confused.  Now, in the same vein... I
wanted to throw out an idea and see what all you Chalkies thought about
it.  The survey gave me an idea to set up an "XTC Weekly Top 10".  I
would maintain the results on a page at my site and it would be an
ongoing, constant run of your choices as the top XTC songs at the
moment.  Sort of an "Americas Top 40" but just for XTC fans.  I would be
happy to set up the entry and results pages if you all think it's a good
idea.  You can e-mail me and tell me either "great" or "your a goon".

On another note, O&L is, from it's opening Sitar drones to it's
beautiful, blissful fade, a complete masterpiece.  It contains some of
the finest single representations of the perfect pop song written by
anyone ever... (Mayor of Simpleton, One of the Millions, Miniature Sun,
Pink Thing, etc..)  The lyrics on this album are brilliant, poignant,
timelessly relevant & endlessly inspiring.  I have heard this collection
from beginning to end a thousand times and every single time I come to
the end of it, I want to jump up, throw my fists in the air and scream
"YES!" at the top of my lungs in sheer euphoria!  Uh, what I'm trying to
say is, I think it's good :)

Alan J. Martin
Electronic Commerce Services
(919) 851-8888 x3076


From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/
Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 11:47:11 -0500
Subject: Orangutans & Lemmings

The main problem with this blatant sellout record is the performance level.
It has the least genuinity, energy and elasticity of any XTC record. This
was not accidental. I believe it's a trademark of commercial producers to
tone down and essentially drain the artist of all that makes them unique in
order to create a sound that those poor feeble crawlers can recognize. The
people who claim that O&L is their favorite album by XTC are the same
people who discovered the band through the Mayor of Simpelton. First
impressions you know. If I'm in the right mood (slightly sarcastic and
craving some glittery green gelatin gurgling in my face) than I put this
one on and can actually enjoy it. It is however condescending to each and
every one of us, so if that doesn't bug you from time to time ENJOY!

Oh right, Spike (Elvis Costello) was put out that year (that month even)
and it was clearly more musically/lyrically intricate and original than
this one.

By the way, if you want some rare Beatles videos of extraordinary
sound/picture quality you might want to check out this guy:


Tell him I sent you.

Apple Venus - horrible name, but there is no doubt in my mind that this
      record will devastate all those who hear it and it will

prove to be a classic of monumental, epic and very large proportions.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 12:44:32 -0400
From: David Hull <>
Subject: Re: Unloading an XTC Collection

Hello All,

I have quite a bit of XTC vinyl collected throughout the years and I'm
interested in selling my collection off. Could somebody please get in
touch with me privately to suggest how one might do this? One of the
items I know I have which is a rare gem is an autographed copy of the
Ball & Chain (I think) 12". I wouldn't have the slightest clue as to
what pricetag to put on this and the other items I have.

I'm not in this for the $$. i realize what a collection I have amassed
over the years and would like to pass it on to somebody who would
appreciate it.

Thanks in advance.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 21:26:43 +0000
From: Jon Holden-Dye <>
Subject: Re: Dominic & Phil

In article <>, Michael Versaci
<> writes
>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.

Get her ! Such vitriol, in defence of such MOR shite.

Recently, on BBC Radio One, one of the more palatable DJ's implored
listeners to call a hotline, that had been set-up for P.C. fans to
request "fave raves" for the man to perform in concert that night. The
D.J. suggested that callers should request that P.C. take a well-earned
rest, stay at home, and have a nice cup of tea. Nice.
Jon Holden-Dye
"I like to keep an open mind - but
not so open my brain falls out." (Anon.)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 18:10:44 EST
Subject: O & L Lives!

OK, gotta throw my hat into the ring here:

Oranges & Lemons is AWESOME!!! (awesome being the top grade here, can you
tell I'm American?) On a scale of 1-10, O & L gets a 9+ from me:

Garden: Awesome!
Mayor: Awesome!
King Day: Very Good
Prez Kill: Great
The Loving: Awesome!
Poor Skel.: Great
One of Mill: Very Good
Scarecrow People: Awesome!
Merely A Man: Awesome!
Cynical Days: Fair
Across Antheap: Great
Hold Me Daddy: Awesome!
Pink Thing: Awesome!
Miniature Sun: Great
Chalkhills: Awesome!

Any less than stellar tracks are easily compensated for by the sheer
mightiness of the others, which is why it easily breezes to greatness. O & L
is the shiny, electric brother/sister of English Settlement. Both double
albums, both fantastic, both "chalk" full of amazing tunes. O & L EASILY
lands among my top xtc albums, and among my favorite albums ever. Yeah, I
know, just my opinion, but hey, it's fun letting it fly once in a while.

Now that I'm started, I'd like to add my two cents about The Big Express. I
was hesistant to pick up BE or Mummer (still don't have Mummer), but I have
to heartily recommend Big Express to all those who don't have it. Another
quick review:

Wake Up: Great!
All You Pretty Girls: Great!
Donkey Up: Great!
Seagulls: Great!
This World Over: Good
Red Brick Dream (b-side): Great!
Washaway (b-side): Good
Blue Overall (b-side): OK
Everyday Story of Smalltown: Awesome!
Liarbird: Awesome!
Reign of Blows: Great!
Wish You Are: Great!
Remember Sun: Very Good
Soul Coal: Great!

I've heard some say it's not their best album, but is Beatles for Sale
awesome even though it's not Abbey Road? Are Magical Mystery Tour and Help!
still incredible albums even though they're not Rubber Soul and Sgt. Pepper?
XTC fans without, put yourself in ownership of The Big Express post haste,
you'll be glad you did! I remember passing by the Big Express for about six
months when it came out and I was in high school all those years ago. For
some reason I never bought it, but am I ever glad now that I own it. Trust
me, as a person who listens to lots of music by lots of people, this is
truly a great, very interesting, and cool album that continues to grow on
me. Don't let the "not their best" discussion give you the impression it's
not good -- it's reeeeally good.

XTC CDs I recommend faster than you can say "Fruit Nut":
Dukes - Chocolate Fireball
Big Express
Black Sea
Drums & Wires
English Settlement
Oranges & Lemons

Hey, whaddyou know, my whole xtc catalog to date. Haven't bought a klunker
yet, consider them all essential. We'll see what happens with Mummer next...

Chalk one up for opinions!
Best, Will


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:33:06 +0000
From: michaelw <>
Subject: O & L "Sucks"? Why, Thou Speaketh Heresy!

I am shocked, dismayed, and shaking my head incredulously here, as I read
several posts about the DISLIKE (what?! Negative comments about the Lads, the
Fab--well, during O & L time--Three? Wow...) of the magical classic, that
affectionately known as "Songs of Sixpence"; that which Andy once described
like this:

"Strip it down, build it up, here comes the dragster, polished and chrome,
it's big, it's long and supercharged with song. She's hard and she's fast,
eats future and shits past. Fifteen songs, a fluorescent feast, you'd better
be hungry!"

First, Jetsicle Todd" had this to say:

>"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."

I would have to agree that in some places it does sound overproduced; have
you ever listened to the demos? Less Paul Fox, More Raw XTC=some pretty cool
sounding original sketches indeed!

>"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."

Mr. Jesticle, do you have the same copy of "Song Stories" that I do?  I
think Colin mentioned that he felt his songwriting on O & L was not as good
as it should've been, but as for his bass playing, he does say (page 237)
that "some of my best bass playing was on that record."

Then, a Mr. David McGuiness chimed in with this response:

> ...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.

Again, a lot of talk about the production, and how it ruined O & me
it is a better produced record than, say, the Big Express, which was SO
overproduced that I often find myself being drowned out by this huge wall of
David Lord and Andy P sound...which, IMHO, ruined what could've been an even
more awesome Song Stories, both Dave and Colin didn't
particularly like making the Big Express; but it sure seems to me that all
three of them had a relatively good time making O & L, compared with some of
the other albums (three producers on Mummer; Lord and Partridge dictating
TBE; Toddzilla, frozen pizzas, bass guitars up someone's ARSE: 'twas the
making of Skylarking; Dugenon and Nonsuch...we all know the problems XTC and
producers have had, don't need to go down that road again)

Mr. Fischer, who brought up all this "madness", are you same person as the
creator of the wonderful fanzine "Limelight".  And if you are, have you
published any new ones since '94? (in the XTC timeline, anything "since '94"
is bound to be "new"! :-)

Incidentally, the two issues I have from the O & L period were filled with
nothing but splendid accolades for those Swindon lads, and I do treasure
them even now. But times do change, and so do people's
tastes.....fortunately, I'll always put Oranges and Lemons in high regard,
right up there with English Settlement, Skylarking, and Nonsuch....but would
anyone on this list dare say that White Music (which, when in a wild, fun,
and funky mood, absolutely love and go crazy over!) is BETTER than the
precious jewels found on O & L?

Kudos go out to both  Dan Wiencek and Maury Sebastian, whom both succinctly
put O & L in proper perspective...I second those rave emotions!

To those who have suddenly fell out of love for O & L, I recommend listening
to it on one of those old Walkmans....cassette, not CD...the shiny
cleanliness will be somewhat diminished, but, hey, what better way to listen
to easily my favorite track, "Cynical Days", right guys?  (tongue firmly in
cheek!)  And remember: Apple Venus, the "Orchoustic" album, is mainly Andy's
baby, so one might expect some overproductions here and there...but from
what I've heard, and looking at the track listing (thanks Mitch!), we could
have the BEST DAMN XTC RECORD YET!  Only two months left....c'mon Christmas,
New Years!

One last thing: A few years ago, I bought three videos from a certain
Mr. Brian Steffen of San Diego, CA.....each video contained about 3-4 hours
of quality XTC stuff, from song videos to interviews to children's shows,
you name it! The price for this History of XTC treasure? $50. A very good
deal, if you ask me....and, yeah, he's reliable...and he LOVES XTC! A nice
fellow, Brian.

Sorry so long, thanks for your patience, and crank up Oranges & Lemons NOW!

Michael Wicks


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