Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-18

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 18

               Wednesday, 18 November 1998

Today's Topics:

               the great debate; my 2 cents
                      the Big Mummer
                Transistor Blast from TVT?
                    O&L and Mr Collins
                 standing up for Mr. Fox
                     Re: yob the piss
     O&L subpar? It's a masterpiece next to Nonsuch!
               Sucking, Heresy . . .Thanks!
                   Re: Transistor Blast
      In defence of Dom (Phil Collins is fair game)
               Opinions are like ________?
                    the track listing
           Announcing MODERN TIME NEROS - CC98
                S.F. Bay Area Round Table
                        Neil Finn
               orangebottoms and lemonheads
                    Selling out? Fah.


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You've been eclipsed by your own son.


Message-ID: <>
From: "Amanda Owens" <>
Subject: Whoops!
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 17:44:33 PST

And now for something completely different:
Yes yes, I goofed big time. Twas VET'S DAY, not MEMORIAL DAY on which
Andy had a birthday. Whoopsie on me.

Onto the O&L thing-It was my first XTC album, and musically, it's my
favorite. My fave Colin song (KFAD) is on it, and I just recently
acquired the actual vinyl recording. Besides, I kinda like the noisy

On one more note-A mint condition Window Box tape was recently auctioned
off on the eBay website for almost 300 DOLLARS!!!!!! I love XTC, but not
THAT much!

Tis all for now,
Amanda C. Owens
"People will always be tempted to wipe their feet on anything with
welcome written on it."-Andy Partridge
XTC song of the day-Heaven Is Paved With Broken Glass
non XTC song-Closing Time-Semisonic


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 01:57:34 +0000
From: (
Subject: Wanker!!!!

Andrea Lynn Rossillon wrote:
I've never heard it in conversation (of any color),
so the occurrence of "wanker" in Miami Vice no doubt sailed over the
collective head of the American TV audience.
Andrea , I'll never forget watching an old episode of Happy Days when I
was about 16 years old. Being a Brit, I almost choked on my Welsh
Rarebit (!) when a character came on and Richie introduced him to his
mum with the immortal words " mom , this is Arnold Wanker.". Being a
family show , it was clear to me that a)Americans don't know what the
word means here and B)the censors at our Brit TV station didn't see the
show before it went out !! Eyebrows all over England must have been
shooting skywards on that Saturday tea time !! Cheers, Pete.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 23:30:55 -0500
From: David Oh <>
Subject: the great debate; my 2 cents

dearest chalkies,

sorry, but i gotta put in me 2 cents about 'o&l' & it may take a few words
2 do it. please bear with me & i appolgize in advance.

perhaps sum don't like the production, maybe even sum don't like the
performances (?) or choices of instrumentation, but, 2 me @ least, 'o&l' is
a terrific xtc album & the songwriting is of the hi-est order, even by andy
& colin's usual quality. which, of course, makes it a fan-freakin'-tastic
album by any other band's standards.

all of xtc's albums have weak spots, 'o&l' included, but as a whole,
'o&l' is really great! my only gripe about the album is "president kill
again", the only song on the album that i use the 'skip' button on.

'mayor of simpleton' is the best, most direct pop song i've heard since,
well, the beatles. 'poor skeleton steps out' is unbelievable 2 listen 2 on
headphones, the combination of real drums & drum machines is so kewl! the
rhythms just percolates underneath andy's alway unique lyrics. however,
'o&l' contains perhaps the definitive xtc song; the hauntingly beautiful
'chalkhills & children'. i get chill-bumps whenever i hear the parts with
'even i never know where i go when my eyes are closed... '. also, 'king 4 a
day' is the only xtc song i've ever heard being played in shopping malls &
department stores. i'm serious about that!

am i blinkered in my opinions? perhaps, but just let me give a (brief)
history of my life with xtc: 1st album bought, 'drums & wires' in '79,
bought almost everything before & since, seen 'em live twice (both in 1980)
& on tv a few times (on letterman, it wuz so kewl!).

4 what it's worth, my fave 2 least-fave goes like this:
1.  'oranges & lemons'
2.  'black sea'
3.  'drums & wires'
4.  'english settlement'
5.  'bbc1 live'
6.  'skylarking'
7.  'nonsuch'
8.  'rag & bone buffet'
9.  'fossil fuel'
10. 'drum & wireless'
11. 'the big express'
12. 'take away/lure of the salvage'
13. 'go 2'
14. 'white music'
15. 'mummer'
16. 'tescticular dinner'

alright, i'll conclude; every1 has, & is entitled 2, their opinion. is any
1 opinion more right than another? puh-leeze! we should all be happy that
xtc have & r gonna continue 2 put out their great music. c'mon 'apple venus
vols 1 & 2'!!!

ps: yes, i realize that the above paragraph is sumwhat contradictory
against my list of faves-2-least. now u know 2 that i'm a hypocrite as well
as an xtc fan! also, i DO realize that a few listed r not 'true' xtc
albums. whenever i wanna hear xtc's music, i've got options!

pps: thanx 2 those who have responded 2 my inquiry about my photo-slides
convertion questions. i have gotten sum good idears from u! thanx again!

ppps: 2 p@ul culnane; a very big thanx 4 the interviews with andy & terry!

pppps: 2 john @ chalkhills; sorry about the 'novel' length of this rant. i
just hadta get it offa me chest!

yours very,


 \            \     _
  \  /\ \  /|  \   / \ |_|
/__\/ _\ \/ |/__\  \_/ | |


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 23:39:29 -0500
From: Pete <>
Subject: the Big Mummer

I agree with Dan, it would be a tough match between Mummer and BE. O&L is
actually one of my faves.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 17 Nov 1998 23:11:45 -0500
From: DonSueP <>
Subject: Transistor Blast from TVT?

Hello Chalkhilluminati,

I'll confess that Dom seems to know THIS American pretty well, because
as soon I saw that I could get Transistor Blast from I
said, "Screw the Visa balance, just CHARGE IT!"  But lest you think I'm
shilling, let me add that I ended up not going through with the order
after getting a "transmission not secure" warning from my browser(?).
On the other hand I don't want to unfairly slight TVT either, so let me
start over and see whether anyone here can shed some light on this.

I followed the link from the Chalkhills website to and
saw the following: "Pre-order Transistor Blast from TVT Records before
its December 1st release and save $8.00 off the retail price!  You get
the 4CD set for just $37.98 plus $4.95 S&H! Click here."  And since, as
I've already admitted, I am an American and thus genetically incapable
of resisting the compulsion, I instantly whipped out my VISA.  First I
got the normal "You are requesting a secure document" etc., and I filled
out the little form (only slightly annoyed that a phone number was
"mandatory"). Also there was even a comment that said, for security, be
sure that the address read https:// and not just http://.  But when I
hit 'Submit' I got a warning I'd never seen before saying, if I am
remembering correctly, "This transmission, while originally being
described as secure is no longer a secure document and the information
could be viewed by a third party while in transit."  At which point I
cancelled the order.  But I still want it!

Any clues?


p.s.  Dom, don't rise to Michael Versaci's inelegant flame bait.  If he
took your comments too personally it's probably only because his VISA
bill is even bigger than mine!  And if you could somehow manage to show
restraint, imagine how small-minded and petty you'd leave him looking.

p.p.s. The world would be diminished without Oranges and Lemons.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:05:26 +0100
From: dieling <>
Subject: O&L and Mr Collins

Well, Mr Fisher is right. Oranges and Lemons is definitely too much of an
MOR, radio-orientated album. The production is far too slick, so in my ears
the songs have to struggle through all these sound-production gadgets
instead of work with them, which is a shame, since some of the songs are
actually good (Scarecrow People, Chalkhills and Children), but most aren't
strong enough so it's just music that Virgin executives in Versace suits
would love (Hey Bob, listen to this, it's SO SLICK ! We might actually make
money with these punks after all !).
Actually it's a fate O&L shares with a lot of double albums (speaking of
vinyl here): too many fillers.
Well, maybe it's just because it wasn't my first XTC album, that was White
Now, regarding Phil Collins' abilities (before dear Mr Relph declares the
topic dead, since this is Chalkhills and not Sussy, the Phil Collins Mailing
A: Yeah, good drummer in his youth. (Me an old Genesis (Gabriel phase) fan
in my youth)
B: No, can't sing. No discussion about that.
C: No, bad songwriting.
D: No, bad producer, too slick. That's a link back to O&L again.

Bye everyone.
If someone feels offended about my distaste for O&L:
Keep it up.
I also like Death Metal and Techno.
Taste is personal.
Still, O&L is boring.


Message-ID: <000801be12ef$69a72d00$c63d63c3@default>
From: "David McGuinness" <>
Subject: standing up for Mr. Fox
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:21:08 -0000

Hello again -

OK, so some of us have been having a go at Messrs. Fox and Thacker for
polishing up those Oranges and Lemons a bit too vigorously.

In their defence, I think the vocals on O&L are easily the best recorded of
any XTC album.  I remember when I heard Nonsuch for the first time being a
bit disappointed that the vocal quality had taken a bit of a dip.

But  for all that he was a musical Mr Sheen, Mr Fox didn't bother to tidy up
the backing vocals in One of the Millions.  There's one too many S's at the
end of the line 'I'm the man who merely threatens' if I'm not mistaken.

Tsk-tsk.  Get rapped on the knuckles from the Producers' Guild for that one.


David McGuinness


From: "Andy" <>
Organization: The University of Nottingham
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:57:53 GMT0BST
Subject: Re: yob the piss
Message-ID: <>

Pancho said;
> >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)
As a genuine english guy, i would like to help;
1 - yob means hooligan or lout, bad-boy(?), trouble-causer, "on the
quiet" means that Terry was not obviously a yob, but that if you knew
him well enough, you would say he sometimes was a yob (as Andy has
said often)
2. "taking the piss" is mocking, usually sarcastically.
Hope this makes a good book even better


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 08:24:13 -0400
From: Brian <>
Subject: O&L


I just wanted to throw in my $.02 worth on the O&L thread...

I also think that O&L is one of the best albums that XTC ever put out
(the best being ES, IMH&HO). Some talk of way-too-slick overproduction -
as opposed to what? I've always felt that some of the back-and-forth I
hear/read about concerning music production is somewhat moot: stuff like
a sampled sounds vs. the real thing, yadda-yadda-yadda... except for the
rare occasions where you get to hear original demos of songs-to-be
(sound familiar?) - which don't count - we will never hear two different
versions of that tune in order to compare (and, no, remixes don't count,
either). So what's the point of too much hashing about? We get what they
give us, and I don't care if that guitar is sampled or Ed V.H. wailing
his heart out in a studio... if I like the tune, that's it!


* Digital & traditional illustration/animation
* Caricaturist-for-hire
* RENDERMAN ~ One-Man Band Ordinaire


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 08:35:52 -0500
From: Jim Slade <>
Subject: O&L subpar? It's a masterpiece next to Nonsuch!

So some of us can agree that O&L is an overproduced, overlong collection by
XTC standards?  At least that record has some extremely high highs.  IMNSHO,
next to Nonsuch, O&L is a masterpiece!  Very few records by my favorite
artists have disappointed me like Nonsuch, which I sold back to a record
store less than a week after buying it.  (Other CDs that I rushed out to buy
only to ditch ASAP include Matthew Sweet's "Altered Beast" and two Costello
CDs: "Mighty Like a Turd" and "All This Useless Beauty".)  Too many of the
songs are pretentious, studied exercises that make me think that Partridge
and Moulding prepared by reading Chalkhills posts.  I got the feeling that
they were calculating our likes and needs: "Mmm, they like our ornate Beach
Boys-style songs: Let's make sure we include one of them...And, yes, the
Americans like some bold, vague political statements...and as `artists' we
really should include some musical nods to Steve Reich, Eno, et al..."  The
songs that had any inherent spark were flat and lifeless thanks to that old
Elton John producer they used.  Ugh!!!  I still have fantasies of learning
to love that album, but then I think better of it and buy a Martin Newell
disk instead.

I'm sure I won't get my wishes with Venus Apple Vol. I & II, but as
Christmas approaches there's no harm in posting my XTC wish list:

1. No more ornate Beach Boys tributes unless the song really calls for such
an arrangement.  I love "Season Cycle", but "Chalkhills" is more concerned
with the challenge of writing a song like "Heroes and Villains".  "Pale and
Precious" already covered that base and, this may raise some hackles, the
real "Heroes and Villains" is an overrated, ambitiously flawed song compared
with true Beach Boys gems from "Help Me Rhonda" to "Get Around" to
"California Girls" to "Wouldn't It Be Nice".  You want to write a Beach Boys
song, Mr. Partridge, write something from the heart and groin rather than
that big head.

2.  Give the drummer some.  Suck it up, boys, and put yourself through the
necessary hell of teaching songs to a real drummer.  Yeah, they can be a
pain, and they usually aren't prone to reading critical essays, but they are
as human as rock 'n roll gets.  I hear Phil Collins is available, and he's
got that fantastic voice to boot!

3.  Keep the music coming.  Please don't spend the next 7 years moaning
about the record industry after you've released what was likely an expensive
double album.  All I ever read about is how bitter and broke Andy Partridge
is while he pays high rates for the likes of slick pro producers and studio
musicians.  Meanwhile, he produced an amazing Martin Newell album in his
garage or shed or whatever!  Have a little self-confidence.

OK.  Feel free to blast me, but I don't own Nonsuch:)

Whoops, I almost forgot to say that Phil Collins' "Paper Late" is a better
O&L song than almost anything on that album but "The Mayor of Simpleton",
and it's miles above almost anything else by Genesis, with or without the
inexplicably beloved Peter Gabriel.  (You can tell I'm a big Genesis fan.)



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 09:41:08 -0500
From: John Irvine <>
Subject: Sucking, Heresy . . .Thanks!

Thomas Pynchon said that one has an unnatural fascination for the decade
in which one was born.  I think the corollary to this is that one holds
the first record one hears from a band in higher regard than others
heard later.

This could explain the many people rushing to defend Oranges and
Lemons.  I could go through the album song by song explaining exactly
why it sucks, ("step out step out step out step oouuuut" ..aaarghh!),
and I've heard the demos so I can't blame Mr. Fox, but instead I'll
freely express my opinion that Skylarking sucks almost as bad. Big
Express too. As a matter of fact, you could put the great songs by XTC
post English Settlement on a 90 minute tape as far as this fan is
concerned, well maybe 120 minute.

This is not to denigrate the hard work the boys have put in; lord knows
it is difficult to write great songs.  If it was easy everyone would be
doing it and you could listen to the radio instead of having to search
high and low for the good stuff.  (I for one gave up writing songs after
two albums.)  That Andy and Colin have soldiered on as long as they have
is commendable (and that 90 minute tape is really kick-ass). But
something on a higher plane was at work on Drums and Wires, Black Sea,
and ES.  Sort of like the Beatles Rubber Soul through Mystery Tour, Pulp
Fiction, Costello Get Happy through Imperial Bedroom, Piper at the Gates
of Dawn, Marquee Moon, or Double Nickels on the Dime.  It is so
jaw-droppingly good it gives you shivers, and you get the sense that the
artist at the time may not have appreciated it's brilliance at the

I mean really: listen to English Roundabout next to Grass, or Optimism's
Flames next to Poor Skeleton or whatever.  Not that a lot of effort
didn't go into the later songs which are interesting and full of ideas,
but there is an effortlessness to the magic of the songs of that earlier
period that does not fail to knock me out even after 15 years. (My first
XTC record was Go2 of all things: Now there's an ugly duckling with only
a tiny inkling of the swan to come.)

None of this will prevent me from buying Apple Venus; I'm sure it will
have some great music on it.  But I don't expect it to spend much time
on my turntable. Hope I'm wrong.

Thanks to Dom for his words of wisdom:  "It's not just about how many
records you sell, it's whether or not you suck that matters". Life's too
short to put up with less than great music.  Suckingness is both a
matter of opinion but it is also something that is inherent in the work
and is absolute. But if you think about this sort of thing too much
you'll end up needing shock therapy like the guy at the end if Zen and
The Art Of Motorscooter Maintenance.  "What is Quality?"... "Where is
it?"... "What is the proper oil mix on a 1963 Vespa GS160? Five percent?
Six percent?"...

Also thanks to Todd Jones for Pressure Boys info. I will try to track
down some of their recordings.  Hope they don't suck.

John Irvine


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 09:57:45 -0500 (EST)
From: "Markus M. De Shon" <>
Subject: Re: Transistor Blast
Message-ID: <>

Hey there,

I saw someone mention Transistor Blast, but I want to also mention
that you can get it direct from TVT at a discount from their

The album of stars singing Beatles covers sounds like a candidate
to surpass Leonard Nimoy's "Songs from Outer Space" and
William Shatner's "The Transformed Man".

No.... Nothing can surpass "The Transformed Man".


Markus M. De Shon
Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta Georgia, 30332-0710


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 07:43:34 -0700
From: "James  " <>
Message-ID: <>
Subject: In defence of Dom (Phil Collins is fair game)
Organization: QUALCOMM Eudora Web-Mail  (

Dear All,

My thanks to Catherine Sweeney for stating my point of view on both Dom and
Phil Collins. Before reading her message, I had already decided to break my
cover and express an opinion, so I'm afraid it's too late to stop myself
from weighing in with my own comments:-

1. Dom is one of the few people who writes contributions to Chalkhills that
I find really amusing. As far as I'm concerned his letters help to breathe
some vital life into the proceedings and the digests would be a duller
affair without his flippant and frequently hilarious comments. I agree that
there are moments when a Babelfish would be a very useful thing to overcome
a few subtle differences between British and American vocabulary and humour,
notably when it comes to irony. Nevertheless, apart from Mr Versaci, I
haven't noticed many of our friends from the other side of the Atlantic take
Dom's remarks about Phil Collins too seriously. So maybe Mr Versaci needs
his own personalised Babelfish? And maybe he could leave out the
fundamentalist anorakism in the future... there's a difference between
off-the cuffness and venom.

2. And so to Phil Collins. He is, in my opinion, a bloody good drummer, I
mean really bloody good. The problem is that he is also a complete wanker
(or complete asshole if you prefer, overseas friends) and that's what makes
him fair game for Dom's and anybody else's derision. This is the person who
threatened to leave Britain if the Conservative government wasn't
re-elected. Then, when the Labour government won a landslide majority, he
decided not to go after all. If that isn't setting yourself up for being
called, with justification, a complete wanker (or complete asshole), then I
don't know what is. If the Police were ever to issue licences to punch Phil
Collins' lights out, I'd be filling in the application form before you could
say "Trick of the Tail", I can tell you.

To summarise, I don't see any problem in a few people making flippant and
ironic remarks about Phil Collin's music - he is so obviously deficient in
basic human moral fibre that he is fair game for it. What's more, given that
Dom's comments are indeed flippant and ironic, why take it all so seriously?

Keep the flag flying Dom (and don't let them sell you a world wrapped in
grey - to finally get some token XTC content into the message)



Message-Id: <v04003a0ab2785a49dcd4@[]>
From: Ken Herbst <>
Subject: Opinions are like ________?
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:07:11 -0600

>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

"And how dieth the Wise Man?  As the fool"


Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 12:18:22 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v03007801b27864ddb8a0@[]>
From: Mitch Friedman <>
Subject: the track listing

I want to thank everyone who thanked me for posting the Apple Venus track
listing but you should really be thanking Neville Farmer (again!) since he
emailed me the info and I just passed it on to all of you.

Andy phoned me briefly last night (his last night in NYC) to say that he's
heading home to continue blabbing about Apple Venus and to start working on
the next one in Colin's garage.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 13:42:40 -0400
From: Harrison Sherwood <>
Organization: Intermetrics, Inc.
Subject: .WAV

What, did Dom say something about me?

Catherine has it perfectly correct. Page Down key, kids. See the name, mash
the key. Works every time. I know mine's been getting a hefty workout. In
addition may I suggest, in the interest of a peaceful digest, that we remind
ourselves of the Golden Rule of Internet Discourse: engage on content, not
on form.

Warning: some of you may find that the following is lacking in punch and dry
ironic English self-mockery. Darn.


	In the days before the Tienanmen Square massacre, Andy was obsessed
	with all things Chinese.... He wore Chinese slippers and jackets,
	ate Chinese food off Chinese crockery, watched Chinese films, and...
	really believed China's time was coming.
                                               --Song Stories

We often remark here that XTC songs tend to grow and mature for us over
time.  For many folks, this is a vital characteristic that separates Our
Farmboys' songs from the common herd and allows us to have a living
relationship with them. As with the best art, each new visit with the songs
brings fresh insight, fresh perspective.

So it is with "That Wave." I have always loved being pummeled by this song's
heavy-handed dark pitch-shifter dissonances in the verse, which finally
emerge into bright day as Dsus4 chords resolving to D major. The
bottom-heavy arrangement suggests the unnerving experience of being knocked
over and tumbled by heavy surf--as Andy himself explains in Song Stories. A
force much, much more powerful than any puny human, picks the singer's
helpless body up and dashes it into the very soul of his lover--"A wave of
love knocking you senseless," Andy characterizes it.

As might be expected of someone so unabashedly fond of his own pecker, Andy
thinks of love as _penetration_--the wave of love pulls him "into your
eyes," lifts him "into your mouth," carries him "through your hair" pushes
him "into your skin." I don't think we need to dwell too long on the thought
of "cathedrals arriving" and "spittle of pearls," and an examination of
"permanent morgasm/emotional action painting" is probably not permissible in
a family Internet digest. (Just think, "oney-may ot-shay" and leave it at
that.  Nuff Sed.) It's plainly a song about sex. But Andy's body is not the
only thing penetrating other things in this song, and that's where it gets

There's a *symmetry* to the song that's worth examining. Do you remember
some months ago, we were discussing "Wrapped in Grey" and we took note of
the synesthesia in the line "How colored the flowers all smelled"--where the
qualities of one sense (smell) are used to describe the perceptions of
another sense (sight)? Something like that is going on here as well, in the
lines "I flew down to the bottom of the sea" and "I swam down to the bottom
of the sky." These paradoxical images, the swimming-in-the-sky and the
flying-in-the-sea, provide hints that more is here than just a horny little
tune about orgasms.

Picture the scene described in the song. We have a seascape, sky above,
water below. Separating the water and the air is the horizon. Seen from far
away, the horizon appears to be a perfectly flat line, but seen close to,
the junction point of sea and sky is constantly roiling and changing. Anyone
who has swum in the ocean knows that even on the stormiest days, deep below
the waves there is relative calm. And the same can be said of the air. Only
at the border where the two realms meet are there these dangerously
unpredictable waves.

We tend to think of a wave as a phenomenon strictly of *water*, a mass of
H2O, foam and spindrift flung shoreward by tidal movement and currents. But
this is only part of the story: there is *another half* of a wave, which is
air. The part of the wave that is _not_ water belongs as much to the wave as
does the water itself. You could even call a wave an _interpenetration_ of
sky and sea.  We graphic designers call this perception "interplay between
positive and negative space." Musicians talk about how the _silences_
between notes are just as musical as the notes themselves. Other folks have
observed it as well.

Now think of the action in the song--what actually happens over the three
verses. "That wave" knocks the singer under water, where he "flies" down,
has a chat with the fishes, and realizes he's surrounded by love--it's
actually the medium he's flying in. Then, in the second verse, the wave--the
*air* half!--buffets him around some more, and he "swims" in the sky, and
the bluebirds up there tell him the same thing--that the air, too, is
love. One last verse finds him back in the water, and the repetition implies
that the song's a circle; we've gone right back around to the beginning, and
this will continue forever. We stand on the beach watching, amazed, as Andy
backstrokes ecstatically through the air, plummets into the water, then
emerges into the air again, up and down and around and around, a demented
pelican during a herring run. He revels in equivalency!

This tableau suggested to me another image, a visual symbol of a world-view
that endorses precisely the sort of cyclical interpenetration of above and
below, of sea and sky, heaven and earth, that I think Andy is (possibly even
consciously) recapitulating. (You tracking with me, Becki?) I've posted it
at I had to sort of lay it on its
side, to get my graphical point across. Now we see the importance of the
"swimming-in-the-sky and flying-in-the-sea" images: to the Taoist each
principle, yin and yang, contains inherent within it the potentiality of the
opposite principle--much as my daughter, even at the moment of her birth,
already contained within her the potential to give birth to a boy. Thus does
the lotus unfold.

Andy eternally circles (and, like it or not, we circle with him), swimming
and flying between air and water, between yin and yang, masculine and
feminine, rationality and intuition, creation and nourishing, activity and
tranquility, showing each as an aspect of love--both spiritual and sexual
love. And it is at the junction of the two halves of the circle, the
capricious tsunami that forms the Great Divide, the horizon between above
and below, that life itself gets lived. You know. That Wave.

And isn't it astonishing that after the thundering breakers of the bass and
drums have receded out to sea, and the lonely guitar-cries of the gulls have
faded away, the very next thing we hear is,

    "Then she appeared, Apple Venus on a half-open shell...."

Harrison "As above, so below, except when it isn't" Sherwood

Pee Est: Lower down on that web page I've also included some copyright
infringements from Hokusai, the 18th-19th century Japanese Ukiyo-e artist
who, I think, captured the spirit of the thing pretty nicely. Dig those
titles--they're Hokusai's, not mine. The silences between the notes, man.

Pee Esther: Would somebody please go out on a limb and *define* the
apparently canonical phrase "Oranges and Lemons is overproduced"? I have a
sneaking suspicion everybody means something different by it.


Message-Id: <v03102801b278b839a74a@[]>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 10:51:44 -0700
From: Richard Pedretti-Allen <>
Subject: Announcing MODERN TIME NEROS - CC98


It's true!

Check the Chalkhills website for ordering information.

Don't be left out!  They are already over half gone.

I still have copies of CC96 and CC97 available.

Cheers, Richard


Message-Id: <v03102802b278b9bc0257@[]>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:03:17 -0700
From: Richard Pedretti-Allen <>
Subject: S.F. Bay Area Round Table

To S.F. Bay Area Chalkers:

Can some of the SF Bay Area folks email about interest in getting
together to discuss all things XTC.  Additionally, if you can suggest a
place (especially if they have a DJ that will play a few XTC tunes from the
tributes or >gasp< the REAL THINGS!).

I know of only one place in the bay area that has any XTC on the jukebox
(Upsy Daisy) and that is in Sunnyvale, it's only beer and wine (bad news
for those who want to be liquored up and looking for action) and the owners
run the place without employees so they have an exemption on the smoking
ban (largely unenforced anyway but good for those who like to smolder, not
good for breathers).  The point in favor of that place is that I could get
the CC98 CD put on the jukebox there.

In any event, San Francisco is probably the best place to hold it due to
transit accessibility and central location for most (sorry BdG!) but if
nobody from Marin will show... hey, it could move south.

I'm thinking December 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15 or 16 (Mondays and Tuesdays are
going to be the most available at the pub).  Please specify your
preference.  If most interest is in something like a Friday or Saturday
night, then a different place would need to be found.

Please understand that it is ultimately easier NOT to have an XTC get
together, so if you want to make this happen, you may have to ante up a
little effort.

Richard "Sectioned Rugs and Rockin' Droll" Pedretti-Allen


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 14:27:39 EST
Subject: Neil Finn

>>Anyone catch Neil Finn on his recent"acoustic" tour?

I did! There are reviews posted at my website of the Los Angeles show and
the surprise 2 AM jam session with Jon Brion at Largo. The URLs,
respectively, are:

Take a peek around while you're there, won't you?

Sorry to hear you missed the Austin show! Shawn Colvin was the special guest
and I hear it was amazing...

>>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 Chalkhills.<<

That would be Sessions at West 54th, and Finn's scheduled air date is
December 4th. You can get listings for the show at Another recommended site is,
which is exactly what it sounds like.

This all-URL posting has reached the end of its broadcast day. ;-)

The Gallery of Indispensable Pop Music coolest cds on the Internet


Message-ID: <>
From: Steve Sims <>
Subject: orangebottoms and lemonheads
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 11:42:21 -0800

I sit here hoping Harrison will jump into the O&L fray, because my words
can't do it justice.  I didn't buy O&L for "King for a Day"; I bought it for
"Garden..." and "One of the Millions" and "Chalkhills...", etc.  Like Andy
said, it's raw and loud and real.  I'm sure there are plenty of long-time
fans who love this album.  I, for one, feel it soars over the chaff-filled
Nonesuch, where songs such as "Omnibus", "Bungalow", and "Books are Burning"
have me reaching for the >> button.  But that's just my opinion.  It should
be respected, just as I respect the thoughts of others on this mailing list.
What irks me, though, is when I'm relegated to some lower-class status
because of my preference and the inaccurate assumption that O&L lovers are
new to the XTC "thang".

I love the hard-edge stuff, but I also look forward to January.  I think I
may be one of the few who have not heard a single note of anything on "Apple
Venus".  If it doesn't work for me, then I'll patiently wait for Vol 2.

One final note: I read Paul's interview with Andy.  I wish Andy had never
said that he does not care who is listening to his music.  He has a very
dedicated fan base, and it would be nice to see it acknowledged in some way.


Message-ID: <697A4CA51395D111A658AA0004005806891AD0@NT6>
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: Selling out? Fah.
Date: Wed, 18 Nov 1998 16:15:12 -0600

In an obvious, blatant attempt to piss me off, Matt Kaden posted this:

> 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!

Where to begin?  The immediate, childish use of the meaningless term
"sellout"?  The rank condescension toward the "poor feeble crawlers" of the
record buying public or "the people" turned on to XTC by Mayor of Simpleton?
The final, sarcastic kiss-off of "ENJOY!"?  Well, let's just take them in

1) The word "sellout," as employed by record buyers, is a projection of
adolescent cliqueishness and has no artistic meaning whatsoever.  "Sellout"
is what selfish music fans use to describe *what they perceive* as any
effort by their favorite artists to reach a wider audience (and I'm not
granting that O&L qualifies as this, but more on that later).  The implicit
thinking is: If everybody starts liking them, they won't be *ours* anymore!
It goes back at least to Liverpool in 1962, when some of the Beatles' girl
fans refused to buy Love Me Do for fear it would make the Beatles famous and
prompt them to leave Liverpool.  These are the kinds of fans an artist
doesn't need.  As Michael Stipe once said, a band sells out when it plays
its first paying gig.  If you have a problem with your favorite act selling
out, than the problem is just that--*yours*.

2) Don't be too condescending to your fellow poor feeble crawlers.  We all
have our guilty pleasures, the things we'd rather not advertise that we
listen to: the ABBAs, the Jewels, the Barry Manilows, pick your poison.
Everybody needs to dip into bad taste now and then, including XTC fans.  The
idea that there's an enormous homogenous mass robotically buying everything
Entertainment Weekly instructs them to buy is complete bullshit.

3) Believe it or not, the tracks that made me want to buy O&L were Scarecrow
People and Poor Skeleton Steps Out, not Mayor of Simpleton.  Anyway, what's
wrong with Mayor of Simpleton?  It's a beautifully constructed song, played
with brilliance.  Only an emotionally adolescent snob (see #1 above) would
attempt to derogate people for taking pleasure in it.  And you can bet your
ass that Partridge, Moulding and Gregory would have had no problem with it

4) The record does not "condescend to each and every one of us."  It
condescends to *you.*  You do not speak for XTC fans.

5) Why, I *do* enjoy Oranges and Lemons.  Thank you very much.  I might even
say I ENJOY it!!

6) Oranges and Lemons is *not* a sellout record, for several reasons.

A) It wasn't a hit.  (I don't count being #1 on the "college album chart."
What the hell is a "college" album?)

B) Paul Fox was not a "commercial" producer; he was virtually unkown.  If
they'd gone to Quincy Jones (or even back to Todd Rungren), you might have a
point.  In fact, the only album that critique could possibly apply to is
Nonsuch, which was actually produced by a veteran "commercial" producer (and
which failed to produce anything resembling a "hit").

C) Andy Partridge was at least as responsible as Fox for the final
sound/mood of the album, with Gregory taking additional responsibility for
supervising the mixing.  If the sound of the album really offends you, blame
the band.

D) Finally, O&L is not as immediately catchy as other XTC albums.  Either
the lyrics are too bizarre or the meter/arrangements are (e.g. Across this
Antheap and Here Comes President Kill Again, respectively).  The album's
textures are too dense, the overall sound too imposing to ever appeal to
masses of record buyers.  If any XTC albums smack of a desire to reach a
broad audience, they are Skylarking and Nonsuch.  Both albums have sparser
arrangements and can be listened to and (superficially) enjoyed with much
less attention.

Oh yeah, then there was:

> 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.

Spike staked out a broader musical territory, perhaps, but it's a much less
consistent record than O&L.  And besides, even if it weren't, since when is
it a criticism that a particular record isn't as good as Elvis Costello's?
How many records are?

Still fuming, but feeling better,



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-18

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