Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-190

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 190

                    Monday, 3 May 1999

Today's Topics:

                    Time Signatures...
                     Re: Nonesucking
                     Swindon on Leno
                     American Comedy
                    Re: The Creatures
              Nonesuch Suck? Nonesuch Luck!
                   And its, hey babe...
                  Re: 'Smug of Irony Tea
          credit where credit is due (Gangway!)
          guilty pleasures and other miscellany
           Some Folks See the World as a Stone
                   Re: Traffic Circles
                   Re: Rush of Strings


    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 <>).

Pull the blinkers from your eyes / Before big bus has gone.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 20:29:16 EDT
Subject: Time Signatures...

Hey XTC Clan~

Just wanted to make a correction about an error!

Francis Heaney quoted me and said:

> Time Signatures are only divisible or a multiple of the numbers 2 or 3, on
> the upper number of the signature, which shows the number of beats.  The
> bottom number is only divisible or a multiple of the number 2.

<Well, you're half right.  The bottom half, anyway.  There are plenty of
time signatures where the top number isn't divisible by two or three (Peter
Gabriel's "Solsbury Hill" in 7/4, Jethro Tull's "Living in the Past" in
5/8, etc., etc.).>

You are correct!  My mistake!

"The upper figure, showing the number of beats, is a 2 or a 3, or a multiple
or a combination of these."  (*The Golden Encylopedia of Music,* by Norman
Lloyd.  1968, Western Publishing Co., Inc.).

As for the upper number the time signature:  "Any type of note can be the
pulse or a beat note.  The quarter note is the most-used beat note.  It can
be divided easily into eighth notes and sixteenth notes or several can be
added together to make half notes and whole notes" (IBID, page 598).

I stand corrected, and thanks for the heads up, Francis, what was I thinking?
[ :O)

In the spirit of music, the 17/39 time signature just stuck in my head as an
incorrect assumption...

John Gardner


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 20:50:57 EDT
Subject: Something....hmph?

All I am going to write, having read this many times....

Nonesuch  =  NONSUCH

Come on kids!



Message-ID: <000c01be9388$6c9cc000$6bb794d1@drude>
From: "Drude" <>
Subject: Re: Nonesucking
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 21:09:33 -0700

Well, I'll throw my three cents into this Nonesuch Nonsense. While I can't
say that Nonesuch grabbed me immediately, I can say that after just a few
listens, it became one of my favourite latter-day XTC albums. I definitely
prefer it over Oranges and Lemons.

I will admit, however, that it suffers from the same flaw that all of XTC's
last several albums (including AV1) suffer from... Have the boys become
afraid of breaking into a sweat? Why does every song have to be so damn
PRODUCED? There is nothing wrong with an off-note or squeaky string. Nothing
wrong with a little feedback once in a while!!!

I probably enjoy Nonesuch because of Peter Pumpkinhead - one of the VERY FEW
recent XTC songs that actually approaches the sound of a REAL BAND

This may sound a little cruel, but with all the harsh criticism of Phil
Collins I hear from you Chalkies, I definitely feel that XTC is veering
frighteningly close to Collins (hell, they're getting close to

I truly do consider myself to be a serious XTC fan, and I truly love all of
their albums, if not every song. But, I desperately hope that AV2 can break
this death-grip. Let's hear a little "rocking-out"!
A little dirt and sweat never hurt anyone. Thank you.

Do what you will but harm none.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 00:46:04 EDT
Subject: Swindon on Leno

 As Molly mentioned, Jay Leno has been mentioning Swindon all week because
some people there want to be able to shop naked.( I think its time to
re-write "Smalltown"). They did a skit where they went "live" to a grocery
store to talk to the owner.( Who's name was Nigel.... XTC fan at the Tonight
Show?) And of course they were all naked.Pretty funny.
   Im listening to D & W again. Does anyone else enjoy "Helicopter" as much
as me? Doubt it. The rotary synthesizer threaded throughout the song is
  Thirty eight and acting like Wayne & Garth in the Pacer.
  Thats all. Roger
 Still waiting for the "Greenman" video. Im not ready for AV2. Im not done
with 1.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 13:35:03 +0200
From: jan bletz <>
Subject: Funeral

Jill Oleson wrote a beautiful (!) note on her friends funeral.

I can't own her is a beautiful song to play at your funeral, Jill. I might
ask my girl friend to play it for me, too. That would give the song a new
meaning, wouldn't it!?

There's one song I certainly want to be played at my funeral: Listen tot
the Lion (Van Morrision), a catharsis lasting 15 minutes or so.

Jan Bletz


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 08:24:34 EDT
Subject: American Comedy

>>Huw Davies: BTW Why do Americans like Are You Being Served so
>>much? To me it represents all that is bad about British TV.

>I like it more than ANBCBS's latest flurry of Friends and
>Seinfeld wannabees. I'll try most anything British on PBS
>once. Red Dwarf you can keep, but Dawn French is something of
>a goddess around my house.

>For the British TV that gets to the USA, there are three things
>I pick up on: Absolute belief in what's afoot. Characters like
>Basil Fawlty, Gareth Blackstock and Hyacinth Bucket couldn't
>come out of American TV in a million years.

  Speaking of Fawlty Towers, John Laroquette of Night Court fame(and his
self-named more recent show, which was one of the best things to come out
of American TV in the 90's)brought the American rights to Fawlty
Towers. Sounds promising, and I tried real hard to like it, but it really
is about as fun as chasing parked cars. Basil Fawlty is renamed Royal
Payne, and the hotel is set in Northern CA somewhere. Laroquette isn't bad,
but Jobeth Williams as his wife is terrible, that woman CANNOT do
comedy. Put that show out of its misery, and bring back The Nanny!(On
second thought, don't; that show hasn't been as interesting since Fran and
Maxwell got married)

  For John Cleese fans, he has a recurring role as an eccentric British
professor on Third Rock From The Sun, and he steals the show whenever he's
on. There's a number of American sitcoms I enjoy, but I can only think of
one that's consistently brilliant, and it's animated; King Of The
Hill. Mike Judge is a genius! Heh-heh, Mmm-heh-heh.



Message-ID: <>
From: "Megan Heller" <>
Subject: Re: The Creatures
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 13:24:45 PDT

Hello, challkillians.  Someday I really should include some XTC content in a

Derek Miner asserted:

>film and music, and 2) They have the most kick-ass selections at their
>themed listening stations. In fact one of them, at this moment, is
>featuring Apple Venus (right next to Siouxie Soux's new band, The
>Creatures, of all things)...

New, shmew.  The Creatures-- Siouxsie Sioux and Banshees drummer /
Siouxsie's husband Budgie (the band came before the marriage) first released
an album as the Creatures some time in the mid-eighties.  The ir first
widely-distributed album as the Creatures, however, was released in 1990--
_Boomerang_.  It's excellent.  Budgie is an extremely skilled percussionist,
and the album sounds nothing like what you would expect from the queen of
goth (although I love Siouxsie and the Banshees as well).  _Boomerang_ was
recorded in Spain in a barn, and they use traditional Spanish percussive
styles, in addition to some not-so-traditional sounds, and one song where
they left the sound of chirping newly-hatched birds in the barn in the
background.  I haven't heard the new album, but if it's anything like
_Boomerang_, it makes more sense next to XTC than you would expect!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 01 May 1999 22:20:32 -0700
Subject: Nonesuch Suck? Nonesuch Luck!

Songs off Nonesuch that some here think naff that I really like:
The Ballad Of Peter Pumpkinhead
My Bird Performs
Dear Madam Barnum
Then She Appeared
Books Are Burning


Message-Id: <v03110700b351e9cb7c56@[]>
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 07:58:38 -0400
From: David Ferguson <>
Subject: And its, hey babe...

From: Jon Rosenberger <>
>Subject: Schoolkids is almost no more.
>Richard P. mentioned in the last chalk.
>>My old Ann Arbor haunt is growing!"  Well, they have seven store around
>>N.C. and are of no relation to a really great record store in Ann Arbor,
>I am very sad to report that Schoolkids was evicted from their store on
>Liberty St. in Downtown Ann Arbor,last summer. Some sort of a building
>project going on.

Interesting to hear information about a local (I live in Dearborn) record
store on this list. I have bought all kinds of rare stuff from Schoolkids
since I was a skoolkid myself.  I still have vinyl Brufford, Yes, ELP, and
Queen I got from there, and met Michael Hedges (!) there once perusing the
XTC bin. (missing him and SRV every day).  Now I see Repeat the Beat has
changed hands to Desirable Discs, which I always found to be a record store
in disarray and too high priced. Still Wazoo!

>"I walked right out of the machinery."
>   -- Peter Gabriel

No he didn't! Anyone else see the commercial for Disney's animated version
of Tarzan yet?  Pete MUST be doing the music, it was Rhythm of the Heat
drums....saw him on the Oscars singing. Fat, balding and trying to hide
himself in a long black coat

>I certainly have to squeeze Burt Bacharach by the nuts.
>                       --Andy Partridge, The Times (London), March 5 1999

Hillarious... we can thank AV1 just for the fact that we get new quotes
from Andy now that he is "UT and ABOOT"......

>Also, in response to Mitch's news on the upcoming Gregory recording: Who
>will sing vocals on "Suppers Ready"? Who will play drums?  Dave isn't going
>to sample all of Phil's parts from "Foxtrot", is he?  Apocalypse in 9/8
>(featuring the delicious talents of Gabble Ratchett), is Phil at his best
>(except for with  Brand X).
>Anyway, as Narcissus is turned to a flower.....
>"A Flower"?!

I was lucky enough to hear about and get to see (twice) a band called
Musical Box (see if you can still find their presence on the web), that
performed the ORIGINAL old Genesis Fox Trot and Selling England by the
Pound concerts, complete with background and costume changes. They stopped
touring after the last concert, but it was like going back to 1975....

my new website...

Listening is a craft.
Hearing is an art. --Robert Fripp


Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: 'Smug of Irony Tea
Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 17:27:34 -0400

>From various posts:

> ...if that sort of
> argument were true Elvis Costello would still be making good records

Yikes -- I'm not looking forward to the inevitable Beatles-vs.-Beach-Boys-
or no-you-silly-and-stubborn-man-it's-a-policeman-like thread this one's
going to generate.  (And I'll even spare you my defense of all recent Elvis
[except the execrable "Juliet Letters"] since it's all a matter of taste

> Who the hell are we, wattles flapping, crows-feet like canyons,
> to sit smug in our condescending "ironic" enjoyment of "old people's
> music," archly appropriating cute signifiers like martoonie glasses and
> cigars? *Old* people?

Well, there are all sorts of joy in life, but I'd hate to lose any of them
-- even smug, ironic appreciation of cheesy cocktail music.
However...maybe some people equate Burt Bacharach with Martin Denny and
other sub-luminaries of that ilk, and maybe _I_ even used to at one point,
but when Bacharach gets it right, there's just no comparison.  Take "I Say
a Little Prayer".  I see three possible reactions to it: (a) Not my cup of
tea. (b) Har har! That flugelhorn makes me want to put on a wide tie and
watch cigarette ads on TV!  What a banquet of irony! (c) Bliss.  I'd take
(c) and I have no quibble with (a), but people who'd pick (b) to such a
tune have no soul (and should at least look into renting one on weekends).

-- Francis Heaney

"...I try to be amused."
   -- Elvis Costello


Date: Fri, 30 Apr 1999 14:40:44 -0700 (PDT)
From: Benjamin Lukoff <>
Subject: credit where credit is due (Gangway!)
Message-ID: <>

Let us not forget Misty Shock who suggested it on the list in the first

- Ben
Subject: So, Mitch touts Gangway
From: Elizabeth I Spencer <>

Hey Mitch,

Kudos for suggesting the song to Andy! Nice to know someone else
appreciates the tune...and it's just such a gloriously goofy choice as
the opener for AV2.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 02 May 1999 13:16:33 -0700
From: Yoshiko Yeto <>
Subject: guilty pleasures and other miscellany

As an innocent bystander, I eagerly wait upon the arrival of each issue
of Chalkhills Digest.  However, I have finally mustered up enough
courage to contribute to this dialogue.  Perhaps my reticence to
participate stems from the truly confessional nature of this posting.
What I wish to divulge is certainly not a shock to my boyfriend or my
close friends, who are accustomed to my idiosyncrasies.  Although, the
pedigreed tastes of fellow Chalkhillians and XTC aficionados will surely
be quite alarmed by my admission.  All right, I'll just admit it...I
like Journey as well as XTC!

Now, allow me to defend myself for a bit.  I do think that my musical
predilections are pretty sound elsewhere.  I love XTC, early Elvis
Costello(until Imperial Bedroom with most of Brutal Youth tacked on as
well), Nick Drake, Belle and Sebastian, Stereolab, Brian Eno, Elliot
Smith, and various other groups, which are considered elemental to the
discerning post nu-wave palate.  So, I believe that I have established a
modicum of credibility.  I have ruled out traumatic head injuries, CIA
covert operations, and multiple personality disorder as the cause of my
penchant for Journey.  It can be traced to my grade school years, when I
listened to their albums in the safety of my bedroom.  Perfectly
enthralled by the sweepin' vocals of Mr. Steve Perry, I must admit that
I envisioned a rendez-vous with him where I would be his pro-active
paramour as in "Stone in Love".  Alas, this pre-teen fixation has
followed me into adulthood.  I found the cover for Mr. Perry's greatest
hits CD to be eerily reminiscent of the image of Nick Drake on the
"Fruit Tree" Box Set.  However, my love for Journey is confined to their
glory years, which aptly spanned from "Infinity" to "Escape".  Their
later years were mired in horrendous 80's production.  Their earlier
years were devoid of Mr. Perry.  What I like best are the homoerotic
duets as epitomized by "Just the Same Way" between Mr. Perry and Gregg
Rolie, whose modest voice acts as the perfect foil for the pyrotechnical
feats of his partner.  My opinions are substantiated by the brilliant
Miss Jaina Davis, the proprietress of "Flatter" (a wonderful zine).  I
think that Miss Mary Burt, the equally brilliant creator of the
astonishing "Sad Magazine", would begrudgingly agree with my
conviction.  Although, I can not confirm Miss Burt's opinion...

Despite my lengthy and rambling monologue regarding Journey, I wish to
convey my love of XTC.  Mssrs. Partridge and Moulding are superb
songwriters, who through their sheer genius effortlessly impart their
music with unrivaled British eccentricity and wit.  Also, the pastoral
landscapes, which are vividly "Captured" in their music, are
breathtakingly visceral.  I would now like to offer a brief list of XTC

Favorite "Apple Venus" tracks-River of Orchids, The Last Balloon,
Harvest Festival, and Frivolous Tonight (The latter two tracks fill me
desolate longing.)

Favorite Album-currently "Drums and Wires"

Favorite Songs(as I am unable to pick just one)-No Language in Our
Lungs, roads girdle the globe, Vanishing Girl (that counts doesn't it?),
River of Orchids, Harvest Festival, and Wrapped in Grey

Fellow Chalkhillians, thank you for allowing me to contribute to this
forum.  I know that many of you will consider me to be a traitor amongst
you.  Please do not cast your aspersions and most importantly your
stones at me for I too luxuriate in the splendor of XTC.

Confession(ally) yours,

Malady Nelson


Message-ID: <000001be93ed$af13df80$d5d8ac3e@vucqprlj>
From: "David Seddon" <>
Subject: Some Folks See the World as a Stone
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 17:11:50 +0100

Tyler Hewitt wrote:

"Well, I'm ready to come out of the closet here and admit the same
thing. I've been an XTC fan since 1980, own everything the've done,
love most of it, yet just can't get it up for Nonesuch. This isn't an
issue with recent work-I love Oranges & Lemons, and think that AV1 has
some of their best work ever. A few individual songs are ok (Rook,
Books are Burning), but to listen to it as a whole leaves me flat."

Well now, don't take this personally Tyler but I'm afraid that as XTC
matters go, I couldn't disagree with you more!!!
For me Nonsuch (Minor point, but please leave out the e because it's one of
Henry VIII s Palaces!) is XTCs best work and the one I consider most
perfect.  I consider the album to be the most uplifting, inventive and
diverse of their career to date.  I would compare it to The White Album, in
it's scope, simplicity and complexity; and in terms of its outstandingly
well written and produced songs.  I voted for it as my number 4 album of all
time in last year's Mojo 100 greatest albums (hey, by what logic did XTC not
make that list?), and this sums up my feelings for it.

As there was no list in those days and I had no computer anyhow, allow me
the indulgence of reveiwing it here:

TBOPP- This really rocks!  When I first heard it I thought it was probably a
tribute to John Lennon and since I consider that he will go down in history
as the greatest musician of the century (ok, so tell me who was more
important), then this improves my liking of the track.  Incidentally, Andy
has done his Tudor homework...the sister ship of the Mary Rose (hope you
yankees know what I'm on about here!) was called Peter Pomegranite.
It was covered as a single by another group too: a worthy accolade.

MBP- Even my Canary liked this one, he used to tweet something rotten to
this.  I like the lyrics, simple and effective.  Some of Colin's best.

DMB- A single that never was.  Plenty of bounce and melody.  One to sing
along to.  What more do we need!

HD- Lovely.  Worthy of McCartney on The Double White or Abbey Road.  Love
the line about holding all Battleships in check.

TSM- IHMO, the weakest track on the album, but it's at least as good as
Colin's on AV1.

The Disappointed- Love the drum intro and there's some great guitar and
singing on this. The boys should have had a bigger hit with this!  I know
people who don't much care for XTC who hum this one!  Great fade out!

HUOP- Love it, absolutely love it.  A rhythmic delight, full of amazing
twist and turns!  A psychedelic, swirling fantasy of colour and poetry.  Who
else writes songs about their kids, sounds unsentimental, and puts in words
like "where they bake beautiful girls"?  I think the lines surrounding
"courage to look her in the eyes" are excellent.  Give this another listen,

Crocodile- Wow!  A great kids song for adults!  I love that "amphibious
sample."  A pretty good piece of metaphorical lyric writing.

Rook- A great signpost for AV1.  My favourite part of it is the solo with
the flugelhorn, but the piano part is really good, too.  I think Andy's AV1
songs in this rustically-classical style are better, but this is pretty damn
good, even if it is a bit of a blind alley on Nonsuch.

Omnibus- It's a bit Beach Boys meets Beatles and that must be why I like it
so much.  It's very upbeat and jingley-jangly and it always energises me.
I've put this on when I needed a lift before going on a boring day's
The sexual innuendo in it is pretty amusing, too.

That Wave- This still strikes me as a throw back to stuff on Black Sea Travels in Nihilon or No Language in Our Lungs.  It's not as good as
those two, but it's was great to see Dave really going for it again.

Then She Appeared- My fav track. I remember in Song Stories that Andy
described it as a bit of froth or something similar.  Well, I think this is
absolutely gorgeous.  It's uplifting, cheerful and chimes along in a way
that is very spiritually uplifting.  It always reminds me a bit of The
Byrds:the guitars and harmonies work that way for me, and...  what a
wonderful gesture to womanhood.

War Dance- Well, I suppose it is a bit of a rehash of Generals and Majors,
but I find it pleasant enough.

Wrapped In Grey- A great piece of songwriting, lyrically and melodically.  I
especially love the chorus, and there's some well thought out percussion in
this.  Should have been a hit single.  The boys was robbed!

The UU- This is a bit of a pop-tone-poem that takes you from A to Z .  I
especially like the last part.  It's pretty beautiful after the harsh edge
of the first part.

Bungalow- One of Colin's most accurate comments on English life.  The
backing choir is perfect for the song.

BAB- I did a tape of the CD for a friend, and the album wouldn't all fit on
the cassette.  He was furious at this omission.  He claimed it was the best
song.  How could I... well you know...something had to give, and I was in a
rush to get the thing to him.  Shows the strength of the album, I suppose.

Here's my top 5 XTC albums:
1. Nonsuch
2. English Settlement
3. Apple Venus Vol 1
4. Black Sea
5. Drums and Wires

Skylarking?  I know that several people on the list have waxed lyrically and
I'm prepared for hot debate on this!  It's the one XTC album that to my ears
doesn't sound like XTC.  A friend of mine, who is as big a fan as me (in
fact possibly bigger, since he has religiously collected all of their vinyl
releases), commented recently that he didn't much care for it either.  He
said, "it sounds like Todd Rundgren not XTC, and it's more to please
American rather than English ears."  I agreed with him and I am prepared to
be well and truly flamed for it!

I look at the songs on Skylarking and I see an album dominated by Colin at
his most easy listening before AV1.  Andy doesn't turn in any of his best
stuff either (that's a relief!).  I long for a hard edge or an unexpected
turn, yet it is sanitised and produced up its own backside.  There might
have been a half decent album there at the start, but Todd bu****ed it up.
I thank God that the band never let Todd near them again!!

Ok, so now "I'll climb from my high horse."


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 1 May 1999 08:24:39 EDT
Subject: Re: Traffic Circles

>>It's a local thing, the only other place in this country where they're
>>called that is in Vermont where I live, and Vermont has only one I know
>>of, on Shelburne Rd in the south end of Burlington, and I think it was
>>built and named by a homesick Bostonian and the name stuck. Jeezum, guess
>>they didn't know what to call dat 'dere thing.
>There's one at the north end of main street in Montpelier too.

Silly me, I should have remembered that one, that's my father-in-law's
home town.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 2 May 1999 08:46:18 -0700 (PDT)
From: pancho artecona <>
Subject: Re: Rush of Strings

Hey All,

In resoponse to Sherwood's article reading,

" Our Swingin' Swindon Bacharachs have put out an album that is
unabashedly and unrepentantly Beautiful, a record that for all intents
seems to be aimed at precisely the same ganglia as those tickled by
Dusty Springfield or Dionne Warwick. How very strange to think....
Next time you put on "Apple Venus," listen to your heart as your heart
listens to "Harvest Festival," when whatever-it-is wells up along with
the rush of strings behind "the swirling sky" in "I Can't Own Her,"

Funny you should mention the rush of strings....I believe AVI is a
beautiful and transcendent album, a celebration of life and rebirth.
Yet the only  moment of the cd that I can't quite enjoy are the rushing
violins in 'the swirling sky' part of ICOH. IMO it is the only part
that sounds schmaltzy to my ears, and every time I listen to it what
wells up for me is a desire to turn the volume down. GO figure, I just
thought that HS's mention of that particular passage was interesting,
perhaps I have yet to fully clear this final hurdle before I can
accept AVI in all its glory. For the rest of the cd, however,  my heart
jumps all over the place, especially during Harvest Festival.

Regarding the 'brits are smarter' thread. I am a cuban raised in Puerto
Rico. As far as I am concerned, while I cannot say the a brits are
smarter, they sure use their language to the fullest, unlike their
american counterparts. Then again they have all that history behind
them whereas americans have a measly 200+ years. And like all blanket
generalizations, this one has numerous exceptions but its just an
opinion. What the hell.



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-190

Go back to the previous page.