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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-231


         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 231

                   Sunday, 11 July 1999

Today's Topics:

        If I were a rich man (deeedle deedle dum)
                        skylarking
                      Re: Hi y'all!
                To speak, perchance to...
                     Thanks Alun! :-)
                  Re: English Settlement
                  XTC video list updated
                old music for young people
           Things you didn't know about 'Head'
                        XTC on MTV
                     unicorn and lion
                Everything Will Be Alright
                    Travels To Urinals
                        Only 13...
               the meaning of 'apple venus'
                      Vicious Rumour
                Fruit Tipped from the Tray
                     Re: MSF masters
                         The The
                    English Settlement

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----------------------------------------------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990708065347.75482.qmail@hotmail.com>
From: Duncan Kimball <dunks58@hotmail.com>
Subject: If I were a rich man (deeedle deedle dum)
Date: Wed, 07 Jul 1999 23:53:46 PDT

Hello Chook-killers

The honorable Mr Strijbos takes exception, it seems, to my
less-than-unswerving brand loyalty to the Dukes.

>Dunks said this about the AV singles:
>
> >Cute package, I guess, but
> >does it really represent the sort of value and fun XTC singles used > >to
>provide? Not really.
>
>Sorry?  Of course it does!
>Honestly, what is there to complain about?
>
>The songs are great,

The song ... singular ... there are two versions of the song. That's all. I
think that's a bit cheap really.

>both the demo versions and the talks are enlightening end very >informative
>(not to mention entertaining!)

Perhaps; the demo versions are frankly of limited interest to me. I am on
record (boom boom) as not being an XTC completist. What interests me is the
music, not the thingy-ness of having every pressing of every thing they ever
did from every country. I'm already obsessive enough ...

The talks? They might be enlightening  - once - but I doubt it's something
I'm going to have on my turntable as a regular item, and I'd be just as
happy to read a transcript. If they had printed the talk and given us two
new songs ... well then I might think about it.

>Their packaging is beautiful, extremely stylish and in line with the
>album design. the handwritten and printed lyrics are a great plus for
>the serious XTC scholar.

Agreed Mark - but you overlook one cogent economic fact - you are in the
Netherlands, whereas we are in the nether lands. Last time I looked, the
going price for and XTC import single was AU$20. A bit steep by my
reckoning, considering AV1 only cost me $30. Frankly I can't afford it, and
I maintain my opinion that - pretty sleeve notwithstanding -  there is
simply not enough on there to entice me to part with 2/3 of the cost of a
new CD (and considerably more than the cost of a 2nd hand CD) just to get
one demo version of a song I already have.

Cheapskate? You betcha. I love XTC, but I have other interests too and they
all cost money. So does paying my mortgage and feeding my wife and kids etc
moan moan moan....

As I said, I just don't see it as compelling enough to warrant the
expenditure. I may be getting old and grumpy, but compared to say, the
"Love on a Farmboys Wages" wallet single, or the legendary "No Thugs In Our
House" theatre pack - it's doesn't really cut it IMHO. There is simply not
enough there to make me feel that I MUST have this thing.

>And don't forget: there are no 'extra bonus tracks' available right
>now; all the material that was recorded and finished during the AV1
>sessions is already on the album.

OK agreed - but as I said: surely Andy must have virtual cupboards full of
nice little synthy noodles for us to partake of. I assume he is saving the
best stuff for this purported demos album, but hey, Im not fussy.

>But what really should convince you to get these singles is the fact
>that they are by XTC. I mean, if their fans aint gonna buy their
>product who will?

Mark, I consider myself an EXTREMELY loyal fan. I have most of the major 7"
and 12" singles, all the LPs and all the CDs - I have already bought their
entire catalogue twice over. I think that's a fair indication that I like
the band. BUT I am not - and this is not a dig at you or anyone else on this
list - an obsessive completist. I think it's great that ppl follow a band to
that extent, and we owe a lot of what has been preserved of our largely
disposable popular culture to such people. Unfortunately I have perhaps too
many other interests, and scant resources with which to indulge them. I have
to prioritise.
So I'm sorry, but buying a single from an album I already own is gonna come
well down the list when compared to getting my mitts on stuff I DON'T
already have; so if it comes down to a choice between paying $20 to get 2
versions of "I'd Like That", or paying $35 dollars to get the remastered 2CD
set of the Hendrix band of Gypsys concerts, Jimi is gonna win.

Christmas?  Bah! Humbug!!~

Yours churlishly
Scrooge McDunks

* -------------------------------------

On a lighter note:

Thank you to the potent Todd Bernhardt for putting me onto the hilarious
"Upright Citizens Brigade". It premiered here on Fox last night and was
every bit as funny as you promised. The confrontation between Sgt Lunatic
and Bong Boy had us in stitches, as did the unlikely friendhip between the
Unabomber and the Girlscout.
Brilliant stuff - and timely too: we are planning to renovate and as a
result of last night's show I have urgently contacted my architect,
demanding that he alter the houseplans to include a "Hot Chicks Room".

Dunks

------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990708153537.20685.qmail@hotmail.com>
From: garret harkawik <funktaisia@hotmail.com>
Subject: skylarking
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 11:35:37 EDT

did anyone else notice that in the booklet for "Skylarking", the lyrics for
"summers cauldrone" are missprinted at one point?  It's at the second time
that "Please don't pull me out/this is how I would want to go" is sung but
it says "Please don't pull me out/this is how I would to go.

------------------------------

Message-Id: <s784a2d0.067@tcwgroup.com>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 13:07:45 -0700
From: "Dane Pereslete" <peresd@tcwgroup.com>
Subject: Re: Hi y'all!

Our Nordic friend Kjetil "Sorenssen" writes:

>I'm going to Ireland next week, where they might hav more than one xtc
>album available.Which one should I buy?

The answer is painfully obvious.  ALL OF THEM.  Agreed, everybody?

*-------------------------------------------------------
Logging in from beautiful Glendale, CA  USA
"Waiting for AV2"
daneperes@aol.com  -or-  bramage64@aol.com
*-------------------------------------------------------

------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990708202236.4751.rocketmail@web1.rocketmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 13:22:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: nross <phoenixyellowrose@rocketmail.com>
Subject: To speak, perchance to...

Hey! Finally something I feel like responding to!
... to which I feel like responding... editors editors!

ANYWAYS...

In response to:

From: "Steve Oleson" <Steve.Oleson@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: Summer's Cauldron

>>Have the posts really gotten dead boring, or have I missed something?

Time for AV-2!!!!<<

I am SOOOOOOO longing for AV2... hey but we waited, what 7 years or so
for AV1, so I'll be patient... yes yes I will (sure, whatever Nicole)

>>I hope that "Gregsy"s loss will make XTC a bit more hard edged. I love
his playing, but sometimes he is just too slick, polished, er... glib.
'Course Andy has been so damn happy lately, he's probably gone all
gooey. He'll probably put out a cd of childrens' songs!<<

:-) !!! I'm sure Todd will have something to say about Andy making a
children's album.

This is my fear... he'll write gooey songs about how wonderful his
woman is. If he sticks to the sex issue, I think I could handle it,
but if he starts talking about LOVE... I'm not so sure.  I could
handle something like a "When you're near me I have difficulty" or a
"Seagulls screaming". But... I've always preferred the biting sarcasm
and wit that can be found in Another Satellite.

Well... don't feel like spell checking, so ya'll will have to deal
with typos and that sort!

Hey hey HEY!!! XTC... funk pop a roll is playing on MY station!!!
(Moll's suggestion of http://www.imagineradio.com... had already found
that one, actually.  It is damn cool, but I get a lot of static)

-Nicole

===
Nicole's internet music station:
http://www.imagineradio.com/mymusiclisten.asp?name=phoenixyellowrose

------------------------------

Message-ID: <37853A79.37CD@schoollink.net>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 16:55:37 -0700
From: Dan Phipps <phipps@schoollink.net>
Organization: CIC
Subject: Thanks Alun! :-)

Two words of appreciation to a good mate over
in the UK -- Alun, "Thank You!"

I received the XTC CD-single "I'd Like That"
today in the mail and have proudly added it
to my increasing XTC music collection!!

I don't think there's such a thing as too
much XTC (re: Dunk's "why buy the singles?"
missive...).  I agree...we need to be out
there doing anything we can to put some0
thing into these guys' pockets other than
lint!!

Buy the singles!!!!!!!!  :-)

Alun, thanks again, mate!  You're THE BEST!

Now...where's AV2??

--
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
/Dan Phipps <phipps@schoollink.net>
"May the fire be your friend and the
 sea rock you gently; may the moon
 light your way till the wind sets
 you free."  (B. Andrews / Shreikback)

------------------------------

From: Iain.Murray.70428176@army.defence.gov.au
Message-Id: <4A2567A8.007B1BF5.00@stagemaster.army.defence.gov.au>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 08:40:28 +1000
Subject: Re: English Settlement

Amid dreadful puns and drollery (is that a word?), Mr Strijbos had this to
say on the whole "English Settlement Is A Load Of Bollocks" debate :

>>Comparing one XTC album with another is a bit like comparing
oranges with lemons, really. In my experience there is a time and
place for all of them; favourites come and go and are re-discovered
again.

I have to admit that ES has never been a favourite of mine (it's probably
somewhere around #5), but I'd be reluctant to demand reasons for other
people thinking it's great. I've got the CD of this album, as well as a
single-LP vinyl pressing with five tracks missing - I play the vinyl more
than the CD, because (at the risk of being crucified) I can get by without
those five tracks. Sorry if this sounds like heresy to some of you, but
it's a personal perception thing.

>>Like ES is absolutely my personal fave, for sentimental reasons.

Fair enough - as ES came out when I was nine years old (take that, you old
fogies!), I, and a few others, probably don't have the same kind of
memories associated with hearing it for the first time (another admission :
I only started listening - *really* listening - to XTC when I was about 22,
and someone made a copy of Skylarking and O&L for me). At least you know
why ES is your favourite album. My favourite is Drums & Wires, and I
haven't a clue why that is - it's simply the album that I enjoy most (and
what a lame explanation that is).

Other stuff :

>>Garret; are you the only 13-year-old XTC fan?  Probably.  Don't let it
discourage you.  At least when you grow older you will still be able to
listen to somethings you listened to when you were 13 and that is a good
thing.

I've *almost* buried the memories of the crap my friends and I listened to
when we were 13, but every now and then, a melody comes floating up from my
subconscious to haunt me (something like "Sussudio" can get stuck in my
head for days until I wish I'd never been born - or, on the days when I'm
thinking more clearly, I wish Phil Collins had never been born). If you're
listening to XTC at 13, it just shows that you're years ahead of your
peers. More power to you (I should probably take back that "old fogies"
line right about now, huh?).

Iain

------------------------------

Message-ID: <37852E05.9FDBA63F@autoreverse.net>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 19:02:30 -0400
From: Ian C Stewart <ian@autoreverse.net>
Organization: http://www.AUTOreverse.net/
Subject: XTC video list updated

Howdy y'all

anyone seeking XTC videos for purchase or for trade should check out the
newly revamped pages at the URL below. I've added a separate page of
"vidcaps" from several of the tapes so da puntas can get an idea of what
the quality looks like before sinking their hard-earned into a tape or
seven. NEW TAPES WILL BE ADDED SOON. Thanks to some absolutely brilliant
trading, there will be at least one new volume added this summer.

Check out the list and if you have something by XTC that's not on my list,
email me then because we gotta hook up!

One great thing about the web is the proliferation of live and rare audio
in general. KISS fans in particular have it relatively easy. There are
several sites that offer Real Audio files of demos, concerts and whatever
else FREE for anyone to check out! I love that stuff! I recently discovered
a GENE SIMMONS demo from 1978 (I believe), and the name escapes me, but
it's something to the effect of "Everything Will Be All Right" : AND IT IS
SO BEATLEY and almost even PARTRIDGEY that it's really troubling
actually. Gene Simmons, The Demon Bat Dude himself, going all pop and
gooey. It rules all. Good luck finding it...

And hey! That Andy Partridge article is still up on the AUTOreverse site,
but it ain't gonna be there forever. So. Yeah. You know. Stuff.  I've been
e-chatting with the guy who runs the official Martin Newell site about
getting an interview with MN for an upcoming issue of AUTO.  *THAT* would
be sweet. Hell yeah it would.

So. Those URLs:
http://www.autoreverse.net/ for AUTOreverse
http://www.netwalk.com/~stewart/xtcvideo.htm for those videos...

RIP Mark Sandman, "Cure For Pain" will always be in my all-time Top 20,
especially "I'm Free Now."

Ian C Stewart
ian@autoreverse.net

------------------------------

From: dan@gge.com
Message-ID: <3785325A.B25147C0@gge.com>
Date: Thu, 08 Jul 1999 16:21:31 -0700
Subject: old music for young people

Steve "the curmudgeon" Oleson wrote:
>'Course Andy has been so damn happy lately, he's probably gone all
gooey.
>He'll probably put out a cd of childrens' songs!

an excellent idea! can you imagine how cool that would be?! lewis
carroll plays rock n' roll! holly up on poppy indeed! it could be d.
seddon's newborn's first album!

Kjetil wrote:
>I'm going to Ireland next week, where they might hav (sic) more than one
>xtc album available.Which one should I buy?

just then dan pounded his fist loudly on the table, stood up and shouted
"english settlement! it *must* be english settlement!" several others
nodded in solemn agreement.
* ----------------------------------------------------------------
i find it interesting that in chalkhills #5-230 there were postings by
at least 3 people under the age of 20. a 19 yr old i know recently
discovered the dukes of stratosphear and is now asking about xtc. when i
was in my teens i wouldn't have listened to a band that had been around
for 20 yrs on principle alone. there was too much new stuff coming out
then! back then 20 yr old music was pink floyd, the who, the dead, etc.
i mean kids in my high school wore jimi hendrix and led zep t-shirts and
had never heard of the boomtown rats or xtc or the undertones, or
madness or adam & the ants, etc., ad nauseum. and *they* made fun of
*me*! now i'm not saying that young(er) people shouldn't like xtc,
because, by god, they should. i'm just curious if there is still such a
thing as truly underground, alternative, independent music that a 30 yr
old could hear and scoff & say "why, that's not even music!" and sit his
burnt-out ass down for another spin of "save us from the ball & chain oh
yeh!". alot of new pop or "alternative" music i hear nowadays just
doesn't sound that fresh or interesting or even offensive to me. maybe
its all about hip-hop? is that where the new ground is being broken now?
but what about rock music? punk hasn't changed at all, except that now
its mainstream and 15 yr olds still listen to the misfits. hard-edged
whiny pop has been around since the 80s (see above). maybe it's just
that: there isn't a "new wave" to alienate the "grownups" and piss off
the squares anymore. the more i think about it, the more i'm rolling
with my hip-hop theory.
god. i hate that crap! it isn't even music.

i may be the mayor of simpleton,
dan

------------------------------

Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 20:33:19 -0400 (EDT)
From: Ted Harms <tmharms@library.uwaterloo.ca>
Subject: Things you didn't know about 'Head'
Message-ID: <Pine.OSF.3.96.990708202540.21163B-100000@library>

...and the neat thing about Head is that it was co-written by Jack
Nicholson.  Yes, THAT Jack Nicholson - the star of Five Easy Pieces, The
King of Marvin Gardens, The Postman Always Rings Twice, Man Trouble, and
Blood & Wine.

And, strangely enough, all those movies were directed by Bob Rafelson, who
also co-wrote and directed the Monkees (and Annette Funicello!) in Head.

Ted Harms                                    Library, Univ. of Waterloo
tmharms@library.uwaterloo.ca                         519.888.4567 x3761
                "Everything changes."    Shunryu Suzuki

------------------------------

Message-ID: <002101bec965$12ca99e0$063eac3e@vucqprlj>
From: "David Seddon" <D.Seddon@btinternet.com>
Subject: XTC on MTV
Date: Thu, 8 Jul 1999 18:11:00 +0100

Just noticed that the boys are on MTV (europe ?) on Sunday 11th July as
part of the A-Z of pop weekend.  The show starts at 19.00 and goes on
until 22.00.

Cheers
David S

------------------------------

Message-Id: <l03130300b3ab70705b44@[194.128.83.69]>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 09:31:10 +0000
From: Mark Fisher <fisher@easynet.co.uk>
Subject: unicorn and lion

>From: Duncan Kimball <dunks58@hotmail.com>

>I sympathize with you dunks, but isn't it good enough reason
>to buy these singles so that our boys can fill their respective
>pockets with something besides lint?

>Wouldn't it make you feel good to throw a few ducats toward
>a good cause? :-)

XTC are not a charity. If they try and flog stuff that no-one wants, then
no-one should feel duty bound to buy it. Still less they should feel
morally righteous for having parted with their money for unwanted goods
(hell, there are people starving in the world). As it happens, I'm glad I
bought the two recent CD singles because Andy's commentary is well worth
hearing, but if you've got the songs, you've got the songs.

- Mark

http://easyweb.easynet.co.uk/~fisher/

------------------------------

Message-ID: <3785CDD0.6A599578@erols.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 06:24:17 -0400
From: Todd and Jennifer Bernhardt <toddjenn@erols.com>
Subject: Everything Will Be Alright

Hi:

Steve (Jill's husband? Brother? No relation? Twin separated at birth but by
bizarre coincidence given the same last name?) Oleson complained:

> Have the posts really gotten dead boring, or have I missed something?

Well, you know the remedy to that, Steve. (hint: Contribute something
interesting.)

> I hope that "Gregsy"s loss will make XTC a bit more hard edged. I love his
> playing, but sometimes he is just too slick, polished, er... glib. 'Course
> Andy has been so damn happy lately, he's probably gone all gooey. He'll
> probably put out a cd of childrens' songs!

I've been bugging Andy to do this since I had the chance to meet him, based
on my love of the "James" songs, and he shows little interest, so don't
worry too much about the "ill effects" of him being stupidly happy.

As far as the above advice goes, something tells me your POV about Gregsy
is going to start a bit o' dialogue, so more power to ya...

May, aka Nostalgia Girl, opened her arms to Garret and said,

> WELCOME TO THE CONGREGATION OF CHARMING GEEKS!

Brilliant! I think we have a winner in the summing-up-Chalkhills contest.

John Boudreau alerted us (me, at least) to the fact that Morphine's Mark
Sandman had died. RIP indeed. Sad to lose such a distinctive musician in
our cookie-cutter world. I'd recommend any of Morphine's albums to those
interested, esp. the early ones featuring Jerome Deupree on drums. "Cure
for Pain" is a great example of just how _cool_ the band is ... or, given
the loss of their leader, was.

--Todd

------------------------------

Message-ID: <001c01beca46$a2e9b7e0$09558218@we.mediaone.net>
From: "Victor Rocha" <wstsidela@mediaone.net>
Subject: Travels To Urinals
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 13:07:12 -0700

Hello Fellow Chalksters.
I have a questions for anyone out there:

What's that sound at the end of Travels in Nihilon?

is someone taking a leak?

just wondering,
Victor Rocha
www.pechanga.net

------------------------------

Message-Id: <v03007800b3ac27c4a035@[137.186.209.116]>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 18:59:58 -0400
From: Erich Walther <enrico@fox.nstn.ca>
Subject: Only 13...

I started seriously listening to the lads in 1979 so I guess I'm a twenty
year old fan.

Re Barry: I never caught XTC in any live situation, but I've seen Mr.
Andrews thrice - two Shriekback shows and the League of Gentlemen (I played
pinball with Fripp at the Chaudiere Hotel !!!!). Truth to tell, until
Mummer I was a lot more into the LOUD, but as I got older (that would be
four in my XTC years) I mellow/yellowed some, which I think is why ES
stands out for me; at the time the pastoral sounds were a novelty, yet it
rocked big with beats.

Time to paint (with Brian),
Erich in a soggy town.

------------------------------

From: dan@gge.com
Message-ID: <378685F2.ADF37094@gge.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 16:29:59 -0700
Subject: the meaning of 'apple venus'

since we're on the subject here's something i came across while reading
an australian radio interview on little lighthouse:

[interviewer] We're about to run out of time the significance of Apple
Venus; is there one?
[andy p] Not really; it's just two words that describe the fat greasy
salacious vulvic fruity hills pagan soil juiciness of this record.

i was gonna say that, but was like "no. its gotta be that old
painting..."

dan

------------------------------

Message-ID: <001d01beca71$f8045020$075dfdd0@unlpm>
From: "Jamie Lowe" <jamielowe@email.msn.com>
Subject: Vicious Rumour
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 20:16:51 -0500

Hello Chalkies:

I met up with Tobin Sprout formerly with Guided by Voices and working on
his a solo career as muscian and artist www.tobinsprout.com while on
vacation last week and snagged a copy of his new solo CD.  Which I have not
had a chance to listen to but will get around to it later this week.  I
first had to listen to You Am I's "Hourly Daily" that I swapped with Iain
Murray in Reid, Australia for Nonsuch.  It is good and will get repeated
listening.  But I digress.

The Rumor is that GBV which is also on TVT is planning a 10 month tour and
according to Tobin XTC was joining the tour!  He did not for how long or
where, but that is what he had heard from his former band mates.

He was very familiar with our heroes and was planning to purchase AV 1 on
line.  I wanted to give him My copy which I had with me but failed to meet
up with him again before I left his town.  Although I find it a bit hard to
believe, It just might be true.

Andy has admitted that he has gone through quite a few changes these past
years.  Could it be possible he is ready to return to the stage? I hope so.

Jamie

------------------------------

Message-Id: <199907100131.SAA27686@intergate.sonyinteractive.com>
Date: Fri, 09 Jul 1999 18:30:29 -0700
From: Bob Estus <bestus@intergate.sonyinteractive.com>
Subject: Fruit Tipped from the Tray

Chalklines on the pavement,

Hurry and see, hurry and see, a useless twisting of a new technology:

http://www.geocities.com/Paris/Metro/4623/lemonade.htm

It's an animated version of the Oranges and Lemons cover art in the form of
an loopable 800k avi file. Hat's off to John Hedges, Dave Bregande and Greg
Singer for the running start.

whatever next?,
-Bob

------------------------------

From: WTDK@aol.com
Message-ID: <40376574.24b81190@aol.com>
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 23:01:36 EDT
Subject: Re: MSF masters

In Chalkhills Digest #5-230  Bob Tone Wrote:
>
>I found a used copy of MFS's Skylarking for $14.99, I bought it. The sound
>is awesome! I liked it so much I ordered "Oranges", It was even more
>impressive!  You probably have to have a good-to-better stereo to
>appreciate the improved resolution
>(I am fortunate enough to have tube mono blocks [home made rebuilt
>dynaco's]) But all XTC fans w/good stereo's should check these out! It's
>not the gold, but the AD converters and the care they take that makes the
>sound (MUSIC) come too life!
>  Enjoy!         BOB TONE!

I agree re: the MSF masters. I picked mine up a couple of years ago
(curses!  I paid full price) and was astonished at the clarity and
warmth. I also have the Canadian version of Skylarking and noticed that,
while sonically inferior to the MSF, it is superior to the American
issue. Seems Geffen must have copied the master from a second or third
generation copy.

I'd love to see English Settlement on an MSF--write MSF a letter and let
them know you'd like to see it!

Wayne Klein

------------------------------

Message-Id: <199907100503.FAA23360@out5.ibm.net>
From: "Shoalin" <shoalin@ibm.net>
Subject: The The
Date: Fri, 9 Jul 1999 17:38:01 +0700

> From: Erik Meyer <Erikm@stl.emmis.com>
> Subject: OTHER ARTISTS
>
> I was just wondering who else was a fan of the The.  I put
> (them) up with the greatest,

Sorry it took me a while to reply Erik but yeah...., The The (or more
specifically Matt Johnson) I do indeedy hold in high reverence, especially
Infected which I consider to be an awesome outpouring of emotion and
artistic ability and one of the most underrated and overlooked albums of
the 80's.  Even though Matt's songwriting was still up to scratch on Time
Bomb and Dusk, the music got more acoustic and I felt it lacked the punch
and power and originality of his earlier stuff and, hey..., now why does
this complaint sound so bloody familiar???  (SOUND OF HEAD SLAMMING AGAINST
DESK TWICE)

(Okay, I've been able to get used to and equally love the quieter later XTC
music as well as their noisier and wilder early machinations, but this
transition has not been as easy with The The.  I appreciate Matt's later
work but not nearly as much as his earlier punchy stuff.)

Anyone out there interested?  Soul Mining and Infected are highly recommend
, but be prepared for what's been described by some critics as "feel bad
music."  From the subject matter of his lyrics, Matt Johnson is one very
twisted and angry Mo' Fo' with a very negative outlook on things.  XTC
cover everything; the highs, the lows, the in-betweens, but Matt appears to
be near permanently fixated on a cosmic bummer, albeit an extremely
well-produced one.  And why all the weird Arab shit on Time Bomb??  Did he
really feel so guilty about being prophetic and writing a song about the
Gulf War (Sweet Bird of Truth) 7 years before it happened that he pulled a
Cat Stevens and converted to Islam??  One can only wonder...

DAVO

------------------------------

Message-ID: <3787A459.14CC@cwcom.net>
Date: Sat, 10 Jul 1999 12:51:53 -0700
From: David Edwards <davidawe@cwcom.net>
Organization: ISEC
Subject: English Settlement

Dear Interested Parties

I agree with chalkling Chris (13 June) who says English Settlement is
the best XTC album. Yes, I know I shouldn't be posting this but, really,
I did get myself a life and it just wasn't me, I didn't take to it.

English Settlement is essence of XTC, it's got everything that makes our
band actually of real value (and which makes being a huge fan far less
nerdish than you might imagine). The main thing about XTC is AP's sheer
exuberant confidence in thinking that he can take the world on. Listen
to the intro on `Knuckle Down' - have you ever heard anything that says
more clearly: `Here I am knocking on your mental doors and I am stronger
and smarter than all the rest of you put together, so you'd better
listen to what I've got to say.'? (I think the intro to `Paper and Iron'
says something similar in a slower, more subtle way, except maybe this
time it feels like all of XTC, not just AP, letting us know about their
brilliance).

If you're in doubt, consider the lyric that preaches: "for my sake won't
you put your knuckles down", telling us we should love people of different
colours and races. It takes real confidence to attempt to say anything
serious to a modern pop/rock audience, but to say something so moral and
worthy (that is, to be totally `uncool' by modern standards: `cool', as we
know, means blowing people away without blinking an eye and generally being
a self-obsessed, emotionless block) is to give `King Cool' a loud and much
needed raspberry. This is such great I-don't-care-what-you-think-I'm-going-
to-save-the-world-because-you-lot-are-too-stupid confidence that it's
irresistible.

Then listen to `Melt The Guns', which somebody amazed me by saying they
didn't like. What is the intro saying with all of its mad hoots and
monkey noises? Very simple, it's telling us that we're on the level of
monkeys ranting and ululating in a jungle with our unbelievably dumb
love of guns and violence. Basically AP is telling us off! He's telling
us we're stupid - which is good because we +are+ stupid and we do need
telling off desperately (particularly Americans!), but most people are
far too cool to care. Then, best of all, AP tells the Justice League of
America to "go down on one knee clasp your hands in prayer start quoting
me!" - start quoting him - to God! Ha ha! I say again, you cannot resist
self-belief on this level!

The same up-yours confidence is everywhere on ES, particularly in all
the little bits of I'm-going-to-do-it-because-I-feel-like-it humour: in
the mad sideswipe hoots and "I'm sure you'll a a a a a-greee' on 'Melt
The Guns', the psycho `Haaaaarrrrmm!' and enraged, electric-shock `Ow's
on `No Thugs in Our House', the drunken `Leeeeeisure', and so on.  It's
this jokey-serious telling the world it's stupid - Living Through
Another Cuba, Scarecrow People, Peter Pumpkinhead, and so on - and
particularly this telling the world what shouldn't be said because `it's
not cool - people don't care any more, they don't try to change things
any more!' that has endeared XTC to me for years.

You can't just call people that challenge the world in this way a pop
group, in the way that you might call Aqua a pop group. Pop groups are
very often about mindless entertainment, they're candy corporate hammers
to keep us pegs in our holes. XTC is more of an anti-pop group trying to
pull us pegs out of our holes, telling us to throw away our candy
corporate hammers. It's still there in AV1. Given the car-obsessed
lunacy of our society - a kind of mental masturbatory necrophilia IMHO,
if you know what I mean! - the line "push your car off the road" is so
inappropriate to most people's ears that we know AP's
career-destructive/life-affirming heroic confidence is very much intact.

Best wishes

David Edwards

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End of Chalkhills Digest #5-231
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