Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-251

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 251

                 Saturday, 21 August 1999

Today's Topics:

      State Of The Onion, or Why I Hate All Of You.
                  Re: Changing Subjects
                      an xtc letter
                        Re: Belew
                        AV2 single
                      Peter Blegvad
                    Outside the asylum
            Thank God for the Page Down Button
                      The Poll Issue
                        Weird Mol
                But wait, there's more...
                Sorry for being repetitive
                      I'll be brief
                Mummering my way to bliss


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You better watch your tape boys.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 13:29:04 -0400
Subject: State Of The Onion, or Why I Hate All Of You.
From: "Duncan Watt" <>

Nirvana, good or bad, was promoted incessantly, bringing Coby's music to
the Let's-All-Stare-Into-The-Pretty-Headlights Together masses. XTC made
music(on AV1, anyway) for an audience that was more difficult to promote
to, as they probably think more for themselves. Sting, Inc., a Subsidiary
of The Compaq Group, will no longer be able to include the word 'cunt' in
one of his new songs, as he did in "Rehumanize Yourself"(I'd imagine he's
thinking it's a small price to pay, after all, he's probably having
four-hour-long Tantric Sex in his fifteen-seater hot tub right about now,
but I'm getting off the point). You put a television in your kid's room,
and can't remember the last time you saw real live musicians actually
playing music in the same room as you, and you're going to buy your kids
those God-awful ugly Gap vests for Back-To-School because "everybody in
vests". Insane Clown Posse played at Woodstock. I saw Julio Iglesias' kid
on both MTV and VH1 *at the same time* the other day. And he looked and
sounded exactly like Ricky Martin.

>"If we'd all breathe in and blow away the smoke..."

My Zen Thought Of The Day: A mind is like a clear glass of water, full to
the brim. If you put sugar into it, it becomes sugar-water. If you put shit
into it, it becomes shit-water.

I love all of you, even you Baby Boomers.

Your Pal Duncan Watt


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 15:29:09 -0400
From: george toledo <>
Organization: home
Subject: Re: Changing Subjects

I'm also curious what made the greenman video so "horrible". But, maybe
it just didn't make the grade. On my first listen to Vol 1, greenmman
and your dictionary seemed to be the lamest songs-- even though greenman
grew on me , maybe others just don't like it. I sort of think it could
be a hit though-- it sounds like heavily orchestrated Dave Matthews in
some parts(mostly the bridge).
   Also, the album came out in february, and that's a hell of a long
time to wait to release a probably would be better spent
promoting vol 2, assuming that vol 2 is more commercial.


Message-ID: <>
Date: 19 Aug 99 17:56:02 PDT
From: vee tube <>
Subject: an xtc letter

  Ok,I'm 46 Yrs.old.I remember the MC5,Iggy,Blue Cheer, Bon Scott,the
Clash, and other heavy butted innovators. And yes,I agree, Nirvana was a
very,very,very good band,(Maybe even important) But,don't you punks have
your own fan site???? PLEASE GO AWAY!!!!

 XTC content: Of course I bought AV1. And the "Easter" and "I'd" import
singles, And yes, I'm a little hacked off about buying AV1. again just to
get the the demo disc. But then again I recently ordered the MFS GOLD CD of
O&L.WOW! great sound. So,what did I do with the old one? Did I trade it in
at a used CD store for $4?.No way,I gave it to my boss on one condition, If
he didn't like it he had to give it to someone else, It's still in his
pickup truck. (next to his Citizen King,Everclear,Collective Swill,etc)
So,why don't we all just pull up our socks,buy "homespun" and pass on our
AV1.'s to the unsuspecting masses.

      "Nothin' But Luv"    }---:)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 21:39:46 EDT
Subject: Re: Belew

>Well Chris, the Bears albums are very good indeed, but if you want to
>compare 'em to Belew's solo schtuff you need to compare 'em to his GREAT
>solo schtuff.  Young Lions is one of, if not THE weakest of Belew's solo
>work....try Lone Rhino or Twang Bar King(both classics in my book).....or
>even his last studio release Op Zop Too Wah, which was the best thing he's
>done in some time(still reading from the book of Wes)


  For me Adrian Belew is one of those people who sounds better in bands,
rather than on his own where he calls all the shots rather than bouncing
ideas off the other band members. I enjoyed him in his stints with King
Crimson, The Bears, even Frank Zappa(his Bob Dylan impression was one of
Sheik Yerbouti's few highlights- not one of my favorite Zappa albums). His
solo albums are very listenable, playful and clever, but somehow they
don't sustain my interest as much as his band material. I do enjoy Young
Lions, though, and I've heard at least one song from his other albums,
especially The Lone Rhino, which got a lot of play on the college radio
station I was on at the time it came out. I'd probably get the other
albums used if I saw them,(found Young Lions on cassette for a dollar)
which is how I buy most of my music these days anyway.



Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 19:28:07 -0700 (PDT)
From: Misty Shock <>
Subject: AV2 single
Message-ID: <>

<<Let's wait for Volume 2, and then we can watch TVT and Cooking Vinyl
kick the masses' asses.>>

I vote for "We're All Light" and "Playground" as the singles!  Or will
they go with "My Brown Guitar"?

Misty Shock, hoping to talk about AV2 rather than this Nirvana and Bears


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 1999 23:29:38 -0400
From: Jim Slade <>
Subject: Peter Blegvad

Someone mentioned Peter Blegvad.  I've got three of his albums, the best of
which by far is The Naked Shakespeare, which Andy Partridge produced and
played on.  Colin Moulding contributed some bass too.  The best stuff on it
is close to great and very much in the tradition of Mummer and other more
pastoral XTC albums (including Apple Venus I).  There are some
"experimental" tracks too, which aren't too bad.  I don't know his entire
history, but Blegvad is part of that Henry Cow scene.  He seems to be the
"pop" guy of that bunch.  The other albums of his that I own (can't
remember the title) contain some good stuff, although one with John
Greaves, an old colleague, has too much of the sound collage stuff.  In
that case I'd rather listen to Henry Cow or Art Bears (the album -
something about "winter"??? - I have by them is among the best of all that
I own from that British avant-prog-jazz scene.  There's also an amazing
Fred Frith album called Gravity that fans of XTC's oddball/experimental
side should check out.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 00:19:56 -0400
From: Jefferson Ogata <>
Organization: The Antibozo
Subject: Outside the asylum

In #5-249, I wrote:
> <> wrote:
> > I find it fascinating to read that everyone's favorite song with hit
> > potential is stricken from the TVT/Cooking Vinyl catalogue and no one
> > seems to really get upset.
> Sorry, I don't agree. I find Green Man to be rather preachy and unusually
> repetitive for an XTC song. I'm all for focusing marketing money on the
> songs with hit potential, but I don't think Green Man would pay off. Let's
> wait for Volume 2, and then we can watch TVT and Cooking Vinyl kick the
> masses' asses.

I've already received two direct emails that make it obvious to me that
this remark was not phrased in a clear way.

I am NOT saying that Green Man is too repetitive for radio, okay? The very
notion "too repetitive for radio" is obviously absurd.

I AM saying is that I PERSONALLY find Green Man too preachy and repetitive,
and that I don't agree that it's "everyone's favorite song with hit

I am ALSO saying that I don't think Green Man would make it as a hit. My
reasons for this are the preachiness and the fact that the album has been
out for six months already and it's too late to make a big hit out of
anything on it.

I am ALSO saying that I think TVT and Cooking Vinyl are wise to hold on to
the marketing money and invest it heavily in something from Volume
2. Hopefully they've made back their investment in pitching Volume 1 by
now, and learned some things about how to market XTC, so let's let them run
with it next year and see what happens!

Okay? Okay.

Jefferson Ogata.  smtp: <>
finger:  ICQ: 19569681  whois:


Message-ID: <>
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: Thank God for the Page Down Button
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 01:19:00 PDT

Dearest Chalkers and Chalklettes.

In response to Dane Pereslete" <> re: my earlier posting
on The Business of Art:

>Part of the reason that I infrequently post is that I don't possess
>the faculty to coherently focus my chain of thought and concisely
>convey my reasoning as well as some on this list...the other part
>is that I'm too self conscious of exposing myself to the world as
>the complete dolt that I truly am.  OOPS, too late! (ok, enough of the
>lame attempt at getting sympathy...let's go!)

1. You are not a dolt, No one on this list is.

2. OK, I've been in a bad mood the entire year, but I shouldn't take it out
on you, should I? Looking back, perhaps my tone was a bit sharp. Sorry.

3. Only in the furnace of discussion can ideas be properly forged; only on
the whet-stone of argument can they be sharpened to their keenest edge.
Ouch! I cut myself.

4. Express yourself. (That Madonna - what a philosopher!)

OK - on with the show ....

>I kept getting this memory of a recurring scene/theme in the movie >Blade
>Runner (which, as an L.A. resident I can say is scarily >becoming
>prophecy every day) of the blimp circling overhead, broadcasting an
>incessant stream of advertising at full volume...

>I saw the image of all-powerful Zaibatsus as portrayed in William >Gibson's
>series of "sprawl" novels that controlled portions of the >world and your
>life that you knew about, and some portions that you >were blissfully
>unaware of....

>I saw how the internet/media is injecting a constant and nearly >subliminal
>hum of advertising into our collective stream of >consciousness, just
>enough below the surface to not be overly >bothersome to most, but when you
>pause to think about it, you are >surprised to suddenly become aware of how
>powerful and pervasive >it is - not just in our culture (us yanks) but this
>world over...

What took you so long Dane. Did you not have a TV growing up? It's always
been there mate. It's just that they are figuring out better and better ways
to make us take notice of it.

>And I thought, where does the Artist stop and the Corporation take over?

Hmmm...this takes us into some tricky conceptual areas, Dane. Let's dive in
shall we?

>Now, having brought up those mental with me >here...this is
>what Duncan Kimball had to say about Sting's music biz >(all lovingly
>pasted out-of-context):

>>it is an integral part of the capitalist system. It is a product. Why is
>>Sting taking money from Compaq more "uncool" than Sting taking >>money
>>from Polygram?

>It's not an issue of being uncool - it just seemed to me that this deal
>>has overtones of a sort of deal-with-the-devil to it.  Maybe it's a
>little paranoid, but it seems that this is maybe the purest example yet of
>>the marriage of art and commerce, and how it will live and thrive, >and
>someday it will be so commonplace that we may never >remember a time when
>things were otherwise...we're already raising >a generation that thinks
>that "Start Me Up" was written by >Microsoft...

Your choice of words is *very* interesting, Dane. Why is it that on in
almost every other aspect of life, earning money and having business
success is seen as the ultimate goal - and yet when it comes to "Art", the
mere presence of money is seen as evil, tainted, wrong?

And I reiterate the other important question: When WAS it otherwise? I
don't know any time in the recent past - at least in this century - when
anything to do with art was not to some degree determined by where the
money was coming from. Van Gogh may not have sold any paintings in his
lifetime, but it wasn't for want of Theo trying, and I bet that they both
would have been delighted for Vincent to be a successful *rich* artist like

I can't pretend to know all that much about the history of the subject, but
I would argue that socially at least, many of our concepts and images of
"Art and The Artist" grew out the the notions fostered by the Romantic
movement of the 19th Century. Now, Romanticism is nice, but it's not a very
realistic way of seeing the world, if you ask me. Not surprisingly, some of
the most prominent "artists" in that scene - e.g. Goethe, Byron, Tennyson -
were (or became) members of the aristocracy. That doesn't devalue their
art, but it doesn't hurt to know where they were coming from either. It's
pretty hard to wax lyrical about a cloud when you're down the pit
shovelling coal.

The reality is, of course that "art" (whatever you conceive it to be) has
always intersected with the realm of commerce in some way. The major
changes over the last few hundered years have been in who pays the bills.

[My Theory, by Ann Elk (that's Ann Elk, not "an elk") ....]

Let's take music for instance. In western music (broadly speaking) it was
only relatively recently - beginning in the Renaissance, I suppose - that
"Art" began to be produced outside the influence/control of the Church and
the nobility. Moreover, I think that the historical tradition of Church
patronage has great deal to do with how we regard Art now. Until the 19th
Century, much of what we now call "High Art" - the masterpieces of music,
painting and sculpture we all revere - was produced for "sacred" use and
was naturally seen as being elevated above our mundane realm.

Conversely, modern attitudes to 'Art' would probably seem very strange,
indeed sacreligious, to people from earlier times, who would have had no
concept of these works being able to exist outside the context of religious
ritual and practice.

(For some reason I am reminded of he Vatican's fierce protectiveness of
works like Allegri's "Miserere" which was kept strictly 'in-house' until a
smart young operator from Vienna called Wolfgang Mozart came along for a
visit, heard it, memorised the whole thing, and wrote it out when he got
home .... so the story goes anyway. Thanks to him, it's one of the most
popular pieces of 'sacred' music in the repertoire.)

Another curious feature was the Church's direct and indrect control over
what kinds of music were allowed - this had a major influence over the
historical development of music. Why is this important? Well, as a rule,
virtually all the music that has survived from before the Renaissance is
Church music, simply because the rest was deemed 'profane' and was
therefore not written down.

Other examples of this control are: the longstanding ban on the use of
instruments in churches, and the banning of the use of the evil tritone
interval. (Oddly enough, this is the selfsame interval with which that
well-known purveryor of devil's music, James M. Hendrix, corrupted the
God-fearing English public at the start of 'Purple Haze'). Also, the basic
structures of Church music (the Mass, the sonata de chiesa) that evolved in
the Middle Ages and the Renaissance still underpin the structures of most
classical music up to the present day.

Where was I? Oh yeah .... Gradually, with the social changes in the
late18th/19th century, that power base shifted, and as we know, composers
like Mozart and Beethoven were pioneers in the move away from compostition
to order for church/noble patrons, to working by public subscription
(although their patrons were still a major money earner). A similar change
aoocured in the visual arts. Before the 19th century most artists were
dependent on patronage by the church and the rich. By Monet's time, you
could make quite a decent living selling paintings to the bourgoisie.

The bottom line has always been that artists, like the rest of us, have to
eat. Whatever metaphysical dressings you want to give it, being a composer,
a sculptor, a painter, is a job. You do it to earn money, and if you're
good at it you earn a lot. The up-side for the artist is that you also get
to express and communicate some idea, some feeling, that transcends the
workaday nature of its creation. The upside for the listener/viewer is that
we are treated to the expressions of people who possess extraordinary
physical and mental abilities.

>>Collusively? Puh-leease! Collusion implies secrecy. This was in the >>Wall
>>St Journal, was it not? Nothing very secrective about his >>website.
>>Pretty up-front if you ask me.

>Again, I'm admittedly no wordsmith; collusively is a poor choice, I'll
> >give you that.  I was somehow trying to impart that eerie devil-deal
> >feeling. (maybe subconsciously I _was_ trying to incite riot with that
> >one)

There it is again! "That ol' black magic ...." Why is it that we express
this situation in terms of some kind of a quasi-religious conflict between
ART (good, pure, noble) - and COMMERCE (base, corrupt, evil)? Largely, I
would contend, for the historical reasons I outlined above.

It's popular music, kids. It's an INDUSTRIAL PRODUCT and it has been for
the last 100 years or more. They sell it, we buy it. The record companies
have the capital and the means of distribution. The musicians provide the
raw material. We are the consumers. Longtime bilong massa.

Your last point conveniently leads us into the 20th Century. I can't view
it as a devil-deal. I can't see why taking money from Compaq is bad, or ayt
least any worse than taking money from EMI. The popular music industry, is
and has always been, an INDUSTRY, just like any other. It grew out a
technological development - sound recording and the phonograph record - and
has been one of the most successful and profitable indutries in the world.

Right from the start, people with an eye for opportunity, including good
old Tom Mr Edison (not forgetting Emil Berliner), saw the HUGE
profit-making potential of this medium, and boy did they profit. Seeing the
huge sums to be earned by adapting their new invention to the new-fangled
system of mass-prodcution (thank you, Henry Ford) they took their new
medium - records - and made it into a huge commerical enterprise almost as
soon as it had been invented. Taking a leaf from Rockerfellers' book "How
to Vertically Integrate Your Company and Create A Massive Monopoly",
outfits like EMI and RCA soon ranked among the most successful companies in
the world.

With the development of radio, a hugely powerful new marketing tool came
into their hands. Now they could play AND sell their music at the same
time, to millions. And we lapped it up. Indeed, so enticing to the consumer
was this new phenomenon, that the music itself became the bait for even
bigger fish. The record/radio barons lured vast numbers of listeners to
their stations with music, and so made vaster fortunes because they could
charge other industries to advertise *their* goods on the radio, precisely
because they could promise advertisers a previously unthinkable range of
markets, instantly, 24 hours a day. Hell, look what it did for a dud
product like Hitler!

It's no coincidence that the record companies immediately became the major
players in radio, especially in the USA. It was a fortunate historical
accident that the system adopted in the UK and Australia provided for large
balance of public/government broadcasting systems - a mistake governments
have been trying to correct ever since. Television spiced up the mix even
more, with the bonus of providing (to paraphrase Zappa) moving kissable
pinups of the idols of the day.

Now we have the Web. How the new medium will alter this nexus is unclear,
but it's evident to me that as the effectiveness of one marketing
technology fades, a new one is being adopted. What they sell and how they
sell it is incidental. The sale is the thing, and they really don't care
what it is they sell. Bottom line - these media only exist in the form they
exist now because they can be used to sell products. LOTS of products.

Actually I don't see it being too long before the lovely 'freedoms' we
enjoy on the web at the moment - 'free' websites, 'free' email, 'free'
search engines (all of which, like "free-to-air TV" is actually being paid
for by advertising revenue) will be rolled back to a purely user-pays
model. TV is fast heading in that direction worldwide and anyone who thinks
the Web will do otherwise is living in a fools paradise IMHO. Market forces
will prevail, like it or not.

>>This is the system we have. It works the way it works. You
>>can use it and deal with it, and try to improve it, or not. Your
>>choice. But don't pretend to me that turning an honest buck is >>some sort
>>of fall from ideological grace. Sting made a business >>deal. He didn't
>>cheat anyone, he didn't rob or exploit anyone, as far >>as I can see. What
>>IS the problem?

>There's potential for the artist to be cheated/robbed/exploited, just >ask
>Andy. At what point does the artist stop creating for self and >start
>creating solely for the sponsor and the continued support of >same?  Our
>boys have been struggling with this issue nearly their >entire career,
>having to please Virgin's ideas of what XTC truly was.  >Who knows, they
>may still be experiencing some degree of that right >now with the recent
>whirlwind US/Japan appearances they endured >this year for TVT.  For all of
>the stiff upper lip displayed by Colin and >Andy, just talking to them you
>got the impression that they were still >tired and to at least some extent
>upset about having to do the >publicity thing instead of pushing ahead with
>construction of the new >studio and getting right back into recording.

Oh the poor dears. Geez, Dane do they want the job or not? If Andy wants to
create pure music, go for it. No-one's stopping him. If he wants to operate
in the real world, the public is part of the deal. Culture is a
converssation. All that free travel...what a drag.

Actually, XTC are a VERY interesting case, not least because it gives me a
chance to get back on topic :P. To be totally cynical about it, I would
argue that a lot of the image of XTC as "Artists" is based on the fact that
they are not as commercially successful as say, The Pretenders. They wear
(or have placed on them) the mantle of struggling artist simply because
they don't make mega-bucks and sell truckloads. We happily adopt them as a
cult band, our private little stash of goodies.

Creating for Self? Well that Self Expression is the artistic ideal isn't
it?  But lets face it - traditionally, in the music INDUSTRY, 'artists'
only get to create recordings at all because record companies contract them
to do so and foot the bills. Remember that line in Springsteen's

     "The record company, Rosie, just gave me a big advance!"

Well, I hate to tell you this Bruuuuuce, but they didn't GIVE you anything
- they *loaned* you money which has to be recouped from YOUR future
sales. And if you blow your advance and they can't shift your units, you're
gonna end up massively in debt, potentially for decades afterwards. The
only reason record companies take risks on acts that might have less
commercial potantial is because they can afford to - they cross-subsidise
from profitable artists. But they never, NEVER lose money if they can help
it, and they always work on the basis that thse acts are gonna make some
amount back for them, even if it takes a while.

As for exploitation ... well I hate to be even more cynical, but caveat
emptor. Pop history is littered with the corporate corpses of bands who
were too shortsighted or dumb or naive to make sure they weren't being
cheated, or thought they were too much the artist to be bothered about
reading the fine print. The Move, XTC, Wham! .... they all got fleeced by
unscrupulous managers and were tied into terrible contrtacts that left them
with mountains of debt, while the companies sat back and did Sweet FA to
prmote them.

Lest we forget - there have been plenty of acts who could have been just as
famous and successful as, say, The Rolling Stones. A major reason the
Stones have survived and have been so successful in later years is largely
because they learned their lesson. After getting thoroughly screwed by
Decca and Allan Klein, Jagger started to read the fine print, and by all
accounts is pretty damned good at it these days.

>(oh well... brevity was surely just heaved out the window now, wasn't it?)

Yeah well I didn't subscribe to Chalkhills for the sake of brevity. I like
the fact that we can go off topic, and that we can be as terse or as
verbose as we please. I take the point of people who want to keep on topic,
but I subscribe to other lists where that is enforced, and they are frankly
dead boring, and not a patch on the level of fun and interest here.

>>This is just plain hypocrisy, Dane. When someone we LIKE gets a >>record
>>contract with a multinational entertainment conglomerate, >>we cheer.

>I don't think I would cheer if our boys got that contract.

Wanna bet? Let's ask Andy if he'd rather have been through all the shit
they went through with Virgin and the Liarbird, or have had someone as
smart and tough as Albert Grossman looking after them?

>It would be Virgin all over again. The conglomerate is what they are
> >getting away from.  They weighed options and traded the potential >for
>huge profit for more artistic freedom.  No, perhaps that's wrong.  >It's
>much simpler.  They just want to continue pursuing the thing they >love and
>be able to eat at the same time.

Why does the expression "having your cake and eating it" spring to mind?

>Andy's been very frank about what he wants.  He wants to be
>able to live doing the thing his heart wants - making music.  He's not >out
>to be "filthy stinking rich" (these days, anyway), he just wants his >fair
>share to be able to live comfortably and in good health - most >likely the
>same sentiment of the majority of those who subscribe to >this list.

Well thats admirable to me. I'm not being cynical here - I really think its
great - and I do hope they succeed. There is more than one way to skin a
cat and in fact (as I've said before) if they embraced new technology and
the Internet, as Todd Rundgren has done, they'd be in an even stronger
position.  Actually, Todd's situation (the music I leave to your own
judement) is oddly similar to Beethoven's. He is trying to manage the move
away from being dependent on The Rich Patron, and to live and work by a
system of public susbscription - only this time it's not just Vienna, it's

But ...  (to be Devil's Advocate) ... I'd have to say that it's pretty
unlikely at this stage of the game that XTC would have much chance of
achieving major chart success anyway. Quality has never been the major
factor in determining what sells on the mass pop market. The fact that some
of it is good is basically coincidental. I have never understood why such
good music goes unheard, but then I don't understand why people like sport

>>When oil companies shell out some tiny fraction of their galactic
>> >>extortion proceeds into art exhibitions or ... (pauses to suppress gag
>> >>reflex) ... opera ...  the Arty Smarties swoon and laud them as Good
>> >>Corporate Citizens.

>True enough, I sadly feel that us here on this side of the Atlantic >don't
>support the arts _civically_ to the same degree as Europeans, >so,
>corporations step in to fill the need.  Perhaps this is a false
> >perception, but it's there none-the-less, so it seems artists have to
>seek funding ever more aggressively. I just wish every one of us >could be
>lauded as "good citizens" in our support of the arts. I try to >support as
>much as I can, but, hey! I've got a kid to feed also. It's >this conflict
>that brings up all of my long-dormant Catholic guilt.

Ahhhh... now it comes out! No such thing as an ex-Catholic, so they say...

Funny isn't it, how no-one seems to stop and think about where all those
corporate arts endowments come from. It comes from their profits, which
come from your pocket. They cream most of it off and hand out a few crumbs
to the arts to make themselves look good. Why is government arts funding a
good idea? Simple - you cut out the middle man.

>>When was popular music ever anything other than a form of >>commerce?

>Way back when it was art.

But Dane, that's my point - when WAS that? 1700? 1800? 1900? Are Caruso's
opera recordings art? Artist-IC maybe, but they also made EMI a
fortune. The intentions behind the music, the content, don't obviate the
fact that in the final analysis, a record is, and always has been, a
commercial product, and they wouldn't be there at all if they were not a
product which could be sold for a profit. Regardless of the artistic merits
of any form of music, if record companies don't think a record will sell,
they ain't gonna record it.

>Some think that popular music can still be art.
>We all sort the wheat from the chaff, as it were, for what we like.  >We
>have our own ear to alert us to that which is lovingly and >laboriously
>created, and that which is calculatingly created solely to >make money.
>What we like can be art.  What we don't like can be >art.  Our like or
>dislike doesn't alter its status.  Either incarnation can >still be called
>art.  Art is art even if it's composer John Cage >crouched under his piano
>beating it to death with a Stanley 16 oz. >claw hammer or Dieter Meier
>sitting on a town square bench sorting >metal pieces into plastic bags for
>a week or even the Backstreet >Boys working out the background vox on their
>latest single.  You or I >may not necessarily appreciate it, but it's still
>tangible - it's out there >and it exists.

Labouriously created? Sure, Rome wasn't built in a day ... but "Please
Please Me" was recorded in a day. The elevation what was once thought of as
disposable to the realm of art is a constant source of mystery to me.
Baseball cards ... hmmmm

Anyway, that last bit really opens Pandora's Box. As Marshall McLuhan once
opined when asked about what ART was -

"Art is anything you can get away with."

I agree with him. What we call Art today is, as I alluded to earlier,
largely a matter of social convention. People in the 1200s would have been
totally baffled by the identification of an icon or a fresco as "art". The
concept was unknown to them, as was the concept of 'artist', except in the
most purely functional terms. It was a craft, a skill. The intention of
their work was purely decorative and devotional. It was only during the
Renaissance - particularly through people like Leonardo Da Vinci (was he an
atheist? I dont know but I bet he was) that the concept of what we now term
"pure" art began to develop. In that sense it was a necessary development.
If you are making such sophisticated images or sounds, and they are not
about God (which they always were before) then what *are* they about?
Answer -ME.

Art, as a means to define and justify a system of purely personal
expression, became the 'term which encapsulated these concepts. What is or
is not "art" is a very old argument and inextricably linked to personal
taste and opinion, and to social standards.

(I recently heard chess described as a "sport", a concept which strikes me
as magnificantly bizarre. But it makes sense in this wacky world. Sport
sells. How do we sell chess? Easy - call it a sport.)

The profound upheavals of the 20th century rendered many of the 19th
century concepts about Art and Culture meaningless, given that they were
based on social conventions which were pretty much blown off the map by the
last two world wars.

And yet where are we now? Dada is a perfect case in point. The explicit
intentions of the dada and surrealist movements after WWI were to attack
the accepted concepts of Art and Culture. To those people their work was
anti-art, non-art, a subversive form of expression which sought to destroy
what they saw as a corrupt and decadent set of values. Now, it's just
another blockbuster exhibition coming to a gallery near you, courtesy of
the GreedCo Arts Foundation.

Whew. Well that beats working, I must say. Is there a point? Only that
beauty, as always, is in the eye of the beholder. To me it's impossible,
and just plain silly, to draw a line somewhere and say "THIS IS ART". You
say potato ... It's nonsensical. Expressing yourself creatively is highly
desirable, and the world would be a better, noisier, more colourful place
if we all did it more often. But we don't. And we are socially "encouraged"
not to ... because then we wouldn't want to buy it from someone else, would

Fuck art - dance with me Germany!

Yours curatorially


Message-ID: <00a301beeb36$0b63be00$>
From: "JH3" <>
Subject: The Poll Issue
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 13:01:35 -0500


>Send me the names of what you think are the five best
>albums of the 1990s *in order of preference*.

Shouldn't that be the five best *non-XTC* albums of the 90's?
There were two XTC albums released in the 90's, three if you
count O&L (technically released late in 1989), but we all know
know about those already. This poll of yours would leave only
2-3 slots for other bands...

I have to say that I'm listening to the new Flaming Lips album
right now, and I think it would be a serious contender to make
such a list, even *with* XTC reserving the top 2-3 slots. Of
course, YMMV.

John H. Hedges


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 11:26:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chris Desmond <>
Subject: Weird Mol

I know I'm going to hate myself in the morning for this, but...

>From: Molly E Fanton <>
>Subject: Hmm, what if

>What if Weird Al did a parady of an XTC song?  What song would be good
>paradied (sp), would Andy or Colin give persmission for him to use it?
>Hmm, River of Oragamie (sp) (River of Orchids) or Treeman (Greenman).
>That would be funny.  :)

I don't know Molly, but if I were Andy or Colin I wouldn't give my
persmission for any paradies...unless it was a parady with lots of big
floaties. I mean, it's that kind of persmissive attitude that gets
people in trouble, isn't it?

Yours d'oeuvres,

Chris Desmond

P.S. "origami"


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 11:39:27 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chris Desmond <>
Subject: Redundarama

Now *this* I'm not going to lose any sleep over...

Molly, this is a joke, right? (asterisks added by me for emphasis):

>Okay, let's not talk about Nirvana and the other stuff anymore, I'm
>finding it ***boring and repetetive.***  So why not start something
>that's XTC related.

And then, moments later...

>I have to agree with Chris Chapman, there has been way too much
>non-XTC content on this list.  I'm not trying to play net police
>nor am I trying to step on sweet John Relph's toes, but this stuff
>is getting ***repetetive and boring.***  I've had to hit the scroll
>bar numerous times.

"Boring and repetitive," "repetitive and boring" -- I see you trying to
be sneaky and switching the order of the words so we don't notice that
you're being repetitive (and boring). C'mon Molls, I would have
expected more from you (if I didn't already expect so little).

If you are truly "not trying to play net police," than I have but one
suggestion for you (and others like you): DON'T! It's boring and --
yeah, you know what comes next, don't you.

Chris Desmond


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 11:54:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Chris Desmond <>
Subject: But wait, there's more...

Oh man, I should know better than to send a message before I finish
reading the digest...

>I'm sorry, I'm just getting sick of Nirvana, they were a
>great group, but it's just getting ***repetitive and so boring***
>and my finger hurts hitting page down.

See previous.

Chris Desmond

P.S. And just a little non-specific dribbling haiku:

Will Lewis must think
He's not a rat's ass himself
Well I think he's wrong.


Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 14:50:03 -0400
Subject: Sorry for being repetitive
Message-ID: <>
From: Molly E Fanton <>

I just wanted to apologize for my redundency in the last digest.  I
didn't know all three of my possts made it, and after reading them, I
started thinking.  I'm complaining about the Nirvana thing being
redundent and I'm sounding very redundent.  So sorry again.



Message-ID: <006901beeb41$6ef05b80$4ae47ad1@default>
Subject: I'll be brief
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 15:23:04 -0400

I would rather read ten messages about Nirvana than ten messages griping
about lack of XTC content.  If you want a discussion about XTC, start one
yourself; don't complain that no one else is doing it for you.

-- Francis Heaney

"Sociability is hard enough for me."
  -- Blur


Message-ID: <>
From: "Martin, Alan" <>
Subject: Mummering my way to bliss
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 1999 16:02:06 -0400

Hi everyone!  I've been enjoying AV1 and anxiously await AV2!  (I have the
demos and WOW!!!  what GREAT music!).. anyway, my real reason for this post
is to extol the wonderful sound paintings on the exceptional album Mummer.
Most people on this list are a bit down on this album and I'm not clear
why.  From the opening "Jungle Drum" beats (keep in mind I have the CD
version) to the final track, it's a helluva good ride.  I am particularly
fond of the anti-war/violence sentiment "Beating of Hearts".  The idea that
love can overcome any form of violence is a firm and beautiful idea for me
that I believe in deeply.  The brilliant expressions used in the vocal
arrangements of the songs are just one of a million examples of the genius
that is Andy Partridge.  For example, listen to the way in which Andy draws
out the vocal into a mock drone of mass bombers on the word "flight" in
"Beating of Hearts" or his impressionistic play on the word "herd" in
"Farmboy's wages", which I believe to be one of the finest marriages of
folk based ideal with pop melody ever written.  The emotional impact of the
lyrics in "Great Fire" are fantastic... a complete expression of human
desire and longing in a wistful, lustfilled vein.  "Ladybird" is a frolic
in a warm, spring garden from when the sun rises through your bedroom
window until it sets in the late afternoon... and, dare I say it, it
SCREAMS Paul McCartney in it's melody, structure and lyrical vision.
"Desert Island" has a playful romp within it's lyrics which carries me
through a series of progressive, imaginative mental images.  It's analogies
are so obviously pompous and trite, the very social attitude that Andy
intends to put on display in this masterpiece.  "Toys" is astounding.  It
simply floors me every single time I hear it.  It's use of musical form to
extol a children's playtime feeling while expressing the "Monkey see monkey
do" approach to how children learn interaction in it's lyrics, could only
have been executed by XTC.  I often read the comment about this albums
"Production" and I certainly DO NOT want to open the proverbial can of
worms back up about that.  But, I believe the production feel that was
applied to this album is the only "feel" that fits.

My favorite posts on this forum are when someone expresses thier thoughts
about a given album or track... here's to more of that!  Thanks!

Alan J. Martin
Electronic Commerce Services


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