Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-274

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 274

                 Tuesday, 5 October 1999

Today's Topics:

                   Song Stories part 2
               huzzah to XTC's next drummer
                     my list o' lists
    October 4th...(;and who are the Dukes pastiching?)
                Re: The Mysterious Albums
                   Re: Yellow Submarine
                       Minster Hill
                       Re: Car Talk
                  Oopsy Daisy Assortment
                        Boot Disk
                     STING, BITE ME!
                   Re: Bowie and Ferry
                      Re: Dear Andy
                        Re: Bowie
              James and his Giant Jesticles
                      Minister Hyped
                  A Hard Hobbit to Break


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Bungalow by the sea.


Message-ID: <>
From: "Charlie Buck" <>
Subject: Song Stories part 2
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 09:43:08 EDT

Regarding Song stories, when I put that last post, I was talking about the
90's when I said that "It sucks that the only album I have had to listen to
is Nonsuch"  I meant to add, "in the 90's."  I cant wait to get AV and
homespun!  Is the BBC Transistor album worth it?!


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 11:38:42 -0400
Subject: huzzah to XTC's next drummer
From: "Duncan Watt" <>

> Last digest, davidoh named Manu Katche as one of his favorite drummers. I
> must agree...all of his work (that I've heard) is unbelievably good.
> Check out the high-hat work on Tears For Fears' "Badman's Song," for
> example...And the bits of PG's "Us" album, on which (I believe) he played
> most of the drums.  Yikes!

...but if you REALLY want your mind blown, listen to Peter Gabriel's
"Shaking The Tree"(from "Shaking The Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats", Geffen
M2G-24326). The song starts out with electronic percussion, synth bass,
Fairlight and a little organ, piano, etc... essentially a very long intro
played under the chorus and verses. Then after the third verse... WHAM! comes Katche, in with horns, real bass, basically a sea-change from
locked-hands cool to organic soil-funk... I dare any ass to not-shake upon
first loud listen... and he's not playing anything difficult, the mark of a
master, no?

Duncan "what?" Watt


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 12:00:22 -0400
From: David Oh <>
Subject: my list o' lists

greetings & salivations, chalkpersons!

as with my "my sgt. peppers" responses, i've put my own spin on, & added my
own questions to, the following thread...

>What is the best XTC single that never was?...
the mayor of simpleton; i know, i know, it was released, but i still feel
it is the best xtc single and, therefore, it should've been a massive hit.
alas, it _never was_!!!

>Which is the best XTC song to be more or less a hidden gem (ie: it doesn't
receive the plaudits of other songs around it on an album etc)?...
the world is full of angry young men - rag & bone buffet

>what other songs do i think are underrated/hidden gems/unjustly ignored?
1. when you're near me i have difficulty
2. rocket from a bottle
3. travels in nihilon (try driving with this cranked up. if you can afford
the speeding ticket, that is...)
4. yacht dance
5. mermaid smiled
6. poor skeleton steps out
7. the ugly underneath

>What is the best lyric on AV1?...
"chocolate nipple brown... like the ground your breasts swell". i just love
all the sexual imagery in this song & the celebration of a new love/life.

>The worst lyric on AV1?...
all of "fruit nut"

>When i first heard the album, what did i think should have been the first
greenman. in fact, i still think it should be released as a single. what
exactly happened there, anyway? i heard it was to be released & the then
whoop, there it isn't! i musta been asleep at the wheel... keyboard? mouse?

>Which unreleased XTC song do i like best?...
haven't heard any, not lucky enough, i guess...

>What are my 5 favourite XTC Songs (in no order)?
only 5?!? i can't do 5, i have to do 10...
1.   the mayor of simpleton
2.   wrapped in grey
3.   complicated game
4.   no language in our lungs
5.   greenman
6.   that's really super, supergirl
7.   respectable street
8.   this world over
9.   millions
10. chalkhills and children
(sorry, but none of colin's songs made my top ten. see next...)

>what are my 5 favourite songs by colin (in no order)?
1. ten feet tall
2. king for a day
3. the world is full of angry young men
4. ball and chain
5. the smartest monkeys

>what are my 5 least favourite XTC Songs (in no order)?
1. fruit nut
2. that wave
3. here comes president kill again
4. living through another cu-ooo-ooo-bah!
5. bungalow

>what are my 5 favourite favourite colin basslines?
1. the mayor of simpleton
2. millions
3. roads girdle the globe
4. this world over
5. yacht dance

>what do i like on rag 'n' bone buffet?
1. extrovert
2. the world is full of angry young men
3. punch and judy
4. thanks for christmas (yes, i really do, & i've heard it every xmas
season whilst shopping for me grub at the same store where i hear 'king for
a day'!)
5. blame the weather

>what don't i like on rag 'n' bone buffet?
1. too many cooks in the kitchen
2. looking for footprints
3. i need protection
4. tissue tigers (the arguers)
5. pulsing pulsing

so, that's enough of that, but i'll leave with a question:

with all the musicians who (seemingly) partake in this digest, i was
wondering if we could do an instrument/equipment inventory. what do you own
& what is your favourite instrument? (try to keep it clean for the innocent
among us!)

i'll start:
1976 rickenbacker 4001 stereo bass (all original including the
"ric-o-sound" stereo cable)
1978 norman b-20 acoustic guitar (fishman pre-amp/pickup added)
1987 fender american standard stratocaster (my baby!)
1999 fender bg-29 acoustic bass (fishman equipped)
digitech dsp 128 signal processor
alesis microverb ii, micro limiter, micro enhancer
boss compressor/sustainer, overdrive/distortion, heavy metal
electro-harmonix clone theory chorus/vibrato, bassballs dynamic filter
vox booster/distortion
pro-co rat distortion
jim dunlop cry baby wah-wah
morley volume
korg m1 synthesizer

ok, now show me what you got!
if you want, email me privately & i'll compile the stats.

peace & xtc



Message-ID: <001c01bf0e86$633530a0$c7798bd0@t17fw>
From: "Simon Deane/Gina Chong" <>
Subject: October 4th...(;and who are the Dukes pastiching?)
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 00:34:52 +0800 indeed an auspicious day as it is also the birthday of my daughter,
Jade, who celebrated her first birthday today. To think that she shares it
with the likes of _Oliver_ Cromwell (incidentally "Todd",  I think he
"became" Lord Protector in 1653, not 1658) and Dominic Lawson (who shares
the name of the (ex?)editor of a British right wing political magazine -
I've often wondered if they are not one and the same, particularly in the
light of Dom's email address - - and his affection for

I have a question for those in the know about 60s psychedelia: can you
advise which groups the Dukes were pastiching in each of their officially
released songs?  I can guess some such as the Beatles in The Mole from the
Ministry and the Beach Boys in Pale and Precious (God! I hope I'm right),
but most of the rest I don't know.

All the best
Simon Deane

PS The recent crossing of swords between Dunks and Hazza Sherwood about my
childhood hero, David Bowie, made me remember why I continue to subscribe
to this list. Great stuff!


Message-ID: <>
From: "Charlie Buck" <>
Subject: Re: The Mysterious Albums
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 10:06:03 EDT

Figured out the mysterious albums.  1 of them were the Dub album which had
the song "Beat the Bible."  Thanks for no help.  Real nice list that no one
wants ot help other fans.  I dont have all their imports, Im not that anal
retentive.  XTC just happens to be a band that I really admire.  I have all
their availible US releases besides imports.

Anyway, just to point out, this list could be a better list if fans were
welcome and not pushed out because of their "grammer".  One person here
wrote me a pissed off letter because I confused the words were and was.  I
mean, this is way too serious that I need to do a grammer check before
writting to a listserve.  Im not getting paid so I dont feel like it.
Another thing, it would be a nice gestrue for XTC to maybe tell me what
possible albums it could have been.  I would buy them and they would get
paid some well deserved royalties!

Final thought.  This is regarding why XTC is one of the best bands to me.
I chose favorite bands based on longevity, and consistancy.  For example,
XTC, Boingo or Public Image Limited have all been consistantly good groups.
Thought driven and inspirational.  Most groups dont come out with 10 albums
or so and every album still shines without being redundant.  I would have
never thought early on that groups like Elvis Costello or Sting would turn
out so lame.  Anyway, just a thought...


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 12:00:23 EDT
Subject: Re: Yellow Submarine

In Chalkhills Digest #5-268 Dan wrote:

In sum, a very good effort.  Let's hope it sells a lot of copies and EMI
gets the hint and moves on to the rest of the catalog.

Yeah, yeah, yeah,


Dan, rumor has it that Yellow Submarine was a chance to test the waters and
see if fans would respond to the remix. Also, rumor also has it that EMI is
having all the Beatles albums remixed and remastered in anticipation of the
next generation of DVD-CD players. Just picked up the latest issue of the
UK mag Uncut. I mention this because some idiot (ok, he's entitled to his
opinion even if it is ill informed and his argument is poorly thought out)
decided to review the Stones' Aftermath and point out how "inferior"
Revolver is in comparison. Gee, kind of like comparing XTC the
Ramones...very different experiences. My favorite demonstration of
Mr. Goddard's ignorance, " the Stones were always the band of choice in the
discerning outsider, symbolic establishment outcasts whom those foot
taping, pensioner-pleasing, emotionally sterile Beatles may have been able
to out-write but never out-rock. If Revolver was always destined to become
a Father's Day present adored by the mediocre majority, Aftermath's
obscurity has kept its attitude..."  I guess this belongs to the mine is
bigger than yours school of thought. I must be part of the mediocre
majority as Revolver has always been a favorite Beatles album. Must be why
I like The Church, the Sex Pistols, The Clash, Cleaners From Venus, Martin
Newell, Roxy Music (hey, before Avalon these guys were pretty cutting edge)
,The Ramones, Springsteen, the Stones and a funky little band from Swindow
that need not be named at this time.

On an XTC note just wanted to point out that the version of Happy Families
has a very different mix from the one on Rag and Bone. The version on SHB
has a lot of overdubs missing from the RBB version. So, if you're the
absolute fan you may want to have copies of both. HF has one of Andy's most
charming melodies (clearly written to recall all the nursery ditties he
heard as a child) so, while it's not his most sophisticated piece, it has
its merits.

While discussing AV1 and Homespun with a friend it I had a moment of
clarity and brilliance...release the Greenman demo as the next single (with
the AV1 version on the same CD along with Andy's How it came to be
monologue) and video. Hey, there's always a chance that they can boost the
sales of two albums for the price of one!

On another XTC note...if TVT has decided not to issue Homespun in the US
(along with other material that might have less "commercial potential"),
perhaps Cooking Vinyl and the guys can offer their other stuff via an XTC
website (John yours would be a pretty good spot as would Mark's).

Anywho, time to move on to the stuff that pays the bills.

PS I finally have my trade list (meager as it is...children do eat through
that once amble wallet) at


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 12:44:49 -0400
Subject: Minster Hill

check this out-
A US based band whose music will fit right in alongside the obvious
connections to the music of XTC, as has been noted by quite a number of
press reviews which the band included along with this very interesting
collection of songs which have all the earmarks of classics, each & every
The odd man out in this company is the very cool closer "Monumental
Excape", which takes the band away from the slightly quirky & eccentric
numbers to deliver a more traditional rock sound, complete with the
excellent production that fits out the rest of the album.
For the aforementioned comparisons with the famed XTC, the outstanding
track is "Let's Sing Our Song", which has a brilliantly offbeat melody
propelled along by a great vocal performance, as my other favourite tracks
"Unconcious Kitchen", "Someone To Be You" & the opening track "I've Been In
A World". There's definitely been a lacking in bands willing to put good
songwriting & performance ahead of being popular, but perhaps Minster Hill
have taken that to heart, working on the assumption that good music will
win out in the end - it has here. Terry Allen, hEARd Magazine
For more information, write to PMB#508, 442 Rte 202-206, North Bedminster,
NJ 07921, USA or,, available


Message-Id: <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 17:12:00 -0400
Subject: Firework
From: "Diamond" <>

Came across this on Sonicnet. It came from an article about Andy
Partridge's birthday, and was written in 1997.

Although XTC haven't released any new material since Nonesuch, they
currently are in the studio working on a new album that is set to be titled

I never knew that! Firework... it has a ring to it... but I like Apple Venus

Kevin Diamond
"She claims she's found a way to make here own light,
All you do is smile, you banish the night"
                        -Andy Partridge/XTC


Message-Id: <>
From: "Michael Davies" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Sep 1999 22:26:24 -0500
Subject: Re: Car Talk

> This weekend, I was listening to a rerun of "Car Talk" (a show about
> just it says--cars, car repair, and the occasional puzzler).
> Anyway, between sections of the show, they'll play some road- or
> car-themed song, and this weekend, they played "Roads Girdle the
> Globe".  I couldn't believe it!  Pretty cool, and I was there to
> hear it!

Wow, I listened to it this week but I guess I got out of the car
before they played that.  That's a pretty cool song for them to play.
Usually their fade-in/out songs include banjos.  Plus the lyrics to
"Roads Girdle the Globe" are totally unintelligible unless you have
the lyric sheet, so I wouldn't expect them to use that.

Michael davies
np (now playing): Faith No More, "We Care A Lot"


Message-ID: <>
From: "rob allen" <>
Subject: Oopsy Daisy Assortment
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 11:29:07 PDT

I, too, have an "Upsy Daisy Assortment" with a wacky running order. Geffen
must have sent out a bad batch. At least all of the songs are there.
Anyways, looking forward to "Homespun".

Rob in Carson, Ca.


From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 21:21:00 +0200
Subject: Boot Disk
Message-Id: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Our mutual friend John B. from Japan asked:

> > I own a cd-r sent me from
> >god knows who some times ago of a live recording from
> >Amsterdam '82, there's some hiss over there so I think it is
> >mastered from a tape, but it seems a very good soundboard rec.
> A fellow Durutti Column fan from Italy sent me this info . Can anyone
> shed some light on this recording ?
yes, i think i can. your friend has probably stumbled across a copy
of "my" cd-r. i've transferred this concert to cd last year and many
copies have found their way into various homes, including those of
Messrs. Partridge, Moulding, Gregory and Chambers.

It is indeed mastered from an old cassette tape. It's not a
soundboard recording, the show was broadcast by Dutch radio
station VARA one week after the actual event on March the 8th, 1982.

The band were in brilliant form that night and the sound quality is
excellent. In my opinion this is one of their best performances ever
(and i've heard quite a few!)

Anyone interested in a cd-r of this terrific show should contact me at - trade offers are most welcome

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Message-Id: <>
Date: Mon, 04 Oct 1999 17:31:48 -0400
Subject: STING, BITE ME!
From: "Diamond" <>

Do you know that VH1's Behind The Music gave Sting an HOUR AND A HALF to
tell his story? An hour and a half? Does he really deserve all this time?
Well, while I was pondering this over, I started thinking about how cool it
would be if XTC was on Behind the Music. just think of it, it would be the
best Behind the Music ever! They have so much to talk about. First of all,
they ARE the "Great lost Pop Band" (Not to us, maybe, but that's what the
reviewers call them) Anyway, after introducing the band, they could talk
about the Helium Kidz days, and their life in Swindon, then talk about
thier early albums, the dropping of Barry Andrews, the gaining of Dave
gregory, Andy's bout with Stagefright, how virgin reacted to them not
touring, the Dukes of Stratosphere project, the controversy around the song
Dear God, thier standoff with Virgin, Andy's divorce and inner ear problem,
Colin's troubles with his wife, the signing to the new lable, Song Stories,
the recording of Apple Venus, Dave leaving the band, and finally, them
winning the grammy for best album of the year, 1999 for Apple Venus Volume
One (It's gonna happin... if we wish hard enough!) So, wouldn't it be
awsome? it has everything a BTM needs. betrayal, bodily harm, record
company evil doings, conspiracy. the only thing it don't have is Drug and
Alcahol addiction, and three charges of Spousal Abuse. I think we should
all write VH1 and tell them about it. What do you think?


I got this from a guy who said he had heard of XTC, but didn't remember
what it was like, and asked for recomendations. I must have mentioned Dear
God, so he wrote me this:

Thank you again for the information. Oh yeah, and did you know that a band
called Shootyz Groove did a cover of XTC's "Dear God", except they call it
"Dear God (Oh My God)". Shootyz Groove isn't really anything special - they
sound like 311, but I thought that you might want to know.

Is this that remake talked about earlier in the year, or is it another one
all together?

Adios for now. Ciao!

Kevin "Kev-Boy" Diamond


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 11:51:38 EDT
Subject: Re: Bowie and Ferry

IS...that without Bowie, there's no Bryan Ferry, Eno, or Roxy Music.
Particularly no Bryan Ferry.  Without Bryan Ferry, music in Britain for
the next fifteen years or so simply doesn't happen: the New Romantics/glam
kids/Morrissey don't have anyone to copy, and the punks don't have someone
to hate and react against.

Gotta agree and disagree with marshall. Bowie was important as he helped
expand the notion of image as an important aspect of a band's identity.
However, it also allowed some very bad bands to get substantial airplay
and record sales because style sold over substance. I think (regardless of
how you feel about him) you can see this in bands as diverse as Nirvana,
Marilyn Manson and NIN. It's also the type of approach to music that has
worked against bands like XTC that, while they had a clear identity, they
didn't sell image at the expense of their music.

This can be traced even further back to the Beatles (with Brian Epstein's
emasculation of their Teddy Boy image--it made them successful, but Lennon
was to state his regret at "selling out"), the Stones (the reactionary
image that Loog-Oldham came up with to sell them against the Beatles) and
The Velvet Underground. Image has always been tied into the music, but it
has lately come at the expense of the music.

Gotta disagree (to some extend) about Bowie helping to father bands like
Roxy Music. Bryan Ferry was trying to sell his post ironic image and songs
at the same time as Bowie was signed. Ferry auditioned for King Crimson
(now there's an interesting image! The King Crimson audition did, however,
get Peter Sinfield to champion the band and produce their first album)
when the line up from the second album broke up. At that point he was a
little ahead of his time. Bowie certainly helped open the door for bands
like Roxy to be signed and become major players in the UK, but Ferry's
conception of the band existed far before the band broke. Let's remember,
Bowie didn't break really big in most countries until 72...the year Roxy
released its first album.

Back to XTC stuff...the bit about Where In The World Is Carmen
Sandagio?...this is a terrific album and well worth picking up if only for
Cherry In Your Tree. But Yazbek and the other artists (including the 3
Woodsmen which sound a heck of a lot like XTC. The 3W aren't XTC, but
that's another story...) provide outstanding songs. It's one my daughter's
favorite albums (she's 6 and has already acquired a taste for
XTC. Favorite songs; Cherry and Senses Working Overtime).

On another unrelated XTC note--saw somebody mention The La's fairly
recently.  For those folks who are interested Cast is an offshoot of The
La's with a similiar sound and very strong songwriting. Their last album
will shortly be deleted in the US, so pick it up while you can).


Nevertheless, Bowie had a major impact on the music scene both in a
negative and positive way.


Message-Id: <l03130301b4110c895199@[]>
Date: Fri, 24 Sep 1999 07:17:03 -0400
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: Dear Andy

  thought some of you would be interested. I tracked this down in the
archives because a few people expressed interest. I don't know that this is
the version I'll record, I'm planning on reshuffling the lyrics so that
it's not to the tune of the original, and as you can tell it's pretty much
a rough draft(with a couple of lines stolen from another song by an equally
great British songwriter, anyone who figures out who it is let me know).

>Dear Andy
>Yes I got the message, you wouldn't
>Believe the things to do around here
>I don't exactly have time to sit and have a beer
>But all those people who make me in their image
>They're fighting in the street
>'Cause they can't make opinions meet
>About me
>  Dear Andy
>Sorry I took so long
>To reply, I don't do this for everyone
>By the way, have you heard from my only son
>I haven't heard from him in a while
>And I need a reason to smile
>If you see him, tell him to write or call
>If I made disease, I'd never give it to you
>I just made the universe, just like I made you
>(Yes, and the devil too)
>  Dear Andy
>This omnipresent being is so touched
>By all your show of concern
>But all you crazy people have a lot to learn
>You mess up all your little lives
>And then you try to put the blame on me
>'Cause you can't accept being free
>To decide
>Whether to believe in me.
>You're right, there's no pearly gates, no heaven or hell
>Just a different challenge for those who do well
>And as for all the rest of you
>There's still more lessons to get through
>There's no religion, you did that
>It helps to keep your leaders fat
>I just made the world you live in,
>What you do with it is up to you!
>yours most sincerely,

Christopher R. Coolidge

Homepage at

"A Great law protects me from the government. The Bill of rights has 10
GREAT laws.  A Good law protects me from you.  Laws against murder, theft,
assault and the like are good laws.  A Poor law attempts to protect me
from myself."  - Unknown


Message-Id: <>
From: "Michael Davies" <>
Date: Sat, 25 Sep 1999 15:05:48 -0500
Subject: Re: Bowie

> ps of course, "Suffragette City" fucking ROCKS... ""hey man..."... ahh,
> leave me alone..."

That was by Bowie?  I've heard that several times, and thought it was
one of the best songs that "classic rock" radio plays.  It was
covered by the British Oi band Blitz as well, but they didn't change
it much.

Maybe I should buy something by Bowie now.
Michael davies
ps: "Officer Blue" is a great song.  Its friend, "Strange Tails,
Strange Tales", however, isn't.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 27 Sep 1999 18:35:09 EDT
Subject: James and his Giant Jesticles

Rich asked about the demise of the James demos........

Wayne responded:
Re: James and The Giant Peach--Toy Story's Academy award nominations (plus
Randy's slightly better "hit single" record) contributed to Andy's tunes
getting the boot. From What I understand the folks at Disney were afraid that
the public also wouldn't get Andy's tunes.

I'd heard, from god knows where, that Disney offered to buy the tunes from
Andy, the sum I'd heard was $30,000, and that Andy balked because Disney
wanted exclusive rites to the tunes.........anyone know the whole story?

Help us out here Mark.......I'm sure you know the story.

Looking for XTC?....look no further:



Message-ID: <>
Date: Mon, 4 Oct 1999 18:40:52 EDT
Subject: Minister Hyped


Minister Hill is a good band....not a great one.  The disc is fairly
enjoyable, and some of the songs are well crafted...but none of the songs,
NOT ONE, is anywhere close to being a masterpiece.  The singer sounds a bit
like our Colin, and the songs somewhat resemble the Skylarking side of
XTC.....but that is it.  When I reviewed it I listened to it for well over
a week, every day.....not once did I awaken from my nightly beer induced
golden slumber clambering for my headphones to listen to the disc, not once
did I catch myself humming one of the tunes uncontrollably.  I don't care
for the mix, especially that of the vocals, at all.  It's not a bad has some high points.....just don't expect to fall in love.
Minister Hill is a poor copy of XTC...they offer nothing new to the



Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 01 Oct 1999 18:08:11 -0400
From: Harrison Sherwood <>
Subject: A Hard Hobbit to Break

> From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
> Subject: Crash! Bang! Wallop!

> "Man" of Average Tastes? Hmmm ... I'm surprised at you Harrison.

Sorry; you're quite right. My apologies. That should have read "*Hobbit*
of Average Tastes." Thanks for the correction.

> If you were
> English and black it was more likely to be Bob Marley. If you were American
> and black it was James Brown or Stevie Wonder, or both.

The phrase under discussion was "rock performer." I know there are many
different definitions of that term, of varying degrees of inclusiveness,
but I think if you were to inform the average African-American person of
a certain age that James Brown is a "rock" performer, you may find
yourself accused of the very cultural malfeasance you implicitly impute
to me. "The Godfather of Rock..." Doesn't have that *ring* to it...

> >"Velvet Goldmine"
> Possibly because it's a laughable load of cringe-inducing cobblers,

It would be impulsive and undisciplined of me to point out that for
"cringe-inducing cobblers" one really need not look much farther than an
impending Antipodean filming of that landmark of toadully awesome
literary bodaciousness, "The Lord of the Rings," alluded to at some
length not long ago.

So I'll just prop my furry feet on the table, mumble an imprecation
against Mordor, and hold my counsel. _Chacun a son gout_, as the hungry
Frenchman said to the frog. (The frog's reply: "Oh yeah? What makes
*you* Saussure?")

> a film which Iggy himself has declared he has no desire to see. (Why
> would he? He was was there - he was IT.)

I believe I was at pains to point out that "Velvet Goldmine" does not
pretend to present history as it happened, and concatenates a great
number of unrelated rock myths into one narrative, for the purpose of
making points about the relationships among art, artists and audiences.
If I were Mr. Pop or Mr. Bowie, I too would have major trouble with a
film that was sort-of-but-not-really about me, that picks and chooses
among bits and pieces of my life, throwing in parts of *other* peoples'
lives, implying that I did and said certain things that I demonstrably
didn't do or say. I wouldn't endorse such a thing either: From my point
of view such a film would be indistinguishable from libel.

But the lack of endorsement from Iggy or Dave says nothing about the
quality of the film, and everything about their objections to having
their lives mythologized--or perhaps more accurately, mythologized in
ways they couldn't control. It's perfectly all right for Bowie to
reinvent himself every few years--but listen to him howl if Todd Haynes
takes a shot at it.

> >Before Bowie, this never happened.
> >After Bowie, this always happens.

> Bollocks.

I'm surprised you didn't reach back even farther in your presentation of
the case for the prosecution and introduce Exhibit F, the very prototype
of the Meta-Rocker, idol to guitarists and coprophages the world over,
Chuck Berry: How about "Johnny B. Goode"? "Roll Over, Beethoven"?
"School Days"?

Let's also not forget the Stones ("What can a poor boy do/'Cept sing for
a rock-n-roll band?") and perhaps the most important, Bob Dylan, who
metacommented himself into such a twisted mass of layered ironies that
by 1978 many people thought his conversion to fundamentalist
Christianity *had* to be some sort of sick joke: "Oh, hear this Robert
Zimmerman/I wrote a song for you/About a strange young man called
Dylan/With a voice like sand and glue..."

I will plead guilty to overstatement, but not to error. Bowie certainly
had his antecedents--no artist is absolutely without influences--but I
insist Bowie was the first major rocker to elevate the Image over the
Real, and to make this elevation central to his art. Bowie's public
image was that he *was* a public image; and this was said in such
unambiguous terms that even a thirteen-year-old boy (me, in 1973) could
understand it. Notice that the Beatles didn't carry on the pantomime
after the Sergeant Pepper show was over--or even start a new one: the
followup to Pepper was intentionally brutally honest and free of
artifice. (Ah, but wasn't even *that* a pose? It wouldn't be difficult
to make the case that the Fabs' self-awareness is crashingly evident
from about the second bar of "I Saw Her Standing There.")

Not for nothing did Haynes begin and end the film with Oscar Wilde, the
First Modern Man. It's generally thought that once an artistic idiom begins
to take itself as its own subject matter, it enters into inevitable decline
and death. Duncan Watt was perfectly right when he objected,

> Didn't Bowie's art, great as it was, come at a price? The
> very quote marks he put around the words Pop Music, while creating a
> horrible and fascinating new reality for the user, rob them of their
> gravity, Rupert Murdoch-ing them back to Frivolity, taking the blood-rush
> out of the most holy word in the canon, Love, taking the flesh-tear out of
> the word Hate, re-assigning the Real Emotion detail to the
> Girl-Singer-Songwriters-Who-Drink-Herbal-Tea-Before-They-Perform platoon?

I think something like this observation must not have been far from the
minds of the Sex Pistols when they set out to put rock out of its
misery. What's extremely strange is that to all intents they failed
utterly. Why is this?

(The best things in life are free/But you can keep 'em for the birds and
bees/Just give me Monet...)

> Duncan "what the fuck is a sodality anyway?" Kimball

Sodality is what I'm going to pour into my whiskality with a little
iceitude and a twist of lemonatiousness while I contemplatify a
completely unironic world made safe both for and from Hobbitry.

Harrison "Tolkien 'bout my generation" Sherwood


If we had not welcomed the arts and invented this kind of cult of the
untrue, then the realization of general untruth and mendaciousness that
now comes to us through science--the realization that delusion and error
are conditions of human knowledge and sensation--would be utterly
unbearable. Honesty would lead us to nausea and suicide. But now there
is a counter-force against our honesty that helps us avoid such
consequences: art as the good will to appear.

--Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science


End of Chalkhills Digest #5-274

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