Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-276

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 276

                Wednesday, 6 October 1999

Today's Topics:

            RE: who are the Dukes pastiching?
             Colin's 4-string Git Stick Stuff
                     beatles remixes
            'No Help' and the why for Homespun
                      After hours...
              RE: Homespun - Why would you ?
              Another misattributed quote...
                   Re: STING, BITE ME!
                      BAD PUN ALERT
                     Web site trouble
                  The Partridge Sisters
               homespun a lost opportunity
                     Things I Bang On
                 Homespun is your friend
                        Glam Slam


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In the sea air / Climbing rose / Time to spare.


Message-ID: <000501bf0f9a$697ad0e0$>
From: "Martin & Jamie Monkman" <>
Subject: RE: who are the Dukes pastiching?
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 18:30:31 -0700

Simon Deane <> writes, in part:

>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.

The first line of research should be "Song Stories", the XTC book, which you
should have on your bookshelf anyway.

Then visit Planet Smile, the unofficial Dukes of Stratosphear website.

And if you can spot anything I've missed, let me know.

The Dukes are dead.  Long live XTC.


Visit our homepage:


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 22:18:59 -0400
From: Ben Gott/Loquacious Music <>
Subject: Spinning

Hi, all:

I picked up "Homespun" today (hooray, Newbury Comics!), and am quite happy
with it.  I think that a "demo album" is a great idea, and I'm glad that
TVT is taking such an interest in XTC!

I've met a lot of new XTC fans through my job at the radio station.  Dave,
our station manager, loves "English Settlement" as much as I do, and Lara,
the programming director, bought a copy of "Homespun" to play on her show!
I suggested to Lara that we try to get the Boys to come perform at Bowdoin;
her response was, "they'd charge too much!"  "Hmmmm," I thought..."Probably
not," I responded.  What do you all think: would the boys be in it for the
money?  (Not that it would matter, of course: the Student Activities
Committee picked Salt 'n' Peppa over They Might Be Giants for our fall
concert, so even if XTC *was* touring, they'd probably be outvoted!)


     Benjamin Gott . Loquacious Music . Brunswick, ME 04011
AOL: Plan4Nigel . Telephone (207) 721-5366 . Mobile (207) 798-1859
  Anything is hard to find / When you will not open your eyes...


Message-ID: <>
From: "Andrew Gowans" <>
Subject: Colin's 4-string Git Stick Stuff
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 12:25:53 EST

Hi all !
Here I am back from the wilderness with my musings on the pick (no plectrum
joke intended) of Colin's bass lines.
I agree with the posters that find it hard to choose between so much
excellent material, but my favourites would be (in no particular order) Earn
Enough for Us, Fruit Nut, Pale & Precious, Generals & Majors and Yacht
Dance. Oh, and also everything else he has done that I have a copy of and a
few things he hasn't done (?).
Being a bass player of no-fixed ability I have some passing interest in this
thread and I would cite CM as a major influence (In my dreams I am as good
as him).
<sighhhh......'sob'...back to reality>

Ciao etc,
Andrew Gowans
* ---------------------------------
"There, it didn't rhyme again,
So we'll call this song The End" - Neil & Errol
* ---------------------------------


Message-ID: <>
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 20:24:54 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: beatles remixes


rumor has it that Yellow Submarine was a chance to
test the waters and
see if fans would respond to the remix.

I was in my neighborhood Border's the other day, and
listened to a bit of the remixes at a listening booth.
Eleanor Rigby was absolutely breathtaking, even in
border's with some limp r&b crap playing in the
background. It had a clarity and depth I had never
before heard in that song. Truly excellant. I so hope
they remix Revolver. The Beatles' brightest moment
deserves it.


Message-ID: <018201bf0fb1$439aa6e0$4bb65c90@jay>
From: "Jay G." <>
Subject: 'No Help' and the why for Homespun
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 23:13:14 -0500

> From: "Charlie Buck" <>
> 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.

Does anyone else find this message odd because in Digest 5-269,
Francis Heaney wrote:

> Oh, give the fellow a break.  He probably saw the Dub Experiments CD
> (or one of the original albums), with the song "Beat the Bible" on it.

and then in Digest 5-270, Charles himself wrote:
> Thanks for your help.  I pickedup the album.

Seems like someone on this list did help him after all. Wonder how
he forgot this fact so quickly.

> I have all their availible US releases besides imports.

I know, I know, nitpicking grammar, but does anyone else find this sentance
being a tad redundant?

> 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.

Well, considering that only one person sent Charlie a pissed off
letter, that might not be indicative of the entire list. However, good
grammar and spelling should be a part of everyday life. Just because
one's not at work doesn't mean that intelligence immediately shuts off

> 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!

Um, neither Andy or Colin read this, so XTC couldn't answer your question
Charlie because they didn't see it.

> Final thought.  This is regarding why XTC is one of the best bands to me.
> I chose favorite bands based on longevity, and consistancy.

I'd hate to think that someone has to wait for 10 years before
deciding a band is one of their favorites. I'd rather choose favorites
based on their output so far, regardless of how long the band has been
together. And as for consistency, well, everybody's human and you will
be let down by them eventually. Just don't let one disappointment burn
you from appreciating a band.

And now for 'Homespun'..
> From: Peter Wright <>
>        So 'Homespun' is a CD of the AV1 demos. Purely out of curiousity
> I ask : Why ?  Having owned a copy of the demos for ages before AV1 was
> released I was struck by how close the 'finished' songs were to the
> demos. Apart from the obviously better production values they were
> pretty much carbon copies of the 'shed' songs.

Maybe it's because of those same copies of demos that've been
circulating for ages. Maybe XTC figured that there was a fan base that
wanted to hear these demos, and why shouldn't they make some money off
of them?

> Only completists could possibly want 'Homespun'.

Completists, and fans who want to hear the demos. Some people like the
demos, they like to hear the rough cut of a song, much like some
people like to see rough sketches of paintings and such. It helps give
an insight into the creative process of the artist, making you
appreciate the finished product that much more, as well as
appreciating the rough draft as a piece of art in itself.

> Why on Earth didn't they include the 'lost' songs on there?

Could they be saving these for the 'Fuzzy Warbles' box set? Hmm?

> It wouldn't have cost them anymore as a CD has lots of room on it!

Maybe it would've cost them more in mastering the disc, or in making
the booklet bigger to include more lyrics. In any case, the key word
for these demos is *theme*. This is a look at AV1 in gestation, how it
came to be.

> I would most certainly have bought it then.

I'm wondering if Peter is not interested in this album because he
doesn't like the demos, or because he already owns unauthorized copies
of them.  Surely paying for what you already own seems silly, but
considering Peter's comments on how to make your own Homespun, it
seems that his copy isn't that high quality in the first place. Plus,
there's no cool booklet.



Date: 6 Oct 99 14:51:31 AES
Subject: After hours...
Message-ID: <>

Megan Heller continues the Bowie thread in 'Hills #275 by mentioning the
symbolism on the cover of his new album, "Hours..." and musing whether it
might be, among other things, pretentious.

Well, there's a limited edition of the CD which features a 3D hologram
image of the front cover.  If you tilt the cover to and fro laterally, you
can see Bowie's hand at the bottom of the picture moving backwards and
forwards in a most suggestive symbolic gesture, which may suggest that
Bowie himself has already canvassed the notion that some aspects of his art
may indeed be considered pretentious!  In short, it's Bowie taking the piss

As for the music on "Hours..."  Well, it's quite a revelation.  It's Bowie
in song mode!  Yes, actual melodies and organic songforms throughout.  No
dilletantish dabblings with drums n' bass, no Reznor-esque industrial
squalls, no Eno-textured moodscapes; just songs - some of his best in
years, with some of his most natural, heartfelt vocalising since the "Hunky
Dory" days.  Where recent albums have thrown up two, maybe three pearlers,
surrounded by often impenetrable self-indulgence and contrived artifice,
this album refreshingly offers escalating rewards as you sit through it and
begs to be put on repeat-play mode.  Does for me anyway.  Recommended.

Another return to form album that I find one of the most interesting
outings this year:
"Anomie & Bonhomie" by Scritti Politti.  The bass playing of Michelle
It's-not-a-cello is worth the price of admission alone.

I was extremely disappointed by the unsympathetic remixes contained on
"Yellow Submarine Songtrack". I wish they had have got Emerick to do it.

1)  I read somewhere that Homes Pun contains different, multiple versions of
some of the demo songs.  Enlightenment please?  Mark S?
2)  What are the additional "spoken word" tracks on the Japanese version?
3)  Mark - please elaborate on what you think has been done in the way of
studio tweaking of the demos on Homes Pun.  I mean, the contrast between
Colin's and Andy's recordings is quite marked - Colin's tapes could probably
do with a bit of cleaning up, donthca think?

Finally, I was just thinking: with all the current activity to clear their
backlog of songs; culminating in next year's AV2, does anybody know whether
Andy or Colin have started to pen some new songs?  Perhaps that's a bit
premature, I know, but I'm just wondering how prolific their songwriting
output is these days.

Er, that's it for now, thanx for your attention
PS:  Dunks' and Harrison's theses on Glam/Bowie/Velvet Goldmine were great
reads, thanx guys.  But no mention of The National Elf, Bolan???  He danced
himself out of the womb into the tomb, you know.

~p@ul "fantasy sequins" culnane


Message-ID: <000d01bf0fbe$8321da60$>
From: "Martin & Jamie Monkman" <>
Subject: RE: Homespun - Why would you ?
Date: Tue, 5 Oct 1999 22:48:38 -0700

Peter Wright asks why:
>       So 'Homespun' is a CD of the AV1 demos. Purely out of curiousity
>I ask : Why ?  Having owned a copy of the demos for ages before AV1 was
>released I was struck by how close the 'finished' songs were to the
>demos. Apart from the obviously better production values they were
>pretty much carbon copies of the 'shed' songs.

I'm confident you're going to hear from more than me on this one, but
here's my take.

First, the demos aren't identical to the AV1 versions, particularly Colin's
pair (which weren't on the pre-album demo dubs that I got).  Second, the
packaging, with Andy and Colin's notes on each song, is a real treat.
Third, Andy and Colin get some more loot, and we get more XTC bumpf for our
collection.  And finally, the demos on Homespun sound a damn sight better
than the umpteenth generation cassette dub I possess.

>Only completists could possibly want 'Homespun' .

Guilty as charged, I guess.  But what's your gripe?  Completists will buy it
and enjoy it, and non-completists can save their money for groceries or the
Chris Gaines album.

>Why on Earth didn't
>they include the 'lost' songs on there? Like 'Prince of Orange' and the
>others that didn't make the cut. It wouldn't have cost them anymore as a
>CD has lots of room on it !  I would most certainly have bought it then.

I think there are a couple of reasons for this.  It could well be that AV2
will include some of what you judge to be "lost" songs, and formally
releasing them in demo form prior to the proper album would be foolish.
Also, it's my understanding that the Fuzzy Warbles series of CDs will
collect all of the non-album demos, things like "Prince of Orange" and (I
hope) the Giant Peach songs.

>For a cheaper way to have 'Homespun' , follow these instructions :
>1) Record AV1 onto a well used audio cassette , preferably bought at a
>boot sale.
>2) Dub it from tape to tape til you have a 5th generation copy complete
>with hiss and disgusting EQ.
>Voila ! Saved yourself #10 !!

You've got it backwards.  The real approach would be to take the demo dub
you had prior to the release of AV1,  include Colin's demos, magically clean
up the audio so it sounds like it's right off the DAT machine, and add some
well-conceived packaging that's in some ways superior to the "finished"


Visit our homepage:


Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 10:42:45 +0200 (MET DST)
From: Martin van Rappard <>
Subject: Another misattributed quote...
Message-ID: <>

John Pinto:

If therer is a need to further muddy the waters consider the German
writer Goethe's remark. "I call architecture frozen music".

Sorry to be a pain in the ***, but this is by a quote by Schiller (or
Schilling), me thinks...



Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 06 Oct 1999 19:22:14 +1000
From: chrisc <>
Subject: Re: STING, BITE ME!

Onya Nicole,

I love the Police too, Yeah I know Sting is a prat, but a consumate bass
player, vocalist & songwriter.  I still get goosebumps from the guitar riff
to Message in a Bottle, and So Lonely is one of my all time favorite songs.

Everyone has their opinion tho', and that's what makes the world go 'round.

XTC content:

Goosebump material:

The wee guitar solo on Scarecrow People, (Dave's I think?)
The whole of Peter Pumpkinhead
Ahh shit, I'll be here all night!

Chris Chapman


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 04:55:36 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jon Rosenberger <>

My fellow chalkerites

Messr. Sherwood did quip...

"Harrison "Tolkien 'bout my generation" Sherwood"

Oh, Harrison for shame!!!!

XTC Content:
Every time I hear "Greenman" (like now) every single little frickin'
hair on the back of my neck stands right up. Spooky! but wonderful!

Homespun has been released to record stores here in Detroit. Local
people pick it up at Repeat the Beat in Royal Oak. It was the only one
of 5 stores I checked that had it. They also had it prominiently
displayed right on the register. There is hope for the boys yet.


chilling at the ministry hole

the mole


Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 05:12:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jon Rosenberger <>
Subject: Web site trouble

Duane, I agree with your assesment of the excellence of the Chalkhills
site and I am amazed at the dedication of our fearless leader <Much
doffing of caps in your general direction Sir John>


If you are having problems accessing Guitargonauts, the problem is on
your end. Guitargonauts is an excellent site and it appears flawlessly
for me here in Detroit, at work, at home, at my fathers, and at my
wifes fathers. I have accessed the site from all of these with no
Please don't give up keep trying! It is totally worth it, Mark and
Daebbie and Dave have done an incredible job and you will soon eat your

Good Luck

The Mole


Message-ID: <002001bf0ffd$b5d8f3a0$0ddc868b@GaryHooper>
From: "Gary Hooper" <>
Subject: The Partridge Sisters
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 23:19:53 +1000

Can anyone enlighten me as to whether Wendy & Sarah Partridge, who appear on
the Shreikback album "Big Night Music" (1986) are related? (Not to each
other - to Andy)
Gary Hooper.


Message-ID: <>
From: Warren Butson <>
Subject: homespun a lost opportunity
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 14:38:06 +0100

regarding the homespun release as commented by others I have to agree this
seems a slightly confusing move by the record company.
who is it aimed at exactly?
The completists may buy it but judging fron the comments previously they
already have it albeit slightly poorer quality.
Whilst people like myself who want new xtc material just find it boggling
that we are expected to buy virtually the same album 5 months later.
What I would have thought is a product the would require liitle effort by
the band would be an updated look look.
this has been deleted for many years and they've released many videos since
that i'm sure many fans haven't seen and would definately buy.
I have to be honest, I'm not a subscriber to the "hey you guys lets fill
their pockets" brigade just because we feel sorry they haven't earned much
money from the music biz.
If they want exposure and cash they should get off their backsides and tour,
if not then that is their choice and we are not a charity.
On another nicer point, one of my favourite tracks that never gets mentioned

is train running low on soul coal.
this is the best onamatapaeic (sic) song I've ever heard. I love the way the
verses have you almost pulling your hair out then suddenly you are swept
away in the syrup of the chorus rather like sucking a locket which is a
little bitter
then opens up with the smooth honey centre.
this applies in a similar way to "Easter Theatre".
I also like the acoustic version that was on that "At home" programme.
P.S perversly I have a suspicion that money beyond paying the bills is of
little consequence to the boys, I could be wrong.


Message-ID: <000101bf1003$f49f7360$685791d2@p13s574p>
From: "John  Boudreau" <>
Subject: Things I Bang On
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 16:24:29 +0900

>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 have owned various drum sets - sometimes 2 or 3 at one time - but the
only one I still own and use is the first " pro " drum kit I bought back in
1968 when a sophomore in high school ; a Ludwig Super Classic 4 piece in
Oyster Blue Pearl , the Ringo ( he used both Oyster Blue , and Oyster Back
, or so they say ... ) finish . I also have a matching snare drum a la
Ringo ... I am going to have my ashes put inside the bass drum and be
buried in it ...  someday ! I also own a bunch of vintage snare drums from
the 50's -70's . My prize possessions are the two snares I got from Dave
Mattacks : a 1952 Leedy & Ludwig piccolo which he used on FC's " Jewel In
The Crown " , and a beautiful early 70's Camco 6.5x14 in Alice Cooper Blue.

Percussively yours ,

John in Japan


Message-ID: <130CB597E04ED211B2A400104B93AAC47DF6A2@ESCORP1>
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: Homespun is your friend
Date: Wed, 6 Oct 1999 09:25:29 -0500

Peter Wright wrote (ha!):

> So 'Homespun' is a CD of the AV1 demos. Purely out of curiousity
> I ask : Why ? Only completists could possibly want 'Homespun' . Why on
> Earth didn't
> they include the 'lost' songs on there? Like 'Prince of Orange' and the
> others that didn't make the cut. It wouldn't have cost them anymore as a
> CD has lots of room on it !  I would most certainly have bought it then.

Actually it would have cost them more, because they had an outside producer
remaster the demos for release.  More songs = more time = more money.  (I
think Nils Bohr first hypothesized that.)  Anyway, they're most likely
saving the "lost" songs for the Fuzzy Warbles disks.  (Any word on this, Mr.
Friedman or anyone else?  I must have a clean mix of Dame Fortune and Wonder

The demos are similar to the final versions, but not identical.  I think the
Easter Theatre demo is slightly better, and I'd Like That & Your Dictionary
equally good.  If I were making an XTC mix tape for someone, I'd certainly
include at least one AV1 demo amongst all the finished stuff.

As for your point about 'completists': no argument from me.  I don't have a
lot of money to indulge my obsessive tendencies so XTC is pretty much my one

One other thing occurs to me, and I don't know if this is deliberate on
TVT's/Cooking Vinyl's part or not.  It's getting near Grammy nomination
season, as one Chalker reminded us, and by putting out Homespun, TVT
effectively "re-released" the album, giving the NARAS voters a little
reminding elbow in the ribs.  Studios do this with movies all the time;
it's an accepted part of Oscar-campaigning.  So look on Homespun as the
re-release of Apple Venus.  If you've seen it already, you don't need to
see it again, but it's still fun.

The fact that any music critic is still touting AV1 as the best album of
the year (the best "rock" album, no less) fills me with optimism.  Even if
XTC were only nominated in a technical/production category, it would be
amazing.  So let's keep our digits crossed.

Dan (not the other Dan) Wiencek


Message-ID: <>
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: Glam Slam
Date: Tue, 05 Oct 1999 23:18:34 PDT

Harrison, Harrison, Harrison ...

>>"Man" of Average Tastes? Hmmm ... I'm surprised at you.
>Sorry; you're quite right. My apologies. That should have read "*Hobbit*
>of Average Tastes." Thanks for the correction.

Nice one, centurion. I can almost see the smug grin from here. Not that it
really addresses my essential point, which was the flagrant sexism and
outrageous generalisation inherent in the term "man of average tastes" ...
but hey, it's a time-honoured political tradition - if you can't attack the
issue, attack the man. (What exactly IS your beef with 'Lord Of The Rings'
anyway? Not "grown up" enough for your spohisticated Yankee palate?)

>>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

>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...

(OK OK I think we get the idea Harrison - you think LOTR is silly. Enough

Now, I don't think I implicity imputed that you were guilty of "cultural
malfeasance" (whatever that is?), nor would I presume to speak for the
"average (there's that word again) African-American person of a certain
age". It just struck me that not everyone might think Bowie was so damned
important, especially where other cultural factors (e.g. being Jamaican)
came into play. I find it curious that you *again* draw this line between
black and white music, purely (it seems) for the sake of winning a specious
argument. My whole point was that to call Bowie (or indeed anyone) THE most
important rock performer of 70s rock, to the exclusion of all others, is to
draw a mighty long bow. In fact, you're way off-target.  You can't see the
wood for the trees ... (shall I stop now?)

I've said it before but ...I really can't fathom this constant need to rank
and classify performers from such different styles and backgrounds, and
arbitrarily say he/she is/was THE best of all. Bowie was great, he was very
influential, etc - no arguments there. But was he the greatest? To quote
that pioneering populariser of Relativity Theory, Pooh Bear:

  "It depends on how you look at things."

OK - you wanna be specific? Be specific. Was Bowie the greatest *white*,
*male*, *English* "rock" performer of the early 70s? Quite likely - as long
as we agree on a definition of "rock" (see below). Was he the THE greatest
rock performer in the world? Arguably not, but it's really not a fair
question, in my book, since it depends almost entirely on taste, and on an
arbitrary definition of what 'rock' is. In doing so it marginalises other
variations and styles by implicitly defining them as 'not rock'. It's
exactly the problem Andy is always on about - because XTC came up during the
so-called punk or New Wave era, they are constantly defined as being "New
Wave" or punk - which as we all know is barely any use when attempting to
classify something as diverse as XTCs musics. (ta-daaa! Yuo knew Id'sneak it
somehow, didn't you?)

I was merely trying to point out that I feel that to a large section of the
"rock" audience James Brown, Stevie Wonder or Bob Marley were just as, if
not more important/influential than Bowie - and that indeed Bowie might well
have been an irrelevancy to many in that segment of the audience. (And let's
not forget that as soon as The Dame had washed all that red dye and glitter
off, he jumped aboard the Soul Train (literally and metaphorically) almost
immediately - cf. "Young Americans".

Oh, and why is James Brown NOT "rock" music, exactly? Or Stevie Wonder? I
think you could argue very convincingly that Stevie was THE most important
rock writer/performer in the USA in the 70s. So is the dividing line racial?
Geographical? I'd still love to hear an adequate definition of the term, but
for general descriptive purposes, I guess I would at least use it to cover
most forms of "electrically-powered" "popular" music from the mid-50s
onwards, including various ill-defined sub-genres or styles like 'pop',
'soul' or 'funk', 'fusion', reggae, etc. But it's like trying to define
"jazz" - we all know what it isn't, but no-one can quite agree what it IS.

>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.

OK the cobblers bit was a shot from the hip, I admit. But does it warrant
yet *another* lame Tolkien joke? What a bulldog you are Harrsion - you latch
on and you just don't let go, do you? To quote the estimable Rocky J.
Squirrel (coming soon to a cinema near you) "Again? But that trick never
works".  Look, I like "Lord of the Rings", OK? So do millions of other
people. I haven't read it for 20-odd years, but I am interested in the film
version, because I like the books, I like the director and the actors
involved, and I think it could also be a really exciting project from a
technical standpoint. Like it or not, it's one of the most widely-read works
of fiction in literary history. It has spawned an entire industry. It's here
to stay. It's also a treasured part of many people's reading lives,
including mine, so don't be such a patronising snob, OK?

>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.


>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.

Well, who does it the image 'belong' to? Obviously Bowie has an interest in
maintaining the integrity of his work. And he didn't "howl" - he just didn't
like Haynes' approach and declined to be involved. And I tend to trust their
tastes. There is a difference between reinvention and misrepresentation,
after all. I don't see a problem in film-makers addressing the subject, and
I was actually quite interested to hear about it when it was first
announced, precisely because it's such an cool era. I am open minded on such
things; I'm actually one of the few people I know who really enjoyed Oliver
Stone's "The Doors", which most ppl regard with disdain, the Doors included.
I take things on their merits where possible. But given that both Iggy and
Bowie were approached and both backed out, it made me suspect from the start
that it might be less than ideal. After all, whose taste are you gonna trust
about how this thing was done - Bowie and Iggy, who were there, or Todd
Haynes, who's got a product to sell which at least in some sense exploits
the legend they built? I'm not saying he couldn't have done it justice - I
just don't think he did, and casting was the real Achilles' heels of that
film for me. Personal taste, but there you are.

> > >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

You can go back as far as you want. Doesn't alter the fact that your
sweeping generalisation was a load of bollocks, does it? (Whose side are you
on anyway?)

>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, <snip>

Home goal. If anyone in rock "invented" the idea of reinventing themelsves
it was Bobby.

>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.")

Well, why would they carry it on? None of those blokes could be accused of
standing still, least of all The Dame. Bowie killed off Ziggy pretty damn
quick. It was a great idea, and certainly something that struck a chord, but
why drag it out? (boom boom). If you do that more than a certain number of
times, you're in mortal danger of becoming Gary Glitter. (And yes, there are
antecendents galore if you look - another that occurs to me is the Pretty
Things' "SF Sorrow", and I'm sure there's someone else around that time -
Keith West is the name that springs to mind - who was heading down the same

Now I do think that Bowie found a neat solution to a tricky problem - how to
bring "Rock & Roll" into the 70s without being seen as a pompous old fart.
After all - how else can you get away with doing a cover of "Let's Spend The
Night Together" or something as blatantly 50s retro as "Drive-In Saturday"
without it being boring/silly? Answer: adopt a Mannerist pose. Or become
Sha-Na-Na. (Or make it all appear to be a joke, like Zappa, or Australia's
Daddy Cool).

>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.

Is it? By whom? When exactly has an artistic idiom declined and died in such
a manner? As far as I'm concerned, that's just when Art starts to get
interesting. (cf Michael Powell's "Peeping Tom")

>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

Say what??

Yeah, yeah, pop will eat itself, yadda yadda, yadda. (BTW - kind of a sexist
remark about "Girl" singers, Duncan ol' pal). But I digress... *sniff sniff*
What's that? Smells like Teen Spirit - the ineffable fragrance worn by the
One True Rock God. Or is it? But no ... now I recognise it. Luncheon meat.
And I don't care how thin you slice it, it still tastes like baloney. Me, I
don't believe in this mythical authenticity. It's long gone, if it ever
existed at all. Art is ALWAYS partly about itself. If not ...well, it's not
really Art is it?

Look at it this way - anyone who gets up on a stage and thinks beyond just
bashing out the song is confronted with the Presentation Problem: it's all
been done before, so how do you re-make it fresh and relevant? (And it IS a
problem -  compare Bowie in 'The Last Ziggy Stardust Concert' with Robert
Planet in "The Song Remains The Same" - which stands up better? Who looks
more of a prat?) Bowie's answer was to look to the theatre, and throw a bit
of Kabuki and drag club cross-dressing for good measure. He played it in
character, which conveniently gave him far greater scope in both music and
presentation, since it allowed him to mix-n-match many genres and looks -
50's and 60s rock, Japanese and European theatre, science fiction etc etc.
It creates a rich, dense mix, which is why it has lasted so well. What made
Bowie so interesting was that he looked amazing (a LOT better tha his
previous Veronica Lake act, anyway). It was fun trying to determine where
Bowie ended and Ziggy began. And the bottom line was always that The Spiders
ROCKED and the songs were great.

But he was not the only one on that track, nor did he take as far as some
others. Peter Gabriel's answer was to go even further - to completely
submerge the "real" character of the singer, and to use costumes and masks
to create a totally different character for almost every song  - or even
several within one song, as In "Supper's Ready". It's a quintessentially
English approach, to my mind - they were really the only people worrying
about that. I think it's that basic English reserve that makes them think
they need to "perform" in the theatrical sense, rather than just getting up
and rocking on regardless, like Grand Funk Railroad. Stems from a deep
underlying anxiety about attracting attention, if you ask me.
(Meanwhile James Brown is just up there, movin'it, doin' it, like a ... like
a ... sex machine. (yeah!).

>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?

God I hope not. What is this - Rock Revisionism 101?. Let's consdider
Duncan's thesis as applied to the Sex Pistols, shall we?

First: when did the words "Pop Music" ever have any "gravity" to be robbed
of? I have to say - with all due respect to my namesake's eloquence - that
this really over-intellectualises the whole thing right up its own

Second: Whatever the Pistols did, it was certainly NOT all their own idea.
It's no accident that they revered The Monkees *and* covered Stepping
Stone". Think about it. McLaren copped the idea, but it would never have
flown had he not found the perfect facade in John Lydon, and some great
songs courtesy of Glen Matlock. As Lydon and McLaren recount in 'Dancing In
The Street' - McLaren saw an available market in the disenfranchised fans of
Bowie and Roxy Music; Lydon admits that he used Olivier's portrayal of
Richard III as one of the main inspirations for his presentation. They were
aiming their 'play' at Bowie's old fans AND using Bowie's Mannerist stance.
How revolutionary. The only new angle that I can see was McLaren's interest
in Situationism, which might have assited him in engineering some of the
band's more outrageous moments. Maybe.  (That being said, I tend to treat
*anything* those two say about their real intentions AT THE TIME with some
degree of suspicion.)

Basically, I think McLaren saw an chance to make himself rich and famous,
and he ran with it, using the Pistols as the launchpad. End of story. It was
not a carefully worked out plan. They were all flying by the seats of their
pants. Once they saw more of the landscape, they adjusted course,
jettisoning Matlock mainly because he had the wrong image (tho they didn't
like him either).

Unfortunately Matlock also wrote the songs. Sure, Syd looked good,and played
rock yobbo to the hilt, but he neither wrote songs nor played bass in any
meaningful way - hence the rapid demise of the group after he arrived. The
only thing the Pistols destroyed was themselves. I'm sure they wanted to
thumb their noses at the likes of Yes, Genesis, etc? Who can blame them -
I'll take "Never Mind The Bollocks" over "Tales From Topographic Oceans"

If anything, the Pistols revived Pop, rather than destroying Rock, which
they rightly saw as becoming increasingly artsy, remote and overskilled -
(what a friend calls the "diddly-diddly" factor). But even this is mere
post-facto editorialising (guilty, m'lud) and McLaren and Lydon are the
worst culprits. The Pistols really succeeded to the extent they did because
the Englsh music press was tired of progressive rock and wanted a new angle
they could market to The Kids. they used the Pistols, the Pistols used them.
Nothing more complicated than that. That ultimate icon of irony, "Anarchy In
The UK" ("is coming someday ... MAYBE") is made even more deliciously ironic
when you realise what rabid control freaks McLaren and Lydon were. I have to
say that, being some distanced removed, I never "bought" punk, anymore than
I bought Mod or any of the other British fashion fads. It was interesting,
but not something I wanted to "be". The music was the main thing, but punk
to me was just the door-opener for the REALLY interesting stuff. What got me
taking notice was hearing "Pump It Up" and "This Is Pop", not "God Save The
Queen" (as much as I love its sneering anti-royalism).

And as for Bowie's influence ... well, it's only taken the Yanks about 25
years to really digest the whole Bowie thing and come up with their own
version - the delighfully silly Marilyn Manson. Nice try.


   "Neitzsche .... tee hee hee hee hee!"

    Mrs Premise & Mrs Conclusion (Monty Python)


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