Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-285

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 285

                 Friday, 15 October 1999

Today's Topics:

                      Re: Stereolab
Holy Beatles and's Minster Hill again.....That's MINSTER
         Is it weird to listen to xtc in the US?
      LOVE...not the Band, but they're great also...
              Homespun and other matters...
                      Minster Thrill
              Peace, Love, Understanding...
                 Homespun/Little Express
               XTC and Beatles (no, really)
                  Dem Eagles - continued
               I'm going to talk about AV1
             Re: huzzah to XTC's next drummer
                      Re: Iron Chef
             ?Would Todd record w/ XTC again?
                   Re: Pop is an insult
                        Bonus Spin
                     read it and weep
               Dominic Lawson Has Huge Tits


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He must have dropped it after too much beer!


Message-ID: <>
Date: Fri, 15 Oct 1999 01:19:14 +0100
From: John Peacock <>
Organization: The Nice Organization
Subject: Re: Stereolab

Francis Heaney said:
> The new Stereolab also seems not quite up to snuff -- it has a few tracks
> that seem to take a step forward (like the first track, "Fuses"), but a lot
> of the rest sounds like I've heard it already.

Oddly, I couldn't disagree more. I thought it was easily on a par with
Dots and Loops, if not in some ways better. The only thing that
worries me is losing the sense that it is *played* that may come with
more slickness and hard-disk widdling.  Even so, there's some glorious
stuff there - love the marimba parts for example.  Track 3 (I think)
is so jolly that it went down well at a party last weekend (I wonder
if Stereolab know that people can dance to some of their music. I
wonder if they would be pleased), and the 11 minute minimalist piece
(I left my copy at my girlfriend's house, so am hazy on the titles,
particularly that of the album) I also love. At 75 minutes, though, it
is a bit difficult getting the *shape* of the album. Still, no
disappointment here.

Also highly recommend the Scritti album if you like that sort of
thing, and I do very much. Songs to Remember (one of the *great* lost
pop albums, and the only really good record I can think of that
subscribes to the principles of deconstruction) was a major touchstone
of my early 80s, along with English Settlement. Anomie and Bonhomie
can't touch that, but it is still a lovely album IMHO particularly the
first and last tracks.

Haven't bought Homespun yet, though.




Message-ID: <>
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:22:09 -0700
Subject: Holy Beatles and's Minster Hill again.....That's MINSTER

Howdy Wes and others........
OK Beatles were chiefs, XTC is still reinin' both have the cooky tunes
(anybody remember Yellow Submarine,,,catchy in all it's blahness) and
the brilliant stuff.....

Wes, your comment...regarding the following line......" Still, the
following rubbed me the wrong way....these are the first words on the first
page of Minister Help...uh, I mean....ahhh screw it, here's the blurb: "If
you were left cold by XTC's latest (MEANING AV1 FOR GOD'S SAKE), then this
is probably what you were expecting! Great songs, quirky changes and a fine
blend of acoustic and electric instrumentation.  Man, if Colin Moulding
released a solo album today, produced by Andy Partridge, then this is
exactly what it would sound like.  Although I don't think that it would
touch the majesty that this album possesses."

Was that what the band was saying about themselves (by the way it's MINSTER
HILL not Minister) or was that a sparkling review from the highly regarded
Mr.Schnee from the awesome (way more so then the poorly written and lousy
critics at consumable review magazine)ALL-MUSIC GUIDE?!!!!!!!!

I also received a press kit (I wrote to the band and they promptly sent one
to me and with a bunch of other great goodies(t-shirt, tatoos, the coolest
poster I've ever seen, etc...) and it contained more great reviews than I
have seen for one cd this year or maybe the last 5 years..I can't remember
XTC or even the highly regarded (and fab) new Flaming Lips has garned so
much praise...  I just can't figure out why a band with this much high
praise (with Wes' being the only exception to that I have heard) is not all
over the radio, this list, etc...  By the way, I heard Andy even played and
produced some of the disc...can anyone confirm this????  I'm not surprised
if he did because the guys in the band are some of the nicest and
level-headed guys in music today and I wouldn't be surprised if Andy did
play on it and the band didn't want to use that as a sales tool for a
debut..  They obviously want people to love them for who they and their
music are/is..  Oh and by the way...I hear not a bit of Colin in the
opening tune at all....  do you Luna????  Oh well, to each his/her own!!
Chalkies rule...even Wes 8>).  Maura


Message-ID: <>
From: "garret harkawik" <>
Subject: Is it weird to listen to xtc in the US?
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:07:41 EDT

My answer to this question is: yes, it is definitely weird to listen to xtc
in the US, or at least where I live.  But of course, it is considered weird
to listen to anything that isn't on mtv or being played on the radio
non-stop.  Unfortunately, there really aren't any radio stations near me
that would play xtc.  Its all either Hip-Hop or oldies where I live.  This
is probably why I don't own a radio and avoid listening to it whenever I

Garret Harkawik

I don't regret never being famous, but I do regret never being in a bed,
full of beautiful women.  - Andy Partridge


Message-ID: <>
From: "Seth Frisby" <>
Subject: LOVE...not the Band, but they're great also...
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 21:11:23 EDT

    Well first off I need to get something off my chest. I LOVE XTC. We all
LOVE XTC here, therefore I LOVE You all... Now on to serious business. I'm
a delurker (no this isn't a confessional) and I have only met one XTC fan
in the flesh so this fun to read. Unfortunatly I have used black magic to
coerce others to like them (that's love right?). I have a few questions,
i've had Peter Gabriels Third amazing album for a while now and I was
wondering If anyone knew which songs feature Gregsy (I can find Fripp and
Bush pretty easily, who couldn't?)Another quest-ion is about where I can
get XTC t-shirts, I like to advertise on my chest.
      Seeing as though this is my first time in these parts(as participant)
I think i'd like to start a THREAD... There has been a small trickle of
covers albums coming out lately, specifically one person covering a range
of artists' songs. Some recent ones are from Tom Jones, Paul Mccartney, and
Bryan Ferry in a week or two. Now if XTC were to do one what songs would
you like to hear them cover?? My only thought at this moment is Eno's the
Fat Lady of Limbourg with a Greenman like full orchestra. (don't ask)I
wouldn't really want them to do a covers album because their original
albums take so damn long to come out (though no arguing with the results)
but it is fun to think about though. But Hey Give me your thoughts!
   Oh and that LOVE bit...I mean it.. If you can't love people who love
your favorite band who can you love?


P.S. Listen to the new Robyn Hitchcock album Jewels for Sophia, the song No
I don't Remember Guildford is so Beautiful I feel like i'm having a past
life experience... (not that I can describe what that's like) also Get Mock
Tudor, Richard Thompson's new one (just do IT!...i'll argue why later or
use my black magic..either or)


Message-ID: <002301bf15ec$fc4f8c00$>
From: "Raymond Aoki" <>
Subject: Homespun and other matters...
Date: Wed, 13 Oct 1999 19:36:53 -0700

Greetings from Vancouver, Canada.

After finding out from TVT Canada that only 1500 copies of "Homespun" would
be released in Canada (gasp!), I decided to shell out way too much money
(about 38 bucks US) to purchase the Pony Canyon version of Homespun from
Japan.  After now giving it 3 listens, 2 words stand out for me...ESSENTIAL

Having not heard any of the unreleased demos before, it really is great to
hear these versions at last!!!  Sure, you can argue that some of the
versions are better on AV1 (for me, ROO, I Can't Own Her & Easter Theatre),
some are better on Homespun (Mr. Moulding's 2 contributions, I'd Like That
& Harvest Festival with the brief, very raw acoustic bits, Your Dictionary
without everyone's disliked "...corn I'll reap..." lyric) and some you
really could go either way (KISK, Greenman, The Last Balloon).  As many
have mentioned, the packaging is exceptional.

The Japanese version's 2nd disc containing the 3 "How the...Came To Be"
interviews is tres cool.  It's nice to hear Mr. Moulding's voice for a
change and noting Mr. Gregory's contributions to "Frivolous Tonight."  The
extra booklet in the Pony Canyon CD includes the lyrics to all songs
(English & Japanese), Japanese translations of the liner notes, commentary
(which I am dying to get an English translation) that mentions "Somesuch"
and "Fuzzy Warbles," and transcripts of all 3 interviews of the 2nd disc.

Non-Homespun related - while I was down in California last month, I was
driving to my sis's home from The Church concert in San Juan Capistrano
(great show!).  My sis and I were listening to Y107, a station of which a
friend of my brother-in-law works.  Low and behold, at about 2 AM,
"Greenman" comes on the airwaves!!!  I was stunned...first time that I
heard XTC on the radio since "Dear Madam Barnum" seven years ago.

Non-Homespun related (2) - did any of the Canadian (and possibly American)
Chalkhillers watch the '80's on the Flipside weekend special on MuchMusic?
On Saturday, they had an in-studio performance by (gulp) Platinum Blonde
'99!  Have all the Canadians stopped cringing yet?  After a surprisingly
effective stripped-down performance, Mark Holmes (vocalist, bassist, only
original member of the band) got to be programmer and chose a video.  His
choice: "Senses Working Overtime."  Seguing into the video, he said, "For
all the mods out there..."  OK(?)...

Non-XTC related...I see Owsley mentioned a fair bit here.  Great album, I
must say.  Has anyone seen the commercial of the clothing company,
"Nautica," with "I'm Alright" played throughout the entire commercial?
Great ad...I sure hope Mr. Owsley is getting paid handsomely!!!

Back to lurking...



Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 00:41:36 -0500
Subject: Minster Thrill

Regarding Wes's  last posting, on the subject of Minster Hill, I too found
that review to be over the top and perhaps would not have been so open
minded about Minster Hail if I had read that before.  Anyway, not having
read that, the CD was thoroughly enjoyable.  One more note: on your
suggestion that Herrick is trying to sound like Colin, I believe the singer
on that track is actually Christian Cassan who was formerly a member of a NY
band called The Churchills.  I actually thought he sounded like John Lennon,
but I guess I can hear the Collin thing.

On another subject, Giovanni wrote
What would be the best CD-R compilation to woo into XTC-dom a
20-year-old young lady who currently listens to:

* Velvet Underground
* Tom Waits
* Hole
* Nine Inch Nails

Sounds like she's into dark and dramatic and intense.
What about including
* River of Orchids -- it has a Tom Waits-like theatrical mood and is
* Rook (Nonsuch) -- it's got that deeply melancholic angsty feeling

Failing that try woo-ing her with having her listen to a grown man singing
"Hold me my Daddy" ... gyrls are softies for that kind of thing.  Or copy
the lyrics to one of your favorite poetic pieces as a subtle romantic
gesture ("I'd like that" and, oddly enough, "I can't own her" are both
tearfully romantic, but you may want to choose a less direct one,
depending).  then wait for her to ask you to hear the song, so she'll be
fully prepared.  Gawd, it sounds like I'm giving you advice for more than
woo-ing her into XTCdom!  Well, good luck, let us know.



Message-ID: <00d301bf160f$02672d60$>
From: "JH3" <>
Subject: Peace, Love, Understanding...
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 01:40:29 -0500

William Loring writes:

>The last few days of list messages would be very depressing reading,
>if presented to XTC. What do you think the writer of "Knuckle Down"
>might think if he read these messages?
>"What's so funny 'bout peace, love and understanding?" - Elvis Costello

Andy would probably be less depressed than Nick Lowe would be if he
read that you were attributing one of his best songs to some other guy!

But as long as we're at it, Andy would probably be depressed no matter
what we wrote in this digest. I suspect that he doesn't like to be talked
about at all, especially by total strangers. Like many recording artists,
he'd prefer it if we just bought his records and then left him alone.

Meanwhile, Wes Long sent this in:

>Still, the following rubbed me the wrong way....these are the first
>words on the first page of Minister Help...uh, I mean....ahhh screw
>it, here's the blurb:
>"If you were left cold by XTC's latest (MEANING AV1 FOR GOD'S SAKE),
>then this is probably what you were expecting! <snip>
>Man, if Colin Moulding released a solo album today, produced by Andy
>Partridge, then this is exactly what it would sound like.  Although I don't
>think that it would touch the majesty that this album possesses."

"Rubbed me the wrong way" would certainly be putting it mildly, in my
case! Try "shoved a belt sander in my face and flipped the 'on' switch."
Talk about hubris! To think I was vaguely interested in hearing this band,
before I read THAT.

-John H. Hedges


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 02:13:26 -0700 (PDT)
From: travis schulz <>
Subject: Homespun/Little Express

Homespun finally arrived today, and although I may be
overly enthusiastic in it being my new XTC item, I
find it essential to my XTC collection.  It did take a
long enough time to get here, thanks to CDNOW, but
well worth the wait.   Even though I already have most
of the AV1 demos (but none of Colin's), my copy must
be a muddy great-great grandson of the original
source. So the cleaner sound of Homespun is welcome
for me, and yet the cruder charm of demos is still
there. Plus I'm not left feeling I have AV1 all over
again as there is something different in this.  I
agree with some of the others here that the liner
notes and the primitive lyrical sketchings are really
great. And with it's low price tag- ya just gotta have
it!  It kicks ass.  And isn't it great to be an XTC
fan these days with AV2 and the AV2 demo album, along
with Fuzzy Warbles (which I hope includes Wonder
Annual, Dame Fortune and Bumper Cars) all on the way
next year.  On a side note here- does anyone here miss
the Little Express as much as I do?  No band could
ever have a better fanzine than LE- the internet is
only ok compared to it. Travis.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 03:13:25 -0700 (PDT)
From: Giovanni Giusti <>
Subject: XTC and Beatles (no, really)

Just a short note:

when I had just got to know XTC I taped "Black Sea" (which was then
new), then proceeded to evangelise my best friend.

His first reaction: "Eughh. They sound like the Beatles played by the
Sex Pistols."

He converted since.

(I already wrote this story twice in the list. Those with good memory
please excuse me.)



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 08:26:25 -0400
From: erik schlichting <>
Subject: Oops

One Chalker (so far) has pointed out a grammatical error I
made in the same post in which I complained about poor

My face is red, the wind has left my sails, and yes, I do
have trouble talking with my foot in my mouth.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 05:55:01 -0700 (PDT)
From: nross <>
Subject: Dem Eagles - continued

Sorry for not posting bout XTC here:

BUT... I'd like to say thanks to the Eagles and their fans for moving
the Redskins in to a tie for first place.

-gratefully yours, Nicole

Nicole's internet music station:


Message-ID: <>
From: "damian marley" <>
Subject: I'm going to talk about AV1
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 04:53:17 PDT

Dear Chalkhill Children,

I'm going to gush about XTC, in particular, Apple Venus Vol. 1.

Well, you know what?  When I bought the CD and first listened to it, it
struck me as being a new step in the band's evolution.  It seemed big and
juicy and quite a mouthful.  It slowly began to grow on me - my expectation
of guitars and rock drum beats faded away once I began to realise what kind
of album it was.

Then, one day, I printed off the lyric sheet from the website.

Once I read those lyrics, the album EXPLODED for me!

Rare for me to find a band whose lyrics play such a key part in the overall
impression.  With this album, the lyrics and the music just couldn't exist
without each other.

Being more inclined towards music as opposed to finding "deep meaning" in
lyrics, I wasn't listening properly to the words during my early days with
this album.  (Let's face it:  a good lyrics writer in rock is a rare and
precious thing . . . you know, I love Genesis quite shamelessly, yet I am
aware that their lyrics have never been utterly brilliant - much like the
mystical verbal porridge from another great band called Yes).  But seeing
the printed words in front of me made it all click.  It was "River of
Orchids" which began it all.  And I'm still discovering this album, seven
months after first hearing it.  Maybe I'm a little slow off the mark, but
"Harvest Festival" just blew up in my face a few weeks ago:

And what a year when the exams and crops all failed
Of course you passed and you were never seen again


This is what all good albums, all good books, all good movies, symphonies,
poems do.  They take time to reveal themselves in all their glory.  This is
not the kind of stuff for impatient minds.  Your input equals your output.

It's kind of good that XTC didn't include the lyrics with the CD.  Because
the slow revelation is much better than being spoonfed.

For me, AV1 is an album which grows high really high like a really high
thing - I'm still listening to it, going back to it.  I taped it for my
friends; their tape broke in the car from overuse; I'm making them another
copy.  My friend's friend demanded a copy; I made it for her.  Of course
they're going to buy their own copies of the CD.

So much of pop culture is tedium, beige-blandishness (to quote Mr. Zappa).
Flashy vacant fluff.  TV, radio, music, you name it.

XTC is about time, pace, growth, thought, dreams.

A good lyricist is hard to come by, but here are some of the best:-

Andy Partridge
Colin Moulding
Elvis Costello
Frank Zappa
Mike Muir

OK, I've said enough.  Keep listening, folks.

Damian from Melbourne


Message-ID: <>
From: "Tom ..." <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 20:49:48 ICT
Subject: AV12345

Howdy all Chalkahillians!
Well, a note that I am an old - new user to this majordomo extravaganza.  I
applied myself to it post-Nonsuch and loved the list and loved the list and
loved the list waiting for the next XTC album to arrive so we could all
have some new recordings to base our sometimes non-sequitir rantings
oneventually I left because I had lost faith that we would have future
XTCpity me!  And then the fabled album came out but it wasn't here in
Bangkok and I fretted and gnashed teeth and tried to figure out how to get
it (because the mail systems are not conducive to delivering the mail order
products) and finally was in Singapore at a Borders bookstore on one of my
visits and in the record section GLORY BE they had it there and then I
nearly wore it out listening to it and felt compelled to rejoin this list
so I could contribute my enthusiasm for this wonderlust of sound to the
masses of other XTC worshipers around the world.  As a leftover note the
Hard Rock Caf? in Singapore was blasting XTC's "King For a Day" from their
loudspeakers every 20 minutes or so onto those stringent streets. quite a

Then I didn't get the acronym "AV1" for a momentthought it was some new
Music Video Station on cable you had in the Statesfinally it dawned on me
what everyone was abbreviating

Guess I'm too late for the boat of love for this albumbut anyhow a great
symphony of XTC and I am in love with all of the cutseven the Colin
Moulding cuts which I feel provide a generous balance to the conceptual
feel that Andy provides to the rest of the album. organic and free, rooted
and stricta feast for the ears and a hearty pull to the soulall the songs!

All in all, I am more than happy for the wait of this album.  I will also
seek out "homespun", but when will AV2 hit our ears?  I wanna hear!  I
wanna hear!

As XTC gets smaller and smaller, when will it only be Andy's machine?  And
would that make such a difference to the sound that AV1 had?  Just curious.

Thanks for my indulgence,

Tom Yates

"The law immutable, indestructible, eternal; not like those of today and
yesterday, but made ere time began."


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 12:28:45 -0400
From: Jefferson Ogata <>
Organization: The Antibozo
Subject: Re: huzzah to XTC's next drummer

Back in #5-274, Duncan Watt wrote:
> ...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).

But if you really, really, REALLY want your mind blown, listen to Youssou
N'Dour's recording of this song with Peter Gabriel backing him up (instead
of the other way round). You can find it on the release entitled "The
Lion". For some reason Peter has taken some rather bizarre liberties with
the melody on his own recording that really take the song down a peg, IMHO.

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


Message-Id: <v04210102b42bcd1ac450@[]>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 13:24:26 -0500
From: Olof Hellman <>
Subject: Re: Iron Chef

Iron Chef, or Ryori no Tetsujin ("The iron man of Cuisine") has been
around for a few years in Japan.  I watched it a few times in Japan,
and loved it, as the Japanese was pretty intelligible, ranking only
below sumo and baseball on the comprehension scale.  My wife (who is
Japanese) and I watch it now on the Food Network when we can, and get
a kick out of the hokey dubbed translation.  Next time you watch it,
try thinking of Ugly Underneath as the theme song.

Slapped Drums and Wires on yesterday for the first time in awhile,
and was caught anew by the unique XTC sound of the era -- I'm again
impressed at how tunes like Complicated Game and Scissor Man can
continue to sound fresh 20 years later.

- Olof

Olof Hellman
Northwestern University,  Dept. Materials Science & Engineering


Message-Id: <s805e30e.024@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 14:04:45 -0600
From: "Steve Oleson" <Steve.Oleson@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: ?Would Todd record w/ XTC again?

In Song Stories, (and everywhere else, apparently) Andy complained about
Todd Rundgren, and the experience of recording in Woodstock, NY.

I've never heard what Todd thought about the experience.

Does anyone know what Todd thought of working with XTC, and would he, if
asked, do it again?

Steve Oleson
Austin, TX


Message-Id: <199910141359.NAA230.79@GATEWAY.TIRERACK.COM>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 14:02:06 -0500
From: "William Loring" <>
Subject: Re: Pop is an insult

Giovanni asked:

> What would be the best CD-R compilation to woo into XTC-dom a
> 20-year-old young lady who currently listens to:
> * Velvet Underground
> * Tom Waits
> * Hole
> * Nine Inch Nails
> In other words: what XTC songs you believe I can use to slowly bring
> her into the fold, considering that for her "pop" is an insult?

Francis had some very good suggestions. I would include a few others:

Blue Overall, Reign of Blows, All Along the Watchtower, Set Myself On Fire,
Towers of London, Melt the Guns, Funk Pop a Roll, Across This Antheap,
Crocodile, This is Pop.

I'm sure I could think of more...

I would also slip in a few of the more melodic tunes, just to see if you
can hook them on some of the more "pop" stuff. I would avoid the singles
they might have already heard.

Good luck!



From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 21:56:23 +0200
Subject: Bonus Spin
Message-Id: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Patrick asked:

> While I'm thinking about it, does the Japanese "bonus disc" have an
> interview of Andy talking about Greenman

tracklisting of the Japanese spoken word cd:

1. How Easter Theatre...
2. How Frivolous Tonight...
3. How I'd Like That

Alas, not the Greenman track... As far as i know it has been recorded
so they could (and should!) have included it

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 15:23:17 +0100
From: chris vreeland <>
Organization: Vreeland Graphics
Subject: read it and weep

       In resonse to davidoh,s list of instruments suggestion from a few
digests back; I know this is probably out of date, but I've never
actally listed them all thought it sounded kind of fun... Plus I
love to gloat. Here it is:

1. 1964 Gibson Thunderbird bass- tobacco sunburst
2. 1966 Fender Jazz bass ('89 neck, frets removed)- Cream w/red tortoise
3. 1979 Fender Precision bass (fretless)- Sea foam green w/white mother
of pearl
4. 1991 Fender Jazz bass- Tobacco sunburst
5. Gibson EBO series bass- serial #000331 (1959?)
6. 1969 Gibson Les Paul bass- Mahogany, stained
7. 1988 Guild acoustic bass guitar
8. 1984 Yamaha BX1
9. mid-sixties(?) Hagstrom bass (solid body) white/black
10. 1979 Mesa Boogie D-180 tube amplifier
11. 15" JBL k-140
12. 15" EV
13. 30' cord

Oh, yeah, I DO own a tuner.

The only bass I ever sold was a Rick 4001, serial #2626, white with
black binding. If you see it, I want it back.

Chris " transcending spiritualism in favor of stuff" Vreeland


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 14 Oct 1999 18:00:27 -0400
From: Harrison Sherwood <>
Subject: Dominic Lawson Has Huge Tits


My brain hurts. The one in my head.

Mouth feels like the fuckin' Red Army just Great Marched through it in
their stocking feet.

Wanna puke.... Christ, what did I do to deserve *this*? What time is it?
Why are the kids downstairs shrieking? Is Kathy killing them? Oh, God!
It's ten AM! She's gonna kill *me!*

Oh yeah. Chalkhills Gathering last night. Played music until 2 in the
morning. Ogata's place. Basement. LOUD. Fridge full of beer, kept
replenishing itself, as if by magic. I said.... And then he said.... And
I answered.... WHAT!?!? Oh Jesus, he must think I'm the world's biggest
idiot.... Cringe....

The faces swim upward into my queasy consciousness: Cosentino...
Bernhardt... Ogata... Lawson...



Less than 18 hours earlier, I had eased nervously into the Bernhardts'
living room, wary, edgy, my hand in my pocket convulsively fingering the
nine-inch switchblade my overcautious wife always insists on pressing on
me when I attend these net.gatherings. "You don't know *who's* behind
those anonymous aliases and screen names people give themselves! Could
be psychos, or Satanists, o-or other undesirables!" You said a mouthful,
sister, I thought, as I approached a couple huddled on the couch. They
stopped chewing each others' necks long enough for the male half to
disentangle himself, gather his spectacular ponytail out of his mouth,
hold out a friendly hand, and announce cheerfully, "I'm Dom!"

"I-I'm the Empress Dowager of China," I stammered, but Bernhardt smacked
me on the back of the head, hard. "None of your crap, Sherwood," he said
in a steely tone. "You know what happened...last time." Indeed I did
remember, and impulsively touched the burn scars on my lower back.

Dominic introduced his companion Debs, a totally charming young woman,
and Todd pressed beers and hors d'ouevres on us. (On me he pressed a
lovely pattern reminiscent of some of Liberty of London's more
flamboyant paisleys, and on Debs he recreated the Battle of Borodino
with olive-loaf and hummous. He's _so_ autistic.)

As our conversation became less inhibited (touching on topics as varied
as child psychology, principles of urban planning, and North American
entomology) I began to take stock of our English visitors, particularly
this hitherto unknown entity, this mystery wrapped in a riddle packed in
a taco-shell named Dom. How often his belligerence had caused the
collective Chalkhills blood to boil! How many donnybrooks started just
for the hell of it! How many dogmatic and argumentative blanket
assertions thrown down like so many gauntlets! And yet, here he sat
before me, shoveling crabcakes into his maw and guzzling Hefeweizen like
any normal person, agreeable, deferential, polite--belching quietly with
appreciation at Jenn Bernhardt's sallies, usually remembering to blow
his cigarette smoke away from the babies. In a word...A Really Nice Guy.

Falling into a reverie, I began to ruminate on that strange thing, human
nature, and how it affects our communication... How the faceless quality
of the Internet allows us to adopt personae that we play like
marionettes upon a stage, saying things to each other that we would
never in a million years say in meatspace... I wondered if perhaps some
conclusion might not suggest itself, about how we all might get along
together better if we always remembered that there's a real person, not
a puppet, on the receiving end of our Chalkie words--a person with
feelings, with dreams and aspirations, who bleeds and weeps in pain just
like us....

Somebody, please, just...kill me now.

After a lovely interlude at the Bernhardts' we made our way across town
to Jefferson Ogata's place. Jeff had kindly (and, I must say,
courageously) availed his basement for the Gathering, and we kicked
aside treasured Lladro knick-knacks and other valued personal
possessions to set up drums, guitars, PA gear, amps, in a monument to
the creative spirit. When I strapped on the Strat, set the effects box
on Maximum Crunch and flogged a barred A chord, a glorious sound filled
the room, the sound of human creativity, the sound of international
amity and understanding, the sound of...some asshole in a suburban
basement with delusions so big he can't put his pants on.

But you know what was great about that? What was great was that I was
surrounded by four *other* assholes with delusions just as big! And you
know when you get that kind of synergy, that kind of Grand Collective
Delusion... That's Rock-n-Roll, baby!

And so that's what we did. All night. And partied ev-er-y day. Pretty
much covered the Catalog, we did, from "Science Friction" to "I'd Like
That," with stops along the way at Towers of London, Senses Working
Overtime, Earn Enough for Us, and Books Are Burning (Oh, the solo I
played on that one! Oh my! Forty, no FIFTY minutes long, really
*exploring* it, *working* it, *featuring* my pain, dive-bombing and
controlled-feedbacking until there wasn't a dry eye in the basement!)

Damn yeah, that was a good time. Jeff Ogata & Pia, Dom & Debs, Bob
Cosentino and friend-whose-name-I-didn't-catch, Todd,
neighbor-who-came-in-late-for-the-beer, thank you all very much for a
wonderful time. Let's do it again real soon.

Harrison "This time without the M-80s in the toilet" Sherwood

P.S.: From "Satanas Diablo" (yes, we picked up on the Spanish, there,
bub, thanks):

> I just like the name and since I am
> atheist, I tend to be called evil by people who debate with ignorance.  I
> am very outspoken, and in all my years, whether in Philosophy classes or
> in public, I have never lost a LOGICAL argument.

Heh, heh, heh, heh..... Look what followed me home, Mom! Can I keep him?
Huh? Can I? Can I? Oh, pleeeeeeease?


End of Chalkhills Digest #5-285

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