Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-32

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 32

                 Friday, 4 December 1998

Today's Topics:

                      Re: Nyah Nyah
                    Re: Opening Speech
            Transistor Blast review/ Politics
                     The Zaftig Zone
                        Noises Off
            Re: All Talented Women are Skinny
         Hopefully the last word on college radio
"Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy and other misunderstood lyrics"
            Transistor Blast & The White Album
                   Little Drummer Boy?
                         Prime Us
                 College Radio Anonymous
               Being an XTC fan in 1983...
                   CC98 LOW QUANTITIES
                Big Bad Bill (and Mummer)
                      Andy Interview
                     Another TB short


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Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 11:48:18 +0000
From: Dominic Lawson <>
Subject: Re: Nyah Nyah

>>No thanks for once to Sherwood. Have he and Dom switched bodies???

No, but I'm open to offers. This one's a bit too big for me.

>>I love Genesis with or without Gabriel.

NNggghhh........GRRrrrrr........gnash, seethe etc. Get to the back of the

>>But I also like Phil and I don't see what's the big fuckin deal

Maybe it's a British thing, but Phil sucks for three major reasons...
(i) His records suck (like REALLY REALLY HARD)
(ii) He is, bizarrely given his alleged upbringing, right-wing and a vocal
supporter of the Conservative party (should this affect how I view his
music? Damn right it should!). WHy shouldn't someone who earns millions pay
50% tax? Answer me that, comrades!
(iii) He promised to leave the country if Labour became the government. And
didn't. Lying shit.

I should add "Sussudio" as another damn good reason, but it's so bad I
almost feel sorry for the sad gimp who wrote it. Almost.

>>occasionally I think issue intrudes into some of XTC's material to a
>>detrimental effect

Well, I'd agree with you on "War Dance", which is a bit clumsy and doesn't
exactly tell us anything new, but whereas other band's anti-war or "let's
all be nice to each other" songs are generally a bit sickening and lyrically
retarded, XTC's few "issue" songs are way above average (especially
musically, natch) and barely register on the Cringe-o-meter. "Melt The Guns"
is a corker, goddamit! Either way, there's nothing pretentious or contrived
about any XTC tunes that I'm familiar with and for that WE APPLAUD THEM!

Oh, and my favourite contemporary poet is John Berryman. Is he recent
enough, Jill?



From: "Andy" <>
Organization: The University of Nottingham
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 12:55:45 GMT0BST
Subject: Re: Opening Speech
Message-Id: <>

Hi Chalk people

Anyone has got the drums and wireless album, can they please
inform/argue about/etc. who is speaking on the first track? Whoever
it is claims to be John Peel, but doesn't sound like him. I have
consulted avid peelsters and they all agree. Is it partridge or what?



From: Huw Davies <>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 13:04:50 GMT0BST
Subject: Transistor Blast review/ Politics
Message-ID: <D0F3D9757A@PARKLA1S.CF.AC.UK>

Just to let you know, there's a review of Transistor Blast in the
latest issue of the Big Issue (30th Novmber) where it deservedly gets
4 stars. (I assume deservedly although I haven't scraped together the
cash to buy it yet). This is the first review of Transistor Blast
that I have actually come across in the British press. Have I just
missed them or are XTC being ignored again? Anway there's a good line
from the review which says "[Andy Partridge] manages to deliver his
lyrics without whining, a technique that has virtually been forgotten
in today's Manic music environment." I think the reviewer is
referring to the Manic Street Preachers here, so I couldn't agree
more. Unfortunately, the review does describe XTC's music as "quirky
pop" which is a phrase that has always irritated me.

 Derek Miner <> wrote:

>I think issue intrudes into some of XTC's
>material to a detrimental effect (personally, I'd cite "Melt The
>Guns," "WarDance," and "Goodbye Humanosaurus")

I think Derek Miner makes a good point here. XTC have never really
been good at doing political/ issue songs which probably explains why
a lot of people hate songs such as "President Kill" and "The Smartest
Monkeys". The possible exception to this is "No Thugs in Our House"
which I think works rather well as a song.

Huw Davies


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 10:49:07 -0500
From: Todd Bernhardt <>
Subject: The Zaftig Zone


>From the Yaz:
>Oh, incidentally, Partridge was in town two weeks ago and we had
Italian food.<

Sorry pal, not enough detail there to excuse your shameless promotion
of several issues ago. What did you talk about? What's going on with
the band? With the new album? What did he EAT? Was it something quirky
or conventional?

To Catherine P:
Snappy reply, but still don't notice you _adding_ anything to the
list. Wasn't that the point?

Of Suzanne Vega, John Lane said:
>And she doesn't sell herself cheap either!<

How much _does_ she sell herself for, then? There's an old joke about
that, but not being a misogynist I won't go into that now...

Jeff Langr said:
>Re: overweight women, I think Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Janis
Joplin, Mama Cass, and a few others weren't exactly skinny. <

Well, in their youth (from which Janis never emerged, unfortunately),
the first three weren't exactly overweight, and all (IMO, anyway) were
attractive enough for the suits to market. I think the original point
was that the suits in today's visually and video-oriented music biz
for the most part demand sleek fashion-model looks, and all of the
women you mention made their mark before the music video became _the_
dominant marketing tool.

That said, this is not a new phenomenon. Movies and TV have played a
role in music marketing for quite some time, and physical
attractiveness has always been a key element in marketing any
performer. As Jeff says, "if you have the talent, you can still
succeed," but unfortunately it seems that today your talent has to be
overwhelming to compensate for a lack of physical attractiveness,
while physical attractiveness seems to compensate for a host of
artistic shortcomings.

Continuing the thread, Michael Davies mused:
>there was an article about that in the latest Rolling Stone. a couple
recent black women have become successful in music while not being
thin. rapper Mia X, singer Kelly Price, and rapper/producer Missy
Elliot, off the top of my head. (do British people say "off the top of
my head"?) i can't think of any popular fat rock females though, not
in the last 15 years.<

At the risk of making a sweeping generalization -- in other words, I
know I'm doing it, so give me a break, eh? -- people of color seem to
be less obsessed with Calista Flockhart thinness (guess it's a white
thing, but I still don't understand) and more willing to enjoy their
bodies regardless of their shape and size, so that might explain the
success of Rubenesque rappers. As for "popular fat rock females," two
Wilsons come to mind -- Carnie (of Wilson Phillips) and Ann (of Heart)
-- but if you look at their videos (I know, the music makes it
painful, but approach it objectively, looking at the technique),
you'll notice that they almost always show them from the shoulders up.

Want to worship at the Church of Quirky,


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 19:03:09 +0000
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Noises Off

Gentle rain falls.  Distant, like the briefest memory of the hour-chiming
clock over your grandparent's fireplace, comes the first ring of midnight
from the church tower.  All is settled, all is at peace.  A hundred heads,
slumber sodden and swimming in dreams, burrow slightly deeper into their
pillows at the sound.  A car glides along the street and pulls in outside
number 68.  Two figures get out, the passenger taking considerably longer
and making much more noise than the driver; he appears to be singing, but
evidently he's not sure what.

The gate creaks and clangs, one set of footsteps patters up the path, the
other squelches, shrouded in giggles, through the recently turned soil
alongside.  There is the sound of an opening door followed by the
traditional noises which accompany befuddlement and uncooperative boots.
The driver's exaperation is audible and blasphemous.

While she sets about the usual business of clearing a path from the hall to
the bathroom so that the passenger my make the run with the minimum of fuss
once his bladder catches up with his brain she leaves him alone, for just a
few crucial moments.  This is all it takes.  Through the door he can spy a
nice big box, it's red at the sides, a dirty cream colour on the front and a
striped flex, like the tail on a Dr Seuss cat, trickles away from it and
into an Squier Strat.  It would usually be the work of a moment to slip the
instrument on but for a short while there seems to a mismatch of quantities
between straps and heads.  The issue is soon resolved though and, switches
flicked and knobs turned, a pleasant hum fills the room.

"Simon, what are you doing?"



"Oh, for f---'s sake!"

There is a flurry of feet.


"....I'll get it in a minute..."

"What are you _doing_, it's after midnight."


"Listen, listen. Guess what this is..."


The passenger has his tongue so far out that it's parted his hair and he's
struggling to choose a fretboard.  Settling on the middleone he swing back
his arm for a power-strum and the amp output groans to a muffled fart.  The
driver has pulled the plug.

"What did you do that for?"

There comes a stream of invective that would shame Eddie Murphy after a
paper cut.

As he's dragged bodily from the room the last thing he sees is the
stencilled XTC on the side of the amp.  A good night's sleep is promised.

And, in a roundabout fashion, is by way of informing my Chalky pals - though
some visistors to Bungalow may already know - that I am now in possession of
Andy's Selmer Truvoice amp.  And what a beauty it is, too.  It looks exactly
like a 25 year old tour amp should look, used, bruised and beautiful.

I've had it for around a month now but refrained from mentioning it here
because there is actually quite a story to be told here by someone else but
his email access has been reduced of late so the tale has not yet, as far as
I know, been told here.

The last time I spoke with Andy he asked me when I was coming to get the amp
from him.  I said that any time had been fine for me but that with the band
having been so busy over the last year I hadn't liked to push the issue.  He
said that if I still wanted it I would have to get it _now_ because it was
simply taking up too much room in the shed and, much as he'd hate too, he
might have to just dump it in a skip.  Well, I'd just started a new job and
have only 4 days leave left until next April (and I need to keep those form
baby-related issues) so the chances of me getting down to collect it at such
short notice were minimal. "Well," said Andy, "do you know anyone locally
who could come and get it?"  One of the places he mentioned as "local" was
Bath and fellow Chalky (and performer at the 97 convention) Steve Clarke
lives there.  I said that I knew someone in Bath who would probably be
_glad_ to come and get it, but made sure that Andy knew that he was a _fan_
- Andy guardedly said that if I could arrange it for the weekend that would
be fine, but that as he was so busy he wouldn't have time to entertain
anyone.  I said that I'd check out with Steve whether he would do me this
favour and get back to him.  I mailed Steve who was, as I'm sure you can
guess, thrilled at the idea.

That weekend I got a call from Steve - he had the amp and had had a great
day.  He'd called Andy and arranged a time then he'd arrived at the house
with his partner and she'd stayed in the car while he went to the door -
they were only going to be a moment or two, anyway.  Andy opened the door,
Steve said he'd come to collect the amp and Andy invited him in for a
coffee.  Steve ran out to the car, collected his partner, and they were
there for _hours_.  Andy and they talked music, Steve informing him that
he'd done some XTC stuff at the convention and then they went out into the
shed and Andy played him most of the album.  He came away in a daze.

I'm sure there's a great email from Steve about this bubbling away
somewhere, perhaps if we make our interest known loudly he'll furnish us
with the detail.  There's a lot more to the encounter than my sketchy little
outline might suggest but I don't want to steal Steve's thunder - it was
_his_ day after all.

So how about it, Steve?  Tell us _all_

As "provenance" for the Amp Steve took a picture of Andy leaning on it and
sent it to me, it's visible at Bungalow (C:\html\me\andysamp.htm)if anyone's



-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-+-  (
An XTC resource - "Saving it all up for you..."


Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 11:30:45 -0800 (PST)
From: relph (John Relph)
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: All Talented Women are Skinny

Duncan Watt <> wrote:
>There are DEFINITELY no fat *women* in videos. AM I SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE
>not one fat woman has one good musical idea?

When I saw U2 at the Palladium in Los Angeles in 1981, the opening
band was Romeo Void (remember that song "Never Say Never"?).  Deborah
Iyall is a big woman.  And they were a pretty good band with one or
two enduring songs.

Actually, I was watching some lame-ass country music television
station recently where all of the women pretty much look and sound
alike, and there were a couple of women who were NOT skinny.  It seems
that country music television has accepted the reality of flesh.
Perhaps that is one way that country music is superior to top 40.

	-- John


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 14:35:16 -0500
From: Adam Tyner <ctyner@CLEMSON.EDU>
Subject: Hopefully the last word on college radio

Re: the college radio discussion -- I know quite a few DJ's here at Clemson
U., and I sort of unofficially co-hosted a show with a friend of mine, and
from my experience, there are 2 types of DJ's--the normal ones and the
f***ed up ones, which were the ones I'm sure were being referred to a
couple digests ago.  A guy I know used to find the most grating 'music' he
could (30 min. of static, an LP entitled (I swear) "Authentic Filipino Gong
Music", anything in the Scandinavian death metal bin, etc.), and he'd laugh
hysterically while each song played.  I'd imagine there are at least one or
two people like this at every college station, and although most DJ's are
perfectly normal, well-balanced people, it's the screwed-up ones who most
people think of when college radio comes to mind.

-Adam, who did, of course, play XTC several times
/=---------------- ----------------=\
 He-Man, Tuscadero, "Weird Al", Yoo-hoo, Killer Tomatoes, & more!


Message-Id: <v04011701b28c9c93f54c@[]>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 13:55:27 -0600
From: Ken Herbst <>
Subject: "Scuse Me While I Kiss This Guy and other misunderstood lyrics"

A friend of mine told me the other day when she first heard "Hot Blooded"
by Foreigner she thought it was a commercial for tuna........ "Hot Blooded,
'Chicken-of-the-sea', she gotta fever of a hundred and three...."


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 15:11:07 -0500
From: Andisheh Nouraee <>
Subject: Transistor Blast & The White Album

Dear Chalkphils,

I know that this is the Phil Collins list, but would what's the latest word
on when we should be able to wiggle on down to the record store and pick up
XTC's Transistor Blast.  Some of you may have heard of XTC because Hugh
Padgham produced one of their albums:)

The TVT site says the release date was Dec 1.  CDNow says Dec 8.  The
fellow at Tower Records here in Atlanta said January.  When I asked him if
he meant the boxed set as opposed to Apple Venus, he said both are now
scheduled for January.

Does anyone actually have it yet?

ALSO - Has anyone here picked up the 30th Anniv. edition of The Beatles
(white album)?  Does it sound better than the original CD release?  After
hearing how good Anthology II & III sound compared to the original 1987 CD
releases, I'm anxious to hear one of the original albums given the same

Some of you may be wondering where the "Phil Collins Content" is in the
previous question.  Don't forget that The Beatles provided the soundtrack
for Phil's motion picture debut in 1964, A Hard Day's Night.

Oh, and if you run into Billy, please give him my number.  Despite my
pleadings, he appears to have lost it.


Sue Suddio.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Dec 1998 00:07:24 +0000
Subject: Little Drummer Boy?

Dear Chalkers,

Or should that be 'dear wankers' ? ;)

Anyway, Chris said:

> O&L IS graced by the best drummer XTC ever had, though, Pat
> Marsellotto. Though he's a little too busy on "Garden Of Earthly
> Delights," for example, his playing is awesome on "Miniature Sun,"
> to name one.

It's Pat Mastelotto but that's not my point. Calling him the best
drummer XTC ever had is stretching it a bit of course...

I must say that i'm amazed how easy some (many?) Chalkers dismiss
Terry and his drumming. don't believe the hype: Terry certainly
wasn't limited or unable to play more euh.. subtle material
(refer to English Settlement or Drums & Wires for evidence)

And Terry rocked. Not a watered down, L.A.-di-da kind of adult
oriented rock but the real thing. He also wasn't afraid to experiment
and his solid but inventive style has influenced many budding

> Terry Chambers would never do anything like that.
he wasn't called Mr Amazing for nothing!
Terry was capable of doing anything and quite often he did ;)

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos at The Little Lighthouse


Date: 4 Dec 98 09:58:39 AED
Subject: Prime Us
Message-ID: <>

The redoubtable James Dignan said in 'Hills #31:

>>I'm still waiting for a Trent Reznor cover of "Intruder"... BTW, that
Peter Gabriel album (the melting face one) also features one D. Gregory,
alongside Kate Bush, Robert Fripp, Paul Weller, Jerry Marotta, and Tony
Levin. Anyone wanting to 'six degree' from XTC could find no better
starting point than these two albums!<<

Oh yeah, what a fine album that is. For those of you "into" production
technique, and drumming (hi Todd B.), the album James refers to is also
notable for the fact that Gabriel apparently selected Steve Lillywhite to
produce because he admired the sounds that Lillywhite achieved on Black Sea
(if you were around at the time, you might remember what a seminal
influence BS was contemporaneously). And as an experiment, Gabriel and
Lillywhite decided to record the drums throughout the album with no
cymbals.  Listen to it again - you'll find that all the upper register
percussive sounds are made by things like shakers, maracas, tambourines,
etc; but not a cymbal in earshot!

As for Trent Reznor covering "Intruder", may I suggest a close-ish
alternative?  On their EP, Miscellaneous Debris, Primus performs that very
song, alongside a cover of "Making Plans For Nigel".  And on their more
recent enhanced CD, Rhinoplasty, they do another Gabriel number, "The
Family and the Fishing Net", as well as a stormin' version of our boys'
"Scissor Man".  Very funky and recommended.



Message-Id: <>
From: "RoadKill" <>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 17:58:08 +0000
Subject: College Radio Anonymous

> Duncan said:
> <<College radio is mostly a bunch of scared wanna-be's that respond to
> potential criticism by playing things that are completely hideous and
> pretending to really like them, while dancing to ABBA oldies and Kool And
> The Gang in the back of their tiny little shrunken minds. Being cool is
> really great, isn't it?>>
> Hey, I work at a college radio station right now.  I play a lot of
> interesting things.  I take offense with what you have said.  I don't think
> my show is hideous.  And what's so bad about ABBA?  And I don't have a tiny
> little mind.
> Molly

Both, to me,  are right (at least in reference to college radio).

	Ah, I just love to see the thread on college radio.  I love college
radio.  I spent 40-60 hours a week at my college station WVUA at the
Univ. of Alabama.  I have moved on to the lovely world of commercial
morning drive radio where my job depends on my ability to attract and
maintain listeners.
	When I get drunk (or the equivalent) I often speak fondly on those
years.  That is why I feel safe to admit that college radio is the
greatest form of masturbation short of martyrdom.  I worked at a
couple of other college stations during a couple of summers in
Pennsylvania and Maryland, met others at the CMJ convention in NYC,
and am an active listener of college stations (the first thing I look
for when I come to town).  For the most part, the DJs have freedom to
program part (if not all) of the music for their shows.  You put that
along w/ that large mic at your mouth and you've got the biggest ego
stroke you've ever experienced.
	What makes college radio so unique is the random results created by
combining inexperience and desire.  For the most part you have
mindless chatter and inside jokes (usually w/ one or more people not
on mics).  The music will fluctuate from station to station depending
if they are on a rotational or block format.
	 Block stations (where there are "shows" of specific genres or under
complete control of the DJ) will depend totally on the DJ.  They
either suck tremendously or display talent.  To work here, you
understand that there are people that will focus their next 2, 3,
whatever hours to you and the music you chose to play for them.  You
have a mission everytime to walk into that studio to give the best
impression of yourself.  You dream and fantasize about what people
think of you -- if they were analyzing the songs you play and that
they will start listening to a band because of you.  But, hey, that's
insulting!!!  You're right, you have control over it - it's not an
	You don't get as high, but it is a different high to be a DJ at a
rotational format (sounds as much like commercial radio as can be
pulled off under the circumstances).  The primary rush comes from the
more restrictive nature of the format.  The songs are, in some way
(either a song, CD, or group of CDs), already picked out by
management.  This usually results in DJs wanting to exercise more
freedom and avoiding or altering the programmed songs.  They often
will refer to this on air and joke about what management might do.
There is a sense of danger that is shared w/ the audience - a
rebellion.  This is also where you will hear the wackiest attempts at
sounding like a commercial station.  Guys will try to make their
voices go as low as they can or add scratch to the texture.
Trying to be a goofy radio person will also cause some scary
results that will make listeners cringe or laugh (don't expect a
high percentage of hits, though).  These folks are also very likely
to never read any announcement on the air without commenting or
parodying the content.
	But the greatest service that college radio provides is an outlet
for artists that would not be played on a commercial station.  The
only "bad" college stations to me are the ones that play music that
is readily available at the commercial stations in the market.  But
you don't have to abandon...let's say...REM just because they are on
VH1.  Just remember to play "Radio Free Europe" and "driver8" (or
insert other release while still an indie).
	Drooling about college radio just isn't seemly.  I love college
radio and generally enjoy getting drunk w/ former and present college
DJs.  If I ever do get back to college for a graduate degree, I will
most certainly try to become involved in college radio again.  I
have the strength.  Join me brothers and sisters of noncommercial
broadcasting!  Let's wipe our hands clean and admit that job is
the greatest guilty pleasure that is still legal.

Cory Berry


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 18:00:02 -0600
From: Mark Rushton <>
Subject: Being an XTC fan in 1983...

Michael Davies wrote:
"Was there a lot of surprise among listeners when the ornately arranged
and produced "Mummer" came out after the guitar-bass-drums "English
Settlement"?  Or was it expected since they were now known
to be a studio entity only?  And on that topic, was it a surprise when
they suddenly stopped touring?"

And my reply is:
I was a DJ at a public radio station in Des Moines, Iowa in 1983 when
Mummer came out in England.  I believe it didn't show up in the US on
Geffen until 6 months or so after the UK release.  But I had an import
LP and the 45s, with picture sleeves no less, for Great Fire and
Wonderland.  Thank you Music Circuit, RIP.  I read "Trouser Press", so I
knew Terry had left the band.  I also had an import of the 2-LP version
of English Settlement, rather than the butchered single disc US
version.  I thought at the time that English Settlement was a far
superior album than Mummer.  Still do.  The writing was better, the
drums were better, sonically better, there wasn't a bunch of different
producers.  I feared at the time that XTC was turning into a wimpy
synthpop band with songs like "Wonderland".  Andy said they weren't
going to tour anymore and it was believable.  He seemed honest about
it.  Big deal, I lived in the middle of nowhere, so it wasn't like they
were going to play in my town anytime soon.

Mark Rushton
author and webmaster
Permanent Flame - The Bill Nelson Web Site
Electrical Language - The Bill Nelson Emailzine


Message-Id: <v03102803b28cd17cdee0@[]>
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 16:57:12 -0700
From: Richard Pedretti-Allen <>


I am almost out of CC98.  If you order one, please send your email address
with your order so that I can contact you if we run out.  Also indicate if
you want a CC96 or CC97 in it's place (of which I still have too many).

The response has been great and I thank all of you.

All of the contributors to the tribute got CDs for contributing.  If you
miss out on a "real" copy and know one of the contributors, ask them if
them spin you a cassette.  All you'll miss is the artwork.

Cheers, Richard


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 03 Dec 1998 20:51:19 -0500
From: mondacello <>
Subject: Big Bad Bill (and Mummer)

Hello again,

this is my second post, as I've never much to say anyway...

To back up a fellow Canadian, here's what I just read in my newspapers
entertainment section this evening:

Ben Folds and Captain Kirk? You bet
Volume I (550 Music / Sony)
William Shatner: pop star? It may yet happen if Ben Folds has his way.
You remember Folds, the piano pounding leader of North Carolina's Ben
Folds Five?
Fear of Pop is his side project, and noted Canadian thespian Shatner
mercifully speaks - not sings - his way through a dysfunctional love
poem called 'Still in Love' that brings all his dramatic notoriety to
the fore.
The teaming of Folds and Captain Kirk is as unexpected as the rest of
the album, which is a collection of cool instrumentals that have some
ambient leanings.
There's the cloak 'n' dagger drama of 'Kops', the hilarious 'I Paid My
Money' and the heart-warming reprise of Bill Shatner on 'Still in Love'.

No matter that Fear of Pop veers away from convention - that's the
And, if you love Ben Folds Five's quirky pop, then Volume I is a must.

>Chris warned us all...
> "Be very afraid; William Shatner is releasing ANOTHER single. I don't
> remember what it is exactly, but I saw it mentioned on a website I stumbled
> across that I forgot to bookmark. If I run across it, I'll warn you all."

... and regarding us old fans and 'Mummer'...

I remember being pleased with the definite change in direction when the
album came out.
Along with The Cure's 'The Top', and Siouxsie and the Banshees 'A Kiss
in the Dreamhouse' and 'Hyaena', it was among my favourite albums of the
I still to this day day find 'Ladybird' and 'Caterpillar Girl' extremely
compatible... check it out yourself and see.

Then again, maybe it's just me... what does an old geriatric geezer know

~ Mark Kirk

(no, I'm not related to the Captain... sadly)

.  .  .  s  a  r  c  a  s  t  i  c  l  l  y      s  p  e  a  k  i  n  g
.  .  .


From: "Wesley Hanks" <>
Subject: Andy Interview
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 18:09:03 -0800
Message-ID: <000001be1f2b$11150e80$301c1d26@wes>


Apologies if this is old:

The Independent (London), September 6, 1998

HEADLINE: Interview - Andy Partridge: Andy's plans work out but there's no
room for Nigel; Quintessential Englishman Andy Partridge, front man of
Eightiesband, XTC, talks to Karen O'Brien about rebirth, recording contracts
and the value of hindsight

BYLINE: Karen O'Brien

    Great Rock Misconceptions Part One: XTC, the punk popster band of the
Seventies and Eighties, split years ago. It did not. Great Rock
Misconceptions Part Two: XTC front man, Andy Partridge, is an angsty,
reclusive old miserabilist. He is not.

Misconceptions have followed XTC from its early incarnations as punks in
Swindon, a town deemed so uncool that it merits one line in the British
Tourist Authority's Rock and Pop Map of Britain: "Oasis take their name from
the local Oasis Leisure Centre." The misconceptions followed me to Swindon
along with the words "Andy", "bad mood", and "difficult", from a mutual

What I find is a slim, bespectacled boffin type sprawled on the couch eating
lunch and indulging in a wicked deconstruction of the local TV news. We
discuss digestive problems (his, not mine) then he shows me how to make a
percussion instrument out of a washing-up liquid bottle. I like him
immediately; if the agonising panic attacks that once made live performance
torture left any mark, there is no obvious sign in this relaxed and droll
man. He gives few interviews but loves language, and is a master of wordplay
in conversation and song.

Within minutes of meeting Andy Partridge I learn two other things: the
female-friendly etymology of a four-letter c-word and the intricacies of
fortifications built by the indigenous New Zealand Maori. Partridge is the
kind of person who knows these things; the nerd who would be great fun to
hang out with. He explains the first point to me because I mention an
anecdote from XTC: Song Stories, the new book by Partridge, XTC bassist
Colin Moulding, guitarist Dave Gregory (who recently left the band) and a
journalist friend, Neville Farmer.

Partridge explains the second point when he finds out I am a New Zealander.
His guitar was stolen during an early XTC tour there; he does not bear a
grudge - except possibly, in low moments, against record companies and band
managers. Even for an industry that is legendary for its exploitation of
talent and the chew-em-up, spit-em-out, unit-shifting obsessions of the
chart-worshipping suits in boardrooms, the experiences of XTC provide a
salutary lesson for any new band. It is not enough to glimpse the small
print on the contract presented to you by a manager - you must understand

XTC was the band which rode the crest of punk and New Wave. The pop world
embraced its radio-friendly songs like Senses Working Overtime, Sgt Rock and
Making Plans for Nigel. But the pop hits were atypical and XTC's humour and
irony often got lost in translation. "Nigel" was a lad whose parents wanted
him to get a nice, sensible job with British Steel. The company did not get
the joke and summoned four employees called Nigel to affirm publicly how
happy they were in their work. By coincidence, 100,000 British steel workers
went on strike soon after. The wry look at religion that was Dear God
prompted bomb threats in Bible-belt America and encouraged one US student to
take hostages unless the song was played over the school's loud-speaker

Partridge is now a sanguine 44-year-old, looking back with a mix of
affection and mild exasperation at the weedy artistic lad who just wanted to
play guitar and write songs. "We signed those contracts when we were kids.
We had no legal advice. We knew nothing. We were just incredibly excited at
the thought of being in a studio and putting our music on to record. It was
like the sorceror's apprentice. We were being allowed in to this alchemic
kitchen, to play with all the ingredients, and do our own alchemy. It was
incredibly thrilling. And it was 'sign this; have you read it; do you know
what it means?' Well. . . no."

For the 20 years it was on the Virgin label, XTC was bound by what it saw as
a draconian contract which came to exacerbate the financial woes stemming
from a dispute with a previous management company. The band believed it made
millions for Virgin at a time when it was playing sold-out gigs and had Top
Ten hits and yet it was subsisting on pounds 25 a week. In 1992, high hopes
for its Nonsuch album were dashed when a single was released and then
withdrawn immediately.

XTC rebelled. When Virgin refused to release it from its contract, the band
followed a proud tradition of bloodied but unbowed workers - it went on
strike. Partridge worked with other musicians including Blur, Lilac Time,
The Residents and Ryuichi Sakamoto. He went through a traumatic divorce and
was later reunited with long-time love Erica Wexler.

In 1997, "out of severe embarrassment", says Partridge, Virgin let the band
go. But Virgin, too, must have had its share of woes. Here was a successful
but idiosyncratic band that had refused to tour since 1982 when Partridge's
crippling stage fright became too much to bear. And shortly before its final
contretemps, Partridge had presented a new project, songs he had written as
homage to the bubblegum-pop bands of the late Sixties to early Seventies. He
felt the idea was blissfully simple: "I wanted Virgin to say that they'd
bought this entire back-catalogue from this imaginary label called Zither.
They said, 'So you go on Top of the Pops and play one of these songs?' I
said, 'No, this is a fake historical document!' So they said, 'Okay, we get
a young band and dress them up in early Seventies clothes?' I said 'No, no!'
They just didn't get it." Cue much shaking of pony-tailed heads.

XTC has now started its own company, Idea Records, and will release the
first of two volumes of new work in January. Partridge describes it as
"alternately Victorian or from the Fifties or medieval, and it's all smashed
together. It's so not what you're supposed to be doing in 1998. A lot of
people think that our music is just too damn baroque and too detailed. But
we do make much more rococo, actually that's rock-cocoa, stuff. It's not to
everyone's taste." Your noisy, basic electric rock follows in volume two.
Partridge has anticipated the response. "I just know that everyone's going
to be saying, 'Now that you've made your comeback. . .' I detest that word.
We never went away! We just legally weren't allowed to work. Comebacks
always have such awful glittery-suit, Fablon, working-men's clubs

XTC will not tour again, although Partridge has come to terms with stage
fright. "I feel more normal about it now. I don't feel such a freak. But I'm
too damn old for all of that. I just felt like a performing animal, I was
the monkey on the barrel organ." The reality of live performance holds no
fascination. But the idea of a fake reality, a secret history, does. It's
one of the reasons why Partridge loved the bubblegum idea, and why XTC has
recorded under different guises, including the Dukes of Stratosphear, Johnny
Japes and his Jesticles, and as Terry and the Lovemen, which featured on the
XTC tribute album, A Testimonial Dinner. "I love the idea of people who work
secretly, of authors writing books under other names, musicians making
records under other names. You can liberate yourself, you don't have to be
you. You wipe the slate clean of any preconceptions. Certainly in England
people have preconceptions about us. Here, most people now would say 'who?'
They probably just think we're a couple of middle- aged gnomes - really rich
gnomes. 'Weren't they smart-arsed art-rockers from the Seventies? Leave them
in the quirky drawer'."

The man who is rivalled only by Ray Davies as the chronicler of a
quintessential Englishness, sighs. "It would be nice for English people to
say, 'We love this!' but I'm not holding my breath. I'm convinced that when
wooing England, we're the suitor, and she's the unwilling bride."

This Maltese-born English eccentric describes himself as a man who loves sex
and hates violence; he laments the English antipathy to the former and
affection for the latter. "We're so closed up about a lot of things; that's
why the English get so violent when they drink. The French get romantic, the
Italians cry about their mothers, the Germans sing, but what do the English
do? They want to smash your face in."

Yet for one so vehemently anti-violence, Partridge has a craftsman's passion
and skill for toy soldiers. He loves military history but only as it is
encapsulated in the tiny, controllable world of the miniature battlefield.
"I must be a tender little Napoleon, a benevolent Mussolini," muses the man
who describes himself as "very optimistic, repulsively so". But it is the
shabby, badly made, naive, folk-art toy soldier that truly engages him. He
draws parallels for this with his passion for naive, "moronic" music; it may
be fitting, then, that a cover of XTC's The Ballad of Peter Pumpkinhead
featured in the cinematic ode to stupidity, Dumb and Dumber.

Partridge has no illusions about mega-stardom in the next millennium. He
does not want to be a Spice Girl, "a great piece of crisp-packet placement.
I don't fancy being that, or a talcum-powder tin". Although he's very
chuffed to have been a lampshade once. Eons ago, Melody Maker advertised
lamp shades bearing the likeness of 10 top icons. Andy Partridge was one of
them. This PG Wodehouse of pop, who describes his sax-playing as more
Dorothy Parker than Charlie Parker, regrets he didn't buy one. He laughs at
the thought that he's infiltrated bedside tables the world over.

Either that, or a single warehouse somewhere, where thousands of Andy
lamp-shades are just waiting for that one ironic, illuminating moment.



From: "Wesley Hanks" <>
Subject: Another TB short
Date: Thu, 3 Dec 1998 18:12:46 -0800
Message-ID: <000101be1f2b$95ac3ba0$301c1d26@wes>

The News and Observer (Raleigh, NC) November 30, 1998 Monday,

Delayed by production problems, the four-CD package"Transistor Blast" (TVT
Records) by celebrated English popsters XTC gives box set buyers something
new and choice to seek out this week. Contents fix on live cuts made in
concert or for BBC Radio between 1977 and 1989.



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-32

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