Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-326

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 326

                 Friday, 3 December 1999

Today's Topics:

                        Horse Play
                     melt the lyrics
                    Out in the country
                   Andy's chorus genius
               Friday, Saturday, Sundry...
                  Melting Melt the Guns
                 Why I Love C*ntry Music
            Re: Cats and Dogs Living Together
               And I ain't got no brain...
  i'm a little bit country, i'm a little bit rock n roll
                        Best of 99
      Re:[2] An XTC Acappella Tune on Chalkhills...
          Unsolicited answers, unsolicited list
            in the name of the lord BE HEALED!
                   Hottest 100 of 1999
                  I have lived too long


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Let us talk about some trivial things we like.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Mark R. Strijbos" <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 13:56:49 +0100
Subject: Horse Play

Dear Chalkers,

Are we a bunch of raving loonies?
i sincerely hope so, "normal" people are just so _boring_

>    A lot of bands have played with Country sounds on at
>    least a song or two, but to my knowledge, XTC never
>    have.
You're in for quite a shock!

'Wounded Horse', one of Andy's more recent works is done entirely in
poor lonesome cowboy fashion. Even the rather risque lyrics are in
style and sung with just a hint of a Southern drawl.
The first time i heard this song i wasn't too sure about it, but after a
while it grew on me.
As far as i know, Wounded Horse will be included on the forthcoming Apple
Venus Vol. II

The ever eloquent Harrison S. remarked:

> continue with that No Thugs notion, Andy rhymes the mother's
>    lament "the one you've picked" with the policeman's "reports of
>    Asians who've been so badly kicked," implying an *equivalency*
>    between the two acts...

Mmm...  i think Andy picked "picked" just to rhyme it with "kicked".
BTW: i suddenly realize that he could have gone for "nicked" (as in
arrested) instead...

Harrison also said this about the flanging guitar part in 'Jason':

>   So I listened with interest to the jet-plane sound created by the
>   flanger It occurred to me that it sounded *tuned*, as if it was
>   designed to fit with the G Lydian tonality that surrounds it.

Well, sue me if i'm wrong but isn't the whole point of flanging
to get it "in tune" and fitting, with the right overtones / harmonics?
It would probably sound positively horrible if you didn't

Lastly, May O'Mahoney said:

>    I nominate Debie Edmonds for 'Best Post of the Month'.

I second that emotion, but i would also like to nominate her for the
1999 Fan of the Year award. Without her constant nagging the Dave
Gregory website would never have
materialized and i would've been able to catch some sleep...
She's really special, a great friend and the best Swindon tour guide any
XTC fan could wish for

yours in xtc,

Mark Strijbos @ The Little Lighthouse


Message-ID: <>
From: Warren Butson <>
Subject: melt the lyrics
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 14:24:31 -0000

reading the thread on Melt the Guns, I just find it interesting that people
can either hate or love a song based purely on the lyrics.
to me melody and arrangement are just as important if not moreso.
to me melt the guns has great energy and vocal pyrotechnics and great music
which makes the song er great!
okay maybe the lyrics are anti-freedom or whatever the hell that person was
saying but it's a figuritive expression of peace.
you could rip any number of songs apart for their idealism eg Imagine but
it's a great song.
similarly war dance gets slagged off by people but i love the feel to it and
the little oboe thing in it so to me it's good.
by the way isn't My Weapon actually about his penis? that's what i always
thought (but it is a shit song!)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 10:44:55 EST
Subject: Out in the country

  The only true country is the old country---- Hank Williams SR. & Johnny
 The only country worth listening to these days is Jason & the Scorchers.
They friggin'  R-O-C-K!!!! Although The Mavericks "Dance the Night Away" is
pretty darn good.
  Forget " Toy Story". Go rent " Babe ,Pig in the City". THE best movie.
 XTC content--Come on AV2
Adieu, Roger


Message-Id: <s8465432.079@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 11:12:37 -0600
From: "Steve Oleson" <Steve.Oleson@OAG.STATE.TX.US>
Subject: Andy's chorus genius

In C-hills 5-323. Harrison refers to the flanged swooosh leading to the
chorus of Jason & the Argonauts: "I have watched the manimals go buy..."

That part of that song is one of my top favorite passages in rock
music. The swoosh, and all of the improvisational inversions of the 8 note
figure that corresponds to the lyric "there may be no golden fleece but
human riches I'll release",  ABSOLUTELY TURNS MY HEAD INSIDE OUT!

Get out your headphones and listen to this song! IT IS BRILLIANT! (Dig the

There are so many examples of Andy's unique approach to music from this
time period. Frequently, his shift from verse to chorus is totally
unexpected; they could be from different songs, yet they somehow FIT
PERFECTLY together!!
Rocket from a Bottle- the shift from the verse to "Now every bird and bee
just fans fire for me"
Train Running Low of Soul Coal- shift from bridge to "And all my servants
are leaving. Imagination's gone packing..."

There are a bunch more, but I dont have time to dig them out now.


My feeling about Andy's approach to music is this: he thinks more as a
visual artist, or a dramatic artist than as a musician. Think about it. His
use of dissonance, complimented by a lyrical melody, the tension created by
noise, and the release of tension is very dramatic and THEATRICAL!

aUSTIN, tx


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 12:31:21 -0800
From: "Dane Pereslete" <>
Subject: Friday, Saturday, Sundry...

Denizens of the diatomaceous,

Continuing in the ever popular XTC Trainspotting theme, I have
been pleasantly surprised these past two weekends in a row
while dining at Islands (a hawaiian-themed "burger joint") to hear
"Greenman" and "Thanks for Christmas".  Evidently their music
programmers have impeccable taste, as I also overheard "Mexican
Radio" as well.  When's the last time you can honestly declare
that you've heard _Wall of Voodoo_ on a commercial Muzak system?
Yeah, I thought so...

Tyler Hewitt wondered aloud:

>A lot of bands have played with Country sounds on at
>least a song or two, but to my knowledge, XTC never
>have. What would that sound like?

Probably quite a bit like "Shake You Donkey Up", no?  My dalliance in
Country extends only as far as liking Lyle Lovett (who is undeniably
eclectic), so what do I know?

Tom Johnson listed:

>The rest are in no apparent order, as I simply can't rank 'em (and showing
>my apparently eclectic tastes):
>Bill Frisell - Good Dog Happy Man

I must agree with this choice!  Having never owned any of his
solo releases, I made this disc one of my scandalously few
purchases of 1999, based on the strength of his work with the
Ginger Baker Trio gigs.  It is one of those discs that "grows on you"
after repeated listenings.  The first listen was unimpressive, but
now it shares permanent rotation in my listening repertoire.

This, from Dunks:

>Chris, there are two kinds of freedom - freedom FROM and freedom TO. What
>libertarians *really* endorse (consciously or otherwise) under the spurious
>guise of "freedom from government" is in fact freedom TO - such as the
>freedom to carry guns

And this, from Jim Smart:

>In my mind, and yes I've read the
>Constitution, guns have nothing to do with freedom.

I'll agree with both.  And for what it is worth I've always read the
Constitution as stating that guns are rightly granted when used as
a part of an _Organized Militia_.  Now, NRA or no, I hardly see a
semblance of any "organized" people's militia in this land...That's just
my take on the issue.

And lastly, from Veronica:

> What I don't get is that "Chris" is suppossed to
>be from Australia, right? Is R&B, slow jams, and funk
>popular there? I know about Aussie pop, rock, and
>heavy metal, but are there really any local acts that
>sound like a very vanilla Prince or Babyface?

I could be wrong, but I believe the legend of Gaines says that he
was fortunate to have been _born_ in Australia, only to suffer the
misfortune of being _raised_ in the US ;-)

That's enough bandwidth for now,


Q: Do aliens walk among us?
A: Can't you tell? Have you been to a tractor pull lately?

-Stan Ridgway, from an interview for "Anatomy"


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 15:52:10 EST
Subject: Melting Melt the Guns

Tim wrote:

<I disagree.  I think that he is indeed suggesting that guns be outlawed.
("I am speaking to the Justice League of America - the US of A - hey you...")
I think Andy is saying that our USA government is to blame and that
our government should get rid of all the guns.  The song isn't being sung
(I think) to the PEOPLE of the USA, but rather to it's government.>>

Interesting proposition, but as a self-professed gun teetotaler, I would
never (I don't think) legislate to outlaw guns. As much as I consider them
completely useless in dealing with humans or for hunting (for putting a
suffering animal out of its misery they're probably just the thing -- how
novel, guns existing mainly as a tool of compassion, rather than
aggression), legislation is not the answer -- persuasion is the answer.

I don't drink, I consider it to be a harmful and self-destructive behavior
(of which of course I participated in gladly in my younger, less aware
days), and I believe that the less people drink, the more the world will
improve.  Would I ever vote to outlaw alcohol?  Never. That was tried
once, remember the results?

I don't do drugs, put them in the same class as alcohol (see above), yet I
support full legalization of drugs with imposed usage taxes going toward
awareness-building about what total crap they are for you body mind and

The U.S. government is not to blame, at least not solely. By the way,
isn't the justice league of America an NRA-type organization? I don't
think they're the government specifically, I think they're a special
interest group made up of gun-loving citizens, but I could be wrong.

Want to get rid of the alcohol problems? Raise awareness about the truth
of the uselessness of alcohol and help people view things
differently. Want to get rid of the drug problems? Raise awareness about
the truth of the uselessness of drugs and help people view things
differently. Want to get rid of the gun problems? You get the drill. Help
people see clearly, and they'll make an intelligent decision. The
government doesn't have to put the gun companies out of business, the
people can do it themselves, by simply ceasing to want guns anymore, and
not listening to the false, fear-based messages that keep people thinking
they need a gun in their house, on their person, or in their car (or all
three). Same with alcohol, same with drugs. It's already begun with
tobacco, the government's involvement in which has been at times
unconstitutional in my opinion (just helped to speed up the process a
little, at the expense of integrity to the constitution), not to mention
moronic, in some ways laughable -- teen anti-smoking ads from Phillip
Morris? From Phillip Morris's own ad agencies? Please, what a useless load
of crap that is, those ads probably encourage target teens to smoke more,
in fact I think they've already shown that to be potentially true in focus
group studies -- thanks, government, good plan. And thank you Phillip
Morris, for assuming that people are total idiots, a great message to send
to our children about their fellow world inhabitants, and about how low
you'll stoop to keep the money coming in at the fully known expense of
others well being.

Government is not the answer, and guns are not the problem, nor is
tobacco, drugs or alcohol -- awareness and the lack of it is the
problem. Awareness, honesty, and responsiblity. That's what it's all
about. The guns will melt when gun owners (the citizens and criminals
alike) take their guns down to the local forge and cash them in for scrap,
because they understand that it's in their own best interest not to
consider using a gun on someone else, and that guns aren't necessary to
use guns to get what you want out of life.

Awareness, honesty, responsibility. And maybe a little patience (thanks,
Axl). That's all it takes.

It's all good! (meant sincerely-- my catch phrase of choice at the moment)

Best, Will J


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 09:53:49 +1000
Subject: Why I Love C*ntry Music

>>Subject: Joe versus Elvis... a tough one...
>>From: "Diamond" <>

>> I
>>geuss the conclusion I've come to is: why compare them? Just because they
>>were grouped into the same catagory deosn't mean you have to compare

Zackly. They're both good in their own way, and they've both had their
misfires ("Big World" comes to mind for JJ, and the woeful "Almost Blue"
for Elvis), but to try to compare the two is like comparing oranges and
lemons (ha, XTC content already!).

Anyway, Graham Parker kicks both their arses.....

>>From: Veronica Kyle Robertson <>
>>Subject: Garth Brooks is our Oscar Wilde

>>     What I don't get is that "Chris" is suppossed to
>>be from Australia, right? Is R&B, slow jams, and funk
>>popular there? I know about Aussie pop, rock, and
>>heavy metal, but are there really any local acts that
>>sound like a very vanilla Prince or Babyface?

Ummm......Savage Garden?

>>Subject: Anagramania! A Man in Agara!

>>    OK - I didn't start this little anagram thread, but I did make it
>>much, much worse than it could have been.

I'm the one who started this thread. I apologise unreservedly - it was the
medication. I didn't know what I was doing. El Diablo made me do it.

>> I'm sorry (not really - this is
>>better than much of what is going on around here recently).

Oh! Well, in that case, I retract my previous apology.

>>By the way - I wasn't aware of the anagram program.

The one I've been using (which I don't think has been mentioned here) is at - I haven't had a look at the others yet).

>>From: "Jim Smart" <>
>>Subject: go

>>Satan asks: Should I stay or should I go?

>>You should go.

Wow, someone actually had the balls to say it!

>> You're just yanking our chain, pure and

....and without even having the decency to use the WUA-isosp subject line,
either! What a nerve!

>>Now I've really done it.

Possibly. Ah least you're not the only one.....

>>From: "Tim Kendrick" <>
>>Subject: Random Things

   >From: Satanas Diablo <>
   >Subject: Should I stay or should I go?

   >I guess its best for me to leave the list
>>Good ridance.

>>I've never seen you try to discuss XTC.  All I've seen from you
>>is arguments, demands for answers to your questions, and more arguments.

Well, when you've never lost a logical argument, the tendency is to stick
with what you're good at, I suppose.

>>Subject: Bits and Pieces

>>XTC content:
>>Almost everyone (well, from my generation) had a favorite Beatle. Who is
>>your favorite member of XTC and why?


Terry Chambers - the guy carried the group for five years. They haven't had
the same heavy rhythms since he left, because there's very few drummers who
could emulate his particular sound (although it would probably have been
folly for anyone to try). Mind you, I read the Mojo article earlier this
year, and their original vocalist (I think his name was Hutchings?) used to
wear boiler suits on stage, and flash his pubic hair at the audience to
impress the girls. He comes a close second.

>>dan duncan asks:
>>are there any other country music enthusiasts on this
>>list besides me?

I wouldn't say I was an enthusiast, but I love the good bits I've found.
Gram Parsons, Johnny Cash and Gary Stewart are personal favourites, but
there's probably a hundred more good ones I haven't heard. There's
something good to be found in all sorts of music - it's just a matter of
knowing where to look.

....and on that profound note, I'm outa here.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 16:46:09 -0800 (PST)
From: pancho artecona <>
Subject: Re: Cats and Dogs Living Together

Hey Chalkhills,

if i ever wondered wether the phenomenon known as
fin-de-siecle existed, now I know it does. Its the
only way that I can explain all this talk about, of
all people, GARTH BROOKS! Cats and dogs are playing

An announcement: I have an extra copy of John Linnel's
'State Songs" so if anyone wants to trade for it,
please contact me privately. If all else fails I can
sell it as well.

Oh, and I won't bore you with my fave top ten but
suffice it to say I concur with the choice of Lucinda
Williams, been getting into her stuff lately and she
is quite a great storyteller.

Take care,



Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 20:08:21 +0000
From: Scott Barnard <>
Subject: And I ain't got no brain...
Message-id: <001501bf3d00$feeb6fc0$>

While it pains me to discuss Country music here (or anywhere else for that
matter), I must take exception to Mr. Hewitt's claim (#5-324) that Our Lads
have never dabbled in the Black Arts of Nashville.

Have a good listen to "Scarecrow People".  In particular, note Dave's slutty
acoustic slide guitar, Andy's twangier-than-Chet-Atkins rhythm guitar, and,
in the last chorus, what sounds like a pedal-steel guitar hovering in the
background. These, and Andy's uncharacteristic diction ("For we ain't got no
brains...") add up to a tune just reeking of big hair, bolo ties and
boot-cut Levis.

Now if they could just cover a Shania Twain song they might be onto



Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 17:36:05 -0800
Subject: i'm a little bit country, i'm a little bit rock n roll
From: Daniel Duncan <>
Message-ID: <>

> For those not in the know: Garth Brooks is a
> big-selling countrysinger who has invented a rock star
> persona by the name of Chris Gaines, and
> created an entire history for the character

For those of you not in the know: Garth Brooks is some other guy (I don't
remember his real name) who has invented a country singer persona by the
name of Garth Brooks and created an entire history for the character. The
guy is a fraud in terms of "artistic integrity" with several degrees in
business and marketing who performs songs penned by professional Nashville
song-writers (none of those "Young country" guys write their own songs), and
tailors his act and image based on market research. It is not very different
than, say, The Spice Girls; a wholesome act, a cult of personality, a
certain amount of sex appeal and a music style aimed at the largest possible
record-buying audience. He doesn't care if smart, trendy college students
think he's cool. He's selling millions upon millions of records to
housewives across the u.s. and possibly the world. I'll bet the Aussies eat
that stuff up with a spoon. It is all aimed at one point: the bottom line.
Chris Gaines? Sure! Bring him on! I hope he has another multi-platinum
debut. Finest kind. I hope he keeps both acts running simultaneously; Garth
on monday, wednesday and friday and Chris G. on Tues, Thurs and Saturday.
Sundays off so Garth can go to church and Chris can wallow in his speed
hangover. That way he can collect from all the suburban, middle-american
family types, and, God willing, he finds a fanatical audience with the
college kids who chase him in screaming droves down the street trying to
shove money in his pockets.
You ask me, I think he's a little old to be playing rock n roll, but who
asked me? All I know is he's making country music look bad.

>Country is like
>rock in that fully 95% of it is pure SHIT. The other
>5%, however, is wonderful.

I agree with your sentiment, Tyler, but not your formula. It's more like:
95% of country music released after 1970 is pure shit. Until recently, that
is. Yes, the alternative (yeah, yeah, "alternative to what?" ha ha) country/
insurgent/ no depression movement is some the freshest, most energetic,
passionate, rootsy music coming out today. Fans of the Mekons will want to
check out Jon Langford's Waco Brothers and almost anything released on
Chicago's Bloodshot label is safe to purchase.
And for those of you who "hate" country music: try again. Just give it a
good try with an old Hank Williams, George Jones, or Webb Pierce album. Or
go way back to old Jimmie Rodgers, Charlie Poole or the Carter Family. Learn
a little about the roots of American pop. You might surprise yourself.

Sorry, nothing on xtc today. Try me tomorrow.

"you can take my gun away when you pry it from my cold dead fingers"

This post is insured by Smith & Wesson.


Message-Id: <>
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 18:00:24 -0800
From: Craig Vreeken <>
Subject: Best of 99

Here's my best of 99 list.  I couldn't keep it to just 10.  Also, I think
these should be limited strictly to releases from this year (either new or
reissued), as opposed to just something you bought this year.  Also my
number one is about a mile above number 2, with the remainder stacked
pretty close together below that.

1.Apple Venus vol. 1 - XTC

2. Owsley - Owsley
3. In Reverse - Matthew Sweet
4. Utopia Parkway - Fountains of Wayne
5. Independent Intavenhan - LKJ
6. Mock Tudor - Richard Thompson
7. Back on Top - Van Morrison
8. Can You Still Feel - Jason Faulkner
9. From Here To Eternity - The Clash
10. Tempermental - Everything But The Girl
11. Llego - Los Van Van
12. Box of Birds - The Church
13. Release - Afro Celt Sound System
14. So Many Roads - The Grateful Dead
15. McCoy Tyner & The Latin Jazz All Stars

Honorable mention:  447 - Marshall Crenshaw; Stop Making Sense (reissue) -
Talking Heads; Bluegrass Sessions vol. 2 - Bela Fleck; Live in NYC - Black
Craig Vreeken


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 21:02:37 EST
Subject: Re:[2] An XTC Acappella Tune on Chalkhills...

Hey Chalkers,

Just a quick note which I could not resist interjecting into the fold...
* ---------
<From: "Tim Kendrick" <>
Subject: Random Things
Date: Tue, 30 Nov 1999 17:34:25 -0500>

< >Are there ANY Accapellas (Vocal Only without
   >music) from XTC songs or what?
No, there aren't.  Even very basic versions of the songs have
always had at least one accoustic guitar.>

No, in the XTC Catalogue, there are no tunes with Acappella, but, there is
one in the Chalkhills' Catalogue.

*Don't Ring Us,* Chalkhills' Children '97, executive produced by our own
Chalkster, Richard Pedretti-Allen, has *Dear God,* by the wonderful female
acappellist-chalksterette, Jennifer Geese.  In fact, I think I will have to
listen to it now...

John Gardner


Message-ID: <018e01bf3d3b$93668ec0$07e07ad1@default>
Subject: Unsolicited answers, unsolicited list
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 22:05:47 -0500

In response to nothing, here are the answers to the anagrams from a few
digests ago:

BENEATH CHOPIN (3 5 5)........................the piano bench
CLINTON + A GIRL = DEFEAT? (2 9 7) flagrante delicto
MADE BOY PET, SIR (*6 *7).....................Mister Peabody
MA, SON BANTER (*6 *5)........................Norman Bates

And it's a little early, but since it now looks like the new Aimee Mann
album won't be out until January, it's probably safe to say nothing's going
to get bumped off my end-of-year top 20 favorites list, so here it is.  I
know discussion groups fill up with these things like crazy at the end of
the year, so, sorry if you're not also someone who enjoys 'em.  Page on down
now if you're not.

1.  Midnite Vultures -- Beck
2.  The Soft Bulletin -- Flaming Lips
3.  The Three EPs -- The Beta Band
4.  The 3-Way -- Lilys
5.  Between the Bridges -- Sloan
6.  Anomie and Bonhomie -- Scritti Politti
7.  Apple Venus, Vol. 1 -- XTC
8.  Eureka -- Jim O'Rourke
9.  Stereotype A -- Cibo Matto
10. A Part and Yet Apart -- Bill Bruford's Earthworks
11. The Marshall Suite -- The Fall
12. Terror Twilight -- Pavement
13. Zooma -- John Paul Jones
14. Nightlife -- Pet Shop Boys
15. Utonian Automatic -- Isotope 217
16. A Dream in Sound -- Elf Power
17. Keep It Like a Secret -- Built to Spill
18. Arches and Aisles -- The Spinanes
19. Field Recordings from the Cook County Water Table -- Brokeback
20. Ft. Lake -- His Name is Alive

Tough choices.  Honorable mentions to Queen of All Ears (Lounge Lizards),
In Reverse (Matthew Sweet), Prize (Arto Lindsay), Spanish Dance Troupe
(Gorky's Zygotic Mynci), State Songs (John Linnell) and To Venus and Back
(Tori Amos), and any of the Os Mutantes reissues.  I'm sure it's probably
shocking that I put XTC down at #7, but hey, it's been a good year.

-- Francis Heaney

"Simmer, simmer, simmer down."
   -- Pavement


Message-ID: <>
Date: Thu, 2 Dec 1999 20:28:38 -0800 (PST)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: in the name of the lord BE HEALED!

Down on your knees everyone...

          the healing is about to commence

Leave the body of this poor child Chalkhills and be
cast into the fires of damnation!"

     now a thwack on the forhead with the palm of the
minister's hand

we stumble backwards and are caught in the loving arms
          of his assistants

 rising to our feet we are filled with light as we
feel that the Devil has left us

         ...and we are healed

bye bye Satanas Diablo
it was real
it was fun
but it wasnt real fun


Message-Id: <>
Date: Fri, 3 Dec 1999 13:03:04 +1000
Subject: Hottest 100 of 1999

Voting is now underway for the Triple J Hottest 100 of 1999. Cast your vote
for XTC here :

Follow the links to the Hottest 100 page.

There is only one XTC song on their voting list - "Greenman" - but there is
space at the end of the list to place a write-in vote. You can't vote for a
song more than once, but there's nothing to stop you from voting for every
song on AV1!

Vote early, and vote often!



Message-ID: <>
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: I have lived too long
Date: Thu, 02 Dec 1999 21:07:42 PST

I must admit Dom - you made me guffaw immderately with your last broadside
against Satanas (what IS that all about anyway?). You have a gift for being
hilariously offensive - or is that offensively hilarious?.

BUT (and I have a BIG but) don't we think it's time to set the Satanas
thread aside for good? PLEASE??

* * *

>From: "rob allen" <>
>Subject: It's Dunktastic!

> >No offence Mark, but what a stupid question. Well, stupidly phrased
> >anyway. How long is a piece of string? When did you stop beating your
> >wife? Next time try asking "who do you prefer?" or something like >that.
>pompous (adj); having or exhibiting self-importance.
>No offence Dunks. Thanks for gracing us with your intellect.

Miaouw! Give him a bowl of milk.

Rob, it was a spur of the moment reply, and could perhaps have been phrased
a little more thoughtfully ... but I stand by my well-known opinion
regarding the notion of ranking musicians, as implied by Mark's question.
It's juvenile and meaningless.

I am a longtime fan of both Joe and Elvis. They are both talented, committed
musicians, wonderful songwriters and outstanding performers. I have lucky
enough to see both artists several times in concert, and I would rate their
concerts as among the most thrilling and memorable I have ever seen. I wish
just wish Joe toured more often.

Personally, I find the question "Who is better?" both silly *and* offensive.

Music is not about who is better. It is, in part, about expression and
feeling - and cooperation. Asking "who is better?" exemplifies the limited
thinking typical of sport and business that bores me comprehensively. Why do
people constantly feel the need to justify their liking for a given artist
by citing his or her 'importance' realtive to another. You can just like
them, you know. Yo don't have to like because they are "better" than someone

And - dare I repeat it? - how does one define who is "better"? I prefer XTC
to Boyzone, but Boyzone's last album sold more than the entire XTC catalogue
since 1977. Are they 'better' because of that?

I didn't mean to personally insult Mark. I really meant that it could be
slightly more meaningful to ask which artist Chalkers prefer. Whilst its
possible usefulness remains opaque to me, it would at least represent a poll
of personal opinion, rather than a some kind of infantile ranking contest.

* * *

>From: "Andrew Gowans" <>
>Subject: Where too much sport is not enough.

Don't you mean "When too much sport is BARELY enough" mate?

This will be meaningless for anyone outside Australia. For those within, let
me just say :

"Thanks for the madness, Shark!"

>I know it's old news, so am I by reports, but seeing Dunks comments >on
>sport and people's responses I feel I must comment to, perhaps, >provide
>some insight.

>As I am also an Australian, and an ex-Sydneyite, I believe I can >state
>quite truthfully that in the society I grew up in sport was not >a
>recreational activity it was a religion. Failure to conform to >sporting
>ideals was to advertise that you were not part of that >society, you were a
>misfit, a wuss, a poofter, a mummy's >get the drift.

>From what I understand from talking to friends who grew up in other
>countries this is fairly universal for school-agers. We all grow up >and
>move on, but some things still rankle. I may be wrong as to the >cause in
>Dunk's case, but I can appreciate the sentiment.

>I have nothing personal against any person who plays or enjoys sport, >but
>to some it was just another excuse to subdivide society into "Us >an' Dem".

Well, Andrew, I too have nothing personal against anyone who plays or enjoys
sport. I think it's boring, but that's my problem.

I had the same expreiences Andrew has mentioned, but I have grown up and
moved on. Society, it appears, has not. Sport, like religion, is utterly
irrelevant to me. I just wish it would all go away so we could get on with
something useful. Yet, over the course of my life, it has been elevated from
schoolyard neurosis to international obsessive/compulsive disorder.

Sport, religion, gambling, The Millennium - what a wonderful world. Anyone
who wants another illustration of how deeply stupid our society has become
need only look at what's happening here in Sydney at New Years Eve. No doubt
the story is similar elsewhere.

New Year's Eve in Sydney for many years has been celebrated by street
parties and a major fireworks display on the harbour. Nice idea, and Sydney
does a good job as a rule. It can be chaotic and sometimes dangerous, and if
you've ever been silly enough to see in the hot spot New Year party areas at
The Rocks or Bondi Beach, you'll know what I mean.

My personal experience of one New Year's Eve at The Rocks in the early 80s
was being caught up in a terrrifying crowd crush; there were so many people
crammed into the main street, near the famous Orient Hotel, that the front
doors of the Rocks police station (which open outwards) could not be opened
because of the mass of people jammed against it; police had to use the back
door. At Bondi Beach, which has become a mecca for tourists and backpackers
on the night, there have been several nasty outbreaks of violence, some
serious rioting, and several deaths over recent years. Each years now draws
down an increasing police presence and quasi-military regulation of the

And so to this year, when more than 2 million people are expected to descend
on to Sydney Harbour foreshores to watch the fireworks. Adding to the usual
headaches, this year will be made all that much more unpleasant thanks to
local authorities, who have responded to the event with all the logic of a
headless chicken. About 60% of the city will be cordoned off to traffic,
which will also result in many major parking stations being "off limits".
Taxi services will be slashed because of driver fears about road congestion
and hooliganism. Ferries, buses and train services will be cut back, and
cancelled altogether for part of the night, because of expected harbour and
street congestion, and fears of power disruptions due to the "Y2K" bug.

(And what a crock that is. A friend recently told me of a colleague doing
y2K auditing who was instructed to check ceiling fans for compliance!)

Hmmm - millions of excited people ... crammed into a small area ... lots of
alcohol and drugs ... no transport. Gee - I wonder what might happen?

But let's not forget what's happening on the other side of the counter. It's
a profiteering spree that would make Rockerfeller blush. Harbourside
apartments will be charging fees and demanding passes from non-residents who
enter after a certain time. It's legal - just. Those courageous few willing
to work in pubs, bars, restaurants, hotels and other venues over the night
of December 31/January 1 can virtually name their own price. Four-figure
sums are not uncommon. Pubs and bars will charge whatever they please; those
cashed up enough to venture forth to the ritzier venues can expect to pay
double, triple and more above usual bar prices.

And what of parents desirous of spending the millennial evening together
sans offspring? Besides any other costs you might encounter, you can prepare
to pay complete strangers $5000 or more to "mind" your children overnight,
sleeping on the floor in makeshift creches. That's the going rate in some

Sounds like fun, doesn't it?

I'll leave you with one final example of how truly bizarre our culture has
become. Yesterday there was a serious train accident in outer Sydney which
resulted in at least 6 and possibly 12 deaths. Meanwhile the banner headline
for Sydney's only daily tabloid proudly proclaimed this riveting front-page


Kill me now.



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-326

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