Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-62

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 62

                 Monday, 18 January 1999

Today's Topics:

         Andy Interview/Nigel on "Out of Order"!
                gnillepS and other animals
                         Re: Rush
                 miscellaneous ramblings
          Thanks; arse-widening; and top 4 etc.
                        Best of 98
                      Owning-Up Time
                  Premature Ejaculations
                Press Page Down!
                 Steve's visit with Andy
          Oranges and lemons -- a thank you note
                 Kim, Steve, Lou and Neil
                     Re: Stadium Dogs
                Pipe down, boys and girls!


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And your criticism doesn't worry me.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 09:18:15 -0800
From: "Shawn D. Stone" <>
Subject: Andy Interview/Nigel on "Out of Order"!

Ensign . . . Disengage Lurking field . . .
(Please forgive my excessive use of parenthetical references)
Don't know if anyone else managed to catch this but at my local radio
station (the excellent Live 105, nationally reknowned for breaking big
bands and not being afraid to play a diverse selection of music) has
this show that I suppose is on Saturday mornings (this is the first time
I caught it, plus it may be one of those syndicated shows).  Apparently,
each week they have a "TimeWarp" artist (cue the cast from RHPS!) which
this week happened to be . . . Xtc!  The DJ explained that Xtc had
basically dropped out of sight for 4 years and then they played a tape
of Andy, very sick of explaining it, saying "people always ask, 'Why
haven't I heard anything from you guys?' and then the little violins
begin to play and I tell them about how we had a horrible record deal.
We've been in debt for 18 years.  Our record company has made 30 million
on us in the past 18 years, while we still owe them.  So we went on
strike after Nonsuch and they stuck it out, and we stuck it out.  Most
people in England think we broke up!" Then they played "Making plans for
Nigel".  The DJ then went on to explain that Xtc are planning to release
two new albums this year . . .
Re-engaging Lurking field . . .


Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 16:42:23 -0500
From: Steve Pitts <>
Subject: gnillepS and other animals
Message-ID: <>


In 5-50 Bob Crain wrote:

> divaD 'ninkcor peek <

<tsk tsk> "does your computer have a spell checker?"

and David Oh abbreviated:

> if style over content really iz yer concern <

Actually, I'd say it was more a question of clarity than style, old son

Finally, to combine two recent threads about boasting and fiscal plenitude,
my copy of TB cost me 18 GBP, and since I don't have D&W or the previously
released live album, I consider that to be the best value for money I've
received for my record buying pound in many a long year.

Cheers, Steve

(Using OzWIN in Hemel Hempstead, England on 16-Jan-99 at 21:07:51)


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 1999 22:21:25 EST
Subject: Re: Rush

>On the other hand, there is a strong chance that I have completely missed
>the point and that Rush Limbaugh is a jovial, Benny Hill-style mirthmaker
>rather than a complete **** like I'd always been led to believe. Enlighten
>me, my across-the-pond chums!

  Not Benny Hill, but definitely jovial; I listen to him not because I'm a
conservative myself, but because he's entertaining, does good radio, and
I'm not threatened by ideas that are different than mine. Rush is a
conservative in the Bob Dole sense rather than Pat Buchanan, in fact there
are regular listeners to his show who think he's abandoned the
conservative cause because he doesn't enthusiatically rally around what
pet issue is dear to their heart.  I must admit I've found him a bit dull
lately though, but maybe because I'm changing and have found both the left
and the right wanting lately.



From: "Michael D. Myers" <>
Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 10:21:18 -0500
Subject: miscellaneous ramblings

Chalksters and Chalkettes;

A few thoughts:

-  I'm working in South Africa for a few weeks and I am amazed how little
XTC product is available in the shops;  most stores have only one or two
different releases in the racks, and they don't seem to be anything other
than English imports;

-  Harrison trumped me in the last digest when he talked about Django
Reinhardt, missing fingers, and David Oh.  I was going to pose a question
to the list as follows:  What do Django Reinhardt, Jerry Garcia, Phil
Keaggy (rocker turned Christian musician), and Tony Iommi (Black Sabbath)
all have in common?  Answer:  they all are guitarists of note who are
digit-challenged.  Also, remember that the drummer from Def Leppard (sp?)
learned to play all over again after he lost an arm in an auto accident.
So, it doesn't even matter whether David has all body parts intact, let's
not jump to the conclusion that a person can't do something because they
have a disability;  I think that the original poster was speaking a little
judgementally when he made those statements.

-  There is a lot of talk about people buying the Japanese import of AV for
potential bonus tracks.  Count me in for the side that argues "Hey, if you
can afford it, go right ahead, and if you want to buy every version issued
in the world, who cares?"  My wife always teases me about my CD-buying
mania, and I always tell her that it's better for me to spend my money on
CDs rather than on really sinful things.  She laughingly agrees.  And to
follow on with that thought, I understand that there's about 1200 people on
this list.  It sounds like maybe 10 of us are planning to buy the Japanese
import instead of the US or UK versions.  Does anyone really believe that
fact will impact the band's performance on those release-measuring surveys?
Believe me, if they don't sell 25,000 to 50,000 copies in the first month
or two, it will be a big disappointment.  I'd bet that they have to sell
over 100,000 units worldwide to make any real money from this release.
Some of XTC's past releases sold several hundred thousand copies
altogether, and probably with the new deal they can get away with
substantially less, but if 10 people buy Japanese copies instead of US or
UK, it's like a grain of sand on a beach.  So lighten up on this topic,

-  And Dom, you asked for it, I'll call you "old Mr. Bellicose".  Gosh that
was fun.  Seriously, you've become of of the more interesting posters IMHO.



Message-ID: <000801be4235$9de541e0$247b8bd0@ginsim>
From: "Simon Deane/Gina Chong" <>
Subject: Thanks; arse-widening; and top 4 etc.
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 1999 00:22:44 +0800

(Health warning: I've had a few bottiglianos of vino this afternoon so
forgive me if I say anything upsetting - don't worry, Harrison, you haven't
written a critique recently so the wankonometer has been doing the
electronic equivalent of cooling its heels on my desk top over the
First, can I thank people on this list generally for all the music
recommendations over the past year or so? Thanks.
Prior to subscribing to Chalkhills I had effectively given up on pop music,
except for XTC, and was concentrating more on jazz and classical music. The
list has inspired me to listen to more pop with generally agreeable
results - if you don't mind me saying so, your collective tastes are most
satisfactory. Recommendations for which I'm particularly grateful include...
no, but seriously.... Yazbek (although I have reservations about him),
Stephen Duffy (see below), Liz Phair, Tom Waits (finally inspired to acquire
some of his recordings), Raymond Scott (thanks Harrison), Sun Ra (well that
was Andy Partridge really, after reading the various books and interviews),
Partridge's demos, the Dukes (believe it or not) and others. I've currently
got on order Neil Finn, Mr. Bungle, the Cardiacs, John Schofield, Kyuss, The
Negro Problem and Elvis and Burt and am looking forward to trying the same
out. Failures include The Church who, although unassuming enough, frankly
don't deserve to be mentioned in a quality list like this one (cf. mentions
of The Levellers in '97-sorry Phil), and The Lilys (but that was actually a
record that Partridge, through someone on this list, recommended).  Anyway,, CDnow and IMVS did pretty well out of me in '98 because of
An expression used by Dom Lawson, namely "arse-wideningly", caught my eye in
the last list as being particularly graphic, but an unusual way of saying,
effectively, "very". I've heard it used before in a similar context, but the
aforementioned bottles of wine got me thinking as to the etymology (if
that's the correct word) of this expression i.e. how it came to be used for
this purpose.  Ideas which sprang to mind included someone enjoying
something so much that (a) he/she wouldn't have minded being buggered by it,
even though being buggered would not be something he/she would normally
indulge in (or even enjoy) and (b) he/she lost control of his/her muscles,
not excluding I'd be interested if anyone has any other
ideas (although I realise that you may not have consumed as much red wine as
me and accordingly may not find this topic as interesting as, say, slagging
off Davidoh - admittedly his style is as irritating as ... as... well,
something very (arse-wideningly?) irritating, but does he really deserve all
this stick? - so I won't hold it against you if this posting is the end of
this thread). Continuing on the subject of Dom Lawson's vocabulary, I also
noticed his use of the word "felch" on the website about his band, the
quirky "No Legs". This word does not appear in my edition of the Oxford
English Dictionary but my understanding was that it was a word that had
originated with the San Francisco gay community, meaning ..ahem.. the oral
extraction of spunk (or, as Dorothy now knows, semen) from the anal passage.
Would any Californians on the list care to comment? (This may be your chance
to teach us Brits something after our smug condescension about "fanny" and
"wank" etc.)
Finallyish, my Top 4 of '98 (although I suspect John A. Lane may have got
there first):
1) Stephen Duffy: "I love my friends". Nothing especially new here but just
generally excellent song writing - "17" and "Autopsy" being songs which
immediately spring to mind.
2) Piet Botha: "The Indestructible Beat of Ballyvaghan". Ex-lead singer of
one of South Africa's  few apartheid era punk/new wave bands "The
Springfoks" (who I think are still going) shows he hasn't lost his sense of
humour, mixing traditional Irish folk music (apparently his mother
originated from the emerald isle) with Bhundu Boys style Afro-pop and a
twist of thrash metal. The first few songs are almost unlistenable but after
a while he seems to get his influences together and produces some
surprisingly melodic moments. Stand out track is undoubtedly the penultimate
one on the CD, "Ode to a Basking Shark", featuring a stunning marimba solo
from his son, Paddy.
3) The Dukes: "Chips from the (whatever it was)". No need to say anything
here apart from the fact that I'm about 13 years late in discovering it. For
some reason when the Dukes started, I thought the project was an excuse to
revamp their existing repertoire (a la Dub Experiments; or maybe I thought
that it _was_ the Dub Experiments) so I (surprisingly, with hindsight) gave
it a wide berth. Almost all the songs are top-notch, but "Bike Ride to the
Moon" and "My love explodes" are running through my head at the moment.
4) Acid Jazz Combo: "Acid Jazz Combo". This Hong Kong  band had some
problems choosing a name but when they'd made up their minds there was no
stopping them, in Hong Kong at least. They spent the first half of the year
playing the clubs in Lan Kwai Fong and then managed to get the
aforementioned CD out under the watchful eye of HK's foremost guitarist,
Eugene Pao. The name's actually a joke (they probably chose it to get the
gigs) and whilst they do some Brand New Heavies' covers, I'd say their music
was closest to something like Jethro Tull pre-"Aqualung". I think it may be
difficult to get this outside of HK but if anyone's interested I'll try to
find a copy.
This post is beginning to drag a bit but that never seems to stop Duncan
Kimball so ...
My nearly final comment, which is probably the only true bit of XTC content
in this entire message, is to ask whether we, as a virtual/cyber-community
(if that's indeed what we and this list are), can organize ourselves to
agree on how best to make sure that the new record makes a mild indentation
in the charts so that, at the very least, the lads make a few sponds from
what, we have it on good authority, is sure to be a work of astonishing
genius. If this means that we all send orders to CDnow or wherever at
precisely 1200 GMT on 18 February, then perhaps we should go for it. What we
need here is a bit of leadership. There's no time to hold an election,...
so, John Relph, ... any ideas?
All the best
Simon Deane


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 19:54:56 +0000
From: Phil Hetherington <>
Subject: Best of 98

I've relistened to what I thought were the 10 best albums of 1998,
and eliminated one before I got as far as posting the list. Here's
the 9 that are left, plus a few other bits & pieces. But before
I start on the '98 selections:


JOSEPH ARTHUR           Big City Secrets        RealWorld CDRW64 (1996)
  Far and away the best thing I've bought in the last 12 months, but
  disqualified because it says 1996 on the back. Shriekback's Martyn
  Barker and Simon Edwards contribute some beautifully rhythmic
  backdrops, but it is Joseph Arthur's lyrics which really make this
  album what it is. It's quite simply one of the most sublime records
  I've ever heard, and I can't recommend it highly enough. Nobody's
  collection should be without this one.

  Standout track: Crying Like A Man
  Marks: 11.5/10

Other highly recommended back-catalogue buys from the last 12 months
include Autour De Lucie "Autour De Lucie", Finn "Finn", Four Men & A
Dog "Dr A's Secret Remedies" and The Jayhawks "Blue Earth".

BEST OF '98:

(Overall favourite of the year: Johnson.)
(Close second: Mansun.)

AUTOUR DE LUCIE         Immobile                Nettwerk 30121 2
  I discovered them at the Dublin Castle supporting Simon Breed; this
  is their second album, and is sung entirely in French. The best
  description I can come up with is indie-pop, with sort of low-fi
  guitars and weird percussion samples, an abundance of catchy tunes
  and the most gorgeous female vocals ever. The only problem I have
  with this album is that they were even better live. Oh, and that
  I haven't a clue what it's about.

  Standout track: Chanson sans issue (ne vois-tu pas)
  Ranking 8/10

BILLY BRAGG & WILCO     Mermaid Avenue          Elektra 7559-62204-2
  Woody Guthrie left behind the lyrics for a big stack of unrecorded
  songs, but no music. Billy Bragg and Wilco have provided the
  missing music, and they approximately alternate on lead vocals. It
  works surprisingly well, although the alternating lead vocals make
  it a bit disjointed in places.

  Standout track: Eisler On The Go
  Ranking 8/10

  The man responsible for my all-time favourite album returns, minus
  most of the band despite the joint billing. A couple of songs
  previously played live by Goats Don't Shave appear here, but most
  of this is, musically, a bit more laid-back than the folk-rock of
  old. The lyrics are as hard-hitting as ever though. Tracks 5 & 6
  are unusually below-par, which somewhat interrupts the flow, but
  the rest is excellent.

  Standout track: Gola
  Ranking 8/10

JOHNSON   Hard Mouth To Feed   Higher Ground HIGH3CD
  I discovered them supporting Sarah Jane Morris at the Mean Fiddler.
  This got some poor reviews, which is unfair as for the most part it
  is excellent - there are a couple of songs which don't quite make
  the grade, but the only poor track is "Silvertape". Mostly this is
  pretty straightforward acoustic rock/pop, the whole thing
  characterised by good honest songs with catchy tunes and heartfelt
  lyrics. Of all of the albums I bought in 1998, this has been on the
  heaviest rotation.

  Standout track: High
  Ranking: 9.5/10

MANSUN                  Six                     Parlophone 4 96723 2
  A long, sprawling beast of an album, with songs jerking about in all
  directions, but at the same time much more focussed and consistent
  than their first album. I think it's a concept album, but just
  exactly what the concept is escapes me. It's crammed full of
  brilliant songs, though it won't be everyone's cup of tea. The band
  Radiohead keep unwittingly trying to be.

  Standout track: Anti Everything
  Ranking 9/10

THE REFUGEES    Lovejunk                Revolver RR3333CD (dated 1997)
  Hailing from Swindon, this is David Marx's project but also
  features Kevin Wilkinson and Barry Andrews. The three of them were
  last spotted on record together during Barry's brief solo career
  after he left XTC, and then in Restaurant For Dogs. Kat Evans (who
  played violin on Shriekback's last album) completes the lineup. The
  sound is sort of folky-punky-pop, and the whole thing is churned out
  at breakneck pace and clocks in just short of 35 minutes. I'm
  assuming it wasn't released until this year, despite the date. Mail
  order only.

  Standout track: The Girl With The Child In Her Arms
  Ranking 8/10

R.E.M.                  Up                      Warner 9362-47112-2
  Quite simply the best R.E.M. album since "Life's Rich Pageant". The
  low-fi "Airportman" is a strange opener, but from the moment "Lotus"
  kicks in you know this is something special. Most of the rest of it
  takes a few listens. It's worth the effort.

  Standout track: Diminished
  Marks: 8/10

REV HAMMER   Freeborn John   Cooking Vinyl COOK CD111 (dated 1997, box)
  An epic work, a concept album based on historical fact. It tells the
  story of John Lilburne (1615 - 1657), the leader of the Levellers,
  and various parts are played with guest vocals from, amongst others,
  Maddy Prior, Justin Sullivan, Rory McLeod, Eddi Reader, The
  Levellers. Musically it's what you might call modern folk, but really
  it's all over the place as the moods change throughout the story.

  Standout track: Elizabeth's Great Gallop
  Ranking: 8/10

TANITA TIKARAM          The Cappuccino Songs    Mother mumcd 9801
  Her first indie album since being dropped by Warner, and her
  strongest work for a very long time. For those not familiar with
  Tanita's work, it's basically acoustic pop complete with orchestra
  and the occasional bongo. This album is let down by a dreadful
  single, "I Don't Wanna Lose At Love", which appears not once but
  twice on the CD. some of the lyrics are pretty bad, but despite
  that the whole thing hangs together very nicely. Incidently, I once
  shared a flat with a guy who went to the same school as Tanita's

  Standout Track: Amore Si
  Marks: 8/10

Other 1998 releases I enjoyed include: Catatonia "International
Velvet", Neil Finn "Try Whistling This", The Levellers "Too
Drunk In Public" (fan-club-only acoustic pub gig with Rev Hammer),
Pulp "This Is Hardcore", The Saw Doctors "Songs From Sun Street",
Space "Tin Planet", Various Artists "The Best Of The Cambridge
Folk Festival", and of course XTC "Transistor Blast".

Some that disappointed me: Eels "Electro-Shock Blues", Garbage
"Version 2.0", The High Llamas "Cold And Bouncy", Jad Fair & Yo
La Tengo "Strange But True".

Some I thought were downright awful: Graham Coxon "The Sky Is Too
High", Fear Of Pop "Volume 1", The High Llamas "Lollo Rosso".

And one dire, dire, awful terrible thing which went straight back
to the shop, to be avoided at all cost: The Shamen "UV".


Overall favourite:
  Space (with Cerys of Catatonia) - The Ballad Of Tom Jones

Best of the rest:
  Autour De Lucie - Chanson Sans Issue (Ne Vois-Tu Pas)
  Ben Folds Five - Brick
  The Bluetones - If...
  Billy Bragg & Wilco - Way Over Yonder In The Minor Key
  Johnson - It Could Be
  Mansun - Being A Girl (Part One)
  R.E.M. - Lotus
  Paul Weller - Brand New Start

Honourable mentions include:
  Eels - Last Stop This Town
  The Flaming Stars - Sweet Smell Of Success
  Mindless Drug Hoover - The Reefer Song (remixed by The Orb)
  Pulp - A Little Soul
  The Saw Doctors - She Says

Didn't like:
  The Levellers - Bozos
  Pulp - Party Hard


Of the live shows I went to, the best were by these artists:

  Simon Breed & The Birthmarks
    (4 times this year - look out for his gigs around London)
  The Flaming Stars
  Luka Bloom
    (When oh when is the album coming out in the UK?)
  Billy Bragg & The Blokes
  The Saw Doctors

The biggest live disappointment was Posh metamorphosing into
Milky, being dreadful and disappearing.

If you got this far, then thanks for reading this. If you want to
know any more about any of the things mentioned above, feel free
to email me and I shall do my best.

|_) |_  * |    Me:
|   | ) | |    Then for Shriekback add: shrkindx.html
===========    Or for Gang Of Four: gof/gof_indx.html


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 13:25:08 -0800 (PST)
From: Iain Murray <>
Subject: Owning-Up Time

I've been living a lie for the past three days, and I can't take it
anymore!! I'm not the original author of the Modern major General
thing <sob>! There, I've said it - are you happy now???? You pushed
and you pushed...     :)

I would have given credit for that piece, but it was something I'd
only been sent about half an hour earlier, and I was more intent on
getting to the pub after a rotten day. Sit down, type, send out, go
and have a drink....

This item was sent to me on another music mailing list (yes, I'm on
*another* mailing list! Call me an e-mail tart if you will....), and
the person who posted it gave credit to "anonymous" as the author.
Chances are we'll never know who's responsible, but it was pretty
good, wasn't it?

So there you are - I didn't write this newsgroup gem ; although I *do*
have that sort of time on my hands, I quite honestly don't have the
necessary wit. Mind you, admitting that I didn't write it absolves me
of any potential blame about thinly-veiled flaming of other list
members (read the line about "losing all my fingers" and see if you
can guess who I mean - *absolutely no offence intended*. I didn't
really take any notice of that line until I saw it in the digest).

While I'm here, I should congratulate niarC boB on his posting in
#5-59. It took a few minutes to get the message, being the
forward-reader that I am, but it was well worth the effort.


"Information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, wisdom is not truth,
truth is not beauty, beauty is not love, love is not music. Music is the
best." - Frank Zappa


Message-Id: <>
Subject: Premature Ejaculations
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 99 21:47:12 +0000
From: John Morrish <>

I love this list... Buddy Guy's guitar case... the man with the
discrepancy on the finger area... Prof Sherwood's ruminations on the
Great Green Pen Scam... the digital/analogue/bird-beak controversy ...

It's the funniest thing that drops into my mailbox, except perhaps all
those invitations to make $$$$$$$ by doing nothing at all. I'm trying not
to be ironical here, but it's hard: I'm English.

Anyway, I'd just like to briefly join the gloat-fest by saying that I too
have the the AVI advance copy, but I won't be saying a dickie bird about
it until it is actually released. The nice man from XTC's PR company
tells me that that is most likely to happen in the last week of February,
having slipped back a week or so from the most recent "final" date. No
real reason for that, as far as I can tell.

The thing is, I never got all the demos because I wanted to hear the
band's final thoughts first. Similarly, if I was a reader of this group
without some means (fair or foul) of getting the record early I wouldn't
want to hear other people's impressions of it: I'd want to make up my own

I think we've already had a few premature ejaculations, brought about by
excitement and pent-up frustration (if I can lapse into priapic Partridge
mode). I wouldn't stop anybody else from enjoying themselves in any way
they like ("just don't hurt nobody..."). But I won't be joining in.

Personally, I rather hanker for the days when everybody knew the Beatles
had a new album out at the end of next month and nobody, outside of Abbey
Road, heard a squeak
until they queued up at their local record shop and handed over the
screwed up pound note their granny had given them for Christmas.

Remember the smell of the cellulose laminate of the cover, and the paper
sleeve, and the big piece of shiny black plastic inside? And then you
dropped the needle, and there was that bit of scraping while it found its
way into the groove and then you heard the music for the first time along
with all those other people all over the world who had rushed home at the
same time as you...

Now that WAS exciting...

So don't ask about it. When everybody's got a copy, we can have a proper
argument about it. And I can hardly wait for THAT.

John Morrish

"Better mugs than smug"


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 22:45:16 +0100
From: Erich Sellheim <>
Subject: Press Page Down!

Hello everyone,

this post is for the trainspotters on Chalkhills; however, I'll promise not
to write about things like typos in the TB booklet :-)

Having listened to Captain Beefheart's Clear Spot recently, I couldn't help
thinking that the long drum roll in Big-Eyed Beans From Venus "inspired" the
one in Meccanic Dancing, or, more accurately, the slowed-down one in Dance
With Me, Germany.  Knowing that Andy Partridge is a big fan, this doesn't
seem too unlikely, does it?  After having accused our favourite band of
musical robbery, I'll try to make it undone by accusing my second favourite
artist of stealing ideas from XTC. Here I go: As I might have posted before,
Elvis Costello once reviewed Love On A Farmboy's Wages in a German music
magazine. He loved it and remarked that he also liked Great Fire a lot. This
was, of course, in 83, and from then on, Elvis has emerged with at least two
songs using fire imagery to describe relationships, not unlike Great Fire
(The Only Flame In Town (84) and Indoor Fireworks (86)).  And while I'm at
it: as there seem to be quite some Cardiacs fans on this list, has anybody
noticed how close the opening guitar part of Fiery Gun Hand (on Sing To God
Part 1) is to the one of Wake Up? (Absolutely unbelievable band, by the way,
as others have said before).

Recently I re-dug into my XTC vinyl collection and discovered two items that
I think aren't in the Chalkhills discography: One is a seven-inch picture
disc in a clear plastic sleeve which has the cover art of Skylarking on one
side and part of a music magazine page on the other. I remember buying this
on a record fair and thinking "Great! An interview disc or something like
that!" Back at home, I listened to the single and was amazed (but not
amused) by what I heard: nothing but various badly recorded speeches about
Amnesty International and the music industry in the year 86, with no word
about XTC! I couldn't make out the record label or any information leading
to the source of this oddity, so I still haven't stopped shaking my head
about that one...  The other one is a promotional 4-track 12-inch record
called Selections From Mummer. There is no artwork on the sleeve, just black
printing on white ground, the tracks are Great Fire, Love On A Farmboy's
Wages, Wonderland and Funk Pop A Roll, and the catalogue number is Geffen
PRO-A-2117. I'm not quite sure when Geffen took over XTC, but this could be
a rather early Geffen release.

That's all from me, but just one more thing: please stop the David Oh
bashing!  I don't want to spoil the joke, but don't you realise that he's in
fact not Prince, but Andy Partridge in disguise? It's quite obvious, the
name of one of Andy's earlier bands being The Helium Kidz! There are no
secrets in Star Park...

Best wishes,



Message-Id: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 22:16:07 +0000
From: Simon Sleightholm <>
Subject: Steve's visit with Andy

Hello there, eertshwile Chalky Steve Clarke is currently without an email
account but he sent me this report of his visit with Andy last year and
asked that I pass it on to the list on his behalf.

Hope you enjoy it,



Dear Chalkfolks

Firstly, My apologies for the delay of this report of my meeting with Andy
Partridge - It is some three months after the event and I have only just
got around to sending it.  In my defence I have started a new job and
leisure email/internet access has been difficult. Anyway here it is:

In October of last year, I got a mail from the esteemed Simon Sleightholm
asking If I would mind driving over to the residence of a certain Mr A.
Partridge to pick up a guitar amplifier that he had recently been bestowed
as a gift (see chalkhills passim).  Pausing for about .000001 of a
nanosecond to consider the offer, I then replied with an enthusiastic yes.
Having accepted the mission and equipped with the necessary phone number
and address, I nervously dialled the number the following morning.  "You
just caught me eating breakfast" were the first words spoken to me by Mr
Partridge, " You can drop by about midday if you like".  So it was that I
found myself scarcely half an hour later on the M4 heading toward Swindon.
The heavens opened and torrential rain lashed down - It was as if the
elements were conspiring to keep me away, but I drove on regardless.  After
initially getting lost in Swindon, I pulled up outside of Andy's humble
abode.  After taking a deep breath, I ambled as casually as I could manage
up to the front door.  My wife Kathy waited in the car - we were expecting
only to exchange pleasantries, pick up the amp and depart as Simon had told
me Andy would probably be to busy to 'entertain' us.  The door opened and
to my surprise, we were invited in for a cup of coffee.  I beckoned Kathy
in and five minutes later we were drinking and chatting pleasantly.  I
noticed some opened mail on one of the kitchen units - there was a CD and
letter from Mark Strijbos.  I mentioned to Andy that I had met him at the
Basingstoke fan convention.  Andy asked me about the convention - I told
him that Martin Newell had performed some songs and poems and that myself
and Mike Foster who organised the event had played some XTC songs.  He
seemed interested and asked which songs I had played - I told him
'Collideascope' and 'Chalkhills & Children' - I told him 'Chalkhills' was
my all-time favourite song and had always wanted to play it live.  He
smiled and seemed genuinely pleased at my unsubtle flattery.  I didn't want
to be pushy and ask about the new album as I had heard there had been some
delays and thought it might be a sensitive subject, but he volunteered the
information unprompted, telling me that things were going well.  After
coffee, we were invited to the shed to listen to the new tracks - it was at
this point, I was sure I was going to awaken from the dream.  We all
perched on stools in Andy's studio and talked about some of the equipment
he had.  I asked him about the Atari ST - he said there was something wrong
with the monitor - the picture on the screen was shrinking to a tiny square
in the middle.  Andy put a CD in the player and the first few notes of
'River of orchids' drifted from the speakers. Unfortunately that was all I
heard of that track as he pressed skip and next up was 'I'd like that'.  I
think Andy was pleased with this one as he let me hear the whole song - it
was very similar to the demo, but with some 'chorus/flange' treatment on
the backing vocals and a sound effect just after the 'sunflower' line that
I was told was Colin's Bicycle being pedalled.  A lot of the other songs
were played to me as short snatches before the skip button was jabbed again
and onto the next track.  I do remember 'Frivolous Tonight' sounding quite
wonderful and 'Fruit Nut' reminding me of Georgie Fame - "Yes Georgie Fame
/ Anthony Newley" agreed Andy.  Probably the track most improved from the
demos was 'I can't own her" which has a wonderful 'we can't get George
Martin, but Mike Batt will do just as good a job' string arrangement. There
aren't words to describe the majesty of 'Easter Theatre'. Those of you that
have heard the demo will probably worry as I did that it would have to be
an amazing recording to do it justice - don't worry - it is and it does.
'The Green Man' and 'Harvest Festival' both sound impressively folky and
pagan - a bit like 'sacrificial bonfire' with a better string sound. We
carried on talking - I was asking questions like how he got a particular
keyboard sound and he would tell me stories about sampling flutes and
recorders though distortion pedals.  I asked him what it was like recording
with a full orchestra - he told me it was overwhelming, like standing next
to a jumbo jet.  Before I could blink it seemed, I was listening to the
sublime brass parts on the fade out of 'The Last Balloon' and the album
preview was over.  I told Andy I thought the album sounded amazing and that
myself and some of my fellow Chalkhills people would probably want to
organise para-military take-overs of entire radio stations if that was what
it took to get the damn thing played.  My overall impression - Andy
Partridge is a sincere, witty, down to earth guy who is very generous and
unsuperstarlike - he offered to give me a copy of 'Song Stories' - I
politely declined as I already had two (a long story). Just before we left,
I took a picture of Andy with the Amp (these are available to view on
Simon's excellent Bungalow page).  Then Kathy, bless her, asked Andy if
he'd mind having his picture taken with me. (The picture now has pride of
place in my home studio).

So to summarise - The Songs do sound much better than the demos. Nick Davis
has done a first rate job with the mixing - All the instruments are
recorded in crisp digital perfection.  I don't remember hearing any synth
sounds and the vocal and orchestra sounds are pristine. I truly believe
this is going to the best ever XTC album.  Now that I have played
'Chalkhills' live and met Andy Partridge all I have to do is get
gang-banged by the Nolan sisters and *all* my lifetime ambitions will have
been achieved :-)

Sorry for the length of the post - I've remembered as much of it as I can.
A big thanks to Simon Sleightholm for giving me the opportunity of meeting
the man. The amp sounds great by the way, My father-in-law repaired it for
me, matching up the faulty transformer with one of the same vintage.  I'm
sure it will have a loving home up there in Newcastle.

Bye for now


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


Message-Id: <>
Subject: Vinylmania.
Date: Mon, 18 Jan 99 00:47:59 +0200
From: Per Aronsson <>

I agree with Jon. CD:s is better in the car then LP:s.

I also read Duncans views about digital vs. analog, and I have heard the
arguments before.
But it does not change what I hear when I listen to music.

Measurments may say that digital is perfect. Even though I cant explain
what is wrong, I hear that something is missing. Can it be the feeling?

I haven't had my CD-player connected to my stereo for several months. But
I have put the plugs in today and are now only waiting for Apple Venus.
Even a vinylfreak has to surrender when it comes to the worlds best

Per Aronsson.


Message-Id: <>
From: "Molle Kanmert" <>
Subject: Oranges and lemons -- a thank you note
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 23:24:11 +0100

Hi everyone,

It's been a while since I put my Q out -- sorry about that, I've been away
-- but now, I'd like to thank those of you who were kind enough to send me
some A's. It seems the crucial part of the nursery rhyme is this:

>      Here comes a candle to light you to bed,
>      Here comes a chopper to chop off your head

I was neither familiar with those lines, nor with the game to be played
along with the song, but I can see that this must be what "my" author had
in mind. Thanks, all you knowledgeable and helpful people! You've been a
great help!



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 20:17:01 EST
Subject: M+M

>If you want to talk overlooked 80s, try Fingerprintz,
>the Fleshtones, Shriekback (that Barry Andrews guy),
>Martha & the Muffins, Hunters & Collectors.  Try
>finding 80s CDs by any of these artists.
>-Jeff L.-

  10-4 to that. Especially Martha & The Muffins, whose LPs I have all of
except for Mystery Walk, which I never got around to getting. I got to meet
them when my old college friend Brett Milano let me tag along on an interview
with them, though I only actually talked to the lead guitarist(who I think was
Michael Brook)and the drummer, who were both gone from the band after the
tour. This was on the Danseparc tour when Jocelyne Lanois was still in the
band and her brother Daniel had produced their last couple of albums.
  Yeah, a lot of great music came out of the 80's, when college radio was
still truly alternative, and there were tons of great little garage bands
gigging in their local area and in some cases getting some national notoriety.
A glance at my vinyl collection reveals, to mention a select few who were
screamingly important in their way, The Neighborhoods, The Dead Milkmen,
Pajama Slave Dancers, The Malarians(including our own Harrison Sherwood's
brother!), Jerry Jerry, Pinhead, The Nils, and many others. I remember
attending a show on The Neighborhoods' last tour in the fall of '90 and being
dumbfounded to find maybe 50 people in the room; the 'Hoods wer supporting
their strongest album ever(which was later rereleased with a few extra old
chestnuts from previous albums tacked on when they got a very brief major
contract with, I believe Warner Bros., but the album died a quick death on the
shelves), and nobody seemed to care. Last I heard their frontman David Minehan
was playing guitar for Paul Westerberg. Good that he's still working, I guess.
  A little XTC content: I've found XTC to be a really handy high scoring word
in Scrabble, especially in a multiple word score. It can be tricky finding a
way to use the X, Z, Q and K.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 20:16:52 EST
Subject: Kim, Steve, Lou and Neil

>Sonic Youth: A Thousand Leaves - The female singer in this band is horrible
>and tolerable for one, possibly two songs, at best but only as a novelty.
>The wounded-dog female vocals waste many wonderful tracks (hint: it's only
>okay to sing bad if you really CAN sing well ...not that it ever hindered
>Lou Reed or Neil Young).  This brings the 11 track CD down to 7 tracks and
>therefore not much of a bargain.  Moody, lush layering of distortion and
>drone that works in almost every instance and the songs are more tangible
>than some other distortion-orchestras like My Bloody Valentine.  If the
>lame vocals are not intentional, shoot her and put her out of her (AND OUR)
>misery.  If it is intentional, the joke is old and tired.

  Hate to disappoint you, but the offender in question, Kim Gordon, is a
founding member of the band and has been intoning her awful vocalising for
over fifteen years. She's also married to guitarist Thurston Moore and is the
mother of their children, so unless Sonic Youth disbands entirely(I'd assumed
they had)we're stuck with her. Her "singing" is the one reason I never really
got into Sonic Youth, who I respect on a musical level otherwise, and their
contributions to the Neil Young and Carpenters tribute albums are among the
highlights. Kim does seem like an intelligent person and a quite decent bass
player, though, I just can't stand to hear her sing. She reminds me more of a
female Steve Van Zandt, a quite good songwriter who should not be allowed in
front of a microphone. As for Lou Reed and Neil Young, Lou's voice has gotten
worse with age(he can't seem to carry a tune anymore), while Neil's seems to
have improved. Go figure.


Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 20:17:28 EST
Subject: Re: Stadium Dogs

>Dom posted:
>>He mentioned that his dad used to play in a band with someone from XTC -
>>Stadium Dogs or something similar - and that he was pals with most of the
>Wasn't Barry's first post-XTC band called "Restaurant for Dogs" or
>somthing like that? I'm at work, so I don't have my old 7" singles from
>that era handy...
>William (Andy) Loring

  I believe he's referring to the Helium Kidz, Dave's legendary
mid-70's cheese-metal project. I seem to recall Harrison sending a
rather long treatise on them a while back.



Message-ID: <>
Date: Sun, 17 Jan 1999 20:17:13 EST
Subject: Pipe down, boys and girls!

  I've been reading with great amusement the bickering and sniping at each
other that's been going on on the last two digests. Frankly, I wouldn't blame
a new person on the list for saying "this is a waste of my time" and signing
off. Thing is, I've been on the list, it's been close to four years,
that's practically eons considering how recently the Internet has caught on in
a big way. When I first joined Netscape was still on the drawing board.(I was
on an edu. account back then)Now, kids, stop throwing those spitballs, and
take Susie's pigtail out of the inkwell, teacher's here! :-)Seriously, though,
I'm really grateful for this list, warts and all, and I haven't had time for
anything but off-the-cuff responses for a while now, but now I find a little
reflection is in order for the new year. I think many of us are bored and
restless because Apple Venus STILL isn't out, Transistor Blast helps, but it's
expensive and not everybody can afford it(or like me, some are more interested
in new material).
  I'm prepared to be tolerant and patient with people who have communcation
challenges(it's just great you're her, OK DavidOh? keep doing what you need to
do to communicate, and don't let anybody get to you); my wife has a very
severe speech impediment and she had to change the name of one our two brand
new kittens simply because she couldn't pronounce it without thinking real
hard and tripping over her tongue.(Our friends we got them from had already
named them, and we figured, hey, they're not going to answer to us no matter
what we call them)So I'm used to being patient and letting people communicate
however they want to or need to. Doesn't matter to me if it's by necessity or
not; if people want to be cute or clever, let 'em, it's a free country. You
never know who's on the other end of the computer. For all I know, Amanda's
really an erudite and educated male truck driver with a modem in his cab. Who
knows and who cares?(Aside to Amanda: I believe you've been on the list almost
as long as I have; I'm impressed by how much you've grown up, you still speak
your mind, but man, I remember what the firebrand you were back then. Just
goes to show some people do grow up rather than grow old. If I had a hat it
would be off to you. :-))
  Anyway, I know this the XTC list, but we are a collection of personalities.
I'd be bored with nothing but XTC news, it would be a short list with a digest
every month(maybe)if that were the case. If that's all you want, all the
information you need would fit on a website, in fact you can probably find it
on the Chalkhills site(which I haven't checked lately because I'm on a really
slow modem connection due to a problem I'm having with connecting via Mac OS
8.5's Remote Access; FreePPP doesn't recognise 14,400K as a modem speed, so
I'm stuck with 9600 until my new 56K modem I've ordered arrives). In a running
conversation such as this list, subjects will always come up that somebody
would rather not discuss, and pointless digressions will happen. When they
become REALLY pointless, John Relph steps in and puts an end to the
discussion. He doesn't do it very often, but he has done it, and he has the
right, it's his list, Dammit!
  A belated Happy New Year and enjoy this list in good health, anyone. Now,
back to your books, chilrun!



End of Chalkhills Digest #5-62

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