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Subject: Chalkhills Digest #5-66


          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 5, Number 66

                 Friday, 22 January 1999

Today's Topics:

                 What's New on Chalkhills
                     Re: XTC in 2000?
                        REM Vs XTC
               A self explanitory posting.
                Re: Missile Sent From Hell
                     This World Over
               Buying on the day of release
               "Surprisngly well written"?
              Let's Help Promote Apple Venus
                    blame the feather
                 People can be so touchy!
            re: CD reproduction - think again
                  TB is soooo worth it!
                          uh oh
                      Radio Pressure
                  Re: The Turd Polished
                    My Top 10 for '98

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    Chalkhills is compiled using Digest 3.6b (by John Relph <relph@sgi.com>).

Everybody walkie talkie / Everybody learning how.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Date: Fri, 22 Jan 1999 11:21:15 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <199901221921.LAA13665@mando.engr.sgi.com>
From: John Relph <relph@engr.sgi.com>
Subject: What's New on Chalkhills

What's New on Chalkhills this week:

 * Updated charts for "Jason and the Argonauts"
 * The "Sound & Vision" magazine review of "Apple Venus Vol. 1"
 * Royce Bardon's review of "Skylarking"
 * Matt Kaden's reviews of "Black Sea", "White Music", "Go 2", "Drums
   & Wires", "English Settlement", "The Big Express", "Mummer", and
   "25 O'Clock".
 * "Salon" magazine review of "Transistor Blast"
 * CMJ Reviews of "Skylarking", "Nonsuch", and "Mummer"
 * The first part of the "Raygun" article on XTC, by Joe Silva
 * and more!

Surf now: http://reality.sgi.com/chalkhills/

I remain, your humble moderator and site-munger,

	-- John

------------------------------

Message-ID: <36A5B2A2.F125525B@SoftHome.net>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 21:40:35 +1100
From: MS <mseery@SoftHome.net>
Subject: Re: XTC in 2000?

I have been waiting patiently for Song Stories and Transistor Blast to be
released here in Australia. Do any Australian Chalkies have any idea what
the expected Australian release dates are for Song Stories, TB & AV1? The
book stores I have been to so far have offered to order it in for me but I
have been reluctant to do this as they have said it would take around 6
weeks (of course if I had done this in the first place I would have it by
now). I have seen a copy of Transistor Blast at a Sydney rip off import
store but decided not to get it.  Actually, $80.00 is quite reasonable for 4
CD's in Australia but it seems to good to be true that no one could do
better than them.

If someone can tell me whether or not there is going to be further delay in
the release of the above mentioned it would be a great help. If I found out
that I am more likely to see the Sydney 2000 Olympic Torch being carried
down my street before SS, TB & AV1 are released in Australia then I will
bite the bullet and order them online.

Thanks in advance.

MS

------------------------------

Message-Id: <s6a5ca75.089@parliament.uk>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 12:21:23 +0000
From: Dominic Lawson <LAWSOND@parliament.uk>
Subject: REM Vs XTC

OK, it's a slightly weird thing to be discussing but since you ask....

Yes, it's perfectly obvious to all but the most witless of individuals that
XTC urinate with some force onto the pointy craniums of REM (and, indeed,
the vast majority of "pop" orientated bands - whatever that means...). Only
a towering dunce would think otherwise....and yet!  I must confess to being
quite a fan of Stipe & his balding cohorts. Like many of us I (generally)
prefer "the early stuff" - oh how cool we all are! - with special
hallelujahs reserved for "Document" and "Life's Rich Pageant", but I fail to
see how anyone who enjoyed those early albums could remain totally unmoved
by either of their last two long-playing whatsits. "Up", in particular, is
an outstanding album, and arguably the band's best for many years. Granted,
when "Apple Venus" comes out I won't be spending a great deal of time
listening to REM (or anyone else for that matter - at least for a couple of
weeks) but there are numerous tunes on the latest REM platter which have
tugged long and hard on the Dom tune-o-meter, with warm but sticky
results. For the, ahem, record...."Hope", "At My Most Beautiful",
"Diminished" and the Spiritualized-like "Airportman" are the ones that
spring most readily to mind.  Sure, there are innumerable more interesting
things happening in music at the moment, and yes, REM are hardly breaking
new ground or interfering too heavily with their own formulas, but it's
still a great record. So there.

>>>Suggesting that we kill the singer from Ally McBeal.....does nothing to
lend creedence to your opinion

No, but it's a bloody good idea. What a racket that woman makes!  Oh, and is
that creedence as in Clearwater Revival or are you just crap at spelling?
Petty? Oh, alright then.

>>>other than an occasional mention of Lauryn Hill....

A fantastic record, let's face it. Even those of you who insist on regarding
HipHop as some vast conspiracy to annoy people with "taste" should invest in
this glorious 90s soul album IMMEDIATELY!!! Trust me, it's a beauty!

>>>...there's this underlying sense of fear of claiming to like anything
that has sold more than a few dozen copies...

Possibly, but in the words of Elton John, then again, no. In fact, I'd be
surprised if there was anyone on the list who doesn't own several
big-selling albums from the last few years. Sure, there will be those who
won't admit to it for fear of appearing uncool (and what a complex, tangled
and ultimately stupid concept that can be...) but generally speaking I would
have thought that XTC fans would be far from anti-mainstream (and that
includes me - if you only knew.....). We won't be buying any Boyzone records
(even Cat Stevens covers....gulp) - well, I hope not anyway - but the love
of a good tune would seem to point us towards "pop" and therefore often
commercial artists a lot of the time. Obviously, I say this with my Heavy
Metal licence cunningly concealed amidst my designed-for-rockin' cranial
mane, but you know what I mean. Also, it would seem a bit stupid to let
everyone know how good, for instance, the new Alanis Morisette album is
because (a) you can hardly escape mainstream pop music even if you exist in
a twilight world of de-tuned riffs and Satanic grunting (like wot I do) (b)
we'll get to hear most of it in time, whether we like it or not, and (c)
it's utter shit.  I know what you're saying though. To the casual observer
it might seem like we're all saying "1998 was a great year for music,
especially albums by Urgent Fork, Bearded Clam, Keith & The Occasional
Rapists, Spigg 920 Ostenstad and Snorkelling In Diarrhoea....oh, and
Transistor Blast was cool too!" but I don't think it has much to do with
snobbery. My list was packed full of Heavy Metal (or related) records and
although I doubt if anyone paid any attention ("Aw, bless him, he hasn't
grown out of it yet...") I was pleased that no one wrote in to tell me what
a clueless spanner I am. You never know, someone might just check out that
Bruce Dickinson album (er, yes...) or the wonderful Ganger as a result. As I
have no doubt said before, we all come to XTC from different angles and it
would be duller than a Ken Herbst post if we only discussed mainstream stuff
all the time. But then that wasn't what you were saying. Bugger.

Oh, and saying things like "anything that has sold more than a few dozen
copies" is rather tempting fate if you ask me......

Chiz,

Dom.

------------------------------

Message-ID: <000019AD@print-server.mutech.co.uk.mutech.co.uk>
Date: 20 Jan 1999 13:27:00 0000
From: "Robert  Wood" <Robert.Wood@mutech.co.uk>
Organization: Mutech
Subject: A self explanitory posting.

Those *wonderful* cooking vinyl people said in 5-63

>> the good news is that AV1 is a big release and we will do it on vinyl!  -
UK
release date Feb 23rd - more info from mailorder@cookingvinyl.demon.co.uk <<

Thank you.

Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank
you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.Thank you.

Er. That's great, really. <VBS>

------------------------------

Message-Id: <199901201341.IAA12340@hammurabi.nh.ultra.net>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 08:38:21 -0500
Subject: Re: Missile Sent From Hell
From: "Duncan Watt" <kanuba@nh.ultranet.com>

>From: "Bill Davups" <schtorposk@hotmail.com>
>
>"Papersnow" demo in MP3 form:
>
>http://www.geocities.com/SunsetStrip/Pavilion/9209
>
>Any questions about MP3 files can be answered at http://www.mp3.com
>
>Enjoy!

Let the firestorm begin...

We're living in a new world, hm?

Your pal Duncan Watt

------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990120134257.16175.qmail@hotmail.com>
From: "Amanda Owens" <daveizgod@hotmail.com>
Subject: This World Over
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 05:42:56 PST

And a dreary morning to all from cloudy New Orleans. (What a way to
prepare for Mardi Gras, with not an inch of blue in the sky!) Anyhoo,
onto the usual.....

Quick note to Chris Clee: Sorry medear, I take Dave's word as well as my
own ears on Transistor Blast's version of This World Over. I am a
nitpicker when it comes to my music and I can hear the subtlest of
nuances in different versions of music. I hear no such thing when
comparing TBE and TB versions. Besides which, if I'm not mistaken, Mitch
said that Andy doesn't hear any difference either. It's the same
version, with the exception of Andy's a capella singing at the
beginning.

Tis all for now,
Amanda C. Owens
"People will always be tempted to wipe their feet on anything with
welcome written on it."-Andy Partridge
XTC song of the day-Jump
non XTC song-Loved By the Sun-Jon Anderson

------------------------------

From: Huw Davies <DaviesHPT@cardiff.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:15:59 GMT0BST
Subject: Buying on the day of release
Message-ID: <5523EDD1076@PARKLA1S.CF.AC.UK>

A lot of people on this list have said that they will be ordering
Apple Venus 1 on-line or have already got preview copies, but does
anyone like me prefer the thrill of actually going down to the record
store on the official day of release and buying it then, knowing
that after the years of waiting it is finally here. It seems like
much more of an event that way. All I know is is that I will be down
at my local record store at 9am, when it opens, on Feb. 23rd
(assuming that this is the definite UK release date) to buy AV1. It's
much more fun than waiting for it to come through the post. I don't
think I have ever anticipated an album this much in my life. Let's
hope it lives up to expectations.

Huw Davies

------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990120054916.21534.qmail@hotmail.com>
From: "Duncan Kimball" <dunks58@hotmail.com>
Subject: "Surprisngly well written"?
Date: Tue, 19 Jan 1999 21:49:14 PST

Hi Chalklings! Here I go again ...

1. BULLY FOR JULES:

>I am interested in acquiring copies of Bull with the Golden guts and
>Jules Verne's Sketchbook.

Me too! I'd love to get a copy of these gems. BUT - can one of our
enterprising teknokats burn a decent copy onto CD for me? I don't mind
paying the appropriate price for it, because frankly I don't own a
cassette recorder, and my only cassette player just went west (many
thanks to my niece for totalling our car last week) - so how the hell
else can I hear it?

>Also, does anybody else agree that the Homo Safari series should be
>released by Cooking Vinyl as a complete set?

Yes.

2. LONESOME COWBOY MIKE

Alexandre <alexandre.ferraz@lead.bsnet.com.br> wrote enticingly of Mike
Keneally and XTC:

>>Not that I think there's any specific danger of my being asked to
>>join XTC (and if I were I would have some soul-searching to do,
>>seeing as how Dave is a dear friend), but if I were asked, and if I
>>decided to do it, I don't think anyone would have to worry about BFD
>>falling by the wayside, considering that XTC makes albums once every
>>five years and tours once every never.
>>
>>MK

I was only guessing when I mentioned that idea. How delightful to see
that Mr K. is indeed up for this (not exactly onerous) task. Given that
he gets on well with Andy and Colin (so I hear), *and* has a life
outside XTC, it would seem like a marriage made in heaven! Cos he sure
can play ... and I'm dying to see how XTC will make use his great Johnny
Cash impression, as immortalised on Zappa's "The Best Band You Never
Heard in Your Life" - which, by the way should go on the shopping list
right now for any Chalkies who don't yet own it. (By Ozzy, what a tour
that must have been!)

>Most of the Keneally fans thought that by joining XTC, Mike would
>end his solo career.

Umm...why? As he said, they rarely record, and never tour. Is Andy
proposing to lock Mike in the shed between albums?

>I personally think that Mike would fit perfectly in the band. Does
anybody have different opinions on this subject ?

You betcha! He'd be the most nifty, tough and bitchen replacement for
Dave that I can think of. Let's hope it comes about!

3. YOUR DICTIONARY

Robert wrote:

>I've come across this something "blows" thing a few times recently,
>not least on Friends. From context I guess it means that something
>sucks? Where did this bizarre turnaround come from?

Dunno know Robert - I'd also like to know the origins of both terms. I
think it's related in meaning to the term "bites" (as in the phrase
"Mariah Carey BITES").

>I live in Manchester and there's a big black community that lives in
>an area called Mosside.. [snip].. They used to use the word "bad" to
>mean something was really good.

"Bad" would go way back I think - at least to the forties or fifties I
think - perhaps one of those old jazz slang-words.

>And yes, they used to buy these huge, nob off bass drivers to stick >in
their wardrobes to get some outrageous bass sounds!

What a cool idea! Never heard of that before!

4. REM (Really Extremely Mundane)

Why do I suspect this is becoming the new "Phil Collins" thread? Hell,
it makes me laugh ...

First I'd like to address James' rhetorical question, wondering:

>why XTC are better than REM:

Well, a few reasons spring to mind

  1. XTC have a sense of humour

  2. You can understand what Andy and Colin are singing, AND you can
usually get at least some idea of what the songs are about

  3. Andy and Colin both write real, direct and personal songs about
genuine feelings, experiences and issues - not waffly,
unintelligible wilfully obscure meanderings of such yawn-inducing
ordinariness that they wouldn't pass muster as an XTC demo (IMHO of
course)

  3. Michael Stipe couldn't write a lyric half as beautiful as "No
Language In Our Lungs " even if his life depended on it

  4. REM get paid millions to be rather boring and are accordded
totally undeserved mega-star status, while XTC are paid a pittance    to
be totally brilliant and are ignored by almost the entire world

  5. Andy would NEVER wear such awful eye makeup, and looks much
better with a bit of lippy on

>What REM lack that XTC have is the ability to surprise and go off at
>an unexpected tangent in a song, a musical kind of lateral thinking.

Precisely!! And not just within songs, but between songs too. I vivdly
remember the first time I heard "Runaways", in a Sydney record store I
was known to frequent, and being first deeply intruiged by the amazing
sounds, and then totally knocked out to discover it was XTC. I just
can't imagine REM being able to pull off that kind of effect - they
nothing if not predictable - they have developed their corporate style,
it always sounds like them, and, unlike XTC, you are *never* likely to
hear an REM song and not realise it's them.

>To wit: quirkiness.

Oh James, it was all going so well ... and then you had to go and spoil
it all by using the "Q" word ... *sigh*

>The masterstroke however is that wonderful horn melody (which always
>reminds me of the theme tune to "Are You Being Served" for
>those reading in Blighty) which comes in in the second verse and >which
totally transforms the song.

Phew - you redeemed yourself. What a bloody brilliant observation,
James! I wonder if Andy actually had that in mind? That's what I love
about this list - people pick up on things you would NEVER think of
yourself. It's like having extra lobes in your brain!

Then, coincidentally, Bryce weighed in with the following propostitions:

>I should probably know to leave well enough alone (especially as this
>is my first posting) but here's my thimble of gasoline:

Thimble? Egads, more like a supertanker, mate! You don't believe in
starting off gradually, do you? hehe

>Is "Shiny Happy People" REALLY any dumber than "Sgt. Rock (Is Going >To
Help Me)"? Is "Stand" any more bubblegum than "Generals & Majors"?

Dumbness is a very underrated and misunderstood quality, Bryce. Let's
not forget that Spector was always asking his collaborators if a song
was "dumb enough" and that the working title of "Smile" was "Dumb
Angel". It's a common mistake to confuse simplicity with stupidity.

And anyway, no REM song has anything like the brilliance of instrumental
parts - especially Colin's bass lines - in any of the songs on "Black
Sea". I'm not trying to be bitchy - I just honestly think that Mike
Mills - and especially Peter Buck - are pretty ordinary musicians when
placed up against Andy and Colin.

>There's a fickle 'cooler-than-thou' atmosphere which permeates this
>list. Take the recent 1998 Top 10 lists--other than an occasional
>mention of Lauryn Hill, no-one seemed to include anything that basked
>on a Billboard Sales Chart for any significant amount of  time.
>Don't get me wrong--I found the lists informative, and the
>recommendations of fellow XTC fans is more substantial to me than a
>random music magazine reviewer who listens to god-knows-what on his
>free time. And it's an opportunity to hear about artists who AREN'T
>sucking up all the press. But there's this underlying sense of fear >of
claiming to like anything that has sold more than a few dozen >copies,
or may have been--gasp, choke--purchased by a >fourteen-year-old
somewhere in the world.

Well perhaps you're right in some ways, but I think that

A) the postings reflect the genuinely broad and divergent musical tastes
of Chalkhills readers - not an attempt to be snobby. I've been really
surprised and impressed by the amazing range of stuff Chalkhillers are
into, and alhtough I think I know a fair bit about music, there are
always a few surprises here.

B) Chalkhillers listen to all that  Top 40 stuff to - it's just not
usually of any lasting value. That's the nature of most pop music -
disposable. A major difference, IMHO, is that in the "good old days",
pop used to be played by people like Spector's "Wrecking Crew" who were
all veteran jazzers and stunningly accomplished players. Nowadays any
cracked-out homey with a Casio sampler can have a stab (so to speak).
Sorry, but as I see it, no amount of ambition can substitute for
ability, discipline and experience.

What I expected was confirmed here - people who like XTC are generally
interested in many more kinds of different music, sometimes some VERY
obscure stuff - and not really interested in generic Top 40 chart
fodder.

Speaking for myself, it reflects my complete non-interest in the current
dance crazes, which I find derivative, repetetive and basically very
dull listening. I'm not against it per se - it's what Elvis Costello
termed -"Specific Purpose Music" and really belongs on the dance floor,
not the radio. And I really loathe the nauseating proliferation of
manufactured boy or girl vocal groups, (do you really think anyone is
going to remember Backstreet Boys in five years?), not to mention the
endless succesion of carbon-copy power ballads and scale-exercises from
Misses Dion, Carey, Houston, and co.

>The fact is that R.E.M., whether you love or hate their music, are >not
sell-outs.

I don't begrudge them their success, Bryce - just don't try to tell me
it's "art", or that they deserve it, when XTC have to practically beg to
get a contract with anyone.

>They didn't tour at the height of their popularity.

Poor darlings - how they must have suffered!

>They have complete creative control over their work.

Sure - so does XTC. But they don't have an $80 million dollar contract
with Warners do they?

>They haven't had an obvious single since "Everybody Hurts".

Thank Ozzy for small mercies, I say. You go on to allude (very) briefly
to the fact that every record since "Automatic" has sold progressively
less. Why? Because even the silly old public are starting to realise
that emperor has no clothes.

>A few have cited or implied that from the "Green" album >forward--read:
the Warner Brothers era--is when the band really took >its tumble.

Being hugely successful wasn't the problem - I and many others who liked
the band's earlier work lost interest then because (I contend) that
signing with Warners signalled a conscious move by the band to "dumb
down", write short, catchy, radio-friendly songs and start appearing in
their own videos like real pop stars do so, that Warner could sell them
on MTV - and that at the root, their new material was really pretty
ordinary by comparison.

I am well aware of the phenomenon where fans decide that a band has
become too successful, and is therefore no longer cool. I saw it in the
friend who introduced me to U2, and then dropped them after the "Red
Rocks" thing because they weren't "underground" enough for him anymore.
I hope I don't think like that; I dearly, dearly wish that XTC had the
commercial success they deserve. But it ain't gonna happen. The fact is
that signings like REM are far less about talent and musical worth, than
they are about the accountants' projections of future sales.

Look at Zappa's career. While he was with the majors he was censored,
misrepresented, ignored and screwed six ways to Sunday. Once he got
total control of his catalogue, he never looked back, although it cost
him millions and took years to do it. He sold record-breaking numbers of
copies of his "Guitar" albums by mail-order, when the record companies
wouldn't touch it and laughed at the idea. He had to fight Warners
tooth-and-nail, for ovmore than a decade, over their totally unjustified
refusal to issue the "Lather" albums, and even blocked him from
releasing through another label, even though they wouldn't release it
themselves. Now they all turn pious and say what a genius he was.
Hypocrites.

>Does the introduction of major label dollars have a lot to do with >the
ability to promote a band? Of course. Is it much of a coincedence >that
this is when R.E.M. jumped into the stratosphere? Of course not. >Is it
a coincedence that the cooler-than-thou crowd dismisses R.E.M. >at this
same juncture? I really don't think so. The fact is that >Warner Bros.
(as did countless labels; it was a massive bidding war) >saw the talent
of the band, gave them almost unprecedented freedom >and a whopping pile
of cash. Anyone--ANYONE--who was offered millions >of dollars to do
anything they felt like doing would take it. And if >they felt any
pressure to deliver multi-platinum albums, it sure >didn't come through
on "Monster". I didn't like that album much >either, but it clearly
demonstrates that they are artists following >their muse wherever it
takes them. (Personally, I think they were >uncomfortable with the size
of their fanbase, and "Monster" was a >conscious attempt to shrink it.)

You're being very selective here Bryce - can you imagine REM ever trying
something as extreme as, let's say, Lou Reed's notorious "Metal Machine
Music" episode? Let alone the idea of Warners actually relasing it!
There is a hell of a gulf between comparing "Automatic" to "Monster",
and comparing "Sally Can't Dance" to "Metal Machine Music".

And you can also claim that "Monster" was the work of a band running out
of ideas, as many critics did at the time.

And why do you think these bands get signed, anyway? Because they have
real talent? Because of their poetic soulfulness. Nope. Because, in
general, they are marketable and because A&R people think they are cool,
or observe that they are linked to some kind of sub-culture with
"street-cred" and that they will sell a shitload and will make money for
the company. That's why.

>I believe an interested observer can always tell the difference
>between people who make music out of passion and those who do it to
>become pop/rock stars. That some in the former group actually manage
>to achieve superstar status is no reason to summarily dismiss their
>work. To do so is (hand trembling as he completes the sentence)
>snobbery.

Well Bryce I don't think anyone would question Andy's artistry but I'm
sure he'd be the first to admit that he was, way back then, just as
interested in being a successful rock star as anyone else.

>And if Warner Brothers isn't happy with the band's sales drops in
>recent years, they ain't >telling--they recently resigned the band to
>another multi-album deal.

Well, egg on face is never a very nice look. And excuse me, but when did
Warners merge with the Royal Benevolent Society? If it's *not* about
sales, could you perhaps explain why Warners dropped Van Morrison, and
Joni Mitchell, and Neil Young, and Randy Newman, and Ry Cooder? If it's
not about what sells and abobut promoting it by means of what is
perceived as 'cool' or 'hip' or 'trendy' - then what is it about?

>It's obvious that XTC fans aren't followers of the latest flavor,
>since XTC has never really BEEN the latest flavor.

Wrong. They were the latest flavour once, for a very little while, and
could very easily have been big after "English Settlement" - if Andy had
kept touring, if they were on a label who knew how to handle them, and
hadn't had a crook for a manager.

>Most of the postings I've read have been written with intelligence >and
wit and articulation.

I bet you say that to all the boys ...

>The intrinsic flaw in many intelligent, witty people (myself >sometimes
included) is that it can turn dismissive, snobbish and >bullying in a
heartbeat.

And this is a problem because ... ? Christ, isn't this a DISCUSSION
forum? If I want to read tepid uncritical drivel, I'll buy the daily
paper.

>And when you wield your opinion as a weapon to beat back the folks >you
perceive as idiots, you force them to use their own opinions as a >sort
of sheild.

Oh no! We'll have to ...gasp ... think?! And even ....  *cringe* ...
*flinch* ...construct a logical argument???!!  and ...
*tremble*...engage in intelligent debate. ...Oh my god! My brain hurts
... please ...make it stop ..

>That's when the berating starts. There was a line from an episode of
>the TV show Frasier that has stuck in my head (the Niles character
>said it, and claimed he wasn't quoting anybody, so I don't if the
>writers actually coined this gem on their own): "Popularity is the
>hallmark of mediocrity." There's a lot of truth in that, but I'd like
>to propose that there is a flip side, too: "Popularity is the
>touchstone of snobbery."

Bollocks - popularity - in the charts - is and always was the hallmark
of how many programme managers got grafted/laid/drugged to put a
particular record onto the playlist, and/or who has the most
huge-breasted babes in their video.

>Having read Song Stories, Andy admits to having written some songs in
>an attempt to score a hit single. Is that any less of a sell-out, >just
because he wasn't very successful with it? I recall a >"Nonsuch"-era
quote from him, where he said (paraphrasing): "I don't >listen to anyone
else. Only the work of one other modern songwriter >interests me, and
luckily for me, he's in my band." An unbelievably >snobbish quote, to be
sure.

Are you dissing Colin? Look out pal! And what's the alternative? Coolio
shamelessly plundering Stevie Wonder to create some sort of sham-hit for
people too young or too dumb to have heard the original? Erk.

>But wait--here comes Song Stories, and he comes clean on a laundry
>list of influences, including a horde of stuff that no-one with any
>degree of cool would ever admit listening to. Or, worse, LIKING.

Ooooooh! NOW look who's being a snob?

>Okay, so I didn't join this mailing list to audition for the roles of
>Solomon, Confucius, or Mom. But I do believe a debate can take place
>on this list with a little more respect to opposing viewpoints.

awww ... where's the fun in that?

Suggesting that we should kill the singer from Ally McBeal, or that
we're better off now that Sinatra is dead, or that R.E.M. should stop
recording because YOU don't care for them--even in jest--does nothing to
lend creedence to your opinion, it just shows a lack of ability to
support your opinion.

No no - it just shows that:

A) I'm an opinionated prick, and

B) I have incredibly good taste

C) thos are all keen ideas!

>And it makes you come off (to me, at least--I won't presume to speak
>for anyone else) like a petty snob.  Remember, just because you have
>the RIGHT to say pretty much anything you want doesn't necessarily
>mean you SHOULD indulge yourself.

I suppose I shouldn't vote either? Babe, I'm gonna have to be PLENTY
quiet when I'm dead, Until then, I'll keep talking. But all quibbles
aside - welcome to the list.

Penultimately, Peter Fitzpatrick <peterfit@MICROSOFT.com>
complained that:

>it's been difficult to get Andy on the 'phone for a while now and my

Yeah - and Madonna won't return my calls either.

Finally, Sebastien Maury <MAURY.SEBASTIEN@a2.abc.net.au> wondered:

>how we can get AV to be feature album for a week on JJJ?

First I though ...nah, it'd never happen.

Then I thought - hey! wait! "Your Dictionary" has a four letter word -
it'll be a shoe-in for JJJ. They'll play anything with the word F*** in
it.

Then I remembered ... the word F*** is spelled out, which means it's
about three letters too long for Michael Tunn to understand. Damn!

Yours endlessly
Dunks

------------------------------

Message-ID: <B9B4268C8F87D11195DC0000F840FABE08387347@DUB-MSG-02>
From: Peter Fitzpatrick <peterfit@MICROSOFT.com>
Subject: Let's Help Promote Apple Venus
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 12:00:17 -0000

Take 5 minutes of your time and help promote the band and the album :

Ok, the time has come : the advance promos are out there so . . . .

Here are the locations for contacting RADIO in the UK
(of course it can do absolutely no harm for anyone , anywhere in the world
to email requests.....one can always pretend to be from Liverpool,
Manchester, London, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Swindon....)

Local Independent Radio Stations: go to
http://www.thebiz.co.uk/marbroind.htm
this has all UK Independent radio stations.

BBC Radio http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/mailroom/mailroom.html
Here you can choose a DJ and email them. This also has the phone & fax
details.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio2/talk/talk.shtml
Again all the email addresses for the BBC Radio 2 DJs.

Virgin Radio,(Hey ! Why not ?)
Studio Fax: 0645 30 1197
National Studio: 0500 30 1215
London Studio: 0500 30 1058=20
New Listener Hotline: 0845 600 1215
Studio E-mail: studio@virginradio.com

I have no idea if Cooking Vinyl are promoting a particular track for radio -
maybe they can let us know if there's a 'radio' track we should request.

Be nice in your mails, be polite, don't be over the top, don't lie too much
- just enough to get APPLE VENUS played.

Peter Fitzpatrick
Multimedia Production Manager
Microsoft European Product Development Centre, Dublin.

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 11:21:36 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <v03007805b2cb69b4ff73@[209.86.131.205]>
From: Mitch Friedman <mitchf@mindspring.com>
Subject: blame the feather

Hi All,

Just to add to what Peter Fitzpatrick contributed in the last issue, I
spoke with
Andy today and he and Colin will be out and about, doing their promo tour
for almost 3 months!

I've been informed that the packaging for Volume 1 will be nothing
spectacular.  It's supposedly a really close up color photograph of the
detail in a particularly impressive peacock feather.

In the spare nanoseconds that Andy is not on the phone being interviewed,
he has been running out to the Shed and digitally copying all his and Colin's
4 track portastudio demo master tapes, cleaning them up a bit in the process.
This is in preparation for the impending box set of many, many demos
called "Fuzzy Warbles" which is definitely happening. Nothing Virgin ever
had their hands on will be included unfortunatly (for instance "Let's Make
a Den", "Find the Fox", etc.) but Andy did say that one of the few master
tapes Colin did find was his original demo using the same music to "Find
the Fox" but with lyrics that initially made the song about Halley's Comet!
This will be one of the warbles your fuzzy ears will hear.

Structural work is nearly complete on Idea Studios and musical work on the
next album will started/continued in April.

Mitch
be

------------------------------

Message-ID: <19990120154008.26675.rocketmail@web4.rocketmail.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 07:40:08 -0800 (PST)
From: nross <phoenixyellowrose@rocketmail.com>
Subject: People can be so touchy!

Chalkhills people!

People can be so damned touchy!
Why is everyone suddenly on a peace train, just when I'm
starting to be mean and angry?
ITS NOT FAIR! This sudden change in attitudes is perplexing.
Since I've subscribed to this list, I've noticed a slight angst
in the attitudes of posters. Why work to change it? I kind
of enjoy a testy mood now and then, or a jab here or there...
It can be directed towards me... give me your best damned shot!

 I miss the spice in discussions. I miss the off-hand
remarks... I DON'T ENTIRELY WANT PEACE IF IT MEANS THAT PERSONALITIES
ARE THROWN AWAY. I like balance. I'll take the good with the bad as
long as it is all very interesting.

Tone the rudeness down, but not your heart or fire!

ON DAVID-OH:

Okay, so maybe some think his postings are annoying, some think they
are precious, some think they are clever. I am so serious here...
I really don't mean to be rude: His postings hurt my brain! They
physically hurt to read. I don't know why... perhaps its too unfamilar
or too much stimuli... but I can't read them.  I find it sad that I
physically cannot read David-Oh's postings. I have a feeling
they are rather interesting and fun. I'm sure he's got a lot to
say. I'm very sure I'd enjoy reading the postings if I could. Alas! I
must scroll down when I see his messages. I end up missing things I
don't think I really want to miss. I just thought I'd offer up my
dilema. I'll gratefully accept interpretations of his postings!

ON SPOUSES NOT LIKING XTC:

My husband hates them. My husband calls them crap. My husband won't
let me play the damned CD's in the car.
I know I cannot change his opinion... he likes the Backstreet Boys.

Well! good day and happy hunting!

------------------------------

Message-ID: <818E6AFC174AD111991300805F1950B5B7607B@mail.novainfo.com>
From: "Roberts, Peter" <Peter.Roberts@novainfo.com>
Subject: re: CD reproduction - think again
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:19:18 -0500

...from #5-64:
This is only true using little rectangles to reproduce the sound,
which is impossible with analogue electronics.  It is theoretically
possible to reproduce analogue signals ABSOLUTELY VERBATIM.
(I think that absolutely is redundant there, but hey.)  Sine waves
are used to reproduce the sound instead, they are very smooth and
nice and analogue.  Next theory please.

Wrong! Ever heard of square waves? Many analog instruments are perfectly
capable of doing so, just ask Jimi Hendrix...or Neil Young (think 'Hey, Hey,
My, My')...or maybe even Lester Bowie (to get a non-guitarist in there)

Phil explained it correctly, according to all the stuff I remember from my
EE classes in school (which is not as much as it used to be). As close as
the sampled sound may be, it will not be a completely true representation
unless the sampling interval is zero, which is impossible. Lots of people
swear they can tell the difference.

pete

------------------------------

Message-Id: <s6a5e49a.060@dineout.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 13:06:07 -0500
From: "Jason Hauser" <JHAUSER@dineout.org>
Subject: TB is soooo worth it!

Oy Chalkhitites-
Don't know about you but I think the digest has been terrific recently.
Contentious, informative, quaint, belligerant, bizarre.  Keep it up!

I finally got Transistor Blast for my birthday. "Hi, Mom?  I'm 28, and I
want a boxed set and a soccer ball.  Time for my nap!"
Oh man, it is so cool!  Both live CD's are worth the (free) price, as I've
never heard them live.  Just awesome.  As for the radio recorded material,
great stuff, some I hadn't heard before.  Doesn't "The Rhythm" just wrap The
Cars career up in a nutshell?  "Meccanic Dancing"?  Are you kidding?  This
song is killer!  "One of the Millions", beautiful song.  "Real by Reel",
awesome, you Canadians will know, The Odds come to mind.

Whew!  I just can't get enough of that sweet stuff,
Andy and Colin left behind.
doo doo doo doo doo ooh doo doo...

------------------------------

From: Matt_Kaden/CAM/Lotus@lotus.com
Message-ID: <852566FF.006C0285.00@mta2.lotus.com>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:31:07 -0500
Subject: uh oh

"...........................................................................
............................................................................
............................................................................
..................................................great

2 c humour 4 a change!
the human still known as davidoh"

     I'm so glad I'm me.

------------------------------

Message-ID: <71118473695DD211967A0060B06805D46588A2@MSGBOS629NTS.fmr.com>
From: "Sawyer, Keith" <Keith.Sawyer@fmr.com>
Subject: Radio Pressure
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 14:43:07 -0500

Neal Buck asked about the 'correct' way to let your local radio station know
that they should be playing Apple Venus.  The answer depends on what type of
station you're calling ... college or commercial.

Since I'm involved in college radio I can suggest a few ways to get AV
played there.  The album is being serviced by McGathy to college, so your
local station will likely get it.  Depending of the effectiveness of the
music director it should be available for play around the release date.  The
best way to get a cut heard on the radio is to pick your dj carefully -
phone the station while they're playing pop/rock music.  Nothing irks a dj
more than a Morrissey request during a punk show.  Also, convey some
enthusiasm for the release - IMO sincerity goes a long way towards getting
your request spun.  Try not to call the same dj more than twice ... multiple
requests for the same thing (even from different people) may be tagged as an
effort to manipulate, and the opposite result will likely occur.  There's no
need to push a certain song, college dj's usually have the freedom to choose
whatever track they like.  The goal is to get the dj to listen to the cd and
(hopefully) enjoy it, which will result in more spins.

Commercial radio is a completely different dirigible.  I'm not sure TVT will
even be servicing commercial stations beyond Gavin reporters, so your local
station may not receive it.  Dj's at commercial stations rarely have the
ability to program their own show, so pleading will be useless.  The person
you need to convince is the music director, or the employee who decides
which songs are available to be played.  Since most of us don't have any
personal influence over the MD of a commercial station, more callous methods
will have to be substituted.  These stations usually track phone calls and
e-mail requests to create an audience response report, and you want XTC to
appear on this report.  Which means calling.  Many times.  Interspersed
throughout the day, of course.  If they have a request page on the web use
that also.  Hopefully the MD will notice XTC and comply with your demands by
putting a song into rotation.  This is where the fact that a single is not
being released is a strike against the release ... music directors rarely
display any creativity in picking the song to add.  I hope TVT will be
pushing a focus track to help mitigate this negative.

Good luck everyone,
keith @ wmbr

------------------------------

Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 11:51:08 -0800 (PST)
From: relph (John Relph)
Message-Id: <9901201151.ZM60638@mando.engr.sgi.com>
Subject: Re: The Turd Polished

"Robert Wood" <Robert.Wood@mutech.co.uk> wrote:
>
>So unless the "normal" CD has
>lots of damage and the error correction circuitry of the CD is working
>overtime, what the CD reads from the gold disk is going to be exactly the
>same as the normal CD. i.e. lots of numbers that are turned into voltages.
>Whether the CD is made of gold, platinum or Cadbury's Dairy Milk, the
>numbers that are read will always be the same.

Ah, here's the flaw in your argument.  In the case of the Skylarking
Geffen CD vs. the Skylarking MFSL Gold CD, the bits are DIFFERENT!
Yes, MFSL went back to the original mix tape and remastered it using
their own half-speed playback technique and noise reduction system.
So the bits on the Gold CD are actually cleaner and sound better than
the bits on the Geffen CD.

However, if you stuck those bits from the Gold CD onto a regular
aluminium CD then your argument would hold.

>You are a victim of the marketing man. (Actually *anyone* who buys a CD is a
>victim of the marketing man, but you're a double victim.) Ask for your money
>back!

I compared the original Virgin CD and the Gold MFSL CD and the MFSL CD
sounds measurably better.  The bass is cleaner and clearer, the
separation is better.  Unfortunately, the MFSL CD has "Dear God"
instead of "Mermaid Smiled", so it will always be second best, but
really, the sound is much improved on the Gold MFSL CD.  Try comparing
in headphones.

	-- John

------------------------------

Message-Id: <3.0.5.32.19990120152750.0099ca00@smtpgw.ametsoc.org>
Date: Wed, 20 Jan 1999 15:27:50 -0500
From: David Gershman <dgershmn@ametsoc.org>
Subject: My Top 10 for '98

Hi Chalk-listics,

 I've been wanting to share my top 10 CDs of '98, but decided to wait for
the end of the year in case I got any new CDs at the last minute that made
it in under the wire. As it turned out, there was one that jumped in there.
In some bizarre desire to undertake a hopeless task, I've even tried
putting them in order, but it would probably change depending on the day,
moon phase, and weather. In any case, here's my list, in descending order:

1.  Liz Phair: "Whitechocolatespaceegg" -- Liz returns with more great
songs, easily matching the vastly underrated "Whip-Smart." (Favorite song:
"Uncle Alvarez")

2.  P J Harvey: "Is This Desire?" -- Polly Jean is one of the most
distinctive voices around (not to mention that she's riveting in concert),
and this album is no let-down. (Favorite songs: "Angelene," "No Girl So
Sweet")

3.  Grant Lee Buffalo: "Jubilee" -- Possibly their best album yet,
recharged and revitalized. (Favorite songs: "Change Your Tune," "Testimony")

4.  Hole: "Celebrity Skin" -- I would have liked it a little less polished,
closer in sound to the already classic "Live Through This," but play it
loud: she's a brat and she's proud. (Favorite songs: "Use Once & Destroy,"
"Celebrity Skin," "Northern Star")

5.  Elliot Smith: "XO": This album is even better than I'd hoped it would
be -- he's the Simon & Garfunkel of the '90s (and that's meant as a
compliment). (Favorite song: Hard to choose, but "Question Mark" is up there)

6.  Beck: "Mutations": Not the album I expected, but I'd be surprised if
anyone knows what to expect from Beck. It's great to hear him writing more
original melodies, rather than relying on samples again (although I think
"Mellow Gold" and "Odelay" are full of great music). Is there anyone
currently on the music scene with a better sense of musical humor than
Beck? (Favorite song: "Lazy Flies")

7.  Sloan: "Navy Blues" -- Excellent follow-up to "One Chord to Another,"
leaning heavily on the '70s (Cheap Trick, Thin Lizzy, et al.). You can just
hear that these guys are having fun. (Favorite song: "On the Horizon")

8.  The Cardigans: "Gran Turismo" -- Another disc-full of tunefulness from
the First Band on the Moon, this time with more of an edge. (Favorite song:
Can't decide...they're all too damn catchy)

9.  R.E.M.: "Up" -- Can't really understand all the bashing they've taken
here recently, aside from the fact that Michael Stipe has been so willfully
weird for years, but for those who actually take the time to give this
album repeated listenings, this is a very rewarding disc. They're never
afraid to try something new (or something old -- see "At My Most
Beautiful," the best Beach Boys tribute song since XTC). (Favorite songs:
"Lotus," "Sad Professor")

10. Rufus Wainwright: "Rufus Wainwright" -- An original new talent...what a
concept! Tin Pan Alley, cabaret, piano pop, Rufus doesn't quite sound like
anyone else. (Favorite song: "April Fools")

Best box sets: "The John Lennon Anthology" and "Transistor Blast" (no big
surprise there, huh?)

Honorable mentions, in no particular order: Billy Bragg and Wilco: "Mermaid
Ave."; Yazbek: "Tock"; Harvey Danger: "Where Have All the Merrymakers
Gone?"; Juliana Hatfield: "Bed"; Bob Mould: "The Last Dog and Pony Show";
The Loud Family: "Days for Days"

That's it . . . I'd certainly be glad to hear any comments you might have.
In any case, here's to the imminent release of "Apple Venus"! I'm crossing
my fingers for it to be released on Feb. 16, my birthday -- what better
gift could I ask for? :)

Dave Gershman

------------------------------

End of Chalkhills Digest #5-66
******************************

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