Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-123

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 123

                  Thursday, 18 May 2000


       RE: Starts vitriolic - gets better (I hope!)
                  How a song is written
                        The Nails
               "Stupidly Happy" Guitar Riff
         Wasp Star on Movers & Shakers
     Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
                  Re: song construction
               Where Did I Leave My Quays?
                 Tom Waits is my Shepherd
          Oh my, XTC is putting out a new album!
                        Re: Klaatu
                       I WON!!!!!!!
                        XTC @ UBL


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Lets us vote someone like that in.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:58:07 +0100
From: "Smith, David" <>
Subject: RE: Starts vitriolic - gets better (I hope!)
Message-ID: <802EE5D7277AD21188D10008C728D44803255ED8@TFSECMSG02>

Suddenly reappearing after weeks of catching up - blimey you guys type
a lot! A couple of recent postings had snippets which got the fingers
itching, so here goes:

In 6-120, Phil Corless said:

>Roman Holliday
>Big Bam Boo
>Big Daddy
>The Bluebells

>Anyone else remember these bands?

Err, yes, yes, no, no, yes and yes (in that order). Sorry, but Roman
Holliday, the JoBoxers and the Bluebells are three of my least
favourite bands of all tiime.
(Sorry Molly)

I'll now ruin this argument by saying that I can't even remember what
Roman Holliday did, but I can remember that they were a "manufactured"
bunch of pretty boys, given to wearing clothes straight from the top
deck of a 60' yacht.  One hit wonders I believe, and no coincidence.

The JoBoxers - same sh*t, different day. Let's dress these guys up as
hard men (apparently short trousers and flat caps does that!) and get
them punching the air like boxers, while singing about
. . . dancing. Hmmmm, watch me quake.

And, while I'm having a general slagfest, step forward the Bluebells. I

"Kath, wooaa woooaaa
It takes a lot to make me laff, woooaa wooaa
You led me up the garden path, woooaa wooaa
It takes a lot to make me laff, woooaa wooaa"

Thanks guys.

I could be wrong, but didn't the Bluebells spawn some of Fairground
Attraction - and maybe even Texas? Like I say, I could be wrong.

However . . . I did like Black - or Colin Vearncombe as is his real
name.  Still think "Wonderful Life" is a great, dark, epic of a
moment. Pity his follow-ups didn't receive critical acclaim.

My great long lost band award goes to China Crisis. Not quite as
obscure, I know.  Whilst not wishing to invent a "new category"
(gulp), I will say CC are the only band I can think of where I got one
album, tried the rest, but only ever liked the first one I bought. I'm
referring to "Flaunt The Imperfection", which, as well as hitting the
mid-80s feel right on the head, was produced by the great Walter
Becker. It showed - a great album. Shame about the rest.

In 6-121, Huw Davies wrote:

	For me, "Wrapped in Grey" would have to be the soundtrack for
	the run up to the 1997 General Election in Britain. Somehow
	the words "Don't let the loveless ones sell you a world
	wrapped in grey" were saying "Don't vote Conservative".

Errrrrrr, not to me they weren't! Step back from politics for second
Huw - to me Wrapped In Grey was about the need for free spirit to
triumph over mediocrity, the desparate struggle that most people in
life have to really let rip, for fear of rejection or disapproval by
the masses. Still, that's interpretation for ya.

Oh, and Tom Lehrer - absolute genius. The only two musical influences my Dad

introduced me to are him and The Beatles. Not bad, my Dad!

And finally, my computer's better than your computer. Nyaaah nyaaaah
nyaaaah.  Unless, of course, it isn't.

Ta ta


"I went and shot the maximum the game laws would allow . . ."


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 11:31:52 +0200
From: Johan Ekdahl <>
Subject: How a song is written
Message-ID: <>

Pancho wrote:
>I do wonder however, if Mr. Wilson, as well as many other
>great songwriters, sets out to construct a song with a
>clear idea of the chordal tensions in the song or
>whether the song simply 'comes out' and only through
>our later analysis can we understand the theoretical
>underpinnings of the song, or if you will the many
>layers. My guess is that most writers simply feel the
>song flow through them without that much of a cerebral
>component and only the musicologists get to work the
>details out later.

1. You are assuming that the whole song is "written at once", no? Methinks
many songs are written in parts, those parts stoved away for an hour or
ten years. Composers tend to collect melody-snippets that they think is
good but can't use for the moment.

2. Almost all composers have a toolbox. This toolbox has compartments
marked "chord-progression-schemes to use from verse to chorus" and "great
middle-eight-forms" and so on, it contains knowledge about chords that go
together and chords that don't, about corresponding major and minor keys,
which rythms-patterns sound "up" and wich sound "down", and... (Well, You
get the picture).

A good composer knows when it's time to go look in the toolbox. A not so
good composer does not know when its time, or has his toolbox in no order
with things in the wrong places and he cant find what he's looking for. A
person without such a toolbox is probably not a composer.

Now, I'm not saying that a person without "theoretical" schooling isn't a
composer. Rock/pop-music is full of composers having the most excellent

My guess is most songs starts out as an idea for a verse, or a chorus,
or...  The composer works on it, and in some cases the song would "flow
through" him. In most cases he would get his eight bars or so of verse,
and he's closing in on the chorus. Things go a little bit less smooth
now. So he goes to his toolbox, "now let's see, I have a verse in a major
key, in fast 4/4 tempo... Oh dear, there's a lot of stuff in this here
box. Better take a rest, and put the kettle on..." While making his
cup-o-tea he starts thinking of the chorus, and finds something in one of
the corners of his brain that he played with eight years ago. So he looks
in his toolbox again. Having the end of the verse and the beginning of the
chorus he finds the connecting bar of rythm and chord-progression. Bam!
It's there! He knows this will work. Now there's a lot of "griding" left
to do, but the general structure of the song is ready... Well maybe a
bridge or a middle-eight.

Alternative story: Composer drinks his tea without coming up with
anything, goes back to work, flirts and fights with the problem, more tea,
more work.  After a couple of hours he "gives up", BUT THE SNIPPET HE
USED YET. Some other time it will fit in just right with something that
will make up a complete song.

For a short but excellent example of this You need not go further than to
one Mr Partdridge. Have a listen to "How Easter Theatre came to be".

With pop-composers i would think that many of'em are self-taught and maybe
can't formalize what they know. That doesn't mean they dont know how to do
it. It just means that they aren't good at formalizing it.  With
"classical" composers it's another thing. They know their theory in and
out. All on how to use rythm, melody and harmony, and the importance of
dynamics. They have been formally taught this. Many pop- composers have
not. Some pop-composers formalizes, and spreads this wisdom (Example: I
once read an interview with Paul Weller who was talking about that rythm
was more important than rhyme, and referring to two lines of lyrics in Ray
Davies'/The Kinks' "Dead End Street").

So... If that could be described as "flow through" then all's well.  But
if "the musicologists get to work the details out later" means that the
composer hasn't used implicit or explicit knowledge on how to write a song
I think You are (mostly) wrong. IMHO.

And I am no composer. (I don't have my toolbox in order...).

Now, could someone who actually has attended Ray Davies
song-writing-course get us both straight?!  (-:

/Johan Ekdahl, Sweden


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 10:48:09 EDT
Subject: The Nails
Message-ID: <>

  It was written:
  Speaking of great 80s bands that disappeared...
Does anybody remeber The Nails? They had a song called "88 Lines About 44
Women" that was a minor college radio hit
  That song was the twin brother of Trio's " Da Da Da". It also contained the
line " Are  you receiving me? "  Do you think they were fans?
  Someone mentioned " I Predict" from Sparks. "Angst In My Pants" is an album
I can listen to in its entirety, over & over again.
  UH-OH!!! I only listened to Wasp Star ONCE yesterday! Whats wrong with me?
  "And my name is Mickey Mouse,
   To my right is Minnie Mouse.
   And we own a little place
   in Disneyland California"
    LETS GO SIXERS!!      Roger


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 08:10:04 EDT
Subject: "Stupidly Happy" Guitar Riff
Message-ID: <>

The riff in "Stupidly Happy" reminds me of that in "Never Let You Go" by
Third Eye Blind.

Andy goes Rick Springfield!

(Like a good lad, I've placed my order with TVT Records in hope of getting
the bonus disc.)

Wes Wilson


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:18:26 +0200
From: "Clinton, Martin" <>
Subject: Wasp Star on Movers & Shakers
Message-ID: <>

On its up about 1,700% and is now ranked number 5! Mind you, How
many sales does this imply???


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 08:52:22 -0400
From: "Todd Bernhardt" <>
Subject: Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Enterworks, Inc.


Damien wondered:
> Has anyone else ever wondered what kind of person
> Mr. Relph is?

He's got this enormous head, with fiery eyes, that seems to float above
this throne that belches green smoke. His voice is really scary, too.

Oh, and he's a hell of a mandolin player.

> So "John Relph",
> spill the beans, come clean, the experiment is over as we all
> know that you are really a 386 based IBM compatible PC!

Uh oh. Now he's pissed.

Ed K. said:
> To me, the colour of Summer's Cauldron is the orange-ish colour of a glass
> (not a cup, but a transparent glass) of strongish milkless tea held up to
> the sunlight. Put yourself in the middle of that hot, light-infused
> liquid...

Dark amber, like a fine VSOP, which morphs into an English green during
"Grass" and combines with that green at the end of the medley to create
a deep, fecund brown. Followed by steel grey accented by rhodamine
kissing lips for "The Meeting Place," followed by...

Insect bomber Buddhist droning.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 10:39:14 EDT
Subject: Re:Videos
Message-ID: <>

>Speaking of Videos, I will be making a video for "You & The Clouds..." using
>footage of my daughter (8 months and she already loves XTC... Well, really
>she loves any stimuli presented, but nonetheless, she can distinguish XTC
>from other music I listen to)  Does anyone know where I could send it so it
>would get to our boys in Swindon?

Reeallly??!!  Damn, I should of thought of that when I added "Then she
Appeared" as music to the ultrasound video of my eldest daughter.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 14:13:15 GMT
From: "Dominique Leone" <>
Subject: Re: song construction
Message-ID: <>

Pancho Artecona mentioned:
"I do wonder however, if Mr. Wilson, as well as many other
great songwriters, sets out to construct a song with a
clear idea of the chordal tensions in the song or
whether the song simply 'comes out' and only through
our later analysis can we understand the theoretical
underpinnings of the song, or if you will the many
layers. My guess is that most writers simply feel the
song flow through them without that much of a cerebral
component and only the musicologists get to work the
details out later."

Personally, the actual 'constructing' comes after the initial spark for new
music.  It is certainly possible to actually construct music as a piece of
architecture (to borrow a metaphor), premeditating on the various changes,
chords, structures, and so forth.  I find that this method is especially
useful when doing commercial work (like writing ad music, or television
music).  However, when I write for myself, it's almost always a case of
whatever comes out, comes out -- with a little 'tweaking' to make sure I can
compete with Andy Partridge (who I think must do some tweaking on his own)!
This is not to say that having a knowledge of the various elements and
theories of music is a bad thing.  Often, going back to music and studying
its 'architecture' can add to your appreciation of the piece itself.

That said, I remember a story about John Lennon hearing that a prominent
music critic had admired the use of aeolian cadences in one of his songs.
Lennon didn't know whether the critic had actually liked his music, but
thought the term 'aeolian cadence' sounded like some kind of insect.




Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:20:11 CDT
From: "Megan Heller" <>
Subject: Where Did I Leave My Quays?
Message-ID: <>

Tyler Hewitt questioned my enormous brain--
>I thought that Sledgehammer was done by Aardman (sp?)
>studios, of Wallace & Gromit fame. I swear I remember
>seeing a Nick Park interview on tv a few years ago
>wherein he talked about working on that video. The
>Sledgehammer video (which I love) looks much more like
>Nick Park's style than the Quay Bros. Think of videos
>by the band Tool and you'll have an idea of what the
>Quay Bros. work is like (they didn't do the Tool
>videos,  someone did an 'homage' to their style). The
>Quay bros. are influenced by Jan Svankmajer, the Chech
>animator/filmmaker. Check his work out. It's great!

I was puzzled when you said that the Quays didn't do Sledgehammer, because
that video was the first place I heard of them, and where I got my earliest
interest.  So, I did a little digging and found that we are probably *both*
right-- the Quays contributed to Sledgehammer, most specifically probably
the dancing fruit and chicken sequences.  I can see the first part of the
video being much more Park's style, of course.

I remember my interest in the Quays was really piqued in 1989 when MTV went
through a phase of having short station promos done by experimental
directors.  Theirs was something beautiful with metal shavings; I don't
remember much about it.  It was a great promo series, though.  Also, check
out the video for "Can't Go Wrong Without You" by His Name is Alive if you
ever get the chance.  Their haunting music goes very well with the Quays'
style, I think.

On the whole HMV thing-- I've recevied the same e-mail.  I wonder if it
isn't "backordered" because it hasn't come out yet (ie, if the ordering
system on HMV is one where it contacts the company automatically a certain
amount of time after the order is placed, regardless of release date).  I
hope that's it.  I don't have a record store nearby and I don't need a
replay of my two month wait for the 69 Love Songs box set.



Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:32:36 +0100
From: "Chris" <>
Subject: Tom Waits is my Shepherd
Message-ID: <001601bfc0d6$04693000$29a0a8c0@sigta>

RN van Vliet opined :

>I can hear that! But then, I love imagining Tom Waits saying lots of
>things. Doing the voiceover for Nature documentaries. On Hold messages
>("Your call is important to us"). NPR news casts. The voice outside
>parking garages that tell pedestrians a car is approaching. And, if we
>could be assured it would be his voice, I'd like our cars to tell us
>stuff: fasten your seatbeat; buckle up; the door is ajar; don't ride the
>clutch; you can go faster than this, step on it; your feet smell.
>It's a Tom Waits World! Think of it! Oh!

Now don't get me wrong, I was deeply interested in the synthesia stuff
(Skylarking red - yes! but Summer's Cauldron = orange!!) but the above is
probably my favourite piece of writing so far this year.  Extraordinarily
amusing and yet strangely plausible. Thank you, RN.

While I'm here, records all way through etc:
'Unknown Pleasures' - Joy Division
'The Final Cut' - Pink Floyd
'1992 - The Love Album' - Carter USM




Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:10:14 -0400
From: "Lieman, Ira" <>
Subject: Oh my, XTC is putting out a new album!
Message-ID: <>

Hey Chalkaholix,

I've had the opportunity to hear the first 2/3 of Wasp Star before its
release...and a couple of thoughts.

<spoiler? not really>
We're All Light is possibly the catchiest song in the whole wide world, and
it reminds me a lot of "Garden of Earthly Delights." Your mileage may vary.
My favorite line of the millennium so far is "Some star sneezed, now they're
paging you in reception." That line alone could be the basis of a Woody
Allen film.

I'm The Man... is an obvious single (We're All Light might be too cool for
public consumption) and it hearkens back to "Mayor Of Simpleton" and "Peter
Pumpkinhead" and maybe even "Merely A Man" in both music and lyrics...seems
when Andy wants to put out a song to the masses, he sticks to the
storytelling formula and makes it more accessible.

Playground is also a potential single, and if it's put into heavy rotation
it would be a big plus for little Holly's college fund. :)

You And The Clouds I had heard back in '95 or '96 -- I can't wait to hear
how that's done on the album ... but I might be able to hold out until
Tuesday. We'll see.

Wasp Star is currently the #4 selling CD on Amazon. And in the last 24
hours, orders for this album are up (ahem) 2,225% to move it up from #93 to
#4. Now THAT's what *I* call "...with a bullet." And I haven't even ordered
mine yet, because, well, because.

-ira "maybe I can wallpaper the living room in my new house with XTC album
covers...naaah, it won't match the carpeting." lieman


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 21:30:57 +1000
From: "david robson" <>
Subject: Re: Klaatu
Message-ID: <007101bfc0bc$8a50d0c0$0400a8c0@dave>


Although I have been an avid (if sometimes way behind) list member for a
few years I usually just sit in the background enjoying the action (no I`m
NOT a "lurker" - that sounds rather ominous) but on seeing this post on my
beloved Klaatu I could not restrain myself....

>From: Ryan Anthony <>
>I'm more than 40 digests behind (they're clogging up
>my in-box!), so please accept my apologies in advance
>.if this has been mentioned or even talked to death
>.already hereabouts, but, since many XTC fans are bound
>to be fond of Klaatu and Tom Lehrer, I want to let you
>know about a pair of tasty re-releases.

>Remember Klaatu? No, not the robot (Bender's
>great-great-great-grandpappy?) in *The Day the Earth
>Stood Still*; I mean Klaatu as in the mid-'70s pop
>combo comprised of anonymous Canadian studio musicians
>which some folks took to be a second coming of the

>My hypothesis is, Klaatu was a super-secret side
>project of the Residents. contestant!!

Klaatu were a 3-piece combo out of Toronto, Canada comprising

John Woloschuk - Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
Dee Long - Guitar, Vocals
Terry Draper - Drums, Vocals

>In Rhode Island at the time, I got a snootful of the
>"Beatles = Klaatu" campaign, because it was whipped up
>by a Providence-based rock critic, but after the
>Klaatumania blew over, I bought the band's first two
>albums, *Klaatu* and *Hope*, and enjoyed them
>thoroughly. Those first two releases share one CD now
>available from Collectors' Choice Music.

Yeah indeed. Providence journo Steve Smith had waaaay too much time on his
hands in the summer of `76 and thought up a bizarre "Klaatu are the
Beatles" rumour replete with supposed "references" on their debut album
"3.47EST" (1976). Up until the rumour the album hadn`t sold in any great
quantity, however ANY reference to the Fabs was like honey to flies in the
U.S and the album went top 20 selling 1,000,000 in only 6 months.

Their second album "Hope" (1977) was a full-blown magnum opus that
recounts the destruction of a civilization and the lone lighthouse keeper
who scans the galaxy to warn off all life.  Recorded with the London
Symphony Orchestra the album won a Juno award for best production and IMHO
is probably one of the the best progressive rock albums ever!!

>(Klaatu released a third and fourth album in the late
>'70s which I never heard. Acquiring those discs is at
>No. 514 on my "Things to Do Someday" list, between No.
>513: read *Naked Lunch*, and No. 515: hire an artist
>to create a fake H.L. Mencken postage stamp.)

Actually they released 3 more.

Sir Army Suit (1978)
Endangered Species (1980)
Magentalane (1981)

By the time Sir Army Suit was recorded in 1978 the public was well aware
that Klaatu was not the Beatles and the backlash from the rock press was
quite harsh. Capitol records was less than impressed with the sales of
"Hope" (although the promotion was almost non existant) and pressured the
band into recording another Beatle-esque album. "Sir Army Suit" is a
wonderful album full of great melodic pop but the media were less than
interested in a band that had supposedly "duped" them.

Endangered Species was the nadir of the Klaatu output. Session musicians
were flown in by Crapitol to lay down bed tracks and the band was not
consulted during mixdown. It is a pretty poor album by comparison to the
rest of their output.

"Magentalane" was originally recorded and released in Canada only as a
kind of reward for the fans and as an attempt to finish on a high note. It
compares favourably with "Sir Army Suit" as a collection of melodic,
wistful pop songs.

Klaatu remain dear to many folk around the world and a web site and mailing
list exists

go to  for more details

I now return you to your scheduled XTContent........

Dave Robson


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:42:44 +0100
From: Belinda Blanchard <>
Subject: I WON!!!!!!!
Message-ID: <>

Hi friends


This morning (Thursday 18th May) on the Robert Elms
show on London Live, the BBC Local Radio station for
London on 94.9FM (I like to give you the details)
Robert played XTC's Playground and said that he always
thought they sounded like Genesis.  JUST when I thought
I'd get on the bike, call up the lads and go round
there, he announced a competition to win on of 3 CDs
and I WON!!!!!!  The question was really hard :  who
are the two remaining members of XTC.  Jeez.  Anyway so
I won a copy but have already placed my order on line
so I may cancel it cos' I'm out of work and THAT's why
I was home to listen to daytime radio.

Having said that I haven't had time to read Chalkhills
for about 4 weeks and they are coming in twice a day
now.  So whateverit is you are all banging on about - I
hope there are still plenty of healthy bitchyfights
going on and the usual fawnication going on!

Enjoy the summer/winter (hey NZ people!)


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:33:39 +0100
From: John Peacock <>
Subject: Krokodile
Message-ID: <>
Organization: The Nice Organization

> Initially, Megan Heller (hi, Megan) said:
> The Quay Brothers?  Oh my god, was [Andy] talking about the Quay  Brothers?!!
> (The identical twin directors of the "Sledgehammer" video and a  production
> company in their own right.)

To which Tyler Hewitt replied

> I thought that Sledgehammer was done by Aardman (sp?) studios, of Wallace &
> Gromit fame. I swear I remember
> seeing a Nick Park interview on tv a few years ago wherein he talked about
> working on that video. The Sledgehammer video (which I love) looks much more
> like Nick Park's style than the Quay Bros.

You are both right, which is nice. The video is officially an Aardman
production, featuring the work of Peter Lord (Aardman founder, and
animator of the video for Nina Simone's My Baby Just Cares For Me); Nick
Park (of much and widely spoken greatness); Richard Goleszowski (another
Aardman chap - I *think* he just did Rex the Runt, but don't hold me to
that. It's certainly in his style); David Anderson (surrealist animator,
not Aardman - best work with Russell Hoban, for example Deadsy) and the
Quay Brothers. It's quite fun trying to work out which bit is whose.

The Quays and Jan Swankmajer also did idents for MTV a long long time ago,
so you may have seen their work there. My favourite Quays film is Street
of Crocodiles.  I occasionally see them around and about (their studios
are near where I live).  They are difficult to miss, when you know who
they are. Oh, and they did do a video for a band called His Name Is Alive
(I believe the song is called When We Are Married).

Lost Band Alert!
Does anyone remember The Diagram Brothers?

XTC Content!
What XTC content? The album hasn't come out yet.



In the spirit of shameless self promotion, my songs may be found at:
"sell yourself, sell yourself, expect nothing" as a sage saith.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 09:45:12 -0700 (PDT)
From: Tyler Hewitt <>
Subject: Zilch!
Message-ID: <>

Someone also mentioned that there should be an XTC
Monkee tribue.  What songs do you think they should

Still my all-time favorite Monkees song!
They should also do the first song from the film
"Head" (don't know the name of it).

Someone mentiones Snakefinger as their great lost
artist. Loved him, truly inspired wierdnass and more
accessable than the Residents. I saw him play live
about 2 months before he died. An amazing and wierd
show. Most of his stuff is available on cd, although
it may take a little hunting around.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:27:30 -0400
From: Paul Burgess <>
Subject: XTC @ UBL
Message-ID: <v04220809b549d80accfc@[]>

the Song Of the Day on the home page of the web site.

Vote for it!! Give it a 5!!


End of Chalkhills Digest #6-123

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