Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-124

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 124

                  Thursday, 18 May 2000


       Re Rolling Stone: (Almost) Everything Decays
             Slack Babbath & A Dancing Stink
Itchy-scritchy and An Offer You Just Won't Find Anywhere Else.
                        Re: Techno
                      A school Guide
                   Introduction and 420
              ian dury and clash and whatnot
       I'm going to go play 4:20 after I'm finished
                     Tom's Collection
           Being for the Benefit of Ms. Heller
                         XTC IPO
              Trip-trip-triple jaaaaaaaaay!
                    Knuckle down, Boyz
                       I broke down
         The millions of ways a song gets written


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Well I don't know how to write a big hit song.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:01:25 EDT
Subject: JoBoxers
Message-ID: <>

ah yes i remember the 'Boxers well. i was a pretty big fan of theirs back in
the eighties.
they brought out one album officially, 'Like Gangbusters' and had two top ten
hits here in the UK, 'Boxerbeat' no 3 and 'Just Got Lucky' no 7 in 1983. They
caused a bit of a stir in the music press at the time 'cause their image lent
heavily on the yob/On the Waterfront style and their interviews usually
revolved around fights they had at some point or other.

for all that their music was surprisingly graceful and a real classic was a
single called 'Johnny Freindly' which really is superb stuff. Andy even
remembers them as he mentioned them in an interview with 'Uncut' last year.

there is a best of cd out called 'Essential Boxerbeat' which contains the
whole first album and most of the tracks from the un-released second album
'Skin and Bone'. they too had record company problems. when they split they
put it down to 'the abominable pressures of the music business mafia'.

good stuff while they were around and yet another band strangled by the shit
scared music industry.

Liam Duggan

and here's to Aston Villa stuffing Chelsea out of sight in the Cup Final on
Saturday. (being a staunch QPR fan i wouldn't have anything less).

XTC content: they're a fucking great band


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:40:50 -0400
Subject: Re Rolling Stone: (Almost) Everything Decays
Message-ID: <>

Hello Chalksters:

           The Miseducation of Lauren Hill is already old school.  In two
years The Rage For (I mean Against) the Machine album that was Rolling
Stone's critics' Album of the Year will be a quaint quasi-political period
piece. The backlash against the followup Santana album-as-music-
industry-advertisement will be in full swing.  Nobody will be caught dead
promoting any boy-band or teenybopper albums.  Ricki Martin will be an
actor.  At least 60% of the albums that received Rolling Stone ratings of 3
1/2 stars or more will be forgotten.  And Wasp Star, for those who are
fortunate enough to hear it, will still be a wonderful collection of
well-crafted pop-rock songs of a certain style; which didn't sound the
least bit dated when they were released 5-10 years after being demoed; nor
will they at this point; or 5-10 years hence.




Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 18:50:33 +0100
From: Lawson Dominic <>
Subject: Slack Babbath & A Dancing Stink
Message-ID: <>

Spot the deliberate (cough) mistake....

>>despite what Ol' Pa Kingston would tell you, Black
Sabbath had/have some splendid pop tunes

>>I never said they did, you young whippersnapper!

I know. That's what I'm saying.

I don't know, old people today! Didn't they teach you anything about grammar
when you were at school??

>>I'm utterly with you on Techno. As far as I'm concerned, it's
electronic polka music. Only bagpipes could make it worse. It doesn't swing,
and it has no groove. There is nothing "unhip" about not liking it. It's

Hey! Grandad! Welcome to the 21st cen......nah, you've got a semi-reasonable
point there, but I think the phrase "grotesque over-simplification" would
seem to apply. I guess "techno" hasn't had the same effect in the US or
Australia as it has here, where the charts are riddled with examples of
various different sub-genres of the dance scene, but there really is a lot
of splendid stuff being made in the name of "electronica"...mainstream
thump-thump-thumpery is a bag of cock, as you rightly point out, but some of
the drum'n'bass, "big beat" and other related threads are often pretty damn
interesting. Mind you, I live in Brighton where dance music is king so I may
have been over exposed. That's what the police said anyway.

Give it five years and I'll probably agree with you though! Tick tock...tick
tock...tick tock..."ah, meestah Collins....I've been expecting you!".

Sadly I know what people mean about the "You & The Clouds"/Sting thing,
although I wouldn't have done IF PEOPLE HADN'T KEPT GOING ON ABOUT IT!!!!
Great, now I've got Enya for "River Of Orchids", Sting for "You & The
Clouds"....what's next? Simon and fucking Garfun......ahem. Forget I spoke.



Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 14:13:29 -0400
From: "Duncan Watt" <>
Subject: Itchy-scritchy and An Offer You Just Won't Find Anywhere Else.
Message-ID: <>

Verbose Tom Kingston <> spaeth:

> No bites on Skafish?? Anyone?

Sorry, don't know 'em. I *did* produce a few records for a band named
"Skarotum", though.



My new EP-CD, "Six Songs Of Good And Evil", is done and I'd like to give any
of you who are interested a copy of it before it hits CDNOW and all the
other online stores. Yes, *give*. You pay the postage and I'll lay it on
you. Email me *offlist* if you want it.

Your Pal Duncan Watt

ps quit pestering Sherwood re: writing professionally... the last thing the
world needs is another Dave Barry clone. Seessh...

email me:
surf me:


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:56:56 CDT
From: "Megan Heller" <>
Subject: Re: Techno
Message-ID: <>

Duncan Kimball decrees--
>Harrison - I'm utterly with you on Techno. As far as I'm concerned,
>it's electronic polka music. Only bagpipes could make it worse. It
>doesn't swing, and it has no groove. There is nothing "unhip" about
>not liking it. It's crap.

Damn it, yesterday I wrote a good response to Harrison's post, and it got
lost when I tried to mail it and my boss' computer crashed (speaking of a
moment of true fear).  I'll try to dredge up something coherent, though.

I assume that, as someone who dislikes techno, you're using it as a catchall
for electronic music as it is produced today, so I'll start from there.  Is
there a lot of crap in techno?  Hell yes.  God yes.  A great deal of it
sounds like some jackass got a computer for his birthday.  This, however,
makes it no different from any genre of music.  There is a lot of electronic
music which has been produced recently which is neither lazy, nor "crap",
nor simple.  Unit's "Narcoleptic Symphony", rather than being
two-dimensional, "color"-less music, is rich and beautiful.  Plastikman's
careful structures of minimalist sound, as exhibited on his 1998 release
"Consumed", are anything but lazy.  Drum & bass techno is producing some of
the most innovative artists I have heard in recent years, who certainly
"groove", as you put it (Roni Size, DJ Shadow).

A list of artists probably isn't going to make any difference to you,
though.  You probably still think of raves and big block chords played over
a drum machine pumping a standard dance beat (that ng-CHK, ng-CHK that stuck
in my head throughout puberty).  I'm not going to try to convince you to
like electronic, or techno, music as a genre, either.  I have a couple
entire genres of music I hate.  I know that they're valid, influential forms
of music, but they turn me off entirely, no matter how I've tried.  It's my
problem, although I don't think it makes me particularly ignorant, just as I
don't think an informed dislike of techno makes anyone 'unhip'.  But
dismissing an entire genre as crap?  tsk.

Dominic retorts--
>For the last time, I LIKE SIMON AND ****ING GARFUNKEL!!!!

jeez, Dom, I don't see what you have against them...

>Paul Simon's "Graceland", on the other hand, is fucking awful"

I don't know about that (it has sentimental ties to my childhood), but I
don't think Paul Simon could have ever been to Memphis.  The Mississippi
River doesn't shine like a National guitar.  It smells like a dead pig.

Probably couldn't get the rhythm to work.



Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 18:59:17 +0100
From: "Michael Jackson" <>
Subject: A school Guide
Message-ID: <000d01bfc0f2$ca3a4be0$04f4ef86@dell>

I've just searched for XTC on and along with Wasp Star
(currently 19th best seller) there's a mention of a sonic book called the
School Guide to XTC, anyone know what this is?


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:15:11 -0700
Subject: Introduction and 420
Message-ID: <>

Hi All-

      I am a new subscriber to Chalkhills, but a longtime XTC fan. My
copy of Apple Venus 1 has been in my CD player since I got it.  I have
not yet heard Wasp Star. but I eagerly await its release.
      I teach English Literature at a California high school. Long
distressed over their undeserved anonymity, I have integrated several
XTC songs into my curriculum.  Unfortunately, today's high school
students are more into Britney Spears and D'Angelo and any departure
from the pablum is shocking to their frail systems.  However, some of
the more cognitive students can at least appreciate the craftsmanship.
I have some faith in today's youth.

  One more thing. Would someone take pity on an old
  out-of-it wanker and explain what *4:20* means? Does
  it refer to how long a really fine-quality blunt
  should last (if it is passed on the left-hand side),
  or what?

  Marijuanistically ignorant,

  Ryan Anthony
  An independent Internet content provider

      But, to answer Ryan Anthony's query regarding 420, I believe the
term has several varied but interrelated meanings and uses.  My first
experience with it was in my college years in the late 80's. April 20
is Bob Marley's birthday. (It also happens to be Hitler's as well.)
Some romantic potheads thought it would be a good idea for everyone in
the world to light up at 4:20pm on April 20th as a Toke-Across-America
gesture of good will and peace in stonerhood.
      Some of today's more cloudy young people actually take the day
off school to party and smoke pot and talk about how it should be a
national holiday.  (I always give a test on that day.)  They now also
use it as a code to identify other users.
      A few kids also confuse it with disasters like Columbine, a few
of which happened in the same week.  Mention it to a kid who thinks
that there is no way you should know about it.  That'll really freak
'em out.
      I'm glad to be a part of this collective.  I have enjoyed
reading your posts and I look forward to reading many more.

      Thank You



Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 20:48:23 +0100
From: "chris browning" <>
Subject: ian dury and clash and whatnot
Message-ID: <015101bfc104$55053da0$ad42883e@pbncomputer>

don;t know about the clash reforming for the ian dury tribute concert but
according to this week's (surprisingly good actually) NME the line up is the
blockheads with keith allen, ian broudie, kathy burke, neneh cherry,
wreckless eric, phil jupitus, mark lamarr (swindon link!), members of
madness, kirsty maccoll, saffron, robbie williams, glen matlock, wilko
johnson, chas and dave (blimey this is turning into "the intro and the
outro" "adolf hitler on vibes - hi adolf") and - i guess this is where the
rumour has germinated from - joe strummer, topper headon and mick jones.
friday 16th june, brixton academy. sounds glorious - a real send off for one
of music's absolute greats.

only three days between me and WASP STAR. curses....



Date: 18 May 00 16:48:58 EDT
From: Rick Mealey <>
Subject: I'm going to go play 4:20 after I'm finished
Message-ID: <>

Charcoals and chitlins:

What movie superstar was not only a big fan of punk/new wave, but also hung
around a lot of the L.A. groups at their gigs, etc?

Wild guess: River Phoenix? Does he classify as a superstar?

Would someone take pity on an old out-of-it wanker and explain what *4:20*
means? Does it refer to how long a really fine-quality blunt should last (if
it is passed on the left-hand side), or what?

Isn't this the name of a John Cage piece which lasts precisely that long in
minutes and seconds, and contains nothing but silence? (So if you're going to
wank, please keep the noise down to a dull roar.)

...Joe Jackson's biography 'A Cure For Gravity'. Get a copy of that book,

Amen, bro. Even if you're not a musician, Jackson gives a good feel for the
lifestyle, in very engaging prose (not ghost-written, either). While you're
off buying his book, go snap up his new live CD too.

On a not-much-later reference to Klaatu's Calling Occupants:

some cheesy pop act covered it (was it the Carpenters?...)


Dom ""Paul Simon's "Graceland", on the other hand, is fucking awful" Lawson

I think at some point over the last fifteen years, Simon got it into his
head that he gets paid by the word. One of my desert-island CDs would still
be Bookends, however.

And what does all this have to do with XTC? Not much, I'm afraid.

So here's some XTC content for you to digest. I'm in Strawberries taking my
own advice and buying the new Joe Jackson album, and when I inquire as to
Wasp Star's availability, my polite and helpful salesman advises (after
careful perusal of his clipboard) that he doesn't even have a release date
for it in his ledger. Now, I don't know about what *you* think, but *I*
think someone is dropping the ball here.

And that's all he wrote, he being -- Rick


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 13:28:19 -0500
From: "Jan C. Harris" <>
Subject: Tom's Collection
Message-ID: <023d01bfc0f7$76e90120$8b2f573f@janstrigem>

Dom writes of Tom's admittedly long musical list:  <<Yes, but
that's not the point. The point is your list was WAY TOO F**KING
LONG. It may well have meant a great deal to you, but I really
don't want to waste valuable seconds scrolling through an
interminable litany of soft rock
and Simon and bleedin' Garfunkel. [snip]  Editing, dear boy,

Though I found the list tedious to go through - and I *hate*
lists - I found Tom's to be delightful.  It was as if I was
reading the way my list would sound if I had the resources to
accumulate and explore more than I do.  I found it a good guide
for directions to explore.  Therefore, I found it expanding (as
well as expansive).  It took some time and energy and thought to
do it, and I for one, appreciate it.

Jan"Mellllt them Dowwwwwn"Carol


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:43:36 -0700
From: Ed Kedzierski <>
Subject: 4-20
Message-ID: <>

In 6-122, Ryan Anthony asked:
One more thing. Would someone take pity on an old
out-of-it wanker and explain what *4:20* means? Does
it refer to how long a really fine-quality blunt
should last (if it is passed on the left-hand side),
or what?

4-20 is supposedly "police code" for a pot bust (or a pot "situation"
calling for a bust). I only discovered this a few years ago, when some
hippy friends had a "420" party on April 20 (4/20, get it?), which happens
to be my birthday, and as a result I was treated to a lot of... herby
goodies.  (And yes, I'm reminded every time I tell someone when my birthday
is that I share it with one of the 20th century's most evil people...)

Not a beleiver in astrology,

Ed K.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 16:10:20 CDT
From: "joe _" <>
Subject: Being for the Benefit of Ms. Heller
Message-ID: <>

On 15 May, Megan wrote:

>I would write more, but the 'i', the 'k', and the comma on
>my keyboard are non-functional.  I've been typing using cut-and-paste for
>those letters.  I'm that dedicated to Chalkhills.
>Nah, just that bored.

To ease the current situation with your dysfunctional keyboard, I dutifully
submit to you the following:

kick pick Rick lick sick click flick cricket kite
kill kid kind king Kim Kinks kibbutz kilometer kiss
pickle fickle stick nick nickle Krispy Kreme kinfolk
knife knight nitpick hick quick tick wick Kilamanjaro
Krishna kitch

Cut and paste away.

Not Standing In For,


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 23:30:43 +0200
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Subject: Chalklines
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Stephanie T. wondered if the Giant with the Giant Thingy might not
have frightened away the horses:

> Now we know why the Uffington Horse is running [away] at a full
> gallop....

perhaps,  but if you look carefully you'll see that Horsey is _not_ a
mare! as a matter of fact, he could very well have inspired the "hung
like a horse" metaphor.

Somebody once pointed out here that this formidable fifth leg was
censored out of the backdrop picture when our Heroes mimed Ball
And Chain on UK TV (Top of the Pops?). I believe the pictorial
evidence is still available in the Archives section of the Chalkhills
website but i'm too lazy to check

BTW: "our" horse is the only surviving chalkhill drawing that is a
real ancient, pre-historic one - all the others are quite recent in
comparison. And believe me, you actually _feel_ this when you are
up there on the Hill.

Sigh... wish i was there now

yours in xtc,

Mark S. @ the Little Lighthouse

	[ ]


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:43:14 -0700
From: "Victor Rocha" <>
Subject: XTC IPO
Message-ID: <011201bfc11a$73ebb1c0$>

>Steven Paul said: I may be willing to buy a few shares of Idea Records,
Inc. at the initial public offering ("IPO")

me too. then they'd have to talk to us.


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 12:47:23 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: HMV
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper

Boils and goils:

I too received an e mail (two, actually) from HMV stating that I couldn't
have my precious Wasp Star because it is back ordered. I was all set to
hang myself by my guitar cord when the following retraction arrived:

"We would like to apologize for the confusion with the e-mails you
recently received from us.  Due to a technical glitch you received a
message informing you that this title is on backorder. This message was
sent in error.  We still expect that your order for XTC V2/WASP STAR/APPLE
VENUS will be shipped to you immediately when it is released on May 23rd.
We apologize for this error and hope that we can be of service again in
the future.


Jim "I guess a noose-shaped cord will be my signature look from now on" Smart


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 17:56:00 PDT
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: Trip-trip-triple jaaaaaaaaay!
Message-ID: <>


10:45 am fffffriday! My wife just called me at work, said "Listen to this"
and put the phone up the radio. And blow me down if our national yoof
network, Triple J FM, isn't rocking all over Australia with  "Playground"
!!! The DJ back announced it as being " ...from their great new album, Wasp

Yee-haaa! Just when I was losing faith in radio ...

Stupidly Happy Dunks


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 19:53:19 -0500
From: "Jan C. Harris" <>
Subject: Knuckle down, Boyz
Message-ID: <00b601bfc12e$049b3480$94a6f5d0@janstrigem>

Ed writes:  <<(I'm not judging people who don't dress by some
bullshit standard of "cool", or who discovered anything later
than me or anything like that - it's just an attitude thing,
that whole "getting into a fight is almost as good a way of
ending an
evening as getting laid" kind of vibe that some of these guys
give off), >>

Guess they've not heard English Settlement, eh?

>LOVE< that tune!

Jan"Knuckles Down"Carol


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 18:04:31 -0700
From: "Mike Martis" <>
Subject: I broke down
Message-ID: <01f501bfc12e$31726460$fc16fea9@mmartis>

Well, I finally broke down and listened to the Wasp Star samples on CDNOW,
so my virgin experience with next Tuesday's release is officially kaput.
Kind of like a quick peek into your parents' bedroom closet the week before
Christmas. And to think I was *this* close!

Of course, it sounded fantastic, and left me wanting more (which, I suppose,
is the function of a sample), but it'll carry me for five more days. I don't
know if this has been posed yet, but does anyone hear a striking similarity
between Standing In For Joe and the Beatles' Tell Me What You See?

Back to peeking...


Date: Thu, 18 May 2000 15:15:40 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: The millions of ways a song gets written
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper

I enjoyed Johan's piece about How a song is written, but there sure were a
lot of generalizations there!

"many songs are written in parts"

"A person without such a toolbox is probably not a composer."

"most songs starts out as an idea for a verse, or a chorus, or... "

You are assuming that all songs are built around the music. Many songs
start with ideas or words, and become songs later. I don't know, but I
suspect that Dear God started as an idea..."what if I wrote a song that
was a letter to God saying that I don't believe in him, and explaining
exactly why?" Andy might have had this idea without any idea what the
tempo or melody or chord structure might end up being.

Songs are mysterious things, and they are created in all sorts of ways. My
father in law asked me if there were a finite number of songs that could
be written. I said no, it is infinite. He asked how I could be sure. I
said I couldn't prove it, (except by sitting down to write a song, which I
think I did at the time), but was sure.

It is not helpful to generalize rules. Any songwriter who follows the same
process all the time is likely to not appear on the many assorted "best"
and "fave" lists on Chalkhills. Here's a few examples:

Paul McCartney woke up with the song Yesterday in his head. There was a
piano in the room. He walked over and sussed out what was there.

Andy Partridge put together some plinky string sounds that pleased him and
played them on an endless loop. Then he improvised melodies from words
already in his notebook. Probably he discarded LOTS of ideas, and kept
only the few that pleased him. Same for Stupidly Happy, I bet.

John Lennon wrote Nowhere Man and Across the Universe "all at once". They
just tumbled out complete in a very short time, words and all.

Michael Stipe got into the initials L.B. for The End of the World as we
Know It.

Andy P based a bridge around sound alike phrases Black eyes, black ice,
etc. in Senses Working Overtime.

Sometimes Adrian Belew will lie down, close his eyes, and think about what
sort of song he'd like to make.

Ray Davies wrote and recorded the music (with the Kinks) to Celluloid
Heroes, then listened to it over and over. He made up lyrics by singing
along with the tape to his baby.

David Byrne pictured himslef as some sort of preacher while creating Once
in a Lifetime.

There are stupid ways, too:

That guy from Abba wrote Take a Chance on Me while jogging. I guess the
rhythm matched his pace or something.

Phil Collins had his little jam going, and for some reason came out with
the word Sussudio (or whatever it is), then thought that to make a song
he'd make it about a girl. Sheesh. The only time he got a teeny fraction
of my attention was when he played the same three chords over and over and
let his rage explode out on In the Air Tonight.

Anyway, you get the idea. There's an infinite number of ways to attack
songwriting. Mostly it's a lot of work.

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

One thing Ray did with us was this: He figured out how we "usually" write
songs (he's very perceptive). Then he made us write a song in a new,
unfamiliar way. A girl called Jude was great on guitar, so he made her
write a song on a Casio using the preset crap rhythms that were on it. She
wrote one of her best songs. He had us set some words from the Bible to
music, then remove those words and put in our own. He had us write songs
with the words first. He had us write songs for a musical, which was very
different than what I normally do. The song has a purpose, and has to move
the action along. He had us start with a title, then listen to the rhythm
of the title, and base a song around that (a la You Really Got Me and
Heard It Thru the GRAPEvine). I think his point was that to keep sharp
you've got push yourself and try new tricks and never settle for doing it
the same old way you (or more likely, someone on the radio) has done
before. Mostly he pushed us and challenged us for a full week.

>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

People don't learn this stuff in school. You learn by listening carefully,
and by trying, and by working at it.

I agree that little snippets are sometimes kept and used later. Other
times they are lost. John Lennon Said he lost lots of song idea because he
didn't have a tape recorder handy. Sometimes that pisses me off as much
and "Ship" being left off of Wasp Star. Side Two of Abbey Road was
composed of a lot of the snippets stitched together.

Chalkhills: A good forum for debating the songwriting process with a
person from Sweden. Also, have you noticed how Chalkhills is like a
Playground? There are masters, there are bullies, probably there are
lovers jilting each other off list.  There are those who must try harder
to please from down on their knees. It's a playground everyday ground.

"You're not the boss of me now!"
-They Might Be Giants

Jim "then again, maybe not" Smart


End of Chalkhills Digest #6-124

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