Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-142

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 142

                  Wednesday, 31 May 2000


                   Jus sum tawts on XTC
                     Kudos for Colin
                   Burning With Flames
                   "To keep me sane..."
                    All You Nay-Sayers
                 XTC and richard thompson
                    El cd esta cabron!
                        Aunt Sally
             XTC Survey, Andy interview, HMV
                  Tell Me What You Hear
                WS/Christmas/Poor Prairie
                Andy @
             Carried away on a wave of colour
             Party and Apple Venus Collection


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I've got the big stick.


Date: 28 May 2000 07:38:30 -0500
Subject: Jus sum tawts on XTC
Message-ID: <[]>

This will be my first posting on chalkhills. Never knew there were so many
XTC'ers out there. Like to read them. Like most comments. Don't like
some. Here's mine

Just some thoughts
Been an XTC'er since late 70's and I have em all. In my opinion ever since
English Settlement every album has been a masterpiece of great music.  Best
song "Life Begins at the Hop" BBC version on Transistor Blast ROCKS! WOW!
This is when they were a "band". Mmmm, maybe not, lots of other great songs
for different reasons.  Best Album...Nonsuch, masterpiece supreme.Their
Rubber Soul. It was Skylarking (when Prairie replaced Terry in the credits
and thus ended the "band") but Todd Rungren stained this album with his
bullshit and why oh why did they reissue the album with Dear God on it, It
was better as a B side to Grass. Luckily I have the vinyl with Mermaid
Smile on it Oranges and Lemons is a great pop album but Paul Fox (where is
he now, doing Boy George songs?) ruined it with a bright shrilly production
that someone should really remaster.  Having said this, Mummer is genius
(original vinyl album without all the extras on the cd) Big Express is
brilliant, AV1 blows my mind (took a few listens though) AV2 is just plain
back to basics fun, a great pop album. Church, Wheel and Maypole are
standouts. Reminds me a bit of O&L. Still a masterpiece but not their
finest. I Like it, it's fun.  Drummer is good. Love the sound of the Fano
"Partridge" guitar. (Check out the website like they suggest on the CD).
And yes I miss Dave Gregory, wish they'd patch up.

Personally I anticipate new XTC like everyone else and I'm not in the loop
for demos and bootlegs (however did download a couple minutes of
Man/Murdered, AnotherLife and Church from Napster (as an aside whats all
the hubbub? sound quality sucks, not an issue of copyright infringement. If
you like good sound you'll still buy the album). How everyone has old
versions and demos is beyond me. I guess they do exist like Beatle bootlegs
and such and I wouldn't say versions on Anthology 1,2 or 3 are better or
worse than the originals. And how can someone criticize XTC album material
for being "old" material or even suggest "get writing Andy and
Colin"...whatever, just rambling.

 I have given up waiting for XTC to chart. Mayor of Simpleton, Peter
Pumpkinhead, I'd Like That never did much on the charts. Reminds me of the
Kinks who never really charted after Lola. The only way average Joe knows
the Kinks is if you mention Lola. The only way average Joe has heard of XTC
is if you mention Nigel (maybe Senses/Overtime). Their loss in both
cases. Having said that, I really had no idea there were soooooo many XTC
fans out there (in chalkhill land) and seeing UBL choose Man..Murdered.. as
song of the day was uplifting. Maybe major success will finally be theirs.

Always thought XTC were my Beatles of the 80's/90's. (Usually a deathknell
for a band (didn't they say that about Bay City Rollers)) Hey; they stopped
touring, they just do studio material, we collect their memorabilia and
bootlegs. They write great songs. Similar, no?  Anyway: It's a matter of
wearing one's influences visibly on ones sleeve and, being a musician, I
appreciate Partridges affinity for, among others, Sir Mac and Brian
Wilson. There's always been a bit of Ray and Lennon in him as well. His
amazing musical sensibilities are due to the obvious love of great melodies
and harmonies and an artistic desire to be just a little
unconventional. The brilliance of the songs of Andy Partridge and Colin
Moulding have always shone through for me.  XTC is without a doubt the
finest musical combo on the planet.

~~~ Derek C.


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 00:57:55 -0800
From: Patrick M Adamek <>
Subject: Kudos for Colin
Message-ID: <>

Chalker Talkers,

    If you'll recall, I had a terrible time securing a copy of Wasp Star
here in Alaska last week.  Thanks to the Sushiman I now hold a Japanese
Limited Edition of Wasp Star.  The only extras (I assume) are the
Japanese Lyrics and the "Picture Book - The Art and Soul of XTC."  The
latter was worth the extra money.

    Well I absolutely love it.  I understand that some on this list do
not?  I cannot see why that would be, but I digress.

    This is the XTC album that I have been waiting for since
Skylarking.   For me Oranges and Lemons, Nonsuch AND AV1 fall short of
Wasp Star.  Do not misunderstand me, I thought that O & L and AV1 were
the best albums that were released in their respective years, but when
you set the standard so high (English Settlement and Skylarking!) what
comes after that can look not as good even though it may be excellent in
its own right.
     After AV1 hit the stores and I digested it (it took me 20 or 30
listens to fully appreciate it) I decided that this "eclectric" album
that I'd heard about may hold the key to treating me to what I'd been
waiting for.  What a treat indeed Wasp Star is.  It will be VERY
difficult for other bands to surpass its greatness for album of the

    The genius displayed by Andy in writing and recording songs would
take me too long to express, but I will try with Colin.  After hearing
"Boarded Up" for the first time (man am I glad I did not listen to the
demos!) I realized that it has been a while since anything from Colin
jumped out at me so much.  So I looked back at his contributions over
the last 5 XTC albums to find out why.  He was given credit for writing
17 by my count, and here they are:

1. Grass
2. Meeting Place
3. Big Day
4. Dying
5. Sacrificial Bonfire
6. King For a Day
7. One of the Millions
8. Cynical Days
9. Bungalow
10. My Bird Performs
11. Smartest Monkeys
12. War Dance
13. Frivolous Tonight
14. Fruit Nut
15. In Another Life
16. Boarded Up
17. Standing In for Joe

    For me this list has amazing highs and lows for quality of writing.
The first 5 are stellar, and kept Skylarking near the top of my list for
favorite albums (by any artist mind you).  #6 and #8 are solid but a bit
weak in lyrical content (the beginning of a drought for Colin perhaps?)
#7 was too close in content to "Millions" from Drums and Wires, although
it is a solid song.  #9 and #10 are also stellar, and I enjoyed the
throwback theme of "And Your Bird Can Sing" (at least I perceived it as
such).  #12 is way too close in theme to "Generals and Majors" but a
nice "filler" song (not exactly what I'm looking for from my absolute
favorite band).  #11 is the one true low point for me when it comes to
XTC.  If I am trying to convince someone of their greatness I will avoid
that song like the plague.  The very first time I heard it I knew that
it was a subpar XTC song but it quickly became my least favorite of all
of their songs for it's terrible lyrics and overly simplistic musical
      I didn't like #13 and #14 when I first heard them (again, they
just didn't do much for me right away) but they have slowly grown on me,
but I must admit that I sometimes find myself just waiting for "I Can't
Own Her" and "Harvest Festival" when it comes to Fruit Nut.  That brings
me to the last three, of course from Wasp Star.  I find #17 the weakest
of them but it has a very nice "bounce" to it and finally is on par with
My Bird Performs or Cynical Days.  #15 is great, and I immediately found
myself humming it while I worked (the first time that happened with a
Colin Song since "Cynical Days").  I save the best for last, for #16
(Boarded Up) is Colin at his best.  Clearly these lyrics were written
with emotion, and delivered with an attitude that I haven't heard from
Colin since "Sacrificial Bonfire."   I love the "Chant" vocals in the
background, the simplistic guitars and the "marching" of the
percussion.  Bravo Colin, and thanks for fully restoring my faith in

Patrick Adamek


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 18:44:20 +0200
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Subject: Burning With Flames
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Sorry about this overlong post, but some things cannot remain
unchallenged! Seems i have upset a few people...
My advice to them is that they should READ TWICE before getting

I started off my "First Impressions" post by stating that i loved the
album. no doubt about that. WS is most certainly in a league of it's
own when compared with anything or anybody else.

Anyway, Gray Packham said:

> Mark wrote:
> >>"it's also a just a tad over-produced"
> and cited the comparison of demo and album versions of Wheel and
> Maypole. Do you understand the concept of a demo?
i think this is just a tad too patronising

> >>Those of you who predicted that A.P. would be able to replace
> >>or at least replicate Dave's parts are proven wrong once and >>for
> >>all."
>    Andy is not Dave, Dave is not Andy. Andy writes songs, Dave
> doesn't. Andy is in XTC, Dave isn't. Andy and Colin have made an album
> with partial input from Dave and one with no input from Dave.
Now where does that conflict with my statement?
I use other words but i'm saying exactly the same: Andy is not Dave
and doesn't play like him. read my words before you flame

I happen to think that Andy's a brilliant guitar player but he is not a
solo guitarist. I think he'd be the first to admit that - in fact he has, on
more than one occasion.

>  Dave was never an integral part of XTC.

Yeah, and you probably think Andy's farts smell like roses too...
Are we living in the same world?

What is an 'integral part' of a band?
I think that's a band member, right?  please correct me if i'm wrong
but D.G. joined the band XTC in '79 and left almost 20 years later. I'd
say he was more than a hired hand, don't you?

> >>"Andy, can we please get some really new material next time
> >>around? Many of these songs have been floating around for
> >>almost a decade and that's just too long, even by XTC
> >>standards. Get writing!"
>    By far, these comments have raised my ire the most. Seven years
>    between albums might seem like just cause in buying bootleg CDs of
>    their demos
> but it doesn't give you the right to denegrade their "official"
> recordings.
i didn't and i don't.

And "My Brown Guitar" has already been officially released,
so i win another point. na na na-na-na!

> The demos "floating around" are doing so by illegal means.
For your information: the original source of my AV demo tape was
Andy's cassette recorder... where else do you think these tapes
come from, eh?
This is how it works: Andy sends a tape or two to some very close
and trustworthy people who swear on their mothers graves not to
copy them. Each one copies it once or twice for a close personal
friend who swears etc etc etc etc. It spreads like V.D.

> I'm aware neither Colin nor Andy are happy about it.
they are, as long as it remains friendly bartering amongst fans

> How galling to criticise Andy's creative output.
Trust me: if anybody in the world loves XTC it's me. But that doesn't
mean i stop thinking. Just read that sentence again...
"how galling to criticise Andy's creative output"
Jeez, that kind of talk makes me very uncomfortable.

And you know what, i have a funny feeling that A.P. would feel
_very_ uneasy with people who think they can't criticize him.
Just a hunch...

> If you don't like the songs, fine. That's the nature of the artform.
*** sigh ***
now where did i say i don't like the songs?

just to refresh your memory, here's the first part of my original post
again; the part you so conveniently skipped!

> - it's brilliant, funny, grotesque, huge, lovable and inflatable,
> - recording quality is more than excellent.
>   a clear and precise picture but not too digital


> But to rudely suggest
> the Wasp Star songs are too old and then demand Andy "get working" on
> the next batch is frankly offensive.

once again: please read with care before you explode
what did i _actually_write? "the next time around".
See? Understand?
Not THIS album, the NEXT album. Is it clear now?

to suggest that i would "demand" anything is totally out of this world.
Why should i? wouldn't that be totally pointless? The good man
doesn't even read this digest, for crying out loud!

And i don't like to rattle my medals too much, but i think it's probably
safe to say that i've done a wee bit more to promote the cause of
XTC (and our Dave) then you. That's no big deal, but I do think that it
does entitle me to some credit, don't you? So perhaps you should
think: "is _he_ really lambasting this awesome new album?"
because i wasn't.

In fact: i'm so happy with this new release that i threw a Wasp Star
launch party in my living room this afternoon. everybody who could
make it was invited and we had a great time.
When did you throw _your_ last XTC party?
I rest my case...

So, anticipating Gray: if you want to play, get your facts right
read and think about what you have read BEFORE you flame or you
might just find yourself running out of fuel in the midst of a heated

(cue: Sacrificial Bonfire)

yours in agony,

Mark Strijbos

Fave WS line so far: "The ties that bind you will unwind to free me"


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 04:24:44 EDT
Subject: "To keep me sane..."
Message-ID: <>


I am prone to moments of epiphany, and just now I am in the grips of one.
I feel the unbearable urge to share this with all of you, so please bear
with me, and be kind!

I have heard Andy & Colin's Strawberry Fields MP3.  I have seen the
incredible interview with Andy about his guitar work and influences on  (Thanks to all of you and the wonderful existence of this
mailing list!)  I have been reflecting on my life, and Rock and Roll and
Wasp Star and God knows what else.  I just finished watching 'Of Mice and
Men' (the '93 Sinise / Malkovich version - I hadn't seen it yet), so I'm
swimming in a sea of emotion, the old existential nihilism vs. hope & the
milk of human kindness stuff, you know, what's it all about jazz.  The very
maelstrom for moments like this, where hopefully you may have found a bit
of insight into the great whatever.

It has suddenly occurred to me that Colin is the true spokesman of the
group.  Bear with me.  I was watching Andy in this guitar video, and saw a
man possessed by the demon of music.  The demon of his talent.  And I found
myself relating my whole lifetime in music to him, and to everyone I know
who as an idol or as a fellow working stiff peer was possessed in the same
way.  Don't get me wrong - I am no Andy Partridge.  I don't dare compare
myself with such unstoppable genius.  It's the demon that I can relate to.
Music.  Art.  The unrelenting drive to be a part of it, to have your whole
life revolve around it, helplessly.  And the consequences.  Those of you
who are not musicians may find it hard to relate to, except for a vague,
indescribable feeling that something could have or could be better, that's
there's some higher calling that nips at the heels of your daily grind.
Many people who have abilities like this are told often that they have a
'gift' that they are destined to share with the world in one form or
another.  Those well meaning, appreciative folks will never know or
understand the pain of bearing such a gift.  Which is precisely why VH1
biographies on famous rock stars repeat the same tragic story over and
over.  The very story that XTC chose to avoid when it mattered the most.

I was born for music.  It gripped my soul at a very early age, and has
never let me go.  The emotional awakenings it has produced in me, right up
to the present, have been light years beyond what any religious
transformation could ever bring anyone.  Then to find I had the ability to
produce it, well, that's what condemns one to a life of music.  But rather
early on I found myself balking at the price of survival in the music
world.  I will always feel that 'I could have been a contender,' but by the
time I was of the age to try my lot, I was jaded by my experiences and the
experiences of my idols.  I saw Joplin die.  Hendrix.  Morrison.  Elvis.
Lennon.  Countless others.  I saw and read about bad agents, managers, scum
sucking record companies, artists constantly getting ripped off while
beating their brains out on a relentless schedule of touring, recording and
otherwise ass sucking.  I thought about having to relocate to 2 of my least
favorite places in the planet to "make it" - NY or LA.  I realized that the
very thing I loved the most and wanted to do the most required doing the
things I wanted to do the least.  I did not have the fortitude.  I choose
my fork in the road.

All artists whose goal in life is to produce something that moves the soul
in some shape or form run into the same problem.  It's an old story; all of
us who love music, especially rock, know it from following our favorite
artists and their turmoils.  Those who persevere and make the 'big time'
soon find that there's no turning back.  Those that get so huge that what
they've created becomes a monster beyond their control spend the rest of
their lives trying to regain some reasonable facsimile of normalcy, often
to no avail.  Some get so distorted in the process that they lose all touch
with reality, when all they really wanted was to be the musical shamans
that they were born to be.  Look at Elvis.  Poor bastard.  Morrison.  Kurt
Cobain (sorry fuck didn't last more than 10 minutes).  Michael Jackson (I
predict suicide for him).  On and on.  Sure, there are plenty who have
survived, but look at most of them.  Basket cases!  We make such monsters
out of them.  And then expect them to be model people while they are
supposed to keep us endlessly entertained.  We forget that they are people,
like all of us.  We beg, borrow and steal to get a piece of their soul, but
do we ever stop to think, what if it was us?  What if it was any of you in
that position, in that pain?  "It's every generation throws another hero up
the pop chart" (Paul Simon, Boy In The Bubble, from that absolutely
incredible album Graceland that everyone here delights in feeling self
righteous about hating.  Wanna be Paul Simon for a day?  How 'bout Andy

Here's my point.  Andy was on the train, and he bailed.  Right when it
mattered most.  English Settlement had them poised to finally crack the
'big time,' and throw them fully into the monster making machine.  Andy saw
it, and his instinct for survival clicked inside him, and he threw on the
brakes.  More than stage fright or anything else, this was it.  He realized
it would probably kill him, as intense as he is, so he put on his parachute
and jumped the diving plane.  Their whole career since has continued only
for two things - the equity they built prior to the bailout, and their,
especially Andy's unstoppable talent.  Andy couldn't simply not do music,
he was firmly in the demon's grip.  So they became the next Beatles, the
next Steely Dan, the next non-touring wunderkinds.  To our fortune,

Colin, after the crash, could have written his own ticket.  He could have
left Andy, the band could have ended right then and there, and XTC would be
long ago history.  It was that close.  But he didn't!  Why?  Because he was
probably feeling the same!  He'd been married for a while, had a growing
family, and was probably nearly as burned out.  They had been at it for a
while, so he was probably willing to go along with the change.  And it
suddenly occurred to me tonight that that's what he has been gently telling
us in his most recent offerings!  He would rather be bored at dinner
parties or tending his fruit or fighting with his wife than be touring in a
rock and roll suicide circus.  Both of them.  Colin has become the reality
anchor so that Andy can do what he does best, and has no choice to do
because he was born that way.  And still have something resembling a normal

XTC is a statement not just for the state of music in general, but also for
the media monster maker machine that kills the thing we supposedly love.
How do you make a proper living being an artist, doing what you do best,
what you must do by nature, without selling your soul and losing your mind?
Their plight, which is the plight of all artists, whichever road they
chose, stands as a commentary to modern life.  No wonder Andy dreams of
rivers of orchids and farmboy weddings and harvest festivals.  No wonder he
warns us of last balloons and scarecrow people and murdered love.  No
wonder he frets that the truly good things will pass us by while the
maypole is unraveling and the rook awaits to reveal the secret behind the
semaphore of the washing line.  No wonder he wrote Peter Pumpkinhead (it
was about us, not Peter)!  No wonder he still lives in Swindon, of all
places he could be!  Burnt out, boarded up Swindon.

If he didn't, he might have been dead by now.  Or worse.  And wouldn't that


Thank you, XTC, for your most recent beautiful offering, and for all you've
given us.

Tom Kingston


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 20:51:23 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Wilsher <>
Subject: All You Nay-Sayers
Message-ID: <>

Unlike a lot of people on this list, I hadn't heard
the demos, and on May 22nd this became a new album
from XTC for me. I don't care when they wrote the
songs. I've listened to it many a time already
including practically non-stop on my Chester trip
(6-132), leavened by Chips and AV1. But I still think
it's too early to fit this into a "this is the
best/worst XTC album . . . ever!" category. I need an
album to be "old" and familiar before I can rate it. I
can say that some of the songs stand out, but the
others are probably slow burners that I will more than
likely come to love even more as time goes by. I'm not
giving hostages to fortune here by naming songs! I go
through this process with every album I buy  with a
band I like I'll buy an album unheard on the strength
of their previous work. If it's someone new (to me),
I've probably heard a few tracks. You've got to give
the rest of it a chance. OK, if it's a turkey, then
you never listen to it again. Those of you slating the
album should give it a few more listens before writing
it off! On the other side of the coin, those praising
it to the skies should also listen to it (the finished
version, not the demos) -- and the rest of XTC's
output -- a few more times before arriving at a
definite conclusion.

Rory "I'm the man who murdered the M6" Wilsher

p.s. Tom - congratulations on the birth of a
beautiful, baby post! ;-)


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 13:46:13 -0500
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: XTC and richard thompson
Message-ID: <l03130301b55868f2d85a@[]>

>Joshua, your poetic description of the Wheel And The Maypole sums up
>exactly how I feel about this track. On the first play of WS I was worried
>the album might pass me by after my love of AV1, but suddenly some lunatic
>is singing about dashing a pot to the ground and maypoles. In the UK
>maypole dancing is, I believe viewed with the same distain as Morris
>Dancing. Only XTC would celebrate something as English as this and that is
>why I love them now like I never have before. I now don't so much skip
>tracks as repeat the ones I love several times. I only hope that the
>instant tunes syndrome doesn't mean that I will tire of Maypole as is
>often the case.
>Finally I belive the big stick/ Aunt Sally's head couplet is a reference
>to scarecrows. There was a TV programme in the UK starring Jon Pertwee (of
>Doctor Who fame) in the 80's (can't remember its title) as a scarecrow
>whose female sidekick was called Aunt Sally. So I guess Andy is perhaps
>suggesting that scarecrows can get excited in his own smutty way!

  NOT only XTC! Richard Thompson and to some degree The Kinks as well are
just as good at celebrating things quintessentially English; it's actually
hurt them in their chances at mass American success on a consistent basis,
Thompson especially. He moved to LA, started spelling his albums the
American way(Rumor and Sigh)and he's still too English for most Americans.
This is why I'd love to see Richard and Andy collaborate sometime, they're
more kindred spirits than most of their respective fans realise. Might work
as a one-off, but especially with Colin and maybe John French(drummer,
ex-Captain Beefheart, and a highly undernoticed songwriter in his own
right), there'd be too many talented songwriters for it to last long. If
the result ever performed live, though, I can just hear RT's spidery guitar
lines on, say, anything from "Respectable Street" to TMWML.

Christopher R. Coolidge

Homepage at


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 14:47:30 -0700 (PDT)
From: pancho artecona <>
Subject: El cd esta cabron!
Message-ID: <>

I'm stupidly happy.....I've got Wasp Star!

A great album methinks. Its about joy (Andy) and about
being ordinary (Colin).
Ironically, it is Colin who best captures the cotidian
aspects that Andy has always wanted to achieve (eg his
always trying to write his own Autumn Almanac). But
Andy is jamming with the cosmos, he's all light
indeed. Basking in the stratosphere and grounded to
the earth at the same time. WOW! Sublime!

And yes, I miss Gregsy's contributions but then again
I hated my parent's divorce even though I knew it was
for the best. The Maypole just keeps on going round
and round.

Anyway, that's my 2 bits. I will not bore you any

KUDOS to Mr. Bernhart. That was a lovely interview
Todd! I just enjoyed all of your questions. I love the
image of Andy sitting around figuring out Foo
Fighter's songs for Holly.

Old great bands.....The Swell Maps or anything by Epic
Soundtracks and Jowe Head.....This Heat....The Slits
and of course, The Silicon Teens.

Finally, I just learned that Captain Beefheart's
original name was Don Vliet. He added the Van later in
his career so I guess Ron is off the hook. Just two
synchronous synesthetes.



Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 21:12:29 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Wilsher <>
Subject: Aunt Sally
Message-ID: <>

Pledge wrote:

"Finally I belive the big stick/ Aunt Sally's head
couplet is a reference to scarecrows. There was a TV
programme in the UK starring Jon Pertwee (ofDoctor Who
fame) in the 80's (can't remember its title) as a
scarecrow whose female sidekick was called Aunt Sally.
So I guess Andy is perhaps suggesting that scarecrows
can get excited in his own smutty way!"

You refer, of course, to Wurzel Gummidge.

But I prefer Alan Welby's explanation (6-132). From my
Shorter OED: Aunt Sally: a game in which players throw
sticks or balls at a wooden dummy. Figurative: an
object of unreasonable attack.

Hence, the naming of the character Aunt Sally in
Wurzel Gummidge was derived from the previous meaning.

No mention of geography in the SOED. I'd guess that it
was probably more widespread in the past, but is now
confined to rural areas. A similar thing has happened
to shove-ha'penny, bat and trap etc. which are still
played in pub leagues in rural areas -- Kent
especially, but probably elsewhere too.

Rory "Running out of (allegedly) witty aphorisms"


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 16:09:44 -0400 (EDT)
From: Dave Rutherford <>
Subject: XTC Survey, Andy interview, HMV
Message-ID: <Pine.GSO.4.21.0005291501030.16015-100000@esun1006>

Hi Chalkers!

My HMV preorder for Wasp Star was shipped May 19 from Toronto, but
still has not reached me here in Connecticut.  Oh, the pain, the
pain.  If I hadn't ordered four copies, I'd certainly have gone
out and bought another retail; but as it is, I wait, I wait...

To fill the empty hours, I've caught up on all my old digests.
One recent thread involved albums, personal favorites of the posters',
which each poster felt were "generally underrated by most people."
Is this an illusion?  Are some albums really generally underrated
or underappreciated?  Let's find out.

Point your browsers, please, to
and participate in a short survey.  This survey attempts to answer
the question, more or less scientifically, and will run for several
months so that anyone behind in their digests can stil participate.

There is no link to this survey from any other page on my site --
you have to know it's there by reading it here.  Links from other
XTC-related web pages would be OK, but this is intended to be seen
only by XTC fans.

While you're surfing, you might want to check out this Andy interview
which I transcribed for last week.  Plenty of groovy
Andy wit to be found.

Thanks to Jane Spencer-Davis for lending me the tape of the interview.


As long as I'm writing -- and I hate to do this -- I have to pass along
a warning.  Back in March 1999, I made some Smile CD-Rs available to
this list.  One of the recipients was Shawn Berkeley; but, although
he promised prompt payment, he never did follow through.  Chalkers beware.

Cheers, enlightenment & XTC,


Date: Mon, 29 May 2000 21:21:54 -0400
From: MinerWerks <>
Subject: Tell Me What You Hear
Message-ID: <a04310100b54efc00e393@[]>

hey-lo all...

Just wanted to let everyone know that there is going to be a
listening party for Wasp Star this Wednesday night (in the US - see
below for international time). Yes, this is still the same series of
listening parties that Molly started a few months back, but this is
what we've all been waiting for since the beginning!

So if you just have to share your thoughts on the latest XTC
masterpiece, we in the regular Wednesday night group would love to
hear some new voices!

The service is Talk City, at You can come as a
visitor or you can fill out a simple form and become a member with a
username. We will meet Wednesday night at 10 pm eastern (7 pm
pacific, 4 pm in Hawaii, 11:30 am or 12:00 pm Thursday morning in
Australia [or 10:00 am in Perth, what's up with that?], 11 am
Thursday in Japan, 4am Thursday in Germany, 3 am Thursday in the
UK)... Just about anyone around the world reading Chalkhills should
be able to figure out what time the listening party takes place from
this information. I think I adjusted time properly for all areas,
corrections are welcome!

How it works: We get together at a little before the
start of the party in the room "xtclisteningparty" (one word, no
spaces, no quotation marks), with our CDs in a nearby CD player (your
computer is a good choice, but I sometimes listen on my stereo and
take my PowerBook to the living room)... then around the start time,
we count down and everyone starts their CD player at the same time.
Then we're all listening to the same thing at pretty much the same
time. We've had some cassette users before, but just a warning - they
go out of sync pretty quickly! I don't know if anyone has Wasp Star
on cassette,though...

So, if you're free at the time of the party, drop in and chat with us
about the new album!

= Derek =
aka MinerWerks


Date: Sun, 28 May 2000 15:17:43 -0400
From: Jeff Eason <>
Subject: WS/Christmas/Poor Prairie
Message-ID: <>

Hello again,

I must say that after about ten listenings Wasp Star is really starting to
grow on me. I especially like We're All Light, ITMWML, and Playground. I
can't say that Colin's songs do much for me which is a shame 'cause I
always thought he was underrated as a tunesmith. I've gotta agree with the
folks that say that SIFJ is too close to "Barrytown" for comfort. That was
the first thought I had when I heard it and I hadn't even seen a posting
mentioning the Steely Dan song yet.
But as I said, the album continues to reveal new charms with each listen.
If I have one main gripe about Wasp Star it would be the mishandling of two
fine drummers. Both Chuck and Prairie sound as if they were overcoached on
what to play and the tracks have that sound that makes the drums sound like
they were recorded last. I mean, Prairie Prince is a monster. Listen to his
work on "My Life in the Bush of Ghosts" or on any of the pre-1980 Tubes
records. Boys, buy a drum machine if that's what you want. Only on Maypole
do I hear anything resembling inspired drumming.
But maybe that's just me...

A big tip of the sombrero to John who corrected my mistake about Christmas
and the Ultraprophets of the Psykick Revoltion. I guess that's what happens
when you buy used CDs that aren't alphabetized correctly. Thanks, again.

Heard Andy and Colin on NPR this morning talking about the new album. They
seemed very at ease with the whole "delivering a new baby album" process
this time. Does anybody know when the boys will be on Late Night with Conan
O'Brien? I heard early June but could find no confirmation...

As always: Don't sweat the petty things and don't pet the sweaty things.

Jeff in Appalachia.


Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 01:37:09 -0700
From: "Radiosinmotion" <>
Subject: Andy @
Message-ID: <003101bfca12$3ed91760$0200a8c0@digitalpc>

Are you all going to be there?  Or, I guess if this comes to late, did you
all go?  Hopefully we get in some good questions.  If you don't know what I
am talking about, Andy will be at doing a chat 2PM
Pacific Time.  Thanks to TVT for setting this up. (no really, thanks!)

As Brett Reeves always says:

"So shines a good deed in a dark world" -Willy Wonka


Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 09:32:18 -0400
From: "Cheryl" <>
Subject: Carried away on a wave of colour
Message-ID: <001301bfca3b$7a823ca0$>

Hi Gang,

Annamarie applied (and I replied...):
>So, I hereby apply for adoption into this family.
Annamarie, welcome!  You will find on this list that not all posters and
lurkers are old time fans.  You will find many that have recently discovered
the wonder of XTC.  Matured and young alike.

>The short, pitiful, sad story is I became addicted to XTC JUST THIS
>YEAR. Ok, bear with me. I'm 20 years behind. But I'm doing my best to
>catch up.
No that's not sad!  Good for you!  We all walked different paths to arrive
at this place, but here we are at last!

Regarding colour and XTC:
It took me awhile to really get into this thread and I was having trouble at
first understanding what everyone was talking about, but then that light
bulb came on.  I remember when I was immersed in Nonsuch that
each time "That Wave" came on, swirls of brilliant colours would swim
my head.  They were very insistent and even formed an image that I had to
put to paper.  So I did.  In a day I produced an oil pastel piece that
brought the colours out of my head and I could 'look' at That Wave.  Around
this time, I had discovered "The Little Express" and I submitted my piece
which graced the back cover on the next issue. The only problem was the
issues were printed in Black and white so the piece lost most of it's
effect.  It flowed and twisted in shades of grey instead of the electric
blues, reds, greens and purples. :)  I was very grateful they thought it
good enough to be included in the issue none the less.
I had never been swept off on a wave of colour induced by music that way.
And really haven't since.

>From: "Simon Sleightholm" <>
So... *so* glad to see you grace this digest once again!!!  The world is
right again!
I missed seeing your name here.  :)
Love you my friend!

Take care all,


Date: Tue, 30 May 2000 10:53:42 +0200
Subject: Party and Apple Venus Collection
Message-ID: <>

Hi All!

First of all I want to thank Mark for the great time I had at his Wasp
Start Launch Party last saturday!
There were drinks and snacks, we heard WS (at high volume, no neighbors
complaining :), WS demo's, we saw exclusive video footage (but don't think
that looking at the back of Haydn Bendall's head for a few hours is that
much fun)  There were more exclusive tracks played and a lot of
XTC-rarities were carefully held in hands.
Thanks Mark, and sorry we forgot to help with the washing-up ;-)

This week I started thinking about how AV1 and WS could be combined in a
single (double) album (since that was the original plan). I felt it
couldn't be done due to the different nature (both the 'sound' and the
instrumentation) of both albums. Of course, I tried anyway, aiming at a
single disc to play in the car.  Since I knew I *had* to drop a few songs
anyway, I also dropped some favorites so I will still be forced to play
the original albums. Anyway, here's my preliminary order:
Playground / I'd Like That / In Another Life / Easter Theatre / Stupidly
Happy / Knights in Shining Karma / My Brown Guitar / Fruit Nut / Your
Dictionary / I'm the Man Who Murdered Love / Greenman / We're All Light /
Frivolous Tonight / Standing In For Joe / You And The Clouds Will Still Be
Beautiful / Church of Women / Harvest Festival

As you can see, I did try to maintain the original 'flow' of both albums,
but with some surprises. As you can also see, The Wheel And The Maypole is
not included, but as I said: that doesn't mean it's no favorite (I always
wanted to have an AV that ended with Harvest Festival).

Okay, I hope at least some of you enjoyed that. Now here's to hoping that
ITMWML gets a proper release (so I can get my hands on it).



End of Chalkhills Digest #6-142

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