Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-149

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 149

                  Saturday, 3 June 2000


         Introducing Colin Moulding on Guitar....
                    HUP ! HUP ! HUP !
          Re: Why Does MTV Have To Suck So Much?
                       dont hit me.
                     Wasp Star in DC
                 dancing in the moonlight
                      bugged buggre
          The Lock Upon My Garden Gate's a Snail
          Making plans for "You and the Clouds"
                Skipping Skipping Skipping
                       XTC feature
                     Re: School Photo
                    Re: UK Chart News
                   video trade blunder
                    listen the second
                        Hey Vern!
            Wasp Star, and a complete analysis
                Chicago Gathering 6/7/2000
Can you throw 'em over your shoulder like a continental soldier?


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A different kind of tinsel / Decorates my tree.


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 07:08:34 -0700 (PDT)
From: Jon Rosenberger <>
Subject: Introducing Colin Moulding on Guitar....
Message-ID: <>

Allo Chalkizens

First of all a hearty THANK YOU! to Todd Bernhardt for doing those
interviews with the guys. I enjoyed them all. Great Job Todd!

 From chalk 145.... TB thus spake..

"RNV (may I call you R?) quoted from my interview w/Andy, talking about
who played guitar. Mitch, correct me if I'm wrong, but I think Colin
played guitar on his songs, while Andy played all guitar on his own
songs (and perhaps added some to Colin's). To quote--

AP: Yeah, probably. It's literally just the three of us in any given
combination, mostly. I'm getting to do all the guitar -- or most of
the guitar, Colin's playing guitar on a few things -- and, you know,
he's on bass and we're both doing bits of keyboard."""

Thanks Todd!! It was my initial post that RNV was disputing. I thought
I had read that in the Colin interview and dissected it to prove my
point but searched in vain for the right quote. Thanks for finding the
relevant Andy paragraph and proving my point.

Also in chalk 145 Brain Matthews had the gall to dispute the "three
things we didn't know about Wasp Star" post from Mitch.

Hey Brian! in cased you missed it, Mitch was relating things that Andy
said, not things that Mitch himself perceived about Wasp Star.

You are arguing with the man who wrote and recorded the songs about his
thoughts on his own music. I am sure Andy is happy to know that it is
all "Ok" though cause you said so. He is sleeping much better!

Again TB said it very well in 145

"Furthermore (last rant), what's with people giving Andy "advice" via
the list? My god, what arrogance. Tell you what -- write, record and
release some songs that even approach XTC's worst, and maybe I'll
listen, eh?  Something tells me Andy won't, though. Thank goodness."


Yes I know I am yelling. I meant to!

I also agree with Todd's point about play by play disecctions of Wasp
Star. I just page down immediately.

Kingtunes....Me thinks thy verbosity is done oer much, and by this I
intend to say that "You type superfluosly".

To end on a positive note....
(Sorry to be such a grouch but I have been bottling up some of these
things for a while)

I have a question for the group and particularly for Peter, Simon,
Mitch or Richard if perhaps you could mention it to Andy if you speak
to him.

If AV1 and WS were released as a single unit would the running order
have remained the same or would it have been altered a bit?

I have been intrigued by some of the recent running orders I have seen
posted here. And I wonder if given the circumstances Andy and Colin
mightn't have made some changes to the order given a bigger (perhaps
wider is a better term) canvas on which to apply their paint.

I won't give my thoughts on the subject yet I am still mulling it over.

Cheers All


PS: Oh yes by the way I think Wasp Star is very nice. I especially like
the little drum fill that immediately follows the second time Andy
sings "You and the wheel turn" at the beginning of Wheel and the
Maypole. It just really sets things up nicely for the big "And if the
Pot won't hold...."  I get shivers every time I hear it.


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 09:05:53 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: HUP ! HUP ! HUP !
Message-ID: <>

well , something that I felt I must answer/plug...maby
I 'll get to it before Jen Ralston, another big fan!!

<<Reminds me of groups like Wonderstuff who were also
a <<really good group (I heard they came out with an
<<album without Miles on it... What?!

OK...It's been driving me nuts (not being funny)
everytime I see WASP STAR refered to as WS I'm
naturally thinking of my top 5 fave
bands besides XTC.  Just a quick's Miles
putting out material without the rest of the lads.   ,
Thanks to my good friends at GIG records, Miles has
been on three tours and released 2 discs and is
finishing a 3rd at present. ((Besides the short lived
VENT 414 project)) For all you WONDERSTUFF fans,there
is a brillint live album done accoustically with Malc
Treece that is a must have!  Check the GIG website for
info on Miles.  (Currently touring in the U.K.)
Brilliant stuff kids!





Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 12:10:35 EDT
Subject: Re: Why Does MTV Have To Suck So Much?
Message-ID: <>

>Well, why do they?  If only they could have one good
>program for people like us who like intelligent pop
>music. Maybe put it on at three in the morning so we
>could tape it even.  XTC, Robyn Hitchcock, Tom Waits,
>Elliot Smith, Elvis Costello, Wilco etc. instead of
>Kid Rock for just an hour or two weekly would be SO

Ahhhh....harken back to the days of "120 minutes "(back in the mid-80s).
Midnight on Sunday....taped for Monday and purchased the latest at the
record store by Tuesday.  Those were the days.  MTV is a load of crap!  I'm
sure I haven't even watched more than ten minutes in the past two years.
Unfortunately it looks like VH1 is starting to head down the same road.  I
think it has to do that it is part of the MTV media giant wing and also
splitting demographics and some lame-brained marketing research based
manifesto.  There...I feel a little better.

>On another note.....the first half of 2000 has almost
>come and gone.  What are the best albums so far, and
>what are YOU listening to?

Well obviously Wasp Star, but otherwise for the new stuff:
Elliott Smith - Figure eight
Pete Townshend's - Lifehouse (the elements are available at your local
Barnes & Noble).
Crowded House - Afterglow
The Who - BBC Sessions
The Small Faces - BBC Sessions
The Chords - So Far Away (reissue).

Phil C.


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 12:50:45 EDT
Subject: dont hit me.
Message-ID: <>

Dear chalkhillians,

As this is my first ever posting on this hallowed turf, I thought I would
kick off with a few gentle words.
Firstly Colin Moulding seems to have taken all the comments about his ability
to write about things close to home, to heart, and he has trying too hard to
be 'English'. I agree that all his most recent stuff is very homely and about
his immediate enviroment etc etc but and this is the rub my friends, Colins
lyrics simply lack the poetry/the insight to make what he writes about
interesting. IMHO it is the Nick Hornby syndrome. For example that talentless
tosser writes about relationships, women, having children etc etc but he
fails to say one enlightening thing about any of them. And  Colin is doing
the same. With Boarded Up he just uses tired old images of what a dead end
town is like. Nothing leaps out and strikes you as 'oh yes, I never would
have described/thought of it like that'. It's just one cliched image after
And to top it all, he seems to have forgotten to write tunes and got stuck in
a dreary,trudgy rhythm. And what is really scarey is that he seems to have
lost the charm that his songwriting had on Skylarking say. But hey that's
only 15 years ago.
He should stop thinking he is the answer to Ray Davies leave the
'Englishness' to those who do it best ie Martin Newell and concentrate on
writing a decent pop song.
    kind regards


ps  3 stars for wasp star is about right.


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 13:21:09 -0400
From: "DuBray, Dan" <>
Subject: Wasp Star in DC
Message-ID: <>

Sorry, Peter, about your problem with Kemp Mill Records in DC.  I called
Olsson's in Arlington on the afternoon of the 23rd and they held the last
limited edition in the store for me until I got off work.  It made me very
happy that I didn't go to Tower at midnight the previous evening to
purchase a single-less version.  I've made a decision to buy all my music
from Olsson's in the future.  I had a nice conversation about XTC with the
clerk there who was a fan of AV1 and earlier recordings.  He seemed very
pleased to connect with another fan.

Now if we could only get WHFS to play it we'd get some traction.

Dan DuBray


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 11:28:58 -0600
From: "Joseph Easter" <>
Subject: dancing in the moonlight
Message-ID: <000901bfccb8$09c1ae40$bd821c3f@default>

Whoever said a couple of issues back that WS is a summer album was dead on.
I'm not sure why so many of you find it necessary to post critical analysis
rather than herald the end of a dark time for fans of XTC. We know XTC can
dominate high end art pieces (AV 1), and now we see they haven't lost their
touch for more popular mass media.

This album makes me laugh and sing and sometimes sulk silently seeking
hidden meanings in the verse. When I hear TWATM, at the moment when the two
songs mesh, it's all I can do to kep from jumping up at work and kissing
whoever has the great fortune to be within my midst (mist?). You pills
should relax and spend less time writing and more time enjoying one of the
last best bands.

Being a XTC fan in Helena, MT, USA is lonely work. Keep writing.

Joseph Easter


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 11:01:41 -0700 (PDT)
From: nross <>
Subject: bugged buggre
Message-ID: <>

Anyways, I'm back. Couldn't stop being curious about what was being
said on the list.

Whats this about no more demos? Or are ya'll gonna make me go back in
the archives and look for meself.

The demos didn't ruin my appreciation of Wasp Star.
Actually, I like the "overproduced fluff" better.

How anyone could consider The Wheel and the Maypole "fluff" I'll never
understand. That is the most philosophical and beautifully arranged song
ever made.

What made me rejoin the list before I graduated (I had planned on
returning after I was done writing the darn thesis)?

Molly's post to the nay sayers.


Dunno... it was just so vintage Molly that I missed the list ever so.

Yeh, its all opinion, and people will think WS is fluff. Whatever. Its
selling better and its enjoyable. SO...


-Nicole the wonderful the magnificent the... well all so glowing.

Nicole's internet music station:


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 14:14:20 EDT
Subject: The Lock Upon My Garden Gate's a Snail
Message-ID: <>

Wasp Star just entered the Gavin A3 chart at #20 (38 reports, 5 adds (most
this week), and 360 spins, all of which, as I understand the
pointy-hat-and-crystal-ball world of radio-airplay-ratings, makes it a Hot
Record. (


> From: "Joel Enbom" <>
>  Subject: Harrison? I'm waiting...

>  So, please, Harrison, help my out.  I think I'm getting it.  I want to
>  hear what you have to say, though.  I'll chime in again, afterward.

Oh, like, don't put the pressure on or anything, Joel!

Honestly, folks, I don't think there's a single elegant unifying theme
underlying the sequencing of Wasp Star, the way the nature/love themes
alternated in AV1. While Wasp Star certainly revisits the themes of AV1,
barring a few amusing sequencing choices (Standing In for Joe/Wounded Horse
being the obvious one) I don't detect the same sort of pattern that was so
prominent on the earlier record. To ask Wasp Star to tell a *story* in any
linear sort of way, the way AV1 does, is forcing matters.

However, I think one thing has occasionally gotten lost in folks' initial
reaction to Wasp Star, and I think it might help if we bear it in mind when
assessing the album: It can't in any way be separated from Apple Venus
Volume 1 and treated as an independent entity. Remember that the
Orchoustic/Eclectric conception, planned for years, was the very thing that
tore Dave Gregory away from XTC, so strongly did he feel that it shouldn't
be done in the way it was done. (Remember also that there were apparently
insurmountable budgetary reasons for it as well.)

I think that taken as a whole, the Apple Venus double album might be
thought of as a detailed meditation on Masculinity--on what it means to be
a Man in every respect: the spiritual, the sexual, the social, the
intellectual. Look at how many male archetypes are explored: the God, the
Father, the Lover, the Protector, the Friend, the Enemy, the Citizen, the
Narcissist, the Adulterer, the Cuckold. Songs like Easter Theater and
Church of Women, while directly about women, deal with them only from the
point of view of men--sympathetic men, to be sure, liberated, benevolent
men--but hey: the whole point of churches is to worship the Other.

While I don't discern a meaningful internal pattern to the songs on Wasp
Star, it's plain that many songs on the later collection reflect and
comment on the earlier. In particular, it's interesting to consider the end
songs, The Last Balloon and The Wheel and the Maypole, as a reflecting
pair.  Remember how AV1 ended, the sequence I Can't Own Her, Harvest
Festival and The Last Balloon each exploring loss and decay: The profoundly
adult insight that the greatest act of love is to grant freedom to your
beloved (ICOH), leads to the achingly sad moment of nostalgia in Harvest
Festival (I still frequently lose the fight against the trembling lip and
the misty eye during this one, more than a year later), which in turn leads
to a rueful dirge of resignation to inevitable decay and death, with the
cold comfort that perhaps future generations might be happier than we.

Compare that, then, to the last three songs of Wasp Star, all of which in
their way are celebrations of the here-and-now, a way of fending off death
by living fully in the moment, be it through carnal love (You & the
Clouds), love of the Other (Church of Women), or reverence for the very
process of life and death itself (Wheel & Maypole).

There are two tensions going on in The Wheel and the Maypole: first we have
the female principle (the Wheel, the circle, the nurturing impulse that
"raises the living," Yin) and then the male principle (the Maypole, the
straight line, the rational impulse, Yang). The other tension is between
order and decay, between the urge to build and admire what one has built,
and the despair caused by the inevitable destruction of one's works. This
is, of course, a tension associated with the rational principle, and is
precisely what the Buddhists mean when they warn us that all suffering is
caused by desire.

So why does Andy sound so happy when he sings "Of course it all unweaves!"?
Because now, after this 22-chapter exploration of what it means to be a
Man, to be an actor in the Big Square World, to be a builder and a drawer
of straight lines (an architect, forsooth!), to fight death through acts of
construction and rationalization and acquisition, he understands that the
bravest act of manhood is to Not Be a Man.

The Third Noble Truth: _Nirodha_: The cessation of Desire. The ties that
bind you will unwind...

The Last Balloon, for all its acceptance of inevitability, lacks this final
insight: that happiness is actually possible in this life, even in the face
of death. When the Wheel and the Maypole become one, when the male and
female halves of our souls are balanced and serene, death becomes
immaterial. When striving ceases, True Love can begin.


>>  [ Britney claims they're real.  -- John ]

Shakyamuni claims they're illusions. From Touching-Earth position, The
Master inquires puckishly, What is the sound of one gland flapping?

First there is no mountain.

Then there are two mountains.

Then there is.

Harrison "Then there is the urge to put the face between the mountains and
go BRRRRRRRRR" Sherwood


Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 12:35:53 PDT
From: "Jason Garcia" <>
Subject: Making plans for "You and the Clouds"
Message-ID: <>


Does anyone know if "You and the Clouds Will Still Be Beautiful" is going
to be a single?  I've had it earmarked as The Single since I first heard
the demo wayyyyy back in 1996.  It should have been the first, IMO.



Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 15:21:43 -0400
From: "Kirk Gill" <>
Subject: Skipping Skipping Skipping
Message-ID: <>

What struck me right off the bat with Wasp Star was how much it seemed like
a seamless follow-up to Nonsuch, without all the overfluffed crap that I
hated on that record. The production values are different, but I think you
could put "Ugly Underneath" or "Books Are Burning" or "Smartest Monkeys" on
Wasp Star and musically they'd fit right in.

In fact, this is the first XTC record in a long time that doesn't have a
tune on it that I skip almost every time. Thank god for CD's, or I'd have
to actually listen to "Bungalow" or "Holly Up On Poppy."

Now, don't rage on me if those are your favorite songs. That's great, for
you. Maybe there's someone out there that skips "Wake Up" or "Scarecrow
People" or "Train Running Low on Soul Coal," or.......I could go on. But
I'm glad that Andy and Colin (who I presumptuously refer to by their first
names despite the fact that I've never had the pleasure of meeting either
of them) don't make their music with the idea of trying to please everyone
all the time. There's plenty of other artists out there who qualify in the
"McDonalds of Music" category.

I was hypercritical of AV1 when it came out, not because the songs weren't
strong, but because the wait for them had been so long. It's like going to
a restaurant, waiting an interminable amount of time for your order, then
finding out that the chef made your favorite dish a little differently than
you're used to. But now I find that I listen to that record more and more,
as little by little I've gotten over myself.

"So be good, and never poison people"



Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 15:39:57 -0500
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: XTC feature
Message-ID: <>

Not that it matters in the slightest, but XTC is today's (Friday) featured
artist on the Mr. Showbiz/Wall of Sound conglomerate of websites. Go to if you're interested (and if you get this in time).
The bio is up to date and there's a link to a pretty good WS review.

Dan W


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 23:07:23 +0200
From: "Mark Strijbos" <>
Subject: Re: School Photo
Message-ID: <>

Dear Chalkers,

Many many thanks to Kirk Gill for sharing his "find" with us:

> "She was the May Queen, and I was the May King," he said. And there,
> just behind the royal couple, holding what looks to be a maypole, is
> one Andy Partridge. Fantastic !

This is indeed fantastic, what a discovery! This is the kind of stuff
that will keep serious XTC scholars occupied for a couple of
centuries - if they do get the post-humous recognition i've always

BTW: this kind of picture is usually distributed throughout a class,
right? so it could very well have been the direct inspiration if Andy
or his Mum still has a copy too

yours in xtc,

Mark S. @ the Little Lighthouse


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 22:28:18 +0100 (BST)
From: Rory Wilsher <>
Subject: Re: UK Chart News
Message-ID: <>

AAAAAARRRRRGGGGHHHHHH!!!!!! (No Thugs... noise)

Sorry for the curt-sounding message on this -- due to
the time-delay on posting to the list, LOADS of people
sent this information and it MAY have sounded like I
was correcting people in a very terse fashion! By the
time this gets on I'll probably be a torched cinder!
Apologies all!

(Oh! It's the middle of the post!)

Belinda Blanchard and Jemiah(6-146): all I can say
is...don't write WS off so quickly. Keep listening to
it. At first I was "Disappointed", but every time I
listen I find something new, and the more I listen,
the more I hear and get. And I know I still haven't
reached the end of the journey. Trust me (and everyone
else): it IS worth the effort!

Rory "Oh! It's the middle of my name!" Wilsher


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 17:21:12 EDT
Subject: video trade blunder
Message-ID: <>

Rockets (From A Bottle):

Sorry to take up space with this.

I'm in the middle of a trade with one of you fine chaps which involves me
sending you a good many videos.  I've put most of them together but have
misplaced your email address.  Please contact me ASAP.

Sorry (to him and all of you)



Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 16:01:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: jemiah <>
Subject: listen the second
Message-ID: <>

As I had anticipated, the album has grown on me - but in record time; by
the time the disk was over for the second run-through I was having
arguments with myself about which track I like the best.

Yeah, pretty much flawless... if anything it suffers from its lack of
flaws; there's no slippage, no wrong notes, no problems, no dubious
lyrics... it's like pudding.

Now I s'pose my life's work will be trying to acquire that bonus CD...
without actually having to deal with someplace like Ebay.

"People don't wanna see someone wrestling with their soul!" - Barton Fink


Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 13:24:25 -1000
From: "Jim Smart" <>
Subject: Hey Vern!
Message-ID: <>
Organization: 3Tripper

Thanks for the Vernal / Spring idea. I swear, the people on this list
can answer any question. Strength in numbers and all that. But do you
think the band considered the seasons when deciding what to name the
albums? Autumn Vernal and Winter Summer? 6 letters in each word....and
Apple Venus has 5 in each word, and Wasp Star has you think
this influenced their choices?

"It's taken until the fifth listen, but "Wasp Star" has finally
clicked.  I became aware when I started getting goosebumps in places I
never got them before"

John, you should see a doctor about that.

Here's an idea for helping XTC to promote Wasp Star:

I found my local rock/alt radio station's web page (I guess everything
has a web page now). I e mailed each DJ individually, asking them to
play something from the new XTC album. I started by praising their
work on the air. A little butt-lickery never hurts. Try it in your
local region. Heck, we could all do that to each other's stations, I
suppose. I'll also be calling in requests most days for the next
couple of weeks.

Speaking of promoting, I'd like to recommend my band 3Tripper one more
time here on the hallowed hills of chalk. For power pop songs with
loud guitars and thrashing drums on some songs, gentle pianos and
acoustic guitars on others, and soaring harmonies throughout, please
visit It would be great if you could give
a few listens to the song "Mister". We are trying to push is as the
single, and if you can help drive it into the top 40, more folks are
likely to give it a try. Thanks!

Jim "Now back to your regular yadda yadda" Smart


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 16:42:00 -0700 (PDT)
From: "d. Taylor Singletary" <>
Subject: Wasp Star, and a complete analysis
Message-ID: <>

This is going to be hard to write.
I first came into XTC through Oingo Boingo by buying
Go2. Loved it.
Years later Apple Venus 1 came out.
Bought it. Listened to it while on acid.
It was cosmic. I liked everything but the two Colin
songs. In fact, I very rarely like Colin's songs.
Then I bought Skylarking. Loved most of it, but hated
Colin's songs except for Grass.
Then I bought Oranges & Lemons, which I liked for the
most part, but it took awhile.
I bought English Settlement... Liked many songs, but
the b-sides for the most part were crappy. Ball &
Chain to me is insepid crap.
I loved most of nonsuch.
Now, after buying almost all the albums [yes mummer
and big express (expres I HATED)] I have a love/hate
rel. with XTC. Sometimes Andys voice is so annoying
and unhonest. Often his lyrics are clever, but
sometimes they fall under the category of being too
obviously dumb. His extended metaphors at times are a
bit too extended and obvious. I read a lot of poetry
and therefore criticize this stuff often.
Bought Wasp Star. Returned it the same day I bought
it.  I came to the conclusion that it was an
embodiment of everything I've come to hate about XTC
and very little of what I love. [believe me there is
lots to love.]

Apple Venus 1 still gets plenty of play.
Thanks for listening.


Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 20:16:58 -0500
From: "Jamie Lowe" <>
Subject: Chicago Gathering 6/7/2000
Message-ID: <006201bfccf9$7e923fa0$6196243f@unlpm>

Chicago Chalkholders:

Come and get Stupidly Happy on XTC with your kindred spirits at the Red Lion
Pub, 2446 N. Lincoln, Weds. 6/7 at 6:30 Until 25 O'clock!

Don't Be a Poor Skeleton who doesn't step out...Otherwise, all of a sudden
it will be too late.



Date: Fri, 2 Jun 2000 20:16:51 EDT
Subject: Can you throw 'em over your shoulder like a continental soldier?
Message-ID: <>

Hi all--

Just a quick rejoinder this time

In a message dated 06/02/2000 6:48:02 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Debora writes:

> the question has to be asked, has Colin written any songs about his body
>  parts?>>
>  why, yes... that would be Fruit Nut(s)...
>  and you thought it was about gardening...

I've said it once and I'll say it again - "My Bird Performs" is Colin's
answer to Pink Thing. So there.

Melissa "hidden talents" Reaves


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