Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-169

         Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 169

                 Wednesday, 14 June 2000


                six degrees of separation
                 He sleeps with Iron Man
                      Stupidly Happy
                        Long words
                Phil/Moll/Funk/Mark & more
                     white horses ect
          Good Golly, Ms. Molly-contd. (no xtc)
             Incredible Album! - Apple Venus!
                  modern rock debauchery
              Stupidly Happy: simply catchy
                    Uh, Um, Er, Eh, Ah
                      Vee Tubeology
                  Thunder and Duncan :)
 more on musicals/moron musicals (sort of a strange tails
                  Nothing but the truth


I will be on vacation during the week of June 18.  Chalkhills will be
off the air during that week.  Enjoy your time off!

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    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

    Chalkhills is compiled with Digest 3.7b (John Relph <>).

Lionheart, a holy land invader.


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 11:29:58 -0700
From: "Victor Rocha" <>
Subject: six degrees of separation
Message-ID: <018301bfd565$6ae3f240$>

Hey gang, just a little useless trivia:

Jack O'Brien, the man who's directing Dave Yazbek's Full Monty also
directed the original production of Stephen Sondheim's Into The Woods.

BTW the Full Monty is going to Broadway after it's run at the Old
Globe in San Diego

Victor Rocha


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:32:31 -0700 (PDT)
From: Brown <>
Subject: He sleeps with Iron Man
Message-ID: <>

Sushiman shared this-

<<had a dream the other night starring andy ... we are in a car speeding down
the crowded daytime streets of a willimantic ( home town in ct ) / london
composite city  attempting to escape from a giant UFO robotoid monster in
the distance . this creature must have been 200 feet tall with a giant mouth
all opened up sucking in everything in its path with tornado power
inhalations . you could see the gears and other mechanics of the monster's
mouth grinding up cars and trucks and trees , and the inside of the mouth
was glowing bright yellow like the sun ...>>

Great dream, John.. how come I never dream about AP (or CM, for that matter)?

The last 'famous' person that showed up in one of my dreams was Yahoo
Serious.  Yeah, you heard right, Yahoo 'who-who?' Serious..

The dream went something like this.. Yahoo was in our back yard, pigging out
on our boysenberries and drinking something green.. when I asked him what
the hell he thought he was doing, he ignored me and proceeded to paint a
large red ant on the door of our garden shed... then it fades into some sort
of Buddy Holly riff..that's all I remember..

This sounds like a new, and possibly annoying thread.. whose well-known
mug(s) have starred in your dreams, Chalkers?  Remind me to tell you about
the one I had, involving Raymond Burr and a can of corn...

So what's Mr. Serious up to these days? Anybody?  I heard he was pumping
petrol at his very own service station, any truth to that?   the 80's...they
were the best of times, they were the worst of times..

--now for the appropriate XTC content--

 Everything about the instrumental arrangement, the rhythm guitar part, and
especially the crisp drum sound on We're All Light... I defy you to not
shake your canteen during that number!

Love to all my sugarbeets,

Debora Brown

Maestro.. a little exit music, please?--
Gigaaantor...  Gigaaantor...  Gigaaaaa-aaantor...
Gigantor the space age robot,
he's at.. your command..
Gigantor the space-age robot,
his power is.. in your hand(s)..     -- sing along, damn you!..SING


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 12:09:39 -0700
From: Rich Bunnell <>
Subject: Stupidly Happy
Message-ID: <>
Organization: @Home Network

Hey people, stop dissing "Stupidly Happy." You're making me sad. (chorus
of people: "AWWWWWWWWWWWWW...") It's a repetitive song,, that's the point! The song wouldn't sound right if it
had a middle eight or a chorus or anything, and Andy handles the
one-chord thing a hell of a lot better than lots of other bands (the
afore-bashed Depeche Mode for one, with "I Feel You").

Rich Bunnell


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 15:45:53 -0400
Subject: Long words
Message-ID: <003001bfd56f$fdf8f260$f8e17ad1@default>

> Anyway...
> Quick English quiz:  What is the longest 4-letter word in the English
> Language?

I'm going to say "dude" (if it's being spoken by a college student, to wit:

-- Francis

"There is no drinking after you're dead."
   -- Paul Weller


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 17:17:15 EDT
Subject: Phil/Moll/Funk/Mark & more
Message-ID: <>


Holy shit Batman!  I leave my computer for a few days and return to a
deluge of Chalk-talk!  (chit chat chit chat) Here's my one, two, three,
four, five cents worth:

Love Phil's idea for a Stupidly Happy T-shirt, now all I need is a bumper
sticker with the words WE'RE ALL LIGHT plastered across it.  Anyone else
think this is a damn good idea?  I'd put one on my car.  Hmmmm, or I'd buy
a few hundred and spend a couple hours in the local mall parking lot on a
Saturday pasting them to the bumpers of cars which have probably never
experienced the thrill of having XTC ooze like napalm from their speakers
and grills.

"Molly , not very happy and has the right to be that way, and don't tell
her she can't"

Moll, my dear.  I don't usually dispense advise for free, (as if anyone
would pay me for advise), but this time I'll make an exception.  I think
that you would benefit from a little lesson my father taught me, in
between my daily beatings, at a young age.  He told me that anytime I get
the urge to purchase something I should wait at least a week prior to
doing so.  Many times over I've waited the week and found that my once
insatiable craving for some particular item, usually electronics, had
faded or morphed into a desire for something else, and so the week rule
would again come into play.  This has greatly aided me in life.  Many
times I've fought the impulse to chew someone's ass out over something,
waited a few days and decided that I was quite happy I'd kept my mouth
shut at the time because my emotions had dramatically changed in the
duration.  The best thing about this rule is that it will greatly diminish
the amount of times you have to say "I'm sorry."  Just advise Moll, no
harm intended.  Got nothin' but love for ya.

Colin, good.
Musicals, good.
Tossin' smokes from cars, punishable by public thrashings bad.

Thanks much to Joe Funk for the Pat Metheny quote.  I've already emailed
it to at least a dozen friends.  Pat rules.  Still, I too find it hard to
picture vulgarities spewing from the same laid back man in the sleepily
romantic Last Train Home vid.  Perhaps this is coming from the Ornette
Coleman side o Pat.


I hate to air my soiled laundry in public, but how long are we going to
let this little farce go on regarding my beloved Mark Strijbos and WOMEN?
Step back ladies, he's all mine.

Wes "yes, I'm carrying Mark's child and he's selling his illegal homemade
wares to ravers to support us, and HELL NO you can't touch my swollen
belly or our love child once it is born" LONG

Home of much XTC:


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 17:19:27 -0500
From: "Wiencek, Dan" <>
Subject: Colin
Message-ID: <>

MS wrote (famously):

> << 2. That SO MUCH praise is given to Colin's songs. Come on guys - his
>  stuff is personal, but it certainly isn't terrific music. His stuff
>  never gets released (maybe for a reason?) and, really now, couldn't an
>  amateur songwriter have written the "Standing in for Joe" lyrics (not
>  to mention just about every other one of his songs on the past few
>  discs.)

I don't think it unfair to say that Colin is not as verbally gifted as
Andy, nor does he have Andy's flair for startling, dramatic melodies. Who
does? To say that Colin, ounce for ounce, is not quite in Andy's league is
no insult.  I think XTC would be much poorer without Colin: an entire
album of Andy's bombastic richness, though a wonderful treat, would also
be a little tiring and, maybe, a little fake-sounding too. Colin provides
the same function as George Harrison did for the Fabs: he sounds like he
has to work at it more, and that gives his songs a grounding in the real
that Andy's more fanciful creations lack.

In fact, I'm surprised to find In Another Life becoming my favorite WS
track. It's sweet, smutty, and I would even say ... wise. It sounds like
the work of a man who has learned from life; not in the same way Andy's
stuff does (sure, who *doesn't* remember being bullied on the
playground?), but in a way altogether more personal and idiosyncratic.

Talking of these two songwriters' contrasting gifts makes me wish even
more that they would write together. Yes, I know all the stories about how
they tried to write together and it didn't work, so spare me the
recitation. I don't think they should (or could) sit down across from each
other and write eyeball-to-eyeball, but I would love to see them attempt
something in the later Lennon-McCartney mold, where one writer provides
the verse and chorus and the other writer offers the middle, or the outro
or what have you. (An "I've Got a Feeling"-style collaboration as opposed
to an "I Want to Hold Your Hand.") Is this so unreasonable? Like Lennon
and McCartney, Andy and Colin's styles complement each other perfectly:
Andy provides the confident, dramatic quality (Macca) whereas Colin
provides the less polished, human undercurrent (Lennon). I think a union
along these lines would be the perfect inauguration to the "new" era of
XTC, now that all the old strike-era material is out of the way. Oh, I
wish I wish I wish I wish ....

And while we're sort of on the topic, has anyone else noticed that Andy
really isn't audible on any of Colin's AV songs, either from Volume 1 or
2?  Colin provides a strong backing vocal presence on many if not most of
Andy's tracks, yet Andy doesn't seem to return the favor, whether by
accident or design. Come to think of it, Andy wasn't really audible on any
of Colin's Nonsuch tracks either, not like the great contributions he made
to all of his O&L songs. (I love the way Andy barks out "we're liv-IN'!"
on King for a Day.) Tell me I'm not mad ...

Dan W.


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 23:28:45 +0000
From: Jayne Myrone <>
Subject: white horses ect
Message-ID: <>

greetings Chalkhillers from the frozen North
- well this bit is.

Anyone who might be looking for a book on chalkhill figures
including the Uffington White Horse should try looking at this:

It includes this fascinating but probably useless fact:
"The Cerne {Abbas} Giant is one of the few pornographic images
sent regularly through the post without censorship."

Still happily stupid
Jayne the Worrier Queen

please take a minute & visit the site below.  By clicking on the donate
button money is given to the UN's World Food Programme.

"Nothing is meaningless if one likes to do it"
Gertrude Stein


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 16:09:38 -0700 (PDT)
From: Brown <>
Subject: Good Golly, Ms. Molly-contd. (no xtc)
Message-ID: <>

Hi-ho again,

Take a moment and consider this.. wouldn't Chalkhills be a dreary place
without Molly's voice?  Damn right it would.  I still mean what I said,
Moll.. don't feel sorry for yourself, just keep slinging the sh*t back..
there you go...  it feels good, doesn't it?

this is just por vou, Molly  :)

your fellow slinger,

Debora Brown

--now back to the beheadings!--


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 20:58:59 -0400
From: "Todd E. Jones" <>
Subject: Incredible Album! - Apple Venus!
Message-ID: <>

Imagine if you will, squabbling Chalksters, the following
less-than-74-minute CD:

1) Playground
2) You and the Clouds
3) Greenman
4) Wheel and the Maypole
5) Easter Theatre
6) We're All Light
7) I Can't Own Her
8) Harvest Festival
9) Church of Women
10) Knights in Shining Kharma
11) The Last Balloon

Would this (or some slight variation on it) not have been a truly brilliant
XTC album in the vein of Skylarking or Nonesuch?

I just found too much filler (see My Dictionary, Wounded Horse or Colin's
falling star) in the AV series to compete with their finer work. Sure, it's
XTC, so even on a sub-par album they are phenomenal, but let's hope they
shake off Dave's loss and refocus for AV3 (or whatever it'll be called).

I think Andy is a fine guitar player (I always knew he was), but he seems
to be looking for an appropriate role for himself on WS and can't quite
find it.


Todd Jones
Manager, Producer, Insect Massage Therapist, Janitor
HUGE sound generation and capture facility
Cape Fear River Basin, NC


Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 19:17:46 -0700 (PDT)
From: James Reimer <>
Subject: modern rock debauchery
Message-ID: <>

in a shameless move of self-promotion:

I am an accountant by day, but by the weekend and
nights I am a music junkie.  On saturdays from 12-4
central time I pretend I am college again and do my
old radio show.  And for further self-promotion as
well as paying homage to my favorite band, at 3
o'clock central time, I will play an entire hour of

you can listen to this worldwide at

and email me directly to vote for the tracks you wish
for me (and the world that's listening) to hear.



Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 22:28:56 -0500
From: "Larry Stevens" <>
Subject: Hello
Message-ID: <002e01bfd5b0$b46f0bc0$2bc6d4cc@oldbessie>

Greetings Chalkhills and list members,

I've just joined this list and would like to introduce myself as an XTC fan
since 1982, when a roommate played English Settlement for me.  I remember an
acquaintance had tickets for an XTC concert on the cancelled tour (I'll bet
he's still got those tickets).  XTC continues to be the soundtrack of my
life and I sing Playground to my baby daughter (isn't it great to hear Holly
singing with her dad?).

Perhaps a few people on this list met me at the XTC Music and Friends
Convention in Princeton, Illinois back in 1993.  I was graciously allowed to
do a short solo set of XTC material and another set with my band, The
Spoonbenders.  I think we did Ten Feet Tall, Optimism's Flames and
Funk-Pop-A-Roll.  What an honor for us!

I dutifully checked the FAQs to see if my burning question had already been
asked and found a couple of things.

First, Dave Gregory seems to have tipped everyone off to the backmasked
message at the end of "Mole From the Ministry" that I fancied I was the only
one who had decoded ("Go F... Yourself With Your Atom Bomb").  Another
musician friend of mine and I were suspicious so we sampled the sound and
reversed it and slowed it down to discover the message.

Second, FAQ #38 states that no XTC sheet music exists besides Eleven
Different Animals and some charts in The Little Express, but I have in my
possession published sheet music for Mayor of Simpleton.  I found it in the
sheet music section of a local music shop back when Oranges and Lemons was
released.  It's quite a bright and beautiful product.

In addition to the extremely rare Mayor of Simpleton sheet music, I have a
promo maxi-single of the Mayor of Simpleton with Ella Guru on Side 2, an
authentic Jules Verne Sketchbook and a copy of Chris Twomey's definitive
biography signed in gold pen by Andy, Colin and Dave (convention souvenir).
Priceless treasures!

I'm looking forward to hearing from the list.



Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 20:51:49 -0700 (PDT)
From: Bill Douglas <>
Subject: Stupidly Happy: simply catchy
Message-ID: <> wrote:
> Subject: Stupidly Happy
> Stupidly Happy
> Linear boredom.  After maybe 16 measures, I had my
> elbows on my snare, and my chin in my palms,
> looking up at a photo of Buddy Rich, wrapped in a
> tuba, quoting "If I couldn't play Zildjians, I'd
> switch instruments!"
> If I was playing drums on this tune, I would have
> to say, "Andy, this song needs a middle eight and a
> bridge or two!"
> It just didn't *go* anywhere, and was too
> repetitive.  I got the sense that Colin was really
> bored playing bass on this tune, b/c he too had no
> where to go.  He kept sliding up and down the
> scale, but only within one chord's framework.  It's
> like playing drums too loud, once you do, you can't
> get any louder, and your dynamics within the song
> are f*cked.  And, if that happens, the band gets
> drowned out.
> It's just not happening for me, despite the catchy
> and jangly phrasing of the lyrics.  Sorry folks.
> This is the only tune on this record which doesn't
> click for me.
> J. Gardner,

Hey, I'll admit the song didn't affect me immediately,
but after repeated listenings, I'm firmly convinced
that 'Stupidly Happy' is the most accessible song Mr.
Partridge has ever written...for the American
audience, at least.

TVT (are you receiving me?) should seriously consider
releasing this track as a single, and service it to
modern rock radio as best they can.  This is a summer
single, pure and simple.  No other song on 'Wasp Star'
has as great a potential to make an impact in the

In other developments, I also think TVT or some other
label should release an XTC video compilation on VHS
and DVD.  Who would buy that?  Sign me up.

Haven't run across any retailer in the Midwest who's
offered the bonus free single yet...anyone know of any
major chain retailers doing this?


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 01:12:30 EDT
Subject: Uh, Um, Er, Eh, Ah
Message-ID: <>

 >For the record...The really cool stuff from the 80's was made by XTC, the
> dB's, NRBQ, Kate Bush, Tom Waits, The Jazz Butcher, Frank Zappa, and a few
> others that I can't think of right now.

Uh, excuse me.  Joe Jackson?  The Pretenders?  Los Lobos?  and a few others
that I can't think of right now.

>What's next, a South Park musical?!
Um, the movie was a musical.  Blame Canada was up for an oscar.  Schweeet.

>I've always rated the video to "Life Begins at the Hop"
>because it's funny

Er, it's funny in spots.  But it's a complete knockoff in production.  The
part where they look mortified is the awful sequences where they're behind
the cadillac cutout with the spinning city scene behind them.  Of course,
Andy comes to our rescue and grabs the stupid thing at the end and sneaks
off with it.  Nigel is much better!  I like when Andy jumps backwards on
the white squares of the floor in time with the drum clap.  And the
repeating shots of Colin going, "He must be happy, he must be happy, he
must be happy..."  I also think the early ones with Barry are great.  They
capture their spirit at the time perfectly.  Some of the editing work on
Are You Receiving Me? is well ahead of the abuses of the eighties and
nineties.  And Andy, well, poor shy Andy.....I just like Senses and AOAS so
much because to me it's like a private XTC performance.  The slow mo stuff
doesn't bug me at all; I find it tastefully done.  As is the soundstage
backdrop (with the Uffington horse) and the lighting.  The shadow work in
All Of A Sudden is splendid.  And best of all - there they are, folks!
Playing and signing some of the greatest pop music your mortal ears will
ever behold!  Pure eye and soul candy.  But, to each his own.  Haven't seen
You're A Good Man Albert Brown yet.

Eh, I read somwhere here on an interview reprint (I can't find it) that
Andy derided making videos because it required acting.  In relation to the
above reply; after watching that hambone in those videos, I think he should
put Act Naturally on the player and get off his arse and give us something
to look at.  *Just a thought*.

What's next?  Chalkhills,  the musical?

Ah, Tom K


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 06:17:06 -0400 (EDT)
From: Radios In Motion <>
Subject: Vee Tubeology
Message-ID: <383407121.960977826703.JavaMail.root@web186-iw>

Vee Tube, man, you have bigger balls than La La from Telletubbies (I
have no choice, my 9month old loves the show!).  I vote VeeTube for


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 04:56:10 -0700 (PDT)
From: Molly Fanton <>
Subject: Thunder and Duncan :)
Message-ID: <>

I'm not sure if I'll be at the White Music Listening
Party tonight at 10pm EST, because there's supposed to
be severe weather in my area tonight.  I'll try to
make it, but I'm not sure.  With all the rain I've got
in my area I should listen to 1,000 Umbrellas.  :P

Duncan Watt wrote:
<<Mollllllyyyyyy don't get all pissed off 'cos of a
few nitwits. What would
Andy do?>>

Well, he'd probably make some clever comment, but I'm
not sure what.  :)


Molly's Pages:
My Tribute to Talk Talk & .O.Rang:


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 05:21:44 -0700
From: David van Wert <>
Subject: more on musicals/moron musicals (sort of a strange tails thing,
Message-ID: <p04310101b56d0251bb9d@[]>

that's my XTC tie in)
At 12:30 AM -0700 6/14/00, <> wrote:
>If you can't say something nice ...

then say it about practically EVERYthing except Colin, if we are to
follow the examples set forth in your post...

>a bunch of Good Songs stitched together together to create a musical still
>comprises a stupid form of expression. "West Side Story" is a near as I will
>go to admitting that the concept has any legs whatsoever. Maybe it's a
>cultural thing, but as soon as the talking stops and the singing starts I
>reach for the remote. It just doesn't make sense. Why WOULD anyone start

Same here! It means a hell of a lot of half-watched episodes of The
Simpsons and South Park but hey, I've got my principles. How dare
anyone use song to convey story?! What in God's name was Mozart
thinking with that Magic Flute thing? Why would anyone ever sing what
they could just say? Why does anyone ever sing, period? And while
we're on the subject, what's up with Shakespeare and that iambic
pentameter contrivance? People don't talk like that! And hey,
Moliere, people don't rhyme in everyday life.

Okay, honestly, I don't care whether anybody likes musicals. Not a
connoisseur myself, frankly. I could count the musicals I truly enjoy
on the fingers of one hand (and I have standard, regulation issue
hands with no additional digits), but it strikes me as odd to hear an
entire form utterly, viciously, and repeatedly dismissed for being
unrealistic, only to have the same writer mere sentences later convey
admiration for other works that abandon reality just as fully. We can
accept that characters are blue, composed of smoke from the waist
down, and magical wish granters, but if they sing, that's
unrealistic, eh? And in the case of the Arabian Nights piece so
highly praised, the work doesn't even bother to attempt an internally
consistent fantasy. Why is John Leguizamo praised for shattering
reality with an anachronistic joke about airplanes while Gene Kelly
is cursed for singing and dancing in the rain (or milk, in reality,
not rain-- and not that anyone directly cursed Gene Kelly
specifically, but the implication remains since it's not "West Side
Story")? C'mon, Dunks, this argument of yours holds less water than a
Calvin Klein model with dysentery. What's the real story behind your
intense hatred of the form? Andy, Randy, Yazbek, and I want to know!
Okay, maybe it's just me, but dammit, I want to know! Did Julie
Andrews touch you "there"? Did she make you climb every mountain,
ford every stream?

Eagerly awaiting your reply (quick, before Relph goes on vacation!
And don't spare the gratuitous details! If there aren't any
gratuitous details, feel free to make some up. Julie probably doesn't
read this list so it's not like you'll get in any real trouble. If
you spill about this, I'll spill about why I despise the band
Journey. Deal?)



Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 09:51:05 -0300
From: "=?iso-8859-1?B?U2ViYXN0aeFuIEFk+nJpeg==?=" <>
Subject: Nothing but the truth
Message-ID: <000c01bfd5ff$bddcbc80$51750ac8@sebasaduriz>

Joel wrote,

3) I'm interested to hear people's thoughts on this one. Does anyone else
find Andy's laments in songs such as "Your Dictionary," "Playground," "Dear
Madam Barnum," "Wounded Horse," et cetera much less pitiable after reading
Song Stories and knowing that Andy, too, had been "riding another [wo]man"?
I'm not calling Andy out for having an affair: relationships are complex,
and it's none of our business anyway. But all the same, since the
information is now out there, I find Andy's complaints that come off as
declaring himself a victim whose wife left him for "the boy with the bigger
bike" ridiculous: maybe, just maybe, one of the reasons Marianne left was
because of his longtime mistress? You think? Anyway.

Well, I think there are some interesting issues going round here. Among
many others: Does art comes separately from the artist? How much does an
artist's biography enlighten his work? Shouldn't we care only for the final

I personally don't have much problems with Andy's case because I always
felt his "divorce songs" were more the true expression of his sentiments
over his broken marriage than an attempt to manipulate the facts of it. In
other words, I never felt, for example, he was intending to put his
listeners against his ex-wife, but just singing his anger and his pain. I
also have to say that having gone myself through a controversial divorce
some years ago, this songs express beautifully -and hurtingly - a lot of
the things I went through. And I'm really grateful that this guy from
Swindon put such great music and accurate words for them. Finally, in honor
to objective judgment - which I believe is completely irrelevant here - I
think, Joel, you failed to put ITMWML on your list, where he doesn't blame
other than himself for his failure.

But to be fair, I must confess I do have some problems with other cases,
like Woody Allen's " I'm a miserable man but a great artist " statement or
with the Stones, who occasionally deliver some good songs - I like "You'll
N ever Make A Saint Of Me" - on their pathetic millionaire's charade. Maybe
I don't have problems with unfaithful divorcees but I do with others.

So, as you can guess I tend to believe that art has a lot to do with truth,
no matter how sad or uncomfortable it turns out to be. So answering your
question, Joel, I think the truth here lies not in determining how much
Andy deserved to be sacked of his matrimony - let's leave that to lawyers
and accountants - but in how deeply and precisely he managed to express his
pain. This is what should count when it comes to art, I think.

Saludos a todos,


P.S: Imanol, muchas gracias por responder a mi solicitud. Si no es
demasiado pedir y en honor a mis antepasados vascos, me encantaria leer tus
proximas oraciones pobladas de consonantes, acompanadas de sus equivalentes
en castellano ( quisiera en contrapartida agasajarte con un frase en
Euskera pero no tengo ni una ).


Date: Wed, 14 Jun 2000 09:32:48 -0400
From: David Gershman <>
Subject: Artificiality
Message-ID: <>

Like Joel Reamer, I've recently resubscribed to the list, and I can see
that there are just as many loonies on this list as there were when I
unsubscribed last year. But hey, I guess that's one of the things that
keeps it interesting?

Anyway, Joel's not one of the aforementioned loonies -- but I did want to
comment on one of his comments:

>1) Short Review: I'm finding that I just really don't like Wasp Star that
>much. In an odd way, it's almost as if all the reasons I loved an album like
>Oranges and Lemons are the same reasons I am not enjoying WS. Whereas I find
>O&L's slick, detailed production vibrant, lush, and invigorating, I listen
>to WS and most of it feels plastic and turgid to me (not all). It just seems
>to me that much of the organic "feel" of past XTC records have been
>sacrificed at the altar of studio perfection. And why do the fellows insist
>on using live drummers if they're going to meld them until they sound as
>false as they do on, say, "Stupidly Happy" or "We're All Light"? This kind
>of programmed sound really ruined much of The Big Express for me, and I
>think maybe it's done it for WS, too. I don't know, maybe I've just reached
>critical mass with this kind of sheen. I hope not.

I feel similarly -- although I think Wasp Star is full of many truly great
*songs*, it would have been a much better *album* if it hadn't sounded all
"artificial-y." I'm having particular trouble with "ITMWML" -- the way it's
recorded, it comes off sounding like the sequel to "Peter Pumpkinhead," a
song that I never really took to either. It's not bad, just too familiar,
which is not something you expect from an XTC song.

I think what XTC needs is an acoustic revelation along the lines of Elvis
Costello's when he went from the overproduced blandness of the pretty lame
"Goodbye Cruel World" (of course, "Wasp Star" is far superior to that
album) to the organic, stripped-down sound of the fantastic "King of
America." I've been pushing for a matchup of T-Bone Burnett and XTC for
quite a while now, and I think Elvis Costello example is precisely what
I've had in mind.

That said, I'm still enjoying Wasp Star very much. Has anyone noticed how
much the "Maypole" portion of TW&TM (my preferred acronym) sounds like an
all-out Dukes song? It reminds me particularly of "Little Lighthouse"...

By the way, if Wes Hanks is reading this, could you contact me? I've been
trying to send you a message at your new address, but it's been getting
bounced back.

Well, that's it for now. But if I may be so bold as to suggest it, maybe
everyone could just drop the Molly attacks? She certainly makes herself an
easy target, but are you (and you know who "you" are) really feeling that
good about yourself for taking advantage of that? And how much is it really
adding to the enjoyment of reading Chalkhills?

Just a thought.

Dave Gershman


End of Chalkhills Digest #6-169

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