Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #6-93

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 6, Number 93

                 Saturday, 29 April 2000


            Los Angeles Meeting & TVT Records
                        Cover Art
                      What to think?
                        WS mp3s??
              damn/listening parties/gangway
              Let's start a happy thread!!!
                    B.A.D II the bone
                 One more great part....
       Nap Gap: Yap, Yap, Yap! Slap Cap, Pap! Zap!
                  couldn't say it better
                  Pay attention , class!


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I have watched the manimals go buy.


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 14:39:57 -0400
From: "Todd Bernhardt" <>
Subject: #6-91
Message-ID: <>
Organization: Enterworks, Inc.


John Hedges said:
> In order to cash in on the Elian Gonzales hype, the Miami
> Heat basketball team has decided to rename itself the
> "Miami Relatives."

I'd like to point out that The Miami Relatives is a great name for a

Garret Harkawik asked:
> Whats Rush?

Silly! It's that feeling you get when you stand up too fast, or take too
much supercool.

Tyler responded to me:
> 1. my one word comment (yawn) is vague enough to not
> be a comment on Napster at all. Read into it what you
> will.
> 2.  I DID contribute (maybe). See point #1. You just
> didn't like my contribution.

So, which is it?

> 3.  "yawn" is about the LEAST bitchy thing I have ever
> posted to Chalkhills. Why get your panties in a bunch
> over that?

Because it's a waste of bandwidth. As various people here have pointed
out before -- including you, I think -- the only thing more boring than
a boring debate is a post about how boring the boring debate is. The
combination of your subject line and post showed you were bitching about
how boring the debate is. If you don't like it, page-down. And so what
if you've been bitchier in the past?

BTW, I'm not wearing panties. Woof.

("Tell me, Scottie, is anything worn under your kilt?"
"Nah, lass, 'tis as good as it ever was!")

> 4.  I fully agree that debate/discourse is important.
> Repetedly whining your point and not really seeing
> anyone else's point isn't.  There's a fine line
> between the two. Quite possibly that line has been
> crossed regarding the Napster debate.

Quite possibly not. Depends on whose post you're reading, I suppose.

> 5.  I thought I was being light hearted in my one-word
> comment. When it comes to bitchiness, maybe it takes
> one to know one!

Sorry, didn't catch your humor there. My fault.

Oh, one more thing: I'm rubber, you're glue...

-Todd "I like Nina Stratton's posts" Bernhardt


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 11:27:04 -0700
From: "Radiosinmotion" <>
Subject: Los Angeles Meeting & TVT Records
Message-ID: <000c01bfb13f$5b2b8ce0$0200a8c0@digitalpc>

I also would be interested in getting together somewhere in LA.  What about
Venice?  Hopefully XTC will have a signing party out here.  They use to come
out here quite often in the 80's.

Remember the message I left regarding TVT not promoting Wasp Star right by
not updating their site?  The day after I wrote that message they put an
update up and I had thought they would continue to put more up than just one
paragraph with a vague message answering my question .  Maybe we should
complain to them again till they let us know what's going on.  I don't want
to sit down to watch TV and find XTC on Leno or something and that I missed
going to the show because TVT did not promote their own artists right!

All I ask is for some updates as to what is going on.  Most of us on this
list are pretty loyal fans.  I am willing to bet at least 10% of us have
been fans for over 10 years and some of us as long as 20.  I think its a
disgrace to the group that TVT wont at least put up regular updates
regarding happenings with Wasp Star and the promotion tour.  I understand
about booking and what it takes to schedule events and record signings, etc.
Regardless, they should put updates on the site to let us know what is going
on considering they will make a good percentage of their profits from loyal
supporters like us.

At a time when people are defending and debating the positive and negative
influences of MP3, TVT is not even giving us a reason to be loyal supporters
by not keeping us up to date on what we should be planning for.  Regardless,
we are all going to support XTC, that is for sure, but I am going to be
plenty pissed if XTC has an appearance in Los Angeles and I miss it because
someone at TVT did not want to pay their web dept. an extra few dollars to
put an update on their really overdone site (do we really need 2 windows

That is not how you should do business in my opinion.  There is no excuse
for not updating the site. As far as I know, John is not making any money
and neither is the other people on this list who have XTC sites and they
update their sites pretty regularly, even with full time careers (and they
are not making a percentage off of XTC's work either!)  So, TVT, please do
us a favor and put a little more effort into promoting XTC.  The album is
less then a month away and it would be nice to know where and when they will
be promoting the album.

Oh, I heard Nonsuch recently and just don't understand why people feel its
overrated.  For one, I don't remember it getting that much attention in the
first place and second, its a damn good album.  I can't really say what my
favorite record is, or worse for that matter.  I think I am biased because I
have liked everything spare a few songs (such as Collins songs from AV1
which are now starting to grow on me).  Without putting too much thought
into it, I would say Drums & Wires, only because it was a combination of
their sound from yesterday and today.  Other than that, it would be hard to
put an order of favorites of XTC.

That's all...


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 11:04:12 -0700
From: "Dane Pereslete" <>
Subject: Cover Art
Message-ID: <>


First impression of the cover art for ITMWML:
A comglomerate of New Order meets Yello...



Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 16:18:00 +0100
From: "John Bartlett" <>
Subject: Mummer
Message-ID: <002501bfb146$2b353e80$31ec31d4@e.e>

Jeff said;

">Here's a new list that has been swirling around in my little brain: The
>five "most controversial" XTC albums.  I mean the ones where there seems to
>be a pretty even split between "lovers of" and "haters of", all for reasons
>you can never really quite comprehend, no matter how much they try to
>defend their choices by explaining it to you in great detail on or

>My choices: 1) Mummer, 2) Nonsuch, 3) The Big Express, 4) O&L, 5) anything
>by the Dukes

>And, conversely, the top 5 "least controversial" XTC albums:

>My choices:  1) Drums & Wires, 2) Black Sea, 3) White Music/Go 2, 4) ES,
>5) Skylarking

>I know, I know, I cheated on both lists.  But they're my lists, so I can...

And I don't think my list would change much this time around.  Maybe this
time, "Black Sea" would be the least controversial of all (because
*everyone* seems to love it), "White Music" and/or "Go 2" would be either
tied for first or close No. 2s (because *nobody* seems to love them), and
"D&W" would come 3rd (because there was *one* dissenting voice one or two
digests back)."

And also;

"The "transitional periods" are the in-between.  These are the times when
the band is searching for its direction, when it isn't certain where it is
going -- and neither are we, as listeners.  And the first 2 albums,
"Mummer", "Express", and probably "Nonsuch" or maybe even "O&L" seem to fit
into this group.  "

I would have to agree with Mummer being the no.1 choice in the
controversial/hated list, although I don't actively hate Mummer, it and I
just don't quite see eye to eye.

 I came to XTC via Nigel, Wait 'Till Your Boat Goes Down (a much underrated
single) , Sgt Rock etc, around 79/80. I bought Black Sea 1st,  followed by
D&W, both of which blew me away, especially BS (uncontroversially!). Then
they released the pop tour de force that is English Settlement.
 Well, I'd been spoilt with 3 albums of muscular pop from one of Britains'
premier beat combos, so naturally, I was greatly looking forward to Mummer.
I was sooo disappointed with it. The only track that made any impact at all
was Funk Pop A Roll. Partridges' other efforts seemed to me to be a faux -
jazz/rural pastiche mix that I just couldn't get on with. Its the only XTCcd
reissue on which the bonus tracks are better the original album tracks, and
I still,after 17 years, listen to Ladybird. Mummer has grown on me over the
years, but  its still my least listened-to XTC album.

My 1st choice would be Black Sea. I have begun to wonder whether this is
because I prefer the power-pop side of the group, or because its my 1st XTC
love. Do the people who picked up on the group at Skylarking (or any other
album for that matter) rate that album as XTCs' best, simply because its
their 1st love. Was it just because I was a snotty adolescent at the time?
How can I be right in thinking that a group who I've followed for 21 years,
that have made such excellent albums since BS, produced their best work 20
years ago?
In the light of this, you can understand my delight at the reports of
guitars all over Wasp Star. Perhaps not Son of Black Sea, but a damn sight
closer than Mummer was. I spent most of ' 83 saying how great Mummer was,
because it seemed I was the only XTC fan in the UK. How nice it is to stop.


PS Anybody who can help with Mummer appreciation, I am certainly willing to


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 12:09:18 -0700
From: "Macdonald, Robert " <>
Subject: What to think?
Message-ID: <>

	Hey all.  Been meaning to mail for so long now that I've done gone
forgotten half of the things that I'd thought up to say.

	Way back when (.... when Michael Penn's new cd was released...)  I
read an interview with MP who was asked about the Beatles influence in his
music.  He's reply would probably interest you all.  He said that all the
Beatles comparisons kind of piss him off because the his real inspiration
and Beatle sound came second hand from great pop bands .....and I quote
"like XTC".

	Seems odd that in this time of rejoicing when a new album is about
to be released to the world that we'd be squabbling amongst ourselves about
which XTC album is "crap".  Clearly most people on this list including
myself probably don't think any of it is.  Some's better, some's worse in
each person's opinion.  It strikes me that some comments are thrown in just
to bait the group (and it usually works).

	I had been floating along quite happily reading about WS and
enjoying the anticipation of the whole thing.  I had no interest in Napster
(or Macster??   what am I missing?) But then people kept sending those easy
clickable address's for that radio station along with their emails and
finally I just couldn't stop myself.  So I downloaded that 20 sec. real
audio file of The Man Who Murdered Love.....and I just don't know what to
think.  My first listen just kind of wholloped me across the head.  I wasn't
quite ready for it and the volume was set on 11.  Suddenly there's these
loud off kilter crunchy sounding chords and sliding yowls and Andy's singing
away "Iiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii'm  the man who murdered
love.........Yeah!"....I've listened to that twenty seconds around fifty
times now and to my ears (and of coarse it's a pretty crappy sounding file)
those guitars are sounding pretty raw just as Andy promised.  And by raw I
mean by recent XTC standards for sure!  Someone wrote about there being no
use of reverb but it sounds like there is definitely some effects happening
on the guitar and on his voice.

	I'm feeling more impatient that ever!

	Cheers (and hello to all my friends out there!)

	Rob (who is now listening to Elliot Smith's Figure 8 which is
wonderful but still hasn't hit me like XO did yet.)

	Rob Macdonald
	Victoria, BC Canada


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 14:53:15 -0400
From: "Tom Paluzzi" <>
Subject: WS mp3s??
Message-ID: <002801bfb143$02ce1a50$>

Ok...So flog me if you must, be who has the
WS mp3's they'd like to share/trade w/ me??...I've
spent weeks on Napster looking for them to
no avail...

Please help!!

Tom (who will buy the cd when its released)...


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 15:51:34 EDT
Subject: damn/listening parties/gangway
Message-ID: <>


Had a perfectly good line and screwed it up.  I can't help but feel
that beer is somehow to blame.


Just let my words pass you by
Don't dwell on what's written
Pull the blinkers from your eyes
It's tongue cheek is pressed in

Last line should be: It's cheek tongue is pressed in.  Doesn't matter how
clever you are, beer will soon put a stop to it.

Okay, Listening parties.  Not sure how these things are put together, but it
does sound interesting.  I've got hundreds of hours of boot XTC audio,
curious if anyone would be interested in a listening party involving
rarities.  I've got some fantastic quality live schtuff as well as demos and
interviews.  Somebody drop me a line and explain how this little magic trick
is pulled off.  OR, I'd be happy to supply some audio to Molly to include in
her gig.  I certainly don't wanna step on your toes here Molly, not because
they may be broken, but because_____well_____frankly, you frighten me.

Lastly, though I love the way WASP opens up (Playground), I still think the
lads missed the boat by not opening the release with Gangway Electric Guitar
is Coming Through.  C'mon folks, the return to axe grinding record kicking
the door down with that line; GANGWAY!  How better to say "prepare yourself
for a slab o guitar."  Plus the song is every bit as infectious as Robert
Smith's cold sore.



Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 16:20:38 -0400
From: "Diamond" <>
Subject: Let's start a happy thread!!!
Message-ID: <>

I'm tired of the whining and such that suddenly has become prominent on this
list, so I want to start a happy thread. It's a thread that has been done
many times, but everytime it's done, people think up something new. So,
again, I want to introduce you to a happy thread: some of your favorite XTC
moments... not songs, not albums, but moments... times when you listened to
a song, and it finally clicked what andy and colin where saying, or a
specific part in a song that you always listen for...

Well, I've been listening to Drums and Wires recently, so my coments right
now are mostly gonna be D&W based:

The begining drums of Nigel... I read in Chalkhills and Children that it was
an accident... oh, what a happy accident....

the hand claps in Life Begins at the Hop... I love the placement of those
handclaps... The make the song much more dancable.

The time in Life Begins at the Hop when he sings "Life begins at the top"
twice. For some reason, it sounds more natural song more then once. The way
the La la la la la la la slides down between the two times he sings it is
also great

The first time I heard the album... I had just bought it when I was on
vacation, and I was waiting in the car, so that we could get on the boat
home (I live on Nantucket, an island off Cape Cod) and I put it in my
Discman... I remember the feeling of the sun coming through the car window
and warming my face as River of Orchids started up... I'm sorry, I love this
song so much. Beautiful.

The chair movement at the begining of Harvest Festavil.

Well, there's a bunch for now.... back to doing god knows what for god knows
how long.
Kevin "They Call Me Big Jewel" Diamond
"No one in the world ever get's what they want, and that is beautiful.
Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful"
           -John Linnell (of They Might Be Giants) / "Don't Let's Start"


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 16:09:38 -0400
From: "Diamond" <>
Subject: B.A.D II the bone
Message-ID: <>

Francis Qouted:

>"Rush for a change of atmosphere."
>   -- Big Audio Dynamite

Isn't that' techniacally by B.A.D II?

>There is a generation of
>kids growing up thinking that they should be able to obtain art without ever
>compensating the artist, and I just can't go along with that. Maybe it's an
>age thing.

I'm not saying I disagree with what you're saying, but isn't it the "Nature
of the Beast," so to speak, of art that the artist doesn't get the money
they deserve? Isn't that the whole basis for the idea of the "Starving

Also, I must admit, I've owned the Mac-version of Napster, entitled Macster
(clever!), for a while now, though i've used it rarely. Personally, the one
thing I've gotten off of it that I've really enjoyed is the incredible
ode-to-video games "The Mario Bros. Theme - Orchoustic Version" This is a
brilliant piece of music, and I'm trying to encourage my band teacher to let
us play it.

But on to the napster arguement... I personally would really like one
question answered: What's the difference between downloading off of napster,
and tapping off of radio? Weren't the music companies just as upset about
that as they are at napster? And didn't they forget about it as soon as they
realized it wasn't worth the battle? I predict the same thing will happen
with Napster. And I don't think any of this "destruction of the Music
Buisness" will happen. Really, I think it's survived to many blows to let
this harm it.

I also predict that this napster thread will prolly be wrapping up soon, as
many people, including me, are getting tired of it. I just wanted to put my
thoughts in as it wrapped up, I prolly won't say anything else about it
unless specificly prompted by someone.

Go ahead, prompt me... if you dare!!!!


>Peace, love and listen to some Prefab Sprout (in particular "Jordan,
>The Comeback") if you've not done so for a while.

This just reminded me of something I've been meaning to say for a while... I
don't really like Jordon all that much... at least not compared to Swoon and
Two Wheels Good... I find it to be very long, boring album, except for the
first track, and one or two more... I haven't listened to it in a while (not
Swoon or 2WG) but I distinctavly remembering that I didn't like it as much
as the other two...

oh, and another thing I've realized, especially prominent in your posts...
there are certaint songs that, when people say they don't like them, I
assume "Oh, it's just over their heads..." but sometimes people will like
one song, and not like another song, and these two songs seem, to me, to be
very similar in style... In particualrly, when someone says they like
Frivolous Tonight and not Fruit Nut, or Visa Mastercarda... I admit, I enjoy
one a bit more than the other (Friv over Fruit) but I can't see how someone
could absolutely LOVE one, and then HATE the other!

In smudge's particular case, I am amazed that he can grasp the beauty in
Rook and That Wave, yet not like Runaways... They aren't necisarilly similar
styles, but they're all examples of pop songs that are written almost
specifically to not be pop songs, if that makes any sense... they are all
brilliant pieces of music... and pink thing is just funny and creative as
hell, so I won't go there...

Of course, the whole point of your post was that arguments like mine here
are pointless. Just goes to show you that teenagers don't pay attention to
their elders. (I'm assuming you're an elder)

Also, admitedly, it took me some time to grasp Runaways myself. Oh, and I
don't know about anyone else, but I HATE the ending to Wrapped in Grey... I
think it ruins the entire feel of the song...

'tis only my two cents.

Kevin Diamond, Two Cents Poorer
"No one in the world ever get's what they want, and that is beautiful.
Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful"
           -John Linnell (of They Might Be Giants) / "Don't Let's Start"


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 16:56:30 -0400
From: "Diamond" <>
Subject: One more great part....
Message-ID: <>

The part in "Nigel" when they go "Ste-a-al... ste-a-al... ste-a-al....
ste-a-al, yeah-yeah" rocks

also, I have an idea for a way to get XTC more well known... It's a sneaky
trick, but's it's worked for the fans of They Might Be Giants. You see,
People.Com does this online poll for the Top Ten most Beautiful people...
two years ago, all the TMBG fans managed to propell John Linnell up to #9,
and he got to write an article about it, which was then shown on the website. RIght now, we've decided it's Flansburg's turn, and
we've got him up to #3 already! So maybe, if we all vote early and often
enough, we can get Andy or Colin (whomever we think is better looking) some
free press... think about it.

Kevin DIamond

P.S. the line "She got to be Obscene to be Ob-heard" is also brilliant.
"No one in the world ever get's what they want, and that is beautiful.
Everybody dies frustrated and sad, and that is beautiful"
           -John Linnell (of They Might Be Giants) / "Don't Let's Start"


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 16:41:03 EDT
Subject: Nap Gap: Yap, Yap, Yap! Slap Cap, Pap! Zap!
Message-ID: <>

>From: Herne <>
>Subject: XTC gets Nappy and about those promos...

>I must say that I am stunned by all the anti-Napsterism here.  Are you
>people high?  A device that lets you find and download music to try out
>at home and to get rare and or bootleg stuff without having to search
>the god damned world for it.  This is bad why exactly?

Because it's theft.

All the virtues you ascribe to Napster are characteristics that help you, the
end user-- trained through years of Internet use to expect an infinity of
valuable content without having to pay for it--to acquire recordings
immediately and at no cost. Of *course* you love Napster! Who wouldn't! Shit,
free tunes! Program your own radio shows! Find old out-of-print rarities!
Complete that collection!

So what's missing?

Well, money.

That's what makes the difference between Napster and all the other delivery
media you're comparing it to. Television, film, video, print--all have well
developed and refined economies whereby money spent on production is recouped
out of revenue. Any revenue that exceeds overhead is profit. This is
rudimentary economics. Whatever its protestation to the contrary, Napster
subverts this model--and in the process deprives artists of compensation.

Napster makes it possible to do two things that can't be done in any other
medium: 1) Digital music is infinitely reproducible. When you Xerox a
magazine article, record a movie on tape, dump an album to cassette, you
degrade the product by one generation. This being so, "traditional" home
taping and trading practices are self-regulating. That's why the tape-trading
comparison won't work. 2) Napster allows immediate, totally unregulated, and
cost-free worldwide distribution. The distribution takes place regardless of
whether the owner of the rights to the property reserves copyright. We are
not talking about a few thousand brave little tape traders any more; we're
talking about worldwide distribution of an infinity of perfect copies of a
work of art that doesn't recompense the artist in any way whatever. The only
possible word to use for this is "piracy."

Justifying theft of intellectual property because the originator of the
property is beholden to a record company is hideously selfish: You dislike
the business practices of the entertainment industry, so....Fuck Andy
Partridge? TVT demands 15 bucks for Wasp Star, so....Fuck Andy Partridge?
Tower Records is a bricks-and-mortar behemoth, so...Fuck Andy Partridge?
Something so inconvenient as property rights stands between me and immediate
free gratification, so....

>For some reason this concept that to borrow music or movies without
>paying for it is EVIL arose at some point.   It arose because the
>entertainment companies want you always to pay pay pay!!!

I'm trying and failing to conceive of a moral universe where consuming a
perfect copy of a work of art without paying for it can be defined as
"borrowing." How exactly do you *return* it, once you've consumed it?

It goes completely without saying: the entertainment industry is rotten to
the core. I welcome any historical sea-change that makes them uncomfortable.
They suck, and I hope as much as you do that the Internet will help artists
market more directly to their audiences, eliminating parasitic middlemen.
Napster as it stands now, though, is not the solution, and is in fact a large
part of the problem.

>The prospect of people burning
>pirate cds of officially available product and selling them is a legit

You miss the point. The danger is not with people burning CDs for sale. The
danger is in the loss of sales of legitimate copies of CDs owing to their
immediate cost-free availability on Napster. Napster claims to be
self-policing, but all investigation to date shows this to be a cynical lie.
I may not have the faith in human nature that you have, but to me all this
protestation that Napster is just a really convenient try-before-you-buy
system is a weak rationalization. If you have a perfect copy downloaded free
from the Internet, why the hell would you buy one afterwards?

  But the companies will find a way to make it work.  Just give
>them time.

When someone comes up with a business plan that is able to generate real
revenue out of a commodity that is infinitely reproducible, unregulatable,
and subject to inevitable, undetectable and unprosecutable piracy immediately
upon its publication, let me know, and I'll drop a few bucks on its IPO.
Meanwhile, I'll be over here alphabetizing my LP collection.

Harrison "Hey! Heard the one about the Miami Relatives?" Sherwood


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 18:29:09 +0100
From: "Steven Paul" <>
Subject: couldn't say it better
Message-ID: <00b801bfb137$55ced840$>

Nina Stratton so eloquently said in #6-90

>One of things I've decided I like about XTC is this; it's very hard for
>me to flat-out hate any XTC song.

In the never ending debate over "this song sucks" I have always sat on the
sideline nodding and shaking my head, or sometimes scratching.  Ever since
XTC became a staple in my art/music diet, I have never choked on a song.
Some, like lima beans may not be my preferred choice for a main meal.  But
like mixed veggies, each album has its flavor and blend that if you take
something away, the taste is altered.

Has XTC served up an inedible song?   Not to my palate.

Dear Kate (same digest), she said:

I usually listen to all of the albums in their entirely (yes, even White
Music), but if I'm pressed for time I'll start cutting tracks.  However, the
song that I ABSOLUTELY refuse to listen to (no matter how much time I've got
on my hands!) is 'Life Is Good In the Greenhouse'.  Give that one a spin
tonight and tell me it's the worst song XTC has EVER released.

NOT - I love this song.  I don't know what it means but it's catchy as hell.

Steven "I'd rather be a plant than be your Mickey Mouse" Paul


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 22:06:18 EDT
Subject: Napster
Message-ID: <>

Has anyone noticed that Napster spelled backwards is Retspan, which is a
measurement based on how long it takes to figure out how to say the word
"retspan".  This timing is exactly the attention span of how long people can
stand hearing about Napster.  Amazing isn't it.



Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 22:09:23 -0400
From: "Todd and Jennifer Bernhardt" <>
Subject: #6-92
Message-ID: <>


My, we *are* getting feisty waiting for the albums to come out, aren't we?
It fun to watch all the scuffling going on!

> From: "Steve Pitts" <>

I'd like to point out that Steve has the coolest e-mail address on the list.

> Well, I'll be the (maybe lone) dissenting voice on this one then.
> I've said
> it before, and I'll say it again, IMO there is something to
> 'love' in every
> XTC album and these two are no exceptions. Add the rose-tinted nostalgic
> hue of distance, and the fact that punk was 'my generation', and I see no
> reason to dislike anything much on either album (and yes, I even like 'My
> Weapon')

Don't worry, you're not alone. White Music is what hooked me to this band,
and the Society for the Defense of Go2 is lurking out there somewhere. (Show

Scott Barnard said:
> I would like to be the first to offer a warm welcome to Deepak
> Chopra, who has recently joined the list.


Nina asked:
> Do we have to call each other names? This is an XTC fan e-mail list, for
> gosh sakes.  How serious can it be that we must become uncivil?

VERY serious. Welcome to one of the Chalkhills cycles, Nina.

Bob J. spake:
> The more I
> think about it, the more absurd it seems to "rank" the albums of a group
> with a long and tortured career like XTC.

Right on. I'd change "tortured" to "rich" and/or "varied," but you've got
the right idea. When you get to a certain level of songwriting or
musicianship, thing or people aren't better or worse -- just different.

Bill Loring said:
> My opinion is exactly
> like yours, and we're the smartest two people on the planet.

Finally, someone with some sense!


Date: Sat, 29 Apr 2000 12:18:57 +1000
From: "Tom Pitsis" <>
Subject: OVERLONG??
Message-ID: <001101bfb181$49a7e260$364519cb@tom>

Chris Browning in his quite respectable summary of XTC albums says:

>6. NONSUCH - overlong (thank God XTC have remembered why albusm >should be
>forty five minutes long..)

I don't get it. 'Love the band, but please, less of their music!'
What's the 45 min theory? Right, this weekend I'm going to listen to
Beethoven's 9th, oops, got to stop before the singalong bit, I've reached
the 45 min mark.
What about a limit on amount of albums. Wasp Star - enough albums please
XTC - we have reached the limit(?).

I think XTC cds should be 80+ mins long. If I've only got 45 mins to spare
(or 45 mins music endurance) I could programme the thing to run 45 mins
couldn't I?


Date: Fri, 28 Apr 2000 19:28:46 PDT
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: Pay attention , class!
Message-ID: <>

So ... Ed fancies himself a literary critic, huh?

>From: Ed Kedzierski <>

>Subject: I'd like to leap on something irrelevant, if I may

You need to ask?

>Today's my turn to jump on something someone said, even though it's not
>their main point or anything (oh, let me do it this time, by birthday was
>just a week ago).

>Ira said:
>>It's a classic example of catch-22.  Although I found the book annoying

>Sorry, but you're quite mistaken. You must have been reading something
>else. Steinbeck, perhaps.

WAY off, Ed. If you'd picked Henry James, I might have agreed. My first-year
English lecturer held "Portrait Of A Lady" to be the greatest novel in the
English language. Frankly it struck me as grossly inflated Mills & Boon. At
best, a tedious Jane Austen wannabe ...

>Catch-22 was the book that opened my eyes to how weak crap like Vonnegut
>really was (now there's annoying for you).

Weak? Crap? Them's fightin' words, pal! "Slaughterhouse 5" is easily the
equal of "Catch 22" - and I'll remind you, Ed, that Kurt actually went
through the experiences on which the book is based. (Was Heller in the Air
Force? I really don't know - I'm not knocking him - I just can't remember)

Unfortunately "Slaughterhouse 5" doesn't quite have the catch-phrase value
that "Catch 22" has. It's no less fine a novel for that.

Moreover, I have read  - and loved - many  of Vonnegut's other books. I
haven't read him in a while, but I love his work and I certainly think I'm
not alone in considering him one of the most important writers of the 20th

Kurt was of course considerably more prolific than Heller, but I think his
"hit-rate" speaks for itself - "Slaughterhouse 5", "Cat's Cradle",
"Breakfast of Champions", yadda yadda yadda.

Heller - IMHO - had one brilliant idea, perfectly realised. Apart from that
- what? Can Joe or Josephine Public name even one other Heller novel? Years
back, I enthusiastically started reading Heller's follow-up to "Catch-22",
which is amusingly titled "Something Happened". Nice one, Joe. Take my word
for it, kids - NOTHING happens. One of the dullest books in the English
language. Talk about a let-down ...

>It's also one of the few books to have such >prominence in the 20th century
>writing a book whose title sinks into the language like that) to actually
>be funny.

What a load of cobblers!. Sure, the phrase became part of the vernacular.
Big deal. So did "hoover" and "texta-colour". How many people who use the
phrase have actually readi it? OK - it's a funny, famous book. But "one of
the only..."???

Moreover, while its prominence is granted, and deserved, but there are
*plenty* of equally great, funny books which haven't received the same
attention. A perfect example is John Kennedy Toole's "A Confederacy Of
Dunces", which in my personal opinion is one of the best and funniest
American books ever written. Toole *should* be up there in lights with
Heller and Vonnegut. Unfortunately, no-one would publish him in his
lifetime; he became so disheartened he killed himself. Thankfully, his
mother kept pestering people with the manuscript until she came across
Walker Percy, who recognised it for the masterpiece it is, and arranged for
it to be published. It subsequently won the Pulitzer Prize.

>XTC content: next time someone interviews Andy, I'd like them to go more in
>depth as to when and why he stopped reading fiction. Come on, I'm sure that
>would get a better reaction out of him than yet another "so, are you guys
>really never playing live again, or what?"

Well, I'm guessing, but it's possibly related to the fact that reading other
people's ideas might interefere with his own creative process. Also, maybe
it's because Andy, who is highly intelligent, but apparently didn't get much
schooling, is keen learn a bit more?

Not that I'm comparing myself here (I wish), but I've had the same
experience. Up to my  30's I was a voracious reader of fiction, especially
sci-fi, speculative fiction and fantasy. NOT Terry Pratchett and all that
guff, BTW - bores me rigid -  I mean Toole, Bruno Schultz, Stanislaw Lem,
Pater Carey, Ursula Le Guin Marge Piercy, etc etc. But these days it's
biography and science and stuff like Daniel Yergin's "The Prize", and that
nifty little book called "Longitude". Don't ask me why - just where my brain
took me I spose.

Fit the second: I swore I wouldn't get involved but ...

>From: Herne <>
>Subject: XTC gets Nappy and about those promos...

Herne - I haven't really followed the Napster debate, and I still don't
really know what Napster is - but it seems evident that someone is getting
ripped off, and it appears to be the artists. Sorry but this IS a bad thing.
Napster is a BUSINESS. People are making money out of it. It's NOT like tape
trading at all.

>Remember the paperless office?  Of course you don't cause it never
>happended.  Computers didn't eliminate paper.  That didn't happen because
>people prefer to have a hard copy.  Something they can hold in
>their hands.

A rather simplistic analysis, but I get the idea. The paperless office will
also never happen for legal and security reasons, but that's pretty dull
copy. In fact the advent of office computers has VASTLY increased the use of
paper, if only because it makes it so damn easy to print out draft after
draft after draft, instead of working on the screen. And how many of us work
in offices where people still routinely print out their emails before
reading them? (Why?) What's my point? Shit, I don't know.

>Napster won't destroy the world because normal people are
>not going to fill their house up with a main frame to contain all those

Actually I think we're more worried about the illegal use of copyright
material. It doesn't destroy the world, sure, but it's still not right, fair
or legal.

>Trust me.   The record biz will fight back by controlling all distribution
>apparatus.  They'll buy all the cable and internet
>companies or merge with them to survive(a la Time Warner/AOL).  The end
>result hopefully being that they can have total pay per view on music.

Exactly. Does this strike you as a good thing? And how will the total
domination of the media by two or three massive companies benefit tha
artists or the consumers. Monopoly capitalism on that scale is only a few
short steps away from totalitarianism.

>But it won't happen cause once again...people want their own copy to
>keep.  To pay for once and own.  It's human nature.

>Libraries didn't destroy books.

*sigh* How can you even compare the two?

>Tv didn't kill the movies.  The vcr didn't kill >tv or the movies.  Home
>taping didn't destroy the music biz.

No, but it sure made them smell funny.

>Napster won't  either.  All it is is a high tech >way to do what everybody
>has been doing >for almost 30 tapes.

Wrong wrong wrong.

>For some reason this concept that to borrow music or movies without
>paying for it is EVIL arose at some point.

Nothing wrong with borrowing, but I reiterate - Napster is THEFT, as far as
I can see. If they are not paying royalties to the artists, as happens with
radio play etc, then they are stealing.

>It arose because the entertainment companies want you always to pay pay
>pay!!!  Studios were so dead against home video. They were dragged kicking
>and screaming into it even though it ultimately >saved their ass.

Maybe. Therir ability to adapt to technological change has varies. They
certainly didn't need to be dragged kicking and screaming into talkies,which
wrecked a unique art form and put thousands of theatre musicians on the
street. They go where the money is. Sometimes it just takes them a while to
smell it.

>As far as the moral issue well...
>In fact they plan on releasing all they can find in a box set.  But in the
>beginning, were you really meant to hear "Ship Trapped in the Ice" before
>it was ready?
>Were you?

How quickly we forget. VIRGIN are releasing the demos. The same Virgin who
ripped XTC off all those years, who prevented them recording for all those
years and who are now forcing Andy and Colin to surrender ownwership of said
demos for the boxed-set, just so (as I understand it) Andy an Colin can
finally get free of their corporate clutches.

>So why Napster,  a device that just makes it >easier to do what you already
>do is evil is beyond me.
>Napster isn't exactly a non-profit organisation.

Errr - I think you just answered your own question.

>I mean remember when tv was free?  That >was 17 years ago. They found a way
>to make it acceptable to pay for tv and have you be used to it.  They will
>find a way to harness the internet and control
>it.  It's only a matter of time.

Come on, pal - TV was NEVER free. They just figured out a sneaky way of
hiding the charges. Now they know we're totally  hooked, thay are brazen
enough to make us pay for it upfront and STILL load the programs with

uuurrrrgh - this hangover is killing me. I'll leave it there.



End of Chalkhills Digest #6-93

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