Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #7-15

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 7, Number 15

                   Friday, 9 March 2001


             Mothers, Mummers, pickled beets
             Concrete daubed in dull monotone
         nonsuch , wasp star, least fave xtc song
                    Spot The Pigeon??
                  CHalkheads on
                   Opinionated Blather
                  Re: Kiss my aura, Dora
            Wash That Song Right Into My Heart
                     RE:Mystery Video
                    I Want My URGH TV
                 Commandment the Eleventh
             One for all and all for Mummer!
                 prisoner of portmeirion
         Chalkhills Nation's SECOND-favorite band
                      All washed up
                 I had to ask, didn't I?
            If it ain't fixed, don't break it!
                        Re: Zappa
                        wading in


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Can't you read the words upon the wall?


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 11:31:27 -0600 (CST)
From: Brown <>
Subject: Mothers, Mummers, pickled beets
Message-ID: <>

Hello to all you plumbers and dreamers!

A few things:

>From Yak(?):
<<One other point,  it seems to me that very few women love Frank Zappa,>>

When I was in junior high school my older brother and his wanna-be radical
friends used to hang out in his bedroom listening to Zappa albums and
plotting random acts of student rebellion.  As I was generally not welcome
at these meetings, I would sit outside on the patio next to the open bedroom
window, just so I could take in the strange, wonderful world of Frank Zappa.
When this wasn't enough to satisfy my thirst for Zappa, I'd just wait until
my bro was out then I would borrow his records and listen to them in my
bedroom.  The songs were funny, inventive, and deeply weird.. I soon
realized that the term for this was genius..  Yep, this woman *loves* Frank
On the subject of WS.. namely is it a good album or isn't it?

Let the detractors say what they like.. Wasp Star is a sunny day at the
beach, and what the hell is wrong with that?
It warms my heart to hear that some of you have rallied in defense of
Rook(Tom K., you hit the nail on the head!)..  Andy can sound arrogant,
playful, sexy, angry, festive, aggressive, hilarious, dark, sarcastic,
fiendishly clever.. but rarely does his work express such humility.  Andy
Partridge.. frail, confused, afraid, and very much a human being.. just like
the rest of us.  I love Rook for that reason alone.  Nope, I wouldn't change
a thing about Rook.
As my dear friend and fellow Mummer crusader, David 'with the smoothest legs
in the chorus line' Smith has already pointed out, Mummer will never get the
respect it so richly deserves.  Under the influence of the English
countryside and Andy's precarious emotional state, this little masterpiece
came to be.. and it truly is a work of art.  Yes, Smudge, there is the
pastoral thang, which also surfaces in ES, Skylarking and AV1, IMO.. but
beyond that there is a sense of timelessness about Mummer.. you can't really
place this baby in to any convenient genre.. it defies categorization!
Mummer is 'Odd As A Sod' Partridge & Co., *distilled*.. pure, concentrated
British eccentricity in musical form.. F*cking Brilliant! (sorry, mom!)

I pity those of you who can't see this..

Well then, what say you, Smudge?  It looks like we've got a lot of souls to
save before the sun sets.. so fire up the chain saw, buddy, WE'RE GOIN' IN!!!

..and now if you'll all have a look under your chairs, I think you'll be
pleasantly surprised..

Debora Brown

--TROUT kicks TAILFIN!--


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 18:37:45 -0000
From: "David Seddon" <>
Subject: Concrete daubed in dull monotone
Message-ID: <003d01c0a7fe$df720fe0$a98701d5@default>

It's been maybe 8 or 9 months since I wrote to the list, but I've not felt
the urge recently (no new XTC to talk about and busy at home), but Sylvan's
comments and replies about Nonsuch are designed to draw me out of my shell.

Sylvan, you've got to be kidding old chap!
For me, Nonsuch holds up as XTCs best work and it always has done.  My
nearest XTC-loving neighbour, a man who I spark musical ideas off all the
time, is of the same opinion.  Apart from The Smartest Monkeys, every track
is a gem.  Rook?  Come on now, were you serious?

The Nonsuch debate has raged for several years and is probably boring to
many, if not myself.  To summarise it:
75% or so of the list place it in the middle or lower down in the XTC canon
25% ish think it's either the best album or a close caller (2nd or 3rd)
No other album seems to invoke quite the same polarisation.

I've never understood why some folk either aren't keen or just don't like it
because for me it's 4th in my all time top albums.
I think there's more brilliance and songwriting up to Lennon/McCartney
standard on it than any other album, Humble Diasy (which you criticise)
being one of the best 5 or 6 tracks.  The Ugly Underneath is a masterpiece
in the XTC songbook (complete with Bach Cantata), TSA as jaunty a track as
you'll hear anywhere, many more are excellent and whilst I agree that the
singing penis isn't so wonderful, I love Bungalow: it's a fab piece of
social statement.

To me, it's possibly the best collection of great songs since Abbey Road.
WIG, TSAHD, TUU, DMB and others are simply gorgeous pieces of music.  It is
the undiscovered (by the masses) masterpiece of Rock.

On another note.

I have greatly enjoyed the Magnetic Fields album 69 Love Songs after finally
getting to listen to it.  You folks who said I'd like it were right.  Thanks
for the advice!
The George Harrison remastered All Things Must Pass is great to (another top
10 album for me) and the extra songs are wonderful.
Lastly, the Love Forever Changes remaster is also worth getting: good extra
tracks and greatly improved sound.


Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 18:51:00 -0000
From: "apparratus null" <>
Subject: nonsuch , wasp star, least fave xtc song
Message-ID: <>

i 've been only receiving, but badmouthing nonsuch has rocked my boat.
my four fave xtc albums are, in dynamically changing order, english
settlement, skylarking, nonsuch and apple venus. i adored nonsuch from first
listen and considered it a much better double pack than oranges and lemons.
to this day, every few months another song from nonsuch suddenly shines thru
and grabs my attention. the first to catch me were than she appeared and
bungallow (one of moulding's peaks). each other song found its way to my
heart sooner or later. initially i couldnt bear the ugly underneath, but it
crept up, initially with that childish, dreamy outro. that wave annoyed me
to begin with and now i totally succumb to its awe. humble daisy was always
a favourite. rook, holly up on poppy, omnibus, wrapped in grey - phew!
if were at it, i might have considered a one LP of oranges and lemons to go
as follows:

1)a fade-in of the end bit of "earthly delights" as an intro exploding into
mayor of simpleton (i used to play it this way til i got used to "delights"
a bout 5 years later...and anyway here's my bit of todd rundgren
2)king for a day
3)president kill
4)the loving
5)poor skeleton
6)one of the millions
7)cynical days
8)miniature sun
9)chalkhills and children

if this is too long, take out poor skeleton. actually, if you take it out
you get an album slowly winding down (well one could change places between
president kill and the loving for that...)

wasp star - amazing but not the religious revelation apple venus us.

least fave song - its nearly africa. well it could also be all along the

keep it, erm, chalky


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 19:41:33 +0000
Subject: Spot The Pigeon??
Message-ID: <>


In #7-14 Todd Bernhardt opined:

> from Skylarking on, they've worn their psychedelic influences prominently
on their sleeves (not that there's too much wrong with that) and shied away
(kind of) from their progressive/avant garde influences <

Judas H Priest!! What on earth is the difference?? I've never understood
this pigeon-holing of music into discrete (and frankly irrelevant)
categories and this one passes me by altogether.

FWIW Channel 4 in the UK recently broadcast a 'Top 10' of 'Prog Rock'
(their term) which included (at no. 1, no less) Pink Floyd. How do you get
any more psychedelic than early Floyd??

and Harry Strole stated:

> As for being an a**hole that is your opinion.  I think the guy is a great
songwriter <

Since when were the two mutually exclusive??

Apropos of absolutely nothing, and nowt to do with XTC (unles you count the
Steve Lillywhite connection), but did anyone else see Cerys Matthews (of
Catatonia) performing Kirsty MacColl's 'Fifteen Mintues' on the TV at the
weekend (as part of a documentary on Kirsty)?? I was stunned. A simply
beautiful rendition

Oh, and I'd like to join in the defence of 'Washaway', which has always
been a part of TBE for me because I had no record deck when it came out and
bought the cassette version instead, which had the same three bonus tracks
(in the very same location, if memory serves). It is one of a fine group of
laundrette songs that always make me smile (no track names, but examples by
Joe Jackson, Pretenders and Talking Heads all spring to my mind's ear
without any effort)

Cheers, Steve

NP: Beth Orton - Trailer Park


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 14:17:56 -0600
From: Jason Phelan <>
Subject: CHalkheads on
Message-ID: <>

Yes, I would reccomend Chalkheads on too. And not just because my
band, THE WHAT FOUR, is on it. No, not at all.
 I would because it's good. And it's free and it's made by people that LOVE

That's all from,


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 13:03:06 -0700
Subject: Opinionated Blather
Message-ID: <>

It's hard for me to objectively state where Wasp Star fits into my own
personal XTC pantheon. For myself, XTC albums also fit into three

1. XTC recordings that already existed that I latched onto immediately upon
being introduced to the group:
     English Settlement
     Black Sea
     Big Express
     Oranges and Lemons

2. XTC recordings that already existed that I stumbled upon later after
listening to category 1 to death...
     White Music
     Drums and Wires
     Dukes (both)
     Explode Together

3. XTC recordings that became available for general purchase after I became
     Rag and Bone Buffet
     Transistor Blast

No matter how hard they try, I don't know that Andy & Colin (& hopefully,
someday, Dave) will ever be able to tweak my life quite the way they did
when I first latched onto them. Oranges and Lemons was my first slice, and
it still moves me more than any other XTC recording, except perhaps Black
Sea. Not because they're necessarily the "best," but because of the impact
they had on me. And because I pretty much bought all of those "category 1"
recordings at the same time, without any historical context (much less any
published criticism) to help point my opinion in one direction or another,
I accepted them all as "XTC" without saying, "oh, this is the industrial
one, and this is the polished L.A. one, and this is the
andy-had-to-work-with-an-asshole/genius-and-get-over-himself one."

Category 2's had a harder time installing themselves permanently in my
brain, as all of my listening to category 1 had created certain
preconceptions that then had the opportunity to cloud my opinion of these
other releases. Mummer and Go2 suffer the most from this, for me. I just
have never listened to them as much as the rest, not even close (barring,
of course, Explode Together, which (sorry ! ) I rate as a dated curiosity,
and little more).

Then, of course, there's the members of category 3, which suffer to a
greater or lesser degree from the scourge of expectations, especially given
some of the long delays and time lags involved.

SO ! Now that I have that out of my system, I can say that AV1 and AV2 each
disappoint individually, but only for the lack of what is found on the
other disc ! Together they make an XTC recording as listenable and
memorable and demanding and satisfying as anything they've ever done.

So there.



Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 15:14:28 EST
Subject: Re: Kiss my aura, Dora
Message-ID: <>

>>Any leads would be great. My Kirlian camera runs on this film type

>Your WHAT??

That was my response.

>A) Just wondered how *exactly* this relates XTC?

And that's what I wondered, too...

>B) You can't be serious?

Oh, it wouldn't surprise me. There's an awful lot of uncritical thinking
going on in the world today.

I almost hesitate to ask, but worldwide uncritical thinking has what to do
with Randy's asking for a lead on Kirlian film? (Sorry if I'm exhibiting
uncritical thinking in merely asking this question.) And is critical thinking
required to be rude to someone asking for assistance?

Roger, loved that film/XTC link. At least someone on this planet is thinking



Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 21:35:02 -0000
From: "Rory Wilsher" <>
Subject: Wash That Song Right Into My Heart
Message-ID: <002701c0a817$b97a7b60$c32c7bd5@oemcomputer>


Tom Kingston said:

<< Washaway was not on the original vinyl of Big Express.  >>

I bought Big Express when it came out...on cassette. Washaway was included
on that, so it's always been part of the album as far as I'm concerned
(unlike the bonus tracks on Mummer CD). It's not listed as a bonus track.
Neither are the other two.

Now, on to the serious stuff. Join the Washaway Defence League NOW! At (Honourary president for life and defender of the
Washaway faithful: Ed Kedzierski). Washaway is a *good* song. It's fun. It's
a bit of fluff. It reminds me of my childhood. It's true.

So there!

And, as for BE being patchy, where exactly are the patches? I can't hear

People have been listing their favourite albums in order, or in groups - I
can't do that. Depending on the mood I'm in, each album that I have (which
admittedly only starts at Black Sea) is the best at that moment in time.
Apart from O&L, which sucks pretty well all the time (Oh God, started
another war...;-)). But were I to choose another album apart from
Skylarking, it would be Nonsuch.

I've said it before, I'll say it again: the best place to listen to
Procession and Frost Circus is with their four compadres, together making up
the Homo Safari series. They make sense there. They don't on Mummer.

Oh yeah, when I said I was being serious, I wasn't being serious. But you
should know that by now.



Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 21:56:45 +0000 (GMT)
From: Wright Jonathan <>
Subject: RE:Mystery Video
Message-ID: <>

Actually I'm pretty certain it was "The man who sailed
around his soul". I have the video of Portmerion on
The Tube somewhere too. oh well.. thats this email over.....


Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 17:14:02 -0500
Subject: I Want My URGH TV
Message-ID: <>

In 7-14, Tim Longfellow pointed out:

> What a treat it was today to see XTC performing "Respectable Street" on The
> Sundance Film Cable Network. Is there more footage of that particular show
> out there?
> And XTC was followed by none other than Klaus Nomi. What a diverse film
> indeed!

I must get Sundance!  I taped "URGH!" 17 years ago off "Night Flight" on
USA Network.  Needless to say, that tape has become a little worn.  It was
a great way to end a party in high school - just slide in "URGH" and watch
the stupid hair-metal and Tiffany-pop kids leave!

But what a fantastic movie!  I was into "new wave" when I first saw it in
1984, but that film pushed me over the edge.  The brilliance of XTC (even
though I was disappointed that Terry was hardly seen - he really did carry
the live sound), the weirdness of Klaus, the rantings of the Dead
Kennedys, the wit of Magazine, the kitchen-sink sound of OMD, the genius
of Devo, a bloated Belinda from the GoGos - its all there!  There are
really only two weak performances in the entire movie (Toya Wilcox and
John Otway - let's face it, Otway's really not very talented).

I have often wondered what happened to the extra film and sound.  In a
vault at A&M?  In Miles Copeland's basement?  Or maybe in Stuart
Copeland's basement, since this is apparently where the "Drunken Jam
Sessions" ended up?  Surely they filmed and recorded more than one song
from each band.  Imagine an entire XTC live performance hidden somewhere,
and we can't touch it......

And on a completely different note, I'll put my lot in with those who love
"Nonsvch."  As an "older" XTC fan (is 31 old?), I found the album much
closer to "Big Express" and "Black Sea" - my two favorite XTC pressings.

Back to lurking.......


-Matt Hiner, Part-time Faculty
University of Akron
Lakeland Community College
"You have an extremely inquisitive mind,
Mr. Astronaut Glen."


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 18:10:56 EST
Subject: Commandment the Eleventh
Message-ID: <>

Benjie-Boy the Gott, the Bard, and the Snuggly, sed:

>Also, on a more personal note: there are 60-ish days until I become a
>college graduate.  Doesn't that make some of you Chalkhillians, who have
>known me since I was a junior in high school, feel old?

Ben, my little bon-bon, what makes me feel old is knowing that, had
circumstances aligned themselves differently in the Year of Our Lard 1978,
and if Yo Mama had been less of a paragon of virtue and more inclined to a
casual gallop with one particular toothsome Sigma Pi, in 60-ish days I'd be
enjoying the immediate surcease of enormous annual outlays to Bowdoin College.

*That* makes me feel old. That, and this goddamned hangover.

The gamine who finally *did* give in to the wheedling importunings of that
Sigma Pi (and blessed be her creamy thighs forever) was observed looking at
the photos on the cover of White Music the other day, and counting on her
fingers. Offered a penny for her thoughts, she said, "They're so young in
this picture! I could be their mother!" A chuckle ensued from her
interlocutor, but she whirled on him, her green eyes flashing: "No,
goddammit, do the math! How old are they in this picture? Twenty-two?
Twenty-three? I could *literally* be their mother!"

Look at, see what she


>From: pancho artecona <>
>Subject: Re the death of Blind Joe, an alternate tuner

>John Fahey R.I.P.  Truly an american original.  I
>remember reading an article about him a few years back
>and he was living in a flop-house, had his guitar at a
>pawn shop and eked out a living by buying cheap
>classical lp's and reselling them.  He was bloated and
>hardly recognizable from the halcyon days of Takoma

Accordion to the article I read about him, he contracted Epstein-Barr Virus
in the mid-Eighties, which led to the lethargy typical of its victims. As a
sort of pick-me-up, he took to drinking beer, which while probably
accomplishing its immediate purpose, also led to adult-onset diabetes, which
is what bloated and disabled him. I saw him in 1985 or so, at Gerde's Folk
City in New York, and it was a terribly depressing scene, playing everything
at half speed, forgetting whole sections of songs, losing equipment onstage.
I thought it was due to drugs at the time, not knowing about the Epstein-Barr

When he was healthy, though, he was a helluva guitarist.


Hey, gang! Here's a thought:

Kirlian pornography!

A harlot we'll call Dora
Straight from Sodom and Gomorrah!
Left a fascinating image
On the photographic plate

The lovely purple aura
Of her labia minora
Portended painful urgency
In full priapic state

It is written in the Torah
About strumpets like our Dora,
To mince no words, "Don't Covet"
(Thou Shalt Not Masturbate)

Harrison "And that's a proposition you can end *any* sentence with!" Sherwood


Date: Thu, 08 Mar 2001 18:46:12 -0500
From: Sylvan <>
Subject: Bungalnonsuchapstervenus
Message-ID: <>

Ed K. wrote:
>And who said Rook has
> "weak vocals"? The vocals are exactly right for the song IMO: mournful and
> desolate without being overwrought or melodramatic, if that's how you
> classify "weak" vs. "strong"; you'd prefer Eddie Vedder or something?
> Nonsuch is a great album to discover over time - it's like the castle on the
> cover: if you don't get to all the nooks and crannies on your first tour,
> they'll still be there and waiting for you whenever you're ready.
> Always loved "Omnibus" though, and could easily argue for placing it at the
> beginning if "alternate running order" debates were my thing...
> And if "Wrapped in Grey" leaves you unaffected, you have a clay heart.

What you hear as mournful I unfortunately hear as constipated. I still like
the song, but that hurts it for me. <stands behind flame-proof shield ;)>
I actually liked Nonsuch better when I first got it, and have grown to like
it less with time. Maybe I will rediscover it, but it hasn't happened yet.
Wrapped in Grey, however remains in my top 5 XTC songs, along with Seagulls
and Complicated Game.

Todd Bernhardt writes:

> Ye Olde Boye of Smudge wrote:
>> Actually, it's a fascinating insight to see what lights
>> other people's candles. I absolutely DETEST War Dance - the
>> worst song either of the lads has ever come up with.
> This is one of the most interesting thing about this list. About the
> only thing we have in common is our regard for XTC, but we can't even
> agree on songs and/or albums.

Ain't it the truth. ;)

Adrian Ransome wrote:
> Two people (Dan and Sylvan) have recently mentioned on this list how they
> 'get the humour' in Bungalow.
> Can someone please enlighten me as to whereabouts this humour can be
> found?
> For me, this is one of the saddest songs Xtc have ever done.

Surely humor and sadness are not mutually exclusive? The humor is dark, but
it is still there. Sometimes there's a fine line between laughing and

Duncan "U-S-A" Watt wrote:
> ps yeah, yeah, too bad the EVIL FUCKING THIEVES THAT ARE/WERE NAPSTER had to
> be brought down by a group of contemptible bastard RIAA greedheads... but
> c'mon, they at least *pretend* to pay the artists, and they got one Dom of a
> scare rammed up into them. Now comes the fun part...

I would just like to say that I have bought many, many more CDs since I got
Napster and I am truly thankful for the opportunity it has given me to
expand my musical horizons. I would never have gotten into bands that I now
consider some of my favorites, like King Crimson and Gentle Giant without

Ben Wall wrote:
> Here is my
> ideal Nonsuch:
> Dear Madam Barnum
> Humble Daisy
> My Bird Performs
> Holly Up On Poppy
> Then She Appeared
> The Disappointed
> Bungalow
> Rook
> That Wave
> Wrapped in Gray
> I also think Apple Venus and Wasp Star are amazing
> records, but that it could have been their best, most
> consistent record yet if compressed into one CD.
> I'm The Man Who Murdered Love
> Stupidly Happy
> Standing In For Joe
> I'd Like That
> Frivolous Tonight
> In Another Life
> Your Dictionary
> I Can't Own Her
> Easter Theatre
> We're All Light
> The Wheel and The Maypole
> Greenman
> Harvest Festival
> I know I'll have ticked off the River of Orchids and
> Church of Women fan clubs, but those two songs are
> just don't do it for me.

C'mon, he's infinitely more cruel than me. Not only the River of Orchid and
Church of Women fan clubs, but what about Ugly Underneath? There is no way
you can separate Wrapped in Grey from it. And no Peter Pumpkinhead? No
Crocodile? No Smartest Monkeys? No Fruit Nut?! My god man!!! How could you
even think of *defiling*-- oh yeah...
"Endorsing products is the American way to express individuality." --Bill


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 17:55:36 -0600 (CST)
From: Brown <>
Subject: One for all and all for Mummer!
Message-ID: <>

>From Virginia:
<<i'm perplexed to hear "mummer" described as a guilty pleasure: why would
anyone be embarrassed to admit to liking such a luminously beautiful
album? >>

I am probably one of *the* most rabid Mummer fans you'll ever come across,
Virginia.  The 'guilty pleasures' reference was an observation of other
folks' peculiar behavior.  I too am puzzled by the lack of support for this
exquisite album... why, indeed! HARUMPH!!!

Todd, Smudge, Adrian, Virginia, myself, and anyone else who has sworn to
uphold the good name of 'Mummer', we are crusaders, agreed?.. and of course,
crusaders need a uniform, nay, we'll make it a dashing costume instead!..
How about this.. moss green tights under navy blue velvet body suits, with
perhaps a matching cape?.. no! a matching poncho!.. do any of you know if
Sears still sells ponchos?  Perhaps velvet is a poor choice of fabric for
the suits, but the moss green tights are *not* up for negotiation!  Since
Mr. Bernhardt was the kind fellow who steered me towards Mummer in the first
place, his poncho shall be the grandest of all! (How do you feel about
sequins, TB?)

I'd like to get started on those suits ASAP, so chop-chop with those
measurements, kids!

Yours in severe silliness,

Debora Brown


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 21:52:00 -0000
From: "Chris Browning" <>
Subject: prisoner of portmeirion
Message-ID: <000201c0a82c$71e16c40$>

re:XTC on the tube

this was on the Prisoner of Portmeirion, repeated in the nineties after
Channel Four had done the whole series again. and it wasn't "the meeting
place" but "the man who sailed around his soul", dave and colin miming, andy
with a suitably prisoner style brolly (as far as i can remember) and some
dancing stuff on the chessboard just by the huge pink arch in the main bit
of portmeirion (can't remember exact name of it, can't locate me map of the
darned place at short notice)...

a strange thing that Prisoner of Portmeirion programme. fry and laurie,
stanley unwin and terence alexander and jools holland. and badly edited
footage of mcgoohan looking grumpy. unwittingly my first introduction to XTC
as well. all i can remember is thinking they were a damn sight better than
ruddy souixie and the banshees (who were doing "the passenger" i seem to

that's more than enough of me



Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 16:49:53 -0800 (PST)
From: Ryan Anthony <>
Subject: Chalkhills Nation's SECOND-favorite band
Message-ID: <>

Thanks to the timely heads-up issued by Harrison
Sherwood last September, I hied myself to my sister's
house (she and her husband-the-doctor have THE DISH)
and watched, nineteen years after the fact, *Urgh! A
Music War*. Kudos to Tim Longfellow for announcing
that the film is back in rotation on the Sundance

Tim mentions that XTC's performance of "Respectable
Street" is followed by Klaus Nomi, the late and far
from great. I found the transition jarring. No, not
because I can't deal with garish makeup and outlandish
costumes on a male singer -- what would the live
*Lamb* be without Peter Gabriel (or Kevin Gilbert!)
channeling the Slipperman and Rael? -- but because the
Good Lord Himself decreed that "Respectable Street" is
to be followed by nothing other than "Generals and

I mean, I mean, how would you feel if "Sgt. Pepper's
Lonely Hearts Club Band" were to be followed by
"Relax" instead of "With a Little Help From My
Friends," or if "Waitin' For the Bus" were to be
followed by "Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?" instead
of "Jesus Just Left Chicago"?

In a desperate attempt to make myself appear to be
young and hep, instead of referencing the Beatles and
ZZ Top, I should ask, how would you feel if "Kill You"
were to be followed by "Oops, I Did It Again" instead
of "Stan"? -- but you wouldn't care about that, even
if you were twenty years old and pierced through your
genitalia, tongue, both eyeballs, and all ten fingers.

At least, you wouldn't be able to express your opinion
by speaking or typing.

Re: the Grammies. (I know, how Last Month of me!) I
say *Two Against Nature* is the *How Green Was My
Valley* of 2000.

The what?

Six decades ago, *How Green Was My Valley* won the
Best Picture Oscar over *Citizen Kane*, whose director
had made his share of powerful enemies, too.

No, I'm not comparing Eminem to Orson Wells. I'm
saying his stuff, for better or worse, is -- or at
least belongs on -- the soundtrack to our time.

Speaking of stuff that doesn't involve XTC, but does
touch upon recent Chalkhills discussions, so Sensei
John has to let it in, I hope: If you don't want to
have anything to do with those who Truly Believe in
Kirlian auras, but you'd enjoy a rip-snorting,
page-turning, highly entertaining science-fictional
treatment of the matter, I recommend the Kirlian
Trilogy by Piers Anthony: *Cluster*, *Chaining the
Lady*, and *Kirlian Quest*. As is the prolific Mr.
Anthony's wont, this "trilogy" grew to include two
more related titles: *Thousandstar* and *Viscous

(Anthony, most famous for his *Magic of Xanth* series,
is no relation; his real surname is Jacob.)

Finally: What is Chalkhills Nation's SECOND-favorite
band? (Not counting the Dukes, Anonymous Bosch, the
Ever-Lovin' Picadilly Circus Tent Flap Repair Company
& Marching Society, or any other XTC alter-ego.) I say
the act on the undercard is Genesis, not King Crimson
or Steely Dan, especially if one includes references
to erstwhile and might-have-been members, such as the
aforementioned Messrs. Gabriel and Gilbert.

Ryan Anthony

An independent Internet content provider


Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 01:20:19 -0000
From: "David Smith" <>
Subject: All washed up
Message-ID: <>

Thanks to all of you in 7-14 who enlightened me about Washaway being
a "bonus" track on the CD of Big Express. As was evident, I did not
know that.

But Ed K - did ya hafta be so harsh? I'm an emotional guy, y'know, I
just, I, I . . . [sob]

> Well, besides the fact that "Washaway" is a bonus track, and you
> disqualified a bonus track as a basis for criticism of "Mummer" earlier
> in your post...

I did? Jeez, that was dumb of me.

Unfortunately, the only XTC vinyl I own is Mummer and the two Dukes
albums - all the rest is small shiny plastic. I am hereby humbled.
I CANNOT guarantee I won't make a fool of myself in this way again
sometime (it's what makes me cute!).

Wow, so much else to talk about. If only I had something worthwhile to
say . . . I'll try these . . .

In 7-12, Chris said:

> "Wake up" is an important track in the XTC Anthology. It is also my
> vote for the most AP sounding of CM's songs. The first two lines, I swear
> that's Andy singing.

I always thought that too. Can anyone shed any light?

While Tom said:

> What would the XTC town name be?  (this could be a thread!)  How about
> XTCester.

Why, of course - but pronounced Chalkster!

Final 7-12 reference, the one and only (thank Dawg) Jason Phelan . . .
> Now, I never said nuthin' about no leavin them there 'Hills!  I was just
> having a lil' ol' fun with my feelings about the state of the posts. . .
> But, throw me a bone here people, ya gots to admit, despite the naughty
> words, those parodies were FUNNY!  Andy would laugh. He would. Ask Mitch
> Friedman, or Simon. In fact, anything scatalogical is prime
> comedy for Andy

If you want scatalogical, there's a phrase over here in good ol' blighty
called "pissing on your chips". You may be familiar with it . . .

And by the way, I personally am not laughing WITH you . . .

Chris Vreeland's categories - nice work, 8 out of 10. I'll just put them
in the right order for you Chris - for future reference and all that!

> 1. Truly indispensable, genre defining masterpieces,
 Apple Venus vol.1

> 2. Second tier great works,
> Drums and Wires
> Black Sea
> Dukes of Stratosphere
> Oranges and Lemons
  English Settlement

> 3. Slightly flawed, or "transitional" works.
> White Music
> Go2
> Big Express

No need to thank me - glad to help :-)

Nicole said:
> I bought nonsuch because I had read the lyrics on the Chalkhills page
> and thought it was a beautiful song. Obviously, I side with the view
> that the lyrics are more than typically sound. However, when I listened
> to the song, it quickly became my least favorite on the album. This
> annoys me further, because the words are so great.


> If I were a musician, I
> would do a cover of it... work day and night until I could get the
> music to match with the beautiful words .

Don't bother - someone's already done it!! :-)

Good old Arian Ransome - a voice of sanity:

> Two people (Dan and Sylvan) have recently mentioned on this list how they
> 'get the humour' in Bungalow.
> Can someone please enlighten me as to whereabouts this humour can be
> found?
> For me, this is one of the saddest songs Xtc have ever done. You work hard
> all your life, save your pennies and buy a seaside bungalow. That's it,
> the pinnacle of your life, your ultimate goal - a bungalow. Nothing else,
> just a bungalow.

Well said that man. There is tragedy, pathos, beauty and heartbreak in
Bungalow. There is NO humour.

Anyone who thinks there is humour is a Bungalow themselves - ie, nothing
up top, bwooaaaar har har har. Sorry, just wanted to use a pathetic joke!

And finally Esther . . . some non-XTC

Does anyone know where I can get hold of the full lyrics of the wonderful
"Reasons To Be Cheerful (Part 3)" by the (sadly not) immortal Ian Dury &
The Blockheads.

A friend wants to do a tribute number to him in his band's next gig.  We
both agreed this would be perfect - but there is a distinct scarcity of
Dury stuff out there in web-land. Many of the lyrics are decipherable from
listening to the track - but by no means all of them.

Were the lyrics on the album sleeve - if so, I'm happy to go and fork out
the dosh. As ever, only after his death did I stop and think "there's a body
of work I should get". Stop sniggering at the back there, just 'cos I said

A similar re-appraisal is now occurring with Kirsty MacColl. Why do I keep
doing this?

Smudge "add me to the legion of the fish, TROUT" Boy

"Pardon?", Ludwig von Beethoven


Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2001 02:43:41
From: "Duncan Kimball" <>
Subject: I had to ask, didn't I?
Message-ID: <>

John Fahey died??? Damn! Vale John. A great great player. MethinksJ. Page,
Esq. ought to chip in for the headstone.

>From: "Roger Fuller" <>
>Subject: 126 film- XTC related!

>Dunks, be nice. Unlax. Lay down, and take your pill. The guy was merely
>trying to find like-minded people who might be able to help him.

Roger, if I was any more relaxed I'd be in coma. If Randy wants to find
"like-minded" people, that's OK by me. But if he's chooses to use
Chalkhills, of all places, to find people interested in outre "technology"
like Kirlian photography, he can't expect that to pass without *some*
comment, surely?

(Steps into Orgone accumulator to recharge, while cursing the evil
Illuminatus conspiracy that keeps the secret discoveries of Tesla from being
made available to all of us)

* * *

 From The Skeptics Dictionary (

"Living things (like the commonly photographed fingers) are moist. When the
electricity enters the living object, it produces an area of gas ionization
around the photographed object, assuming moisture is present on the object.
This moisture is transferred from the subject to the emulsion surface of the
photographic film and causes an alternation of the electric charge pattern
on the film. If a photograph is taken in a vacuum, where no ionized gas is
present, no Kirlian image appears. If the Kirlian image were due to some
paranormal fundamental living energy field, it should not disappear in a
simple vacuum. [Hines]"

* * *

>>A) Just wondered how *exactly* this relates XTC?
>Here's how:

I knew SOMEONE would come up with a '6-degrees-of-separation' answer, Roger
- it was just a question of who ... :p

>Also, I noted that some of the childhood pix on Dave Gregory's webpage >are
>in that square format that 126 used.

Ok Rog, you can stop now. This is getting scary.

(Backs away, humming Twilight Zone theme under breath ....)



Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 22:16:51 EST
Subject: If it ain't fixed, don't break it!
Message-ID: <>

>If Neil Young admires that sentiment so much, why
>doesn't he do it? Because he sure as hell faded away and came back many
>times, like all of us. No, thank you. I'll take the living and the healthy.

While I agree with Lennon's point of view here, I think that first of all the
lyric from Rust Never Sleeps was presented to Lennon in a surface content
manner by the interviewer and secondly that Lennon responded to the question
on the same level.
I always understood that song to be a sarcastic put down of the rock n' roll,
live fast, die young & leave a good looking corpse mentality.  If you're not
picking that up it's easy to misconstrue the message.  You know, the 'Short
People' effect.  It's obvious to me that neither Lennon or the interviewer
were hip to the joke.

>He also does, technically have the right to take any
>promo copies he finds in used record stores.  As for being an a**hole that
>is your opinion.  I think the guy is a great songwriter.

On the other hand, while Neil may have been right, there's a certain irony
when a man who doesn't have to work for a living anymore is shaking down a CD
store that's
probably scratching for a few dollars.  I wonder what thievery lurks in
Neil's salad days, trying to survive in LA while looking for a bite to eat, a
place to crash and a gig.
>I suppose I can't appreciate the meloncholy drowning drugging sound of
>it. It goes on and on with little to it that interests my ears... and
>so I end up "forgetting" the beauty of the lyrics. I feel the desire to
>"fix" the song, but I'm not a musician and haven't a clue what to do to
>it to make it sound the way I think it should. If I were a musician, I
>would do a cover of it... work day and night until I could get the
>music to match with the beautiful words . Unfortunatly, there isn't a
>sound that pops in my head when I read the words.

Whatever floats your boat.  Let me give you my perspective as a musician and
fan who loves this song.  I find the music perfectly matches the lyrics.  The
slow dirge of the plodding piano, playing chord clusters that blur the tonic,
set up an pensive, unsettled feeling.  This is, in it's way, a sad song, a
song about the mystery of death and searching, perhaps in vain, for a silver
lining to it's evil finality.  How else should it sound?  An up-tempo rocker?
 An acoustic ballad?  I think Andy searched for a while himself, and when he
hit on those chords, he had it, and it poured out him, as he describes in
Song Stories.  And I think he hit the nail right on the head with the feel of
the arrangement.  The song vascillates from his dread sadness in the A
section of each verse to the rising hope, urged on in the agitated Lydian
feel of the piano triplets and subtly sweeping strings in the B sections.
The last B section, where he's singing "Promise me that you'll take it up on
it's final ride", swells and pushes to the brink and then suddenly stop,
returning subdued to the opening chords.  This is SO f***ing moving!   Just
fantastic!  The great letdown, the unknown
answer to his unheard question deflating his hope.  And the final tag, "Is
that my name on the bell?" like a dying man's whimpering plea to know
something, anything in the face of his demise.
I'ts a work of art.  For me.  For you, like I said, whatever floats your

Here's a line from Joni Mitchell's Job's Sad Song that puts this song into
perspective for me:
"Why give me light, and then this dark without a dawn?"


"We have only one person to blame, and that's each other."
-Barry Beck, New York Ranger


Date: Thu, 8 Mar 2001 23:30:33 -0500
From: "Christopher R. Coolidge" <>
Subject: Re: Zappa
Message-ID: <l03130302b6ce0bf071d7@[]>

>One other point,  it seems to me that very few women love Frank Zappa,  most
>of them just politly tolerate their husbands/boyfreinds constant playing of
>Zappa CD's.  Why is this?
>Love you all and looking like a twat, as I walk around the office smoiling
>and humming "Stinkfoot"

  I have an ex-girlfriend who was a serious Zappa fan. It was one of her
few redeeming features as a human being, she was one of those highly
intelligent people who was rather lax in the getting along with people
department. There's a reason we haven't spoken in years; she burns bridges
and makes sure they stay burnt. She had great taste in music though.

Christopher R. Coolidge
"The bad news is, there is no key to the universe. The good news is, it has
been left unlocked."
-Swami Beyondananda


Date: Fri, 09 Mar 2001 03:16:32 -0400
From: neddy <>
Subject: wading in
Message-ID: <>

Dear folks,

If you can stand it, more drivel about Nonsuch.

First, I'll say that Nonsuch is probably my favorite XTC
recording, though they're all so good, it's more like the
first among equals. It's one of my favorite albums, but
it's far from perfect, as I think most of us here would

I've been reading other Chalker's comments with
interest -I'm amazed that some of you would consider
separating That Wave/Then She Appeared. To me,
they're inseparable. Would you also be willing to
tear apart Summer's Cauldron/Grass? The transition
between the two songs, god, that is MAGIC.  It's the clouds
parting and the sun comes out, it's Montreal vanquishing
Philadelphia for the '76 Stanley Cup, it's Gollum plunging
into the fire with the Ring and Frodo's finger, it's
knowing that Mulder will be saved and that Scully's
baby will be human and healthy. It's another luminous
Partridgian point of light.  I think it's best just
the way it is.

My problem is not with the songs. In fact, I think
Andy's songs on Nonsuch, taken as a whole, are his best
yet. For me the sticky point is the performances. There's
a certain element of ennui, almost listlessness
that shows through at times.  It's most apparent
in the rhythmic pulse. The Dissapointed plods along,
Dear Madam Barnum, Crocodile chug away.  And War Dance -
ugggggh- maybe I do have a problem with the songs.

I can't blame Dave Mattacks. I'm sure he performed
just as was expected, and very well at that.  It just
seems need some of the snap crackle and pop of O&L
or Black Sea.

I think there was lack of spark and energy in the
recording studio. Was it Gus Dudgeon's aura?

And what's up with this: "Musicians credited in order
of appearance on track". I've always resented that.
Something petty and shallow there. Or am I missing
the point?

Anyway, it's still a great album and I love it
like my brilliant but lazy little brother.

I've been Jonesing on Empty Garden by Elton John
lately. It's definitely my favorite tribute to
John Lennon. It's one of Elton's finest moments
and never fails to bring a lump to my throat.
I know there's many Lennon fans at this digest.
What are your favorite Lennon tributes?

And Pancho says:
>Last years question, for the trivia-minded, was 'what
town has 4 elements of the periodic table named after

Berkeley, isn't it?

See y'all later

You live in illusion and the appearance of things.
There is reality, but you do not know this.  When
you understand this, you will see that you are nothing,
and being nothing, you are everything.  That is all.
    - Tibetan teacher Kalu Rinpoche


End of Chalkhills Digest #7-15

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