Precedence: bulk
Subject: Chalkhills Digest #7-38

          Chalkhills Digest, Volume 7, Number 38

                   Monday, 25 June 2001


                    Remasters Question
                       Read my lips
                  re: sound improvement
                    Dukes Remastered?
        Re League Of Gentlemen / John Shuttleworth
                    Auctions and sale
                      Back in X T C
                  Ah! Spring on the Hill
                  fuzzy warbles anyone?
                     Re: track order
           The story of the three frustrations
               You are deceiving me, I know
         Excuse me while I whip this out.........
              Re: back from whence it hails
                    Beatles Spin-offs
          shopping w/ susan & dave for jellyfish
                 Freaks and Geeks and XTC
                      Chips Remaster
                       A Confession
                     issues & things


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    The views expressed herein are those of the individual authors.

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

Let me put my bag down and I'll tell you it all right from the start.


Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2001 17:21:37 -0400
From: Keith Hanlon <>
Subject: Remasters Question
Message-ID: <a05101000b74eda1509af@[]>

Hello all!

It's been a while, huh? I've been quietly lurking here for the past
year or so. Hope everyone is doing well.

I just got my Japanese editions of Skylarking, Big Express, and
English Settlement. I plan on getting more. These babies sound (and
look) fantastic! A couple questions:

1) How does O&L and Nonsuch compare to the old versions? Also, how
about the gold disc version of O&L? I don't have a problem with the
original master of Nonsuch, but O&L is way too bright for me.

2) What happened to "Extrovert?"  :)

Well, I guess that's all. Later!



Date: Fri, 15 Jun 2001 10:34:14 +0200
From: "Gary Nicholson" <>
Subject: Read my lips
Message-ID: <000201c0f582$b2c6cae0$e2bc883e@oemcomputer>

Mutter...dribble...XTC ...ffnnghj...Sergeant Rock...mmbplif...Top of the
Pops 2 June 13th ....anyway, worhtrfadesj...welcome sight....(scratches left
ear) however.... baaaahhggh... confidently say that it was the worst
performance of lip-synching I've seen since..since... well, since the last
time XTC were on. I didn't mind in the least; hrrampgh...of course,
hahahahah, goes without saying... I was very, vairy drank.


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 00:52:51 -0400
From: Douglas Bailey <>
Subject: re: sound improvement
Message-ID: <>

Tim Harris <> writes:

>Sorry if I missed previous discussion on this, but is the reissued
>Chips... CD a remaster?
>If so, has anyone any comments re. sound improvement?

I just got the new UK disc today: it *is* a remaster (also by Ian Cooper),
and it is noticeably different. I don't think it's the huge leap forward
that, say, DRUMS AND WIRES or THE BIG EXPRESS underwent, but it definitely
sounds louder and clearer and more... uh, confident, for lack of a better

I'm quite happy with the sound. The *packaging*, on the other hand, is
pretty sad. The booklet is in colour but lacks lyrics (and credits the songs
to Partridge/Moulding, not Johns/Curtain, which I find heretical), the CD
itself is a bland blue with "The Dukes of Stratosphear" and "XTC" printed
on, and the entire design in general smacks of least-possible-effort.

I'd been considering buying copies of the UK re-mastered editions just to
have discs in jewel cases that could survive some travel, but if they're all
like this maybe I'll just make do with my CD-R backups of the Japanese
discs. I'm really disappointed (!) to find that Virgin UK couldn't be
bothered to put in even a little bit of effort on these re-releases.

Is there a Japanese CHIPS... disc? If there is, I've not seen it at any of
the online retailers.



--------------douglas bailey  (
this week dragged past me so slowly; the days fell on their knees...
                                                   --david bowie


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 11:22:58 +0100
From: "Pledge" <>
Subject: Dukes Remastered?
Message-ID: <001101c0f64e$513fedc0$a0237ad5@oemcomputer>

Hello all,

Tim Harris asked about the whether the new Dukes CD is a remaster. Well I've
got the English one and I have to say I'm very disappointed on a few counts:

1) I never owned the original vinyl versions, so I can't comment on the
clues in the original artwork, but finding the CD is stamped XTC and that
the songs were written by Partridge and Moulding takes the shine off it for
me. I know we all know that the Dukes were XTC plus Ian Gregory, but I can't
be the only person who plays it to friends and tries to perpetuate the myth.
Can I? Being in England, XTC are perceived as bad. Past their best, they
went off years ago. You all know the score. So there's the element of fun in
playing people these songs and they seem to love them. I know they wouldn't
want to listen if I said here's an XTC album. Virgin would tell an 8 year
old there was no Santa Claus if they thought they'd get a few more sales
from it.

2) The artwork is frankly worse than the CD issue from '87. The 8 page
booklet proudly tells me that all 10 Virgin albums and the Dukes have been
remastered and the booklets will be standardised to 8 pages using revamped
artwork from the original vinyl sleeves. Wahay, Virgin want to standardise
our record collections to shift more units. Did I tell you that 2 of the 8
pages are made up of the advert for the remasters? Can we assume that the
other 10 albums will be the same?

3) The sound! That's what Tim asked about, sorry I went off the plot for a
while there. Well there's not much to report here. Maybe i'm missing the
point somewhat, but weren't these two mini albums recorded fairly cheaply on
antique (for want of a better word) equipment for faked authenticity? What
I'm trying to say is that I notice no major difference.

Overall I love the Japanese efforts. Well worth the money, and having found
the last 5 for 9 UK pounds each including postage, I was well happy with the
value for money (remember a new chart CD here is about 14 UK pounds). This
Dukes thing is not worth the money (I think it was about 8 or 9 UK pounds).
If the rest of the Virgin albums are to this standard then there's no chance
they will even be on my Christmas list.

Regarding the discussions over this whole reissue thing, I've seen it all
before with Virgin and their handling of the Madness catalogue. The
'original' Madness CD issues were thrown out very cheaply, including one of
the picture CD boxes that was done 'for' XTC. Full of mistakes, titles were
changed, the sound was appalling and the artwork was frankly  rubbish- who
needs NICE PRICE printed on their CD booklets? It might as well have said

I doubt my views on Virgin Records will ever change


PS Regarding Homespun and Homegrown, both were lovingly packaged and both
retailed cheaper than standard CDs over here so I have no complaints


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 11:55:04 +0100
From: "Pledge" <>
Subject: Re League Of Gentlemen / John Shuttleworth
Message-ID: <001901c0f652$cd8a06a0$a0237ad5@oemcomputer>

Hello Mitch

It is good indeed  to know that someone else on here likes the League Of
Gentlemen. Too often the reference points discussed on here are way our of
my sphere...

You may be pleased to know that you're not too far behind as so far there
have been only two series made and one very dark Christmas Special. There
was also an audio cassette called On The Town which precedes their move to

For me the appeal of the Leauge is manyfold: 1) It is funny, but that's the
2) The music is scored by Joby Talbot of the Divine Comedy, another of my
favourite bands.
3) It references many films, books and plots, and delivers them in a Monty
Python/ Madness video way which appeals to me.
4) By far the biggest attraction is how well observed the comedy is, so well
observed that sometimes it is as sad as it is funny. I think you'll agree
that you could claim that Royston Vasey is YOUR home town, that some of the
characters are YOUR neighbours.

On to John Shuttleworth. I first became aware of him through Radio 1 airplay
of his ridiculous single Y Reg? I know I'm going to get slammed for this but
John makes me think of XTC and this single reminds me of how I first felt
when I heard Skylarking and Grass in particular. You know you love it, you
know you're not sure why and most of all you know that Everyone Else In The
World Just Won't Get It. Can you relate to that?

For those unaware of Mr Shuttleworth, he was once known as Jilted John and
had a big hit in the UK with a song that everyone thinks is called Gordon Is
A Moron, but which was actually called Jilted John. Years later he became
John Shuttleworth and set about trying to get a nomination for the
Eurovision Song contest, completely failing to understand that he was
totally rubbish.

So John Shuttleworth is like  XTC doing the Dukes or the Bubblegum pop album
(a creation, a total fabrication). In fact XTC might even be able to do John
Shuttleworth better than Graham Fellows does. Knowing Andy's ability to pun
his way out of a paper bag, I could see him co-writing. Sadly I missed the
recent theatre tour which took John within 15 miles of my home. Still
there's always next time.



Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 07:15:08 -0400 (EDT)
From: <>
Subject: Auctions and sale
Message-ID: <>

Just put Built To Spill,Illusion Of Safety, Mogwai, Palace Brothers, tons
of Sebadoh, Sigur Ros, lots of Slowdive, Tortoise, Stereolab,Veruca Salt,
XTC at

And my sale page is at




Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 16:55:17 +0100 (BST)
From: andrew sneddon <>
Subject: Back in X T C
Message-ID: <>

Hello folks, sorry I haven't posted for a while.
Been busy recently with work and moving to lovely
Muswell Hill.  Unfortunately the road I live on is the
same one that I famous British mass murderer lived on-
Cranley Gardens!  Oh well...

Listened to the Johnathan Ross show this morning and
he played Love on a Farmboys wages- and this evening I
caught the repeat of Top of the Pops 2 with the boys
in the studio doing Sgt Rock.  Dave looking very
fetching on Firebird, Beret and Trombone!

all the best!


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 10:23:45 -0600
From: "Angie Kelson Packer & Shaun Packer" <>
Subject: Ah! Spring on the Hill
Message-ID: <000b01c0f680$b879a300$0b19adcf@packer>

Top signs of spring on the `Hill:

Deb, Lady of the Robes, releases new summer designs for the discerning
XTC fan. Moss green mesh-back thong?  Shredded-wheat bikinis?

"I'm cancelling my ski trip to pay for re-issues" lament turns to "used
all my Disneyland and beach money to pay for re-issues."

"Skylarking" hits heavy rotation on everyone's cd players. Subsequent
"Skylarking" debate inevitably follows. Although this is behind schedule
due to the Homegrown/Homespun and reissue discussion.

World-wide epidemic of folks who stand up naked and grin. In public.

Parrots and lemurs wander free. Orchids bloom. Balloons soar. We-e-e
will dance like tiny boats with cotton sails on the top of the

Certain Chalk Ladies are in a heaving-bosom uproar over certain
gentlemen. Me?! I'm Stupidly Happily married. Hi, Shaun!

Harrison gets out into the sun, sips some hard lemonade and gallops
freely around the hill, tossing more verbal volleys. Duck!

New for this year: AC....What does it mean?  Andy's Concubines?
Attractive Colin? Always Composing? Another Chalkhills?

And the number one sign of Spring on the Hill:

Mr. Partridge buys new paint for the sodding green shed. "Oi! Don't know
why the side on the alley's rubbed smooth!"

Angie K.P.
It's how we're built luv, don't let it, something like that.


Date: Sat, 16 Jun 2001 14:49:28 -0400
From: "Danny Phipps" <>
Subject: fuzzy warbles anyone?
Message-ID: <>

anybody heard of any kind of release date yet on the 4-cd
"fuzzy warbles" boxed set that xtc are supposedly doing?
it's been real low-key in that department lately and was
just wondering where things stand on that right now...

enlighten me --

/danny (still waiting)

"Be the sound of higher love today!"
                         -- Jon Anderson


Date: Sun, 17 Jun 2001 07:08:21 -0400
From: Tom Eisenmenger <>
Subject: Re: track order
Message-ID: <>

First, a hello and then a comment.  I've been a longtime XTC fan here in the
States, even having seen them play LIVE at a Lion's Club in San Diego back
in '80 or so (there's a long story with that one that I may recount here

Concerning track order on rereleases, I would concur that if the record
company simply stuck tracks in willy-nilly that would be "tampering", but if
the boys in the band had a say in the matter then we should consider the
rereleases as "new" and should judge them on their own merits separately
from their vinyl predecessors.

-- Tom Eisenmenger
   Persona Technology

> You make some good points here, but there's a bit of a flaw in saying that
> the end of the album is "where [the bonus tracks] belong."  If the band
> decided on the track order, they also decided which song would be at the
> end, and putting anything after that would also be tampering with the
> original product.  Now, saying that they are less obtrusive at the end is
> certainly a valid opinion, but they don't really "belong" there.


Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 15:01:01 +1100
From: SEBASTIEN MAURY 02 9950 3315 <>
Subject: 4:33
Message-ID: <>

For me, one of the "points" of 4:33 is the audience reaction, something
which can be lost (or at least the visual aspect) on CD. The piece itself
is not silent, as there will always be ambient noise in an auditorium,
never total silence. There's also the suggestion that the piece itself is
less important than the surrounding stuff, be it audience reaction,
discomfort or machinery noise.
More performance piece than music, presumably.
In other news, I have been enjoying some oddities of late: the Shooty's
Groove cover of Dear God, which is not bad, some new (not terribly
inspiring lyrics) but fairly faithful accompaniment. The CD cost me $5
(Australian...equivalent to US $0.20 or thereabouts...) which was kinda
money well spent. The other is the Soul Bossa Trio's "Sally" with the nifty
little Melt The Guns riff. 80s pop meets the bossa nova. Lovely.


Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 14:23:58 +0200
From: art et affiche <>
Subject: The story of the three frustrations
Message-ID: <>

Well as it has already been posted by Emmanuel, on 14th june XTC should have
been on french radio, in Bernard Lenoir broadcast (a daily program dedicated
to rock music). Alas! What almost everyboby was fearing, sadly happened:
Andy Partridge didn't come.  According to the speaker, it seems that 3 days
before he changed his mind.  In a phone conversation with the radio staff,
he told that he could do a phone interview instead. But Lenoir wanted him in
person, sitting in front of him! So, that was it, no dear Partsy on the air!
I've written "what almost everyboby was fearing", because all this is
related to a bit of XTC's french history- It's not the first time AP
avoids an invitation from this journalist. [if you already know the story,
you can jump straight to the last paragraph].  No need to recall the famous
1982 non-concert in Le Palace, when Lenoir was in the audience. First
frustation!  Then in the spring of 1992, the single "The disappointed"
became a little hit on the main french radios. On april, XTC appeared in a
famous TV rock program, "Rapido", and the fans saw Andy and Colin playing
"The ballad of P.  Pumpkinhead" on their acoustic guitars. Especially, AP
seemed ready to renew the 1989 american radio tour experience. With geffen
in the USA, and in a small way, in France: he accepted to play live with his
band mates in two mini-sets in Paris, the 7th may.  One in a big records
shop at 17 pm, one in a live "Black session" (Lenoir means the Black), aired
on "France Inter" radio at 21 pm.  Needless to say that a lot of people at
Virgin France and in France Inter were astonished, but began to believe that
they were about to see XTC live, 10 years after the aborted concert.  Andy
even made the trip from Swindon to visit the "105" studio, where XTC was
supposed to perform. "Too big", said Andy, apparently afraid of the 300
seats in front of him. So he was shown the "106" studio, with only 100
seats.  Andy said something like "Ok, I'll be back", and- they never saw
him again!  Back in Swindon before the 7th may, AP called Virgin France and
express a new wish: he couldn't play in front of 100 people. So the number
was reduced to 30.  France Inter accepted and arranged a radio contest, to
set the 30 lucky winners.  But maybe the question was badly chosen: it was
"Wich song Andy Partridge was singing when he left the stage in 82 during
the last XTC concert in France?"  Well, Lenoir tempted fate here! The 6th
may, he was informed by Virgin that AP was unwell. And the whole thing was
cancelled.  Second frustation!  It seems the ghost of stage fright
reappeared in Andy's life, though the band was rehearsing for 3 weeks for
the acoustic tour scheduled with Geffen- [All this is taken from the only
french XTC's biography, a book by Philippe Bihan, journalist and real XTC
fan, called "Art sonique et vieilles querelles", issued in 1999, and roughly
summed up and translated].

So dear chalkhillers, I'm a little disappointed (third frustration!), but,
no matter!  Andy, you're quite a damn good old character, but we love you
just the way you are!

Apart from that, I've bought the Japanese remasters of Drums and Wires and
Black sea.  Wow, grrrreat! It's really really worthy. Next will be Big
express, one of my all time favourite, and as Seth Frisby said, not only <I
am now convinced it is one of the most enjoyable of their discs>, but also
the one wich would benefit the most from the remastering (with Skylarking,
wich sounds particularly dull on CD).  BE will certainly sound better,
louder and brighter from now on.


Marie "in the line" Omnibus.


Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 16:15:54 -0000
From: "Nathan Mulac DeHoff" <>
Subject: You are deceiving me, I know
Message-ID: <>

Angie Hill:
>Anyhow, I was just wondering if anyone else has a copy of Go 2 like I do. I
>bought my cassette of Go 2 about 10 years ago, used. The cassette itself is
>solid blue/black. It is otherwise normal except the song "Are You Receiving
>Me?" appears between "The Rhythm" and "Red". It is not listed on the sleeve
>or the cassette itself. And besides, i was under the impression that "Are
>You Receiving Me?" is supposed to be on White Music, not Go 2. I have a
>friend who bought a new copy of Go 2 and this song is not on his copy.

It's on my CD copy of the song, and in the same place, although it IS listed
on the sleeve and the CD.  I believe the remaster will be placing the song
at the end of the album, but I have no idea whether it will be included on
the sleeve.  (Have the other remasters with bonus tracks listed them on the
album sleeves?)  As for whether "Are You Receving Me?" belongs on White
Music or Go 2, well, the two albums were released only nine months apart
(January and October 1978), with the AYRM single coming out a month before
Go 2.  So I think it's appropriate for AYRM to be included as a Go 2 bonus
track (as far as time concerns go, anyway).  The odd thing is that the
original B-side for the single was "Instant Tunes," which is a bonus track
on CD copies of White Music!  It seems to me like it would have been
appropriate to keep AYRM and IT on the same record, but I don't think it
really matters all that much.
May the light shine upon thee,


Date: Mon, 18 Jun 2001 08:34:06 -0500
From: Jason Phelan <>
Subject: Excuse me while I whip this out.........
Message-ID: <CBE4754489E8D211816000500416EAE00E720F@FILESVR>

Seth Frisby wrote:

"For some reason Homegrown has made me whip out the Big Express for
multiple listenings"


My favorite sentence of the month.

Careful, you may go blind,


Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 00:42:41 +0100
From: "Jon Holden-Dye" <>
Subject: Re: back from whence it hails
Message-ID: <001601c0f850$709ec7a0$050aa8c0@jhd5>
Organization: JHD Designs

    John Shuttleworth (a.k.a. Graham Fellows) - what can I say ? He's a
National Treasure - unfortunately, shortly to be killed-off. Saw him 'in
concert' a few weeks ago - solo, just over two and a half hours,
simultaneously excrutiating and superb. Sample 'humour' - "Jehovah's
Witnesses... I just ask them for their plans. You know, the plans for the
boat they'll board, when The Flood comes. Nothing. Really, they can't be
serious, can they ?" There are some BBC Radio tapes available, if you're
interested (believe it or not, ).
    The League of Gentlemen, amongst other notable pluses, features some of
the finest comedy cross-dressing since Monty Python. Ditto for cannibalism
and strange shops...

Cheers, Jon H-D

XTC content - I feel they never really managed to keep abreast of the
"what's today's hot trouser look ?" thing, to stand *any* chance of making
it really big. Nice songs, though.

> From: mitch friedman <>
> Not to change the subject too much but all of the above gentlemen are
> big fans of John Shuttleworth and The League of Gentlemen. I may very
> well be the only person in the USA who loves Shuttleworth as much as
> they do. The mundanity and horrible songs are fantastic and hilarious.


Date: Tue, 19 Jun 2001 11:40:47 -0700 (PDT)
From: Ira Lieman <>
Subject: Beatles Spin-offs
Message-ID: <>


I get bored quite often at work. So, I surf. Not like there's anything WRONG
with that. Stumbled upon a great website called Gossip Central
(, natch) and followed a link to Fox411, a gossip site
written by a Roger Friedman.  (see,2933,27584,00.html). At the end of the
article, he says how the band Travis (who I have yet to hear, I guess) is a
"Beatle spin-off band" and just about trips over himself trying to point to
Travis as the salvation for all that is Rock Music in this world.

I guess I have to make a point to check out this band, as Beatles-spinoff
kin to (in this order...can't help but laugh) "XTC, Squeeze, Electric Light
Orchestra and a dozen less gifted groups" -- although I don't know if
comparisons to ELO really apply when discussing The Beatles. Hey, I watched
the ELO Storytellers too, and Mr. Lynne sounds great (and not a hair out of
place!), but I don't really think you can imagine John & Paul and "Don't
Bring Me Down" in the same breath. <shudder>

In unrelated gnus, a non-XTC related (what the hell WAS I searching for
here?)  Google Search brought up where
some random being named Chad called Wasp Star the 7th best album of 2000. I
guess a website can make everyone a pundit. I think everyone should have a
top-10 list on their own personal websites. Doesn't have to do with music or
anything. Like "Top 10 Proteins of 2000" or "1997's 10 Best Shades of
Orange" or maybe "The Ultimate Yiddish Curses Top 10 List." Just a
thought. I'm going to formulate mine on my train ride home.

OK, enough from me.

-ira "want fries with that?" lieman


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 17:31:29 +0800
From: becki digregorio <>
Subject: shopping w/ susan & dave for jellyfish
Message-ID: <>

greetings xtc folks,

egads, it's been quite a long time since i've posted to our fine list.
in response to a few posts from #35:

Patrick Adamek <> wrote:

<...while shopping a Krogers supermarket and immediately following an
obscure Rolling Stones song, Stupidly Happy was played on the PA system.
Some idiot asked for a price check at the 1:00 minute mark and then
someone else told Bob that he had a call on line 3 at about the 2:00 minute
mark, but all in all it was delightful to hear our heroes in such a public

indeed!!  always a thrill to hear the boys in a place other than my own
stereo.  one time i heard andy's "frost circus" as background music to a
documentary film about (if memory serves) the history of the circus.
it's funny how excited we get hearing xtc out "in the world" as it were,
and so blase about some other bands, no??

richard pedretti-allen wrote:

<Let me dramatize this by informing you that when Becki diGregorio
wanted to cover "Susan Revolving", Andy response was (paraphrased),
"...but it isn't finished.  Let me finish the lyrics.   ...and there
should be a key change at the end!"  Susan Revolving as it had been left was
incomplete and there was no intention to ever release it.  It ended up being
dubbed and handed around on cassette until it ended up in Becki's hands.>

yep, a true story.  andy was keen enough to let me and the band cover
this cool potentially-psychedelic tune.  if anyone has heard his
30-second original "sketch," you may be interested in our five-minute,
swirling and amped version (that will be on both my new cd and the xtc
tribute richard is producing).  and for you "jellyfish" fans, lyle
workman (who played amazing guitar on their "spilt milk" album) is
contributing both guitar and *sitar* on this one.


<Are most XTC collectors also collectors of the various XTC related
session work they have done? I have always tried to pick up all of these
various projects. Along these same lines, does everyone still collect Dave
Gregory related releases now that he is no longer an XTC member?  Are there
any of Dave's session work that you could tell he was playing on without
having been told or read in the album credits?>

i must say that, thanks to the lads' individual projects, i've been
turned on to some great music that i probably wouldn't have known if
it wasn't for their participation.  one musician in particular, sam
phillips, released the album "martinis & bikinis" which includes a song
that colin plays bass on and is given production credit.  i bought the album
specifically because colin was on it, and it's become one of my favourites.
same goes for martin newell.  and, may i humbly add that dave's
contributions to several songs on my first cd ("seven worthies of the bamboo
grove") is, i believe, one case where a listener can tell the guitar work is
_very much_ dave.

From: "Michael D. Myers" <>

<Upcoming release news:  for fans of powerful, melodic music such as
XTC, you may be interested to know that there is a box set coming in the
next few months from the late, great Jellyfish. The release will be 4 CDs
including a ton of rare and/or unissued stuff...>

thanks for the heads-up!!  jellyfish is one of those bands whose
musicianship never fails to amaze me.  and one listen to the sound
quality of "spilt milk" makes you long for analog-recorded albums
again.  that jeff lynne tribute sounds keen as well, especially with the
likes of contributors such as the hollies and jason falkner.  loved both
of jason's solo efforts.  and i agree with you that the grays deserve
some hearty accolades.

and thanks to those of you who have contacted me about the release date
for my new album "god's empty chair."   fingers crossed it will be
pressed next month.  john wedemeyer is again playing guitar, randy hayes
on drums, endre tarczy on bass, and i'm once again blessed with a _very_
special guest contributing as well...

peace to all,

--becki digregorio


Date: Wed, 20 Jun 2001 14:07:40 -0400 (EDT)
From: frippy <>
Subject: Freaks and Geeks and XTC
Message-ID: <>

I'm sure I'm not the first one to point this out but I was watching
"Freaks and Geeks" last night on the Family channel (it used to be on NBC,
but it was too good, so they yanked it in place for some show about a
sardonic blue-collar dad) and during a scene where gym class jocks are
picking teams, a familiar guitar line caught my ear, "I know that!"

The song turned to be "No Language In Our Lungs," they did splice it a bit
here and there, like you heard "There is no muscle in our tongues" after
the first chorus, but it was still cool to hear XTC in a tv show,
especially one that I liked.  I was bouncing to tell someone.

Any other TV shows that featured XTC songs?  I'm curious now. I would
imagine somewhere in all 9 of those Real Worlds, they've at least had a 10
second snippet of one song, but to confirm it, I'd actually have to WATCH
The Real World...

This list comforts me in reassuring me that I'm not the only XTC geek to
get giddy and excited whenever they hear XTC on TV or in the grocery
store.  (A few months ago, "Mayor of Simpleton" started up on the PA
system while shopping at Staples and I gamboled in the aisles, singing


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 11:41:37 +0200
From: "Clinton, Martin" <>
Subject: Chips Remaster
Message-ID: <>

Hi everyone,

For those interested, I got the remastered "Chips from the Chocolate
Fireball" today, and on the inner sleeve it says, 'Remastered by Ian Cooper
at Metropolis Mastering' the same as the other re-releases, and this is also
referred to in an advert for all the albums plus the Dukes one at the back
of the booklet, so they were all done together.

Disappointingly, the 'tracks written by' information now lists Partridge &
Moulding as the authors!!!!

All the best



Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 12:45:56 -0700 (PDT)
From: Sean Robison <>
Subject: Reissues
Message-ID: <>

Okay, time to pull my head out of the ground and post
my opinions on the new remasters...

The Control discs I'm comparing against are the Geffen

1. White Music: I can finally make it through this
album. The remastering has restored the energy and
vitality these songs need which were lost under muck
and mud of the Geffen disc. I usually would lose
interest in this album about halfway through. But
hearing the songs with their full energy restored, I'm
gaining an appreciation for the album as a very
energetic, punchy, upbeat rocker.

2. Go 2: This disc also benefits from the restored
energy, though I've always liked this album. This
album benefits mostly from the restored graphics (I'm
speaking of Japanese miniature album version) - I
never knew even the record label had the "This is a
... " design. ("This is a LABEL. This writing is known
as the LABEL COPY."...). The improvement over the
Geffen disc isn't TOO pronounced here - this is one of
the few albums Geffen did okay with, though "Are You
Receiving Me" is dramatically improved.

3. Drums and Wires: The remaster is a VAST improvement
over the original. Once again, the disc has for more
energy and punchiness to it. As with all the
remasters, the album seems to have more breathing
room. It's like all the mud has been scraped out of
the cracks and crevices, leaving a spacious, sparkling
new music experience. As already mentioned, "Ten Feet
Tall" has the spoken intro.

4. Black Sea: Good lord! This is one of two discs that
really shows a night-and-day difference between old
and new (Big Express is the other...). The disc now
sounds like it was recorded this year. Instead of a
pleasant listening experience, this remaster grabs you
by the collar and demands you listen to it. You find
yourself inside the music - try to listen to the
remastered "Travels in Nihilon" without getting lost
in the power of the track.

5. English Settlement: The least improved of the
remasters in my opinion. The sound is a little fuller,
a little more open, and a little sharper, but after
listening to Black Sea, the differences here don't
seem that dramatic. One major improvement, in my
opinion, is with "Senses Working Overtime". On the
Geffen disc, the intro and the first half of the song
seemed to have been mastered at a lower volume than
the latter half. On the remaster, the volume is steady
with the rest of the album - so it doesn't feel like
part of the song disappears.

6. Mummer: Another dramatic improvement. Once again,
the Geffen disc was just so murky. Mummer truly
benefits from having the bonus tracks poperly placed
at the end. Finally, you get a feel for the cohesive
mood of the songs. Well, except for "Funk Pop A Roll".
Another thing I noticed was how warm sounding all the
songs are until you get to "Funk..." which sounds very
bright and compressed - the remaster makes "Funk..."
stand out in greater contrast to the remainder of the
album than ever before.

7. Big Express: Same reaction as Black Sea. Night and
day difference. The songs completely envelope you.
"Train Running Low..." is astounding on the remaster.

8. Skylarking: A disorienting listen at first. Since I
live in the U.S., I have the Geffen version of this
album ingrained in my psyche (with "Dear God" instead
of "Mermaid Smiled") so listening to the disc with the
original track order restored is taking some getting
used to. (When I hear "Mermaid Smiled", I expect the
next track on "Rag and Bone Buffet" to play...). The
sound quality is somewhat improved and much fuller,
though there's only so much you can do with a Todd
Rundgren production, which tend to veer towards
sounding compressed and flat.

9. Oranges and Lemons: Like Skylarking, much fuller.
Improves upon the MOFI gold CD, which was the best
master up to this point. However, like Drums and
Wires, there's a different (or possibly the original)
version of "King For A Day" on this disc. The
remastered version has an additional piece of
percussion running through the song - every few
measures, you hear what sounds like two sticks being
struck in sets of three (clack! clack! clack!). It
fits perfectly with the song. I checked a different
copy of the song thinking maybe this percussion was
just buried in the muddy mix, but it's nowhere to be
heard. Anybody have any idea where this new percussive
bit came from?

10. Nonsuch: I didn't think there would be too much
imrpovement here - the original album WAS done in
1992. BUT, there is definite, though not dramatic,
improvement. The sound is much fuller and the trebley
parts are much brighter giving the album a little more

11. Chips from the Chocolate Fireball: The 25 O'Clock
songs don't seem that dramatically different - there's
a little more breathing room. However, I feel this
just accentuates how great the Dukes succeeded in
capturing a Wall of Sound feel which is very dense. On
the other hand the Psonic Psunspot tracks are
dramatically improved, much like Drums and Wires. The
fidelity is sharp, full, loud. It's a totally
different experience.

I have no idea if these remasters will ever show up
domestically in the U.S.. However, as mentioned
before, you can get a great deal on the Japanese
mini-albums through HMV in Canada.

You can get the Dukes remaster for around $14 U.S.
through Amazon UK - it took less than a week to be
delieved from England to California.

Okay - that's it. My fingers are getting tired.

Back to seclusion.


Date: Thu, 21 Jun 2001 16:19:19 -0700 (PDT)
From: Steve Johnson <>
Subject: A Confession
Message-ID: <>

I drive around listening to CD's (mostly XTC, but
lately the new Joe Jackson) on my cheap car CD-player.
 However, sometimes the CD case isn't in my car at the
same time as the CD.  So when I put in a new CD, I
stick the old one in the glove compartment (or
whatever you call it in England), or on the car seat,
or whatever.  And of course, the CD's get all
scratched and warped, so eventually I have to go out
and buy a new one.  I have contributed excessively to
Andy Partridge's (or was it Virgin's?) royalties in
this manner.  So if I don't seem too eager to get the
remasters, these may be two of the reasons (cheap
player & bad CD-care).  Ain't it blasphemous?


Date: Fri, 22 Jun 2001 15:01:41 -0700
Subject: issues & things
Message-ID: <>

Hey Kids,

It's been a while, trying to catch up, etc.

First of all, after weeks of hassling hapless record store employees, I've
come to the conclusion that there is no such animal as specifically
"Canadian" versions of the reissues, just some sort of deal to import the
Japanese ones at a low price; the only thing special you get here is a
sticker saying "imported by EMI Canada" on the Japanese issue (sorry, Mole).
And I'd been so looking forward to nit-picking about the colour of the
"Black Sea" bag if there had been...:)
Mind you, they are damn cheap up here (as someone pointed out recently), so
I was also surprised to hear them called "expensive".

Molly said:
>I don't like it when people think that they're bigger
>fans of a certain group/artist just because they own everything from
>that artist/group.  I LOVE XTC, but I don't have all their stuff, and I
>don't think I want all their stuff.  But that doesn't make me a lesser
>fan for that.

Of course not; but really, nobody here has ever claimed that to be the case.
There is a big difference IMO, between "I got this cool thing & want to
share my excitement" and gloating over others who can't get it for one
reason or another (financial or otherwise). Your conviction that everyone
who tells us about a new acquisition is somehow holding themselves up as a
"better fan" or gloating over their vast wealth is just paranoia. There are
people on this list who have tons more cool stuff than me, but I don't feel
persecuted when they talk about it; it's interesting, and if there's a cool
XTC item I can't have (due to money, luck, locality, etc), I'm still
interested in reading about it, rather than having it kept secret to spare
my feelings.
I don't feel the need to collect multiple versions from various countries,
for instance, but I'm nothing but glad that there are those who do, who are
happy to share their discoveries and collector-freak (in a good way)
adventure stories with the rest of us.

As far as the reissues themselves go, I'm especially glad to have the new
"Big Express", which is a vast improvement over the crappy Geffen copy I
had; I've wanted this since first hearing the better-sounding "Wake Up" on
Fossil Fuel.
Otherwise: D&W and BS both sound like someone lifted a blanket off them (I
really enjoyed "Nihilon" for the first time, rather than just appreciating
it), even "White Music" has a whole new life to it (try this version if
you've given up on this album in the past). Pretty much agree with those who
say that ES is the least revelatory in terms of the sound improvements.

And yes, the fact that they didn't master the f**king things properly IN THE
FIRST place occupies some netherworld between infuriating and hilarious.

We'll never fully settle the bonus tracks debate ("In the middle disrupts
the flow of the album" vs. "at the end means the last song isn't last"), but
I do think it's less hassle to stop play after the original last song than
skip/program past tracks in the middle...

One question: those of you who have both the MoFi and re-issue versions of
O&L and Skylarking, how do they compare, soundwise? About the same? MoFi
better? Reissues better? I've never heard the MoFi versions...
Also, Nonsuch seemed pretty well mastered in the first place. Is its reissue
worth it from an audio perspective?

P.P. Boy said:
>but releasing a set of demos like Homegrown is similar to charging
>people to sit in rehearsals for a play or publishing the first draft
>of a novel complete with rewrites and editors notes.

And this is a point against the idea how?
Seriously, this happens all the time; you can often get special rehearsal
tickets, sometimes with Q&A sessions with the actors after the play, for
those interested in the process. Similarly, publishing early drafts w/
editorial comment, etc. are certainly not unheard of, often in small press
runs **for those interested**. Just like Home****. "Making of..." books &
videos are another case in point: many people don't care & don't bother,
they just want the "official" final product. Others want to know more about
how that finished product came about. One isn't more "right" than the other,
it's just what you personally find interesting; the option is there to check
it out or leave it on the shelf.
I'm not a musician, but I find any creative process interesting, and want to
hear the steps it took to get there. That, and cool interesting packages are
something that i seem to react to like a crow to a... shiny thing. (another
appeal of the reissues as well, on top of the sound factor; also a reason
why Napster could never have stopped me buying stuff).

As far as the newsgroup idea goes... not for me. I may be in the minority on
this, but I love the digest format, and prefer it to all others. I hate
navigating in and out of messages (tedious even with the fastest
connections) to follow a thread, whether it's usenet or web messaging things
(like on the Yahoo group). Maybe It's because I read fairly quickly, but I
find it so much easier to just have that big chunk of digest to skim
through, my eyes on the lookout for keywords & interesting arguments, etc.
Years before joining Chalkhills, I had been on another list (J.G. Ballard,
if you care), and found the "individual e-mails pouring in in droves" to be
frustrating and a pain in the ass to manage. I'm now hooked on the digest
format (thanks to Mr. Relph), and the lack of it has kept me from de-lurking
on various NGs and lists, and will always choose digest format when
available, and often won't bother subscribing when it's not.

Still have yet to see a copy of Homegrown up here...

Ed K.


End of Chalkhills Digest #7-38

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