XTC : Classic or Dud.

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I guess it had to be asked sooner or later. Go 2 or Nonsuch? Skylarking or Drums and Wires?

Marks off for use of the word "quirky" or the phrase "progressive ruralists" ;)

Dr. C, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Generally classic, though they've pretty much lost me for everything post-Oranges and Lemons. I find that I can't quite get into the harsh angular approach of the first two albums aside from some of the singles, like "Statue of Liberty" and "This is Pop" unless I'm in the right mood. For me the classic period is really Drums and Wires through The Big Express, esp. Mummer. Skylarking never really connected for me, but I really loved Oranges and Lemons. At their best, they were really smart pop with an ultra-listenable lushness fused to an off-kilter approach that made it way more interesting than aural confetti like Alan Parsons Project. For me, the last few have been really hit ("Stupidly Happy") and miss (most of Apple Venus).

Sean Carruthers, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Absolutely classic....or at least up through ORANGES & LEMONS. Personally, I prefer their more aggressive work (ala GO 2 and DRUMS & WIRES), but their later "bucolic" phase (ala ENGLISH SETTLEMENT, SKYLARKING) is immaculately crafted as well. Seems that Moulding and Partridge, however, are perilously close to becoming the complacent Steely Dan-ish twosome of the post-punk generation...sequestering themselves in the studio, making respectable if not exactly exciting music like APPLE VENUS etc.

alex in nyc, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

I know who you're thinking of, Dr C, but hey I can take it :).

I don't know much of their very early stuff and I have a certain knowledge dip in the late Virgin years, but I would consider Black Sea, English Settlement, Nonsuch and Skylarking to be classic. No question whatsoever. Apple Venus Volume One is a loveable museum piece, Wasp Star fizzes but somehow isn't as likeable as it could be. For the range of their music alone, though (I don't feel the need to choose, although "Making Plans For Nigel" was always awful new wavy Kinksiness), classic.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Yes, well, Except if ANYone has a total lock on the q-word... I seem to remember them getting agitated in print as well about it (AND about the phrase "clever-clever"), and I guess I don't blame them. I like the IDEA of rereading Images of Non-Urban Englishness via soukous- wired psychedelia: my big block has always been the singing. And if I WANTED to work back through a compendium of personalised ideas of the left-behind 60s, there are worse places to start. But I can't imagine being moved by them.

mark s, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

It pains me to have to state the obvious here, but XTC are bona fide classic, no questions asked. But you all know that of course ...

Guy Flower, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Well yes, of course classic, although I'm a little underwhelmed by the 'comeback'. Who cares though with Drums and Wires, Black Sea, English Settlement and Skylarking in the can. I love Go2, although seem to be in a very small minority here... and the run of singles with Barry Andrews (Science Friction/Statue Of Liberty/Are you Receiving Me?/This is Pop) is fantastic. Somehow this early period is synonymous with 'new wave', in a good way. Wiltshire's own Devo?

I don't like/get "Oranges and Lemons" -too session slick.

Dr.C, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Without a doubt: Classique. ENGLISH SETTLEMENT and SKYLARKING could easily be candidates for creme de la creme de la creme status. Brilliant band.

Tim Baier, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Ah, but *I* wouldn't use the q-word.

Mark, it's funny how your "left-behind 60s" sentence *is* Skylarking in a nutshell for me, but you say something as perceptive about it from the perspective of someone left unmoved, as I think I ever have from the perspective of someone who's moved by it endlessly, constantly, wonderfully. Interesting.

Robin Carmody, Monday, 14 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Dud. I could never get past the singer's irritating pompous delivery. They had a couple of semi-catchy singles 13 or so years ago, but after 1992, did anyone really care? Dud.

SleepTilItHurts, Tuesday, 15 May 2001 00:00 (eighteen years ago) link

five months pass...
For me, Drums & Wires and English Settlements are the reasons I still care about XTC. I am not a massive fan, but then again, they have made some songs I really love. I'm sympathetic to anyone who can't get past Andy Partridge's delivery, however.

DeRayMi, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic all way through.. but most classic via "Black Sea"... I also love "White Music", "The Big Express", "Psonic Psunspot/25 O' Clock", "Nonsuch", and "Apple Venus Vol. 1"....

"Oranges and Lemons" is the only relative dud IMHO.

Brian MacDonald, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

Classic, and I think they will only age better with time.

Particularly classic: Black Sea, Skylarking, Nonsuch, Apple Venus, Vol. 1, and why in god's name wasn't "Shipped Trapped in Ice" or "Wonder Annual" on the wildly mediocre Wasp Star?

dleone, Monday, 5 November 2001 01:00 (eighteen years ago) link

two years pass...
Most of my life I've thought I should like XTC but really haven't, despite trying quite hard. However, recently I've been listening to Apple Venus volume 1 and I think it's terrific. It's the only one of their LPs I've been able to get into; by the looks of the above comments there's something wrong with me, but I have listened to most of these records over the years. Apple Venus Volume 1 sounds like nothing else I've ever heard.

I guess I should get volume 2.

Keith Watson (kmw), Saturday, 19 June 2004 18:26 (fifteen years ago) link

This far down and no one has mentioned Colin Moulding yet? I have wished so many times he would put out a solo album. Well, he's not dead yet, so I guess I can still hope.

Skylarking: Best Beatles influenced album ever, by anybody, past or future

Black Sea: So classic

First album: Also classic. Especially with the extra tracks on the CD.
Of special note is the cover of "All Along The Watchtower". Hilarious, unforgettable, and wonderfully funky. Beats the crap out of the original.

There is no need to ask if they were classic or not.

Bimble (bimble), Saturday, 19 June 2004 22:45 (fifteen years ago) link

I only have Skylarking, English Settlement, Nonesuch and Oranges & Lemons but I like them all.

Here's a query: What is the correlation between XTC positivity and Olivia Tremor Control fandom? It seem to me each act reinterpreted 60s pop singles in a different, though sorta similar way.

ben welsh (benwelsh), Sunday, 20 June 2004 01:03 (fifteen years ago) link

And what of Andy's secular humanist pontificating/chest beating in the lyrics?

ben welsh (benwelsh), Sunday, 20 June 2004 01:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Black Sea
English Settlement

Drums and Wires

Oranges and Lemons
Wasp Star

j e r e m y (x Jeremy), Sunday, 20 June 2004 01:43 (fifteen years ago) link

C: Drums and Wires; Black Sea; English Settlement; Skylarking

D: Mummer; Oranges and Lemons; Nonsuch (or whatever that's called)

Also C: Lots of their singles, like "Heaven Is Paved with Broken Glass"; "Blame the Weather"; etc.

Weren't as good after Terry Chambers left, I don't think. Not a band I listen to any more, but always glad to hear individual tracks like "It's Nearly Africa" and esp. "Jason and the Argonauts."

eddie hurt (ddduncan), Sunday, 20 June 2004 01:55 (fifteen years ago) link

To those who dud Oranges & Lemons: Do you also dud the album's first track, "The Garden of Earthly Delights"?

ben welsh (benwelsh), Sunday, 20 June 2004 02:02 (fifteen years ago) link

No, nor Scarecrow People (I think that's the one ... whatever the one is w. the longish instrumental intro.)

j e r e m y (x Jeremy), Sunday, 20 June 2004 02:04 (fifteen years ago) link

Good, cuz that's my jam.

ben welsh (benwelsh), Sunday, 20 June 2004 02:13 (fifteen years ago) link

Most of my life I've thought I should like XTC but really haven't, despite trying quite hard.

That's the weird thing about XTC.

In 1992 I bought The Compact XTC, listened to it a few times, hated it, and put it away. Over the ensuing weeks, I forced myself to listen to it again and again [usually in the background whilst doing homework], and one day something snapped: I understood the depth of the music, and couldn't stop listening to it.

Having decided this was one of the best albums I'd ever heard, I spent the next couple of years building up my collection. Here's the crucial bit: Every album had the same effect. On the first listen of every album, I hated it, and it took a good 20+ listens before I 'got' each one; but once each album hit that threshold, I couldn't put it down for literally months on end.

Thinking I was nuts, I introduced XTC to several friends, all of whom didn't like it. Months later, most of them had done an about face and were raving about XTC, just as I had done.

So, it's urgent and key to bear this in mind: Repeated listening of XTC will reap rewards. I've not known any other band to produce work of such consistently high quality and enormous depth. It's music that grows and grows and grows, and -- most importantly -- it rewards effort in ways you cannot imagine.

Lo Boob Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 20 June 2004 04:03 (fifteen years ago) link

That's interesting to hear that. I was a fan for many years, to be sure but a few years ago I had a revisitation with them I think due to accidentally finding the first album on CD with extra tracks and it was like something snapped and I became fanatical in a way I hadn't been before. I started buying a lot of stuff on CD that I'd only had on vinyl, and catching up with things like Rag & Bone Buffett, which I'd paid no attention to when it came out.

Oranges and Lemons sux, but King For A Day still gets me every time, and Garden Of Earthly Delights isn't so bad.

The live version of Battery Brides on the Transister Blast box set OWNZ.

Bimble (bimble), Sunday, 20 June 2004 04:19 (fifteen years ago) link

Weird innit? :)

Oranges & Lemons is fantastic. King for a Day irritates the hell out of me, but there are sooo many gems on that album, and as a piece it works beautifully. Easily one of my favourites. Fox and Thacker are gods.

Lo Boob Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 20 June 2004 04:28 (fifteen years ago) link

KIng For A Day is the greatest song The Police never wrote

mentalist (mentalist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 07:36 (fifteen years ago) link

>Repeated listening of XTC will reap rewards.

That's interesting... Why can't music come with a "Guaranteed that you will ultimately twig" sticker, rather than some daft parental advisory thing.

I did buy Waxworks/Beeswax on compact cassette about 1986 based on loving "Making plans for Nigel" and "Senses working overtime", so I have tried pretty hard; maybe it's a bit of concentrated listening I need. As I say though, I love Apple Venus volume 1 now, so perhaps the rest will click.

Keith Watson (kmw), Sunday, 20 June 2004 09:46 (fifteen years ago) link

the remasters have definitely helped XTC sound better

mentalist (mentalist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 09:53 (fifteen years ago) link

We're only making plans...

scottontharox (scottkundla), Sunday, 20 June 2004 10:28 (fifteen years ago) link

all i know is that there was a 2 day period in which i listened to "snowman" on repeat for a couple hours. and im not even bitter about nothin.

tom cleveland (tom cleveland), Sunday, 20 June 2004 10:32 (fifteen years ago) link

brilliant, dorky, and wonderful

with the appearance of bands like dogs die in hot cars and the futureheads, maybe we're getting an xtc revival?

cutty (mcutt), Sunday, 20 June 2004 12:06 (fifteen years ago) link

I guess XTC being something you have to acquire a taste for is a younger generation thing. I think "Making Plans for Nigel" was the first XTC song I heard, and I seem to remember liking it immediately. But I feel no compunction about dismissing much of their work. In fact, I got to like Oranges and Lemons, for instance, a lot less and less through repeated listens and the passing of time.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 12:18 (fifteen years ago) link

god i haven't thought about senses working overtime for years and years. i might have to try and obtain an xtc recording next week.... *sings offkey* one two three four five, senses working overrrrtiiime

gem (trisk), Sunday, 20 June 2004 12:51 (fifteen years ago) link

Drums & Wires is a COMPLETE classic. How anyone could suggest otherwise boggles my mind.

Fave track on Oranges & Lemons (their last decent album) = "Across this Antheap".

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 13:39 (fifteen years ago) link

I'm not sure how "King For A Day" sounds anything like The Police.

And you may not like Apple Venus Vol. 1, Alex, but it's at least "decent."

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Sunday, 20 June 2004 19:46 (fifteen years ago) link

Decent,....but not exciting.

"King for a Day" doesn't remind me of the Police either. It's a fine, pleasant song, but just a little too overproduced for my taste (like much of the Orange & Lemons album, I think).

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 19:49 (fifteen years ago) link

Agreed, re. the overproduction of O&L -- actually, I've always felt "Across This Antheap" could have been a big-time XTC hyper-classic were it not for that harsh production.

Naive Teen Idol (Naive Teen Idol), Sunday, 20 June 2004 19:59 (fifteen years ago) link

Hmmmm....conversely, I don't think it sounds harsh enough! It's the only track on the album -- with the possible exception of "Garden of Earthly Delight" that retains their former edge.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 19:59 (fifteen years ago) link

"King for a Day" is a ripoff of "Everybody Wants to Rule the World."

I listened to Oranges and Lemons for the first time in years recently -- I found a used CD copy for $2, and it's easily worth that. While the production is annoying, what I found interesting is that the track I used to blow past are the only ones I really enjoyed. If you can get past the bad lyrics that infect the entire record, there are a few gems: "The Loving," "One of the Millions," and "Hold Me My Daddy" stand out.

Whatever. It's still all about English Settlement.

J (Jay), Sunday, 20 June 2004 20:47 (fifteen years ago) link

English Settlement, Black Sea, Drums & Wires, Skylarking......all gems.

Big Express? Ehhhhh......with the exception of a few tracks, it's not their finest. Never cared for Mummer so much, either.

Then, of course....there are THE DUKES OF STRATOSPHEAR,.....who quite thoroughly rock.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:00 (fifteen years ago) link

There was always someone who would try to convince you that Mummer was revealed by God or something. I always just thought it was okay.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:17 (fifteen years ago) link

Of course, your comment about the Dukes pretty much negates anything else you might say.

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:18 (fifteen years ago) link

Wha? You'd have to be a serious nemesis of enjoyment to have anything even remotely negative to say about the Dukes of Stratosphear. You must be a replicant. Fi upon thee, evil manifestation of synthetic frowniness.

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:46 (fifteen years ago) link

"25 o'clock" is pure fun, pal.

THOR HORSEMAN, Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:53 (fifteen years ago) link

damn skippy!

Alex in NYC (vassifer), Sunday, 20 June 2004 21:55 (fifteen years ago) link

Not the Police, Tears For Fears, you know what I mean

mentalist (mentalist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 22:10 (fifteen years ago) link

classic classic, black sea especially. the world needs more finely crafted pop with crypto-political lyrics.

andrew l. r. (allocryptic), Sunday, 20 June 2004 22:35 (fifteen years ago) link

Add me to the Dukes list. Anyone who doesn't like the Dukes is officially mentalist or deaf.

Mummer would have been 10 times better had the same tracks been sequenced differently. It's chock full of top tunes, but the running order is just woeful.

O&L's high production really works in favour of the music, I reckon. Apart from King for a Day, which is agony to my ears. The raw power behind Antheap et al really pronounces the strengths in the songwriting. I agree on the relatively weak lyrics though; I think there were a few hassles with Virgin around that time, with the label wanting Partridge to produce hit singles and such.

Anyone heard the Fuzzy Warbles stuff? It's some of the best Partridge has ever done, and it's not overproduced. :)

(I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and) Whittle Away My Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 20 June 2004 22:57 (fifteen years ago) link

Is anybody not going to defend the self-indulgent third-rate retro fluff that are the Dukes of the Stratosphear recordings?

Rockist Scientist (rockistscientist), Sunday, 20 June 2004 23:05 (fifteen years ago) link

Bahahaha. You's in the weeniest minority evar.

(I'm Gonna Sit Right Down and) Whittle Away My Almanac (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 20 June 2004 23:08 (fifteen years ago) link

Nice! I wonder what XTC songs he'd have in mind to play? Sounds to me that he's considering post-1982 stuff, which would be interesting to hear with Chambers.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Wednesday, 27 June 2018 15:59 (one year ago) link

I Need Protection or gtfo

MaresNest, Wednesday, 27 June 2018 16:27 (one year ago) link

I think he'd be good on 'The Meeting Place'!

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Wednesday, 27 June 2018 16:36 (one year ago) link

In Loving Memory Of A Name *sigh* if only

MaresNest, Wednesday, 27 June 2018 16:56 (one year ago) link

I'll take whatever as long as I can go

PaulTMA, Wednesday, 27 June 2018 16:58 (one year ago) link

I wonder who the other players might be, some of his Prog cronies perhaps?

MaresNest, Wednesday, 27 June 2018 17:00 (one year ago) link

one month passes...

And here we are, a live residency...

...in Swindon.


MaresNest, Saturday, 28 July 2018 15:44 (one year ago) link

three months pass...

Live review with setlist spoilers -


MaresNest, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 19:53 (one year ago) link

Spoilers: it's the Colin songs

imago, Wednesday, 31 October 2018 19:56 (one year ago) link

Big Day!


MaresNest, Friday, 9 November 2018 14:03 (one year ago) link

two months pass...

Feels like I'm ploughing a furrow here, but for unknown reasons Colin is quitting TC&I and music altogether, it would seem.

"It appears that Colin Moulding has announced some sad news -- TC&I are over and he's putting music "on the back burner" for now.

In 2017 Colin Moulding and his ex-XTC bandmate Terry Chambers formed TC&I and released a four-song EP titled Great Aspirations. Last year, in promotion of the EP the two legends played a handful of shows performing the EP along with classic Moulding-penned XTC songs. It now appears that the project has reached its conclusion. Moulding released a statement revealing that not only is TC&I done with, but Moulding is putting his music career aside, at least for the foreseeable future, to focus on his family.

Read Moulding's statement below which was posted on his behalf on the TC&I fan page last night:

"I'd just like to say that I am calling it a day with TC& I and have no plans to do anymore.

And music itself is on the back burner for now, as I wish to spend more time with my family.

I hope people are not too disappointed in me, and I'd just like to thank everyone for the support they have shown Terry and I in these last two years.

And to all who came to the gigs and gave us such a triumphant return — I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

All the best


MaresNest, Friday, 18 January 2019 13:24 (one year ago) link

AP was announcing he's been working with 'one of the most famous people in Britain' last night

imago, Friday, 18 January 2019 13:27 (one year ago) link

'people', whoever could that be? Doesn't sound like he's talking about a musician.

MaresNest, Friday, 18 January 2019 13:46 (one year ago) link

That's kins of ominous. No one goes out of the way, necessarily, to announce that they need to "spend time with the family" unless they know something specific.

Alex in NYC, Friday, 18 January 2019 14:38 (one year ago) link

yea I hope all is well

frogbs, Friday, 18 January 2019 14:43 (one year ago) link

“Resigning to spend more time with my family” has long been a popular thing for UK politicians to say when they resign for political reasons, fwiw - it’s really a way of them saying “I’m resigning because of disagreements but I don’t want to tell you what those disagreements are”.

I only offer this observation as a way that the phrase might be used without it being about knowing something awful.

Tim, Friday, 18 January 2019 16:31 (one year ago) link

four months pass...

Oh Andypaws -


I hear that AP is fond of conspiracy theories and I have a feeling (just a feeling, mind) that like a lot of blokes his age who might be experiencing a bit of a void, he is in the habit of coming back from his local, full of piss and vinegar, firing up Twitter, getting into scraps with people and telegraphing rather robust opinions to the wider world (obviously he has a readymade audience). I just hope he's not a tinfoil hatter, because fuck that.

MaresNest, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:25 (nine months ago) link

Didn't he get in trouble for this already, several years ago?

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:42 (nine months ago) link

Written by a friend of mine, who got in a twitter fight with him back in 2012:


Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:43 (nine months ago) link

I think that might have been for making Peter Sellers-era jokes about Asian stereotypes, can't be totally sure as I'm not on Twitter.

The link is unavailable in the UK :(

MaresNest, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:45 (nine months ago) link

Stay off the beers, Andy. And the internet.

Ned Caligari (Tom D.), Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:48 (nine months ago) link

Yes he made those jokes, they were bad, just dumb stereotype stuff. He apologized

Οὖτις, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:48 (nine months ago) link

It's all well and good to follow one of your musical heroes on Twitter until you get into a tweet spat with him.

Andy Partridge was the lead singer-songwriter of the great poppy rock band XTC, and I've enjoyed following him on Twitter because:

A. I feel part of a select group that understands that XTC's genius remains underappreciated in the cold, cruel world of mainstream rock.

B. He comes across as a witty, self-effacing underdog.

C. He's got only about 4,600 Twitter followers and regularly answers fans' questions, so you have an actual opportunity to interact with him online.

This last point is a key element of hanging out in the social media world with people more famous than yourself. Getting a response or retweet from a celebrity (or, even better, to have them follow you — except for Yoko Ono, who follows almost everyone) is the modern equivalent of an autograph, hence all those folks begging Alec Baldwin for a RT.

A few months back, I addressed a geeky-fan Twitter post to the 58-year-old British musician, who tweets under the name @xtcfans (and hasn't recorded with the band since 2000), and he quipped back. So I was feeling warmly toward Mr. Partridge while continuing to play his albums regularly. Then came the Jewish Beatles puns:


Puns are a Twitter staple. But "kike"? "hymie" (misspelled)?

Oh, no, he di'int!

Partridge tweeted more such jokes, ranging from innocuous ("BLUE JAY OYVAY") to noxiously stereotypical ("I NEVER GIVE YOU MY MONEY," "BABY I'M A RICH MAN"). I try not to be hypersensitive, and I'm not on board with our culture's pile-on mentality regarding gaffes, but I've also been imprinted with the notion not to be silent when confronted with derogatory language.

Plus, I didn't want Partridge's music tainted for me by the bad aftertaste of slurs I'd let pass. In theory I like to think that you can separate the art and the artist, but in practical terms that often isn't the case.

For instance, I can't watch Mel Gibson movies anymore. Forget it.

Other celebrities have dug themselves holes on Twitter. Rainn Wilson of "The Office" apologized in February for a since-deleted tweet joking about date rape. Ashton Kutcher took flak for tweeting in support of just-deposed Penn State football coach Joe Paterno as if he were completely unaware of the campus' sex-abuse scandal. Gilbert Gottfried got himself fired from his Aflac voice-over gig after joking on Twitter about the tsunami in Japan.

Part of what vexed me about Partridge is that, as fans are wont to think, I presumed I knew the guy — through his open-hearted songwriting as well as a lengthy, lively interview I conducted with him three years ago. His music and persona reflect someone who's well-meaning, if occasionally clumsy in his delivery.

I decided I ought to confront this issue head-on, so I tweeted: "Oh, crap. One of my favorite musicians, @xtcfans, is making Jew jokes. Sorry, can't see the humor in FOR THE BENEFIT OF MISTER KIKE."

Partridge soon responded: "@MarkCaro Please lighten up and read all my posts below."

Although one tweet referred to "an excuse to pun ourselves into a coma, Jewish Beatles coming soon," this didn't illuminate things much.

I volleyed back that such slurs "reflect poorly," and he replied: "Reflect poorly on what? One is not allowed to use yiddish words in puns?"

I responded that the words in question aren't Yiddish (though Leo Rosten in "The New Joys of Yiddish" writes that the K-word likely was derived from "kikel," Yiddish for "circle," though now is "meant to be contemptuous and to suggest a cheap, low-class, ill-mannered or ugly Jew.")

"I'm not a scoldy person," I wrote, "but it's like using the N-word to make wacky black-people puns."

Partridge returned that his dictionary says the K-word "was used by US born jews to describe immigrant jews, is that bad then? Comparable to N word? Really?"

Me: "Really. N-word grew worse too. Wiki: 'Throughout history, this term has been used as a derogatory word to disparage Jewish people.'"

Another fan also wrote to him: "no one on earth thinks you're a bigot, but yes it really is (comparable to the N-word)."

To someone else who took offense, Partridge responded: "Grow a humour bone, I'm not anti semitic ... " Later he wrote: "This list was compiled by myself and 3 Jewish friends, we all thought it was funny ... you don't." Eventually he sort-of apologized: "Then I'm sorry if you're offended. Moral of the story=never ask Jewish friends for funny Jewish Beatle song puns."

In part, the operative word here is "funny," which presents a high threshold for an awful lot of puns. Is the K-word's sonic similarity to "kite" so hilarious that it justifies tossing the term around casually?

Eventually, Partridge responded to the topic of who can use which words by tweeting, "Yeah, I'm confused." So I decided to try to clear things up.

I tracked him down on the phone in England, and to his credit he wasn't defensive or averse to taking the call.

"I seem to have caused a mini storm, and that wasn't my intention," he said. "My intention was for people to say, 'Hey, that's a funny pun.'"

He said three of his Jewish friends and he have been compiling Jewish Beatles puns for a while, and he's not the one who wrote the more objectionable ones. "I had to ask people what a lot these words were," he said, adding that he didn't realize the words I singled out were offensive. (I got him up to speed on Rev. Jesse Jackson's "Hymietown" scandal of the '80s.)

Also, for what it's worth, Partridge's longtime significant other, Erica Wexler, is the half-Jewish daughter of the late screenwriter Norman Wexler ("Serpico,""Saturday Night Fever").

Still, he said he didn't relate to folks who take umbrage at such names. Having proclaimed his religious nonbelief in XTC's 1987 radio hit "Dear God," he said he wouldn't mind "if somebody called me any bad atheist words. If somebody called me a whitey doughboy, no problem."

Well, OK, I said, but "whitey doughboy" wasn't used at the service of folks who killed, injured, enslaved or otherwise discriminated against people on the basis of race or religion. He acknowledged the point.

"I love puns," said the musician who has a real groaner about "Gaddafy Duck" in the XTC song "Merely a Man." "I just do these silly lists to entertain myself if I can't sleep and it's 5 a.m. My mind goes into overdrive finding silly pun things. In that context I grab any word going. There was no intention to offend, and people didn't get the sense of humor where I just like words for the sound of the words."

He acknowledged that such explanations are not built for Twitter.

"(Using) 140 characters or less, it would take me forever to say what I said to you in the last 10 minutes," Partridge said.

It was a fine, open conversation, with both of us looking up word origins online. Ignorance and insensitivity aren't the greatest alibis for fully formed adults, but better those than calculated bigotry. Afterward I gave a spin to XTC's '60s-psychedelia spinoff project the Dukes of Stratosphear and still found the music funny and invigorating, certainly more so than his puns.

The songwriter returned to banter with admirers on Twitter, and a couple of days later someone was sending him such jokey Beatles titles as "Peas Peas Me" and "It's All Too Mulch."

Tweeted Partridge: "LET'S NOT START THE VEGETABLE BEATLES!!! I can't have vegetarians attacking me, it tickles."

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:51 (nine months ago) link

AH thanks!

MaresNest, Saturday, 18 May 2019 15:56 (nine months ago) link

Unfortunately Eric Idle got in first with, "Abie, You're a Rich Man".

Ned Caligari (Tom D.), Saturday, 18 May 2019 16:04 (nine months ago) link

As a Jew who more or less hates the current state of Israel, cant say i find this latest flap as evidence of antisemitism

Οὖτις, Saturday, 18 May 2019 19:40 (nine months ago) link

I think it was him "wink"-ing in response to a post that Israel controls the world/banking. And, ugh, some of his other stuff is truly nagl. Like telling a Jewish poster just not to be Jewish, problem solved. Or seemingly downplaying the number of Jews killed in the Holocaust:

@xtcfans with some wonderful holocaust revisionism here. Quoting myths that have been debunked to argue his point. Holocaust revisionism is antisemitism, whether he likes it or not! pic.twitter.com/1wrco1juEf

— s_h_e (@4manynottheJew) May 17, 2019

It looks like he may have deleted his Twitter amount.

Josh in Chicago, Saturday, 18 May 2019 19:54 (nine months ago) link

Andy is such a bummer on twitter. he's single right? it's always "oh, nothing in my recording shed works, I drank too much tonight, I'm not in a good place, fuck Dave and Colin," etc. So sad

flappy bird, Saturday, 18 May 2019 20:43 (nine months ago) link

No, he's not.

Le Baton Rose (Turrican), Saturday, 18 May 2019 20:47 (nine months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Just dropping in to say that the 5.1 mixes by Steven Wilson of Black Sea, Skylarking and Oranges & Lemons are terrific.

Naive Teen Idol, Thursday, 6 June 2019 01:38 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

So there's a TC&I live record coming out, there's a teaser of Wonderland here -


MaresNest, Tuesday, 9 July 2019 20:10 (seven months ago) link

three months pass...

This is kinda neat, I always wonder where he gets the stems from -

Maresn3st, Saturday, 26 October 2019 17:07 (three months ago) link

Oh the band sent it to them! No way

Maresn3st, Saturday, 26 October 2019 17:09 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Not very good tbh:


Some background for our non-UK readers:


'Skills' Wallace (Tom D.), Monday, 11 November 2019 20:05 (three months ago) link

lol that's terrible

Οὖτις, Monday, 11 November 2019 20:07 (three months ago) link

Sounds like they spent about 15 minutes recording it before moving on to *consults record sleeve* "The Model" or "Arthur's Theme".

'Skills' Wallace (Tom D.), Monday, 11 November 2019 20:10 (three months ago) link

I like that the singer is trying out about six different accents there, none of which sound like Andy Partridge.

Gavin, Leeds, Monday, 11 November 2019 20:15 (three months ago) link

I have an uncle who finds XTC really obnoxious for some reason and I would guess this is what they always sound like to him

frogbs, Monday, 11 November 2019 20:16 (three months ago) link

(xp) LOL. I just listened to the Top of the Pops album version of "Pretty Vacant", which is surprisingly good and is actually enhanced by the singer occasionally going a bit Norman Wisdom "Mr. Grimsdaaayyyyle".

'Skills' Wallace (Tom D.), Monday, 11 November 2019 20:19 (three months ago) link

What are they singing instead of "I can see, hear, smell, touch, taste"? "I can see his swell turned taste"?

dorsalstop, Monday, 11 November 2019 20:59 (three months ago) link

The five senses, sight, hissing, swelling, gyration and taste.

dorsalstop, Monday, 11 November 2019 21:01 (three months ago) link


Maresn3st, Monday, 11 November 2019 22:01 (three months ago) link

Someone needs to compile them "punk" "Top of the pops" versions.

Their version of "Automatic lover" sounds like The Vibrators. All well and good, but it's supposed to be the Dee D Jackson song.

Mark G, Tuesday, 12 November 2019 13:59 (three months ago) link

Record store dude was blasting Apple Venus Volume 1 in store the other day. Sounded great. Wish it was streaming.

triggercut, Tuesday, 12 November 2019 14:33 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...


Maresn3st, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 19:12 (two months ago) link

Great doc

Οὖτις, Tuesday, 26 November 2019 20:06 (two months ago) link

Coulda been, but no indication that Colin even existed until 8 minutes in is not the way to tell that band's story.

Three Word Username, Wednesday, 27 November 2019 07:39 (two months ago) link

Yeah that's understandable. They focus on Colin for a while soon after that, but the whole doc is from the perspective that Andy is the de facto leader of the band. Which IMO he was, so I guess it didn't bother me much

One small thing I liked: using "Dear Madam Barnum" to soundtrack the moment when Andy had his breakdown and made the decision to stop touring. I never made the connection but it seems possible the song was inspired by that time

Vinnie, Thursday, 28 November 2019 02:20 (two months ago) link

The Chalkhills interview with Andy about 'Dear Madam Barnum' doesn't mention the connection with XTC stopping touring, but I'm sure there's a link, conscious or otherwise.

TB: I was going to ask about the lyrics, because it's another of your "my marriage is in trouble" foreshadowing songs, along with "Crocodile" and "The Disappointed."

AP: Oh yeah, sure. My marriage was going off the rails -- I can see that. I think I was part blind to it, and partly it was coming out subconsciously that I could see it.


Portsmouth Bubblejet, Thursday, 28 November 2019 08:29 (two months ago) link

Makes more sense for it to be about his marriage, given the timeframe. It maps remarkably well onto the touring thing though

Vinnie, Thursday, 28 November 2019 10:29 (two months ago) link

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