See all that I said last week, it’s much the same this week. Except…….
……………..I have recently watched This Is Pop, a new documentary film that tells the tale of XTC.
It aired on Sky Arts here in the UK – the satellite station seemingly picked up the option after it had been rejected by the BBC – a big mistake on the part of the national broadcaster. The film was every bit as different and entertaining as the band were throughout their time together. It did centre around the often self-deprecating and very funny contributions of Andy Partridge but there was plenty of screen time given to the other band members, particularly Colin Moulding and Dave Gregory. The vintage footage was priceless and there was a fair bit of honesty about where things had gone wrong over the years. Some fans will be disappointed that the film largely focussed on the earlier years and the post-English Settlement material didn’t get anything like the same level of attention or detail, although there was a decent segment on the Dukes of Stratosphear project and the issues that arose around Skylarking.
The film does provide a reminder of how many other great groups over the years have grown and evolved to ensure they never got boring or clichéd. It also was a wonderful reminder of why nobody could ever make the suggestion of XTC being a contender for the ‘Had It. Lost It’ feature in these pages.
And so while the final few singles the band would release aren’t to my personal tastes, I really am wide of the mark by suggesting that while they ‘have their charms, but it really isn’t XTC is it?’ The songs from Apple Venus Volume 1 are very much those of the band – they may be a long way removed from the sounds they made in the late 70s/early 80s but they are unmistakably, undeniably and still uniquely the work of XTC. It’s my fault for not paying attention back in the day.
Single #2 from Apple Venus Volume 1 was released in June 1999. Just like its predecessor Easter Theatre, it didn’t chart, and it also had a similar style in terms of content:-
The demo actually appears to be two recordings spliced together – a genuine low-fi effort of about a minute in length before it becomes something a bit more sophisticated. While it might not be my preferred choice of beverage, JTFL will disagree as he included the song on an ICA in June 2016
I didn’t bother trying to track down the spoken word effort this time. Sorry if you were looking for it.
Next week is the final instalment of this series. A huge thanks to all of you who have taken the time to drop by and offer your own views, thoughts and opinions. Even those of you who found it boring.