Sunday 24 September 2017

1, 2, 3, 4, 5

Prompted by a couple of Phill Jupitus tweets last night, I've been carrying a whole bunch of XTC tunes in my head since I woke up at the crack of sparrows this morning.

I can't remember a time when XTC haven't featured on a mixtape/CD compilation/playlist at sometime or other in the forty years I've been knocking these things out. Beginning with Statue of Libertyđź—˝ back in 1977, the bunch of cheeky misfits from Swindon have written and produced some of the most intoxicating, quintessentially English, pop music spanning nearly four decades. The fact that Andy Partridge called time on their live career in 1982 due to crippling stage fright, never stopped them from hunkering down in the studio and consistently churning out magical album after magical album.

I'm sure everyone has their favourite favourite XTChoon they can't live without; with so many to chose from, it can only ever be a transient trio. I told Mr. Jupitus that Dear God, Grass and I'd Like That would be my first three out of the starting blocks. @FurryCanary commented that they formed a pleasing narrative arc; I never saw them like that, but I guess they do. I then remembered I'd nearly forgot The Meeting Place. Written by Colin Moulding it's probably the band's finest hour - from what is certainly their finest album.

I absolutely adore this quirky instrumental cover*. In fact it would be well at home in the little Folk club I belong to. Can you have a sea shanty without words. Or sea? An XTC shanty, perhaps.

Or if that doesn't float your sea vessel, how about this cracking lounge version of Senses Working Overtime?  It looks like it was recorded at a Route 66 roadside diner somewhere in Southern California. Further from Swindon and the miserable M4 I'd say it's impossible to get. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5...

* After having listened to it again several times over breakfast, it puts me in mind of the Camberwick Green/Trumpton/Chigley soundtracks. I'll get my coat...


  1. Yeah, digging the Foxes & Fossils (having seen them, it's a great name for their band too). Can't match the original, obviously.

  2. I made a Storify compilation of the many tweets Phill Jupitus prompted. What's remarkable is a) how brilliant everyone's choices are and b) how little overlap there is. And if you like XTC, you'll be interested in The XTC Bumper Book of Fun, my new anthology of the classic 80s fanzine LImelight featuring new interviews with all the band and, indeed, Phill Jupitus:

  3. The Vinyl Villain, together with his guest contributors, have, as you can see, put out two XTC imaginary Best Ofs (Ovs?) - fill yer boots: