The Michigan Daily
Friday, November 2, 1984
By Pete Williams
I'll bury Paul.
P 1DITURE THIS: You sit down with
a once-famous British musician
for two hours while he tells you in depth
how lucky he is, has absolutely
talented he is, and how simply terrible
all this money can be.
"Oh horrors," you say as you look at
your watch for the fourth time that
minute, "I just remembered that I have
to get my cat spade this evening."
That's the idea behind Paul McCar-
tney's newest self-serving presentation,
Give My Regards to Broad Street-the
35 mm slide show of Paul's (gasp) pain-
fully successful pop/rock star lifestyle.
There is a plot to this fiasco which
peeks up out of the MTV production on
occasion. And since no one, not even the
most devout McCartney fan, not even a
curious Beatles admirer, not even Lin-
da McCartney (who does a brilliant job
with both of her lines) should go within
a mile of any theater while the film is
playing, I don't feel at all out of line by
explaining the plot. Lets just see how
detailed I can do so.
Some hard-luck criminal type that
Paul believes in loses the master tapes
of Paul's most recent session. Paul fin-
ds him and everything is hunkey-dorey.
Sure you may have to see the last ten
minutes of the film once to pick up on
all the delicate details and intriguing
situations surrounding the plot, but why
But every movie has its strong points,
I used to think, and Broad Street is not
much of an exception. McCartney's
music is fun enough, if you're not in the
mood to see a movie. He plays a couple
of new tunes presumably to prove that
he's not over the hill just yet, and quite
a few of his dated hits.
All of this is quite necessary to pull in
the Beatles fans, with Wingites, et. al.,
and I suppose that this was the reason
for playing a sappy studio-version of
the one McCartney hit that is well
known even in the drawing room of the
John Birch Society, "Yesterday." Oh,
how the teen crowd (born during Paul's
third midlife crisis) sighed over that
This crowd, I believe, was the only
cluster of enthusiasts in the theater. By
the way, I think the word is getting
around, the audience filled about one-
fifth of the available seating. It really is
nice to think that Paul can't pull the
wool over everyone's eyes long enough
to get them to shell out top film dollar
for a ticket into his professional
But what a professionally good time
this guy has, (so says the film) driving
around in his fire-breathing circa 1950's
mod machine for most of the movie.
The London licence plate reads
something like "Paul I," which is as
boring as the man and his creation.
C'mon Paul, we long for the days of
plates such as "281F.
So that's it. Paul's still dead! Now it
all makes sense. A group' of cut-rate
filmmakers and songwriters, com-
missioned by the infamous "powers
that be;' sat down and figured out how
to ressurect the corpse for profit once
The plate should have read, "421F".
Remember, you heard it here first.
THIS ENTIRE AD GOOD FOR TWO $3.00 TICKETS 0
AN EXTRAORDINARY ADVENTURE! IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT 0
WHEN THERE'S NO ONE ELSE ... .
ERICAN CHOOSE ME :
, WILLIAMS ,
. FRI 1:00, 7:00 9:00, 11 PM FRI. 1:00, 7:20 9:30, 11:30 P M"
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SUN. 1:00, 3:00, 5:00, 7:00, 9:00 SUN. 12:50, 3:00, 5:10, 7:20 9:30 .
e"eoee..@@@*@.@..........." 00 00"..00000ii"""
Paul McCartney belts out another one in his latest attempt to blow his own horn, 'Give My Regards to Broad Street.' '
T HAT XTC was/probably still is one
of the truly great early wave bands has
never been in question among those
with a sense of humor and a brain in
Their decline has been fair:; steady if
gracefully since the classic '78 White
Music; through the almost equally
minimalist-eccentric Go 2, then the
more accessible pop riddlings of Drums
and Wires and Black Sea, XTC were
almost periously funny and smart, a
shade too sharp-edged as wave popsters
to capture the B-52's et. al. audience
With '82's English Settlement, they
left longtime producer Steve Lillywhite
for hitmaker Hugh Synchronicity
Padham, resulting in a sprawling, less
focused (in the U.K. it was padded out
to a double album) but still appealing
record of basically excellent if drawn-
out songs, with two-"Senses Working
Overtime" and "Ball and Chain"-that
were very near-hits in the U.S.
Still, there was a sense of unease and
potential loss of personality in English
Settlement's cluttered, more commer-
cial production, and last year's Mum-
mer was fragmented enough to hint
that the end might be near. Lurching in
every direction from Middle Eastern
music (Beating of Hearts ) to acoustic
folk balladry ("Love on a farmboy's
Wages") to Biblical psychedelia
FIVE HOURS OF SIZZLING ADULT FILMS
FRI. & SAT. - STARTS AT MIDNIGHT ...
- BOX OFFICE OPEN TILL 2:00 A.M. -
FREEI TWO FOR ONE PASS TO ALL WHO LAS UNTIL THE END
1. "Blue Ribbon Blue"
2. "Women at Play"
3. "Working It Out"
4. "Summer of '72"
THIS WEEK-END ONLY ...
COME ON DOWN AND SPEND THE NIGHT ... FRI. 2.50 - SAT. 3.00
("Deliver Us From the Elements"), it
was a sort of half-misbegotten Sgt.
Pepper, as fascinating as it was uneven
and for-fans-only. One detected the
rumbling sound of a band falling apart.
Andy Partridge's closing "Funk Pop a
Roll" counterpointed the LP's only old-
XTC dance happiness with some of the
bitterest ruminations on the pop biz
ever sneaked onto a platter:
Funk pop a roll the only goal/The
music business is a hammer to keep
you pegs in your holes/But please
don't listen to me/I've already been
poisoned by this industry.
Given that sourness, and the fact that
a nervous condition apparently preven-
ts lead singer/guitarist Partridge from
further live dates, seemed to make it
probably that XTC would retire to a
farm in the Cotswolds, happy in
isolation while we sadly kept spinning
their previous six albums.
So it's a big shock-a comeback of
sorts, even if they never really went
away in the first place-that the new
Big Express album is not just a sur-
prising sign of life but easily the best
XTC since Black Sea. Completely in-
vigorating pop music, The Big Express
has none of Murmer's introspective
feel; it sounds like a real band's work,
not a disunified collection of studio
noodlings. There are still notes of
disillusionment in the delightful "I
Bought Myself a Liarbird" and the
grunt-and-thunder closer, "Train Run-
ning Low on Soul Coal," which pushes
"Funk Pop a Roll's" frustation close to
Think I'm going south for the
winter/Think I'm going mad in
this hinterland/Between young and
old/I'm a thirty year old puppy
doing what I'm told/And I'm told
there's no more coal for the older
But the music is anything but
depressive. Produced by David Lord
and the band, The Big Express is
bright, clever, full of invention that
never tumbles into gimmickry: the
kazoo chorus on "The Everyday Story
of Smalltown," trademark XTC
whistling on the swinging sea-chantey
"All You Pretty Girls," the Police-type
rhythms of the gently anti-nuke "This
World Over" (a rather pleasant turn
towars solf-pedalling after the striden
cy of some of Partridge's previous
political rants). Andy Partridge,
always king of vocal cartoonery, finds
plenty of fun noises to work into the
fabric of by far the best set of songs he's
written in a long time. There are woR
derful tunes just about everywhere you
turn, like the heavily syncopated
"Shake You Donkey Up" or "Reign of
Blows (Vote No Violence)," which
couches its politics in a crashingly dan-
ceable big-beat setting with a har-
monica more funky-garage than the
Beatles could have ever thought polite
enough to unleash.
A mild disappointment is the fact that
Colin Moulding, who has always writteji
a minority of XTC songs, but many of
the best ("Crossed Wires," "Making
Plans for Nigel," "Generals anti
Majors," "English Roundabout") all
the same, only has two songs here. Still,
they're both among the album's best.
"Wake Up," which opens the album, is,
in typical XTC fashion, jaunty guitar-
driven pop, so jaunty you probably
wouldn't notice how caustic the lyrics
are if a song sheet wasn't helpfully
provided. Possibly the most charming
song on the record is Moulding's "I
Remember the Sun," a further exten-
sion of the British Empire of whimsy of
Murmer's "In Loving Memory of a
Name" (which was an unabashed ode
to Brit war heroes). This time it's a
sweetly tear-stained hommage to boar-
ding school days - Another Country
without the dark side. This sort of sen-
timent may sound a fright, but the
piano-guided song is so genuinely
cheerful melodically that you can't
The Big Express doesn't fit easily in-
to any currently fashionable musical
genre-it's not really "new music"
even, for the simple reasons that XTC
has been around since the dawn of "new
music," and they're not really doing
anything they hadn't mapped out
before. Still, XTC is hardly about to
create that genre we all dread:
dinosaur new wave. The Big Express
may have arrived a bit late to capture
XTC's big commercial moment,
but it's terrific fun.
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