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From Dave Gregory:
Wes - you mad mullah...
Just got back from a quick European hop with Steve Hogarth, with Colin Price looking after the guitars...he insisted I check out your new site soon as we got home...Gadzooks! Splendid work, dear chap; shall add it to my browser forthwith and peruse at my leisure.
You've really done a number on this one, congratulations on a bang-up job. When I get some time, I'll make a few corrections to the gig-sheet, if you'll permit me. Of the three coloured counters I've clicked on so far, that's the only one with any noticeable errors, but 'tis a trifle compared with what else you've achieved.
It didn't take too long to download, though here in the UK we are somewhat twatted by the telephone company who charge us for local calls. So I tend to zap around with the mouse, store it in the browser and study it later off-line.
I think the faithful are gong to go a bundle on it, so do keep up the good work, and thanks for getting it all together. I shall return often!
Dave has supplied me with a massive list of corrections to the gig-sheet - see MY BIRD PERFORMED section.
From Chris Dub:
Hello. I am a pro musician in the UK with more than a passing liking for XTC. I've checked their web site out, and Chalkhills, but only tonight did I take the time to view Optimismsflames site. What a web site. Now this is the best site I've ever seen, by a mile. Just had to place finger tips on keys and say well done. More power to you, the amount of time and energy, not to mention creative input, that's gone into this site. Thank you. I've spent a good hour checking stuff and reading up on one of the best bands the world has every seen.
Was lucky enough to see Xtc twice and somewhere I have gig posters and stuff. I'm going to have a good look in the atic and if I can find them I'll send them to you as a gift, your obviously a big time collector. Anyway that's all for now. great site and thank you once again.
Many thanks for the kind words, Chris!
From Kieth (last name spelled) S-c-h-r-a-m-e-k (but pronounced "Luxury Yacht"):
Your site is visually stunning! I don't usually gush about things, especially websites, since I like my pages to be laid out very practical and businesslike, but....Wow! It was like, for lack of a better term, a walk through a very fuzzy and purple amusement park. There I go...gushing again.
Keep it up!
Thanks Kieth - I was going for a fuzzy amusement park vibe.
From Jefferson Ogata:
As for optimismsflames.com, you know, it's very beautiful. I work mostly in Linux, and there aren't many sites that make it worth it to me to switch over to my Windows machine just for the Flash/QT type stuff; generally I only browse in Windows when I need to use broken e-commerce sites that don't work right in Mozilla/Linux. But your site is worth not only using Windows, but even IE! This may seem a lopsided compliment, but from my open-source, anti-Microsoft point of view, it's a very positive review. :^)
And not only is the site a great piece of work, but you appear to maintain it -- it's not just something someone did once and left to stagnate.
Thanks Jeff - and for all the help!
From Louis G. @ Hall Of Fame Records:
Hi, your web is absolutely fantastic and wonderful and
Thanks from Spain.
From Becki Degregorio:
just took a look at your site, and *wow* there's a ton of stuff on there!! sadly, my computer (an early version of an apple ibook) just doesn't have what it takes to get the full gist of your efforts. i'll try and take a look on my friend's machine. until then, many congrats on a heck of a lot of work in honor of the lads.
don't know if you remember me or my music; released
a cd titled "seven worthies... of the bamboo grove" some years
ago, and dave gregory played guitar and keyboards on a number of tracks
(he even recorded some in andy's "shed") (true, this was when
they were better friends). anyway, my new cd titled "god's empty
chair" will be pressed at the end of march, and
perhaps when my cd is pressed, you'd like to check it out and possibly include a mention of it somewhere on your fab site?? let's keep in touch.
again, great job on the site, and i can't wait to play around in it on my friend's super-amped computer.
peace to you,
Becki's first release - Seven Worthies of the Bamboo Grove - is a fantastic album - as is her second album God's Empty Chair - See the FAN THE FLAMES section or the XTC Post for more information.
From Andrew Swainson | Cactus
I just wanted to mail you and say what a wonderful looking site you have put together. I paid a visit after reading a discussion on the official site's forum about the Wasp Star cover. I was (am) distinctly underwhelmed by the design for the official site, even moreso when compared to what you have created. I know time and money were a huge factor in the creation of the Idea records site but a little love and attention go a long way and it shows in your site. Best of luck with it.
P.S. I have also done a similar thing to you with the little rocket from Oranges And Lemons in the upcoming Coat of Many Cupboards booklet but rest assured I did it before I looked at your site... ha! ha! No... honestly!!! :-)
Is it already time to call my lawyer? ... Andrew & Cactus Design have worked with Andy Partridge on the art for: Transistor Blast; Apple Venus Volume 1; Wasp Star - AV Volume 2; Homegrown; Homespun; the UK singles from AV and WS (TVT just had the front parts to some of them); and Coat of Many Cupboards. "I'm just about to start on the two karaoke... oops, sorry... instrumental Apple Venus CDs."
From Paul Culnane:
I thought you might be interested to read an email I sent to my friend Nick Kennedy, drummer for one of Australia's finest bands, Big Heavy Stuff; to recommend your website. Nick and the bass-player Eliot are both HUGE XtC fans, and it is only now that Nick is discovering all the great XtC sites on offer, much to his delight.
Anyway, firstly, I would like to congratulate and thank you for providing such a treasure-trove of fab stuff for all of us XtC enthusiasts to savour. It's a brilliant piece of work and obviously a labour of love on your part. After the lamented demise of Mark Strijbos' excellent "Little Lighthouse" site, it's great to see someone else take up the gauntlet, as it were.
Very much appreciated, Wes, well done! Optimism's Flames is fabbo and you should be proud of your achievements.
All the best (and please read on)...
Are you aware of www.optimismsflames.com ? It's a fan website put together by Wes Long who, among other things, gets a credit in the "Homegrown" booklet for "constant supply of miniature sons" (whatever that means).
This is a wonderful oasis of XtC stuff - you can spend hours exploring all the material therein. Of particular interest to you might be the videos on offer - although I've often found that streamed vids on the Net sound lousy, and the picture is sort of stop-frame... well worth checking out though.
Among many other delights that I'll leave it
to you to discover is a fascinating, multi-part MP3 audio interview
with Ian Gregory (aka EIEI Owen), conducted by my American pal, Todd
Bernhardt. Todd, a drummer himself, has had a number of articles published
in Modern Drummer magazine, and has in recent times also interviewed
both Andy and Colin, along
If I have any criticism about Wes' site, it's very graphic-intensive and initially difficult to navigate, even though it looks very pretty. You've gotta re-set your screen resolution to 1024x768 to get the full effect, which is a mixed blessing for me, being almost blind! But once you get the hang of how the site works, you'll be thoroughly rewarded. I recommend unreservedly!
Thanks for the kind words Paul - There are a few things here on loan from the now defunct Little Lighthouse site. As for Andy's note to me on the Homegrown booklet - at least it didn't read "thanks for constant supply of pink thing."
From Roberto Galli aka The Captain Cooks:
I visit frequently your wonderful site. u made
a great job. In the section mp3 cover of "it's nearly audio"
you wrote "If you cover it, they will listen... Contact me if you'd
like to have your XTCover featured here on the site." Well, we
cover it. If u think that we made a pretty good job then we'll be honoured
to be present in your uncanny site as the first cover band
I apologize for my english, but i'm a truly ITALIAN fan of Andy Partridge and Colin Moulding.
Roberto Galli aka The Captain Cooks
Thanks for the kind words - due to size constraints I've not been able to place as much audio as I'd wanted on the site - but am looking at a much larger space, so perhaps I'll be able to get it all up in the future.
Hello,just wanted to drop a line and say FANTASTIC job on your web site! It really looks great, like a trip through Pepperland!
Thank you sir.
From Mark Garland:
My God, what a beautiful website you have and what great music these guys make.
Mark saw the band live and his photos of the gig will soon be included here on the site...
I haven't seen a greater fan site
with so many hoo ha's and nonsense about the best band out there! KUDOS!
I, myself, have a small, itsy bitsy fan site, not even big enough to
be considered an info page such as yours, but most of my material is
inspired my XTC. In fact Andy and Colin have appeared in several of
my cartoons! Check it out, if you like:
Once again, your page is brilliant! Great job!
Thank you sir.
I am on a quest to find something and maybe you can help me:
First off, you're site is unreal -- nice job man!
My Quest: In May of 1988 (maybe 89) XTC was doing album signings at Tower Records across the US for Oranges and Lemons. I saw them at the Philadelphia Tower Location at 8th and South. I was second in a round-the-corner line. With me for autograph was a brand new copy of O&L, Skylarking (both on Vinyl) and my license plate that I had just taken off my car which read: THE XTC.
Anyway, being second in line, everyone was still going bonkers when they came out, and so when I got my chance to shake hands and get autographs I showed Andy my license plate. He took it and put it in his mouth and we turned to the rest of the line and everyone took pictures.
Now I had a video camera with me -- and took the tape home and kept it away from the rest of my other tapes -- as it was special. Of course I then proceeded to lose it. (Lesson: Keep all your tapes together!) As for a still photo -- I had no still camera with me -- and so to this day -- have no pictures of the event.
This is obviously a Holy Grail Quest for me. Somebody out there that was at the Philadelphia Tower Records on that day in May and snapped pictures and still has them.
Obviously this is a complete shot in the dark -- but hey -- I've go to start somewhere.
I still have all the autographed stuff. It's been long sinced enshrined in heavy glass frames -- and I still follow the boys avidly.
Any suggestions? I'm burning with...(ah, you know the rest)
Thanks for the comments - CAN SOMEONE HELP THIS MAN? Ah... Optimism's Flames, bringing fans together for... well, for a few months or so now. Sweet, sweet history.
From Marty Fopp:
I spent about an hour or so at Optimisms
Flames - Outstanding,
Thanks Marty - and for the Rockfield mixes!
From Pam Beardsley:
Optimism's Flames...what a beautiful site! So full of colour and creativity...breathtaking from the moment the page loaded. (and the fact that I am a tremendous XTC fan does not prejudice my feelings, either) (much)
Really, though, I just had to tell you how I feel. Optimism's Flames is a true work of art. A well deserved pat on the back to you! You knocked me off my axis mundi! *grin*
Keep up the great work...I can't wait to sign your guestbook, get on your mailing list, and enjoy each and every drop of XTC that your site has to offer!
Thank you Pam -- Guestbook is -sorta- in place... mailing list is coming soon.
From Paolo Di Modica:
I have turned on your site... it is really very beautiful... outstanding.
The graphics are very beautiful... and soon will be filled with news... I know it.
I will be happy to collaborate with you... shortly.
I consider your site one of the best Paolo - Your praise makes me feel 10 Feet Tall.
From John Hedges:
I LOVE those graphics! You should put in for a "webbie" award or something!
Nahhh... we'd lose to britneyspears.com.
From Glen Green:
I just want to say that you have definitely created a masterful site. This site is as deserving as the band it represents, kudos!
What intrigued me the most about the site is that it reminded me of when I first heard/saw XTC, you really didn't get the whole picture or objective or purpose but you somehow knew inside it was all there and it was right.
It was well worth the wait ... (since you told me about the site some months back) ... think I can honestly say I will probably spend days/years on end looking at this site and still not see all of it, but that supports the above theory of it being so intriguing.
I just hope they don't catch me at work (dsl connection) looking at it all day.
Keep up the great work and I will be sure to pass it on to everybody I can.
From Peter Hall:
Fantastic work sir. I will be a regular visitor.
Thank you much!
Thank you Peter... be sure to sign up for the mailing list, coming soon...
From Patrick Adamek:
As a 20 year fan of XTC it is a delight to see what you've done with the site.
Thanks and congratulations!
Thank you sir.
From Brian Last:
Hi Wes congratulations on your New site -- finally got it off the ground -- glad to see.
Regards and keep up the good work
From Scott Barnard:
Good Christ, Wes, I believe you've gone quite mad.
I think I love you.
Thanks... I think..
From Janis Van Court:
It's absolutely gorgeous, and I promise to visit every day, so please keep at it. I especially love the Miniature Tour section.
Many thanks Janis. Your favorite section is about to get much better, so stay tuned... you aint seen nothin' yet.
From Brian Young
Congratulations on the creative, expressive, wonderful update to your site. Fantastic job! It is now book-marked, and I'll be sure to come back often.
From Brendan Kehoe:
Just a quick note to let you know I made it out to the site and was blown away! I am a huge XTC fan.
You definitely reached your goal of capturing the feel/color/texture of XTC in a website. I look forward to exploring the rest of the site and finding new gems as they surface.
I am proudly sporting the Drums and Wires wallpaper as I type!
Bummer about the 89 Radio Tour files. I would have liked to hear them. I was traveling in Venezuala when they were doing the tour and missed everything - got to catch the boys on MTV and Letterman when I got back and had the KROQ double 7" bootleg to give me a taste.
Congratulations on an amazing site!
Thanks for the Ear Time...
Thanks for the kind words Brendan.
From Andre De Koning:
Yay!! Like it!
One comment so far: the dates on the pictures of Cathy Vanaria are mixed up. One day in 1980 there is Barry playing, the next one Dave is jangling away. I always thought that by 1979 Barry had left the building.
Anyway, it's a goldmine. Thanks for all the hard work!
Yikes I'll look into that. Thanks for the heads up and for the praise.
From Rich Greenham:
Great work, Wes. Honestly -- the site F'n rocks!
You gotta appreciate the words of a man who loves his mom.
From Sam Giles:
Your site is indeed pleasantly flabergasting...WELL worth the wait. Bravo!
Just wanted to let you know I think you have the makings of a great XTC site! Loads of colour (yep I'm English!) and a good number of sections to get lost in. I have looked at ALL the English text sites for the Swindon boys, and yours is like a breath of fresh air.
I've long been a fan of XTC, right from the early punk days to the present, and I can't help thinking they get better with age (don't we all?).
I'm often amazed how many American's are up for a bit of Funk Pop a Roll!! We Brits tend to be unwilling to show support for our own bands, (Yes are another example).
Anyway, best of British to you...
Not sure I'm getting better with age, but XTC certainly are. Thanks Reg
From Tim Brooks:
Is looking very good indeed!! Worth the wait, you've put some work into that. Thanks for your efforts.
Can you download the cube as a screensaver, that is soooooooooooo cool.
Not a bad idea... Thanks Tim.
From Colin Price:
Fantastic site... it puts the 'official' site to shame!
Well, as an 'unofficial' site we have the luxury of pulling out many of the stops. There are folks who will not be able to view us because of our site requirements... something the 'official' site had to avoid like the plague. Thanks for the kind words and the amazing images; which I hope to add to the site soon.
From Jamie Lowe:
Thanks for the invite to O F. I checked it out on my office computer with DSL and it is a great XTC site! Congratulations, as a work in progress you have out done yourself. You, as the holder of the most XTC memorabilia on the planet, have done a great job of offering it to the world at large.
The next thing will be a bricks and mortar museum to open in 2005? Gastonia, NC needs more public attractions! And you are the man for the job....A quick call to the Mayor and I am sure funding is not too far behind.... :) I will be first in line opening day.
I especially like the Q & A with Dave Gregory, that is the embodiment of a living/breathing site. I will keep checking for the most current updates and additions.
Actually, Jamie... I know four or five people with more memorabilia... but who's counting.
From Tom McCann
Just thought I'd drop you a line to say WOW what a fantastic site!!! Reckon you should get an award for the design... all the colour has really cheered me up in what is turning out to be a grey and grim January.
We aint sellin' a world wrapped in grey... that's for sure.
From Wes Hanks:
Great job! A Striking Beauty.
Thank you sir - last but not least!