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In - of course - alphabetical order, XTC consists of Dave Gregory, Colin Moulding and Andy Partridge. Thanks to Chris for introducing me to this band, head and shoulders above the distant competition for wit, intelligence and musicianship.

In a recent interview in Humo, Andy Partridge justifiably pointed out that other bands have released whole albums with fewer musical ideas in than a single XTC song. He could have said the same about the words.

Chris tried me out with Nonsuch first, perhaps hoping that the Playford echoes would make me less suspicious. No need – after hearing Nonsuch I quickly worked happily through his entire collection, gaining more and more respect for these people whose lyrics are as intelligent as their music. XTC aren't stuffy, and they aren't pretentious; they have their songs to sing and they concentrate on what they're doing.

But don't be put off by my staid enthusiasm. Best listen to them for yourself.

Then she appeared, apple Venus on a half-open shell
Then she appeared, the first photograph on Fox Talbot's gel
I was a little frightened
Flying with my senses heightened
Cherubim cheered
Then she appeared.

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