The Fumbler faq

This is a list of frequently asked questions ( and their answers) about Sarah McLachlan and the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list. This faq was compiled in an attempt to unify and update the various Sarah McLachlan faq lists floating about the 'net. If you're just looking for information on how to subscribe to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list, see Mailing List.

If you hate having to poor over long documents or long, random-seeming tables of contents and you would really like to see an index, we've got one.

This faq was last modified on: <Thu, 29 Jun 2000 21:12:58 EDT>

Note that use of this faq, including merely reading this faq, is contingent upon acceptance of the terms set forth in Disclaimer and Copyright and Redistribution.

This faq contains the following chapters (or look just a little further down for the detailed table of contents):

Short Contents

Table of Contents

1 Administrative Issues

1.1 What has recently changed in this faq?

At the request of Paul Schreiber, we're toolsmithing to come up with a cute and convenient way to mark changed sections. For now, you'll have to settle for a unified diff against a recent1 version of the faq. (If you are viewing this faq from a mirror site, you may be able to find a copy of the diff here. )

1.2 Why do so many dates in this faq look funny?

First, much of the world writes dates in "Day Month Year" format. Second, it's more consistant that way. Third, Will, who originally compiled this faq, wanted it that way.

1.3 Where can I get the current version of this faq?

Try the following:

You can retrievethe Fumbler FAQ in text format via email. To do so, send a message to with the words "get fte-faq" (without the quotation marks) in the SUBJECT line. The server will mail you back with the contents of the current Fumbler FAQ.

Failing those, contact me. See How do I contact the maintainer of this faq?.

1.4 In what formats is this faq available?

The source for the faq is written2 in the Texinfo formatting language. You'll need a rather heavily patched version of texinfo 4.0 to reproduce any of the supported formats. Contact the maintainer if you can't find the format you're looking for. See How do I contact the maintainer of this faq?.

The Fumbler faq is available in the following formats:

1.5 How do I print the postscript version of the faq?

If you have a post script printer, then grab the postscript copy of the faq and fire it off. Of course, you'll need upwards of 50 pages to do that, so be sure to check that your paper tray is fully equipped. If you dont have a postscript printer3, have a look at for the standard software used to print postscript files on non-postscript printers.

If you don't know what to do about the .gz extension on the (compressed) postscript version of the faq, have a look at How do I handle gz files?.

1.6 The answer to my question doesn't seem to be in the faq?

Either your question is not about Sarah McLachlan or the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list, you missed it in the faq, or you haven't told me or the list about the question. We do our best to provide fair and complete coverage on Sarah McLachlan and fumbling-towards-ecstasy, but we're just your humble editor and compiler. See Will's homepage if you want a glimpse at the personality of your editor.

1.7 How do I submit changes to this faq?

We welcome All feedback on this faq. The faq is written in the texinfo formatting language. At least for purposes of submitting corrections, we prefer to receive a unified diff (the output of the unix command diff -u) against the source. However, we will attempt to use any worthwhile submitted correction, it's just that if we receive a diff, incorporating the changes becomes much easier. (If you are viewing this faq from a mirror site, you may find a copy of the source here. ) Additional questions, with or without their answers, are welcome. If you can, submit them in texinfo format as this will decrease the amount of work required to include the new material in the faq. Have a look at the texinfo source even if you don't know the texinfo language; you should be able to get a decent idea of how to write texinfo from that document. We reserve the right to shorten, copy edit and otherwise mangle any material beyond all recognition submitted for use in the faq .

1.8 How do I contact the maintainer of this faq?

Send mail to Please be patient when sending me mail. You can sometimes find me accessible through AIM under the screenname GuppieBoy.

1.9 Are there any Easter eggs in this faq?

Yes. There is at least one. Some might agree that there are two, but you'll have to look at the source to find the second one. (If you are viewing this faq from a mirror site, you may find a local copy of the source here. ) A few brash souls will remark that there are, in fact, three such Easter eggs, but you'll most likely have to look at the Index to have a chance at finding the third one.

1.10 What are the editor's policies regarding this faq?

Your maintainer likes to think that he, for the most part, uses common sense and standard 'net manners when making decisions about the faq. However, for a few matters, he makes the following somewhat arbitrary decisions:

See Disclaimer, and Copyright and Redistribution, for the copyright and licensing policies for this faq. See Contributers, for the policies on acknowledgment of submitted contributions.

1.11 Disclaimer

While every attempt has been made to insure that the information in this faq is both complete and correct, this faq is distributed "as is" with no warranty whatsoever. The maintainer of this faq along with anyone associated in any way with its production and distribution disclaim any and all liabilities with respect to anything even remotely connected to this faq. Hint: If you actually needed to be told that, then you should consider withdrawing from communal life as it is currently defined until you have made significant and substantial progress with your multitude of issues. Further hint: Should you consider taking legal action 5 as a result of something connected with this faq, you will thereby have demonstrated your complete mental incompetence beyond any possible doubt and, as such, will deserve either the full ridicule or pity of all involved but you will, however, deserve nothing in the way of compensation or damages of any form, not even money towards the continuous care to which you should be confined for such a silly action.

1.12 Copyright and Redistribution

This faq is copyright © 1999, 2000 by Will Estes. Will compiled this faq with the intention of providing a useful service to the fumbler community in particular and the 'net community in general. I maintain no authorship claims over this material. Significant portions of this material were culled from various places across the 'net and hence belong to everyone who wrote them. All trademarks are properties of their respective owners. All lyrics are property of their author unless some piece of scum stole them or unless the author relinquished ownership for some reason. As editor and compiler of this material, I place the following terms of license for purposes of copying and redistribution on this faq:

Permission to copy this document in its entirety in verbatim form is hereby granted for any purpose so long as this paragraph, the section explaining the lack of warranty and the above copyright notice are retained.

Except as otherwise noted in this faq, permission to use verbatim excerpts of this document for any purpose whatsoever is hereby granted so long as proper acknowledgment is made of the origin of the excerpted material.

Permission to distribute verbatim copies of this document in formats other than the original is hereby granted under the same terms as those for excerpted quotations along with the condition that the above copyright notice is retained in the converted document and that the converted work be distributed under a license agreement identical to this one.

Additionally, gathering email addresses from this faq for the purposes of sending unsolicited commercial email or unsolicited bulk email of any sort is prohibited.

1.13 Contributers

This faq was compiled from a number of sources. Many people have corresponded through private email or to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list to make suggestions and corrections. Those people whose email messages are quoted in this faq are cited along with the quotations. Below is a list of those people whose email messages were used as sources even though their correspondence was not quoted. Some people have contributed information to this faq in correspondence, some of which is quoted in this document and some of which is not. Those people are not listed below as they, and the fact that they contributed to this faq, are mentioned somewhere in this faq.

If you feel that you have contributed to this document and that your name should be listed here, contact me. If you feel that your contribution to this faq should be acknowledged differently than it is currently acknowledged, please indicate this and the manner in which you would prefer to be acknowledged in this faq and I will consider making the suggested change. If, on the other hand, you prefer that your name not be listed, please inform me of that as well. See How do I contact the maintainer of this faq?. Note that the following list does not imply endorsement of or complicity in the creation or distribution of this faq on the part of those listed.

The following electronic documents were consulted in the preparation of this faq and should be regarded as sources used in researching the information needed to compile this faq:

Numerous magazine and newspaper articles are quoted in this faq. The sources for such articles are cited along with any quotations from those articles.

Finally, part of the material in this faq was absorbed by reading month's worth of posts to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list. While I have made every effort to differentiate original material from material which originates from others, such distinctions are not always meaningful or helpful--and sometimes I make a mistake when working on this faq.

2 Sarah herself

2.1 Who is Sarah McLachlan?

Sarah McLachlan is a singer and songwriter from Canada's East Coast. She has released several albums, numerous live recordings and singles. She currently lives in Vancouver, Canada where Nettwerk Productions, her record label, is located.

2.2 Where and when was Sarah born?

Sarah was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia on 28 January 1968.

2.3 When did Sarah start singing?

Sarah started singing at the age of four. The first musical instrument she learned to play was the ukelele as she was too small to play a full-sized guitar.

2.4 Did Sarah take music lessons?

Yes. Sarah had extensive training in classical music at Halifax's Nova Scotia Royal Conservatory of Music, including classical guitar, piano and voice.

2.5 Did Sarah ever have any art training?

Yes. She spent one year at The Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

2.6 Whom does Sarah cite as artistic influences?

During a 26 May 1996 chat hosted by Sprint, Sarah said that Gustav Klimt and Egan Schiele are inspirations for her because of their beautiful decorative styles and lots of eye-candy to look at.

2.7 Whom does Sarah cite as musical influences?

Joan Baez, Peter Gabriel, Simon and Garfunkel, Kate Bush, Cat Stevens & Joni Mitchell, among others.

2.8 Does Sarah have any Celtic influences in her music?

Sarah's comments on this subject are few and far between. They tend toward "not really".

2.9 When and how did she get signed to Nettwerk?

Sarah was seventeen when she was discovered by Nettwerk Productions at her first performance with her first band, a new wave group called October Game. She was offered a contract then and there, but her parents wouldn't let her sign and encouraged her to attend art school instead. Two years later Sarah was once again approached by Nettwerk and she signed with them on 2 October 1987.

From the December 1994 / January 1995 issue of Premier:

"Fateful" is how Sarah McLachlan describes the night of her first performance as a member of a high school rock band. On that night, she fell in love with the joy of making music for a happy, appreciative audience, and Mark Jowatt, soon to be head of Artists and Recruitment for Nettwerk Records, fell in love with young Sarah's voice. She declined his offer to travel to Vancouver to record a demo, deciding (at her mum's insistence) to complete high school and pursue her dreams of attending art school; but Sarah's unforgettable voice had made a lasting impression.

Two years later, Nettwerk offered Sarah a five-record contract...

2.10 When did Sarah sign with Arista?

She signed with Arista on 1 December 1988.

2.11 Is Sarah married?

Yes. She married her long time drummer, Ashwin Sood, on 7 February 1997 on a beach in Jamaica. See for some articles on the wedding. To find out more about Sarah's husband, have a look at :

2.12 Is Sarah a vegetarian?

Not really. Let's just leave it at that.

2.13 Does Sarah have any pets?

Yes. Her dog, Rex, a female black labrador Retriever, has been seen by many fans being walked by her husband, Ash, when Sarah is on tour.

Aparently Sarah used to own a dog named Holly and a cat named Lou.

2.14 Is Sarah adopted?

Yes, and although she has spoken with her biological mother, Judy James, she remains closer to her adoptive parents, Jack and Dorice McLachlan.

2.15 Is Sarah a lesbian?

No. When asked this question by Brantly Bardin in the January 1998 issue of Details magazine she was quite candid:

Details: Okay, so were you a lesbian?

Sarah: I wasn't really, but I've always been open to the falling in love with a woman. I've had crushes on them and I've kissed my fair share, lemme tell ya, but that's as far as I've gone.

And from an online chat hosted by Nettwerk in 1994:

I find people in general sexually attractive. But then, I find trees sexually attractive too.

2.16 Is Sarah a religious person? Does she believe in God?

From an online chat hosted by Sprint on 26 May 1996:

I don't follow any organized religion, but i do believe in the idea of God as a verb--being love and light. And that we are part of everything as everything is part of us.

from an AOL online chat:

Sarah: Easy one. First. I grew up near the ocean, and thus feel a great connection to it. Which segues into nature, which segues into God, who I don't believe is some dude up there in the sky watching over us, keeping a tally of all the good and the bad things that we do. I believe God, in whatever form you make of him/her/it is energy. It is in all of us, in all of nature, which we are all a part of, and which is a part of us. It is the force that connects us to ourselves and to nature.

From a 6 June 1997 USA Today interview:

The word god describes many things... we are part of God, plants are a part of God...we are equal.

Also, from the 14 August 1997 Montreal Gazette:

"I don't consider myself religious in any typical fashion. I'm not Catholic, I'm not Protestant. My notion of God is energy that we all possess. " A humanist? "First and foremost. "

2.17 Sarah's Writer's Block Loaf Recipe?

Writer's Block Loaf- Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed ripe banana
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup mini semisweet choc.chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Light
ly grease one 9-inch or
two 8-inch loaf pans. Using electric mixer, blend together
sugar and butter. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after
each addition. Add sour cream. Mix well. Add banana, blend
well. Sift in dry ingredients, mix well. Fold in choc.chips.
Be careful not to over-mix.

Pour into pan(s) and bake 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick
inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool 15 minutes
before removing from pan, then allow to cool completely before
slicing or wrapping.

This loaf is best when stored in refrigerator. Serves 6.

Thanks to Beth Steinberg for posting this recipe.

2.18 What other recipes does Sarah have?

In 1999, Sarah, in collaboration with Jaime Laurita, the chef who prepared many meals for Sarah, her band and many of those traveling with the Lilith Fair, had a cookbook published containing a nice collection of recipes. The book is called Plenty.

2.19 What was the first album that Sarah ever owned?

Billy Joel, Glass Houses.

2.20 What is Sarah's favorite restaurant?

Vij's, an Indian restaurant in Vancouver.

2.21 Does Sarah have a pet peeve?

From 20 Questions with Sarah McLachlan:

Oh, God, yes I do. What is it? I've forgotten my pet peeve! (To husband): Honey, what's my pet peeve? What p*ss*s me off? ("Bad drivers") No, that's your pet peeve. That's not mine. I can't drive. Not having a horn on my side is my pet peeve. Oh, God, I don't know: Stupid people. Ignorance.

From a 2 May 1994 interview with KWUR in St. Louis:

Sarah: it's basically, you get to look at buildings really quick in a taxicab going from one interview to another, and you see the street the venue's on and that's it.

sample: but you see people?

Sarah: yep, you see faces.

sample: then you move on.

Sarah: and you meet about a hundred people after the show where it's like, you basically shake a hundred people's hands and say hi to a hundred people, or two hundred or whatever it is, and, you know, there's no time for any intimacy...none...the only intimacy is shared during the's completely and utterly's a hold thing that takes absolutely everything out of you so that you's a real drag really, because the job, and the business end, and the dealing with all the people end is so all-consuming that by the time I'm at the end of the day I have absolutely nothing left for the people that I love, you know for my best friends and for the people who are on the road with me, which is kind of a drag...but hey, you don't want to hear that because that's not the glamorous side, and everybody only wants to hear the glamorous side so I'll shut up now and stop talking about that.

sample: but you like the glamorous side, don't you?

Sarah: i couldn't give a sh*t about the glamorous side.

sample: what do you think of being a pop star?

Sarah: i hate it. I don't want to be put up on a pedestal. I never asked for that, that's just part of the gig.

sample: what did you ask for, just to be a musician?

Sarah: mm-hmm. I mean, I didn't ask for anything when I was getting into it, I didn't know what it all involved. you know, I don't necessarily enjoy celebrity status, that kind of thing, because as far as I'm concerned I'm as worthy as you two, or anybody else on the street to be as...I believe people are really equal, and for me to be put up on a pedestal because I'm in the newspaper, or in magazines or on the television and people treat you differently, and I think that's kinda...t's just it's weird, I'm not, it's not something I've totally gotten a grip on. I've seen so many people on the media especially celebrities who'll say something, then if they change their minds the media will just slag them, because they expect them to be more than human, they expect them to be godlike and not make mistakes, and that's bullsh*t, I mean we're just people. but that's another thing that you guys don't want to hear about, because it's just me ranting and raving...

sample: but you can still be a musician, and the price you pay is you have to be put on a pedestal.

Sarah: yeah, that's my argument, why?why do people put musicians on pedestals...or actors or actresses, why do they get put up there. that's my frustration with society...but that runs very deep, so.

sample: that must have been really bizarre at first, to be treated absolutely differently than before.

Sarah: people I care about, people really close to me don't treat me any diffferently. if anything else they give me more trouble than, you know, if they even see a glimpse of my head getting big they'll whap me and say "hey hey, don't forget who you are," yeah, for the most part, yeah, I've surrounded myself with a lot of really good people, and it's hard sometimes, if you're not...I can't be strong all the time and being strong for me is having total control over my identity and who I am and where I'm going and when you have so many people every day telling you who you are and where you're going and what you should be doing, all that stuff sort of starts to wear down on your own identity, and if you're not really strong in that then you're just gonna go "wow oh wait a minute, what do I think in all this" and you start to lose that.that's probably my biggest fear of the celebrity kind of thing, of being a famous person, because I love my privacy, I love my control over myself which ebbs away the more people I deal with, within the industry.

2.22 Can Sarah drive?

By her own admission, no.

2.23 What is Sarah's idea of the perfect Sunday?

From 20 questions with Sarah McLachlan:

Getting up late, having a swim, walking the dog, having friends over, never getting out of my pyjamas.

2.24 What is Sarah's favourite junk food?

In the Indianapolis Star:

[Sarah] favors candy bars from Nelson, a little town in British Columbia. "They have hazelnuts and almonds. It's dark, rich, bittersweet chocolate. It's absolutely amazing." And she also likes the chocolate bars at a place called Dean and Deluca in New York City.

2.25 What device can Sarah not live without?

Her cuticle scissors.

2.26 What are Sarah's hobbies?

From 20 Questions with Sarah McLachlan:

Most of my habits are pretty boring and normal, like gardening and potting plants. (Sigh) That's not going to surprise anyone.

2.27 What is Sarah's favourite piece of clothing?

From 20 Questions with Sarah McLachlan:

My cargo pants. I live in them.

2.28 Whom does Sarah most admire?

Mother Teresa.

2.29 What would Sarah like to be if she were reincarnated?

From 20 Questions with Sarah McLachlan:

Well, you don't really get a choice there, do you? I think I would be my dog, Rex. Boy, does she have a good life.

2.30 Has Sarah ever been mistaken for another celebrity?

Yes. Sophie B. Hawkins.

2.31 Does Sarah have a favourite quote?

"Carpe diem" (seize the day).

2.32 What does Sarah consider to be her greatest weakness?

Junk food.

2.33 What does Sarah's dad do?

Marine biology.

2.34 What does Sarah's mother do?

She's an academic, having a Master's degree in English literature.

2.35 How many moles does Sarah have on her face?


2.36 Is Sarah's bellybutton an innie or an outtie?


2.37 Does Sarah belch or burp?

Yes, a lot. It has been reported that she regularly wins belching contests with the people who tour with her.

2.38 If Sarah were a Spice Girl, which one would she be?

Smelly Spice. She, by her own admission in the January 1998 issue of Details, farts a great deal.

2.39 Who is Sarah's favorite poet?

Wilfred Owen.

2.40 Does Sarah drink?

In her own words:

I can't be with people who are drinking unless I'm drinking too. I hardly drink anyway.

2.41 Has Sarah ever been filmed nude?

Yes. She's nude and covered in mud in the video for Into The Fire. Occasionally, one will find that some pornographic sites claim to have nude pictures of Sarah (usually with her last name misspelled), but such pictures to date have been either non-existent (the site was using Sarah's name to attract visitors), rather obvious fakes, or still images from the afore mentioned video.

2.42 Who was Uwe Vandrei?

Squid6, in April of 1995 wrote:

Where to begin? Uwe Vandrei was (and is) the textbook obsessed fan. From 1992 to 1994, he sent Sarah hundreds of flowers and letters, containing remarkable poetry professing his love for her. He was a loner, who "had little faith in humanity". (What does that make Sarah? A Vorlon?) Well, Uwe's infamy began in the fall of 1994. He posted a message to [the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list], claiming that he was the one and only inspiration for the song Possession, which Sarah has repeatedly said is about an obsessed fan. In this message, Uwe gave very detailed and paranoid-sounding evidence that the song was about him. He stated that he was going to file a lawsuit against Sarah, for breach of confidence in writing a song about him. He did state, however, that the lawsuit need not go to court, that it could be settled in a one to one conversation with Sarah personally. Uwe Vandrei was found dead in late December of 1994, in his truck parked in the woods not far from his house: a suicide. He never posted again to the list, the lawsuit never went to court.... The ambiguity of Sarah's music, that unique quality that allows each of us to find our own meanings (or our own life stories) in her songs, unfortunately makes her a rather ripe target for obsessive fans. I speak from experience here; I was once a bit on the obsessed side myself. We find so much of ourselves in her music we think she must be more like us than she is; we fall in love with what we think is her, and pursue her, thinking that this construct in our minds would have to love us in return. I eventually figured out otherwise, but unfortunately Uwe Vandrei never did.

2.43 Where has the real Sarah gone?

Many long-time fans feel that there is a quite noticeable change in Sarah's music, and not a change for the better, after the material which appeared first on the album Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. Hanson Ho answers the question as follows:

Don't you know?She's in India with the real Ash having her 3rd kid! After the Fumbling tour, Sarah got too tired and left civilization altogether. Netwerk then built a Sarah android and started pumping out good-but-not-Fumbling quality songs. Then, in a conversation with the real Sarah, Terry McBride got the idea of an all-women music festival, and began his plan to lift the fake Sarah into the stratasphere of pop stardomhood.

The REAL Sarah will have a couple more kids with Ash, and then come back in the year 2004 to play an intimate show in an yet-to-be-determined location in Vancouver.

3 Sarah's Music

3.1 What albums has Sarah released?

If you want the official listing of Sarah's recordings, including full-length albums, singles, bootlegs and other related materials, you should write to Cathy Barrett and ask her for a copy of the Sarah McLachlan Discography. There are separately maintained discographies at the following locations:

Sarah's major albums include:

There was also a limited edition live EP released in 1992 in support of the Solace album, but as of 1997, all of the 25,000 copies had been sold, according to Nettwerk.

3.2 What songs by other songwriters has Sarah recorded?

Solsbury Hill
Peter Gabriel
Joni Mitchell
Gloomy Sunday
S. Lewis and R. Seress
Song for a Winter's Night
Gordon Lightfoot
Ol' 55
Tom Waits
Dear God
Wear Your Love Like Heaven
Unchained Melody
Hy Zaret and Alex North

All of the above can be found on various releases put out by Nettwerk.

She has performed other songs live, too:

Dyer Maker
Led Zeppelin

3.3 With which other artists has Sarah performed?

Lots and lots. In addition to numerous performances on the Lilith Fair with other artists, Sarah appears on many albums with other bands. Here is a partial listing:

October Game
Sarah's first band, Sarah sings lead vocals on the song Grind.
As The End Draws Near, a remix of whichcan be found onSarah's B-Sides album.
Chocolate Factory
Sarah sings the "light and fluffy" vocals on Barabajagal on the album Island of Circles, a Donovan tribute compilation. Chocolate Factory consists of David Kershaw and Ashwin Sood.
While Sarah was in New Orleans recording Solace, she sang backup on the song Tightrope Walker and Balloon later toured with Sarah.

Days In July

Blue Rodeo
Sarah performed various parts on two of Blue Rodeo's albums: Five Days In July and Nowhere To Here.
Greg Keelor
Sarah, along with Ashwin Sood and Pierre Marchand, performs on a number of songs on Gone, a solo release by one of the members of Blue Rodeo.
Stephen Fearing
The Assassin's Apprentice contains an appearance by Sarah as well as David Kershaw and Ashwin Sood.
Sarah sings backup on the song Burned Out Car on the album Birthday Boy.
The song Silence is a favorite of many Sarah fans. It can be found in several places, including Delerium's album Karma.

3.4 Foggy Dew?

Foggy Dew is a Chieftains song. Sarah helped them with this song during their House of Blues performance in 1992. Ask around the 'net for a copy.

3.5 How do the various remixes get their names?

Many people have created derivative compositions based on Sarah's songs. These works are called remixes. They vary from being slightly different from the original song-perhaps containing slight changes in instrumentation-to being radically different in style-perhaps even being in an entirely different genre of music. The remixes are usually named for the artist or group who created them orafter some feature unique to the remix.

3.6 Where can I find the lyrics to songs that Sarah has performed?

Use the form on or look for a link on

3.7 How can I find copies of Sarah's rarer music?

Nettwerk, Sarah's record label, sells a number of singles which have some harder to find songs on them. Besides them, you can keep your eyes open in your local used music stores. At times you will come across people in various Internet fora who are willing to sell or trade their rare Sarah recordings. As with anything on the Internet, exercise caution when actually sending money to someone whom you do not know. Additionally, you can sometimes find copies of old Sarah music at Internet-based auction sites. Be warned that such auctions often go to people who are willing to pay excessively high prices for recordings.

3.8 What Sarah songs are on soundtracks?

When She Loved Me
Toy Story II7
Fumbling Towards Ecstasy
City of Angels
Song for a Winter's Night
Miracle on 34th Street
I Love You
Message In A Bottle
Forces of Nature, the Dangerous Beauty trailer, the A destiny of her own trailer
Ice Cream
Bed of Roses, Mad About You, Anywhere But Here
Black (the William Orbit Remix)
Ol' 55
Boys on the Side
I Will Remember You
The Brothers McMullen
Full Of Grace
Moll Flanders (Early vocal take with past tense lyrics) and Buffy the Vampire Slayer (in the season finale of the 1997-1998 season)
Brokedown Palace
Good Enough (Freedom Sessions Version)
What Lies Beyond (Two Birds Flying)
The Admiral and the Princess, appears only on Nettwerk's Sound Sampler Volume 3

3.8.1 Dew South?

The television show Due South has featured a number of Sarah's songs during various episodes:

Uphill Battle
They Eat Horses, Donít They
A Cop, A Mountie and a Baby
Gift of the Wheelman
Victoriaís Secret (I & II)
Letting Go
Possession (solo Piano version)
Song for a Winterís Night
Hunting Season
Full of Grace
Call of the Wild (I)

3.9 Better Than Chocolate?

ArmandS writes:
There is indeed a line in Sarah's song Ice Cream which is "your love is better than chocolate", and which inspired the title to that particular movie. While the song is heard in the movie, it is not on the soundtrack to the film.

The movie does have a web site, which you'll find at:

3.10 What do Sarah's songs mean?

In a 16 September 1994 interview in The Washington Post, Sarah was quoted as saying:

I used to struggle with misrepresentation [of my songs] and think that people don't understand where my songs are coming from....Now I think it's great if you have a different twist on it because it means you've taken it into your own life and made it important. It may not be where the song is coming from for me, but that's not the point anymore.

In a World Cafe Radio interview in March 1994, Sarah said of her writing style:

Well, I write that way for a reason, too, because I want people to relate it to their own lives, and as much as I do write from a very personal and emotional point of view, I also need to save a bit of it for myself, for my privacy. I can only give out so much, thus the ambiguity.

Sarah said, in an article in the Indianapolis Star :

People seem to get their own ideas about the songs--and strong ideas, which I really enjoy. It is fairly abstract in a lot of ways....It's not my way of trying to be clever; it's just the way the song comes out.

If I like it and it feels good that way, I leave it, which puts everybody in a tizzy, because they go, `What do you mean?' And I say, `I don't know. Whatever you think I mean. '

3.10.1 I Will Remember You

On the Mirrorball video, Sarah says:

Oh, so, moving on. Moving on to love. It's something that I'm very obsessed with...I think about it all the time...I write about it a lot...I've certainly searched for it all my life, and I've found it, it's a wonderful thing. (looks at Ash and giggles) But this song is about the fear of love, the fear of committment, but at the same time not wanting to look back on your life with a lot of regrets and think `wow, I really screwed things up'. Live now...

3.10.2 I Love You

On the Mirrorball video, Sarah says:

Well, this next one is about another kind of love. We can call it puppy love or obsession. But the only unfortunate thing is that it's quite one sided. The other person doesn't have a clue you exist, so it can get quite frustrating. (Girl in audience yells "I love you!") Oh, thank you (giggles)! So you know, you stand in front of the mirror and you work up all these elegant and poetic things you're going to say when you finally `bump' into them...and then, all of a sudden, there they are, right in front of you, and you can't say a thing. (audience laughs) And then the light changes and they're gone (more audiance laughter). And you never got to say what you so badly wanted to say.

3.10.3 I Will Not Forget You

On the Mirrorball video, Sarah says:

Well, so, like I said, you get pretty frustrated when nothing happens for so long--you start to create little fantasies to keep yourself entertained in the down times. (lots of audience laughs)...Oh, I can see ya'll have been there before...I bet you're thinking of a few right now! (laughs) I've been there too! The only dangerous thing is when, uh, those fantasies really take over. And because they're so much more entertaining than reality, you kinda get lost in them...that's when things get dangerous. So that's what this one's about.

3.10.4 Ben's Song

In a 30 March 1989 interview with KCRW Santa Monica, Sarah said:

When I was in Halifax, for the last year that I was there, I met this boy named Ben. He was 10 years old. I met him right before Christmas time. And he had a stroke and half his side was paralyzed. And no one could figure out why he had had this stroke. He did a whole bunch of tests and no one really knew what was wrong with him. And he slowly regressed. I can't say I babysat him because he wasn't a baby. I stayed with him everyday because he needed someone to take care of him. I stayed with him and got very close to him and he got worse and worse. About three months later, they did another CAT scan on him and they found a big brain tumor and that was the cause of the whole thing in the beginning even though they hadn't found anything in the first place. So I stayed with him up to when I got a record contract and I moved out to Vancouver in September of '87. And I saw him. he had moved to Toronto by that time and was in the Mayo Clinic for cancer and I went to visit him there for his birthday before I moved out to Vancouver. And then I came back and was going to Halifax for Christmas and I went to spend a day in Toronto to see him and I got there at 7 in the morning and I called his father and he had died the week before. So it was kind of sad. And I wrote the lyrics the same night that he died. Yeah, and I didn't even know about it. It was really sad. He was just a wonderful kid, really smart. It was a big shame.

3.10.5 Good Enough

At the Kiss 108 benefit concert in boston in 1998, Sarah said:

Well, this next song is sort of a sisterhood song...It's all about the beautiful love and friendship between women...A beautiful thing... something to be cherished...and held onto...

In a World Cafe Radio interview in March 1994, Sarah said:

Good Enough is one of those songs that came out in almost a day, and I don't really know where it came from. I know now, but when it happened, it just sort of came out. It was a song about my mother, in one sense. It was also inspired by another singer/songwriter in Canada called Jane Siberry. She is going around, doing these "this is not a concert" concert kind of thing, where she shows her videos and she does spoken story and stuff. One of her stories was aimed at her mother and their relationship.

I don't know quite what grasp I had on it, except that it affected me tremendously, of the relationship that she had with her mother and the women of my mother's and her mother's generation who were so completely out of touch with their bodies and who did not really have any friends to talk to about anything. I have amazing female friends and this is another thing about where the song came from. I can say anything to them and I trust them to be able to say these things to and to talk about it and work things out. My mother's generation is of, "Oh, let's just not talk about it. " So I wrote that song for her, on the perspective of, "I'm not just the daughter anymore. I want to be your friend now. "

On the FTE Live video, Sarah introduced Good Enough by saying:

but this song is for my mother... and all the women who have sent out their voices... without receiving an answer.

(Note that the video shows Sarah speaking this in French and so the above is a translation of Sarah's remarks. )

3.10.6 Fumbling Towards Ecstasy

From the December 1993 issue of Impact magazine:

"Pierre wrote most of that song,"Sarah explains. "He was going through a really intense, traumatic, emotional upheaval of wanting to be in love with somebody but just fearing it so much. It was really intense. I was falling in love with somebody else, but it was at a time in my life when I felt really strong--I'd been myself for a while. And I kind of liked where I was and didn't know if I wanted to get involved because whenever I've liked someone before, it's always been a kind of downward thing. But this one is good. It's where [the song] Ice Cream came from, too:If we f*ck this up, there's so much at stake. "

3.10.7 Wait

From the December 1993 issue of Impact magazine:

Wait is another song describing love's contradictions: "There is a love that's inherently given/The kind of love offered to deceive. "

"It's about how love is set up to be this high-falutin' unconditional love, and that just doesn't really exist," Sarah says. "But it's offered up as this ideal that you can have. There's no perfect love. You can get damn close, but there's going to be something..."

In a World Cafe Radio interview in March 1994, Sarah had the following to say:

It's sort of about loss of innocence and the feeling that for every generation, with every generation, there is a group of individuals who will go outside of the norm and outside of society. We'll be the outcasts, and we'll try to make a difference. But it seems, eventually, they all get sucked back in, or they lose their minds completely, so it was kind of a sad thing for me. But I still have that idealism.

3.10.8 Ice Cream

From an online chat hosted by AOL on 25 June 1997:

The fear of commitment inspired the song.

Sarah, in the Indianapolis Star, said:

"I was comparing it to the best, of course," McLachlan says with a chuckle. "Dark Belgian chocolates."

"I was making comparisons to something that's incredibly fantastic," McLachlan says. "Chocolate was up there. Ice Cream is more the idea of ice cubes from (the movie) 9 1/2 Weeks. But `ice cube' doesn't sound as nice as `ice cream', so I took a little poetic license."

3.10.9 Angel

From the August 1997 issue of CMJ:

"I hate to pinpoint it like that," Sarah McLachlan descents, " But the inspiration did stem from reading a series of Rolling Stone articles over the past year and a half, typically about heroin in the music industry...."

3.10.10 Building A Mystery

From Rocket No. 256, July 1997:

the song is merely about people trying to create really interesting facades for themselves. It's about that on a deep level, but also on a light level it's a playful song -- beautiful, fucked-up people. It's about me! About all my friends!

3.10.11 Adia

Sarah has said in numerous interviews that she won't reveal the identity of Adia. On her episode of VH1's Storytellers, she explained Adia this way:

I'm not quite sure how to explain this one, but uh...I guess more than anything it's about my problems in dealing with feeling responsible for everybody else.

At many of the stops on the 1999 Lilith Fair tour, Sarah introduced Adia with the following Leonard Cohen poem:

For Anne

With Annie gone
Whose eyes to compare
With the morning sun?

Not that I did compare,
But I do compare
Now that she's gone.
T-Boy in reference to the Toronto stop on the 1999 Lilith Fair, writes:
According to my sources, Sarah prefaced this on Saturday by saying something about sure feeling good to be back in Canada, and that when she thinks of this next song (Adia), it always reminds her of this really beautiful and simple Leonard Cohen poem who she's sure a lot of us are familiar with...she also quoted "But I do" instead of "But I do compare".

On the 13 September 1999 Rosie O'Donnel show, Sarah discussed Adia:

Rosie: Who is Adia? Can you tell me? Is it a person?

Sarah: It's kinda embarrassing. I was scrolling through the credits on a TV show, a sitcom and I needed a 3 syllable name that didn't sound like Emily because you know. It started out being "Emily" but that's so obvious and its a famous Simon & Garfunkle song, For Emily. And certainly there's a person behind it...

Rosie: But the persons name is not Adia.

Sarah: Its not Adia, no. Its a few people...(Rosiee interrupts)

Rosie: Here I am, I described the whole to it, like her friend that she met in college who suffered a severe amount of depression was thinking of ending her life and you pulled her out of the depths. But thats not really what happened.

Sarah: Its sorta more like... You know that song (sings) You picked a fine time to leave me Lucille by Kenny Rogers?

Rosie and Sarah: (singing together) "Four hungrychildren and a crop in the field"

Rosie: yeah that one.

Sarah: For some reason that song inspired this one.

Rosie: Really?

Sarah: Even though it has nothing to do with it. Whenever I hear that song, It always reminds me of it. So if that gives you any insight...

3.10.12 Sweet Surrender

On VH1's Storytellers, Sarah said:

Sweet Surrender took a very long time to write. The initial inspiration came actually after seeing Leaving Los Vegas, which I found to be this beautiful tragic love story. These two people who were rather pathetic in both their own rights, and yet they completely accepted each other for who they were...all the beautiful things and all the ugly things. That's a lot to do with what this is about, accepting ugly things and being able to appreciate the fact that someone can love you for all those nasty things, when you think you are completely unloveable...there's some great comfort in that.

3.10.13 Possession

Possession was inspired by fan letters from overly demanding male admirers. From the Detroit News, 13 June 1996:

"Some of the letters were really over the top, in terms of what they expected and demanded from me,"[Sarah] McLachlan says cautiously. "The song is written from the point of someone who's so obsessed with another person that they might become violent in order to obtain that person. "

3.10.14 Dear God

The song Dear God was written and performed by the British group XTC, available on the albums Skylarking and Upsy Daisy Assortment. Sarah performed the song in 1995 for an XTC tribute compilation called Testimonial Dinner. Dear God can also be found on Sarah's album B-Sides, Rarities and Other Stuff.

Jen Kremer, of the newsgroup offered the following thoughts on this song in a post on 30 November 1998:

As for the meaning...I get a little different interpretation every time I listen to the song. But generally, it's written from the point of view of a person who wants to believe in God, but is disillusioned with things like the hypocrisy of organized religion and trying to understand why bad things happen to good people. To me, it sounds like the emotions many people go through as they get older and start to question their religious beliefs. It's really a song about the struggle to understand.

3.10.15 Into The Fire

From WDRE radio in NY, during an interview in Vancouver, B. C. :

It's sort of about metamorphosis, going through changes...Understanding things you can't understand and getting over them and going on.

Also, from The Vancouver Sun, 19 August 1991, Sarah had this to say:

It's back to the womb, back to simplicity, yearning for what we can't have, what we've lost, trying to find that spark that'll keep us happy and complete.

3.10.16 Shelter

From The Vancouver Sun 19 August 1991:

[Shelter] is sort of about animal torture. It's about creatures who are forced out of their natural environment, forced into a situation that they have no control of, basically due to somebody else's vanity and greed. On Shelter I'm singing from the animal's point of view but, it's left open--it can be animals, it could be homeless people, it could be the outcasts of society that nobody wants to deal with, nobody wants to look at. It's something that a lot of people want to pretend doesn't exist, animal torture or whatever, and it does.

3.10.17 Black

From WDRE radio in NY, during an interview in Vancouver, B. C. :

It's about greed on many different levels. I wrote it after the Exxon oil spill.

3.10.18 Elsewhere

During a concert given at Hamilton Place, Hamilton Ontario 18 November 1993, Sarah said:

I was very sick and I tend to get strep throat and laryngitis a lot when I have important shows to go to so...(interrupted) drugs, right, drugs. I took a Contact C. I usually just take natural types of things, but I really felt I needed a good nights sleep so I took a Contact C. That didn't do it, so I took a Codeine as well. Now don't try this at home. I tried to go to sleep and I found myself sort of floating and hovering over my bunk. I got kindda freaked and then I started to enjoy it. I thought "oh I gotta write this down" and it was the first time I felt I had any privacy over the past year. We had been on the road for over 14 months, and I loved everybody but you know you don't wanna see all these faces so often. It was nice to have that space and sort of realize that I was there. So I wrote this one first. Then I spent the next 6 months trying to figure out what it meant. It was this beautiful little moment in time that I captured and I had to try to figure out a different angle to put to the song. I sort of just put some teen angst in there and some lack of privacy, lack of space, trying to be your own person. Not really knowing who you are, but trying to figure it out.

3.10.19 Hold On

Hold On was inspired by the AIDS documentary A Promise Kept.

3.10.20 Mary

The Earth, as in Mother Earth.

3.10.21 Plenty

From the Under a Blackened Sky bootleg:

Well, this next song is sort of a jilted love song and uh...well, uh, the manner to which I was incredibly deceived was amazing, and...I was the one who did--I was the one who did the deceiving. I built this picture up of this perfect man and I projected the image, and I said "You are it. ", to this particular low-life hu-- Oh no, no, no!--that is so unfair of me to say, let me retract that. He's...bless his soul, he's...lost fellow. Anyway, it's a jilted love song, but with a positive message at the end. I came out the other side and I felt much stronger for it.

3.10.22 Full of Grace

From Mondo2000, Winter 96/Spring 97:

That's one of the most depressing songs I've written to date. I had just been through a really hard time with the person I was with, sort of coming to an end and neither of us really wanted to admit it--it was really hell on both of us. That song came out of a feeling of sinking. You know: I don't know how to get out of this and neither does the other person, but it's just horrible--it's swallowing us both up whole.

See Is it Fall From Grace or Full of Grace?, for further details about the history of this song.

3.10.23 Ice

From a review published in the Dallas Morning News of a concert Sarah gave in Dallas:

To introduce Ice, she recounted her trip to southeast Asia, where she witnessed people trapped in a poverty from which they could not escape.

"I don't know whether it's right to try to put myself in their place, coming from a conservative, middle-class Canadian upbringing" she said. "Call it an observational song. "

3.11 Where does the phrase Fumbling Towards Ecstasy come from?

From Wilfred Owen's poem Dulce Et Decorum Est8:

Gas! GAS! Quick, boys!---An ecstasy of fumbling,
Fitting the clumsy helmets just in time;
But someone still was yelling out and stumbling
And flound'ring like a man in fire or lime...
Dim, through the misty panes and thick green light,
As under a green sea, I saw him drowning.

From a World Cafe Radio interview in March 1994:

I've been trying to use those words. They came to me at first in a different configuration, from a Wilfred S. Owens poem called Dulce Et Decorum Est. He was a war poet, and he was describing the soldiers in the field who were getting gassed. For some reason, I just fell in love with his poems, I guess, because they were so beautiful, but they were talking about something so horrible. The way he melded the two things together, two complete opposites, and made it so beautiful.

I was a total romantic to this guy. He was talking about the ecstasy in fumbling. They were in ecstasy of fumbling as they tried to fit on the masks, so they wouldn't die. He was watching people not make it and fall, and that little phrase stayed with me all these years.

I think I first heard it in the ninth grade. I've always wanted to use it, but "in ecstasy of fumbling" or "fumbling towards ecstasy" how to fit that into a song. I thought, "Wow!What a simple, beautiful metaphor for my life, for what I'm trying to do. "I mean, you can put in place of "ecstasy" any adjective, whether it's inner peace or nirvana or whatever. I'm definitely trying to reach that and being human and making mistakes, which I think is one of the greatest learning things that I have.

There are mistakes all over the record, and another interesting thing for me is that there are mistakes and we tried to take them out, but I realized that the mistakes were what made it wonderful. They were what made it unpolished and human, and it just seemed like a perfect title, and like I said, I always wanted to use those words. Another great thing is that it made people laugh. When I told Arista, they laughed and they said, "Yeah, sure!"And I'm like, "No, really!"

It's nice because people would laugh and go, "Oh, right on!" The past two records, Touch and Solace, have been very melancholy and dark. I really wanted to get away from that because, as a human being, I've always strived for happiness, but I really feel like on this album, there are places and moments where you can see that. I wanted to dispel that depressed myth.

3.12 Finger lickin' Charlie Manson?

This is from Basted In Blood which Sarah performed with Ana Gasteyer on Saturday Night Live in 1997.

3.13 What are these "extended" CDs?

Several of Sarah's albums were released on CDs which had an extra multimedia track. These albums were Freedom Sessions, B-Sides, Rarities and Other Stuff, and Surfacing. Note that if you got your copy of Mirrorball from Best Buy and it came with the Bonus disc, then the main disc has a multimedia track, but this track only contains information on how to obtain a "custom disc", an offer which expired on 1 July 1999.

3.13.1 What are the multimedia Freedom Sessions Easter eggs?

The Freedom Sessions Easter Eggs, by Jay "The Guy Who made Them":

3.13.2 Does B-Sides have any Easter eggs?

According to Jay, "the guy who made the Easter eggs", B-Sides, Rarities and Other Stuff does not have any Easter Eggs. But Decadence has at least one Sarah egg and many others.

3.13.3 What are the Easter eggs on the multimedia part of Surfacing?

On the first disc (the only disc, if you don't have the limited edition), click in the middle of the tree graphic on the main screen. On the second disc (if you have the limited edition, or the bonus disc if you purchased it separately from Nettwerk), click the exit button from the main menu, and move your mouse over the black and white graphic in the center. Click on the new image that appears.

3.13.4 What should I do if I have problems reading the multimedia on B-Sides & Rarities (or on Surfacing)?

Julian says:

After Nettwerk released B-Sides with a so-called track zero multimedia, they discovered two problems. First, certain CD-ROM drives (the majority being PC drives) couldn't read the multimedia, because it wasn't supported in the drive's firmware. One such drive is the Toshiba 5302, of which I am an unfortunate owner. :-( The second problem is that support for track zero CDs was removed from later releases of Windows 95. Specifically, the file C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\IOSUBSYS\SCSI1HLP. VXD was changed. (This problem occurs even if your drive is not SCSI, despite the filename) If you're able to read the multimedia from DOS, but you have problems in Windows, get SCSI1HLP. VXD from the original release of Windows 95. I have posteda copy of the relevant file on my web site for your convenience. Copy it into C:\WINDOWS\SYSTEM\IOSUBSYS. It has also been reported that one can achieve success by disabling 32-bit protected mode CD-ROM drivers. If you don't know what this means, fret not: all you need to do is the following (under Windows 95). Go into the Control Panel, double-click the System icon, and select the Performance tab. Click the "File System" button, and then the "Troubleshooting" tab. Check the "disable all 32-bit protected-mode disk drivers" checkbox and click "OK". Now, ensure that your DOS CD-ROM drivers are loaded, reboot the computer and you should be able to read the CD. Note that you should undo all this when you're done using the CD, because disabling 32-bit disk drivers degrades system performance. Thanks to Leilani Nonies for sending that tip along. A workaround is also available for Windows 98 users. Do the following:

Get hold of the install disk for Windows 95. You just need the floppy. The CD-ROM is NOT required. Boot the computer from the first (A:\) floppydrive. Select the generic NEC (or other) CD-ROM driver in the boot menu. After boot-up you should be able to "see" Track 0 under DOS, if your CD-ROM drive supports it. Copy all the files and directories to your hard drive. It's only about 54 Mb total, and some are Macintosh files. Run the programs off your hard drive under Windows 98. Thanks to Eugene Hsieh for that tip. Macintosh users might be wondering where they stand in all this. Thankfully, only a small percentage of Macs are equipped with drives that can't read the multimedia. If you are one of the unlucky few, well, you'll have to either get a firmware upgrade (if one is available from your manufacturer), or buy a new drive.

Users of Linux, OpenBSD and the like: just mount the CD and have a poke at the files that show up. You'll want at least version 12. 16 of sox to be able to play the *. Iff files and the AFsp package may be able to play the AIFF-C files (*. AIFF on the CDs). The QuickTime movies require a QuickTime client, which, at the time of writing, is not available for any open-source operating system. Needless to say, unless you can run Windows or MacOS binaries, you won't be able to run the program that is supposed to manage the CD's contents.

Failing all this advice, send an email to for the Enhanced CD FAQ. It answers all the questions they've had so far from people who've had any problems running the CD-ROM tracks on their computers. You can also find the FAQ on Nettmedia's web site.

3.14 What is this I hear about a MOD remix of Possession?

Necros has released a Screamtracker MOD remix of Possession. MODs are music files, similar to MIDI files, but using "voices" incorporated right into the file, as opposed to using standard instruments, like MIDI. They originated on the Amiga platform. You can download the file from

3.15 What is on the second Surfacing disc?

Prayer of St. Francis, the soft jazz version of Sweet Surrender and about an hour of multimedia content not found on the album proper. You can order the Surfacing Bonus Disc directly from Nettwerk. (see What are these extended CDs?)

3.16 Is it Fall From Grace or Full of Grace?

The song Full of Grace, written in the second half of 1994,was first performed on the Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tour. At the time it was called Fall From Grace and had lyrics that differed slightly from those on the Surfacing version of Full of Grace. Then she recorded Fall from Grace for the Moll Flanders soundtrack and changed a few of the lyrics and called the song Full of Grace. The version on the soundtrack uses the past tense in its lyrics, e.g. "Oh darkness I FELT like letting go. "Then Sarah re-recorded Full of Grace for B-Sides, Rarities and Other Stuff, changing the past tense lyrics back to the present tense lyrics which she had used when the song was called Fall From Grace. This "present tense" version is the one found on the album Surfacing. Note that there are slight differences between each pair of versions, even disregarding any differences in verb tense and the use of "full of" versus "fall from".

4 General Fan Information

4.1 What is Sarah's address?

You can write to Sarah care of her record label:

Nettwerk Productions
1650 W. 2nd Avenue
Vancouver, B. C. , V6J 4R3

4.2 Does Sarah have an email address?

No, but you can write to if you have a question about Sarah or her music.

4.3 Is there a mailing list about Sarah?

Yes. This list consists of announcements about Sarah related merchandise, television and other media appearances as well as touring updates. Subscribing and unsubscribing to this list can be handled at

If you want to discuss Sarah and her music, see Mailing List.

4.4 Does Sarah have a web site?

The official Sarah McLachlan web site is located at

4.5 What other Sarah related sites are available?

There are many Sarah fans and many of them maintain various Sarah related resources. Here is a partial listing:

4.6 Is there a usenet newsgroup where people discuss Sarah?

Yes. The newsgroup is devoted to the discussion of all aspects of Sarah and her music. The newsgroup has a homepage at

From the faq for that newsgroup: was "born" in late 1994. A control message from one Arnold Kasemsarn from Northwestern University was sent to alt.config in November 1994. The only words he used to describe what the Sarah newsgroup was about were "A Touch of Solace in Ecstasy". Today the newsgroup is still running strong, containing a large and diverse group of people with one common love, the music of Sarah McLachlan. Conversations within the group range from how her songs have touched our lives, what song we want to see released as a single, concert reviews (when she's touring), who showed up at Lilith Fair, how Sarah's bread recipe tasted, and (believe it or not) there have been threads on how one nostril seems bigger than the other. Basically any posts having to do with Sarah and the music industry are always welcome conversations in the group. The only time anyone really catches any flack is if name calling and personal attacks are used.

You might also find some discussion of Sarah in the newsgroups,,,, and

4.7 Does Sarah have a fan club?

Yes. It's called Murmurs. There is an annual membership fee. The fan club offers 3 newsletters per year, a full colour glossy magazine, and items not available anywhere else. Contact Nettwerk by mail, phone, or e-mail to apply or to get more information. See What Sarah related merchandise is available?.

4.8 Is there any sheet music for Sarah's songs?

Yes. See the Nettwerk catalog or your local music store for details on the three songbooks available. There is also the Sarah McLachlan Guitar Archive. You might also try looking at

4.9 Where can I read articles about Sarah and her work?

In addition to the official Sarah McLachlan web site and the official Lilith Fair web site, try the following sites:

4.10 What Sarah related merchandise is available?

Lots. Contact Nettwerk to receive a catalog or browse it on the web.

Postal Mail

Nettwerk Productions
1650 W. 2nd Avenue
Vancouver, B. C. , V6J 4R3

E-Mail or specifically for ordering,

4.11 Is the Nettwerk BBS still around?

No. It's been gone for some time now and what with the 'net and all, there are no plans to revive it.

4.12 Is Sarah really mentioned in the Starr report?

Yes. From

U.~S.president Bill Clinton is even a fan, according to the infamous Starr Report: "When I was hiding out in your office for a half-hour, I noticed you had the new Sarah McLachlan CD," Monica Lewinsky is quoted.

Also Monica Lewinsky has stated that the song Do What You Have To Do reminds her of Bill Clinton.

4.13 What does the symbol "MAPL" enclosed in a little circle mean?

This question applies only to Canadian editions of Sarah's records. It's a standard Canadian recording industry copyright notice.

The music was composed by a Canadian.
The musical lyrics were principally performed by a Canadian.
The production consists of a live performance of music that was wholly recorded in Canada.
The lyrics were written by a Canadian.

In Sarah's case, all of the above apply, hence the full-circle MAPL symbol.

4.14 Where can I get "Sarah McLachlan - The Game"?

Download the archive from Since this game was written using Macromedia Authorware for Windows, you will need aWindows environment for the game to be useable. A sound card is highly recommended.

5 Sarah Live

5.1 What is the Lilith Fair?

In the summers of 1997 through 1999, Sarah McLachlan led a tour of female fronted bands across the United States and Canada. This tour was the Lilith Fair. For more information on the figure of Lilith, see and for the official Lilith Fair web site, visit

5.2 When was the first Lilith Fair?

In June 1996. There were four concerts that summer in the style of the Lilith Fair. Sarah was, apparently, testing the idea and found that it worked.

5.3 Why did the Lilith Fair happen?

There are several reasons:

5.4 Have men performed at Lilith Fair?

Only as members of bands backing up female singers. Sarah wants it that way. She considered allowing men to perform during the final year of Lilith Fair, but Emmylou Harris, acting as Sarah's conscience, pointed out that Sarah had started a good thing and should continue with it despite the criticism that some people chose to send her way.

5.5 Can I expect to see Sarah in concert any time soon?

After the 1999 Lilith Fair tour, Sarah plans to do a few benefit concerts before taking an indefinite amount of time off to begin raising a family and generally recover from the various consequences of having run the Lilith Fair for three years.

5.6 What instruments does Sarah play?

Mainly guitar and piano although some fans report that Sarah was seen playing drums during other artists' sets on the 1999 Lilith Fair tour.

5.7 Who are the members of Sarah's band?

Sarah has had a number of musicians in her touring band over the years:

5.7.1 The Touch tour

Steven Nikleva
Sherry Leigh
Jeff Sawatsky
Darren Phillips

5.7.2 The Solace tour

David Kershaw
piano, organ and vocals
Ashwin Sood
drums and vocals
Brian Minato
Steven Nikleva
Kimberly Linekin

5.7.3 The Fumbling Towards Ecstasy tour?

David Kershaw
piano, organ, vocals
Ashwin Sood
drums, vocals
David Sinclair
Luke Doucet
guitar, lapsteel
Brian Minato
Camille Henderson

5.7.4 The Surfacing tour

Sean Ashby
electric guitar, lapsteel
David Kershaw
piano, organ, vocals
Ashwin Sood
drums, vocals
David Sinclair
Brian Minato
Camille Henderson
Vincent Jones
piano, organ, vocals

Note that Sarah's band during the Lilith Fair performances in 1997 through 1999 was the same as that for the Surfacing tour.

5.8 When did Sarah go to Thailand and Cambodia and why?

Sarah was invited to go there in September of 1992 with World Vision and Terry David Mulligan of MuchMusic to make a documentary focusing on poverty, hunger and child prostitution in that region. The documentary was broadcast in Canada during a fund-raising campaign. See Ice.

5.9 When did Sarah sing at the Vatican's Christmas concert?

Sarah sang O Little Town of Bethlehem at the Vatican's Christmas Concert on 14 December 1994. Yes, she did meet the Pope at a gala dinner the night before the concert.

6 Mailing List

6.1 What is the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list?

The fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list is a forum where fans of Sarah McLachlan talk to each other. The official fumbling-towards-ecstasy list homepage can be found at

6.2 When did fumbling-towards-ecstasy get started?

27 January 1994. Anthony Baxter of Australia started the list and maintained it on a machine named "yoyo" until his responsibilities demanded his attentions elsewhere. fumbling-towards-ecstasy moved on 15 October 1999 to a new home in northern Virginia. The new list maintainers are John Stewart and Jenni (Jen) Christensen.

6.3 Why is the list called fumbling-towards-ecstasy?

The list is named after Sarah's third studio album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy. At the time of creation, this was the most recent release, and seemed as good a name for the list as any.

6.4 How do I subscribe to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list?

Send an email to containing

subscribe fumbling-towards-ecstasy

in the body. Please note that majordomo ignores anything that may wander into the subject heading.

6.5 How do I post to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list?

Send your message to If you prefer, you can send your message to instead. This second address is just an alias for the first--which means that your message will go to the same place, just as if you used that first and longer address. John Stewart writes:

If you are trying to post from an address which is not s*bscribed to FTE, your post will not make it through to the list. This is to prevent spammers, at least in most cases, from flooding us with garbage. [Any jokes about volume on FTE already being high anyway can be kept to yourselves, thanks].

Additionally, note that use of certain words tend to confuse the list management software and cause it to attempt to process your post to the list as if it were a set of commands. These words include "subscribe", "unsubscribe", "help", and "get". The last of these is apparently interpreted as a command when it occurs at the beginning of a line. Should you need to use these words in your post, you will probably find it easiest to use asterisks in place of some of the letters in the word, e.g. "s*bscribe".

6.6 How should I reply to list posts?

First, consider whether your reply needs to go to the list at all. It's perfectly acceptable to only reply in private. When you do post to the list, try to use the standard Internet quoting style. That style of quoting places a "> " at the beginning of each quoted line so that it is easy to distinguish the quoted material from a response to that material. Some mail clients use a different style of quoting by default, so have a look at your documentation to see how to change it--many people will appreciate your efforts. writes:

This is directed towards AOL folks but it may also applyto other mail clients:

Most people on AOL use the default AOL style quoting, which if you reply to, and your quoting style is different, can make the quoting go off (meaning sometimes you don't know where the quoted message ends and the reply begins).

So persons using AOL should change it, if they so desire, from the "AOL Style Quoting" to "Internet Style Quoting."

To do this one should go to Mail Center then to Mail Preferences and go to the bottom of the pop up screen and change it to Internet style quoting.

<<this is an example
of AOL style quoting>>

>>this is an example of
>>Internet style quoting

Note: AOL only quotes if you select all of the text and then hit the reply or reply all button.

6.7 How do I unsubscribe from the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list?

Send an email to containing

unsubscribe fumbling-towards-ecstasy

in the body. Please note that majordomo ignores anything that may wander into the subject heading.

6.8 What volume of mail can I expect to receive from fumbling-towards-ecstasy?

Although list volume varies substantially over time, we aren't surprised to get around 100 posts to the list in a day.

6.9 What can I do to cope with all this mail?

Subscribe to the digest version of the list. The digest version sends you messages in groups, rather than one at a time. Instead of receiving 100 little messages a day, you receive a smaller number of larger messages per day. Note that any decent email reader will have a way to burst the digest into its individual messages. Consult your documentation on the details of performing this operation.

6.10 How do I subscribe to the digest version of the list?

Send an email to containing

subscribe fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest

in the body. Please note that majordomo ignores anything that may wander into the subject heading.

6.11 How do I post to the digest version of the list?

Actually, you don't.if you subscribe to the digest, you post to the list just like everyone else does. There are some problems with sending mail to the digest address:

6.12 How do I unsubscribe from the digest version of the list?

Send an email to containing

unsubscribe fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest

in the body. Please note that majordomo ignores anything that may wander into the subject heading.

6.13 What if I have a problem with the list?

First, read this faq; it exists to cut down on the amount of noise generated by people asking questions to which the answers are already well-known. Failing that, try to post to the list and see if your question can be answered there. Failing even that, try to contact anyone you may know from the list, e.g.people from fumbling-towards-ecstasy with whom you have had conversations through private email, and ask them if they have any ideas. You can also try talking to your local technical support people. Failing all these, you can send a message to the listowner.

6.14 How do I reach the listowner?

To talk to the listowner9 directly, send mail to Bear in mind that the listowner is a busy person and looks after the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list during spare time. Be patient when trying to contact the listowner as the listowner receives a lot of email, particularly errors generated by people attempting to subscribe to and unsubscribe from the list.

6.15 What if my account can't handle all this mail?

If for some reason you cannot handle the volume of mail generated by the list (for example, by using a service that restricts the number or size of messages you can receive) it is very likely that you will be sending what is known as a `bounce' message to the listowner. This causes much hassle for the listowner and will usually result in you being dropped from the list. So, if you have mail difficulties, please bear this in mind and try resubscribing or checking to see if you are still subscribed.

6.16 How do I tell if I am subscribed to the list?

Send mail to with who fumbling-towards-ecstasy or who fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest in the body, depending on which version of the list you think you should be subscribed to. Please note that majordomo ignores anything that may wander into the subject heading.

This is especially important for users of who suffer from an exceedingly small email limit. Users of this service will only be able to subscribe to fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest.

Yahoo, Hotmail, AOL, MSN, and Juno also have mail quotas, though they are not as small as webtv's. Be aware that these limits do exist, so if you're going to be away from your mail for a while, and won't be able to dispose of it, you may be dropped from the list. It is far better for all concerned for you to unsubscribe and then resubscribe when you return. It is possible to have the mail you have missed resent to you if you really can't live without it.

6.17 What happens if my email account starts bouncing list messages?

John Stewart writes:
Just to let you all know, handles bounces just a little bit differently than yoyo did.

When you start bouncing mail from FTE or FTE-Digest, you will be uns*bbed from whichever [or both in some cases - some of y'all are nuts :-)] list. You will be simultaneously s*bbed to a temporary list called "bounces".

This list sends mail to you--as soon as it can get access to your account--letting you know that your account was temporarily uns*bbed, on what date and for which list. It also gives you directions on getting back on the list again, or so I'm told:-)

In any event, this way you won't just randomly disappear from the list like would occasionally happened at yoyo.

If your ISP replies with an "account closed", or "inactive" or "no longer accepting mail from this sender" or any of the myriad other options that basically mean you aren't taking any mail at that address any more, permanently:

you'll just be uns*bbed from FTE and not s*bbed to bounces.

6.18 How can I get copies of list mail that I've missed?

If you are subscribed to the digest version of the list, you can Send a message to with the command

get fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest vXX.nYYY

in the body, where XX is the volume number, and YYY is the number of the digest. To see a listing of what files are available, send a message to with

index fumbling-towards-ecstasy-digest

in the body.

See Is the list archived on the web?, for a web-based alternative.

6.19 Why do I get incomplete digests?

This can happen when someone has included a period on a line by itself. Note that this is not a problem with majordomo itself, but an occasional problem seen by some end-user applications.

6.20 Can I get archived mail from the main list like I can from the digest?

In a manner of speaking, yes. First, If you have a reasonably good idea of when the message was sent that you want to get, try to find it in the archived digests. Failing that, majordomo keeps the main list archived by month. To request a particular month's archive, send mail to with get fumbling-towards-ecstasy fumbling-towards-ecstasy. YYMM in the body where YY is the final two digits of the year and MM is the two-digit month number. Please note that these archives typically run 5 to 10 megabites in length.

The old list archives, from jan 1994 to late july 1995, are available via anonymous ftp from will need to be able to handle gzip files (.gz extension).if you dont know how to do this, see

See Is the list archived on the web?, for a web-based alternative.

6.21 Is the list archived on the web?

Yes, have a look at to see all of the traffic that has come through fumbling-towards-ecstasy since the list moved to Note that using the web-based archives reduces the load on's mail server, and that's a good thing10.

6.22 What is appropriate to discuss on the list?

fumbling-towards-ecstasy is an unmoderated list for fans of Sarah McLachlan that share an obvious common interest. It is not, therefore, so surprising that other topics of conversation spring up on a regular basis. There is a fairly open policy on topics of discussion. The one constraint is that messages should be labeled appropriately. See Subject Header Abbreviations.

6.23 Are mime attachments ok? What about HTML?

John Stewart writes:
If you post using MIME/HTML content, your post *will* be rejected. You may think it looks nice and pretty on your computer, but realize that not everyone sees mail the same way, nor uses the same program. Majordomo also just doesn't handle that content well. Finally, also remember that each time you send a message using many mail programs, the HTML/MIME content is IN ADDITION TO your original message, so you just doubled the amount of work the server has to do to send your message out to the 450+ of us. Which is also why that content is not allowed.

Email is for text. If you want to use HTML, or show everyone the new pictures you took on your last road trip, put it on the web.

6.24 What do all these abbreviations mean?

Here are some abbreviations you are likely to see in various places. They are listed in all-capitalized form, but, as with much on the 'net seeing versions in lower case is quite common.

6.24.1 Song Name Abbreviations

Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, both the album and the song of that name
Back Door Man
I Will Not Forget You
Wear Your Love Like Heaven, which is Not found on the Canadian release of Solace
Do What You Have To Do
Building A Mystery
I Will Remember You

6.24.2 Subject Header Abbreviations

Administrivia. When talking about the list itself or list resources. This is rare; when in doubt, don't use this one. Leave it for the listowner to use. The variant ADM is also seen.
About the Frequently Asked questions list. When in doubt, don't use this one. Leave it for the maintainer of the faq to use.
For Sale. When you want to raise a little money because you just have to. The fumbling-towards-ecstasy list is not an auction house, but the occasional sale or trade is usually welcome.
Announcement. Not really used on fumbling-towards-ecstasy, but you'll find it around the 'net.
Off Topic. This is used in the subject line of a post when it's contents don't include Sarah related stuff. Rarely used on the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list itself, but other mailing lists and the newsgroup use it regularly.
Fowarded post. If you've got an email you think willl interest the list then send it along. Note that spam and chain letters are particularly unwelcome on fumbling-towards-ecstasy.
Bull Sh*t Topic. The traditional way on fumbling-towards-ecstasy to indicate that one is posting about something which has no relation to Sarah McLachlan, e.g.if you are just having a bad day at work, your parents just did something really sweet for you, you just have to share about your newly discovered phobia, or whatever.
No Sarah Content.more serious than BST, but still holds no relation to Sarah.
Other Artist Content. We all like Sarah's music, but most of us listen to other music as well.
Lilith Fair Content.may contain Sarah content but is primarily about the Lilith Fair in some way. The variants LF and LFR, for Lilith Fair and Lilith Fair Review, respectively, are also known to exist.
Some Sarah Content. This one is confusing to many, but the intent is a compromise between NSC and ASC.
Actual Sarah Content. You met Sarah. You saw her in concert. You are posting an article from your local newspaper about Sarah.etc.

6.24.3 Other Abbreviations

In My Humble Opinion. The variant IMO is also seen.
For What It's Worth
For Your Information
As Far As I Know (The variant AFAIR for As Far As I Recall is also seen)
By The Way
Now Playing, especially of music one listens to while composing posts sent to the list.
Now Wearing, in parody of NP.

7 Fumbler Culture

7.1 What is a fumbler?

The simplest definition of fumbler is "a member of the fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list". But, once a fumbler, always a fumbler. And some people would be fumblers if they only had the chance. The variant pseudo fumbler, for a serious fan of Sarah McLachlan who has never joined the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list is used from time to time. The variant honorary fumbler for a friend of a fumbler, especially at a fumbler event, e.g. fumble rumble or concert, is also seen. Julian C. Dunn elaborates:

I would say that 98% of the Fumblers I've met have turned out to be wonderful, generous, friendly and sensitive people. Who said that Internet people were freaks? You know, it takes a lot more than just being a Sarah fan to be a "Fumbler", in my interpretation of the word. Being a Fumbler means also being an awesome human being.

7.2 Where does the term "fumbler" come from?

The term fumbler derives from the title of Sarah's third studio album, Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, and, therefore, from the name of the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list itself. List members were first described as fumblers in a post11 to the list in September 1994. That particular post simply used the term, giving no explanation of the useage. Usage of "fumbler" slowly increased over the next year, displacing the then prevelant "FTEer" as the preferred designation for list members. The change in designation seems to have been due to two causes: dispursion of usage among list members and the introduction of new list members who were less familiar with the older designation.

7.3 What is the

The three domain names, and were purchased by a fumbler couple in Washington state. Currently they provide an email aliasing service and there are plans for a web site in the works. You can also find some of the regional fumbler sites, on the site.

7.4 How can I get an email address with the

Write to to do this. Currently only people subscribed to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list will be given an address. Also, remember that these addresses are mail aliases. See for the official explanation of this.

7.5 How do I use my address?

Your address receives mail just like any other account, except that it will send all incoming mail to wherever you told hostmaster you wanted it to do so. To send outgoing mail with your address, you will need to be able to edit either the From: or Reply-To: header of your outgoing messages. Most modern mail clients will let you do at least one of these. There is a wide spread consensus that AOL subscribers will not be able to send outgoing mail with their address.

7.6 Is Sarah aware of fumblers as a group?

Yes. Fumblers have been recognized by Nettwerk and Sarah almost since the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list began. While this recognition has not always been of the most desireable sort, on the whole, fumblers, as a group, are quite well received by Sarah and Nettwerk. T-Boy, in the course of several email messages, gives the following details:

Sarah has always been aware of fumblers and has actually mentioned "us" on a few occasions (at the gorge lilith in 1997 and in a tv interview from 1998). At various shows she has smiled or nodded at the glowsticks (She even wore one that a fumbler put on stage at [the 1998] columbia lilith!). Perhaps sarah has, up until sunday's show at any rate, held back from acknowledging us explicitly, not wanting to encourage potential stalkers or overly obsessive fans in expecting or demanding this "special treatment" all the time?

The 1997 gorge lilith mention went something like this: Just before sarah played a haunting version of I Love You on piano only, she said, "Oh, the fumbling list!hello! *laughs sweetly*", in response to a sign that xochitl and a couple of other fumblers had held up.

as for the [mention in a 1998] tv interview, i'll have to find that video one of these days , but i think she was asked about fumblers and she said something to the effect that we were very loyal.

Several fumbler events have included tours of the Nettwerk offices in Vancouver, British Columbia, and the fumblers have been announced, as a group, during such visits.

The height of this recognition, however, came at the 22 August 1999 Lilith Fair show in Toronto after Sarah played I Will Remember You. Dana Wagner recounts the event thusly:

sarah: " gave me everything you had, oh you gave me light"

<most of the first 2 sections of the venue light up with glowsticks through the rest of the song... at least 100 glowsticks in perfect union>

Sarah: "weep not for the memories"

<crowd cheering and glowstick waving continues>

sarah first comments on all the glowsticks in the audience (i can't remember her exact words)... "something tells me you guys talked about this <big smile>... could you be the fumblers?"

<complete and utter shock, as well as jaw-dropping from every fumbler>

sarah: "well, hi. how are you?"

dead silence from fumblers (still in shock) before we were able to think again and realize what had just happened.

T-Boy reconstructs whatSarah McLachlan said as:
You guys got this glowstick thing on cue...Something tells me you talked to each other about this...Could you be the fumblers?... well, hello!
Jen(ni) writes about this event and the entire weekend which featured, among other goings-on, large numbers of fumblers wearing the most recent in the series of FTE t-shirts.
We heard people all weekend talking about the FTE-shirts. We even had more than a few people stop us and ask us about them. Then, on Saturday night, some girls behind us were reading Dan's shirt and talking about it. One of them said that she'd seen a bunch of people wearing them. She said to her friend that we must be some kind of Sarah McLachlan "club" or something....I remember telling Dan after Sunday night, where Sarah acknowledged the Fumblers, that there were going to be some people who after seeing the glowsticks in unison all weekend and seeing the t-shirts and then hearing Sarah ask about the Fumblers, were going to check out the "Fumblers" on the Internet. Sure enough, there was a post to the Toronto list Sunday night from someone who was at the Toronto shows and saw all the glowsticks and t-shirts, etc.and wanted to see what this Fumblers thing was all about.

See Why do fumblers wave glowsticks during Sarahs live performances?, and How should I wave my glowstick?, for some further comments on these matters.

7.7 Are there fumblers from Nettwerk?

Andrew Vernon writes:
There have been active participants from Nettwerk in the past, but there are none currently.

The closest we come to Nettwerk participation these days is one `Armand S. ' who runs the official Sarah announcement list which provides the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list with a little news on the product and touring side of things. They like to keep a low profile, so don't bother them with questions that can be answered elsewhere. They do have work to do and all that. Armand has been known to post to the list when an excedingly important question arises that requires an official statement from Nettwerk, but this is quite rare.

7.8 How many fumblers are there?

There are, in the realm of myth and symbol, 700 fumblers. A few queries to majordomo when combined with some simplistic shell commands in the middle of 1999 yielded a figure closer to 600. Some months after fumbling-towards-ecstasy move to, the number of people subscribed to fumbling-towards-ecstasy settled down to about 400. Of course, this number varies from time to time. See What is a fumbler?, for some thoughts on who, exactly, counts as being a fumbler.

7.9 Where do fumblers tend to live?

Everywhere. We will take over. The United States and Canada have the biggest showings, but the United Kingdom, Australia, Singapore and Norway all have their representatives. Fumblers have been known to change their location to be closer to other fumblers.

7.10 Is Jill :D a fumbler and what is "pulling a Jill :D"?

Andrew Vernon writes:
First, Jill :D is no mere fumbler, she's the ListMum and has a jewel-encrusted apron indicating her office which she is obligated to wear to all Lilith Fairs, rumbles and Nettwerk press conferences as an indication of her esteemed rank. Be good to the ListMum because she will be good to you.

However, the term Jill :D can be used in a number of forms:

Today, I pulled a Jill :D.
If it wern't for Star Wars this week, I would Jill :D on today's new releases.
Compact Combined Usage:
Jill :D will Jill :D regardless of Star Wars.

It's usage is a tribute to the ListMum's habit of frequenting record stores and buying five or more selections at a time. The coolness of the Jill :D increases with the number of rare and unusual titles you can find, especially in the used and cut-out bins where you have to wonder "How could they have overlooked that first solo album from Chicago's Robert Lamm?"

But remember: To claim the Jill :D, you have to proclaim the Jill :D. We're always open to album recommendations.

For full details on "pulling a Jill :D", visit

or for more details on Jill :D herself, visit the Jill :D Campaign for Fame and Fortune website at

7.11 List family? What sort of listtwins?

Yes, ListFamilyMembers. While the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list can be accused of many things, it cannot now be nor has it ever been accused of incompleteness. While many fumblers are in their teens and twenties, the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list features a smattering of older fumblers, the oldest being apparently in his middle fifties. See How do all the happy birthday messages get sent out?.

Here is a list of the known ListFamilyMembers:

Mickey :D
Jill :D

7.12 List couples?

The fumbling-towards-ecstasy mailing list is not a matchmaking service, but anumber of people have met and become romantically involved because of, or at least with the aid of, the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list.

Rick and Christine (old school Fumblers)
Jennni and Squid (more old-school fumblers)
living together
Jenn Prybutok and John Stewart
Mike and Anne
The official
Jenni and Dan
The semi-official12 list couple, now enjoying marital bliss

7.13 What is the Sarah 500?

The Sarah 500 is a list of signs that one is a true Sarah McLachlan fan. The variant Fumbler 500 is occasionally seen.

A rumor from a usually reliable source has it that NASCAR is considering a mid-season stock car race, possibly between the races at Daytona and Talladega, in Vancouver, that might be called the Sarah 500 if sufficient amounts of money and other favors find their way to the relevant officials in the NASCAR hierarchy.

7.14 What is fumblecode?

The fumblecode is a shorthand, in the style of the geekcode that indicates just what sort and how obsessive a Sarah McLachlan fan one really is. There is a fumblecode generator on the web at

For more of an introductory glance at the fumblecode, see

7.15 So what are all these groups?

The Long-Haired chicks guild and FTE redhead crew are both well represented on the list, allbeit primarily in the signatures of their adherents. The fumbler mafia is, by its very nature, somewhat more closed-mouthed about its existence. A number of other subgroups have formed within fumbler ranks.

The FTE redhead crew has a homepage at

7.15.1 What is the cult of e?

From the official literature describing the Cult of e:

Close your eyes, find your center, then the Cheshire cat grin should appear before you. Once you see it, you should receive a card within 7 to 10 business days with your Cult of e membership number embossed upon it.

Alternatively, you may notice postings from one or occasionally one Be warned, however, that the mistress of chaos, who lives in Utah, is not a dominatrix and has definite opinions on copper mines. She also considers that she provides a useful service to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list by proclaiming her opinions on various matters which often differ considerably from those offered by most list members. Cult members display a tendency to spontaneously appreciate her wit and style. As you will find stated in the salad bowl sutra:

This appreciation is greatly eased by the articulate nature of the pronouncements of the Lady from the Smoke-Filled Bottle.

7.15.2 Where are Alana and Xochitl? why don't we hear from them on the list?

Andrew Vernon writes:
They are lurkers. From time to time one or the other will pop up to say hi and allow newcomers to earn points on their fumblecodes. If you can find a copy of the old list FAQ (The reason it's old is a complete story in and of itself), you can read more about their legends.

7.15.3 Church of Xochitl?

This group is alledgedly active but is being eclipsed by the Cult of e in terms of new members.

7.15.4 Long-haired chicks guild?

Aly, speaking ex officio and ex cathedra as founder of the guild says:
Our mission is to find support from each other for what the cruel, cruel world persecutes us for... our love of long hair.

She adds:

We're here to promote long hair and support each other. If we band together, we won't have to sit through more comments about how long hair is evil from people who really shouldn't be talking. We don't do much...or haven't so far...but you can put it in your signature and then everybody knows you support and have long hair.

7.15.5 The both brigade?

Membership in the both brigade is judged solely on the answer "both" to the question, "Sarah or Ash?". Send mail to for more details.

7.15.6 Is it MART or RATZ?

In the late spring of 1999, four fumblers achieved a certain degree of infamy with their high volume of often superfluous and one-line posts which were considered by many, at that time, to be, at best, a waist of everyone's time and bandwidth. Those fumblers are:

Various list members, including e have been offered positions in MART or have attempted to gain such through petition, but none, to date, beyond the original quartet, have been excepted into the group. The members of MART, shortly after initially being dubbed as such by one irate list member, internally changed their name to RATZ although some list members maintain usage of the original designation. Subsequent to the initial labeling of RATZ, the members of RATZ sharply decreased the volume of their posts to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list and generally became quite friendly folk to share a list with. MART/RATZ went from a high of about 34. 3% of list postings on the day that brought the most noteable complaints to around 9. 5%about a month and a half later. The RATZ members formed their own list and took their RATZ-specific traffic to that new list. There is a RATZ homepage at

7.16 What's this about CBC Realtime?

John Nogueira wrote in November 1994:
Leora of Realtime started a countdown of sorts from 10:30 to 11:00 PM EST. She introduced the whole scenario with the question "Should we negotiate with e-mail terrorists?"--a reference to a message I sent to Realtime, describing who we were, what we wanted, and what we would do if we didn't get our way (i.e. soak their mailbox with copies of War and Peace).

She read my message on air and opened up the 800 lines for callers to answer the question. Pretty funny responses from across the country ranging from Sarah non-fans expressing their own counter-threats to other Sarah fans who thought the idea was original and "harmless". Typical hostage-taking arguments (should we, shouldn't we, will it just open CBC to attack from others, etc. ).

In the interest of keeping the peace, CBC played "Good Enough" for us at 10:55. I later thanked them, they thanked us, and we all went on to live happily ever after.

7.17 Grout?

In January 2000, John Stewart wrote:

Back in the day on FTE...probably mid-to-late '96...I had decided to buy the house I currently live in. I actually closed the deal, finally, at the very beginning of '97. That began an epic odyssey of literally tearing the house apart, down to the studs, as they say, and putting it back together again. I spent 6 months not being able to live there, while the plumbing was redone, all the wiring was torn out and redone, the furnace was put in, the water service put back in [pipe had corroded], and the roof redone [3 layers of old roofing material. Very nice.] Then another 7 months while we put the inside back together again - sheetrock, all the bathroom stuff, insulation, paint, etc., plus getting all the wood floors totally cleaned and stripped and refinished.

The last big piece left is the kitchen. We started working on that summer of '98. It's still not finished yet, and the biggest holdup is the floor. I hadn't ever done tile work before, nor had my dad. We learned a lot. Fixed a lot of mistakes. Now we just need to grout what's left and then at last we can put up cabinets and actually have a pretty-much-working kitchen.

Much of that played out on FTE--well, and the SF-Fumblers list--with me providing updates on and off as things occurred. Basically depending on whether or not I could get the computer at home running, which depended on the state of the house :) That PC--which no longer exists, I broke it apart for spare parts--moved from room, to room, to room, to room. Pretty "mobile" for a desktop.

7.18 Why do fumblers have so many issues?

Many posts to the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list end with phrases of the form "<poster-name> (with <issue-name> issues)". This is a minor but delicate artform. Watch the list and see how it's done. Doug writes:

The issues thing started back in December 1997 when a) fumblers were assuming spice girl names b)some of us met up in Vancouver and began discussing my drinking habits (there was a video camera making the rounds and every shot I was in, I had a beer bottle in hand (yayy!!)). I was declared to have issues, many, many issues, so I became issues Spice. :-)

While Doug can lay claim to having the most serious--and widely varied--issues around, fumblers, by their very nature, display a tendancy to have issues with almost every aspect of life, particularly those aspects which make it into their posts.

There is unconfirmed speculation that the infamous interview in Details from January 1998 may be at least partially responsible for this aspect of list culture.

7.19 Why do fumblers wave glowsticks during Sarah's live performances?

Andrew Vernon writes:
This ritual's origins lie on the fumbling-towards-ecstasy list itself. A group of fumblers who were all going to a specific show decided to buy glowsticks and break them in the first chorus of Witness, which contains the words "Will we burn in Heaven ?". This continued throughout the Surfacing tour and has persisted since then at Lilith Fairs where it is often a wonderful means of identifying other fumblers. One group threw a curve by all showing up with red glowsticks instead of the more traditional green and called the event Operation Red Rexy.

7.19.1 What size glowsticks should I use?

Size is everything, despite that old proverb. Six inches is considered optimal, despite that old proverb. Three inches is considered too small for standard fumbler usage, despite that old proverb.

7.19.2 How should I wave my glowstick?

Greg Teltschik writes:
Back in October of 1997, we had a FumbleRumble at Jess's house where about 20+ people turned out. I'm not sure exactly how it came to pass, but a couple of people decided to bring glowsticks so that we could 1) see where each other were in the venue, and 2) let Sarah know of our presence. So somebody (I think it was Lisa Rabey) ran out with some other folks and bought a whole bunch of the things--mainly red and green.

At the venue (Paramount Theatre, Oakland), we decided to coordinate. I'm going to guess Esther (with help from a whole bunch of people) decided Witness would be appropriate. Don't know why or how, but Witness was it. At that point, all we said was "whip 'em out during the chorus, and hide them otherwise. " In any case, it went over well, and a cry of "Fumblers Love You, Sarah" from a group of fumblerettes sitting with Edward (T-Boy) near the stage made Sarah connect the glowsticks with Fumblers. in Bazie's own words:

*smile* That was so know, that was something that I will always remember...what happened was that I was sorta dreamy, trying to digest what was going on in that brief silence between songs. Ang & Mari suddenly snapped me out of my awe, and motioned to get closer "Ok, on the count of three...we'll shout...`Fumblers love you, Sarah!' Okay?" Before I knew it, the count began and I was swept up into it... "1, 2, 3, ... `FUMBLERS LOVE YOU SARAH!'" I didn't even realize what I had done till I shouted it. For the briefest split second...I was sorta embarrassed to do that in the relative quiet lull of the theatre. But then came the amazing payoff of Sarah's smile right at us saying, "You guys were the ones with those...? <motioning a glowstick with her hand>. " Talk about being in heaven! :)

Since then, glowsticks during Witness became a trend that soon became a tradition. A lot of the "rules" regarding glowstick usage were developed by myself and others over a series of concerts where we were just trying to coordinate. These included when to bring it up, how to wave it, when to drop it, and what to do with it the rest of the concert. We never made anyone follow our rules, but we liked them. Others have asked us about it, and we just give them the general guidelines. No one--I repeat, no one--has ever stated that this is the "official" method. It's just one that I found myself and T-Boy handing down to various other Fumblers in an attempt to be somewhat uniform.

As far as Witness being an official song, I don't think it is, and I don't think we need one. Each Fumbler likes Sarah for a different reason, and we each have our own favorite song. Glowsticks during Witness is just a way for us to recognize each other during a concert.

Colors? Pick your favorite. Blue is quite popular because of its relative rarity and the association it has for many of us(?) with Gemma, who was quite creative by making a cool poster with the word fumblers accented by an F made with lighted glowsticks. Also as Dan had mentioned in his review of the Columbia Lilith, Sarah acknowledged the Fumblers in her own way by popping the blue glowstick that Dana had given her, shook it up and wore it on her pants for the last half of the show!

From a traditional standpoint, green and red are the colors, with a certain predeliction on my part to red. We've also used white (very cool) and pink (great for the outrageous personalities among us). Just don't go overboard like T-Boy did in Toronto when he tied several glowsticks of dubious colors (hot pink & purple??!)...just no fashion sense at all when he's supposed to be a fashion photographer of sorts!

He further explains:

First, there are no hard and set rules for glowstick usage. I'll tell you what T-Boy and I worked out through a number of Liliths and Surfacing shows.

Not sure how long we waved them the first time, but ever since then, we've always waved them through the entire chorus of Witness. Holding the glowstick in the right hand, we bring it up in a left to right motion, followed by a slow waving left and right to the tempo of the song. It's kinda hard to give you the idea, but it's sort of "Will we burn(right)(left)(right) in(left) hea-(right)ven(left), like(right) we do(left)..." Listen to the song and you'll hear it. It's hard to be exact since Sarah holds the notes for so long. We put them down on "and when we're done". At that point, hide them so that you aren't blinding anyone around you, but get ready for the next chorus.

Other than that, we use them occasionally throughout the rest of the show. Like on Camille's "ahh"s during Adia. Basically, use your discretion. In some cases, venue security has asked us to put them away, other times they don't care. After the show, use the glowsticks to find each other.

7.19.3 Why were fumblers waving glowsticks during Hold On?

This happened during the 1999 Lilith Fair tour because Sarah was not performing Witness. Lizza writes:

At Vancouver, we were unsure as to whether or not Sarah would sing Witness. We decided that if by the fourth song, there was no sign of Witness, we would hold up our glowsticks during the chorus of that song instead. Unfortunately, this happened to be Adia, so Sarah was sitting at the piano at the time. She saw us, but after that show the fumblers decided that Hold On would be both more appropriate and more practical.

It was agreed on the list that glowsticks would be swayed from side to side during the lines:

Am I in heaven here or am I...
at the crossroads I am standing
So now you're sleeping peaceful
I lie awake and pray
that you'll be strong tomorrow and we'll
see another day and we will praise it
and love the light that brings a smile across your face

For more about glowstick waving during the 1999 Lilith Fair, See IWRY Recognition.

7.20 What is a fumble rumble?

A gathering of fumblers, especially at a restaurant or on the floor of a fumbler's living quarters.

7.21 What do I do to attend a fumble rumble if I'm the only fumbler around?

Post a note to the list. If you land an actual Sarah performance or a stop on the Lilith Fair, then you have sufficient excuse. If not, then plan a trip to the zoo or some other local attraction and invite everyone to show up. Fumblers are decidedly migratory.

7.22 What is the Fumbler Registry?

The fumbler registry is a list of fumblers with contact information. It's a great way to find fumblers to get in touch with. But don't forget to speak up on the list. Fumblers are, on the whole, a friendly and sociable lot. We like to make new folks feel welcome. See

7.23 Are there regional fumbler lists?

Here's a partial list of geographically specific fumbler resources:

7.24 Are there any fumbler special interest groups?

Here is a partial list:

7.25 Do any fumblers use AOL or AIM?

Yes. Quite a few, as it turns out. You can find a list at

and another version at Jonathan Stooner maintains the official version of this list.

7.26 Do any fumblers use ICQ?

Yes. See

7.27 Where am I and what am I doing in this handbasket?

The exact nature of the handbasket is readily apparent to the observant and the persistent. The instigator of the handbasket, Edward AKA T-Boy, whose online adventures with fumblerettes are notorious, offers the following account of the handbasket:

Just to clarify for our beloved newbies, once upon a time, in the halcyon, golden-ages of FTE faerieland, long, long before even the First Coming of the Cult of e, and Jill :D was a mere ListLass, in a mystical kingdom surrounded on all sides by barbaric, heathen tribes such as the dreaded Divas, there was a mysterious knightly figure whose noble mission was the rescue of poor damsels in distress during the darker periods of the evil flame-wars. After an eye-opening series of arcane rituals and drawn-out initiation rites, these vestal handmaidens were then ceremoniously shepherded into the protective cozy custody of the sacred handbasket where ethereal, angelic music by a certain Canadian enchantress wafted soothingly all day and night to allay their past traumas and darkest fears.

7.28 Did Rex really die in a microwave while Sarah and Paula Cole had a fight?

Andrew Vernon writes:
First, Sarah and Paula Cole have been chummy for years. Those of you who caught the then-head-shaven Cole opening on a leg of the Fumbling Towards Ecstacy tour got to see Sarah's first experiment at an all-female bill. Call it the Lilith Fair Beta Release if you must. If Sarah and Paula ever had it out, they did a teriffic job of keeping the media out of it.

The other part of this one came when someone decided to tell the story of Sarah stuffing her Labrador Retreiver puppy, Rex, into the Radarrange and setting it to "defrost". As those of you who saw her can attest, Rex is alive, well, and frequently being walked by Ash Sood on the road.

7.29 Who is Ramesh?

a troll who appeared in the summer of 1998. There were quite a few of them. a new one would pop up practically every day claiming the others were fakes. This troll also had a habit of posting peculiar messages which alledged13 odd facts about Sarah and her life. A sample follows:

From: Ramesh Diltan <>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 13:14:40 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Sarah abuses her dog?
I read in The Worthy Note (December 1997) that Sarah's house was picketed a few years ago because she was allegedly using her dog as a garbage disposal unit, and making him live in the microwave, and whacking him with a steel bat.

can anyone verify this? I certainly would hate to think that Sarah abuses animals! She is too good for that!


Ramesh Diltan

From: Ramesh Diltan <>
Date: Thu, 30 Jul 1998 12:44:09 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Sarah lingo?

Today, I was reading an interview Sarah had with Blender (March, 1998). In it, she refers to her "womanly parts" as "rotten melons" and a "furless racoon". Does anyone know if Blender made this up, or if it is real? Has anyone read this anywhere else? Please tell me.

Thanks a lot, :)

**FUMBLE HUGS** !!! ;)


7.30 What's this about t-shirts?

There have been several t-shirts printed by and for the list since the winter of 1996. They are warn proudly on many occasions, including but not limited to fumbler events.

7.31 What is the FBP?

The Fumbler Birthday Project, first organized by fumbler Chris Bryant and then by Marisa Bailey, donated money to Habitat for Humanity in honour of Sarah's birthday in 1998, 1999 and 2000.

7.32 How do all the "happy birthday" messages get sent out?

These days, Beasty sends out messages wishing fumblers a happy birthday. He does this in conjunction with the Fumbler Age Project.

7.33 What is the Fumbler Age Project?

Beasty writes:
If you visit you can join the FAP, view the main stats about the project and have a look at the 155 members of FTE that have responded to the FAP.

If you have responded and your location details are not correct, please let me know :)

If you have not provided your details, please do it for the sake of accurate reporting and statistical methodologies :)

7.34 Who are the aquezada girls?

See for more details, but the aquezada girls are four musical artists with their official web sites hosted on the Aquezada Productions web site. Julian C. Dunn writes:

This announcement-only list (no posting except from myself and the girls) will keep you up to date on upcoming events, tour dates, etc. from the four Aquezada Girls: Jessica, Rayanne, Trish and 'Chelle.

To subscribe, send a message to with the words

subscribe aquezada-girls-announce

in the body.

7.35 Where does the name "aquezada" come from?

Julian writes:
Once upon a time when I was still a member of Really-Deep-Thoughts (a Tori Amos list) there was a really nice girl on there named Anna Maria Quezada. We wrote to each other occasionally but then eventually she disappeared off the face of the Internet. Shortly after this I unsubbed to RDT for various reasons and so we lost touch. But in honour of one of my first "online friends", when my boss asked me in 1997 if I'd like to have a domain, I decided to name it after her login. (The other option was ... hmm :-) )

7.36 Am I the only person who dreams about Sarah?

No. See the Fumbler Dreams page at

7.37 What is the Fumbler Book Club?

Jenni Christensen writes:
The Fumbler Book Club was started as a place for Fumblers to come and discuss their favorite books and authors! Discussions are held at the end of each week and follow a set syllabus, with ongoing discussions throughout the week as well. Discussions are unmoderated but should be related to books, etc.

At the end of each week, we'll be going over the chapters for the upcoming week and towards the end of each book, we'll be "voting," or vtaking suggestions for our next book.

Make sure you check out the Fumbler Book Club homepage, for all the latest information.

8 Miscelllaneous Matters

Not everything fits into these neat little boxes I've made up for this faq. Here are a few of those questions that come up from time to time on fumbling-towards-ecstasy that I couldnt fit anywhere else.

8.1 How do I handle `.gz' files?

The project uses the gzip program for file compression. See for all the details on how to obtain and use the gzip program.14

8.2 How can I buy all this music that I want?

  1. Plan ahead and save your money. Shop around and find out who has the best prices. Don't be shy about taking advantage of favorable exchange rates.
  2. Have a look at for a list of coupons for a variety of online stores.
  3. If you live in or near Canada, have a look at the Chapters web site. If you plan to buy anything more than a small amount from Chapters, consider joining the Chapter 1 club for discounts15 on their prices. There is a membership fee, so do the arithmetic ahead of time to see if it will be worth your money. Chapters has, for long periods of time, offered free shipping inside Canada.

8.3 How can I convert real audio files to a more standard format?

See for some hints on doing this.

8.4 What about virus checkers?

While some companies want you to pay for virus checking software--and some vendors even want you to pay for the upgrades to such software, up to this point, the company behind are quite understanding about personal use of the software product f-prot. Of course, the real solution is to run an operating system that doesn't allow the virus problem to arise in the first place. have at Linux or OpenBSD for some good alternatives.


Here is an alphabetical index of topics covered in this faq.


  1. As of November 1999, this faq is under version control with cvs and so the diff is generated with the facilities of that program.

  2. The first version of the faq, written in late July 1999, was written with version 3.12n of the texinfo package. As I use the texinfo package a great deal, I rather actively track the texinfo releases.

  3. You'd know if you do.

  4. The mp3s available on are officially sanctioned by the artists whose work they represent. The link is intended to be a source of information about the mp3 file format and not to be a link for "unofficial" mp3 data.

  5. For the lawyers out there: If you're considering taking legal action, don't. If you do, you will be in violation of this license agreement. If you really have a problem with the material in this faq, talk to me about it. Keep the courts free for important matters.

  6. This quote is used with permission from John Shepard (Squid). It may be reproduced for personal use only. It is not to be distributed in any form or by any means, including print, electronic, or other media, the sole exception being its inclusion within this FAQ.

  7. The lyrics for this song are by Randy Newman


  9. Actually, there are two listowners, but asd this has not always been the case and since it might not be the case in the future, I keep the wording of the section in the singular case.

  10. GoodThing (TM).

  11. The post was by David Dalton, long recognized as one of the list's most eccentric members. He is, unfortunately, no longer with fumbling-towards-ecstasy.

  12. Note that the semi-official rank carries with it an exclusivity which official list couple status does not carry.

  13. Your editor, at least, believes that Ramesh's intent derived from a twisted sense of humor rather than any desire to spread malicious rumors about Sarah.

  14. I'll gladly include platform specific details in this question if you report them. See How do I contact the maintainer of this faq?

  15. Additionally, Chapters has a habit of offering 5 and 10 dollar coupons, redeemable on all their merchandise.