UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Pretty self-explanatory
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Otis Westinghouse
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:45 pm

Not sure how a reference can be clear but not explicit? Sure, indexing is a skill, publishers hire specialised people for it, but like all editing, it's a matter of making choices and sticking by them. It doesn't bother me in the least that Costello uses American spelling and vocabulary, as long as he's consistent with his missing u's, etc., which he is, so far. It really does re the index, I don't have nor will I ever have a digital copy of it. As long as good old paper editions are in print, indices will be required!

Shall I fish out a clanger or two to see if it's the same in the US edition? Sounds like it's the same typesetting for each, at least the pagination is identical.

I was thinking today how it's like having bum notes on an album. The musician might play them, but the producer or engineer should spot them and weed them out. Same with literals in text, with the added twist that a writer is specialised in writing prose you want to read, not in typing, and added to this, Costello's calling isn't as a writer.

Another thing occurred to me re learning lots from it so far: it could also be that it's now so long since I read the liner notes on all the Rhino reissues that actually a lot of what seems new to me isn't. Could a bigger specialist than I comment on how much of his writing about the music is reiterating what we've already seen? Do you think he's taken care to reveal new and different things, or is it a bit like the way he tells a story live and then tells the same story in the book? More understandable on Detour as it was very much the tour of the book.

Good point re audible. I don't listen to audiobooks ever, but I should see if I can get a copy there.
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Wed Dec 16, 2015 3:59 pm

Otis Westinghouse wrote:Not sure how a reference can be clear but not explicit?


"The bass player" rather than "Bruce Thomas". That's a really obvious one, but there are loads of instances like that, not all of them snarky. Given the intentionally fragmented way EC tells some important stories in the book, he might feel an index would spoil the fun.

As far as eschewing digital media, suit yourself. But don't expect a lot of sympathy for your complaints.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Wed Dec 16, 2015 7:42 pm

No sympathy sought, but I simply don't accept the argument that a print index isn't needed because you can search digitally in another format. They're two separate things. A publisher doesn't expect people to buy in two formats, and should service the formats they're selling to equally.

In my index 'the bass player' would be listed under Bruce Thomas.

I would, however, crave sympathy for trying to get the audiobook. I downloaded it from Audible easily enough (as my free item on a one month free trial), and in theory, I read, I should be able to play the resulting files from iTunes on my Mac computer, but it simply won't do it. I want it to play in iTunes so I can load it on my iPod Classic. I'll keep trawling the discussion boards in search of someone who can tell me what to do...
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Wed Dec 16, 2015 8:50 pm

Consider yourself sympathized re the audio book. I play them on Android and Windows devices with no problem.

I should have mentioned earlier that EC's book lacks an index not because the publisher was too cheap to provide one, but because EC specifically asked that there not be one. You can see that they bugeted page count for an index, since they still list the book as 688 pages, when it reality it's 674 pages. I think EC didn't want anyone imposing an order on his story that was not his own.

Indexing "the bass player" under Bruce Thomas is an easy one, but how about "my roommate" (also a clear reference to BT)? You'll see how often EC makes these kind of "blind" references to various people.
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Thu Dec 17, 2015 3:19 am

Has he said as much re the index? Odd if so, to my mind.
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Top balcony » Thu Dec 17, 2015 7:41 am

Otis Westinghouse wrote:Has he said as much re the index?


Yeah, at the Liverpool Q+A he said, unprompted I think, that he hadn't written a referrence book and hence saw no need for an index.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Thu Dec 17, 2015 9:56 am

Top balcony wrote:
Otis Westinghouse wrote:Has he said as much re the index?


Yeah, at the Liverpool Q+A he said, unprompted I think, that he hadn't written a referrence book and hence saw no need for an index.


The lack of index definitely reflects EC's desire and intent, as Top Balcony says. Various other things EC has said indicate this was something he had to talk his publisher into, rather late in the process.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:31 am

Elvis has also name checked a particular editor he worked with on the book. That editor only joined the publisher last April. Elvis also said he missed most of the Steely Dan shows he supported because minutes after the support slots he was in editorial conferences on his tour bus. That was in July. Maybe the decision to not have a index was in his mind all along but I have to wonder if it might have also been caused because there just wasn't time to have it done. Maybe it was proposed as a time saving condition to ensure delivery of the text . All speculation on my part but there you go!

I posted back along that I would do a index myself. I have started it . I'm ,as I shared with some on my recent travels etc., on a work break of sorts. I sold my shop and am in the process of developing something else. That will take a few months. A few other things are taking up my time . I do , however , expect to have time to work further on the index very soon. It's going to be a old school effort, noting things in hand writing in a alphabetised notebook. My criteria for inclusion will be subjective, mostly a instinctive reckoning about relevance. Once I'm done I plan to scan said pages and ask for some help in typing them up.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby docinwestchester » Thu Dec 17, 2015 12:08 pm

johnfoyle wrote: I posted back along that I would do a index myself. I have started it . I'm ,as I shared with some on my recent travels etc., on a work break of sorts. I sold my shop and am in the process of developing something else. That will take a few months. A few other things are taking up my time . I do , however , expect to have time to work further on the index very soon. It's going to be a old school effort, noting things in hand writing in a alphabetised notebook. My criteria for inclusion will be subjective, mostly a instinctive reckoning about relevance. Once I'm done I plan to scan said pages and ask for some help in typing them up.


Thanks for doing this John. A lot of work!

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby MOJO » Thu Dec 17, 2015 1:22 pm

Nice, John. The book needs an index. I am decent/fast typist, so would be happy to help. Also, you might want to research OCR solutions that can read handwriting. That would save you a lot of time in transferring your writing into a digital format.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby wardo68 » Thu Dec 17, 2015 2:47 pm

I'd be interested in seeing an index, so I'll offer to help type. Also, how about captions for some of the photos? There's a shot in the book (not in front of me at the moment) of EC onstage next to a keyboard player who's definitely not Steve, Larry, Benmont, or anyone else I recognize.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby erey » Thu Dec 17, 2015 10:13 pm

wardo68 wrote:I'd be interested in seeing an index, so I'll offer to help type. Also, how about captions for some of the photos? There's a shot in the book (not in front of me at the moment) of EC onstage next to a keyboard player who's definitely not Steve, Larry, Benmont, or anyone else I recognize.


It's Bob Andrews of the Rumour, at EC's first-ever gig as "Elvis Costello" in May 1977.

If I have a sufficiently dire need to procrastinate, I may put together a complete list of illustrations.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby wardo68 » Fri Dec 18, 2015 3:48 pm

Excellent! Thanks for the info!

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Sat Dec 19, 2015 2:25 am

johnfoyle wrote:I sold my shop and am in the process of developing something else. That will take a few months.

Interesting news, John, The world's first Museum of Elvis Costello?

If you get as far as creating such an index (and it's good to see a few of us are pining for one), I'd be very to give it a full check for you, i.e. to check entries are consistent, accurate and with the correct numbers, though maybe not to check that everything from the book that should be included has been as that's an altogether bigger issue. Nor can I guarantee to ensure all oblique refs to 'the bass player' are included!
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Sun Dec 20, 2015 6:49 pm

A Melbourne, Australia 'paper reprints the Washington Post review from October.


http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-e ... 23-gkgn9t#

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:50 pm

http://www.afr.com/lifestyle/arts-and-e ... 023-gkgn9t

The honest biography of Elvis Costello, who admits there are no excuses

Regrets? He's had a few, but Elvis Costello doesn't spare himself in a beautifully written revelation.

It's 1979, and Elvis Costello, not yet 25, is on a creative roll. With his Buddy Holly glasses and punk-rock sneer, he already has established himself as a masterful songwriter, whether crafting torchlight ballads (Alison), tortured kiss-offs (Lipstick Vogue) or biting protest songs (Oliver's Army) as buttery as anything in ABBA's catalogue.

Naturally, our hero is also a mess. He's drinking too much, separated from his wife and embarking on a series of dysfunctional relationships. "I once referred to this process as 'messing up my life, so I could write stupid little songs about it'," he says, "and I can't improve on that description here, but then songs are never exactly taken from life."

The paragraph, sprung midway through Costello's sprawling memoir, gets to the heart of what makes Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink so fascinating. We get the artist when he's old enough to have perspective but still young enough to remember every detail, down to the shirt his father wore ("embroidered ... with small mirrors sewn into the fabric over a scoop-necked Mickey Mouse T-shirt") during a meeting in London more than 40 years ago.

In a world littered with uneven (and largely ghosted) celebrity memoirs, Unfaithful Music is a beautifully written revelation. Dare I blaspheme by declaring I liked it even more than the excellent memoirs produced by Bob Dylan and Keith Richards? Costello embraces the basic qualities of good storytelling: the use of detail, tension and humour. At 672 pages, Unfaithful Music is actually a breeze.

The book is also a gold mine for Costello obsessives who have spent decades dissecting and analysing his every lyrical zinger. But it's not just for fans, more Angela's Ashes than Motley Crue's The Dirt. Unfaithful Music is a lyrical tale that stretches across generations, geography and a century of popular song. The book serves as both musical and personal anthropology. Young Declan MacManus who, in 1963, squirrels away a napkin signed by the Beatles, becomes Elvis Costello, a man enlisted, a quarter-century later, to write songs with Paul McCartney.

George Jones. Solomon Burke. Nick Lowe. Van Morrison. Burt Bacharach. The Brodsky Quartet. The Specials. The Roots. Allen Toussaint. Lee Konitz. Bob Dylan. They're all here – and not to drop names but to connect the musical dots. After reading of Costello's more obscure influences, you also might find yourself searching out records by David Ackles, Tim Hardin and Georgie Fame.

Wisely, Costello busts the chronology. His rich family history – much of it centred on his father, Ross, a singer and trumpet player of some prominence – is presented in the context of his creative life. And for a songwriter who could fill the cargo hold of a Boeing 747 with clever puns, it won't be surprising that Costello, the memoirist, has a gift for the punchline. He fails to score Rolling Stones tickets for a 1971 concert, declaring with teenaged snootiness, "They're probably past it," and decides to spend the cash he has saved on a record. "All of which would be a good story if the record I purchased had been something more inspiring and enduring than Volunteers by Jefferson Airplane."

He watches McCartney, during a benefit concert in 1979, curiously instruct his bloated superstar "Rockestra" to wear silver top hats and tails, while the well-lubricated Pete Townshend angrily signals his displeasure with a series of windmills. There's also Costello's wonderful description of the programmers in the computer lab in which he worked in the summer of 1976. Thomas Pynchon or Martin Amis would be comfortable turning out this graph: "Their demeanour said, We are a special breed. They wore eccentric clothes, smoked pipes, and took on airs. One liked to boast of his fine roast goose. Another had an unnatural obsession with the recorded works of Demis Roussos."

Regrets? He's had a few

Regrets? Costello has had a few. He's sorry for the way he treated his first wife, Mary Burgoyne, although not so generous when referring to his second marriage, to the former Pogues bassist Cait O'Riordan, or his late-'70s fling with ex-Playboy model Bebe Buell. (Buell recently took to Facebook to post her dismay with his cold account of the relationship.)

Costello also addresses his lowest public moment. In 1979, at a Holiday Inn during a tour stop, he gets into a drunken brawl with members of the Stephen Stills band, during which he refers to James Brown and Ray Charles with a racial slur. Here, Costello offers a series of potential defences, from his poor psychological state to his obvious record of collaboration and admiration for black artists, before conceding "Never mind excuses, there are no excuses."

That humility is important. It's hard to imagine it coming from the wiry '70s-era Costello, with the oily mullet, skronky Jazzmaster guitar and raised fists. This Costello is a grown-up, grateful for what he has (his boys; his wife, Diana Krall) and blessed by the musical places he has been able to go. The man who sang so harshly about the industrial radio complex when there actually was a viable radio network isn't about to wallow in nostalgia.

"The danger of regarding any point in the past as the golden age is that you forget that there were just as many crooks, crackpots, and idiots around then, and just as many terrible records," he writes. "We only recall the ones we love."

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink, by Elvis Costello, published by Blue Rider. Geoff Edgers is a writer for The Washington Post.
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby sweetest punch » Mon Dec 21, 2015 3:53 pm

http://www.independent.ie/entertainment ... 97028.html

The best non-fiction books for Christmas presents

From magical musical memoirs to cook books, our Books Editor rounds up his top choices from 2015

(...)
Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Penguin/Viking) is the autobiography of the other Elvis, Declan MacManus, who became Elvis Costello. Costello's book is a doorstopper at 670 pages but it's never boring, jumping forwards and back in time as he exposes himself and his promiscuity (echoed in the title), the music business (he has worked with everyone) and the mysteries of songwriting.
(...)
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Dec 22, 2015 3:35 am

The Guardian (London) finally gets around to a review.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2015/d ... llo-review


Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink by Elvis Costello review – vividly captures a bygone age

This memoir takes us on a voyage through the vanished world of 1970s Britain, and from the urgency of youth to a comfortable middle age


Ian Penman

Tuesday 22 December 2015

Spotlit on the front of his memoir is the young Elvis Costello of legend: a speccy monochrome scoffer in a run-down motel room. Turn the book over and there is a more recent portrait, in colour and perhaps more in line with the way he sees himself today: rueful smile, tasteful decor, rounded life. The Elvis out front clasps a Fender Jazzmaster to his chest like Lee Harvey Oswald held his mail-order rifle: one man against the world. On the back, 2015 Elvis is looking up and away, as if to a cartoon thought bubble that reads: “Well, just look at me now. Happy, after all these years!”

Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink – it’s an odd, clunky title. They’re both nice phrases, but together? The testament has not even begun and you’re already wondering, is something being overstressed? Ageing pop stars may have many reasons for writing a memoir: score settling, financial need, a feeling of having been misunderstood by their public. But such books also present their writers with a bind. What sells is not gentle music-biz banter or technical bumf, but personal revelation. Even if you’ve spent your entire career running from icky disclosure, you’ve still got to reveal something of your hidden life. Declan Patrick Aloysius MacManus (AKA Elvis Costello) says he wrote his memoir to give his sons an idea of who he used to be (“It was so much easier / when I was cruel … ”), and how he came to be the man he is now. Which is a lovely idea, but may leave him with rather a lot of explaining to do: not just his mistakes, but the fact that they were made in a completely different world. A world in which we waited all week every week for nibbles of information in the music press; a world in which we had to get local record shops to write away for any LPs we wanted to hear that weren’t in the Top 20.

Costello is more than equal to the challenge. Part of this book is a must-read account of the frenzied first years of his rise to fame. Typical itinerary: three tours of the US in six months, averaging 27 dates in 30 days. The Attractions arrive at a Texas club just two days after appearances by The Flying Burrito Brothers and Mose Allison. “It felt a little strange,” Costello notes, “after seeing your name on a poster with XTC.” Nice line, and then a few moments later you get the subtext: the punky, shrunken-suited Attractions started gigging when such groups as the Burritos, founded by the venerated Gram Parsons, were still at large.


Indeed, the young Declan Mac was an obsessive fan of US/Canadian acts from Parsons to Joni Mitchell to the Band. What’s telling is how the 1960s and 70s Britain that Costello recalls for us now feels as strange and distant as the down-home songs that the Band’s Robbie Robertson once performed to teenage UK rock fans. You have to remember how startling a figure Costello seemed at the time: rock stars just didn’t look like that! Costello’s gawky, Burton’s-window look was one of the reasons his fling with the model (and mother of Liv Tyler) Bebe Buell, whose previous beaus included Jimmy Page and Todd Rundgren, was so notable. Rock stars also didn’t sound like that: he sang with bared teeth rather than sturdy lungs. And rock rarely featured such great lines about the life going on around you in the streets where you lived: “My neighbour’s revving up his Vauxhall Viva”; “those daily tranquilisers”; “the mini skirt waddle”; “the boys from the Mersey & the Thames & the Tyne”.

In the late 1970s, the Attractions played two or three of the best gigs I ever saw. One was an angry, white-knuckle affair in a May Ball marquee set in the manicured grounds of an exclusive Cambridge University college. (I was there as an impossibly young hack.) It felt as if each member of the band had been reading Class War before they came on stage. Then a few years later, in 1980, I saw them again promoting their LP Get Happy!!, and it was all wide-open soul and playful brio and a joyously approximate Tamla backbeat.

If there is a problem with this book it may be that, while Costello does a great job of showing us the man (or several men) he was back then, I’m not sure he comes close to explaining what was going on inside him – why he did what he did and sang what he sang. He admits to copybook blots such as the Bebe Buell affair and the incident, for which he later apologised at a press conference, when he drunkenly referred to James Brown and Ray Charles using the “n” word. While he doesn’t try to shirk responsibility, his apologia seems oddly rote. Costello now disavows his best-known old quote (“The only two things that matter to me, the only motivation for me to write all these songs, are revenge and guilt”) as a Pernod-stoked PR stunt, but you’re left with the feeling of several undefused time bombs in his basement.


Unfaithful Music has one great success and one obvious failing; or, one vivid presence and one vexatious absence. The success – and what’s essentially the glad heart of the book – is the portrait of Costello’s father, Ross MacManus: a gifted singer-mimic, studio musician and on-stage vocalist with the once hugely popular Joe Loss Orchestra. (I have a 1970 album he did of songs made famous by the other Elvis.) He was also a saloon bar Orpheus and something of a lady’s man, as we used to say, as well as a wily pragmatist, a survivor in the shark-filled tank of mid-level showbiz. Costello obviously loved (or learned to love) his father deeply, but this was a man who left his children in the lurch when the young Declan was only seven. The family business was good old-fashioned songs, properly sung; but Costello also recalls a child’s uneasiness at his dad being able to sing anything and everything with the same professional “passion” – one week Jim Reeves, the next week Pink Floyd.



Remember the words “unfaithful” and “disappearing” in the book’s title: they are at the core of the book – his father walking out on the family, and then Costello doing the same at the end of his first marriage to Mary Burgoyne. Here is a knot of music and lyrics, fathers and sons, the women they sing to and the women they hurt. The real absence here involves Costello’s second marriage of 16 years to ex-Pogue Cait O’Riordan – by default or design, it is given no more than a shaky outline. Perhaps Costello was warned off by lawyers, or is just trying to exhibit good grace (who knows?), but the reader gets a distinct impression of clenched teeth behind sealed lips. The lack of O’Riordan certainly leaves his retrospection looking lopsided.

There is a very moving section on his father’s death – beautiful writing by any standards. It is also the ideal note to finish the book on, a tying-up of various musical, familial and psychological strands. I can’t imagine why anyone involved in the publication thought it was a good idea to follow this coup with what almost amounts to a second (and far inferior) book about more recent events in Costello-land. You know those cringe-making kissy-kissy “interview” spots on Jools Holland’s TV show? Imagine them edited into a four-hour “best of”: I met Allen Toussaint and he was just lovely and we worked together; I met Burt Bacharach and he was just lovely and we worked together; I met Paul McCartney and … (The lovely Elton John and David Furnish turn up, as if on cue, to host Costello’s 2003 marriage to Diana Krall.) As Steve Martin says in Planes, Trains and Automobiles: “You know, everything is not an anecdote. You have to discriminate.” Someone should have made Costello put in another few months’ work on these green-room tales, for a separate book along the lines of Donald Fagen’s marvellous Eminent Hipsters; unlike Fagen, Costello hasn’t located a handy device to link past and present, his own music and his musical influences.



Costello may have his reasons for including all this filler, to do with the arc of darkness to light. His un-edgy portrait of the artist as mature craftsman is perhaps a way of signalling: this is the easy-going, productive, equable guy I am now. The latter half of the book also features a series of ill-advised “short story” excerpts and too many overlong quotations from recent lyrics, as if he saw Auden and Larkin as his real competition, not the fripperies of modern pop music. (I still prefer his early, pun-filled stuff: “You lack lust /you’re so lacklustre.”) As with the book’s conjoined titles and two-sided cover, Costello wants it both ways. He wants to be Elvis and Declan; wants to have pop success, but then reserves the right to be snooty about it. As if the real business of pop was having private dinners with great mates such as McCartney and Bacharach, swooning together over diminished chords, and not some vulgar affair of hit singles by bonkers kids with their egos on fire.



You get the feeling Costello may almost be resentful that he is regarded as a great pop star rather than a “real” and versatile singer like his dad. But he just doesn’t have that kind of voice; when he tries to cover a classic song such as “She”, he sounds less like a rapt lover and more like a Sardinian shepherd calling in the goats. It’s also why “Shipbuilding” as sung by Robert Wyatt is more haunting than “Shipbuilding” as sung by Costello, its writer. Pop music just isn’t fair: something written in five minutes on the way to the studio, bashed out by a producer with the DTs, and aired by a singer who is a nasty little twerp on nasty accelerator drugs, can still move people 35 years later. Even today, pull together a roomful of folk of a certain age and they will bellow together as one voice: “And I would rather be anywhere else than here today … ”

One of the ironies of where Costello is today is that his way of making music appears to have jumped back to a pre-punk, almost pre-rock’n’roll world. Musicians can cruise around the world, lining up all manner of cushy “projects” with one another, and barely even bother with mass popularity. But such developments are probably inevitable in the new digital landscape; Costello hints that he thinks the days of making albums are pretty much over. Unfaithful Music is Costello’s mostly spot-on attempt to recall and explain the old ways, their logic and passion and daring. As he himself once sang, in a song called “Black and White World”: “It seemed so exciting! / There’ll never be days like that again … ”

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Jack of All Parades » Tue Dec 22, 2015 10:48 am

"The latter half of the book also features a series of ill-advised “short story” excerpts and too many overlong quotations from recent lyrics, as if he saw Auden and Larkin as his real competition, not the fripperies of modern pop music. (I still prefer his early, pun-filled stuff: “You lack lust /you’re so lacklustre.”) As with the book’s conjoined titles and two-sided cover, Costello wants it both ways. He wants to be Elvis and Declan; wants to have pop success, but then reserves the right to be snooty about it. As if the real business of pop was having private dinners with great mates such as McCartney and Bacharach, swooning together over diminished chords, and not some vulgar affair of hit singles by bonkers kids with their egos on fire."

Dead on..........and an overall fair assessment of the book.
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Dec 22, 2015 11:50 am

So there!

http://rocknycliveandrecorded.com/elvis ... emoir.html

Elvis Costello Insults His Audience And Shows His True Nature In Current Memoir

Written by Iman Lababedi

December 22, 2015 9:30

I am a very slow reader, I just don’t have the time really and tend to just read on the subway to and from work or at concerts waiting for the main act, so while rock nyc writer Steve Crawford read, reviewed and panned Elvis Costello’s memoir “Unfinished Music And Invisible Ink” in something like three days, I am still reading two months later. Unlike Steve (here), I’ve enjoyed it except for the occasional gnomic aside -a Wreckless Eric slap down was unnecessary.

Until the other day, when while discussing his country covers album Almost Blue, Costello wrote: “I’d slipped out of those tricky bitter songs that only appealed to a certain kind of creep.”

This is so insulting to the people who made him what he is, it is a little baffling that Elvis thought it, let alone wrote it.

I understand precisely who Costello’s target is: Teenage and college guys who never got the girl, like yours truly. Guys who through a mix of misreading and misleading, thought Costello was the patron saint of the loveless. It was, indeed, with something like excitement and joy that we heard songs like “Two Little Hitler” and “Big Boys” for the first time. Listening to a line like “You want to throw me away, well I’m not broken”, was the voice of empathy. Ugly, fat, socially maladroit, boys don’t get laid. we are shy, hurt, we have no self esteem, and we know a big brain is no replacement for a big penis.

But what we had was Elvis. As early as “I’d like to get right through the way I feel for you” and as late as “there’s a hand on a wire that leads to my mouth”, the man understood rejection. We, the boys he sung for, weren’t bitter or creepy or even misogynistic. It wasn’t us who wrote “You can’t stand it when I throw punch lines you can feel” and any way, we were listening for “You’re upstairs with your boyfriend, well I’m not here to listen”.

There is a subtext to the entire memoir that comes through in that “certain creeps”: Costello was not us and don’t mistake him for us. That’s all he says, over and over again, I am not one of you, I am pop music royalty, my birth was announced in the NME. You think you knew me but I wasn’t one of you hopeless wretches, I was sleeping with woman after woman after woman, palling with the God’s Of Pop, and I was never part of you, or a member of your bad breath, pimply, masturbation addicted sub-strata of humanity. No Blacks, Irish, Or 20 Year Old Male Virgins.

Alright, we got it Elvis, but let’s take a look at your pre-Almost Blue albums…

My Aim Is True – A

This Year’s Model – A

Armed Forces – B+

Get Happy!! – A+

Trust – B+

When you go to Costello concerts, this is the heart of the matter, and when you think of Costello this is, more or less, what you think. For the sake of completion, here are the rest of his “A” list

Imperial Bedroom – A+

King Of America – A

The latter one was 1986.

So, look, it was those bitter songs people love, it was those bitter songs people care about. And we “certain kind of creeps”, by which he means, we the unloved who finally had a rock star who was smart enough to articulate our pain with perfect pop rock songs and dynamic lyricism, were right. We loved what he was great at. We saw in his sense of rejection everything we never had before in pop. What did “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes” have to do with me being turned down for a dance at a disco? Who cares about “I am yours, you are mine, you are what you are” when you have “You come here looking for the ride to glory, go back home with a hard luck story.”?

I don’t know when I’ve resented a rock star more.

johnfoyle
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Dec 22, 2015 7:47 pm

http://nodepression.com/article/best-music-books-2015



The Best Music Books of 2015


HENRY CARRIGAN

(extract)

The last edition of The Reading Room included a list of forty music books of 2015 worthy of attention. Although I didn’t think of the list as a “best-of” list, the first ten titles do represent my personal Top 10:

1. Peter Guralnick, Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock ‘n’ Roll (Little, Brown)

2. Elijah Wald, Dylan Goes Electric: Newport, Seeger, Dylan, and the Night That Split the Sixties (Dey St.)

3. Patti Smith, M Train (Knopf)

4. Carrie Brownstein, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl (Riverhead)

5. Jessica Hopper, The First Collection of Criticism by a Living Female Rock Critic (Featherproof Books)

6. Kristin Hersh, Don't Suck, Don't Die: Giving Up Vic Chesnutt. Kristin Hersh, Foreword by Amanda Petrusich (University of Texas Press)

7. Warren Zanes, Petty: The Biography (Holt)

8. Charles L. Hughes, Country Soul: Making Music and Making Race in the American South (UNC)

9. Kim Gordon, Girl in a Band: A Memoir (Dey St.)

10. Elvis Costello, Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink (Blue Rider/Penguin)

johnfoyle
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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby johnfoyle » Tue Dec 29, 2015 3:41 am

Image


https://twitter.com/nonimeth/status/681700640653840384

Naomi Meth @nonimeth
@ElvisCostello it's summer holidays in Australia and the whole family is relaxed

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby Otis Westinghouse » Tue Dec 29, 2015 4:18 am

Pads, paws, pads, paws and claws!
There's more to life than books, you know, but not much more

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby sweetest punch » Tue Dec 29, 2015 6:55 am

Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.

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Re: UNFAITHFUL MUSIC & DISAPPEARING INK - Oct. 2015

Postby sweetest punch » Wed Dec 30, 2015 7:02 am

http://derstandard.at/2000028183083/Eli ... e-nur-fast

Translation: https://translate.google.com/translate? ... t=&act=url

Elvis Costello: Sein Papa war kein Rolling Stone, nur fast ein Beatle

Das brillante Musikbuch eines Popsängers, der noch niemals auf den Mund gefallen ist: Die Autobiografie "Unfaithful Music"

Unter den zahllosen Erben des Punk sah Elvis Costello 1977 wie der bizarre Underdog aus: das von niemandem erwünschte Kind. Als Songwriter war der Mann mit der Krankenkassenbrille ein Rätsel. In einer Liedstrophe brachte er mehr Endreime unter als jeder andere. In seinen Songtexten schien er sich über oberflächliche Mitmenschen zu mokieren. Declan Patrick MacManus, so Elvis' bürgerlicher Name, musste aus vielen verlorenen Schlachten auf dem Schulpausenhof als Mann mit dem schärfsten Mundwerk hervorgegangen sein. Mit seinen Attractions spielte Costello die brillantesten Zweieinhalbminüter, die man in den späten 1970ern im britischen Königreich hören konnte. Die Orgel pfiff. Sie war fast ebenso verstimmt wie der bebrillte Spargeltarzan vorn an der Rampe. Die Refrains des irischstämmigen Mannes aus Liverpool erinnerten an die schärfsten Uptempo-Nummern der Soulfirma Stax. Als maturierender Kontinentaleuropäer musste man das Dictionary bemühen, um sich durch Songs wie Two Little Hitlers (auf Armed Forces, 1979) hindurchzukämpfen. Mehr Adjektive lagen keinem anderen auf der Zunge.

Die Zeiten haben sich nicht bloß deswegen geändert, weil Costello jetzt seine Autobiografie Unfaithful Music – Mein Leben veröffentlicht hat. Der Englischunterricht hat in fast allen Gegenden der Welt enorme Fortschritte gemacht. Vor allem ist Costello (61) zu einem quicklebendigen Teil des Weltkulturerbes geworden. Gibt es irgendwo in der zivilisierten Welt einen Grammy an Bob Dylan zu überreichen, einer vergessenen Country-Legende wie Charlie Rich zu huldigen oder für die Opfer von Sturm Katrina Geld zu sammeln – Costello ist als Ständchensänger bereits da und schlägt unüberhörbar scheppernd die Saiten an.

Nicht nur seines Äußeren wegen wird der Sohn eines Swing-Sängers manchmal mit Woody Allen verglichen. Sein Witz tendiert in eine ähnliche Richtung. Als Klein Declan einmal mit Mama und Papa in Frankreich den Urlaub verbrachte, nächtigte man in Limoges. Costello: "Der Name Limoges klang wie etwas, das deine Tante vielleicht zum Tee servieren würde oder wie eine Unpässlichkeit, für die man eine Salbe braucht."

Declans späteres Schicksal als Popstar wurde ihm nicht unbedingt an der Wiege gesungen. Das lag vor allem daran, dass Vater Ross als Sänger des Joe Loss Orchesters durch die Musikhallen des Vereinigten Königreichs zog und kaum Zeit fand, Declan höchstpersönlich in den Schlaf zu croonen. Dabei war Papas Karriere eher auf der unglamourösen Seite des Showbiz angesiedelt. Die Loss-Bigband spielte an Samstagnachmittagen Hausfrauen zum Schwof auf. Ross MacManus dürfte sich über manche Härten des Tourlebens mit dem erotischen Entgegenkommen seiner Zuhörerinnen hinweggetröstet haben.

Die Sache mit der Schere

Die Ehe mit Elvis-Mutter Lilian scheiterte. Den unbändigen Musikhunger stillte der Bub mit Acetatpressungen der neuesten Hitparadensongs. Der Vater brachte sie nach Hause, um im Auftrag dubioser Billigplattenfirmen The Beatles zu covern.

Nach zweimaligem Hören hat-te der Jazzkenner die Lennon- McCartney-Harmonien intus. Einmal – die Fab Four spielten zusammen mit Joe Loss vor der königlichen Familie im Fernsehen – brachte der rührige Papa seinem Knülch sogar ein Gruppenautogramm der Pilzköpfe mit. Den späteren Mister Costello interessierte herzlich wenig, ob Prinzesssin Margaret eine nette, aufgeschlossene Frau war. Das unendlich wertvolle Autogramm schnitt der Knabe hingegen aus Unbedarftheit in Streifen.

Im weiteren schien wenig auf eine große Popkarriere hinzudeuten. MacManus junior schrubbte in Jugendclubs die akustische Klampfe. Für Crosby, Stills and Nash will er sich in den frühen 1970ern begeistert haben. Den Ausschlag für die spätere New-Wave-Laufbahn gab schließlich die Freundschaft mit Nick Lowe, einem der Väter der sogenannten Pub-Rock-Bewegung. Zu dieser Zeit verdiente sich Declan alias Elvis sein Toastbrot als Computerfachmann in einer Firma für Lippenstifte. Der Rest ist Geschichte, auf beinahe 800 Seiten brillant erzählt. Wenn Bob Dylan heute Rat sucht, weiß er, wen er anzurufen hat. Es ist der Sänger mit den Polypen: ein Ire von der Merseyside, ein britischer Gentleman mit Namen Costello.

(Ronald Pohl, 29.12.2015)
Since you put me down, it seems i've been very gloomy. You may laugh but pretty girls look right through me.


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