I haven't always disliked Costello

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Matt Wilson
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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Matt Wilson » 01 Dec 2018, 16:14

He was as good an album-maker as anyone from '77 - '82, and brilliant again in 1986. Intermittently good/great after that (the Bacharach LP is a keeper). He'd fit right in here as a BCBer, as his taste is eclectic and varied - and he's articulate in the extreme. I'd love to have a pint (or six) with Elvis.

I'm in the camp who enjoyed his book. I read it right around the time I read Springsteen's and both were affected to a great extent by their fathers. They hardly even mention their mothers in their writing. Costello occasionally suffers from Dylanitis, which is where a songwriter piles on the verses and there's just too many words all flying by for any of it to stick. Think "Tokyo Storm Warning" for an example, but that song is pretty good, so there's that.
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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Canis lupus » 01 Dec 2018, 16:44

Matt Wilson wrote:I'm in the camp who enjoyed his book..


How much of a mauling did be give Bruce Thomas?
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Matt Wilson
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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Matt Wilson » 01 Dec 2018, 16:48

I don't recall any harsh words for Bruce in Elvis' book. He only hints at the animosity between them. I read Bruce's book on Bruce Lee once, and you could also feel a negative vibe towards Costello, but nothing was actually said.
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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Ghost of Harry Smith » 01 Dec 2018, 23:14

caramba wrote:
Ghost of Harry Smith wrote:
caramba wrote:
I thought the book - like those of Pete T and Neil Y - was a terrible disappointment in that it was way too long and unfocused. It also featured far too much name dropping ('as I said to the King of Norway when Diana and I were sitting with him at the Nobel Prizewinners' dinner). In almost totally skirting over (presumably on lawyer's advice) his marriage to Cait O'Riordan, that comes across as being the one relationship in his life you'd really like to learn more about.


It just shows how subjective our reactions are as I hated the Neil Y and Pete T bios and completely agree they’re shite but the Costello one I loved as it had an entertaining authorial voice and a thorough approach to digging up the past, and you got a real sense of just how much EC loves music himself in his various digressions. Ultimately I think I’m just more interested in EC’s digressions so they didn’t bore me, like the other two did (and let’s not forget Bruce S, his autobiography was dull too).

My sense of reading the Cait O’Riordan stuff is that EC himself didn’t want to talk about her much, as they clearly hate each other now, and she seemed to remind him of a time in his life when he was self destructive and very unhappy.


Each to his own and all that. The saving grace of the book was how brightly his love for his dad shone through.

Not bothered with the Bruce S book and from what you say above it sounds as if I'm better off not bothering. Did you read the Dylan one?


Yeah it’s quite a tribute to Ross McManus, flaws and all, agreed. I loved Dylan’s ‘Chronicles’ and look forward to a sequel (so please get right onto that thanks Bob). He’s a better writer than most and because it only focuses on three specific periods in his life, it’s vivid and sharply-drawn. I found it interesting that he is more concerned with his artistic failures than commercial successes.

While I’ve read that much of Chronicles is an assemblage of quotes and references from other works, that just makes me like it more tbh because it reads as such a unified work. For some I guess his magpie borrowings are plagiarism but I think he’s aware that the greatest artistic technique of of the twentieth century is collage/cut-ups and he’s bloody good at it.

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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Diamond Dog » 02 Dec 2018, 10:20

Matt Wilson wrote:Costello occasionally suffers from Dylanitis, which is where a songwriter piles on the verses and there's just too many words all flying by for any of it to stick. Think "Tokyo Storm Warning" for an example, but that song is pretty good, so there's that.


That's one of his finest songs.... and yes there are loads of words, but the imagery is fucking amazing. I understand parts, others I still don;t get - but, by christ, it makes you listen and is lyrically a tour-de-force.
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Re: I haven't always disliked Costello

Postby Matt Wilson » 02 Dec 2018, 17:09

Yeah, it's one of the highlights of Blood & Chocolate.
John Coan wrote:I've lived in many different countries in Europe and whenever I come home I think 'England is the best'