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>Painted From Memory – Elvis Costello with Burt Bacharach

23 February, 2010 Leave a comment

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So much Costello to choose from – Imperial Bedroom or This Year’s Model both clamouring for attention – but ultimately I had to choose this album, Elvis’s 1998 collaboration with Burt Bacharach.  Easy Listening?  Hardly – this is as far removed from Easy Listening as any album could be – especially if you have ever been unlucky or deceitful in love.
After Blood on the Tracks, this is the second ‘breakup’ album on my list (what is it with me and breakup albums?) themed around lost love, broken relationships, guilt and revenge.  And it is possibly the tension between the smooth, easy melodies and the brittle, tense lyrics that sets this album apart from other albums of the genre.
I make no excuses for my love of Burt Bacharach – he has been involved in the creation of some of the greatest music ever recorded and it is not just Costello in the ‘modern idiom’ who has recognised that – Noel Gallagher, who only steals from the best, has put on record his love of the man’s music (reverse the chord sequence of ‘This Guy’s In Love With You’ and you might recognise ‘Half A World Away’).
Surprisingly, such a tight collaboration was largely conducted at a distance – the two songwriters swapping snippets of lyric and melody by phone and email.  The collaboration began with ‘God Give Me Strength’, recorded for a film soundtrack and included here as the album’s closer.
Inspired by his illustrious partner, Costello’s lyrics hit new highs on this album.  He explores the overriding themes from interesting perspectives – ‘This House is Empty Now’ has the narrator walking round an empty home, shorn of his partner and looking to face life alone, remembering the times they shared in the now deserted home.  The title track, ‘Painted From Memory’, suggests that eventually even the faces of those we loved will fade from memory.  ‘I Still Have That Other Girl’ – an affair that is doomed before it starts as Elvis cannot forget the girl he would be leaving.
I know – it sounds like a barrel of laughs,doesn’t it?  It certainly packs a huge emotional punch, the bitterest pill wrapped in the sweetest of sugar coatings.  An unforgettable album.
This House Is Empty Now – Burt on baton and piano, Elvis on vocals.  Absolutely sublime – and not just the lyrics.  The exquisite little guitar figure after the bridge (“Does the extinguished candle care about the darkness?”) is almost throwaway, yet absolutely heartbreaking.

>Diddle Diddle Dumpling

22 February, 2010 Leave a comment

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Today’s soundtrack:  Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint – Hot as a Pistol, Keen as a Blade

Well, I’ve given it a couple of days, but I think I’m still in shock over the weekend’s football.  It’s not just the fact that we won, it’s the way in which we won – with style and passion, playing the better football and even coming from a goal down.  Three great goals from open play as well.  Oh, and coming off the back of a similar win against Chelsea.  So in the space of around ten days, we’ve beaten (well) two of the best teams in Europe, and certainly the best two teams in the country.

Typically, after some pretty genuine compliments from United fans, all the comments are about Rodwell’s impending move to ManYoo and how Moyes is being lined up as Fergie’s successor.  Won’t happen guys.  If we can keep this squad together – and keep the majority of them fit and playing(!) – then we’ll be challenging next season.

As we would have been this year, had we not had such a horrendous start.

The Waring culinary spectrum continues to broaden – stew and dumplings after the match, with homemade dumplings (equal amounts of suet and self-raising flour, with a dash of horseradish and sufficient water to bind).  The beef stew had a beef and ale base, using a few bottles of Poacher’s ale (most of which went to lubricating the chef’s throat, I have to admit).  Absolutely delicious, and sufficient left over for tonight’s tea as well.

Take a look at these puppies!

Homemade pizza again last night, although this time I added some semolina to the bases, Dominos-fashion, which added a pleasing degree of texture to the bases.

Costello and Toussaint on the soundtrack today – an audio rip of a DVD of the two in concert, produced on the back of their ‘River in Reverse’ collaboration of a few years back.  Elvis has always chosen his collaborators well – Burt Bacharach, Bill Frisell, Anne Sofie Von Otter – and his collaboration with Allen Toussaint, one of the great New Orleans jazzmen – is up there as well, with added poignancy coming from the Katrina disaster that happened around the same time and which is referenced in their work.

Here they are on Jools a few years ago – “Who’s Gonna Help Brother Get Further”.  Who indeed?

>Inbetweenies

25 January, 2010 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack:  Richard and Linda Thompson – Pour Down Like Silver

So, as the Staines contract draws to a close, it’s time to take stock and look for the next role.  Strangely, I don’t feel ‘unemployed’ any more, rather ‘between contracts’ – hence the obscure Ian Dury reference in the title above.  Better an Inbetweenie than a Doley!

Still, needs must, so I’m back signing on again.  This time round, it’s Chester rather than Warrington.  So I can hang around with a better class of doley once a fortnight.  If, indeed, it comes to that.  There are a couple of contract opportunities floating around that might turn into something tangible, although both are back down in the South East.

In the meantime though, it’s back to life/back to reality in the Cheshire Plains – and back to blogging as well.

The Staines work was good fun, and has given us a little bit of welcome breathing space, and has given me the appetite to do more work in this vein – at least until the permanent jobs start appearing again.  Up to a point, it’s nice to be master of my own destiny again.  If I thought I could pick up a steady stream of such work, I’d do this full time.  Big ‘If’ though.

In my final few days away, I filled my evenings beginning to work through the first series of ‘Spectacle’, a music/chat show hosted by Elvis Costello.  Originally recorded and broadcast in the States, the series was somewhat lost in the depths of Channel Four’s late night schedules and was consequently largely overlooked in this country.  So I was surprised to see the DVD of the first series for sale – but wasted no time getting a copy.

Four episodes in, and I’m pleased to report it is one of the most intelligent music shows I have seen in a long time – whilst Elvis (initially at least) is not the most polished of interviewers, his love of music and his respect for his interviewees comes across clearly.  And the music is superb too – whether performed by Elvis and his band (including, at various times, James Burton, Allen Toussaint and Attractions Steve Nieve and Pete Thomas) or in conjunction with his guests.

Oh, and some high quality guests as well.  Elton John in the first show, focusing heavily on his first few albums when his credibility outweighed his popularity.  Bill Clinton on the second, as a jazz fan (and sometime musician) rather than as a president, then Tony Bennett – dapper and smooth as silk, one of the last great crooners.  Then in show four – Lou Reed, for once engaging and erudite rather than bitter and abrasive.

To come – Smokey, Rufus Wainwright, Kris Kristofferson, James Taylor and others.

I have no idea what the potential audience is for a show like this – it’s hardly appealing to mainstream tastes – but I’m delighted that there are producers who are prepared to invest in this sort of programming even though the returns must be tiny compared to the investment required.

Anyway, Here’s Elvis and Lou duetting on ‘Perfect Day’.  Fascinating contrast between Costello’s crooning and Reed’s, er, idiosyncratic approach to the melody.  And Elvis still looks threatening on the ‘you’re going to reap just what you sow’ line.

Richard Thompson apparently makes an appearance on Spectacle on a later series, but comes up on the soundtrack today with wife (of the time) Linda.  I prefer the R&L albums to the solo Richard work – Linda’s voice is that much easier on the ear and adds variety and nuance that can be missing from Richard’s solo albums.

By any standards, this is gorgeous.  ‘The Dimming of the Day’.  Richard and Linda Thompson.

>Day 164: Interview Day!

26 August, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Elvis Costello & the ImpostersMomofuku

Up early then, to avoid any traffic problems on my way into Manchester. These initial interviews were being held at the agency’s offices, rather than on the company’s premises. I parked up in my old parking space in plenty of time. A quick wander around the city centre to gather my thoughts, then into the offices where a quick glance at the signing in book suggested I was second on. Didn’t recognise the name of number one candidate!

After a quick coffee, I was escorted into the office occupied by the company’s FD. And for the next hour we had what I felt was a good, informal chat around the company, the role, my background and ‘fit’ for the role. At the conclusion of the interview, he said he’d ‘enjoyed’ the interview (hopefully a good sign!) but had two ‘questions’ (potential concerns, I suppose) about my suitability for the role – one concerning my seniority (essentially my willingness to roll my sleeves up and get my hands dirty) and the other concerning the acceptability of the proposed package (which is significantly more than £64 per week, but less than I have been earning). I answered the questions as best I could, then went out for a coffee with the consultant handling the appointment from the agency’s perspective for a debrief.

With the promise of a phone call at the end of the day to update me on progress, I headed off back home. From my perspective, the meeting had reinforced my belief that there was enough ‘meat’ in the role to interest me, that this was a company I could see myself working for, and that, importantly, the FD was someone I would be happy to work for.

After a quick change out of my suit, it was off to Warrington to remind myself just why I need to get back working as soon as possible. Yes, it was signing on day! Nice to be able to tell them I’d been for an interview that morning, they do like to hear of some – any – progress, and it tends to stop them pushing accounts assistant roles in my direction.

Back home, and pretty drained after the morning’s activities, a spot of baking and reading was in order. It looks like the Lescott deal has been concluded – finally – with Everton splashing some cash on Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, a left winger from Lokomotiv Moscow. Who he? You might well ask. Can he play centre back though? Hopefully rumours that Sylvain Distin is on the way are well-founded as I could see him doing a good job for us.

Six-thirty and the all-important phone call came through – and it’s looking positive. Of the five candidates interviewed today, two have been ‘dropped’ – and I’m not one of the two! The FD is sleeping on the way forward – which might involve a further pruning of the three still in the race – prior to further meetings, probably with the Chief Exec and the Chair of the Audit Committee. But as it stands, I’m still in the game.

Elvis on the soundtrack, from one of his more recent albums. A glance at the ‘top artists’ to the right of all this guff will show just how much regard I have for the former Declan McManus, either solo or in collaboration with others. Ever since ‘My Aim is True’ in 1977, I have as a matter of course bought all his work, including re-releases, deluxe editions etc. It’s not quite an obsession, but it’s not far off.

Momofuku is Elvis’s last but one album, and is rockier than some of his more recent efforts. Which is not always a good thing with Elvis, particularly as he has aged – sometimes the rockiness feels a bit forced. For me, the more mature Costello is better suited to working with the likes of Allen Toussaint and Burt Bacharach in a more ‘mature’ style. That said, Momofuku (awful cover apart) is one of his better recent efforts and well worth a listen. The title is a reference to Momofuku Ando, the inventor of instant ramen noodles. Make of that what you will!

Here’s a good one. It’s Elvis and his missus, Diana Krall, alongside Willie Nelson, singing Willie’s classic tune ‘Crazy’. Doesn’t get much better than this. Nice head of hair for a mature gentleman, Willie!

>Day 78: We have poo!

2 June, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Elvis Costello – Wendy James Demos

Today’s mission: To coax a bowel movement out of our recalcitrant moggy.

For a pussy cat with a bowel problem that is supposed to poo every day without fail, we’d yet to see any actual evidence of same, five days into our relationship. This, we felt, was not good news. Now I did expect that the stress of re-homing might bung things up slightly, but time was marching on and we wanted some action!

To be fair to Pedro, it didn’t seem to be bothering him especially, he was continuing to explore his new surroundings happily, both indoors and out…and therein might lie the problem, because we had no idea what he might (or might not) be doing out of sight.

Perhaps he’s shy.

Anyway, Mrs W had a conversation with the vet, who advised us not to panic, we could bring him in for an examination if we wanted, but firstly to try some of the liquid laxative we’d been given on his food and to keep him indoors for 24 hours while the liquid worked its magic. Having coaxed the boy indoors, he woofed (woofed?) down his food, drugs and all, and settled down.

But not for long! Checking up on him about half an hour later, a select group of ‘logs’ were in and around the litter tray – one of which I would have been proud to have laid. Ouch.

Too much information I know. You will be pleased to note I did not take photographic evidence for your edification. I know how far is too far.

In other news, I took advantage of the glorious weather to get a bit of gardening done, and to sit out in the sunshine with a book and a cider. A new book started today, one I have read before but which stands re-reading: Left Foot Forward, by Garry Nelson. Nelson was a ‘journeyman’ professional footballer, playing in the lower divisions and ending his playing career at Charlton Athletic when they were in what is now the Championship. The book is essentially the diary of his last season (1994-95) as a player, and gives a clear impression of the reality of football in the lower leagues, where there are no mega-bucks to be earned and the pressures and concerns are far removed from those facing the Premier league megastars.

Be interesting to know what he’s doing now – according to Wikipedia, after finishing his playing (and coaching) career he worked for the PFA, but I can’t find him on their website now. I did learn, however, that my old mate George Berry is now Northern Commercial Director for the PFA. I say my old mate – back in 1987 or 1988 I was working on the Isle of Man auditing a shipping company and staying in one of the island’s hotels – a hotel that, this particular week, was hosting Stoke City on a pre-season tour. I was having a quiet sauna one evening (as you do) when I was joined by a big bloke with a massive afro and a booming brummie accent. George (for it was he) and I had a good old chat about what was going on and George made some not-so-discreet enquiries about the ‘friendliness’ of the island’s fair maidens. Of course I was sadly unable to provide him with the necessary information. Nice bloke, and I’m pleased he’s made a real career for himself outside the game.

Soundtrack today refers back to an album made by Wendy James, ex of Transvision Vamp, called ‘Now Ain’t The Time For Tears’ back in 1993. Rumour has it that she approached Elvis Costello about writing some songs for her first solo album, and Elvis dashed off an album’s worth of songs one weekend for her to record. Which she did, only for the album to sink without trace. Elvis’s own versions of these songs dripped out onto the market in haphazard fashion, some as b-sides and others never (officially) saw the light of day. Of course with access to everything ever recorded, anywhere, readily accessible with a couple of mouse clicks, it was only a matter of time before some bright spark collected the Costello versions into one virtual ‘album’ and made the files available for download. And only a further matter of time before I found the files and downloaded them.

Here’s Wendy performing ‘London’s Brilliant’ from that album. I suspect Elvis had just been listening to ‘Clash City Rockers’ when he wrote this…

>Day 61: Cash and Costello

15 May, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Elvis Costello – When I Was Cruel

Out early this morning to do Big Shop, picking up all the ingredients for the weekend’s culinary adventures. It’s (almost) a pleasure doing the shopping early in the morning – very few customers and freshly stocked shelves, and ladies on the till with time to chat and to help you pack your bags.

Tonight we’re having a Beef Stroganoff, a really simple dish that’s very difficult to get wrong. Although I have managed to get it wrong in the past, my enthusiasm for black pepper sometimes getting the better of me. Mrs W has warned me that she does not expect a repeat performance tonight…

The quality of your Stroganoff really depends on the quality of your beef. So don’t skimp. Fillet is best, but any decent frying steak should also be ok. Cut your beef into thin strips and dust with flour that has been seasoned with salt and ground black pepper (but go easy on the pepper…). The easy way to do this is to stick your flour and seasoning in a plastic freezer bag, chuck your meaty strips in as well, twist the bag to seal and shake everything about until the individual bits of meat are coated and not sticking to each other.

Then fry off your seasoned meat very quickly on a very hot flame, in some olive oil. You want your meat to fry, not boil, so make sure it is as dry as possible before seasoning. You should also fry in batches if necessary – don’t overload your frying pan.

Take the cooked meat out of the pan and put to one side. They fry some chopped onion – at least one medium onion, more if you want. Then add loads of mushrooms – whole button mushrooms for preference, but sliced if too big. Most recipes would pass on the garlic, but you won’t go far wrong adding a sliced clove or two at this stage.

Fry it all up, then return the meat and juices to the pan. If you’re flash, add some brandy and set fire to it. If you’re not, don’t bother! Finally stir in some cream – sour for authenticity but regular will be fine, creme fraiche if you’re on a diet – and serve with rice. You could sprinkle a touch of paprika on top as well (or better still, add the paprika to the ‘dusting’ flour).

That’ll be us tonight, with a nice healthy bottle of red and a crappy film. Tasty!

Bit of admin today – bought the car and was pleased to get a tax disc in the post which I’m not expecting to pay for. Also pleased to see that my final monthly lease payment was a month earlier than I thought, saving me a few bob too.

The agency I spoke to on Monday continues to pull out the stops as well – firstly contacting my ex-boss for a reference (‘glowing’, I’m assured) and then calling me about a potential project role. Got a good feeling about this bunch…

Having finished Human Traces, I needed to start a new book and at the top of the unread pile was a biography of Johnny Cash, the Man in Black. I’m not a great country fan, but have a lot of time for Johnny Cash’s work – there are three key phases of his career that I really enjoy; his initial recordings for Sun (I Walk The Line, Ring of Fire, Folsom Prison Blues (“I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die”)), his ‘Prison’ albums at San Quentin and Folsom (the audience reaction to the song ‘San Quentin’ at that prison is absolutely chilling) and finally the ‘American Recordings’ he did with Rick Rubin at the end of his career, particularly his reading of Nine Inch Nail’s ‘Hurt’.

Here’s San Quentin and Hurt. If Hurt doesn’t make your eyes itch, you’ve got no soul….

More Costello on the soundtrack today – it’s probably fair to say that over the years, Elvis has given me more pleasure than any other artist and, although When I Was Cruel is not one of my favourite Costello albums, an ‘average’ Costello album is generally still miles better than most other peoples’ best. When I Was Cruel is a ‘rockier’ album than most of his recent stuff, harking back to his Attractions days. If I could find it, I’d post it, but there is a great clip (from Jonathan Ross I think) of two of my favourite bands together – Elvis performing ‘Tear Off Your Own Head’ from this album, backed by Liverpool’s mighty Amsterdam. I’ve got it on an Amsterdam DVD, but can’t find it on YouTube, which is playing silly buggers at the moment…

Found it!

>Day 43: Brodsky Beat

28 April, 2009 Leave a comment

>Today’s soundtrack: The Pogues – If I Should Fall From Grace With God

Out tonight to see Elvis Costello, performing with the Brodsky Quartet at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. Over the years, Costello has essayed many different musical styles, collaborating with a range of different performers including Burt Bacharach, Allen Toussaint and Paul McCartney – however his work with the Brodsky Quartet is possibly his most challenging collaboration – former New Wave iconoclast meets classical string quartet! They produced ‘The Juliet Letters’ in 1993, a song cycle themed around a series of different pieces of correspondence – love letters, begging letters, suicide notes, even junk mail. Largely misunderstood and underappreciated by the rock fraternity at the time, the album stands as a curio in the Costello catalogue – but one that stands revisiting and reappraisal.

So 16 years after the album was released, Costello is once again performing with the Brodsky Quartet on stage, mixing highlights from the Juliet Letters with a number of rearranged Costello songs and covers. The Bridgewater Hall in Manchester is the ideal venue for such a performance – a classical concert hall that is finely acoustically tuned, allowing the delicate nuances of the performance to be captured and appreciated.

An unusual audience for an unusual production – a slightly older demographic dotted with younger ‘rock’ fans – but a mood more normally associated with a classical concert than your usual rock gig. Hushed and attentive – none of the underlying chatter that can blight the live experience these days. Perhaps a touch too respectful?

The performance was split into two halves with a short interval. Although the arrangements where largely for string quartet only, Costello did add acoustic guitar embellishments to certain songs, and performed a number of songs solo – including one new number performed at the front of the stage completely without amplification – the strength of his voice and the hall acoustics (and the hushed audience) allowing such a performance.

Not all the arrangements worked well – those written specifically for the quartet worked better for me – but a powerful reading of Shipbuilding and the Irish lament ‘Raglan Road’ were both incredibly moving and those arrangements did work well with the material. Costello was chirpy and entertaining throughout – explaining the background to certain songs and cracking jokes. Not so much the angry young man of the 70’s any more, although a medley of ‘I Thought I’d Write to Juliet’ and ‘Bedlam’ more than hinted at the rage that still burns within Costello at the injustices he sees in the world. After over two hours on stage and a number of encores, the performance finished with a moving reading of ‘The Birds Will Still Be Singing’, described by Costello as “a song of condolence and renewal”.

Earlier in the day I had to complete an on-line psychometric profile in connection with a potential new role – a task I found quite challenging, it being very difficult to pick the descriptions that ‘best’ and ‘least’ applied to me from a series of groups of four. I have found these profiles scarily accurate in the past, although completing them (and particularly with this one) I did feel that answering on another day, at another time, my answers might be completely different.

Ticket details announced for Wembley today – happily it looks like I have enough qualifying games along with my season ticket to guarantee a final ticket for myself – although I’m not sure that applies to the rest of the family. It all depends on whether the semi-final is a ‘qualifying game’ or not – sadly I suspect it is not.

Couple of calls from recruitment agencies today – one a ‘holding’ call in relation to an opportunity raised a week or so below, the other a touch more concrete, necessitating a bit of work tomorrow. Here’s hoping!

Today’s soundtrack comes from The Pogues, a group with some Costello connections – he produced their previous album (Rum, Sodomy and the Lash) and married their bass player, Cait O’Riordan. In fact, the last time I saw Costello live, the Pogues were the support band.

More varied than their earlier work, IISFFGWG added Spanish and other ethnic flavours to the Celtic style they had shown on their earlier work, and with this album Shane MacGowan’s lyrics and melodies probably peaked – showing a maturity and range that was not fully apparent earlier, and that had yet to be affected by Shane’s punishing lifestyle.

And the album includes the song that Mrs W hates with a passion, but which nonetheless is the greatest Christmas song ever written – Fairytale of New York, Shane duetting with the wonderful Kirsty MacColl.

A great album, and one that every home should own. Wonderfully sweary in places, too!

Categories: elvis costello, The Pogues

>Day 13: Not convinced…

28 March, 2009 1 comment

>Today’s soundtrack: Elvis Costello & the Attractions – Punch the Clock

“Not convinced” was Mrs W’s verdict on last night’s ‘experiment’. Not that she tasted any of it, you understand. A look was enough. I kind of understand where she was coming from (you can be your own judge…it’s the creamy-looking stuff in the wok on the back burner) but it tasted fine to me. Not that I’ll be cooking it again anytime soon – at least not without a few adjustments to the recipe!

So what was it then? I know you’re all dying to know. Well, it was a lamb curry, basically. Involving fruit. Specifically, lime, mango and coconut. I wanted to try something different – and there was a (very) old tin of mangoes lurking in the back of the cupboard that needed eating, so…

Bear with me on this. I did do a quick Google search and I did find a recipe using these ingredients – so, with a bit of artistic license, I went for it. Couple of lamb steaks, cut into bitesize chunks, left in a marinade of finely chopped onion, red and green chillis, olive oil, juice and zest of a lime, fresh ginger and some brown sugar for an hour or so. Everything then chucked into the wok and fried rapidly, to seal the meat. I added some powdered coriander at this point as well. Tin of coconut milk added, and the curry left to simmer until cooked, and the liquid reduced to a thick sauce. About halfway through the cooking time, a finely sliced lime (including skin) and the tin of mangoes added. Just before serving, some fresh coriander chopped and sprinkled on top.

You’re not convinced either,are you?

Next time, I’d swap the lamb for a white meat – probably chicken – and either drop the mango altogether or insist on fresh rather then tinned.

Somehow I don’t think I’ll be getting any phone calls about this delicacy!

Enchiladas tonight. Recipe – buy an El Paso enchilada kit and follow the cooking instructions on the box. Actually don’t, because that would be a bit dull. Add some green and red peppers and an onion to the chicken because chicken by itself is a bit naff.

Lazy day today – well it is the weekend – mainly sat around reading, and not getting involved in Mrs W’s (successful) attempt to get her money back on a big sack of peanuts she bought to feed the birds in the garden. The nuts were ‘shrivelled’ and the birds were turning their noses up at them. Very picky, the birds in our neighbourhood. And we’ve already had the jokes about shrivelled nuts, thank you.

There’s a lot in the music press at the moment about Woodstock – apparently it was 40 years ago this year, and a bit of fuss is being made about the anniversary. I dug out my DVD of the Woodstock film and watched, fascinated. And not just by the hippy chicks dancing around with their tops off. I know it was the first festival of its kind, and no doubt everyone has learnt from the mistakes they made at Woodstock, but it makes Glastonbury look like a well-drilled military operation (which I suppose it is, these days). But in the midst of all the chaos, there was a clear sense of community (and peace and love, man) and some fantastic music. A pity it all went to hell in a handcart at Altamont a short time later – but for a time, the hippy dream became reality.

And here’s Jimi playing the Star Spangled Banner for the few remaining punters at the end of the festival…

Off to watch the England game shortly – I note none of the Everton trio are in the starting lineup but would be disappointed if none of them made it on to the pitch at some stage – especially Leighton Baines, who has really deserved his call up after some remarkable performances this season. And up early in the morning to watch the Grand Prix. Looks like it could be remarkably competitive this season, and Jenson Button’s best chance of a decent shot at the World Championship.

Given the number of Costello albums I’ve got, it was only a matter of time before one of them came up on the soundtrack. A shame it’s one of his poorer efforts, the marvellous ‘Shipbuilding’ notwithstanding. Off to see Elvis in April at the Bridgewater Hall – with the Brodsky Quartet, so it will be slightly more cultural than my usual fare.

And speaking of culture, if anyone is looking for a cheap fix of the classics, Amazon’s download store has Simon Rattle’s performances of all nine Beethoven Symphonies available at the moment for three quid. That’s right, £3 for nine symphonies. Get over there and fill yer boots.

>Fan or Fool?

8 September, 2007 Leave a comment

>So next week the ‘Deluxe Edition’ of Elvis’s first album will be in the shops. Me, I’ve got the original vinyl album from 1977, the extended CD re-release on Demon from 1993 and the two-disc Edsel re-re-release from 2001.

So no real need for me to own a fourth version of the album, you might think? Well, no, I’ll be there in the newly re-opened Fopp (hurrah!) in Manchester when it comes out, and no doubt I’ll pick up the Deluxe Too-Rye-Aye as well, plus anything else that catches my eye in the five quid section. Which is all as it should be.

But I’ll still feel more than slightly ripped-off by the whole thing.

Categories: elvis costello, fopp