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Creative Review Music Festivals
Brought up in London before moving to Liverpool in the early seventies and born the son of a trumpet player for the Joe Loss Orchestra, it is little wonder that little Declan MacManus would make his mark in the world of music. What was obviously more difficult to foresee was just how big a mark – and how influential – the re-monikered Elvis Costello would become.
In the delightful settings of the work in progress that is The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre, self-confessed Costello nut and best selling crime fiction author Mark Billingham, eased the audience and his “guest” through the inspirations that lie behind his recently published memoir, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink with all the skill of a practiced stage performer.
After all, Costello has made a bit of a name for himself for being difficult, although judging by his demeanour here that side of his make up seems to be somewhat misplaced, as he casually described his upbringing, his love for the city he calls “home” and the reasons as to why this is not just a story about his life but, just as importantly, those who have helped shaped it.
The extracts he chose to read also showed – as though the lyrics to some of his songs don’t already illustrate this – that he has a dry, ready wit and more than a modicum of self-deprecation which never comes across as false modesty, but more of a simple understanding of how far hard work and more than a pinch of the requisite dumb luck can take any artiste.
As an event, the evening was as relaxed and informal as anybody could have wished, with Billingham steering the ship well and allowing the subject to interject and, well, speak with great passion about his career, his family and his peers and influences with equal affection, and the decision for the star of the show to take questions from the audience and stay behind to sign books afterwards simply added to the occasion and enamoured him even more to those aficionados in attendance.
So much so that the book, available now from Waterstones Liverpool One and who organised this evening’s event, has to go down as something of a “must read”.
An Evening with Elvis Costello: “Unfaithful Music & Disappearing Ink” Book Launch
The Liverpool Royal Court Theatre
Host: Mark Billingham
PR Rating: ****