And More...

That doesn't mean you couldn't see and appreciate where they were coming from and why they were doing what they were doing but Anarchy in the UK didn't quite speak to a mid-twenties bloke in northern Australia in quite the same way it did to a teenager in a no-future English suburb.

If there was one development that had provided something worth investigating through the doldrums it had been the rise of what was termed pub rock in the UK and the emergence of a couple of R&B-tinged rockers in the States, people who seemed like they meant what they were singing about. People like Springsteen, Southside Johnny, Bob Seger and Mink de Ville, for example.

Given the nature of the beast, pub rock wasn't likely to throw up too much in the way of classic albums, tending rather to produce albums that represented more or less what was happening on stage but taken away from the live context there usually seemed to be something missing.

It was, more or less, a case of you needed to be there.

Costello, in his earlier incarnation as D.P. MacManus, had been on the fringe of the pub rock scene, but where most pub rock practitioners were musos looking for a paying gig, Costello always, from what Hughesy can make out, considered himself as a writer who performs rather than a performer who needs some material for the set-list.

Looking back on it, that's probably what made My Aim Is True stand out like a beacon back when it was released. It wasn't an album where everything worked, but it was a sign that here was someone several cuts above his peers whose future efforts would be well worth investigating.

As far as Costello’s attitudes to the music press back in the day the following very interesting quote comes from a Canadian magazine:

at that time. I was 22 and I’d just made a record, and there were two types of journalists that I encountered in the first days. There were people who looked like they’d escaped from a Glam Rock band and mostly comported themselves as if they were the rock stars, and in some cases they had every reason to believe they were, they were not bad writers and they’d probably taken more drugs than many of the people they were writing about. And then there were sort of leering, stained people with comb-overs and a cigarette with a long plume of ash, who were kind of like a caricature of a journalist in a bad movie with a belted raincoat and a spiral notebook who wanted sort of juicy tidbits about the girls that you met backstage. There were only two types of people. There was nobody that my youthful, arrogant self identified as a sentient human being. So I think I probably said things that I thought would get up their nose. And I think that worked. It mostly had the very, very pleasing effect of getting them to leave me the fuck alone for a number of years. And I got on and I made quite a lot of records in a short bit of time without the burden of having to speak to anybody.

Says it all, really….


B© Ian Hughes 2012