Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Elvis Costello rocks again--as TV host

(Left): Julian Schnabel.

Look out, cloying Conan, uber-hip Letterman and bubbly Jimmy Fallon.
There's a not-so-new kid on the block and he makes you all seem like gossipy, Britney-struck idiots.
His name is, of course, Elvis Costello
Elvis Costello first made his mark in the 1970s with songs of acidic wit and melodic sneer. But he could also play tthe guitar. He became a frequent guest of Saturday Night Live and I myself wondered how anybody who looked so
dweeby, proboscis-nosed and hairy could be so good.
But he had something. Like Borges to literature, he seemed to have the key to rock'n'roll and he could actually do it
Elvis Costelleo!
In the language of another time, I did not beware of Wops bearing gifts. This Elvis was the real deal. No Carl Perkins after Elvis. This was a new Elvis. Elvis Costello, and his musical heart seemed to belong to Dada. He could not only ape the great rock'n'rollers he could actually do it straight when in the mood.
"There was no provable reason to think that it would succeed," Costello said to writer Jim Boucher on "Spectacle: Elvis Costello With...," . "I had some experience doing this sort of thing, a talk show that is, but, really, you never know if it's going to actually work out until you go and do it in front of an audience and a camera."
Well, it worked out in spades.
The music talk show shuns the gossip, with guests such as the Police, Tony Bennett, Lou Reed, Costello's wife (Diana Krall) and co-producer (Elton John).
Jimmy Reed is a frequent guest--walking on The Wild Side, I suppose-- but it gets a little too wild when Reed's pal film maker comes on the show. The man is something of a turn off, a plug-ugly. Says one reviewer, "I can't stand the sight of Julian Schnabel, let alone hearing him speak. Hearing that asshole speak, would have brought forth such physical illness so as to render yourself unable to recall any of the otherwise fine program in any meaningful way. Although this Pompous Ass has made some fine films, he should not be encouraged in any instance to speak publicly, interact with real humans or come out into the light at any time. Although I love a lot of Lou`s work, I am not surprised the two are such friends."

Well, here and there a guest from Hades, I suppose. That, or the worst-mannered guest I'd ever watched. He seems to have spat at Elvis Costello, but that is a part of the show that gives it bite.
When you want to throw a shoe at a guest, epecially Julian Schnabel,you know Spectacle has drawing power...Enough to draw you to wanting to kill Shchnabel or some other egregious guest, like sometime even the great JImmy Reed... Altogether too New York hip! Heaven held Elvis if he ever invites Jerry Steinberg--I hate the man. So hip that he's hokey.
In any event, Spectacle is well worth watching. Usually at ten p.m. EST, on Fridays (cable).
The guy's a genius.


Inside our hands, outside our hearts said...

I have never heard of the show. But I will agree that Elvis Costello can play a guitar well. Who would have expected, is right Ivan... but then sometimes the books cover misleads us.

Nice post Ivan.

Soft love,

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Why, thanks, Tara

the walking man said...

One of the benefits of the new TV service we ordered is I got to see that show. Now you've made me regret the constant habit of channel surfing old man.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I think Costello has reminded us
That TV can get us into the very origin of things, like blues and rock, featuring a lot of the originators.
Here and then PBS gets it on but rarely. Lawrence Welk?

Anonymous said...

Here is a true stoy.
Please forward when you finish reading!

A little background:

Neiman-Marcus, if you don't know already, is a very expensive boutique
shop (they sell a typical $8.00 T-shirt for $50.00)

My daughter and I had just finished lunch at a Neiman-Marcus Cafe in
Dallas , USA . Because both of us are such biscuit lovers, we decided to
try the 'Neiman-Marcus cookie'. It was so excellent that I asked if they
would give me the recipe. The waitress said with a small frown, 'I'm
afraid not, but you can buy the recipe.'

I asked how much, and she responded; 'Only two fifty - it's a great

I agreed to that, and told her to add it to my bill.

Thirty days later, I got my Visa statement, and the Neiman-Marcus charge
was $285. I looked at it again, and I remembered I had only spent $9.95
for two sandwiches and about $20 for a scarf. At the bottom of the
statement, it said, 'Cookie Recipe - $250.00'. That was outrageous!

I called Neiman's Accounting Department and told them the waitress had
said it was 'two fifty', which clearly does not mean 'two hundred and
fifty dollars' by any reasonable interpretation of the phrase.
Neiman-Marcus refused to budge. They would not refund my money because
according to them; 'What the waitress told you is not our problem. You
have already seen the recipe. We absolutely will not refund your money.

I explained to the Accounting Department lady the criminal statutes
which govern fraud in the state of Texas . I threatened to report them to
the Better Business Bureau and The Texas Attorney General's office. I
was basically told: Do what you want. Don't bother thinking of how you
can get even, and don't bother trying to get any of your money back'

I said, OK, you've got my $250, and now I'm going to have $250 worth of
fun. I told her that I was going to see to it that every cookie lover in
the world with an e-mail account gets a $250 cookie recipe from
Neiman-Marcus for free. She replied, 'I wish you wouldn't do that.' I
said, 'Well, perhaps you should have thought of that before you RIPPED
ME OFF!' and slammed down the phone.

So here it is! Please pass it on to everyone you can possibly think of.
I paid $250 for this, and I don't want Neiman-Marcus to EVER make
another penny from this recipe!

NEIMAN-MARCUS COOKIES (Recipe may be halved as this makes heaps)

2 (500 ml) cups butter
680 g chocolate chips
4 (1000 ml) cups flour
2 (500 ml) cups brown sugar
2 tsp. (10 ml) Bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp. (5 ml) salt
2 (500 ml) cups sugar
500 g Grated Cadbury chocolate
5 (1250 ml) cups blended oatmeal
4 eggs
2 tsp. (10 ml) baking powder
2 tsp. (10 ml) vanilla
3 cups (375 ml) chopped nuts (optional)

Measure oatmeal, and blend in a blender to a fine powder. Cream the
butter and both sugars. Add eggs and vanilla, mix together with flour,
oatmeal, salt, baking powder, and bicarbonate of soda. Add chocolate
chips, grated Chocolate and nuts. Roll into balls, and place two inches
apart on a cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees (180 C).

The above quantities make 112 cookies. Enjoy!

--Betty Jarra

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


How emotional, how vindictive we get when someone seems to cheat us.
...Looks like your waitress stole a "copyright" and she chose to charge you for it. I have dealt with Neiman-Marcus in Dallas and had found them most co-operative.
Maybe it was really between you and the waitress.
...Seems in Dallas sometime, if you sound the least bit foreign --or even Yankee! servers will try to take advantage of you. Happened to me in a bar. Got overcharged too.
Ah but Dallas. What a clean, sunshiny spanking city in June!

Midnight said...

Combining the above eloquent thoughts, with the tread of your last thread, may I humbly suggest :

"Tired of this town, again...."

-- Tom Petty

"Mary Jane's Last Dance"

PS - I'm gonna try to catch or record the Costello show. Sounds Awesome.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


He's coming to Toronto next month and into August.Tickets surprisngly cheap, at $80 per couple.
You can order online.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Mary Jane's last dance.

Seems I know lots of Mary Janes.

Says old Herodotus when not writing about history:Stick with the easy conquests, or she'll take you right over.

Mona said...

Never heard of him...Thanks for the introduction

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Elvis Costello is a musical innovator. Although he looks something like a rat peering over a fence, he has nevertheless married th gorgeous Diana Krall, jazz singer.
Frankly I find Diana's regurgetated Cole Porter boring, as I now seem to find all jazz--limited audience these days.
But Elvis is the originator,he has that spark, and I guess that's why she married him.

Midnight said...


"Stick with the easy conquests, or she'll take you right over."

Dammit, Ivan, if it wasn't for Kozaks like us, the men of this planet would be all thoroughly pussy-whipped by now, instead of apparently so.

We are here for a reason ; to give Women a REAL reason to LIVE.

May we die in battle! Preferably on the same side.

Anyway, I read very recently, that it was a Kozak, that introduced coffee to the (then) European world.

Hey, being a Kozak, I've never been interested in an abnormal morning surge, unless it was a result my own fiery spirit ; nevertheless, anything I can pour Irish Whiskey into, deserves at least a modicum of my attention.

I lurve coffee ; after a delightful evening meal ; it will never be a reason for me to get up in the morning ; that's what crazy Kozak Chicks are for.

Na Zdorovlia !

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

Ah, but there is the Rusalka, the Loreli that lives by the stream.
Kozak will ride by, and suddenly he is hypnotized, smitten by her elfin beauty.
"Rusalka! Rusalka!" as both horse and man drown in the rapids.

Femme fatale. There is no defence.

...Ask Humphrey Bogart.
Or Sampson.

Midnight said...

Yes , there is no defence.

Nevertheless we ride.

It is what we were born for.

They're counting on us.

And if necessary, we will teach the horse to swim home. And bring back more Horilka.

ivan@c reativewriting.ca said...

Oh well. Perhaps to glean the reward.
Or be like St. John and his Whore of Babylon. Damn, he was hard on that chick.
Was he gay, like Paul?

Midnight said...

Did he ride a Stallion,
or a Mare?

A Fleet Companion,
or did he care?

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...

A.E. Housman:

Malt does more than Milton can
To show the ways of God to man.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Paul probably rode side-saddle, like a Gay Cabellero.
No wonder Saul fell off his horse.

Midnight said...

Did he attempt to re-mount?

Midnight said...

Milton, a fine Scot, would have at least been familiar with, if not actually an engagee, in many honoured Scottish traditions.

For example : Do you know why Scots like to fuck sheep at the edge of a cliff?

The sheep push back harder.

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

What's with the Shchnabel-Babble and cookie recipe? As for Costello, anyone who can sing a ballad suggesting Allison take off her party dress is all right by me.

ivan@creativewritng.ca said...


I guess it's because we are eclectic. Or is it eccentric?

Yeah, the girl defrocked.
Costello saw himself those days as a loser. It was somebody else and not him who was asking the girl to take off her party dress. Costello saw himself more like a loner, stalker.
Well, he's no loser now. He's got Diana Krall.

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


I vaguely remember Costello's virgin album, Girls, Girls, Girls.

Midnight said...

For a slightly different perspective,
there is the song by Mötley Crüe :

'Girls, Girls, Girls'

(Warning : It Kicks Ass!)

Play it LOUD!

ivan@creativewriting.ca said...


Motley Crue can rock it for an old guy. BTW: Elvis Costello was a recent guest performer on Conan O'Brien in the new Tonight Show. One of the first.

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