Despite revelling in punk & two-tone during my teenage years, I always steered clear of "guidance" from artists at the time. Joe Strummer effectively cautioned against searching for political solutions from those whose records you simply happened to like & agree with.
However, my admiration for Elvis Costello has, if anything, increased over the years. Quite often, he has, as the Americans say, walked the walk. A month after the Hillsborough disaster he played two nights at Liverpool's Royal Court Theatre. Costello announced on both evenings that all the proceeds would be going to the Hillsborough Fund.
This week, however, it was revealed that Costello will play at Hillary Clinton's 60th birthday party in New York later this month. Tickets start at a cool $250 (£125) & access to a post-gig party will set you back $25,000.
It reminds me of a song Costello wrote for Roger McGuinn, "You Bowed Down":-
"You value the burnt amber of falling leaves,
And long to delay,
When you feel their breath, they whisper,
'It won't hurt you now to betray',
And now every time that we meet on the edge of hysteria,
You're helping them sell off some new party line,
I remember a time when you would have seemed so superior,
Now you say, 'Will you please meet this good friend of mine?"
Now you're in demand, as long as you kiss their hand,
And all the applause is for their name, not yours".
Some might rush to Costello's defence (not that he'd need any assistance), saying that he is supporting a Democrat for the White House & registering his opposition to Dubya & his Republican party. That overlooks the fact that Clinton is far & away the most right wing of the Democrat contenders. In 2003 she voted enthusiastically for the Iraq war. Now she's trying to play down that decision, lest it draw attention to her suspect judgement.
And Elvis? Well, the guy won't be swayed by the bloggers, the music jurnos, etc., but he knows that he has prostituted his name, & once you become a corporate whore, the label sticks. Enjoy your fee, Declan.