Question and answer with Elvis Costello
Born Declan McManus in 1954, Elvis Costello grew up in Liverpool. He began his career as a computer programmer, but by 1977 was a fixture on the punk circuit. He has released numerous acclaimed albums and his collaborators include Paul McCartney and, recently, Anne Sofie von Otter
What music, other than your own, last left you sweating?
Gentlemen perspire. Ladies glow. If you are asking what currently puts up my emotional temperature, then I would answer "Blue" by Lucinda Williams (from the new album Essence). If the heat in question is physical, then we are probably talking about some best forgotten dance record. I rarely dance when fully awake.
What purpose does Western pop music serve in the 21st century?
To balance out all the Eastern pop music, so we don't tip right off the planet from all that dancing.
Did you vote? Who did you vote for? If not, why not?
None of your business.
How has the process of listening to music changed you in the last 20 years?
None of my eight-track cartridges fit the car stereo any more.
You're quoted as saying that a Rembrandt self-portrait is your favourite painting. To what degree would you consider yourself a self- portraitist?
I used to be a self-portraitist but somebody stole my crayons.
Great British music: discuss.
Three of the Beatles: Irish. Henry Purcell: probably Irish. Dusty Springfield: Irish. The brothers Gallagher: you can keep 'em. I could go on in this vein but I won't.
Your greatest regret?
Not learning the trumpet.
Your liveliest hope?
Everybody will have a personal jet-pack and all our bodily needs will come in the form of a single pill.
Ellington/Strayhorn. Lennon/McCartney. Rodgers/Hart. Goffin/King. Costello/? Who might your ideal other half have been, and why?
I love your suggestion of "?". He and his group, the Mysterions, made the mighty "96 Tears". So I'll go for him.
You have access to the first working time machine. Where do you go? What do you hope to see?
To see King David and his harp.
Johann Strauss or Richard Strauss? Campion or Dowland? Coltrane or Rollins?
Is this a question about boxing? I'd bet on Richard Strauss and John Dowland but the bout between Robbie Coltrane and Henry Rollins might be a draw.
Do you still intend to tramp the dirt down on Margaret Thatcher's grave?
Love the new Ironic Comedy Baroness, best illustrated by the "cronies, ciphers and the cult of personality" remark. I would prefer to sit in the public gallery during her war crimes trial but a good stake through the heart should suffice.
Which was more important for Liverpool - a Champions League place or their cup treble?
Probably the cup treble. Half a million people wouldn't have turned out to see the team ride round in an open top bus full of money and European air tickets. Cardiff and Dortmund were a wonderful day and night.
That's all folks!
Elvis Costello appears at Robert Wyatt's Meltdown, Royal Festival Hall, SE1 (020 7960 4242), 24, 26 June; Leiber and Stoller Gala Tribute, Hammersmith Apollo, W6 (0870 400 0870), 29 June