Elvis plays benefit concert for striking seamen
Melody Maker, 1988-05-14, p3


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ELVIS COSTELLO played a benefit concert for striking seamen last week, after making a deal with unofficial pickets who were threatening to hold up musicians on their way to the Shetland Folk Festival.

Costello, who was appearing at the festival, was due to travel with other artists from Aberdeen to Lerwick on the St Clair. However, the sailing was delayed when two members of the crew walked off and joined an unofficial picket line organised by oil-supply boat crews in sympathy for NUS colleagues on the Channel ferries.

An NUS spokesman said Costello approached the picket line in Aberdeen and promised to play a benefit concert for the seamen if the crew would make sure the musicians going to the festival were not held up.

The two St Clair crewmen who had joined the line returned to the ferry which finally arrived on time in Lerwick.

Costello returned to the mainland and played the benefit at the Aberdeen Music Hall.

He said at the time: "I agree with the NUS side of things and anything we can do to get publicity for them that is not written from the point of view of showing them as bloodthirsty pickets must be good. I spoke to the pickets and they are just ordinary blokes trying to protect their jobs.

"They were good enough to allow the boat to sail so we could get up here, and I think it only respectful to do something for them. All you read in the Tory press is that they are madmen, but they're not. The Government are the swine not these men."