Melbourne Herald Sun, June 7, 2010

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This Costello makes Elvis look smart


Alex Howe

IT'S not just Yusuf Islam, the bloke once known as Cat Stevens, who can make a complete idiot of himself venturing into political thought.

When it comes to making a hash of untangling the apparently insoluble complexities of the events of the day, you can do without your chart-issue musician no matter what their background.

Annie Lennox was critical of Israel's actions in Gaza and told a crowd at London's Trafalgar Square that "I was thinking, as a mother and as a human being" - in that screechy Scots accent - "how was this going to be a solution for peace? It doesn't matter which side of the border you are on."

Does too. On one side of the Gaza border are free-voting men and women -Jews and Arabs - taking part in the area's only true democracy.

On the other is a state hijacked by frightful self-loathing Hamas terrorists. For the past three years even Egypt has maintained a blockade against them.

Now, Elvis Costello has come over all guilty at having agreed to perform in Israel.

After all, he's always had a keen interest in the welfare of Palestinians, even if those lyrics from Oliver's Army back in 1978 sounded a little xenophobic: "London is full of Arabs; you could be in Palestine."

He was interviewed about the upcoming shows in Israel.

"My belief is that dialogue through culture is actually essential ... if there's an opportunity to play anywhere where it isn't actually a totalitarian state where you literally have to have the contents of your songs censored," he said quite earnestly.

Then he cancelled.

"There are occasions when merely having your name added to a concert schedule may be interpreted as a political act ... and it may be assumed that one has no mind for the suffering of the innocent," Costello spluttered on his website.

Last month he had told the Jerusalem Post he didn't see the point in such boycotts; it would be like avoiding the US or England because he disagreed with the policies of their governments.

But they are his two biggest markets. Now how much sense would that make?

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Melbourne Herald Sun, June 7, 2010


Alex Howe reports on the cancellation of Elvis' shows with the Sugarcanes on June 30, 2010 and July 1, 2010 at the Caesarea Amphitheatre, Caeserea, Israel.


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