A fortnight ago the young man in the sombre suit punched his last computer programme, collected his final pay packet and, waving goodbye to Acton, he stepped onto the tube train for his last rush hour.
Yep, a fortnight ago Elvis Costello gave up his day job to become a real live pop star. It was a scene from every young man's dream. Keep It As A Hobby Productions "went professional" and Elvis Costello hit the road.
But, as you can see, he didn't hang up his suit, throw away his tie and start growing his hair long. Neither did he turn to safety pins and black plastic bin liners.
Elvis Costello follows no trends. He's an Individualist who dresses like he chooses and speaks his mind at all times.
"Yeah. I'm just me. I'm not part of any movement There isn't any category you can shove me under."
Same goes for this angry young man's music too. His songs are fiery and intense but mysterious too. They have a flavour all their own. Costello scorns yer heavy metal monsters like Led Zeppelin and cracks up over technoflash kings like ELP or Yes. And in an Irish accent as fervent as the Clash's Joe Strummer, Elvis ridicules the new wave too.
"They've all got the same songs, these bands, you know. One about your generation and one about being bored and so on. It's like a formula. I'm not into that I listen to everything from country music to jazz, and I'm influenced by everything I hear. No one song of mine is representative of my style. Every one is different."
That sounds like a refreshing change from all those bands nowadays who pump out the same song for two sides of an album, wouldn't you agree? But that very same variety caused young Elvis not a few heartaches. He couldn't find a record company prepared to sign him up.
"My songs just didn't sound like other songs in the charts. And record companies are so unimaginative they thought that meant they could never be hits themselves."
All except Stiff Records' Jake Riviera who, with characteristic foresight, recognised the potential in Elvis Costello's work. He put the young troubadour into the studios with producer Nick Lowe and various members of that American blue-eyed soul outfit Clover. And Costello's angry bark and two of his biting songs "Less Than Zero" and "Radio Sweetheart" came out as a single back in the spring.
A touch of reggae here, some roaring R&B there, both were good beaty pop songs with strong and thoughtful lyrics. Elvis Costello drew favourable comparisons with such as Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Graham Parker.
And also came in for a lot of criticism. Many said he was just too derivative.
"That was a real disappointment. I knew how unimaginative the business was ... but I didn't realise the media would be just as bad. It seems like there's a new game critics play now. It's called 'spot the influence'. People seem to listen to what a record sounds LIKE, not what it sounds OF. They forget that songs are as much about the lyrics as they are about the music, and they don't listen to the words.
"I don't write instrumentals, I write songs that mean something and are an event. Anybody with any imagination at all can see that And I don't sound like anybody else either. I sound like me. I'll argue the toss with anybody you like that I sound like me."
An explosive character, I bet Elvis Costello gave his workmates a hard time when "Less Than Zero" came out and sank like a stone. But let's hope they'll give him a second chance when his debut album is released on Stiff at the end of next week. Called My Aim Is True it features his second single (a tender love ballad "Alison," now deleted, and his third 'Red Shoes'. It has drawn rave reviews on the grapevine already.
And for those who prefer to see their heroes live and in the flesh, Elvis Costello starts touring next week too, backed by his brand new band The Attractions playing and singing with all the conviction of a man who knows he's going to be a star attraction himself before the summer's through.
Which is all rather a far cry from punching computer cards in Acton, wouldn't you say?