First of all, may I thank you for the review of my son's LP ("Elvis Costello in Love and War," RS 287). It is the most perspicacious of all the reviews in any paper (and I have the cartoon of "El" framed on my wall!). "Oliver's Army" is an important track for me, and your reviewer, Janet Maslin, so quickly picked up on the "white nigger" significance. My grandfather was an Ulster Catholic, and as a child, I lived in an area where bigotry was rife. So we are those white niggers.
This brings me to the disturbing reports that I have seen branding Elvis Costello as a racist. Nothing could be further from the truth. My own background has meant that I am passionately opposed to any form of prejudice based on religion or race. And El's mother and I were both branded as hotheads and Marxists or anarchists.
So you can see that we don't have any chic, white liberal attitudes (and El has publicly despised the latter many times). This is the water that Elvis has been born and bred in, and he swims in it as naturally as a goldfish. His mother comes from the tough multiracial area of Liverpool, and I think she would still beat the tar out of him if his orthodoxy were in doubt.