Vox, May 1993

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Vox Record Hunter


An open letter to Mr. Patrick Humphries

Elvis Costello

I always took Vox to be a sort of "Twilight Home for Distressed Rock Hacks," surely all this snide and hysterical language will wake the others and matron will be cross. I know that most of what you write ends up in the cat litter tray, but as this is a monthly publication I feel readers should recognize the dishonesty and distortion in your review of The Juliet Letters. You may say that melodies do not appeal to you or are not good tunes, but you state categorically that there are “no tunes.” Is it therefore a record of silence? You really should try harder to get these things right if you are to make a living at this “writing” business. What is more this is a lie. Your soul is in peril. Repent while you may.

The Juliet Letters is not some devious trick, pastiche or bored experiment, it is a beautiful thing. To “hear it” you need ears and you need soul. But consumed as you are by improbable indignation you do not even have the courtesy to acknowledge that many of the songs were written with or by members of the Brodsky Quartet. Such accuracy would no doubt undermine your neurotic theory that I have somehow betrayed my talent. Yet listening to this record will not somehow magically erase your copy of My Aim Is True. Though your nostalgia is touching you are still a liar. For if there is anything “farcical” here it is the notion of being lectured on structure by someone whose idea of writing a biography is to paste together some old reviews and press releases and publish them along with a few dubious photographs.

If words such as “nadir” and “dismal” are to be bandied about with the same inelegant abandon as “flawed” and, oh yes, “genius”, then spare me your fake pity or at least learn to keep your mouth shut when you clearly do not know what you are talking about.

You will, as always, have the last word but it is unlikely to alter the notion that there is nothing at all the matter with some journalists that a quick slap in the face couldn’t sort out. Not that the thought ever entered my mind. The future lies ahead.

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Vox, No. 32, May 1993

EC responds to the Patrick Humphries review of The Juliet Letters.


1993-05-00 Vox clipping.jpg

1993-05-00 Vox cover.jpg


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