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Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink

Narrated by: Elvis Costello
Length: 17 hrs and 50 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (150 ratings)

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Summary

Penguin presents the unabridged, downloadable audiobook edition of Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink, written and read by Elvis Costello.

In a career spanning four decades, Elvis Costello (born Declan MacManus) has made himself a huge reputation through his tunes, lyrics and occasional bad behaviour. Now, for the first time, he is telling his story.

From miming on Top of the Pops to becoming one of the industry's elder statesmen, Costello's memoir - which he has written himself and will promote assiduously - is a one-man history of British music.

A warm, deep and surprisingly funny insight into an amazing life, it is rich with anecdotes about family, musicians and the creation of his famous songs.

©2015 Elvis Costello (P)2015 Penguin Books Limited

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  • Colin
  • WATFORD, United Kingdom
  • 04-05-16

A Must for Music Lovers

The cover of this title shows a 20-something Costello relaxing on a hotel bed, guitar in hand, notebook lying close by, waiting his turn to hit the stage with his band The Attractions. And this turns out to be a very apt picture, as the tone of this excellent book is very much in the style of a casual conversation.

Rather than tell his story in chronological order as you might expect, Costello instead looks at the components and aspects of his long career in which the telling of one story triggers a memory of another one and so he digresses for a minute before returning to his original theme.

For instance, he talks of his father, a professional session singer and long-time member of the very popular Joe Loss Orchestra. As he tells the story of how he would spend some childhood Saturdays watching his dad work the afternoon crowds at the local Locarno Ballroom, he is reminded of a time years later when he and his band ran into his dad at 3am at the Blue Boar Services on the M1, a popular stopping place for working bands after a hard nights playing. Whilst recalling his initial recording experiences in the late 70s, he is reminded of how his dad was booked to sing the “R Whites Lemonade” theme tune for a TV ad (“I’m a secret lemonade drinker”) and how Costello himself, only a teen, was roped in to provide the now famous “R Whites” chant on backing vocals.

Train journeys similarly evoke memories for him, be he on the way to an important meeting with his record label, a court appearance following a publicity stunt that went wrong, or simply going home for Xmas. The overall effect is of listening to Costello tell tales whilst he sits on a hotel bed, strumming his guitar. It’s very engaging.

I was also surprised to find that Costello was not the snarling, punk wunderkind portrayed in his videos, but actually preferred listening to Crosby, Stills and Nash and Joni Mitchell, as he held down a series of day-jobs to support his wife and young son whilst all the time dreaming about, and working towards, a far different future.

Costello does a first-class job of the narration, and keeps the listener engaged throughout. At the time of writing this I’ve not yet finished the book, and am very much looking forward to my commute home for an opportunity to pull on my headphones, shut out the world and catch up on the next chapter.

Very highly recommended

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Needs staying power

If like me you know little more about the author that his late 70s early 80's career with The Attractions then you're in for a real eye opener.
Liked:
The narration by Elvis,.He's a great storyteller and has a relaxed, understated style that's easy to listen to. Needs to be as the tome is over 18 hours!
What I learned about the myriad of musicians that Elvis worked with and their music.
Discovering the broad talents and considerable reputation of the man himself.
The book isn't linear, it jumps about all over the timeline making it like a long chat with the author. 18 hours of 'next...' would have been tough.

Negatives
Many rambling sorties off track that just didn't hold my interest. Towards the end there's several minutes of something approaching a short story that seemed to have no context. It's pure self indulgence and happens too often, hence 18 hours of book! I wanted to ffwd too many times but resisted the urge to do so.

Overall it's a great insight in to what made the man. it's all about family and music, swerving any muck raking surrounding relationships and substance abuse. Stick with it's one for the music lovers.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Nicky
  • Southampton, United Kingdom
  • 04-11-15

A fascinating account of a creative life

A huge fan of this talented and passionate musician, this honest and entertaining account of a driven creative had me glued to my i pad for a week. Read by the man himself and peppered with his lyrics and short stories it gave a very personal insight into his inspiration and obsessions and provided a fascinating historical context for his musical outputs.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Spectacle!

Fantastic book written and read perfectly by Mr. Costello.
I particularly enjoyed his vocal delivery and impressions.
When telling the story of his father's passing, hearing the emotion and hearing Elvis' voice slightly crack, brought a tear to my eye.
I do home Mr. Costello continues writing, as I'd love to hear him read another audio book.
A superb memoir.
Highly recommended!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Great book --- Well almost

I was around when he was at his peak so this book looked like a brilliant investment, and for many an hour it was,, some good stories and brilliant humour, THEN---- Confusion.
Lots of Confusion,,, he began talking about the 80's for a while then he was 15, then he was talking about NOW,, and within minutes we we in the 80's again then recording with paul mcCartney and then he was a kid.
THIS is the point where I needed to lie down,,, his life and story are superb to listen to however you need a road map and a miners helmet to keep up to the story and GOD forbid you listen while driving as I do because I lost whole sections of the story as he jumped from one time to another then mentioned 2 people,, then he mentioned some more people
OK that was it I was lost with little interest in the outcome or where the hell I was within the story.
YES it is a good listen but the latter part of this book got so jumbled I GAVE UP listening

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Great Stuff

Narrated by the man himself.
Great stuff. Very comprehensive.
lots of good insights to background album info

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  • David
  • Staffs England
  • 25-01-19

Elvis Costello in his own words

I have loved hearing the music of Elvis Costello for many years enjoying the lyrics and many styles. This is Elvis Costello in is own words talking about his life and how the songs came to life. The narration is relaxed and casual telling his story in a non linear way. You get to know the man inside the legend. Both enjoyable and enlightening.

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  • Wrax
  • Bristol, England
  • 21-09-17

A fan can't ask for more.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Elvis Costello as dictated by the great man.

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    5 out of 5 stars

Genius

Completely changed my opinion, a most impressive story well and honestly told . I am listening back to those old albums with a new appreciation

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A superb biography for music lovers

A lovely biography passionately read by Elvis Costello himself. Wonderful stories and heartfelt memories.