chapter  1
32 Pages

Thatcher and Costello: Setting the Scene

Costello was staging Macbeth in the midst of a foam party. Most of the young record-buying public would not be educated enough to understand and appreciate his allusions, and the few that were would not necessarily share his political value system. In formal socio-political terms, Costello could be fairly described as a successful petit-bourgeois individualist. He competed with fellow musicians, but sometimes collaborated with them for commercial or political reasons. Given the dismissals from some of his critics during the 1980s and since, we find no reason at all to query Costello's political or aesthetic worth because of suspected or attributed racism or misogyny. The worst that Costello could be reasonably accused of was low-grade depressive misanthropy, as well as evident arrogance, grandiosity and occasional political hypocrisy in his dealings with others. These are within the range of pride and prejudice familiar to us all, to some degree.