Column: Son Of Dave
No-one likes a gossip, especially if you're Elvis Costello and smugger than a child on a big milky tit
Nobody likes a gossip. Well, that’s not true exactly — most people like a gossip. That’s why they read The Sun, watch Eastenders and talk endlessly about that bitch across the street and her 100 fat, smelly children. The difference between news and gossip is that news is public and gossip is supposed to be delivered privately, as it’s a bit more toxic to the individual. Rupert Murdoch, one of the richest men on Earth, makes his billions selling gossip. That wouldn’t be so bad, but morons buy gossip, and morons can be told how to vote, duped into wars and squeezed to fund the dirty games of the rich and powerful. I squirm with delight these days watching Murdoch being carried above the crowd, skinny legs flailing, on his way to be left at the town dump. Silly old shit.
What makes a gossip different from news? It’s hard for most people to tell the difference. If the first thing you report about a character has to do with his sexual habits, chances are you’re just a gossip. I was on tour in the Southern States with a super famous band (who will politely go un-named) when, at the after-show one evening, their drummer blurted out to a big table of players, crew and punters shocking things about their lead singer’s sex and cocaine habits. I stood up and told him to have some fucking respect, and walked off before he might beat the snot out of me. If I need to find out about someone’s dirty doings, I’ll find out discreetly, not help screw someone’s reputation in public.
We gather on The Strand again and I put on the Rupert Murdoch head and dance around for the paparazzi outside the Leveson enquiry. I don’t give a shit about phone hacking. I just want to see power-addicted businessmen and their crooked cop and politician buddies burn for crass manipulation of the working class vote. Call me old-fashioned. A fellow at online protest organisation Avaaz who organised the demonstration points out to me that most newspapers don’t make money anymore. The Guardian, for instance, is propped up by Auto Trader and a charitable trust fund. Rupert’s papers lose money, too. They’re just a link in the chain. The papers add to the illusion that a story is important and true. The big money is made by his television stations and investments affected by politics and war. News and politics controlled by business as usual. Phone hacking is really the least of our worries. Ironically, it’s this dirty scandal that gets people to pay attention to the poison that is News International, rather than the main problem that is crooked cops and back-door dealing in government.
Back in New Orleans, after a long day of sightseeing and bar-hopping, I wandered into Donna’s Bar and Grill for a last one. As I ordered a drink, a violent drunk tall man behind me yelled, “It’s YOU!”, grabbed me by the collar and belt, lifted me high overhead, carried me to the stage and threw me on it. “Now play your fuckin’ harmonica,” he screamed as he tumbled behind the drum kit. It was the same drummer whose nose I’d put out of joint a couple nights previously. We played smashingly, offending everyone in the room. We fell out on the street, arm in arm, and he told me I was absolutely right; that he had been out of order, and that dirt about their singer should be kept private. We became friends and he told me everything.
Would it make a difference if I told you who this famous band was? Would it make the story more meaningful? No, I ain’t gonna gossip. I stand up against that kind of shit-slinging. I respect the man’s superior talent and prefer to point out the gentle and best qualities of a prolific genius who can sing like an angel. It’s not for me to tell you if someone is a dick, refuses to make eye contact even in an elevator, day after day, acts like he is a God above others, and is more smug than an infant on a big milky tit. I have more respect for you than to involve you in my own negative opinions about someone.
The band was Elvis Costello & The Attractions.