Born in London, Elvis Costello, 63, released his debut album, My Aim Is True, which included the single Watching The Detectives, in 1977; subsequent hits included Oliver’s Army (1979). He won a Grammy for his collaboration with Burt Bacharach, I Still Have That Other Girl (1998). He is working on a new album, and this summer tours the UK. He lives in Vancouver with his third wife, the jazz musician Diana Krall, with whom he has twins.
When were you happiest?
What is your greatest fear?
Being at the top of a volcano and realising I still have to get down.
Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink review – Elvis Costello’s idiosyncratic memoir Read more
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
I’m hoping I haven’t met them yet.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Deploring people and objects.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Sneering possession of ignorant “truth”.
Property aside, what’s the most expensive thing you’ve bought?
A rare Fender Stratocaster – after four lunchtime martinis.
What is your most treasured possession?
What is left of life.
What is your phone wallpaper?
A photo of my late childhood friend dancing with his pet goat, John Foster Dulles.
What makes you unhappy?
The illness or sudden departure of friends.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
I only wear glasses to cut down the looming presence of my Nana Jackson’s nose.
If you could bring something extinct back to life, what would you choose?
A sense of decency.
Who would play you in the film of your life?
Dame Judi Dench.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Something insignificant but nevertheless revolting.
What is your favourite smell?
A coal or wood fire.
Which book changed your life?
A guitar chord dictionary.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
A coalman, for the permission to be covered in dust.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
What is the pleasure if you are guilty?
What does love feel like?
There is only enough air in the tunnel for the two of us.
Have you ever said ‘I love you’ and not meant it?
Probably to a heckler.
Which living person do you most despise, and why?
There isn’t enough paper, there isn’t enough ink.
When did you last cry, and why?
On an aeroplane, watching a terrible, sentimental movie.
How do you relax?
Looking at water.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
Keepin’ Out Of Mischief Now, played by Louis Armstrong.
How would you like to be remembered?
This is of absolutely no consequence .