Monthly Archives: October 2015

Elvis Costello – Unfaithful Music

Driving to a meeting yesterday, I heard an interview with Elvis Costello, talking about his new memoir, Unfaithful Music and Disappearing Ink.  It was fantastic. I’m a huge fan of autobiographies and I’m looking forward to reading this one.  So far, the reviews have been very good.  Geoff Edgars from the Washington Post said that he liked it more than Bob Dylan and Keith Richards autobiographies.  ElvisBook

Here is an part of the book that talks about his famous song “Alison”, which is one of my favorites, and probably one of his most talked about songs….

“When it came time to write and then sing “Alison,” I knew that I’d never create a beautiful sound, as I was very obviously a mere mortal, unlike Marvin Gaye or Al Green or Philippe Wynne of The Detroit Spinners,  as we knew them in England. But it was the Spinners’ recording of the Linda Creed–Thom Bell song “Ghetto Child” that gave me the musical idea for the chorus of “Alison.” I broke up the line “I know this world is killing you” in the same staccato fashion as the “Life ain’t so easy when you’re a …” that precedes that title refrain of the Spinners’ hit.

Other than this, the emotional cues were pretty disguised.

The other song that was playing in my head when I wrote “Alison” was “The Wind Cries Mary” by Jimi Hendrix. It had been playing in there for a long time.

I believed that “Alison” was a work of fiction, taking the sad face of a beautiful girl glimpsed by chance and imagining her life unraveling before her.

It was a premonition, my fear that I would not be faithful or that my disbelief in happy endings would lead me to jill the love that I had longed for.

I have no explanation for why I was able to stand outside reality and imagine such a scene as described in the song and to look so far into the future, or what in the world would make me want this terrible prediction to come true or become untrue.

The name that I chose was almost incidental.

I knew it couldn’t be a name of a glamorous, sophisticated woman, like Grace or Sophia, or a poetic heroine, like Eloise or Penelope. I needed a name that sounded like a girl anyone might know, and “Alison” fitted the tune.

There was never any violence intended in the refrain, just culpability. “This world” that was “killing” the heroine embraced all the circumstances I’d imagined for that nameless girl, a deadening of dreams through betrayal into bitterness. That the singer was the one doing the damage was as much as I could admit.

I look at all the words in the refrain and I still find it remarkable that many people have failed to understand what is being sung after a thousand or more repetitions. Of all the strange slights and underserved accolades attached to my name over the years, “misogynist”  is the one term that I find most bewildering.”

-Elvis Costello, from his new book Unfaithful Music….

Enjoy the book, but, if you can, buy if from a local bookstore.  My favorite is Book Outlet at 69 Lafayette Road, North Hampton, NH.  Their phone number is 603-964-2002.

Matt Becker Portsmouth, NH

Live from Matt’s House

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Guy’s Night (with girls) – Matt Becker

A fun night indeed.  Good food, good music, good friends….  These photos are from this Summer.  Some of my best friends were there, Johnny (and Kim), Jim, Raphael and Bill Benoit (and guest) – and Bill’s niece and boyfriend showed up as well.  This was a perfect “Live from Matt’s House” event.  Food and Music – doesn’t get much better on a guy’s night…  Perhaps the best part of the evening was Bill singing his original, “A Kiss”, or even him singing “Blackbird”.  I’m a lucky guy to be hanging out with such good friends.  Here are some photos of the evening!

Matt Becker Portsmouth, NH

Live from Matt’s House

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Good times!

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EcoGastronomy UNH – Matt Becker

LocallyGrownThe art and appreciation of food….  That is what gastronomy means.

Slow Food…  Food that is produced or prepared with local culinary traditions, using high-quality, locally sourced ingredients.

Put those together and you have EcoGastronomy.  Throw “Live from Matt’s House” into the picture and you get Dan Winans, one of my best friends in life. Dan is the director of the Dual Major in EcoGastronomy at UNH and has taught me more about cooking than anyone else on the planet.  I’ve had a great time learning from him over the past 20 years.  It starting when we worked together at The New England Center in Durham, NH, and continues to this day when I send him a last minute text asking him a question about how to prepare something, or asking about menu choices for a dinner party that I’m planning.

I encourage anyone reading this to click on the hyperlinks above and learn more about what EcoGastronomy and Slow Food really are and what it means to all of us.  I guarantee you will look at a farmers market differently, you will think about it when you see local food and local meats in the markets on the Seacoast, it will be healthier for you and best of all, it will taste so much better.

This weekend, the kids and I were invited to the Winans house for dinner.  It was fantastic.  As you can imagine from the comments above, everything was organic and local.  Great care was taken with the menu, the preparation and the presentation.

The beef below was purchased at Tendercrop Farm, in Dover, NH (where Tuttle’s Red Barn used to be).  At Tendercrop Farm, they raise their own hormone-free and antibiotic-free chickens, Black Angus beef,Dan1 and turkeys, so their customers can be assured that they’re getting the very best quality products.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The meal that we had was phenomenal – local beef, salad from their garden, homemade salad dressing, pan fried corn (right off the cob) mixed with onion and basil, potatoes that were dug from his garden earlier that day – wedged and baked in the oven, and a wonderful dessert – hot fudge pie (see previous post for recipe).  I don’t think there was one single thing left over…

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Here’s a photo of all of us at the table, it was a blast.  Everyone had a great time, ate lots of good food and played outside after dinner.  You can’t ask for much more than that!Dan7

Matt Becker Portsmouth, NH

Live from Matt’s House

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Hot Fudge Pie! Matt Becker

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This past weekend, the kids and I visited my good friend, Dan Winans (who is the Director of the EcoGastronomy Duel Major at UNH) and he and his family cooked a wonderful dinner for all of us.  Chloe’s favorite was this homemade Hot Fudge Pie, and we had to make it the next night!

It was very easy to make… The trick is to take it out of the oven before it’s completely cooked, that will give it the hot fudge texture.

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If you’ve never made a double boiler before, it’s easy to do.  I put small rocks on the bottom of the first pan, so the dish in the boiling water doesn’t touch the bottom.  This way, the chocolate and butter will melt correctly and not get burned!
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And that’s how we make Hot Fudge Pie!  Nice job Chloe!

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