By Clark Collis
Updated February 28, 2009 at 05:00 PM EST
Elton John, Elvis Costello
Credit: Scott Gries/Sundance Channel

Elvis Costello has a rep for sometimes being a tad prickly. But, the one occasion I interacted with the man, he couldn’t have been nicer.

This was back in the mid-’90s, when I was working in the U.K. for a music magazine and was enlisted to do an evening “phoner” with Costello about the rerelease of his mighty King of America album. I spent the afternoon interviewing British rockers the Charlatans –- or Charlatans UK, as you may know them here. Eventually, the interview turned into something of a drinking session and, in the interest of continuing my Charlatans “research,” I opted to stay in the bar with the band rather than go back home to chat with Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus. When I eventually did return in the early hours of the morning, my female roommate informed me that Costello had called on no fewer than three occasions. The third time, she reluctantly informed the author of Oliver’s Army that it was likely I was out boozing with the Charlatans. Costello’s response? “If I had the choice between talking to me and drinking with the Charlatans, then I would definitely not choose to talk to me.” (I actually did do the interview with him the next day, during which Costello mercilessly, but not nastily, mocked my hungover condition.)

Where’s all this going? Well, nowhere really. Except that this afternoon, between 3 p.m. and 6 p.m., the Sundance Channel is showing a mini-marathon of Costello’s recent music-oriented chat show Spectacle, which reconfirmed my belief that the singer-songwriter is one affable guy. I highly recommend that you watch the shows (guests include Smokey Robinson and Jenny Lewis). Though, if you decide to go for a (responsible!) drink instead, then I’m guessing Elvis probably won’t mind too much.

addCredit(“Scott Gries/Sundance Channel”)