“I am happy to accept this very surprising honour,” Costello wrote in a long statement Friday. “To be honest, I’m pretty tickled to receive this acknowledgement for my ‘Services To Music,’ as it confirms my long held suspicion nobody really listens to the words in songs or the outcome might have been somewhat different.”
In a post on Costello’s website, the rocker wrote about his reaction upon first receiving the letter and how he was initially going to turn down the honor; now-former Prime Minister Teresa May recommended Costello for the award.
“I have to admit that my first reaction, upon receiving an [Of His Majesty’s Service] letter was, ‘Oh no, they’ve finally tumbled me,’” Costello wrote. “For those of you who enjoy irony, I was standing in my dressing room, at the ‘Queen Elizabeth Theatre’ at the time. That’s Vancouver, British Columbia, you know. The pink has stained the map all over the world.”
However, upon notifying his mother Lillian MacManus of the O.B.E., Costello reconsidered his stance. “I began my call by telling my Mam that the Prime Minister, Mrs. May, had put my name forward for an O.B.E. ‘But she’s rubbish,’ Lillian cut in before I could complete the news. Well, that aside, I said, ‘Of course, I won’t be accepting the award,’” Costello wrote.
“I didn’t get much further with that statement either. I listened carefully to my mother’s argument that if something is deserved then one must be gracious in acceptance.”