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Thursday, 17 August 2006

Elvis Night...

After yesterday's fun and games in the comments box, time for what Bettster would call "a bit old school diary-style blogging". I'll be OK as long as I don't sign for any flowers, I'm told...

Well, it's probably the greatest example of a talent wasted, isn't it? The youthful tyro slowly degenerating into a bloated, drug and booze addled wreck, the musical brilliance of those early years thrown away and in their place the painful stumbling wastrel, a shadow of his former greatness rambling incoherently through the supper club novelty act his once brilliant ouevre has been reduced to. But why dwell on My Failed Musial Career when there's an Elvis Nite [sic] at the PoW to blog about?

It started promisingly enough. I get a call from H. asking if it's still going ahead as he's heard that they have cancelled it because there's an England friendly on (two words to strike fear into the hearts of any true football supporter there - England and friendly..) But a quick dash round to the Prisoner of War (you thought Elvis was tacky? Wait til you hear about the Tenko theme evenings...) and a word to the wise from landlord Mike (who as will soon become clear is hereafter referred to as "Mad Mike") establishes that Elvis has eminently *not* left the building and we have permission to rock (with even the outside chance of a little roll) c. 20.30 hours. "Is A. Radiographer coming?" "Mad Mike" (Eddie Large with a black crew cut) asks as I'm leaving. I knew it was a roughhouse, but I didn't think it was going to be *that* bad. Should he bring his scanner then, I ask...

So, 8.30 comes and H. and I arrive to be confronted by a virtually empty boozer - two lads watching McLaren's men trouncing the hapless Champions of Europe, a blowsy mutton-dressed-as-lamb type in touchingly period stilettos propping up the bar (I hope he doesn't wear them on his post round....[boom boom]) and a sprinkling of just-popped-out-for-a-quiet-pint-before-the-racket-starts types. Encouraging. We chat through the rest of the second half and then I set my gee-tar and little fender champ amp up (did I not mention that I'd brought my gee-tar and amp with me...?) and sit beside Mad Michael's customised digital wheels of steel-type disco set up. I'm just tuning up (this, as anyone who has followed My Failed Musical Career will know) can take hours...days, even...) when I am introduced and the audience is told that I will be playing along with Mad Mike's medley of Elvis tunes.... Great gig - drunkenly playing along to Scotty Moore*

I last about ten minutes - botching the incredibly tortuous guitar solo on "I'm Gonna Sit Right Down & Cry Over You" that Mike has kindly chosen to open with. After a few minutes plonking away tunelessly, I sit back down with H. and Wor Geoff and Wor Graham and listen to the splendidly chosen selection of Elvis toons Mike has sequenced. I am surprised to know that I can remember all the words to almost every song he plays - even (hangs head in shame) execrable stuff like "G.I. Blues". [If you think *that's* obsessive - read on...)

Then A. Radiographer turns up, svelte and humblingly slender looking, suitably attired in his trademark Jailhouse Rock outfit. He's even gone to the trouble of chalking "Number 47" above his lapel and spends the rest of the evening drifting around disconsolately in vain pursuit of Ann Off-duty Nurse wearing the Number three to whom he can say "I sure would be delighted with your company..." We reminisce about the old days in The Urinals (catchphrase: "It's that Twickenham Sound!!!" No, it *still* doesn't work, does it?) Until the beer kicks in and I leap back "onstage" and start vamping the "Mystery Train" riff (it sounds *exactly* like Scotty Moore playing the "Mystery Train" riff when he's pissed out of his knackers, btw) "Mad Mike" joins in and we get through a couple of the Sun Sessions numbers sounding almost barely competent. Then things deteriorate as I foolishly attempt the riff and solo from "Too Much" without the safety net of having someone who knows what they're doing playing behind me while I mime to it. As the last few punters who don't know me have almost filtered out into the aural safety of the night, Mike does his party piece - miming to an a capella version of the song "Let Me", a completely disposable piece of country ho-down piffle from the film Love Me Tender - the idea being that he will lip-synch so effectively that his audience will actually be duped into thinking Mike really *is* Elvis. I know. But the truly mad part is that, if you think about it, to achieve this level of verisimilitude (the effect is quite frighteningly realistic...), he presumably has to practice. A lot. With a *mirror*.

But that's not why he's called "Mad Mike". No, that's because I have a pretty strong feeling that he does not listen to music by *any* artist other than Elvis Presley. When we are left alone together (yes, it does actually sound scary when put like that, I can see that now...) Mike proceeds to show me the contents of the steel container that houses (I'm assuming this is merely a small part) of his stupendous Elvis CD collection. (There is also a vinyl collection and, I'm guessing a tape one too, but these - mercifully - are in Ireland.) He has *everything* - even bizarre self-made CDs of the movie soundtracks (yes, that's right *The Movie Soundtracks*) that he's dubbed off the original movie soundtracks and put on CD. He has an alternate takes version of the L.P. "Girls, Girls, Girls" (that's right - there is a different version of "Song of the Shrimp" out there, Elv. completists...and Mike *has* it). To cut a long story short, I don't get home until 1.30 a.m.

"If you want to be single, it can easily be arranged", S. says coldly from beneath the duvet.

Well, do I?

*The greatest guitar player who has ever lived...

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  1. That post is MASSIVE I'll read it later.

  2. Fantastic post Bob. I wish I'd been there. How's the hangover? talking of late night's and hangovers - Romo For Real 3 up by the way. I'll never be as good as you but it does include a swearing rant about a policeman in it. Yours up yours

    Mother of Arse x

  3. Fuck - some bastard from Cardiff has just read a couple of pages on my blog and the outclick was Bob Swipe Podcast 4 - SO UNFAIR!

  4. And a good night was had by all ?

  5. ...let's just hope the link works Ro-Mo!! Head's a bit better. Just the heart now...

    Is that MASSIVE as in Staines, Ranter? I hope you enjoy it when you do summon up the strength to wade through it. If it's any consoloation, I believe Ulysses by Jimmy Joyce is a fuck of a lot longer...but there aren't quite so many Elvis references in that...

    BB: Well, it was a bit shit being involved on the music (for want of a better word) production side, to be honest. I think I preferred just sitting back with a Pint of Twickenham Original (there's a link on the side bar...) listening to Mad Mike's excellently chosen Elvotheque.

    I wouldn't have minded so much if we'd been properly rehearsed and been able to put on a bit of a show. It was a bit of a damp squib all told. And my other half isn't speaking to me.

    So the answer's no, I suppose, Baggster.

  6. I loved this post. The way you described the setting up and the playing, then sitting down and listening and then the getting up and playing again. I love that. I can always imagine it. I love the excitement and curiosity at the end where you 'discover' all of that Elvis collection. There's something so full of charm about it all. The charm of going in one direction and then ending up in another. Fantastic. What could be more fun?

    You should do a gig for all of us one time.

    And well...long posts...I'm the past master of long poststers! Ulysses gets a mention too. What more could you want? I'll have to see if there anything that could vaguely be referenced with Elvis!

  7. I've always worked on the principle of not letting the sun go down on an argument - if you possibly can. A quiet night in without the new pooter I think Swipe! Use your fabulous wit and charm - it'll be fine.

  8. Well, the sun'll be about the only thing that *is* going down tonight, I can assure you of that Ro-Mo...

  9. swipe, dude-
    1. most of the time i am content to lurk because i seldom have a clue as to what you're talking about and it makes my little fingies tired; all that having to link to The Guardian and Wikipedia and Seales' Rules of Bridge to understand all the cutting edgey references (whimper, kvetch)
    and now on top of everything else you're a musician too?
    feck. i'll just go succumb to altzheimers now, thanks.

    2.whats this about:
    " I share your ambivalence as to her impending success - " about spinsterella, in Tim Footmans comments

    ooo, bigs things in store for Spin??? that rocks! rocks rocks rocks!
    remember-[m out there plumping for you, son. you and her - what a matchup. it'd be epic, i tell you.

  10. If it's any consolation I'm in trouble too for podcasting too much and laughing to myself whilst drunkenly quizzing! I now do it in secret and suddenly have to jump up and run to the other side of the room pretending to do something useful like polishing the granite worktop when 'him that snores like a bison' comes in as it's too shameful to be seen infront of the computer sitting in the same position he saw me in 10 hours previously and until 01:00 the night before! I know how you feel. Oh, it'll be alright. Chin up - anyway you've probably got a hangover which will make it all feel so much worse. Don't forget the bunch of flowers on the way home - and get them from somewhere nice not the BP garage!

  11. cheer you up...I've done a little James Joyce/Elvis piece just for you. If there's a link with Joyce...I'll find it..I hope you like it...and while you're here...a quote from 'Ulysses' that links to Elvis...

    'Her door was open, she wanted to hear my music.' xxxx

  12. And mine isn't speaking to me either. Must be something in the air! Let's just all get together and compare 'sulk' notes.

  13. Firstster:

    Hello, thanks for popping by (google it, it's easier...)

    1) "i seldom have a clue as to what you're talking about"

    And you think *I* do????

    2) re: The Spinster's impending success. Well, it's just wishful thinking on the part of Tim and Me. We know a great blog when we see one because we're Brit. Hipsters. As is the idea that such a gorgeous siren of sexual/litereary splendour as The Spinster ever be *remotely* interested in a pair of hairy ignoramuses as Timster and self. Wishful thinking that is....

    Interesting future post for The Timster (btw - whatever happened to 'Drella'???: Spinster crosses the Trans-Atlantic divide - Bobster does not, and yet we are both singularly *British* blogs, methinks. Why's that? (And if you say because her's is a decent blog and yours is a pile of doggy poop, I'll come over there to Malaya and lay one on yer, big *and* clever as you are....

    Do pop back Firster - just think of it as remedial Colloquial English class...

    (cutting edge? This girl's a fool....*

    * very British Morecambe & Wise reference...

  14. "I now do it in secret and suddenly have to jump up and run to the other side of the room pretending to do something useful like polishing the granite worktop"

    uncanny, Ro-Mo.

    I use precisely the same technique whenever I'm interupted pulling one off.

    Don't you find the new range of polish wipes are just *so* much more convenient than a j-cloth and a squeeze of lemon??

    It's just a phase we're going through, as Bowie probably says somewhere on Hunky Dory.

    I'll try to get #10 up now, but save it for Friday night - it'll be nice after you've sunk a few bevvies and spliffed up (yeah - right!)



  15. It seems I even get blogging inspiration these days from reading about your galavanting in South West London.

    Keep the gigs gives me something to write about.