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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