Sunday, September 09, 2007

Meeting Elvis in Morrisons

Elvis was doing his shopping in Morrisons Guiseley store on Saturday.

I have to say that the years have not been kind on the King of Rock n' Roll, he now looks all of his 72 years, seems to have lost all of his teeth and not bothered replacing them, and I'm sorry to say that at 11am in the morning he was sozzled, a lush, obviously fond of the drink is our Elvis, he was staggering, confused and chewing on his gums - and he stank of beer

He was however very nicely attired in one of his Vegas stage suits, in fact it was one identical to the joke Elvis in the photo, but the real Guiseley Elvis wore a gold spangly cape too as he staggered down the aisles with his shopping trolley and dog on a string.

I'd loved to have stopped and chatted to him, asked him how he was finding life in Guiseley, if he resided here for anonimity's sake, perhaps avoiding punitive tax regimes in the deep south of America, asked him if he still sang, maybe in pubs of a Friday night, and of course remind him that our lives have crossed paths once before...

...way back in 1974 it was, February of 1974, when the 17 year old me found myself on a family holiday in Las Vegas at a time when most folk in the UK thought that a fortnight in Cornwall was the absolute limit of navigation capability for your average Briton.

We were there by a fluke, coincidence, chance and being in the right place at the right time, ten days in Las Vegas for £7 each, staying at the Flamingo motel (a slightly down market Bates Motel stylee building in the car park of the famous Flamingo) where Mama Cass was heading the bill just a few short months before she would hockle herself to death on a sandwich in London.

Diana Ross was over the road at Caesers Palace and Elvis was performing daily at The Hilton.

All of these once famous acts of the 1960's had one thing in common - in 1974 no-one wanted to know them, their chart careers were washed up (although Diana Ross made a comeback in 76) and Vegas offered a wage and another opportunity to bask in the spotlight that had now moved on to glam rock.

The most suprising thing about every act at every hotel in Vegas was that they were by and large ignored by the punters, entry to the auditoriums was free, provided that you walked through the casinos first, and people would drift in and out whilst the "turns" were performing - gambling was the big attraction, has-been singers were a definite second choice for entertainment value.

So it was that my dad and uncle Ralph found themselves in the Hilton one night and had a free ticket to see Elvis in the main auditorium thrust into their hands, with nothing better to do they wandered in, watched Elvis for a couple of songs and wandered out again, my dad remarking that "he wasn't bad but I've seen better at Harehills Working Mens Club" - the most important event of the evening was not seeing Elvis in the flesh but Ralph finding a $50 bill outside the hotel on the taxi rank and being quicker to pick it up than the taxi rank marshall who wasn't to realise that he was dealing with a true Yorkshireman in my Uncle Ralph, no-one would have got to that curency faster than Ralph, no-one.

I wanted to remind our Morrisons Elvis about his Vegas years but he was having trouble hearing what the lady on the cooked meats counter was saying to him, he's deaf now as well as drunk, toothless, unshaven and smelly.

Such a shame, but his stage outfit was spotless.

Spoiled by the Poundstretcher trainers, but still


Dan said...

Don't be stupid. Everyone knows Elvis lives in Dewsbury.

Gary said...

Thats Elvis's brother, Ron.

DJ Kirkby said...

That is amazing, hilarious and amazing. Her Indoors (on my blogroll) will be very excited to know you saw the REAL Elvis as opposed to the Poundstretcher trainer Elvis. Must nudge her to come visit here.

mal said...

pity Elvis next time you see him. Can you blame him for being a drunk? Its hard living in those flying saucers. The door jambs are too low....

mal said...

Sooooo,,,being an ignorant Yank and all, are Yorkshire men noted for being tight fisted? How do they compare with the penurious Scots we hear about?

her indoors said...

LOL as DJ Kirkby said i was excited, well nearly, think its them £1 trainers that put me off!

Gary said...

mal : Elvis seemed quite happy staggering around Morrisons and the Morrison staff were happy to stand and point at him - everyone wins, Elvis lives and still entertains.

And tight ? The rest of the country would have you believe that a Scot is just a generous Yorkshireman but of course we rigorously deny this, we prefer the word "careful".

her indoors : those trainers seem to have given him years of service and the elastic bands that now hold them together are also soing sterling work, its Poundstretcher all the way for me, just ask for the Elvis endorsed trainers whilst winking, they'll understand.