Monday, November 25, 2019

101 Things #30 - The King is Dead

As I draw up my anti-bucket list, 101 Things I Refuse To Do Before I Die, it is often that I must confront head-on the cherished dreams of others. There is no desire to hurt or to score cheap points at anyone else's expense1. It is simply that, sometimes, what is obviously a wonderful day out and the ambition of a lifetime to you would drive me round the twist with frustration and boredom.

Pop music is, well, popular, as you might say, and visiting places associated with its practitioners is an enjoyable outing for their fans. Thus, one of the most popular venues for those keen to get a little closer to their idols is that mansion that used to be the home of one EA Presley. Huffington Post, amongst others, endorses a visit. Naturally I am totally determined, under no circumstances, to

Go to Graceland and pay homage to the King.

It is time for a confession. I did not and do not like the music of Elvis. I was a child during his rock'n'roll era in the 1950s and the pop music of that era went straight over my head. It was all performed by adults for adults (as it seemed to me) and I couldn't understand it. Like any normal eight year-old boy, I found the references to holding hands with, and kissing, girls baffling. Americanisms might have been in a foreign language. People sang about Rocking Around The Clock but they never explained what "rocking" was. And what was behind the Green Door, by the way? Did anyone ever find out?2.

I was a teenager in the sixties, that legendary time when all the excitement came from what we nowadays like to call popular beat combos3, and Elvis' style seemed out of date and out of touch. He was a singer. He did not write songs or arrange the music or play the instruments. All this was presented to him. He interpreted the songs in an inimitable and highly influential style, sure, but if the music doesn't move you then no amount of hip-swinging gyrations from the man at the microphone are going to make any difference.

People may call him the King but I am not one of his subjects. Bob Dylan is more deserving of the title if we talking about the influence of one performer upon an entire genre. But I wouldn't want to see his old home town or anywhere he lives either. The music is what matters. So I won't be paying homage (and a minimum of $41) to see exactly where Elvis cooked his cheeseburgers, or to gawp at his hair gel containers or his vast collection of leather jackets. I shall not be checking in to Heartbreak Hotel to ease my Wooden Heart, no matter what the Suspicious Minds might think. [Enough of the smartsy references, already: Ed] If this be treason then I shall plead the urgings of my conscience. Vive la Republique!

1. This statement is totally sincere and must be taken at face value. Ignore everything else you have heard or read on this matter. This is the operative statement and all the others are inoperative.
2. [No: Ed]
3. Alright, I like to use this phrase, I appreciate that you probably do not.

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