Elvis Presley’s birthday just passed, and it was a big deal – a significant birthday! – cos had he been alive today, he would have been about 1,765.
I admire Elvis like everyone should. Perhaps more than most, because I appreciate the fact that the Elvis we formerly considered ‘daggy’ – ’70s Elvis; Elvis when he was fat and forty instead of thin and thirty – deserves far more respect than he used get. We know now that musically speaking Elvis’s later oeuvre was far more sound. (Go. Get the CDs. Listen.)
But I was six when Elvis died. So I have no vital memory of how his life – or music; or death – affected me.
My most vital Elvis-related memory took place in a glorified pub. It was the Bank Hotel in Newtown, late one night in 1995. I was sat with a big group of friends when a guy dressed as Elvis wandered past our table.
By ‘dressed as Elvis’, I mean, clad in a body-hugging, rhinestone-encrusted, flared white jumpsuit. But that wasn’t all: he also had an elephant mask on.
Why was a man dressed as Elvis with an elephant mask? Perhaps it was a comment on white-jumpsuited Elvis’s size, perhaps. As the Doug Anthony Allstars’ Tim Ferguson used to say at the beginning of their song ‘Dead Elvis’: ‘he was big in the ’50s; he was bigger in the ’60s; he was bloody huuuuuge in the ’70s…”
Perhaps he was somebody’s birthday present: an elephantasy Elvis-a-gram.
Or seeing as we were in Newtown, perhaps it was just another colourful local going about his business.
It didn’t matter why – the important thing was, you can’t really catch sight of a guy dressed as jump-suited ’70s Elvis with an elephant mask and not make a comment. Not even in Newtown. But he was making his way past our table, so I only had about 30 seconds, tops. And nobody else seemed to be reacting. I was going to have to be the one to call it: to point out the elephant – dressed as Elvis – in the room.
But what do you say?
It has to be Elvis related, and yet, also elephantine.
So what’s it gonna be?
Time’s running out.
It’s now or never.
Could I make the call before he passed?
He’s got a trunk, a trunk o’ burnin’ love!
Just a trunk, a trunk o’ burnin’ love!
Did I sing it?