Saturday, 9 August 2008

Thank You, Thank You Very Much!

The afternoon belonged to Gianni...

Having patiently sat through miles of driving, hours of conversation in English and even the occasional non rock n roll song on the car radio - he finally got to pull into Graceland, 58 years after first falling in love - and I can't adequately explain how much Gianni loves Elvis in words alone! - with the music. The torture was carried on a few minutes more when, rather cruelly I felt, the consensus of the group was to have lunch before heading off on the tour. Still Gianni waited tapping a beer mat with increasing excitement, whilst we took an age to get served. Fried banana and peanut butter sandwiches later we were off, through the gates and up the drive to the surprisingly modest looking house.

The tour itself is short and the house is completely decorated in early seventies kitsch - a style which I guess Elvis did more than anybody to help create. I, myself didn't get the ghosts here at all, but it was cool to watch some of the footage of the King in concert. Every now and then I looked at Gianni, face lit up like a child, eyes moving across every room - a video camera recording as accurately as possible every detail, imagination in overload. Here was Elvis walking up the stairs from the games room. Here he was tuning a guitar on the circular chair in the jungle room, here he was helping to make hamburgers in the kitchen...

We left long after all the attractions had closed down and headed back to Beale Street for dinner. Feda and I asked a street band to play anything by Elvis for Gianni. As soon as the first chords hit - he was on his feet, shades in place, taking a pose, left leg shaking and then dancing on his toes, joy all over his face. Everybody in the vicinity turned their heads and began to applaud the happiest 63 year old in town! Thank you, Thank you very much!

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