Thursday, October 21, 2010
How to spot a fake Elvis
Elvis is alive and well, as we all know, and living somewhere in the Lake District, but I’ve noticed that there are a number of fake Elvises popping up here and there. Some of them are quite convincing, and it takes a keen eye to spot the difference between the impersonators and the real thing.
I was once booked to play as part of Elvis’s backing band at the County Hotel in Taunton. This was a great honour for a young lad, and I was very excited. We musicians didn’t get to meet the King in advance. He just appeared onstage as we were rolling into Blue Suede Shoes. Wow!
Elvis was in his Vegas jumpsuit period then, sporting the high collars and the silk scarves. I’d heard that he’d put on some weight, so I was prepared for that, but I was surprised to see how short he’d become. Even in his Cuban heels he was only about five foot two. Weird how some people shrink with age. But, he did a pretty good show and I was in seventh heaven. Look at me! I’m backing Elvis!
The place was rocking, and pretty soon Elvis was working up a real sweat. I was standing right behind him, and I noticed his high collar beginning to wilt. As the material became soggier the supporting structure became apparent. It was part of a cornflakes packet! I could see the Kellogg’s cockerel showing through. That’s when the scales fell from my eyes, and I knew this wasn’t the real Elvis. Damn me, it was Squizzy Squires, a local lad, in a suit run up for him by Mrs. Peach who had the junk shop in Castle Street.
Nowadays I’m less naive, and I’ve become quite good at spotting fake Elvises. There’s an Asian one here in West Yorkshire, for instance, who fools nobody. Plus his name kind of gives him away: ‘Patelvis’. I saw another one at a 50th birthday party in the Mechanics Hall, Marsden. He was very good and I know that a lot of people wouldn’t have questioned the fact that this really was Elvis. But I heard his wife nagging him about the central heating, between sets, and that made me a bit suspicious. Later, after the show was over, and Elvis was humping out his PA equipment, I inadvertently annoyed him by closing a fire door he was about to go through.
‘Don’t shut chuffin’ door’, he said, in a thick Yorkshire accent. ‘Can’t tha see Ah’m trying to shift chuffin’ speakers?’ Once again I’d spotted a fake.
Somebody should pay me for this service. I could save people a lot of money, maybe as much as thirty quid a night.