There is a dispute raging at the moment over whether Elvis Presley ever paid a proper visit to this country.
Veteran singer Tommy Steele recently acknowledged a story that he took Presley on a secret tour of London. But Lamar Fike and Marty Lacker, two of Presley’s inner circle of friends, insist the King never travelled to England.
Well, let me tell you, it is a little known fact that Elvis did indeed come here. He visited the East Midlands at my invitation a month or so just before he died and he really enjoyed his little self. He stayed with me and Nelson in Derbyshire for a week and was thrilled for us to show him around the muddy highways and byways of the exciting little coal-mining towns and villages of the area.
It was slightly awkward at times because I was only a small boy back then and we couldn’t get into certain places because of my age. Elvis was keen to sample as many of the local ales that he could get his famous lips around but he was disappointed on a few occasions.
The Saturday he arrived, he insisted on watching Alfreton Town Football Club play a seventh round local league match against Bentinck Harriers on the colliery sports ground. Afterwards I suggested that we go for a lunchtime pint in the Lamb and Whippet but the landlord refused to serve us. Elvis threatened to smack his head in but Nelson and I managed to calm him down. ‘Leave it, El,’ I remember Nelson saying, ‘He’s not worth it.’
On the Friday evening, we managed to get into the Pinxton Miners’ Welfare And Working Men’s Club where Elvis enjoyed a round of darts and a game of bingo with the locals. Later, he helped himself to three portions of steak-and-kidney pie and mushy peas (smothered in vinegar, of course – he did like his vinegar, did Elvis!). ‘Eee, that were lovely that were, me duck,’ he said, licking his chops. We did laugh.
It was sad to see him go.
No.11 Your art teacher will introduce you to the dubious delights of Newcastle Brown Ale.
You will drink 14 pints of it in the Red Lion whilst trying – rather clumsily – to impress Sally, the new girl from Nottingham High who looks so goddamn regal, you will feel that you should take her knee and kiss it.
On the way home, you will shout at buildings.
On the Fantastic hi-fi today:
Almost Everything – Enormous
Armed Forces – Elvis Costello and The Attractions
A zombie was desperately trying to affect entry into the house this morning at 2am.
It was Nelson. He was very much the worse for wear because he had obviously been drinking all night again. (I think he had been celebrating Tony Blair’s imminent announcement of his plans to stand down as Labour leader and Prime Minister of Great Britain.)
‘Lost my shoes, madman,’ I think he said – though it could have been anything, really. ‘How are you, Laddie?’ for instance.
He was indeed missing his footwear. I assumed that he had discarded his shoes as he was stumbling home, alone.
‘Oh not again, Nel. How many have you had?’ I asked him.
‘Gerra blersh marsupial foo-harni,’ he replied in earnest contrition.
Luckily, he wasn’t raging. He fell in love with the sofa, though, and it took all my strength to bundle him upstairs and into the spare bedroom.
‘You hate me, don’t you?’ he managed to whisper to me as I tucked him in.
He is still snoring and farting away merrily upstairs as I type this. Later, after he surfaces, if he has any wonderful news for us, I shall of course report back.
On the Fantastic hi-fi today:
Dino: The Essential Dean Martin – Dean Martin
Entertainment – Gang of Four
American Idiot – Green Day
I have just consumed a whole family-sized tub of Häagen-Dazs Double Chocolate Chip Ice Cream. Again. (I didn’t mean to.)
It is often said that laughter is a great tonic; well, so is ice cream. However, I am now staring at my extended gut in my full-length mirror and the laughter – ironic though it is - is exuberantly loud.
It is me who is laughing: I am laughing my bloody socks off. Why? Because I am thoroughly disgusted with myself. I have just polished off, in one greedy sitting, enough delicious melting ice cream to feed a family of four. Not funny: laughable.
I have an excuse of sorts – though it is rather a predictably pathetic one.
Comrade Graham Boffey, the adroit drummer from Enormous, and I were out celebrating on Saturday evening. We met up with our very good friend, David Graham, who used to be the bass-player for Slaughterhouse 5, the band that all three of us were in about ten years ago. It had been that long since we last saw David, and we had a lot of catching up to do. We also had, as it turned out, a lot of beer-drinking to do. (For my part, I also had a lot of ogling to do. All the bars that we visited were full of very pretty girls – and being single, and as I haven’t been out very much recently, the sight of them was music to my eyes. Alarmingly, I even started to feel quite fruity at one point and had to hastily quaff more frosty beer, in order that my rather obvious and increasingly over-heated sexual angst be calmed.)
It was a great night, and yes, I’m afraid I let my resolution slip somewhat, becoming dramatically inebriated as I did. I even ended up, in the early hours of Sunday morning, walking home along three or four miles of dark and muddy footpaths, eventually getting lost, and ended up sleeping drunkenly in a ditch. (Last part not true, but when I did eventually return to my lodgings, covered in dirty sods and oily stains, I must have cut rather a dashing figure as I stumbled in over the threshold on all fours and greeted Audrey with a burpy kiss.)
Rehab? At my age, one is simply forced to sleep off the effects of over-indulgence for about 36 hours. Problem is, for a couple of days after that, I crave ice cream – well, anything sweet, really – but ice cream mostly. However, that’s definitely it for now – until the next time, which won’t be for about four weeks. I promise.
Watch this space, Häagen-Dazs lovers. Oh, and: Cheers!