on being someone you are not

Last night in a Spanish bar we watched Elvis sing almost all of his songs ranging from the Glory Glory of the Civil War to one of my favourites The Wonder of You.  As a singer he wasn’t too bad, the backing music was way to loud and he struggled with some of the notes but he did ok.The thing that transfixed me was the audience.

I have seen lots of bands and singers, from those at the top of their game to those slipping down the ladder of success. I have seen lookalikes, singalikes and nothing alikes, and every Elvis I have ever seen was just like this one.   This Elvis had brought his audience with him.  Really, there was 30 odd people of a certain age, who generally thought he was the best thing ever.  Sadly, he seemed to believe them.  He strutted around the bar, his white suit tight in places it really shouldn’t have been.  He crooned, he wooed and he pretty much lived the part. In his head. Holding hands with women gazing into their eyes, it was hard to tell who was loving it more.  Once he had finished he offered his audience the chance to be photographed with Elvis.  A clever trick indeed seeing the King has been dead since 1977.

There was no harm in any of it, he revelled in the attention, the audience lapped up the music, all was well.  After he had finished he went off to get changed and appeared later in shorts and a t shirt. It made me wonder what it must be like to be someone you’re not every night.  Unlike actors playing one role and then another, this man was always Elvis.  Night after night, bar after bar.  I guess is it one way to make a living.

Elvis without his white suit was just a bloke, I wonder how he adjusts from adulation to invisibility every evening. He still strutted around, but no one noticed him anymore. He seemed smaller and somewhat diminished.   He packed his life size posters of himself being Elvis into the cardboard box and settled at the bar to no doubt spend his earnings.

So the question is, is it better to be Elvis some of the time, to taste the adulation and the glory, or is it too difficult to turn back?

I guess we have all pretended to be things we are not at times.  We have exaggerated ourselves, made more of us or less depending on what was necessary at the time.  To do this every night must be a challenge.

We are off to see a Rod Stewart tribute tomorrow, it is all the rage here, Stars in the Their Eyes in the sunshine, I wonder how he will compare to Elvis?

Leave a Reply