This morning there wasn’t a headache, well not for me anyway. I think the enormous amount of food I had shoved into my mouth last night (all that South in my Mouth) helped me out of a possibly awful morning. After a breakfast of a terrible cheese omelette that looked like a tiny bright yellow pasty with the consistency of a tired old foam pillow, we were all ready to see Graceland. However, someone kindly informed us that ‘The Mansion’ was not open on Tuesdays. !!!!!!!!!!!!!. ????????. What? Honestly, this is clearly not meant to happen. However, good news is that the surrounding grounds and meditation garden – with grave – are open, so down we trotted.
It is incredibly fresh in this part of the world this morning, a beautiful crisp and bright day, what better way than to meet the King (‘s gravestone). The wall surrounding his Graceland home is covered in names and wishes and expressed joy and love for Mr Presley. It is a long wall, there have been many many visitations. We were greeted by a lovely gate keeper who told us where we could walk, and up the hill we went on this fall-like morning. Orange and brown were the colours of this day/private land. A HUGE nativity greeted us halfway up. I think this was indeed Elvis’ very own nativity ‘set’, he was a generous man, by all accounts, and wanted to share holiday love, so there were gargantuan displays of Christmas-ness a plenty. We approached the Mansion and it was remarkably small. According to the security lady, back ‘in those days’ the sense of grandeur and scale were not as large as our modern expectations and so Elvis built a home that he thought was big ‘in those days’. It is neat and tidy and incredibly well preserved (obviously). We took the obligatory pic/selfie in front of the pillared porch and stared at it silently, imagining him traipsing around in front of his lovely house.
On the way to the ‘Mediation Garden’ – which was built by someone, at some recent time, and managed to get the graves on Elvis himself, his mum, dad and grandmother and his still born twin brother moved to this Graceland location set into said ‘Mediation Garden’ – we walked past two beautiful horses. They frolicked in a playful and, what seemed to the naked eye, dangerous way, with each other and it was a beautiful sight. I wandered why they were there and who really looked after them and I had a lot of questions about the horses, but all the security people/guides, were also so very enthralled by their antics that I didn’t really have anyone to ask and I was also too busy making a bee-line for the grave of Elvis Presley.
Once there, I was overwhelmed by the shrine. A large water feature with a lot of fountains in and a lot of noticeable wiring and ugly pipes making it both serene and terribly inelegant. I was sad to have noticed this, I like to think some people don’t notice these ugly details and just get on with being immersed into the space of death and grave-ness but alas it made me realise how ‘constructed’ all this was. To move people from their original resting places and to then be placed under a whacking great bit of shiny perfect marble with eloquent inscriptions in gold lettering and great fountain-like funfair made me feel sad. It seems insensitive to the dead, all for the benefit of the living. Of course, I understand why it is there and how important that is to people who come here and sit with their hero, and how inconvenient it would be to have to visit Elvis’ house and THEN have to get back in the car to drive to his actual resting place…….I mean, WHO wants to do that…..so let’s just put them all together in a lovely shiny package. Woop. Spiritually I felt very little stood in this garden of meditation with the pipes and the wires and the statues and the gold shiny marbles slabs. Are they even really under there? Anyway, I took the pictures and I thought about Elvis and I thought about how he was one half of a set of twins and that made me sad. I thought of his mum and his dad and his Grandma. This family that were unassuming, who had a son, who sang and touched so many peoples lives and greatly affected music history, amazing.
I say all of the above, but I say it with a full heart and care for the real people. It was magical to be there, I never thought I would ever make it to this iconic place, and I feel so happy and I was so excited when I found out we were going to go there. Uncontrollably so, that when I got the voice message from Maurice on the bus, in London, about this part of the trip, I screamed really loudly, on the bus, in London.
Across the road is where Elvis’ aeroplane, the Lisa-Marie, and his Blue car, are. You can pay to see them when the mansion is closed and then come back and top up your ticket to go and see the mansion another day, apparently, according to the nice lady that told us. She goes there every single day, she doesn’t work there. I just made that up – about her, not the ticket. There is also the shop there. I bought an Elvis flip book of him swinging his arm around and a plectrum with his face on and a TCB badge – Takin’ Care o Business.
We thought we were running out of time so I whisked Pom away from the many things that she wanted to take a long time looking at and then maybe purchase. We made it back to the van on time, and waited. Little did we know that the rest of the band HAD indeed, after all decided to go and look at The Grave. Turns out Charlie and Emily wanted to reenact the scene from Spinal Tap, where David and Nigel tried to spontaneously sing ‘Since My Baby Left Me’. They managed it with aplomb, and it was filmed by Anna. Another wedge of content for the ‘subscribers’ page – which doesn’t exist.
Then, all abroad and off to ‘Ole Miss’ university, in Oxford, Mississippi at the Ford Center for Performing Arts. Another massive venue, another fabulous crew, another large stretch of time, but that is always preferable any other option for a get in. We were staying in the beautiful and imposing hotel across the way and so it was delightful to get back to the hotel for a wee snooze pre show.
As this day was post Memphis day for a large majority of us, we were a little tired and no one seemed to document a single thing, photographically, in Mississippi.
Dinner was served at 17.00. It is so nice to be fed in the venues, the food is always much fresher and includes, as a rule, vegetables. Thank the Lordy. Today there was broccoli, I really love broccoli. We had salad also and (oh my god, we’re driving through Texas as I write this and we just saw a field of ZEBRAS, I AM NOT EVEN JOKING) anyway blah blah, dinner was awesome and we had loads of it. The stage was enormous and we were stretched across it, which was spacious but also perhaps a little too far apart, as the holding hands bit in Coventry Carol was a little more than strained.
Signings as per usual and a wonderful treat to meet everyone that we could. Then, during the get out – wonderfully un rushed as we could walk leisurely back to the hotel, no need to saddle up and pile into the van – I realised that I should have been collecting sticker/back stage passes from all the venues to stick on the back of my tap board. So they fetched me one and I was thrilled and now I wish I had thought of that from the beginning, what a lucky wee tap board to have travelled all this way across the Americles. Anyway, we hopped across to the hotel, and decided to rest this night. We were strangely knocked upon by a gentleman who said he’d worked at the station we had advertised at and wandered if he could take us out to the local bar, but this was a slightly unorthodox way of approaching us ladies, so we declined the offer and had a quiet night cap in Anna’s room, before one by one drifting sleepily off to bed.
God Bless you Elvis.
OH and we got two massive chocolate cakes given to us. THANK YOU x