Tuesday, 24 November 2009
Who Are You? (Who Am I?)
We are all Elvis now: 8th November
“Was Elvis Irish?” asked Mary Ellen Sweeney in web magazine BellaOnline (the Voice of Women), “With his blue-black hair and bedroom eyes, he could have passed for ‘Black Irish’ any day of the week” she continues. Sweeney cites the migration of Irish men and the difficulties of Ireland’s 20th-century past as the reason that Elvis had such an impact on ‘yearning’ Irish hearts. I don’t think it’s just Ireland – I think that yearning is an important part of his continued success. Elvis seems to fill a hole. Elvis is comfort.
Orla meets me off the bus from Bundoran in Galway. We stop for a Guinness but I’m too hungover and have tea instead. The shop across from the pub is called Wooden Heart. It sells wooden toys. I’m starting to see Elvis everywhere. Walking down the street I see a poster for a chubby Vegas Elvis coming to Galway in late November. In the bar where we eat, Love Me Tender is playing.
In episode 4 of the first series of Father Ted, ‘The Competition’, Fathers Dougal, Ted and Jack win the annual priests’ lookalike contest as ‘the Three Ages of Elvis’ (against Father Dick Byrne’s hilariously disturbing ‘Diana Ross and two of the Supremes’). Ted says, “We are all Elvis now, that’s the problem.” Sweeney may have been writing rhetorically but Elvis genealogists answered her anyway. The Presleys seem to trace their ancestry back to Paisley in Scotland, coming to America in 1745, but then there’s some Irish, more Scots, Norman French, high-class English, Jewish and lest we forget, Cherokee. We are all Elvis now.