Saturday, February 16, 2008

"Blue Harare"... Elvis in Africa


I'm back, by popular demand. Ok... by the demand of one of you "The one from Nambia", whoever you are. See, all you had to do was ask, Legion of Fans.
As I sit here, thinking of devious ways to make Mrs Blog think I am actually working hard on finishing the Epilogue for my next book, the Silent Predator, I am listening to a simply superb CD entitled “Elvis at the Movies”.

Publication day approaches and we already have a title – Silent Predator - and, as attentive readers will note from my last post, a very fetching cover. But no ending. I should definitely not be listening to Elvis songs and blogging. I wonder what Elvis would do in my situation? Probably break into song, I suppose.

I’ve drawn inspiration from the late Mr Presley all my life.

Mother Blog introduced me to Elvis movies at a tender age. I've been a fan of His cinematic endeavours ever since those pleasant nights when she and I would stay up late watching old Elvis flicks while waiting to see if the late Father Blog would survive another nightshift working as a barman at the toughest pub in Sydney’s south western suburbs. (He came home – or rather didn’t - one Christmas Eve with a broken jaw, courtesy of a biker with a pool cue).

Elvis was a fine role model and he and his movies offered many lessons for impressionable young boys. He served his country proudly (and picked up a teenage bride in the process); punched many a baddie cleanly in the jaw (no need for pool cues); knew how to deal with stubborn, opinionated women (put them over Your knee and give them a spanking); and got it on with a nun (Mary Tyler-Moore in ‘Change of Habit’).

Yes, He was a man among men, and I wanted to be Him. Still do (young Elvis, of course, not old, fat jumpsuit-wearing Elvis).

Elvis actually nearly caused Mother Blog and I to crash the family car once. Whenever He drove a car in His movies He moved his hands (in the ten-t0-two position) vigorously to the left and right. Of course, He wasn’t actually driving. He was in a stationary car, with a film of a streetscape or country road playing on the screen behind Him and a buxom starlet beside Him. When Mother Blog was teaching me to drive, at age 16, we tried a little controlled experiment to see how long you could actually drive like that, wiggling your hands left and right. An oncoming semi-trailer put an end to the experiment.

I practised my arm-windmilling and air-guitar technique in front of the TV for nights on end, and, as I grew older, worked tirelessly on my hip swivelling.

Sadly, by the time I reached my late teens I realised I would never be able to grow sideburns (still can’t) or sing. That never stopped me from trying, though. Every time I’m in Africa I try to grow sideburns, and I sing most days. Badly, but with gusto.

Elvis made many movies set in exotic locations – Hawaii, Germany, Mexico, and Kentucky, to name but a few - so it may have been He who inspired me to travel extensively later in life. (Of course, Elvis didn’t actually travel to any of these places, He just jiggled up and down along a sound stage while lavishly-shot films of these locales played on a screen behind Him).

What a shame, then (or “Ag, Shame,” as my leading South Efrican lady, Sannie van Rensburg says far too often in the soon-to-be released Silent Predator) that Elvis never made a movie set in Africa.

So where, in what period, and about which issues, could Elvis have sung and danced in front of Africa’s many stunning backdrops?

What if Elvis made a movie version of Nelson Mandela’s life? It could have been called “Long bop to freedom.” Picture The King in Jailhouse Rock prison Denim, a modern day freedom fighter, incarcerated for His noble political beliefs and immoral sideburns on Robben Island, sharing a cell with Mandela.

"Nelson, ahm, hee-uh to hep ya, in yo struggle agin thuh evil fawces of Eh-pah-tired, man." (Rests hand on Madiba's bony shoulder, shakes curl from forehead, points out across the waters towards Table Mountain and breaks into song).. "Yoooooo've, gotta folla that dream wherever that dream will take you......."

Or Elvis in modern-day Zimbabwe….

In the pitch black of yet another night without electricity Elvis flicks a cigarette lighter (as do a large ensemble of attractive young ladies of all hues around him) and breaks into the title track “Niiight and yoooooooo, and blue Ha-rar-e…”

In a sequel to his seminal motion picture on stock car racing, “Spinout”, new-age Elvis could star in a pic set in contemporary Johannesburg against the backdrop of the city’s minibus taxi wars. “Shootout” would feature His Majesty gripping a steering wheel, white knuckled, in one hand, and an AK47 in the other, weaving in and out of morning traffic, bumping yet another busload of rival commuters off the road.

Perhaps a bio-pic on new ANC President and noted polygamist Jacob Zuma, reprising that other great facts-of-life-for-young-boys epic, “Girl Happy”? We’d need a new song for a new age, perhaps Old Fat Elvis in Zulu makeup singing “Do the shower – vigorously” in order to wash away life-threatening sexually transmitted diseases.

What about Elvis sporting a Germiston mullet (Germiston, a suburb of Johannesburg, I learned from a book in Muriel's toilet on my visit to her country home near Cape Town, lays claim to being the home of the mullet, that iconic hairstyle pioneered by Billy Ray Cyrus) in body shirt and stone-washed jeans playing the slot machines in “Viva Monte Casino”.

Elvis, as a country boy at heart, would have loved the wide open spaces of the Karoo. I can see him now, on horseback, guitar rested across the pommel of his saddle, making his way slowly back to the ranch in an Afrikaner farmer’s two-tone shirt and short shorts strumming and singing: “I can’t help, falling in love, with ewe.”

6 comments :

Java said...

Wow, after all that what can I say, Elvis have left .. the... Africa?

ali g said...

Whew..was beginning to think Elvis had left the building!

ali g said...

Jeez Java 2 seconds ahead of me... really didn't copy you ...honest injun..

redcap said...

You should probably thank your lucky stars you can't grow sideburns, old sport.

And I think Elvis would have been as freaked out by Monte Casino as I was. That place just ain't natural! I'm not sure what bugged me more - the fake pigeons in the fake trees or the big knickers hanging from the overhead washing lines.

Java said...

Ali G, at least your grammar is better than mine! Love the duck!

ali g said...

*Duck? duck? you're not referring to my cat's bottom pic where he's waving his tail are you???