Pharaoh’s tomb

I clearly remember the day Elvis died. I was a little kid playing with my older brother’s friends on our bouncy tree swing in the front yard, and Mike Lowe came over and told us the news. I responded with something to the effect of “I’m happy that old fat man is dead.” By the time I was in high school, I came to the light and finally appreciated him. And now, at this point in my life, I find myself alternately disgusted and heartbroken by him. He seems like the saddest monster America made in the 20th century. Anyway, I found myself in Memphis on this road trip I’m on and really, I found that I couldn’t not go to Elvis’ last home.

Unfortunately, I don’t think I did Graceland right today. All I’ve heard my entire life is how garish and how extreme and how oversized everything is at Graceland, and it didn’t seem that way to me. Maybe I saw this too late – I’m four years older and probably just as fat as Elvis was when he died, bloated and unhappy on a toilet. Maybe I’ve seen too many of his decorating inspirations – for sheer boldness, the Gobbler and Madonna Inn have Graceland beat in a minute. Maybe something happened to me when I came across this place prior to visiting Graceland:

I don’t know. I came out of Graceland with a very different feeling than “this is a garish place.” Here’s what I noticed at Graceland.

Number one, nobody cared what faces Benny or I made on the tour. Everybody on the tour was saddled with headphones and an iPad yoked around their neck.

Next, Gladys Presley was a goddamn underappreciated artist. Here is her bathroom:

Look at the floor tile. Look at the wall tile. Look at that poodle wallpaper. SHE DESIGNED THAT.

Goddamn. Hats off to you, lady. Moving on.

Blown-glass clowns. I would have these if I could find some. Picture is blurry because I think I was mad I do not have these clowns.

I guess I’m going to have to sell a billion records to get those clowns. Oh wait, people don’t do that anymore. Maybe I’ll just have to check out some more estate sales.

Okay, now here is this guy:

Why did they not explain this guy on the tour? I’m only asking because a smaller version of him showed up in the special archives:

Explain the white monkey, John Stamos on my iPad headphone interactive yoke. Oh, I think I forgot to explain: John Stamos narrates most of the iPad tour. It’s weird. I don’t understand the association because I thought he was all Team Mike Love*, and Mike Love seems like the anti-Elvis to me. I know it wasn’t Mike Love on television when Elvis shot his TV set, but it should have been.

The other person speaking on the iPad headphone interactive tour was Lisa Marie Presley, and I’m not sure if this had been done on purpose, but every quote from her seemed to be a terror memory. This terror eventually seeped into the printed signage. Somebody other than me has to have noticed that, nestled amongst the adorable pink striped Jeeps,

there was this placard:

This creepy undercurrent. It was not only in Lisa Marie’s quotes, it was in little corners about the property:

It’s not the boat motor in the corner, it’s the boat motor in the corner with all the hooks in the ceiling. The boat motor and the hooks in the corner of the building that they also used as a shooting range:

And then:

elvisfeathersSOMEBODY EXPLAIN THE FEATHERS. I don’t know. Maybe that’s not sinister, but what is it?

There was more, but I just don’t know how to put it all together. I have some sort of theory brewing that involves the Peabody ducks, but it’s really kind of sketchy at the moment. If I had the fortitude and wallet to go back to Graceland tomorrow, I’d try to flesh this out further. As it stands, I think we need to hit the road and forget all of this.

*Mike Love, not Mike Lowe. I know it can be confusing.


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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I missed some of that. The things hanging in the storehouse/shooting range. Man. I spent a lot of time studying the kitchen. My favorite thing was a light switch with what looked like black grease on it. It was a button light switch, like from the twenties, clearly original to the home. You nailed it in the title. It is a Pharaohs Tomb. But no sarcophagus is there. Well, maybe in that queen size bed on his jet with the seatbelt…oh that bed on the jet. I also expected a larger than life mansion. I was mystified by the humanity of the scale. So normal. So homey. Just walls for a person. Just a regular house, with a deceptively grand entrance. Those lions are tiny! Oh, how 21st Century architectural scales have gotten obese in comparison to the lovely roaring twenties. I have 5% battery, so let me say this: in the Tupelo exhibit, receipts, for furniture, rent..scraps of paper…photos from wallets…And a curious coupon book. For food rations during the end of WW2. With a certain deceased twin listed as living. So. Fucking. Poignant. They were so poor that they used his infant brothers death as a means to more food. I love the truth of that being in the display. That coupon book of ‘welfare fraud’ wouldn’t be in there if less than Lisa currated that shit. I love the bold honesty of that. But yeah. All of it. I was there this summer. I’d go back in a minute. Next time I’m bringing roses to lay down on his grave, sweet pharoah of rock and roll rest in esoteric peace. He was a once in a culture human. And time stopped in that home. Time. Stopped.

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