ELVIS: JUST OVER ONE-QUARTER SELF-CENTRED
Sunday 17 August 1997
June Juanico's Elvis: In the Twilight of Memory (Little, Brown pounds 15.99) is the most impressive. Juanico's credentials are hard to beat: she went out with Elvis for two years as an unsophisticated Biloxi teenager, while he was an up-and-coming star. The usual teenage problem of will-he-ring was intensified in her case, as Elvis had a habit of going on tour and plunging the relationship into limbo. But her book is full of charming memories: the first, chaste date (all their dates were chaste); Elvis's habit of grabbing her and playing her like an upright bass; Juanico shelling peas alongside Elvis's adored mum, Gladys; cutting her foot on his motorbike and having him gently wash the blood off ("Damn, June, has anyone told you you have pretty feet?"). But he spent more and more time on the road, and finally she read that he had started seeing a showgirl. On the rebound, Juanico also started dating, fell in love, and got engaged. When a telegram arrived, summoning her to Elvis's side once more, she determined to break with him. In The Twilight of Memory is an unaffected memoir, with some great pictures (above, Elvis dancing in Juanico's family home in Biloxi; right, jamming with bongos and piano).
Pete Silverton's Essential Elvis (Chameleon pounds 12.99) is not without flippant charm. A song-by-song analysis of the canon, it keeps tongue firmly in cheek with its accompanying A-Z of Elvis: K is for Kalamazoo, the first place Elvis was spotted after his death (by 50-year-old mother of five, Louise Welling), and, under "I", an analysis of songs with the personal pronoun in the title gives Elvis an unofficial Solipcism Index of 0.26. "In other words, Elvis was just over one quarter self-centred." Maybe Juanico would have something to say about that.
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