International Gracelands

The king has come to Lewisham. Daniel Synge braves the fans
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The Independent Culture
it's a long way from Memphis but the spirit of Elvis Presley is alive and well in Lewisham. Bruno Tillander's globe-trotting Elvis museum has already been to 30 countries in eight years, stopping at more than 300 cities for two weeks at a time. It comes to Britain only after earthquake- stricken Japan had to postpone. Tillander thinks that fans will not be put off by the museum's south London shopping centre location to see Elvis's last Harley Davidson, his 1971 Stutz Blackhawk limousine, film outfits and collection of gold jewellery. "Elvis grew up in a similar neighbourhood and is stilll a real working-class hero", he says. "In my experience the exhibition is always more successful in this kind of area." Fans are treated to a walkthrough of Elvis's life from his 1953 high school yearbook and 78 rpm Sun recording of "That's Alright Mama" through to the Memphis newspaper from 1977 carrying the headline, "A lonely life ends on Elvis Presley boulevard."

Marvelling at the rare Elvis records on display, truant-playing Anthony Shore, 13, gives the museum a "ten out of ten" rating. "Elvis has always lived inside me," he says. In a woolly hat covered in Elvis badges, youthful septuagenarian Ida Lipscombe is hoping to find "all the records I lost at parties over the years".

With the addition of two glass-encased guns, a karate belt and honorary police badge - which reads "Elvis loved law enforcement" - some exhibits seem to belong more to a meeting of the Chuck Norris appreciation society, but the crowd jostling around the souvenir stall are a clear reminder that a major gathering of the sideburned one's devotees is in progress, his lopsided smirk sizzling from every piece of merchandise. Just like the initials "TCB" on his diamond encrusted necklace, you can bet that Elvis is still very much "taking care of business".

The $1,000,000 Elvis Presley Museum is at The Riverdale Hall, Lewisham Shopping Centre, SE13, today and tomorrow