Donald MacInnes: Elvis's generosity, football bribery and other disappointments


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The Independent Online

In a final act of post-festive laziness, I intend to take one last look at the best of last year's columns. If that's okay with you…

In May, I bemoaned the disparity between what Elvis Presley earned and the pittance accrued by his legendary guitarist Scotty Moore.

When The Pelvis appeared on The Ed Sullivan Show on 6 January 1957, he was paid the then-quite-staggering fee of $50,000 ($420,000 in today's money). Moore, along with the rest of Presley's band, got $78 ($660 today). A not-inconsiderable plate of cheese but, as a fraction of his employer's bounty, it works out at just 0.15 per cent. To my wooden heart Elvis is, and always will be, the greatest of all time. But he could have spread the love around a little…

In June, the imminent World Cup got me thinking about those FIFA bribery rumours.

The English public, of course, have no need to worry about their players taking a bribe to miss a penalty on the orders of some Macau-based syndicate. This is because the England players are true to the ethos of the three lions on their shirts. They also earn hundreds of thousands of pounds a week, so what are you going to bribe them with? A Wowcher weekend for two on the International Space Station? A nuclear submarine? Made of gold?

And then, in the aftermath of the Big Brazilian Disappointment…

As a result of their near-Scottish ineptitude, I expected Roy Hodgson and his cast of capitulating millionaires to be described by the rougher neighbourhoods of the English media as turnips or Brazil nuts or something equally punny. But due to the lack of expectation among Fleet Street's legions – and, oddly, the English public – there seems to be an unprecedented amount of pulled punches among the Filth Estate. Maybe they realise that to get angry and abusive with their players is self-defeating. Or maybe they just ran out of food-based humour.

And just before the Big Scottish No vote in September, I speculated what would happen if my compatriots voted Yes…

Let's pretend that the Queen's immoral Balmoral estate is converted into a sprawling, gothic Centre Parcs, where local children can get pruney fingers from swimming too long. Let's pretend that no more grouse or pheasant will be blasted out of the sky by single-malt-soused hedge fund managers from Three Bridges. Above all, let's pretend that nothing too bad happens to Scotland, as it sashays uncertainly into a new tomorrow. Let's imagine it has become a country that no longer struggles to have its own identity due to the crushing weight of the anti-English chip on its shoulder. Let's, I suppose, hope for miracles.

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