Another body of opinion on the King

Share
Related Topics
Today I am proud to bring you an exclusive interview with a leading expert on the late Elvis Presley, Jerry Bonaventura. Jerry is over here from his naive America to publicise his new book, Elvis Presley - The Posthumous Years.

Welcome to Britain, Mr Bonaventura.

Thanks very much. Incidentally, I am over here from my native America, not my naive America, as you just said.

I am sorry. It was just a joke.

I appreciate it. Especially as I am a Canadian.

You're a Canadian?

Yes. I think you'll find that most of the most important and influential figures in American public life are of Canadian origin.

Bill Clinton isn't Canadian.

My point exactly.

(FOR GOODNESS SAKE GET TO THE POINT! - ED)

Yes, well, turning to your book, `Elvis Presley, The Posthumous Years', I believe this is the first publication on the man which actually takes his dying day as its starting point.

Apart from his autopsy report.

Apart, as you say, from his autopsy report. But isn't this a little unconventional? To write the life of a man and deal only with his dead years?

Well, there are two answers to that. One is that his life has been exhaustively written about, and the only space for a new book was in his posthumous days. That's obviously a trivial and facile answer, so I won't give that. The other is that what has happened to Elvis's reputation in the years since his death is just as interesting in its own way as what happened when he was alive.

How interesting is it?

Very interesting.

Try and interest me.

Well, for starters, you've got the whole phenomenon of people who refuse to believe that Elvis is dead. That never happened in his lifetime.

On the contrary, there were millions of people in his lifetime who refused to believe he was dead. I was one of them. I always thought he was alive in his lifetime.

Wise guy. What I am saying is that there are people now who think he is still alive, which is the same as believing he was dead during his lifetime. There were in fact quite a few people in his lifetime who thought he was dead at the time. They were nearly right, some of the time.

Where do they think he is now, those people who think he is still alive?

On another planet, mostly.

Do they think Colonel Tom Parker is also alive on another planet, still forcing the reborn Elvis to make very bad alien movies ?

No, I have not come across that theory before.

(PERHAPS WE COULD GET BACK TO THE BOOK - ED)

Getting back to your book, did you find it difficult to write about a man who died when you were only three years old?

Not at all. I was reading the other day in your English papers about a life of Daniel Defoe which has just come out. Nobody says to the author of that, "Wasn't it a bit daring writing about a man who has been dead so long, whom you never even met?".

Point taken. On the other hand, the book is about Defoe when alive, not about the dead Defoe.

Listen, wise guy. Every biography I have ever read of anyone famous has a chapter or two at the beginning about the subject's antecedents. About his parents and their parents and where they came from, and the politics of the time and all that. Right?

Right.

So what you've got there is a whole lot of stuff about the man's prenatal background. About him before he is alive. Right?

Right.

So, if they can write all that stuff about his prenatal years, why can't I do it about his posthumous years? After all, with all due respect to Mr Defoe, there is nobody going round imitating him today, but it is reckoned there are now more than 10 times the number of Elvis impersonators alive today than when he was alive. If they go on increasing at that rate, it has been calculated there will be more people imitating him by the year 2044 than people listening to them.

Yes, but ...

And that's just the impersonators who imitate the young, living Elvis. Did you realise that there is a growing school of Elvis impersonators who imitate Elvis Presley as he would be if he were alive today and a 62-year-old rocker?

(THIS IS GETTING INTERESTING AT LAST. LET'S HAVE SOME MORE OF THIS TOMORROW. - ED)

React Now

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Cancer Research UK: Corporate Partnerships Volunteer Events Coordinator – London

Voluntary: Cancer Research UK: We’re looking for someone to support our award ...

Ashdown Group: Head of IT - Hertfordshire - £90,000

£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...

Day In a Page

Read Next
 

Errors & Omissions: Outgunned by a lack of military knowledge

Guy Keleny
Ukip leader Nigel Farage in Tiny Tim’s tea shop while canvassing in Rochester this week  

General Election 2015: What on earth happened to Ukip?

Matthew Norman
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions