Monday, 22 June 2009

Last Train to Memphis

And lo, it came to pass that 11 months did set like the sun, and verily it was decreed that Peter would finally turn the last page on the biggest chore of a book that he had ever read. I finished it, I finally finished Last Train To Memphis by Peter Guralnick.
This was such a slog, not due to the quality of the writing or the facts presented in it, I am sure that Peter Guralnick is an excellent writer and it is Elvis Presley after all. The issue lies unfortunately in the fact that between his birth and 1958, outside of his music, Elvis was just plain dull.
I didn’t expect thrills of Gun’s N’ Roses proportions, but across 578 pages I wanted a little more than Elvis bought his momma a Cadillac, Elvis travelled by train to Texas, Elvis recorded Teddy Bear. Even the recording process isn’t detailed that much, I mean even the million dollar quartet gets only a few pages, the single greatest recording session ever committed to tape is dealt with in less than 20 pages, maybe even less than 10.
The book just never held my attention unfortunately, and that is why I couldn’t read more than 3 or 4 pages at a time, and without being too graphic, if I hadn’t eaten too much bread this weekend it may have been another few weeks before it was finished. Thank heavens for mild wheat intolerances eh!
It does deliver facts though, exhaustively it delivers facts, if you need to know who Elvis had as a companion on any particular day it gives you those facts, you want to know anything else, you are screwed.
I was going to read the second volume, Careless Love after this, I don’t think that’s a good idea at all. Not if I want to lose another 11 months of my life.

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