Monday, 13 January 2014

Best books on Elvis
Number one: 
The Goldman gospels

Elvis by Albert Goldman, McGraw-Hill, 1981

Elvis: The Last 24 Hours by Albert Goldman, St Martin’s Press, 1991

Portrait of the artist as ageing, racist voyeur, addicted to pharmaceutical morphine and peanut butter. To the true believer, Goldman is the anti-Christ, purveyor of filth and lies. To the sceptical fan, he’s got all the details right while completely missing the overall picture. There has never been a serious challenge to his research but the book never gets to grips with the most obvious of its own rationales: if Elvis was so stupidly unimportant, why did the publishers think it worth paying such a vast advance?

The book’s unrelenting dyspepsia does have its own artistic integrity. There’s a fascination to reading Goldman’s obsessive rantings and a perverse syllogistic logic to his central aesthetic judgment: that Elvis was a non-talent because he wasn’t black. Goldman’s emotional extension of this is: and that was Elvis’ own fault!

That Goldman himself choked to death on the free food of a first-class airline flight is one of fate’s more vulgar jokes.

Next up The train that don't stop her no more. And maybe why.

PS Here is an image a google search turned up. The young woman seems to be named Elvis Goldman.  Doesn't seem to have anything in common with either of her namesakes, though. Unlike the original Elvis, her black hair appears to be natural. And unlike Goldman the biographer, she doesn't seem to need glasses.

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