16 May 2005

Marie's the name.

Most Sunday nights I go into a quiet little pub in Lower Salthill where two brilliant ladies sing and play their hearts out, and a couple of people sometimes sit in for a few tunes. Last night they did His Latest Flame by request. A local guy I'll call Fred had asked for it. The mandolin player then did Wooden Heart - he made quite a tasty job of what's usually regarded as a throwaway tune.

Fred danced around with an expression of sheer bliss on his face. From a far corner, a chap called Eamon pitched in with his version of The Wonder of You. Yours truly had a guitar plonked in front of him and ended up being persuaded, with the aid of sharp sticks and the offer of a free pint, to rattle through Heartbreak Hotel and Suspicious Minds. All in all, a very King-centric evening, uh huh.

There wasn't a big crowd in the pub - about 25 people at best, and most of us knew each other. Fred explained to a few of us how he was devoted to Elvis in his teens; he was one of those European fans who hoped against all hope that some day The King was going to come and play over here. It was not to be, but the teenage Fred had saved up some money just in case. "And then," Fred told us, "then some woman came along and ruined my life."

He was joking; I know the woman he was talking about. Her name was not Marie, but then his name isn't really Fred either. They married young, had a son, and split up, but they remained friends. Marie died five years ago. She did not ruin his life, and he knows it well; she enriched it considerably. Mine too. Fred doesn't remember, but I was the guy who stole her off him.
The bell hop's tears keep flowing
The desk clerk's dressed in black...

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