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Elvis lives

Posted at 10:58 AM on June 29, 2006 by Euan Kerr

After 30 years of meaning to do it I finally saw Elvis Costello last night as he played an amazing 2 3/4 hour concert with Alain Toussaint at the O'Shaughnessy in St Paul.

For reasons that Elvis is appropriately blissfully unaware, he caused some big changes in my life, and there was a real sense of completion for me.

I also couldn't shake from my head the images of I have of Elvis from his short but punchy career as a film actor. There have been of course the appearances in "Austin Powers: the Spy who Shagged me" and "Spice World."

But what I kept going back to were the earlier, more bizarre flicks. There was the wondrous strange Alex Cox movie "Straight to Hell." It featured a gang of desperadoes led by Joe Strummer of the Clash, all armed to the teeth and very jittery because they are wildly addicted to very strong coffee. Elvis played the butler trying to stay alive while delivering the beverages.

And then there was "No Surrender" from 1985, which a dark Alan Bleasedale comedy set in a rundown social club in Liverpool. A new manager finds during his first night on the job that his predecessor has exacted revenge on the club's gangster owners by double-booking the venue. When a group of hard-line Protestants, and another of hard-line Catholics turn up, all hell breaks loose. Elvis plays the hapless magician who has the misfortune of being the stage entertainment. It's a brutally funny and horribly sad film. I saw it in the theaters when it was released, but I'm not sure if it's available on video.

Has anyone else seen it around?

June 2006
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