Friday, July 27, 2007

"Elvis lives" by Nick Cohn

Elvis Presley died 30 years ago on 16 August 1977 - or so the legend goes. But maybe the story is not so simple. When the call finally came, Nik Cohn went in search of the real King. The ailing figure he has tracked down for this unique interview looks and even sounds different, but the truth of the man is laid bare as never quite before ...

Elvis is dying. The prostate cancer he's held at bay for years has metastasised, and he expects to be gone within a few months. His wife Claudette wants him to start more chemo, but he feels it's time to let go. 'I died once before,' he reminds me. 'This is just the remix.'
Though the disease has whittled him down, he looks surprisingly strong. In fact, the man who sits in a trailer home beside a Louisiana bayou, dressed in sweatpants and a football shirt, seems in better shape than the bloated, drug-addled wreck who ran away from the world 30 years ago. Even before his illness, he'd lost almost five stone. He steers clear of peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and is so wary of addiction that Claudette has to bully him into taking his medications. The new face he acquired after his disappearance retains an ageless, waxy sheen. Only the faded blue eyes, sometimes clouded by pain, show damage.

Read on.



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