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I was talking with a friend the other day about cockney rhyming slang and that got me to thinking about Mockneys (a portmanteau of mock and cockney) and the fact that Cockney terms and phrases have over the last few years gained a new lease of life or at least “hipness” following the release of a number of Brit flicks, such as Filthy Beast, Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels, etc. The director of the latter, Mr. Guy Madonna, is probably one of the most famous mockneys of them all. One of the others is of course Nigel Kennedy. Someone who on the face of it had a fairly privileged upbringing in Brighton and studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, under Yehudi Menuhin himself no less. He at least has had the decency to relocate himself to obscurity in Poland; a county, so backward that it has yet to invent money. Nigel, it should be noted, did for a while prefer to be addressed simply as Kennedy. That for me puts him in the same group of self obsessed pretentious celebs as Cher and the artist formally known as Prince; an individual so devoid of talent that I would only pay him a visit if he held a free concert next door in order to ask him to keep the noise down.

Never one to miss the opportunity to pour vitriol on the Oliver boy I was going to add him to my list of Mockneys. But Jamie Oliver, whose dumbed-down mockneyed accent clashes violently with the cut-glass Home Counties diction of both his parents, is in fact something even worse. He is not even a mockney but a Faux Essex-Boy. He might be a real diamond geezer to some but to me he will always be a right Ravi (as in Ravi Shanka)

In the words of Mr Kennedy, sorry Kennedy, “Monster!”

Now I must admit I am not a fan of Elvis Presley (aka The King) but I do love a good Elvis impersonator. I say good; but I don’t actually mean good. I really mean bad; in fact the worse the better. So what makes a good (bad) Elvis? A number of things really, firstly they must think that they are the worlds best, they must be over-weight (even for the Vegas Elvis), they must be the sort of person who finds it necessary to lie about their age in their publicity material, they must always wear a white rhinestone encrusted jump-suite that has a collar with the wingspan of a small commercial jet, they must under no circumstances sound too like Elvis. It is a positive advantage however to be Chinese, Afro-Caribbean, Welsh, or suffer with achondroplasia.

I would now like to recount an almost perfect performance by one gentleman at my works social club who billed himself as ‘Elvis Previously’, although what he is now god alone knows. We sat at our allotted table, my friends and I, anticipation mounting as the band played the first few bars of his opening number. No sign of Mr Previously. The band repeated the intro; still no sign. The crowd shuffled nervously in their seats glancing quizzically at their neighbours. A few muffled coughs rose from the front as the fog from two smoke machines at the back of the stage drifted alarmingly into the hall almost completely obscuring the tables nearest to the stage. As the band struck up the sixth repeat of the intro he burst onto the stage; a bloated apparition in rhinestones and skin tight white satin and promptly fell flat on his face in the dense yellowish smog. Gasps from the audience were quickly replaced by cheers as some wag from the table behind ours shouted “Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has left the building.” It was as if he had bounced as he hit the floor he was up so quick and without so much as a pause for breath slammed straight into ‘Viva Las Vegas’ one of the mandatory numbers for any Elvis impersonator worth his salt. How he got up I will never know. His suite was so tight every movement must have been agony, at one point I actually thought he might explode. This was going to be special.

As he clumped around the stage in a pair of white stack healed shoes that looked like he had owned them since the mid-seventies the crowd cheered. Mr Previously warmed to the challenge, threw caution to the wind and began to try to swivel his aging hips. Either that or he was being electrocuted or having some form of fit. The crowd couldn’t have cared less, one group even rushed to the dance floor – not a wise move considering the amount of artificial smoke that was being pumped into the hall. Visibility was rapidly dropping to below 15 feet, something had to be done. To the strains of ‘Love me Tender’ someone cut power to the smoke machines (and briefly the microphone) and flung open the large double doors at the side of the hall. The huge mushroom cloud must have been visible for miles as the air in the hall slowly cleared. We could now see each others tear streaked faces. Tear streaked in my case not from the smoke but from laughter at the antics of the incomparable ‘Elvis Previously’.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Elvis has definitely left the building……..