On a grey, Scottish morning

Alright, its a day late, but some of us were working yesterday lol. And its too big a landmark to just ignore, lets face it. We all have those places that we know where we were when a big piece of news breaks. The one that has always stuck with me, even after seemingly 40 years, is the death of Elvis Presley.

In those days, when I’d ventured into holidays on my own, but was most definitely on a budget, and long before I ever considered going to the US, I tended to do coach holidays to various parts of the UK. I know, it was, and probably still is mainly a more ‘mature person’ thing, but as a non driver, if I wanted to visit some more remote, and beautiful areas of the country, it was pretty much my only choice. So anyway, in August 1977, I was away in Scotland, probably heading up to the northern end of the highlands, though at this length in time, I cant remember the exact details.

What I do remember is that coach stopped for the night at Arrochar, I believe it was the Loch Long Hotel, but dont quote me on that, after 40 years. I remember nothing about the hotel, good, or bad, beyond the fact that as I woke up in the morning, I heard a woman somewhere, either in a nearby room, or out in the village crying, “Elvis is dead! Elvis is dead!” Back in those pre-internet days (how did we ever survive lol?), the only way of confirming this fact was to turn on the TV, and yes, the news was confirmed for me.

I cant say I was, or ever have been the biggest Presley fan in the world. I liked some of his music, but certainly not in a fan worship sort of fashion. So why has it stuck with me like this? in truth, no idea. Maybe it was that woman, in her despair, more than the death of Elvis that affected me, who knows? Maybe it was being somewhere different, away from home? Before you ask, I have passed through Arrochar a few times since then, both by car, and by train, but have never stopped in the village again, let alone stay at that hotel.

But yes, I guess if its stuck with me until now, for 40 years, its fair to say that that morning, in Arrochar, is going to be with me for the rest of my life, however long that may be?

OK, video time. Yes, you’re right, it is Elvis. Not one of his rock and roll songs, but one of his more poignant ones that I really took to heart. And given how things are in the US at present, even more poignant, I guess?

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