My Elvis Blackout – Simon Crump


Anyway, so I twisted Chris’s weedy arm up behind his back and marched him round the side of the trailer. I jammed the muzzle of my .38 in his much and blammo! that little fucker wouldn’t be dancing with the lady in Red any more.

The problem that My Elvis Blackout causes the aspiring book reviewer is that it tends to render one entirely speechless. It is for neither the squeamish nor the unadventurous. In the first two pages Elvis kills Barbara Cartland and commits suicide. Quite. These stories were originally released in 2000 and have been reissued by Galley Beggar Press with an introduction by Jon McGregor in which he analyses them as a kind of luxuriation in the absurd development of the Elvis Presley cult of personality. I think that this is about right; and the sheer delirium that powers one on through each story is remarkable. I read it in one sitting.

“Keep your fucking canoe,” said Elvis, “I want to eat men.”

My Elvis Blackout is funny, macabre, funny and macabre. How profound it is I’m not sure. There is a certain extension of the representation of thought and behaviour beyond which profundity becomes difficult to attain. Of course, that may be a failure on my part to move beyond the extreme violence; and my complete lack of interest in Elvis probably doesn’t help. The writing is punchy, the stories are inventive, Chris De Burgh is shot in the head. If it sounds like your sort of thing, you should give it a go. It’s one of those books you have to experience for yourself; I can only wave my hands oddly in its general direction. At the very least, it’s an experience you will probably remember. (For an excellent and much fuller review, read John Self’s post at Asylum).

‘When he was a foetus, Elvis used to wait till his Mom was asleep, carefully remove his umbilical cord, sneak out of her insides and head off into town. He usually wore the little tartan coat which Alfredo, their disgusting toy poodle, wore for his walks with Momsy on cold winter mornings. Elvis looked a complete tosser in this outfit, what with the blood and the dog hairs, but what the fuck did he care? He was the unborn King of Rock’n’Roll and if he wanted to go out naked except for a ridiculous coat, he bastard well would.’

My Elvis Blackout is available as an ebook here.

My thanks to Galley Beggar Press for this review copy.