World of Chig   

Elvis Presley died here far as I'm concerned.

This week in 1977, we were on a family holiday, staying in one of the fixed caravans in this picture. (They may well be the very same ones. I don't know how old the photo is.) It's Treyarnon Bay Camping & Caravan Park, near Padstow in Cornwall. Long before anyone had heard of Rick Stein, I think we had two family holidays there in the '70s.

On Wednesday 17th August 1977, I was up early as it was gloriously sunny, and it was my turn to toddle off to the campsite shop, probably for milk and a newspaper. (I can't bring myself to tell you what 'news'paper my parents bought in the seventies, but I feel I should point out that they are not fascists, despite this.)

At the campsite shop, I somehow found out that Elvis Presley had died the day before. (I think the news only reached the UK in the early hours of the 17th. I've heard the 7am BBC Radio announcement from that day replayed on BBC Radio 2 today.) I think it was too late to be in the paper that I must have bought, but I must have heard people talking about it. I then had to go back and tell my parents, who were still in bed in the caravan. This was BIG news. I think the fact that, thirty years later, I still remember some details from that morning, tells you what a big story it was. We then put on the radio and had the news confirmed. I'm not saying it ruined the holiday - I was only eleven after all - but that's all I really remember of that 1977 trip.

The thing that strikes me now about Presley's death is that, to me as an eleven year-old (looking like that, in this photo), Presley already seemed old hat and...well, just old. Obviously he had piled on the pounds and he was a figure of yesteryear, in my eyes. I had mainly seen him in his films, which I seem to remember were on TV in the mornings in the Summer holidays. (That's the only time I have ever seen any of them.) I was far too young to have realised that Presley's 'Jailhouse Rock' includes one of the most blatantly gay lyrics to ever hit the music charts. But it really hit home this week that Elvis died at the grand old age of 42, and here am I at 41. That's really scary.

Where were you when you heard that Elvis had died?
(One my colleagues said, "In my Dad's ball bag" when I asked him this today, which was a blatant lie, as he is 31 next month.)

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