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Bird and Elvis

Time Out Ten

For this item you need to be able to stop for ten minutes.

We are often moving on to the next job, the next meeting, scrolling down social media, taking the next call ......'Time Out Ten' asks you to stop for ten minutes and listen to a particular piece of music; to find a time when you won't be interrupted, when you can put in/on your headphones and chill out. Ten minutes isn't long.

When saxophonist Charlie 'Bird' Parker died in 1955 a Beat Poet, Ted Joans, who admired Bird, started writing in chalk on streets and sidewalks and walls, "Bird Lives." 'Even though he was prolific in personally spreading the word, hundreds of more people took charge too. 'Bird Lives' appeared everywhere in the city, from subway platforms to brownstone walls, in chalk, black crayon and even pressurized paint cans.'


When Elvis Presley died in 1977, the author Gail Brewer-Giorgio and other authors popularised the conspiracy theory that Elvis did not die and instead went into hiding. Since then, various sightings have been claimed. One conspiracy theory suggested that 'Elvis was somehow involved with the Mafia during his time as a rock star, served as an undercover agent and was found out. Thus, they believe he faked his own death to try to fool the Mafia. Some believe that Elvis attended his own 82nd birthday. An old man by the name of Bob Joyce with security guards around him, all grey hair, grey beard, sunglasses and a ball cap on, was believed by conspiracy theorists to be Elvis.'

Bird would now be 103 and Elvis 88. It would probably be hard to recognise them in the supermarket.

Dame Carol Ann Duffy, Poet Laureate from 2009 to 2019,  goes one step further in her wonderful collection of verse, The World's Wife,  that imagines the perceptions of the wives of famous men (Faust, Freud, Icarus ....) ...... and of Elvis's Twin Sister .......

"Elvis is alive, and she's female" (Madonna)

Elvis's Twin Sister

In the convent, y'all,
I tend the gardens,
watch things grow,
pray for the immortal soul

of rock 'n' roll.
They call me
Sister Presley here,
The Reverend Mother
digs the way I move my hips
just like my brother.
Gregorian chant
drifts out across the herbs
Pascha nostrum immolatus est...
I wear a simple habit,
darkish hues,
a wimple with a novice-sewn
lace band, a rosary,
a chain of keys,
a pair of good and sturdy
blue suede shoes.


So, for this month's Time Out Ten, we can quite suitably celebrate Charlie 'Bird' Parker and spend a few minutes listening to Bird playing My Little Suede Shoes with Walter Bishop Jr. (piano); Teddy Kotick (bass); Roy Haynes (drums);  Luis Miranda (congas) and  Jose Mangual (bongos) .......

I think of it

as Graceland here,

a land of grace.

It puts my trademark slow lopsided smile

back on my face. 



I'm alive and well.

Long time since I walked

down Lonely Street

towards Heartbreak Hotel.

"I don't care who likes it or buys it. Because if you use that criterion, Mozart would never have written Don Giovanni, Charlie Parker would have never played anything but swing music." (Charlie Parker)


"Uh-huh-huh, oo-oh, yeah-yeah" (Elvis Presley)

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