Before there were the Gallagher Brothers, before Bowie, before the Stones, before the Beatles there was the one and only Elvis Aaron Presley - the original bad boy of rock 'n roll. His 1950s image of sharp clothes, slicked back hair and a touch of mascara had teenage girls' hearts fluttering, and their parents blood pressure rising.
This isn't the first exhibition of Elvis's possessions to come to London, but many of the artefacts are unique to 'Direct from Graceland', and haven't been displayed in the UK previously. Many of the items on display are very personal: school books and crayons belonging to the very impoverished Elvis, army uniforms and citations, Lisa Marie's baby clothes, the inventory of horses, and a gold telephone from his bedroom in Graceland amongst so many treasures. There's even a jokey telegraph to the Colonel, after striking a lucrative contract, asking if he couldn't have done a better deal!
Some are more familiar items; the amazing 1970s jumpsuits are works of art in their own right, accompanied by the tailors bills where Elvis's silk scarves were bought by the dozens in every colour. The gold lame 2 piece suit was quite a sight to behold. Even too much for Elvis, he preferred to wear the jacket with black trousers and the trousers with a black jacket.
There are also some large possessions on display; saddles, bikes, cars including the only car belonging to Elvis to be used in one of his films (a very pretty MG) which was subsequently gifted to his secretary. I was quite astonished by the rooms displaying Elvis's career in films, I really hadn't appreciated quite how prolific Elvis was in Hollywood, there are some 31 feature films and 2 documentaries. Lots of leather bound scripts for Elvis form part of the exhibition, as well as a multitude of posters and record sleeves.
Elvis's music is played throughout the exhibition, and there are many visual displays of him performing, acting, talking, and of Priscilla and Lisa Marie.
You don't have to be an Elvis fan to enjoy this exhibition, there's so much to marvel at, and also so much that's personal and poignant. You can't miss it as you exit the station onto Tooley Street - follow the neon signs and maybe catch an Elvis taxi to take you home later.
Arches London Bridge is a new exhibition space and cultural ‘hub’ for London. The impressive space is five inter-connected Victorian tunnels with 6 meter high ceilings located adjacent to London Bridge Station, and the perfect setting for this eclectic curation of Elvis's possessions and memorabilia.
To purchase a ticket please visit elvislondonbridge.co.uk