Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

It Might Just Feel like You Have Died and Gone Straight to Elvis Heaven

Newspaper article Gympie Times, The Qld.

It Might Just Feel like You Have Died and Gone Straight to Elvis Heaven

Article excerpt

Byline: Emily Wagster Pettus

PAUL MacLeod is a perpetually caffeinated Elvis fanatic who's taking care of business 24 hours a day at the home he calls Graceland Too.

Pound on the door at any hour Co seriously, it's OK to arrive at four in the morning Co and the 67-year-old former auto worker will escort you through his discombobulating, floor-to-ceiling collection of photos, records, figurines, cardboard cut-outs, lolly wrappers, clocks and other random kitsch featuring the King of Rock Cyn' Roll.

"I'd give my life right now if I could bring this guy back," MacLeod says in his auctioneer's staccato, his grey hair slicked back in a '50s style.

MacLeod says he rarely leaves Graceland Too, sleeps only sporadically and is fuelled by 24 cans of Coca-Cola a day.

This claim is at least partially verified by the aluminium pull-top tabs he collects in sandwich bags and the stacks of flattened red cardboard boxes on the back porch.

Graceland Too is in Holly Springs, a northern Mississippi town of 8000.

It's a convenient stop for fans on an Elvis pilgrimage, sitting about halfway between Elvis Presley's birthplace in Tupelo, Mississippi, and the King's final home and resting place, the unaffiliated Graceland mansion in Memphis, Tennessee.

Until Graceland Too became a magnet for offbeat tourism, Holly Springs was best known for its traditional and tastefully kept white-columned pre-Civil War-era homes.

"He's our number one attraction," says Suzann Williams, assistant director of the local tourism bureau.

She says that people call daily wanting information about Graceland Too.

Apparently the Japanese and the British are the largest groups of overseas visitors.

MacLeod doesn't have a telephone, but the tourism folks take him notes to let him know visitors are coming.

MacLeod is so obsessed that 36 years ago, he named his only son after the man he considers the world's greatest entertainer and humanitarian.

"My son was born Elvis Aron Presley, with one A for Aron," he says, noting the spelling Presley used for years.

"I didn't put the other A to his name until Vernon Presley put it on his son's grave."

Floors creak beneath visitors' feet as they walk through the 157-year-old home warmed by space heaters that sit perilously close to raggedy shag carpet and stacks of papers and magazines.

For $US5, visitors get to experience sensory overload, harshly lit by unshaded bulbs.

Doorways are decorated with several Elvis-patterned curtains in '70s-era hues of turquoise and lime.

There are photocopies of a newspaper with MacLeod's all-time favourite headline: Elvis Presley Excites Girls, Scares Critics.

A poster-sized display in the entryway declares, sans punctuation, The Universes Galaxys Planets Worlds Ultimate Elvis Fans. …

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