Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Hovis Presley and Elvis Mcgonagall - more great poet names

I can't leave (for unfinished business north of the border) without mentioning a couple more Great Poet Names: Hovis Presely and Elvis Mcgonagall. Happily they belong to Great Poets otherwise it would be a Great Waste. I don't know if these guys ever met, but I like the way they took the Elvis Presley icon and reformed it in their own image.

Hovis Presley

Hovis - who came from Bolton and died tragically young a few years ago - wore the name ironically, being a pint-swilling down-beat Northerner. His dead-pan delivery, dreadful puns and perfect timing made him idolised by the likes of local lads Peter Kay and Johnny Vegas. He wowed them at the Edinburgh Festival and was tipped for greatness, but he was a shy man and backed away from fame.

I met him a few times and he was tremendously supportive and encouraging. I'd have chatted more but I thought there'd be plenty of time. There wasn't.

Small but tasty volume of his work Poetic Off Licence available here including the immortal:

I once spent an evening with Lola or Layla
She said make me breathless I hid her inhaler.

Elvis Mcgonagall

On the 3rd of March 1960, Elvis Presley spent two hours at Prestwick Airport, Scotland en route home from national service in Germany. Big Agnes McGonagall, a starstruck baggage handler, was left with the memory of a lifetime. Nine months later, on 22nd December, 1960, Elvis McGonagall was born on Carousel B in the North Terminal.

Elvis cleverly combines the name of a rock superstar with that of William Topaz Mcgonagall - the The Worst Poet in the World. He is more rock and roll, is normally dressed entirely in tartan and is generally a bit shoutier than seen here, but this must be sacrificed on the altar of topical comment because I can't resist using this clip:

(American readers tired of the Brits harping on about the election may prefer his: This Land's Not Your Land A Republican Party Protest Song )

He's been our guest at the Dead Good Poets and is currently on tour but not to us this year *sad face*.

p.s. Incidentally both men's real name is Richard. Perhaps they just didn't want to make Dick of themselves.

p.p.s. Elvis Presley was known as Elvis the Pelvis. I've often thought it was good he wasn't called Sydney. Sydney the Kidney wouldn't have the same ring to it. Or, indeed, Shamus.

See you all next week!


  1. If you're going to change your name you might as well make it funny! Love the 'inhaler' poem. It reminds me a bit of Richard Digance's stuff, which was never exactly deep and meaningful but always made me laugh :o)

  2. Thanks for the introduction to Hovis Presley. I guess I'm a southerner playing ketchup. Really enjoyed his clip and have ordered a copy of the book.

    More of the same please!

  3. Thought Hovis was great. Really dry humour. Love it.