The more you drink, the better we sound

Memphis, TN

Was the rolling theme of musicians

Maybe they lack some kind of self-confidence that everyone needs to be drunk to enjoy it

The blues capital of the world

Similar to Nashville, just not all there

Safety First

Safety was clearly an issue

A friend of mine had told me about a trip to Memphis over a year ago where a couple of older ladies stopped her from walking along the street and offered her a lift, saying it wasn’t safe to be walking around alone

When we arrived at the bus station, one passenger stood up and started shouting “don’t look up, pretend you’re in New York, keep to yourself”

And then our Uber driver upon arrival at our AirBnB sighed with relief and said that we were staying in a nice, safe area, but to be careful

The third time will do it! We were now a little concerned about what could be so bad about Memphis

Jack was all over the interactive maps on Google trying to find out what areas were unsafe in the city and where we should avoid

Later checking in on Facebook to say I had arrived, a friend commented with tips, and said not to get stabbed

Fortunately, we didn’t come into any trouble, but we were on constant alert, and for the first night, completely paranoid

Music

Beale Street is the place to go for live blues

Idealising after being the Broadway of Memphis, but somewhat failing as it looks like it has been stuck in the 1960’s and nobody has bothered to even throw on a lick of paint

Although, once you get past the shabby exterior, the bars are actually pretty good

We first jumped into Club 125, mostly for the heat as we had reached Memphis in a cold front (6 degrees) with only light jumpers to keep us ‘warm’ – where is a cheap clothes store when you need one to prevent hypothermia?!

This place got us started, but $2 PBR was only going to keep us amused for so long

Next stop, Rum Boogie Café

The venue is split into two, one smaller bar that you would think was just owned separately had a live band

And in the next room, there was a ‘Blues Jam’ event on – basically open mic night where they rotated different members of the band depending on who had signed up and wanted to play

This was definitely a highlight and took away from the fear of outside

Plus $5.50 for a ‘big ass beer’ that will never be done justice in a photo – this thing was bigger than my head!

Food

Gus’ Chicken

I don’t know what it is with America – and us – that standing in line for 45 minutes to get a plate of fried chicken is just a done thing

And why in America so many things are ‘world famous’, when this was the first I’ve ever heard of this Gus guy

But I didn’t enjoy his chicken – a lot

The Little Tea Room

This place got good reviews on Yelp – becoming an extremely well trusted resource

Owned by some from Palestine, it does a bit of a mixture of comfort food, southern cooking, Palestinian, all a bit of everything!

I went for a good old chicken salad sandwich and bean soup – totally hit the spot, just wanted something simple – and Jack went for chicken with corn sticks, coleslaw, rice and gravy – was too much for me after days of fried chicken

Blues City Café

Some semi-drunken snacks were necessary after a bar crawl of Beale Street

The combination platter had a bit of everything, so we didn’t have to make any real decisions and thought it would be enough for the two of us to share

Rack of ribs, fried catfish, coleslaw, BBQ beans, steak fries and tartare sauce – the tartare kind of sucked, but I could quite happily eat everything else over and over again!

Graceland

At some point, this will probably have a blog post all to itself, but for now, we have this

I don’t even know where to start on this

The land of Elvis, the shrine to his life, unlimited access to everything to do with the King

…Except for where he took the last, infamous dump

This is, other than Beale Street, what Memphis is ultimately famous for, so it would be ridiculous not to have gone

But I can imagine that if I had been there with my dad, he would not have allowed me to go

A little like when we went to Hollywood and he thought nobody would want to go see the sign – because he wasn’t bothered

The prices are a bit daft, $35 for basic access, to the house only, $42 to add in the extra little places like the museum of cars, archives, photography thing, and then $47 to add in his airplanes

Minus a bit of student discount if you have it

There were pros and cons to the place

The little waiting area that has the museum of cars, airplanes, archives is a little overwhelming

Everything leads into different gift shops – this I will give them credit for at least; every shop has totally different stuff

On the other hand, the house is pretty amazing, and you get an iPad to do an interactive tour

The iPad picks up on where you are in the house and tells you what it was used for, includes clips of interviews with Elvis, his daughter, and wife

It also picks up on videos and historic documents and interviews that you can watch, if you are interested

The only limitation to the tour is that you cannot go upstairs in the house

They say this is because when he was alive people didn’t get to go upstairs, it was his private area

But really, it’s just that they don’t want you to see where he did the last poo

I guess that’s fair, he should get the privacy of his death place

Overall, it was a pretty good experience, but I think I was most definitely overwhelmed by the amount of tacky Elvis stuff that I saw

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Continuing with seeing shrines to dead people

We headed to the Lorraine Motel, that is now the Civil Rights Centre

The hotel closed after MLK was shot outside his room

Now there is a large wreath outside the room and two cars to mark the location and replicate the scene

Thoughts on Memphis

Pretty good, although not my favourite place

The city doesn’t have a great deal to offer, other than memories of dead folk

Very good blues, but in a street that could really do with a revamp

And a bad reputation for being dangerous

 

 

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