You may have noticed the dedication on "Aloha From Potter Heigham"
- 'Track 10 "My Boy" is lovingly dedicated to 'Kenpo' who was,
and always will be My Boy' - well read on to find out who 'Kenpo' was
and the full
story behind what has become Mark's theme tune...
The relationship between Mark and this particular song goes back some
way, before it's more recent poignant meaning. And 'Great Britain's Best
Elvis' is not the first competition Mark has won performing this particular
In fact back in 1983 he won the Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great
Britain talent competition singing the self same song! Well that's not
precisely true as history will reflect Mark tampered somewhat with the
lyrics and performed the number a little differently! Having been runner-up
in the previous year's talent competition performing an out
and out Elvis rendition of 'My Way' Mark felt a little something extra
was called for this time around to secure outright top slot. The news
headline of the day was that 'Culture Club' lead singer 'Boy' George preferred...
"a cup of tea to sex" well this got an overactive teenage mind
thinking and revving his overactive mind into overdrive Mark came up with
the following re-working of his already favorite Elvis song! Imagining
what the King himself might say to this pop pretender...
(to the tune of 'My Boy')
You may be bent I know,
But really this won't do,
I think I should explain,
Just what you ought to do.
In all that drag,
You look a proper stiff,
Why not buy some 'Blue Suede Shoes',
And get your hair done in a quiff?
Because you look a mess, My Boy!
You even wear a dress, My Boy!!
And if I may, I'd say, I think you're gay, My Boy!!!
This to be performed in a Tommy Cooperesque half and half costume to
re-enact the conversation between Elvis and 'Boy' George! (photo to follow!!!special
thanks to the guy that lent me his very expensive 'Elvisly Yours' Aloha
belt) It was so well received that not only did Mark win the competition
he so coveted, he was asked to do a 'back by popular request' encore on
the last night of the Elvis festival! And so his unique bond to this particular
track was born.
Forward in time now to the auditions for Great Britain's Best Elvis. From
150+ original applicants the organisers asked their top 40 to perform
two songs for them. As it had been good to him all those years before
Mark chose 'My Boy' as one of his numbers, also partly because he thought
everyone else would be performing 'Suspicious Minds' and 'The Wonder of
You'! Imagine his consternation when, whilst changing in the gent's, yes
another of those classy gigs I hear you cry, he discovered that one of
the other acts was doing 'My Boy' for exactly the same reason, "Well
I didn't think anyone else would be doing it!". To add insult to
injury this other Elvis was on immediately before Mark and performed the
track extremely well! But not to be outdone on went Mark and sung for
all he was worth. The judges acknowledged his confidence and invited him
to be in the final twelve who were asked to confirm their preferred tracks
as soon as possible before the grand final, needing no further encouragement,
or possible duplications, Mark confirmed his ballad there and then to
be 'My Boy', up tempo number still to be decided! For the next few weeks
at gigs he would 'rehearse' this number as he performed it live informing
audiences that this would be his chosen track at the forthcoming finals.
Prior to singing the number, much as he does now, Mark would always encourage
the audience to listen to the words, and to imagine themselves as a father
speaking the words to their son, he'd say 'I haven't got a son but I've
got a little boy dog who means the same to me'. But then on 26th July
fate took a turn when Mark's dog, his beloved shar pei (wrinkly dog) named
'Kenpo'(shar pei's can also be called chinese fighting dogs, so he was
named after Elvis' karate style - Elvis was an 8th dan black belt in Kenpo
Karate) fell ill. A visit to the vet only confirmed Mark's worst fears
that there was nothing that could be done and so a final appointment was
made for 30th July when poor Kenpo would go to that big kennel in the
sky. A devastated Mark choked on the introduction at his next gig and
even dropped the number for a couple of weeks. But with the finals looming
decided to perform it as a tribute to his loyal friend. As you already
know Mark won the competition and the judges were heard to comment that
his performance of 'My Boy' had 'extra emotion from his original audition',
they put this down to practice, little did they know the inner turmoil
he was going through. Mark would still admit to having a tear in his eye
each and every time he performs this special number and mentally dedicates
it to 'his boy' - KENPO