David Fleming
It's All Academic   www.davidflemingsite.com   
Day 215: Sleeper (Vegas)

January 7, 2023

I have never been to Las Vegas and have no interest in ever going. I have friends who swear by the place who must think I am crazy. If they wanted to lure me there, maybe they would encourage me to do a Vegas-by-Rock tour. That would be something I would pay for.

Before we have even left the airport to head to the strip, I would be checking the airport for stewardess Sara, waiting for her next flight (Hall & Oates' "Las Vegas Turnaround"). As my Uber pulled away from the departure area, I would ask the driver to take me to that famous street where the lights are much brighter than the sun (Cocteau Twins' "Heaven Or Las Vegas"). I'd make sure the driver took me past "Lido Des Girl" to see any mementos from Sheryl Crow ("Leaving Las Vegas"). Once I got to my hotel, I would set up a chair on the front stoop to see "the stars come out at night" (Steely Dan's "Show Biz Kids"), as well as the Lamborghinis, Caviar, dry martinis, and Shangri-La (AC/DC's "Sin City"), and see how accurate Elvis Presley was in saying there are "a thousand pretty women waiting out there" with a devil may care attitude ("Viva Las Vegas").

However, my real goal will be to hit Dunes, as fueled by the sleeper in my Vegas hit list, Sleeper's "Vegas."

According to Sleeper, at Dunes I am going to look for that man who got on a plane, changed his name and flew off to Las Vegas.

Hmm, something tells me I will need more information. That may be everybody I meet as soon as I get off the plane. Luckily, Louise Wener, Sleeper's main songwriter, gives me more to look for: a white lounge lizard suit, plenty of hair spray and a big cigar.

Oops! Still not differentiating enough. And you all wonder why I don't want to go to Vegas.

Sounds like he is a bit of a drunk, "loaded down." Ugh, I think my search actually broadens with that detail.

He claims he saw Elvis playing poker at Dunes. I suspect I will find entire tables with Elvis impersonators playing poker. The real Elvis would always be expecting a full house every time he plays.

I suppose the only way I will know I have found Sleeper's unnamed new denizen of Vegas would be to catch him with the "pocket roulette wheel" he plays with all day. Something tells me I don't want to be reaching into every old codger's pants pockets anywhere in Vegas, though.

So, sorry friends, I think I will skip this Vegas tour. I can stay home and listen repeatedly to this catchy song by one of the 1990s most underrated Britpop bands. I had first heard of them doing an almost note-for-note cover of Blondie's "Atomic" in Trainspotting, and could easily have never sought out anything more by them. However, a couple of their songs ended up on a sampler, and I bought Smart, the 1994 album with "Vegas." Interestingly, this nameless character in "Vegas" could be one of the losers from Trainspotting, swapping a gambling addiction for the heroin addiction.

I link below to the video for "Vegas," as it is a hoot. Wener plays a flight attendant to a plane full of Elvis impersonators flying into Las Vegas. Apparently the script called for fifty Elvis impersonators, but they couldn't find fifty, so they recruited Bogart and Eastwood impersonators to fill the plane as impersonators now impersonating a different person. Apparently, according to Wener's 2010 memoirs, the Bogarts and Eastwoods were not happy.1 Perhaps doing Elvis is beneath you if you can do Bogart. You can't make this shit up.

And this is why I am addicted to pop culture. Much more interesting stuff than gambling or drugs.

1Wener, Louise. Different For Girls. London, Ebury Press, 2010.

Sleeper. "Vegas." Smart. Indolent, 1994. Video link here.

Day 214: The Cowboy Junkies "Bread And Wine"

Day 216: Genesis "Follow You Follow Me"

See complete list here.