Yesterday I finally got around to renew my membership in The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain. If I count correctly, it was the 26th time I've done so.
I remember how I became a member back in 1982. Me and my family had visited some good friends and my father was at the wheel driving home. I was sitting in the back enjoying a comic when, on the readers letter page, a picture of Elvis from the Aloha show caught my eye. Next to the picture, one of the readers asked if there existed an Elvis Presley fan club.
The editor assured the reader it certainly did, and attached the address to The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain. Don't know how an editor of a Swedish comic magazine managed to pull that one off, but I was quick in sending the fan club a letter telling them I wished to become a member.
That's 26 years ago, and I'm still loyal to the club. I've written about the pros and cons of being a member in the British fan club before (read about it here), but the fact is I continue to pay the membership fee every year. In the beginning I had to send a postal check to do this, then in later years my credit card number.
Nowadays you would expect the possibility to renew the membership on the Internet, via Pay Pal or some other online payment service, but that's not the case. I still have to painstakingly write down my credit card number on a piece of paper and send it with ordinary (snail) mail to the fan club's address in Leicester, England.
Not that this is a insurmountable operation, it's just that in this day and age people do tend to use the Internet for such things, and I wouldn't be surprised if The Official Elvis Presley Fan Club of Great Britain loses members in this way. My renewal form was on my desk for months before I got a grip and sent it in. Same story last year, and the year before that.
When I became a member I remember reading that club had over 30.000 members, which I thought was an pretty impressing number. I have no idea how many there are today, but surely a lot fewer. I also wonder how many have been members for 26 years or more?