Life & Culture

An Impossible Conversation Between Elvis Presley and Giacomo Casanova

On the anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death, we look back at an imagined conversation between the legendary musician and the original ladies man, Casanova, using only exact quotes

Born in 1725 in Venice, Giacomo Casanova graduated at 17 with a law degree and a respectable career ahead of him. But Casanova had other plans and embarked on a life filled with pleasure-seeking, political intrigue and social scandal. By turns a gambler, musician, spy, alchemist, prisoner and author, he is best remembered as an insatiable lover; his carnal crusade through 18th-century Europe is still the stuff of legend and, ever the self-publicist, is detailed in his sensational memoir The Story of My Life.

Two centuries later and a 21-year-old Mississippi boy called Elvis Presley was about to kickstart the sexual awakening of America’s teens. At 8pm on January 28, 1956, dressed in a black shirt, white tie and tweed jacket, he strutted out in front of a live audience at CBS Studio 50 in New York, started singing, “Well, get outta that kitchen and rattle those pots and pans”, and, in one electrifying, lip-curling moment, rock’n’roll hysteria had arrived.

Here, using only exact quotes, two of history’s greatest pin-ups come together for a man talk...

ELVIS PRESLEY: At last, I’m getting the chance to sit down and talk to you.

GIACOMO CASANOVA: Well, monsieur, what luck! You have charmed me for years.

EP: Thank you very much, sir.

GC: Let me begin with this confession – whatever I have done in the course of my life, whether it be good or evil, has been done freely; I am a free agent.

EP: Do what’s right for you, as long as it don’t hurt no one.

GC: Nobody can deprive me of the fact that I had a good time. I leave to others the decision as to the good and evil tendencies of my character.

EP: Values are like fingerprints. Nobody’s are the same, but you leave ‘em all over everything you do.

GC: And you?

EP: I’ve tried to lead a straight, clean life, not set any kind of a bad example. I’ve always considered other people’s feelings. I’ve tried never to do anything that would hurt my family or offend God.

GC: Such a rare being! Remember, one who makes no mistakes, makes nothing at all.

EP: Oh, I ain’t no saint, sir!

GC: Good, you’re in the prime of youth. You deserve a real lover.

EP: There was a girl I was seeing quite often but not anyone special, really. No big romance.

GC: I cannot believe that you could do without one.

EP: I guess I haven’t met the right girl yet.

GC: How so?

“You only pass through this life once, Jack; you don’t get to come back for an encore. So do something worth remembering, right?” – Elvis Presley

EP: I have to be completely sure about a girl. I have to trust them completely. I look for other things now that I never looked for before: a sense of humour, their understanding of me and my way of thinking. It takes a while to find someone and get to trust somebody like that.

GC: After all, a beautiful woman without a mind of her own leaves her lover with no resource after he has physically enjoyed her charms. But, listen, one can learn a lot from an inexperienced girl.

EP: I learn best by experience!

GC: I felt myself born for the fair sex, I have ever loved it dearly, and I have been loved by it as often and as much as I could. The chief business of my life has always been to indulge my senses; I never knew anything of greater importance.

EP: Anything that don’t frighten the children is in good taste as far as I’m concerned. But I just want to entertain people... I like entertaining people.

GC: That seems rather a waste of time.

EP: Are you kidding? That’s my whole life, from the time I was a kid to my last breath. I grew up believing this dream.

GC: There is no such thing as destiny. We ourselves shape our lives. The more power man attributes to destiny, the more he deprives himself of the power that God gave him to reason.

EP: Let me tell ya, whatever I will become will be what God has chosen for me. The Lord can give, and the Lord can take away – I might be herding sheep next year.

GC: My system, if it can be called a system, has been to glide away unconcernedly on the stream of life, trusting to the wind wherever it led.

EP: You only pass through this life once, Jack; you don’t get to come back for an encore. So do something worth remembering, right?

GC: Precisely, the thing is to dazzle. Be the flame, not the moth!

EP: Yes, sir. I’m doing the best I can.

This article originally appeared in the A/W16 issue of Another Man.