I’m looking out of my office window looking at the snow on the ground, a few rays of sunshine and some birds attacking the food I’ve left out for them. There are blue finches, a pair of doves, a few sparrows and the first woodpeckers of the year. The door bell is ringing a lot this morning, boys and young men going round with willow switches good heartedly hitting the ladies of the house on the backside and receiving chocolates or a slivovice for their troubles. Before there is a huge up-roar, it is a fun Czech tradition going back centuries.
Kim asked what is the most common thing people got wrong about Freddie.
I think it is that so many people ask about Freddie’s ‘loneliness’. Freddie mentions it in a few interviews, but people shouldn’t always take it too literally. Freddie hated to be alone, and very rarely spent time on his own. There were times in Garden Lodge when he wanted to be by himself, and that was when he would go out into the garden without anyone with him, otherwise there were always friends with him. When Freddie says he is lonely I think he is referring more to people not understanding him and his needs. I was there a few times when Freddie got frustrated with others for not understanding what he wanted or was trying to get across, and would get annoyed and feel no-one cared. Freddie was a very complex person and being brought up in a boarding school, had his own set of rules concerning many different subjects.
Andreas wanted to know if Freddie is really dead as they feel he just moved somewhere to start a new life.
I wish it was so, but I can confirm that Freddie is no longer with us. I was there when the doctor confirmed it. I was there when Freddie was taken away from Garden Lodge. I still have vivid memories of all these things, of Garden Lodge without Freddie for those months after the funeral, for these years since that time. What does stay with me however is the fact I am doing this blog, with so many questions being sent. While Freddie physically might not be here with us, his spirit definitely is in the form of his music and all the fans thirst for more knowledge about this amazing man. And in answer to another query….. no, I do not have any photos of Freddie after he died.
Angel asked what Freddie’s favourite cologne was.
I’m sure I answered this before, but here goes. He liked Armani for a long time. He also used Lagerfeld and later in his life he used L’Eau Dynamisante by Clarins. His all time favourite was a ladies perfume by Givenchy created for Audrey Hepburn called L’Air du Temps. He particularly like the bottles as they had a crystal stopper made by Lalique. I believe this is another perfume they sadly don’t make anymore.
Andrew asked how Freddie would have lived with the current culture of celebrity.
I think he would have hated it. Freddie used to go out every day, whether it was shopping, for a meal a visit to an auction house and never had to keep looking over his shoulder. He would be out every evening to go to a bar or a club, but you have never seen those grainy pictures… is it Freddie or not? These days of cameras in mobile phones, texting etc. have created a very different environment and one where Freddie would probably have spent much more time inside at Garden Lodge. I should also mention that I think Freddie would have avoided using any of the current forms of contact…. Facebook, twitter, myspace…. Freddie accepted advances in technology, but left others to use them for him.
Tex wanted to know if the bone breaking in his last hours contributed to Freddie’s demise.
There was almost certainly no bone broken, then or at anytime while I worked for Freddie. I think the noise Jim heard was a tendon cracking, like when you move one of your joints, ankle, knee or something and you hear a clicking sound. The death certificate definitely states cause of death as bronchopneumonia.
Steven has brought up the subject of The Phantom of the Opera again.
To my knowledge Freddie never recorded anything from that musical. Maybe he did something at Mike Moran’s studio, but if so, it has definitely never seen the light of day. Freddie enjoyed going to musicals, usually as a guest of a friend who was performing in it. He never seriously considered going into acting or singing in musicals as a step in his career. This was something others were good at. Not something for him.
Claudia asked who found Freddie’s clothes off stage.
Generally Freddie decided what he wanted then Joe or I were sent out to find the nearest we could to what he wanted. Very often when any of us were out we would find some thing that we thought Freddie might like and would buy it and take it home for him. Towards the end we started getting shirts from designers’ shops and letting Freddie try them on at home. If he liked any of them they would stay and the rest returned.
Alan asked what Freddie would have thought of his appearance at the closing ceremony of the London Olympics.
I thought it was a fitting tribute to one of the musical greats from London. My heart also skipped a beat when I saw those panels lifting with his image there. When you think about it, there are not many musicians who have been associated with TWO Olympic Games, Barcelona AND London 2012! Freddie would have to feel proud.
Carole asked about Freddie and his cats.
Almost all of Freddie’s cats came from the Blue Cross hospital. Only one, Tiffany, a Himalayan Blue Point, was bought by Mary from a breeder. Freddie inherited Oscar when he told Tony Bastin to leave the flat in Stafford Terrace, but to make sure he left Oscar behind. Jim brought Goliath and Delilah into Garden Lodge soon after Freddie moved in. Mary then brought Miko, and Jim supplied Romeo and Lily. Freddie really just looked at the cats for a few minutes and out would come a name he felt represented the animal best. While most of them came from a very needy background, they were treated like royalty in Garden Lodge. Tinned food in the morning, then fresh, chicken, fish or occasionally rabbit for their evening meal.
Kat wanted to know if Freddie knew what a voice he had
Yes he did. But he also knew it was a gift and could not take it for granted and did what he could to keep it in a good working state. Many people commented on his teeth and wanted to know why he didn’t fix them. His answer was that he didn’t know how it would change the sound of his voice, so he was happier to be self conscious about them than risk changing the sound box. Many people have commented on his smoking habit. He took that up to control his hands waving around in interviews. He then found it wasn’t to detrimental to his singing, in fact giving him a more rasping sound which he liked at the time. It then became a habit he only gave up when his doctors told him to in 1989.
A few more answers today. I’m trying to slowly catch up on the questions! There are still a few hundred, so I’ll be here a while! Looking forward to the next time.