Sorry for last weeks absence, computer problems. Having spent the first half of my life without computers, mobile phones and all the modern technology, I find it amazing how much we rely on these things now.
Paul asked if Freddie suspected he was sick prior to his HIV test in 1987.
I don’t know for certain, all I can do is talk it through. I suppose Freddie might have had some thoughts about it, but I’m not sure he suspected he was sick. Many of us humans have the tendency to think the worst when we have a slight health problem. Freddie knew about the HIV/AIDS virus appearing around the world, and knew of friends dying from the disease, so obviously that played on his mind. He might have thought he was infected, but again, like many of us, he put it to the back of his mind, thinking ‘it won’t happen to me’. You must remember in those days it really was a death sentence, it still is today, but now the end can be put off. I think by the beginning of 1987 Freddie had a good idea he was ill, but still put off the confirmation for as long as possible.
Anja wanted to know why Freddie has the top button of his trousers undone in so many photos.
The main reason was for comfort. Freddie always wanted to feel comfortable. When he was at home he usually wore track suit bottoms, because they were loose. Particularly after a meal in a restaurant, Freddie would undo the top button of his trousers or jeans, just for the feeling of looseness around his waist. Another example of Freddie wanting comfort was his footwear. I remember a time he was wearing a dinner suit to go out to dinner and because he would not be home for quite a few hours, he finished off the ensemble with trainers as they were much more comfortable than patent leather shoes.
Lindsay asked about Freddie and boats.
I’m sure there are more episodes on boats documented, but I can remember two. The one most people will remember is the trip on the Danube when the band were going from Vienna to Budapest, particularly when Freddie asked how many bedrooms the Houses of Parliament in Budapest had, and if it was for sale. But I also remember the boat trip Tony Pike organised for Freddie and his friends when we were staying at the hotel on Ibiza. This was one of the, if not the fastest boats on the island, and I do believe it was not one of Freddie’s best times. He wasn’t frightened of speed, but there was a lot of bouncing around as we flew over the water. When we stopped, Freddie stayed on board while others swam in the sea around the boat. I suspect Freddie was quite happy to be back on dry land at the end of the afternoon.
Carlos wanted to know if Freddie caused the artistic stress on purpose or unconsciously.
I’ve talked before about how Freddie heeded some emotional kick to get his creative juices flowing. Most of the time, Freddie would create a situation where there would be some sort of argument with someone, usually someone close to him, who understood what was happening. As with most arguments with Freddie, they were storms in a teacup, and were totally forgotten within hours.
Julia asked if Freddie ever cleaned the cat litter tray or their food bowls.
After some thought I would have to say I never saw him doing it. I suppose that is one of the reasons we were all there. All of us who were at the house each day, whether permanently or for hours at a time did it. There was only one litter tray, which was hardly ever used, because the cats had outdoor access through two cat flaps. The food bowls were cleaned twice a day. Would Freddie have had fewer cats if he had to do the cleaning? No, I don’t think so. Like all of Freddie’s friends, he would have done just about anything for them. While Delilah might have been the favourite, he loved them all.
Matthew wanted to know if I stay in touch with the rest of the band.
I still have contact with Brian and to a degree Roger. We live in different countries and we are each involved in our lives, but should we be in the same country and meet up we always have plenty to talk about. The last time we met, we sat and talked for over three hours, about the past, the present and the possible future. When you have been friends with people for twelve years, everything doesn’t fall apart because one person has left. We all met because of Freddie, and we have Freddie that still connects us.
Peter asked if there was more video footage, like One Vision and We Are The Champions in existence.
Of the top of my head, there isn’t much that hasn’t already been seen. These were specifically filmed as videos accompanying a single. It wasn’t usual for a film crew to be in the recording studio each time the band was there.
Julie wanted to know if Freddie’s parents and Jim Hutton are still alive.
Jer, Freddie’s mother is still very much with us. Sadly, Bomi, Freddie’s father passed away some years ago, and also Jim Hutton passed away on New Years Day, again a few years ago.
Al asked about Freddie and moods.
As Freddie said in some interviews, he could be moody, but then again, can’t we all. There was no specific time Freddie would be susceptible to moods. He might get up in a bad mood because he slept badly, he might get in a mood during the day because Delilah was ignoring him and spending time with Jim. Sometimes the smallest thing could set him off, but generally the moods were very short, and Freddie would be his normal self very quickly. We would generally leave him to come around, or if we did have to be with him, we would stay quiet and wait for him to engage in conversation, which as I said, would usually be quite quick, as Freddie hated silence around him.
Carlos wanted to know about my family’s reaction to working for and moving in with Freddie Mercury, Rock Star.
My family was upset originally when I said I was giving up working for The Royal Opera House to work for Queen. They were of the opinion that the band got money for nothing. It wasn’t until I showed them a tour itinerary that they realised exactly what went on in Queen’s life and they said to me that they now saw that the band actually did work very hard to get where they were. There was no reaction when I said that I would be working for Freddie and basically living wherever Freddie lived. I had left home when I was 18 and lived my own life away from my parents. I didn’t start the PA work for Freddie until I was 25.
I hope all of you will take care of yourselves and look forward to reading more of your questions soon.