Firstly, I would like to offer my sincere apologies for my absence over the last few weeks. There has been so much going on in my life that it has been hard to find time to do all that I have promised. I’m sure almost everyone has said to themselves ‘tomorrow, definitely tomorrow’ and then find 10 days have gone by. So, on that note I will get on with the questions.
Timur wanted to know who wrote the lyrics for Mother Love.
The words were written by Brian. At the time, May 1991, Freddie and Brian were in the studio, as Brian says, with Brian trying to write the lyrics for Freddie to sing, literally as soon as Brian had taken his pen off the paper. There was a sense of not knowing how much time was left for Freddie to record, and as happened, Freddie never actually finished the song and Brian sang the last verse.
Ivan asked what 80s Freddie was like when he listened to early Queen.
Freddie rarely played Queen at home, unless it was cassettes of music they were working on in the studio at the time. Saying that, I think there was always a feeling of satisfaction when some of the early tracks were mentioned in conversation. There were occasions when he would say he was happy to have created some of those very early songs.
Lynne asked what Freddie got up to when not working.
Freddie hated wasting time, so when he was at home for any length of time, he would be out hunting for new furniture or art for Garden Lodge. It was also a chance for him to catch up with friends he might not have seen for a while, so lunches and dinners figured on the daily schedule, whether a lunch for twelve people at home or a big dinner party for twenty at a favourite restaurant.
Evan asked if the topic of HIV/AIDS came up before Freddie knew of his diagnosis.
Yes, of course it did, as a couple of Freddie’s friends had died of the disease before Freddie knew he was ill. Particularly when we were in America many people were talking about it. As Ivan says, there was a lot of misinformation about the disease in the early 80s, and I suppose, like so many people in the world, Freddie often thought…. It won’t happen to me.
Gail wanted to know why Delilah was Freddie’s favourite cat.
There was just something about her attitude to all the others cats that Freddie loved. As all cat lovers know, every feline has their own distinct personality. After her initial period of finding her feet in the house, she very quickly walked around it like she had been there for years, and more importantly, like she had owned it for those years. It was this display of not caring what anybody thought that appealed to Freddie.
Nick asked what gave Freddie AIDS.
In that the infection probably took place over thirty years ago, I don’t think anyone knows for sure. At the time Freddie, and those he spoke with about his diagnosis, assumed it was unsafe sex. Generally there were two ways to acquire HIV/AIDS, unsafe sex and sharing dirty needles with intravenous drug use. Freddie had never used intravenous drugs, so the unsafe sex aspect seemed the obvious route.
Samantha sked if I kept in touch with Jim Hutton after Freddie died.
Yes, I did keep in touch with Jim. I had known Jim before either Jim or I met Freddie. I was working in the department store Selfridges, in London, in the early 70s, and so was Jim Hutton, which was where we first met up. I lost contact with Jim when I left the store and couldn’t believe my eyes when I next saw him in Freddie’s flat on Stafford Terrace nearly 10 years later. We spoke generally about once a month when he moved to Ireland in the 90s.
Lara asked if I will be in Montreux for Freddie’s 70th birthday in 2016.
If there is a birthday party there in 2016 I hope I will get an invite. I know of a few things that are being planned for that year by friends of mine, but I have not heard anything concrete for 2016 in Montreux.
Marina wanted to know if Freddie’s parents saw him live in concert.
Freddie always made sure they got to see him at least once on each tour that had shows in London. He generally kept his family away from his work life, but they always wanted to see him perform as they were so proud of him.
Christopher asked when the last time I spoke to John Deacon was.
The very last time I saw and spoke to John was in the dressing room after Queen performed Show Must Go On with Elton John during the performance of the Bejart Ballet’s Ballet for Life in Paris. He was the same John I had known for all the years before, and I even asked for his autograph on my programme, which he happily gave me.
One final question for this blog seems appropriate considering the anniversary on 24th. Jose wanted to know if Freddie was at peace when he passed away. I believe he was at peace with himself. Freddie decided to stop his medication on his own terms. He knew the consequences of his actions and had the time then to talk with friends and family and say his goodbyes. No-one knew how much time he had left on the 10th November, but he must have understood his body and what it was feeling as the days passed. He made all his arrangements and sorted out the statement to the world during those two weeks, and I think he just felt and knew it was his time.
I know many people feel this is a very sad time, and it is, but please do try to find a way to celebrate the life of one of the greatest musicians who ever lived. I will be in Prague celebrating with the Czech Queen Fan Club on Saturday 22nd and then joining a group of fans in Rotterdam on the 24th. Have fun till the next time (which should be much sooner than the last).