So, after what seems like ages, I have re-appeared from what has been an emotional couple of months for me, never mind the frustrations of very intermittent internet. Moving house doesn’t help either. There have been some highlights, one of which was spending many days talking to school children in the Czech Republic, more that 1,500 of them, raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. The teachers were very appreciative and the students, aged 13-18 had some very insightful questions. So, here goes.
Donna asked is Freddie ever celebrated Thanksgiving.
Generally he would use any excuse to have a party. I remember a few times when there wasn’t a tour that Joe reminded Freddie about Thanksgiving and Freddie would lay on a traditional dinner for friends. As Freddie was staunchly British, the celebration didn’t have the same gravitas as it does in USA, but he still enjoyed himself.
Linda wanted to know what is my favourite Queen song.
As many of you know, my favourite was a Freddie composition; My Melancholy Blues. Perhaps because it is the opposite of many of Queen’s songs with multi-layered harmonies, big guitars and the traditional Queen sound, that I like it. It is a simple song, with Freddie singing it, almost like telling a story.
Luis asked if Freddie liked football.
Football wasn’t very high on Freddie’s sporting priorities. At school he enjoyed boxing and table tennis, at both of which he was quite proficient. In later life he would enjoy watching tennis on tv with occasional games when he was near a tennis court, and loved watching rugby, as a friend of his was able to fill him in all the pros and cons.
A wanted to know if Freddie ever went to Rome.
In the 12 years I was with Freddie he never went to Rome. I’m not sure if he went there in the time before I worked for him.
Maarit asked if there was something wrong when the band performed Las Palabras de Amor for Top of the Pops.
There weren’t any more problems than usual at that time, I think is was really down to the fact that none of Queen like to mime to playback at the best of times and as you mentioned, there was no audience there either. It was really lacking any sort of atmosphere and Freddie felt like he was wasting his time, not being able to perform and give his best to the crowd as usual.
Karin wanted to know if Freddie ever returned to Zanzibar.
To my knowledge Freddie never went back to the place of his birth. He very rarely spoke about it either. Freddie was very much a person of today rather than thinking and talking about what was past.
Letizia asked if there was anywhere that still remains of Freddie’s past in Munich.
Like most places in the world, stories of the past don’t hold much sway with progress. There are still places Freddie had been, the Bayerische Hof Hotel for example, and the Alten Markt, where Freddie ended up every Tuesday morning after Fasching, but while the names of bars that we frequented might still be around, they are not at the same address as they were
Samantha asked if there was one event I would like to relive with Freddie.
Very hard to single out just one event, but high on the list would be the visit to the Royal Opera House on February 3rd 1981, for the performance of Un Ballo in Maschera where he heard Montserrat Caballe for the first time. It was a pure joy to see the wonderment on Freddie’s face after she had finished singing in the trio during Act I. Freddie just couldn’t believe what he had heard and said then he had just heard the greatest voice in the world. You should also remember we had gone to the opera that night to hear Luciano Pavarotti sing, but he very quickly took second place in the voice stakes.
La Japonaise gave me a wonderful explanation about azaleas.
As far as I am aware nobody ever explained to Freddie about the meaning of ‘rock azalea’. I find your description quite lovely ‘Suggestion, to tell without saying. It is true, Freddie did have an azalea garden within the garden of Garden Lodge, with small bushes of different colour flowers. As so many of you know, Freddie loved most things Japanese and this did extend to their flowers.
Marco asked if Freddie ever invested or kept track of his money.
I believe Freddie always had a rough idea of what he had to in his accounts, but he always needed a nudge from his accountant if he went overboard with his spending. Freddie would always check and make sure he had enough money in his account before he signed a blank cheque for me to take to Christie’s or Sotheby’s on days of big auctions. His meetings with his accountant were actually more regular than band meetings with Queen.
Ok, back to work. There is one thing I should mention, if you are sending in emails with questions, please only ask one question per email. Someone sometimes helps me by sorting out the questions and giving me them to answer and try to make a good mix. They do tend to put multiple questions at the bottom of the pile. Are you at a loss for something to do for Freddie’s Birthday this year? Check out what’s happening in Montreux for that September weekend. A big party at the Casino in aid of the MPT. I’m certainly looking forward to it! I’ll be checking in again soon!