Firstly, Happy New Year to everyone! Last year was incredibly busy for me and really gave me no time to carry on with this blog. I have now tried to organise this year to definitely give me time to continue with you.
I have been racking my brain to try to figure out a new way to answer the questions sent to me, so what I thought I would do was to go through the questions, pick some favourite topics, and elaborate. I won’t single out individuals, but YOU will understand when your question is answered.
I’m afraid a lot of you won’t find much new this time as so many questions have been asked before, but there are obviously quite a few who don’t know the answers. So, here we go…….
Cats. Freddie loved his cats. He loved their independence and believed that people owned their dogs, but cats decided who they allowed to look after them. He had cats all the time I knew him and for some years before Stafford Terrace. In my time I knew Tom, Jerry, Oscar, Tiffany, Goliath, Delilah, Miko, Romeo, Lily and not forgetting Dorothy whom he adopted during his stay in Munich. As you know he wrote a song about his favourite, Delilah, who really was allowed to do anything she liked. One question was what it was like being surrounded by all the cats. You must remember, Garden Lodge was a substantial house and you rarely had two cats in the same room at any one time, except breakfast and dinner. They were fed tinned food in the morning and in the evening they had whatever Joe or I cooked up for them, chicken, fish or rabbit, always fresh. Going out was usually the hardest part of the day. If everyone was going out to the theatre, dinner or the bars, the house had to be locked up. All the rooms and doors had sensors for the alarm, so we had to go round the whole house to make sure every animal was outside so we could close the doors for each individual room. Everyone in the house, Freddie included, knew we had to be ready to go about 15 minutes before departure!
What did Freddie smell like? I have seen frequently. In the early 80s there were two standard colognes with him wherever he went, Aramis and Lagerfeld. He did try others occasionally but always reverted back to those. Later, when he was spending more time in Switzerland he discovered L’Eau Dynamisante by Clarins which he wore much of the time. There was always a surprise in all the bathrooms he had, whether in England, New York or Munich and that was a ladies fragrance called L’Interdit, created for Audrey Hepburn by Givenchy. His drawers always had bars of soap in them to keep the clothes smelling good and those were by Roger & Gallet.
Freddie started smoking Marlboros in the very early 80s. The first were the Reds followed fairly quickly by the Marlboro Lights. After he left USA he generally smoked a UK brand Silk Cut. He started on the purple packs but again progressed to to yellow (light). He could get through more than a pack a day, but he didn’t necessarily ‘smoke’ each cigarette . He really started because of his new image and it gave him something to do with his hands when he was doing interviews, as he had noticed he would wave them around quite a lot. Also, it wasn’t uncommon to find a whole cigarette ash in an ash tray, where he had lit one, put it down and then got up to do something else. He basically stopped in 1989 when his doctors advised his not to smoke, drink alcohol or take any drugs. If he wanted to live a bit longer. As with all things, he didn’t completely stop the cigarettes and drink, particularly when in the studio, but he did drastically reduce his consumption.
Freddie almost never spoke of his childhood and Persian origins. He wasn’t ashamed or anything like that, but Freddie was a person of today rather than the past and didn’t want to waste precious time reflecting on what was as opposed to what is and will be.
Freddie certainly knew who some of his neighbours were, including Tony Blackburn (radio dj) nearly next door, and Diana Rigg (Emma Peel amongst so many other great performances), whose back garden was opposite the front gate of Garden Lodge. He also knew the next door neighbour in the Mews as Freddie bought his house from him. No, they weren’t invited to the parties. Also he didn’t really have to let neighbours know and make them aware of noise or anything because it was so isolated in the middle of the walled garden.
There you go for starters. I’m already looking at the next questions, so hopefully won’t be too long for the next one. Take care one and all!.