One question I get asked a lot by both fans and during interviews is what is my fondest memory of Freddie and for this my answer is always the same.
There are so many memories for me from the twelve years I knew Freddie, but the moments that always stood out for me were when he was at home laughing. I know this sounds quite ordinary, but whenever you see Freddie smiling or laughing during an interview, he always uses his top lip to cover his teeth, or else he brings up his had to cover his mouth. The reason for this was that he hated his teeth and always tried to cover them up. When he was at home he wasn’t self-conscious surrounded by friends, and he would just throw his head back and laugh out loud with his mouth wide open. Those were the times when the warm, funny and relaxed man was able to appear, without having to be wary of strangers seeing him with out the Freddie Mercury – the Rock Star persona.
I would also like to help put some people’s minds at rest regarding the stories of Freddie’s bones breaking when we were moving him round his bed to get him comfortable in those last two weeks. Yes, Freddie was getting weaker by the day, as he wasn’t very interested in eating or drinking very much, but he was able to stand and to walk very short distances, with some assistance. Just because the muscles are losing some of their strength doesn’t automatically mean that the bones are losing density. Freddie was downstairs in Garden Lodge on the 20th November, as he wanted to see some of his art works for one last time. Terry carried him down the stairs, but he walked around the sitting room and Japanese room with one of us supporting him. He commented on how and when he had acquired a few of the pieces. Of course there was a quiet atmosphere in the house during those last days, but Freddie remained the Freddie we knew until the end.
Someone asked if Freddie was an alcoholic. Others have asked about his alcoholic consumption.
Freddie did NOT drink alcohol every day. Unlike the image of the hell-raiser, with a bottle constantly raised to his lips, Freddie certainly preferred his liquid refreshment from a glass, crystal, if he was at home, whether it was a beer, champagne or vodka and tonic. There were days when he didn’t drink anything other than tea and some fresh squeezed juices. Barbara Valentin had a good phrase for those days away from the bars….the milk days. These were the days when they gave their bodies a chance to recover from the nights of excess. Freddie also generally knew his limit, though there were one or two occasions he went a little beyond it. Freddie used the alcohol to raise his spirits, and the alcohol also served to lower his shyness threshold when he was out with his friends in the bars.
Some people asked what Freddie’s connection to Feltham was as they had seen a couple of references to him there.
As most people know Freddie was born in Zanzibar and went to school in India. On his return to Zanzibar the island became involved in a revolution and the Bulsara family moved to Feltham in London. Freddie’s father had worked for the British Government in Zanzibar and then continued working for them in the UK. Feltham was the area that his family decided on. There is a blue plaque on the house that they lived in and there is also a memorial plaque near the high street, which has been moved.
A couple of people have asked if Freddie found time to keep up to date with local and international news.
The simple answer to that is yes! While Freddie enjoyed his life and had a good time with friends, he was always aware of what was going on.. He did look through some newspapers each morning and he also watched the news each evening on tv. In those days you could actually believe what you saw and heard a bit more than you can today. He was always aware that basically you had to read ‘between the lines’ and make your own mind up about the content. He had suffered innumerable times at the hands of the newspapers.
I received a question regarding Freddie’s lifestyle choice.
The band was always totally supportive of Freddie throughout the years and Freddie took great pains to keep his personal life away from the press. Freddie once stated in an interview where the reporter asked him ‘I’ve heard you sleep with men’. Freddie’s reply was ‘I sleep with men, I sleep with women and I sleep with my cats….what has that to do with my music?’ The question then goes on to ask if Freddie didn’t have any REAL friends who could take him to task over his lifestyle choice. My reaction to that is: Freddie did have many real friends with whom he was totally at ease and who he could be himself with, including the other members of the band. Freddie’s friends were there for him every step of the way, as he was for them!
Quite a few people have been asking if they can meet up with me.
This year I will be appearing around the world at various events and I will try to always mention it here. For example I will be in Rome at the beginning of next month and I know I will be in Holland in May and the UK in October. There are a few more dates in the pipeline and I will let you know! Have fun and take care till next time.