After a wonderful weekend in Rome, with some really lively and welcoming Queen fans, where we did an aural ‘ask Phoebe’, I was brought back to earth with a bump with some sad news. Some of the questions were interesting, particular ones about the forthcoming film, Bohemian Rhapsody. History has always been one of my favourite subjects, and where better to go to immerse yourself in modern, medieval and ancient history, than Rome. With my personal guides, I had a magical journey through the eternal city,
I know death is part of life and I have used that phrase often enough, but you really are never prepared for it happening, particularly in someone young. I knew Tim Kriek for about 15 years, half of his life! I met Tim through his love of Queen and their music at a Dutch fan club day in Holland in 2003 and have seen him two or three times every year since. We always had time to have a chat about what had been happening in our lives, and even after his operation he never let his illness get the better of him and kept smiling. Finally, this weekend his fight was over, but memories of Tim will play in my mind forever…
A few questions that feature regularly are about Freddie and children.
He never expressed any desire to have children to me at any time. That is not to say he disliked children, he spent time, in the later years with a few. I don’t think he could have accepted the responsibility of taking time out of his life to look after them. He saw, particularly with his bandmates on tour, exactly what was required of them as parents. He did enjoy being around them for a while,but was always happy to ‘hand them back’ at the end of a visit. You must also remember his house was full of valuable objets d’art, many on coffee tables that would be within easy reach of enquiring young hands. He never dreamed of going round the house putting things away before any visit, he just expected the children to be well behaved, and most of them were!
Another question that comes up often, relates to Freddie and Princess Diana.
No, Freddie dressing Diana up in men’s clothes and taking her to the Vauxhall Tavern didn’t happen. Freddie never even met Princess Diana. The story surfaced in a book a few years ago. He was supposed to have done this along with Kenny Everett, but seriously, Freddie wasn’t involved. Maybe Kenny did it, who knows.
Ok, Freddie and his cars.
No, Freddie never took a driving test, but it didn’t stop him owning 5 cars in his lifetime. He firmly believed that all of us are here for a reason; Freddie’s was all to do with music, creating, recording and performing. Other people were here to drive cars. The first one he bought was one of the very big black Daimler limousines, as he thought that was what famous people should be seen in. John Reid quickly pointed out the it was a glorified fish bowl and far too pretentious for a day to day car. Once Bohemian Rhapsody made him some money he bought his Silver Cloud Rolls Royce and also a black and burgundy Daimler/Jaguar which he used most days. Later, when Terry started looking after Freddie’s security and driving him around, he got rid of the Jaguar and bought a black Mercedes 420 SEL, which he used until 1991. The Rolls was garaged when not in use and Freddie’s driver always took the other car home. The fifth car was an Ox Blood Red Lincoln Town Car that Freddie bought when he bought his apartment in New York, so that he didn’t have to hire cars there. There was also a paid driver in New York for him. There was a Grey Volvo for sale on ebay a while ago with Freddie as a registered owner. In fact, it was the car Freddie bought for Jim Hutton through his company.
Again, this question has been asked before, but many still are asking; what did Freddie drink?
Depending on the time of day; it was tea, champagne and vodka and tonic. His preferred brand of tea was Twinings, and always Earl Grey. He would have a cup beside his bed every morning at 9 am, with a little milk and two sugars. He would often have 3 or 4 cups during the day, always the same. Afternoons and early evenings were the time for Louis Roederer Cristal champagne. Generally, his drink of choice for evenings was Stolichnaya vodka and Schweppes tonic with ice. He did enjoy wine with his meals and also proved the saying that Swiss wine didn’t travel well by importing 20 cases of his favourite white wine Saint Saphorin from Lavaux near Montreux in Switzerland.
Did Freddie go out very much in Earls Court, and why?
Three of his favourite places were very close to where he lived. One was a pub, one a restaurant and one a club. The pub he went to quite often was The Colherne, which was at the bottom of Earls Court Road. He also liked a restaurant which was almost opposite the pub called Ponte Vecchio, which always knew what he liked and he rarely asked for a menu. This was the same in quite a few restaurants he went into. The closest place to Freddie was the Copacabana club which was on Earls Court Road just off the Great West Road. As it was close Freddie would go there most nights. One thing, it didn’t matter how close the place was, Freddie always used a car. This wasn’t necessarily because he didn’t like or want to walk, but more a case of making a very quick getaway if he needed it.
Someone asked about Freddie’s record collection and another about his collectables.
Freddie didn’t really have a record collection as such. He had a few favourites which were played every now and then, things by Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones and Prince among them. We always had to buy the latest Now That’s What I Call Music, I think we got up to 6 or 7 so that he had music for parties. As for his acetates etc., he never really had a collection as he knew the office would have a complete archive if he found something he really wanted to hear again. The only acetate I saw and heard in Garden Lodge was I Can Hear Music.
A lot of people have been asking about the Birthday Party in Montreux this year. Here is a link below giving all the current information.
Enjoy yourselves and please take care. I will be in Dresden at the end of this month which should be fun!