I’m just getting ready for my trip across the Atlantic for my visit to Breakthru, the N. American convention, this year in Detroit. I’m looking forward to meeting up with many old friends there again and thought I should write this for everyone else I won’t be seeing just yet. I’ve been quite busy over the last few weeks, nearly all to do with music in one form or another. I was a judge at an International Academic Choir Competition, a visitor at a young peoples ‘summer music school’ performance and a few shows around the Czech Republic, with very different styles of music.
Someone asked if Freddie used to watch the Rocky Horror Picture Show. I was present once when he watched the film, which he liked, but he very much preferred the stage show which he saw quite a few times in Chelsea when it first opened. He had a few friends involved in it, Tim Curry amongst them, so was always happy to go and see them ‘at work’. I remember the first time I saw it, I was sitting next to the catwalk that stretched the length of the stalls, so I knew it would be featured during the show. What I wasn’t prepared for was Tim Curry’s entrance striding down it in high heels, fishnets and bustier. I heard a commotion behind me, but by the time I turned around, there he was, almost at the stage!
Another question that has arisen from time to time is Freddie’s original name, Faroukh or Farrokh. Both versions appear in different places, but I think it is best to go by his birth certificate which states Farrokh. Also if you listen to Freddie’s mother in documentaries she also refers to Freddie using the latter pronunciation.
Another topic that has come up a few times is Freddie and his stamp collection. I believe Freddie started while still in Zanzibar before he went to school in India, as this is a hobby many children of his generation picked up at a very early age. This would have carried on at school, more so at the start, than towards the end, when the music started to take more of his time. By the time he came to England, the collection was in the safe hands of his mother, who preserved the collection and eventually gave it to the Royal Mail Collection. The importance of stamps did follow Freddie into adulthood as I remember having to collect all the First Day Covers that were released by the Post Office during our time at Garden Lodge, and he would give them to all the young sons of friends of his.
The question of Freddie and anxiety has come up a few times. I would never say I saw Freddie really anxious, except the first time he met Montserrat Caballe. From the time he woke up that Tuesday morning he appeared nervous, which, as I said, wasn’t something I had seen before. Of course, there were some nerves before the biggest shows, S. America, Live Aid, the ’86 Wembley shows, but never pacing his hotel suite, chain-smoking cigarettes and constantly doubting that Montserrat would arrive at the hotel for their meeting. Normally Freddie would always calmly walk into a meeting ten minutes late, this time he was in the luncheon room at ten minutes to one, for the meeting at one pm. Montserrat had not arrived by five minutes after one o’clock and Freddie had me at the door, open a crack to keep an eye on the main entrance. Within seconds, the crowd in the lobby parted and Montserrat was walking towards the room. The first thing she did was apologise for the traffic which kept her from arriving on time. Freddie’s nerves changed to excitement and the afternoon progressed well.
I don’t know where the rumour started but a lot of people have asked if Freddie dyed his hair. The simple answer to that is NO. In the twelve years, I was working for Freddie his hair was never dyed. In the last couple of years he was worried about his double crown and slowly losing some of his hair on the top, but he was never concerned about the colour as it remained the black is had always been
Quite a number of people have questioned why I do this blog. They state that Freddie always guarded his privacy while he was alive, and now here I am giving away everything that Freddie never talked about. It is true, during his lifetime Freddie wanted his privacy and kept his private life to himself and a close group of friends. He also knew and spoke about, that when he was gone, people would think and say many things that weren’t true. He said then that he wouldn’t care as he wouldn’t be here. It is true, he isn’t here in person, but the person so many people loved and admired for his music and presence is still here. Many ill-founded rumours appear all the time and I just feel it is better than the truth is there for everyone, so that they can then make up their own minds. There are still so many of you asking questions, I just want to make sure you know the real Freddie Mercury.
Now it is time to sort out some clothes for this trip. More are in the pipeline, not forgetting Freddie’s Birthday Party in Montreux in September. Looking forward to seeing a lot of you there soon!
I’ve just added a link for those of you who want to see me doing something different. It comes after about half a minute. Click here to watch.