It’s been a while so I must apologise. There has been so much going on for me this year, many different events where I have met old friends and met many, many new fans, most of which seem to appreciate everything that people are doing to help them understand the music of Queen and to see a bit more of what makes the band tick.
I must also make another apology: to all those people who were around Freddie during those twelve years, 1979-1991, that I was working for him, and I just didn’t see them. I must have been walking around blindfolded, as there are so many people out there on the internet who know Freddie so much better than myself. Also, I don’t seem to recognise any of their names. I think it is quite sad how people have to hide behind pseudonyms and avatars when they produce their fonts of knowledge, so no one is really able to thank them for all their sound advice. I would ask only one thing, please don’t talk about things that you have no first hand knowledge about. There are things on the internet currently I find quite hurtful, particularly as one of the people involved is no longer alive to defend/explain himself.
Ok, so down to answering some questions.
There have been a few questions about passions and/or hobbies. I suppose Freddie’s overriding passion was for his cats. He loved the way they were independent. He was convinced people owned dogs, but cats owned their carers. He felt that they were an extension of himself; basically living life as he wanted and spending time with people he loved when he was able. If shopping is a hobby, then that was Freddie’s. I’m not talking about grocery shopping, but going on trips to buy, artwork, crystal and beautiful furniture. He spent so much time with his favourite supplier, Rupert Cavendish, who actually created so much for Garden Lodge.
One question keeps cropping up time and again: why didn’t Rami have brown eyes like Freddie in Bohemian Rhapsody. The colour of Rami’s eyes were noted by everybody at the beginning of filming and various ways to get around the fact that Rami’ has hazel eyes as opposed to Freddie’s brown were considered. The obvious one, using coloured contact lens was dismissed along with digitally colouring his eyes in post production. In the end it was felt that it was better to give Rami one less thing to worry about, contacts, so he could concentrate on becoming Freddie for the film. In the end , I must admit, I didn’t pay too much attention to the colour, just the performance.
A question I have answered before but continually shows up is about Freddie and religion. There were no overt religious symbols anywhere in Garden Lodge. Freddie believed that everyone had a right to observe any religion they felt was right for them. He very rarely spoke about the topic as he didn’t think it was something for general conversation. He did say that he did not like the idea of organised religion where one person can tell millions of people what is right or wrong. For Freddie, everyone should have their own beliefs..
People have been asking about Freddie’s friendship with Elton John. They met when Queen’s management was taken over by John Reid, who also managed Elton at that time. A great friendship developed and they spent quite a lot of time together. This lessened after a year or two because of their touring schedules, they were very rarely in the same city at the same time, particularly under Reid Enterprises, because you can only give every city so much of a good time on any day!. They still kept in touch and I have many fond memories of the times they did meet up. On is from when Freddie had torn the ligaments in his knee in Munich and was in a plaster cast. Elton performed in the city and of course Freddie wanted to watch the show. Freddie and I were seated on the side of the stage enjoying ourselves when Elton stood up from the piano seat and said ‘This is for Melina, the poor cow’ and then proceeded to sing ‘I’m still standing’! He also visited Garden Lodge regularly during the last year of Freddie’s life, spending a few hours with him each time.
Did I ever see Freddie cry. I very rarely saw tears in Freddie’s eyes and when I did it was due to excitement or happiness. I think if he cried about sad or upsetting things he did it while he was in bed before sleep, or when he was finally alone somewhere. Like all of us, even Freddie couldn’t keep the smile on his face 100% of the time, and I can relate to that, being with him for so long. Freddie always had people around him, and he did have friends who he knew and cared about him. One particular time I saw tears was after the very first take of Montserrat’s voice on the Barcelona track. He put his hands up to his face and said ‘I have the best voice in the world singing my music!’
Many of you have asked if Garden Lodge will become a museum. I really don’t know. I remember many times walking around the house with him and he constantly complained how it felt like a museum, and how he hated the fact. I could only tell him that he should stop buying antiques, at which point he just laughed. Freddie had a very eclectic taste, but it was firmly set in the past, whether from the 1920s and 30s, back to Louis XV furniture. If you buy and utilise antiques, your house will look like a museum. So will that happen to Garden Lodge, who knows?
I’m just back from Freddie’s birthday celebrations in Montreux. It was glorious, and the costumes and hats on display on Saturday evening were amazing. It therefore makes me sadder after the smiles and laughter there from so many of you, to come back to the internet and watch the bullying that goes on there. Some people have created their own fantasy land and just lash out at anyone who doesn’t live in the same sphere. The Queen and Freddie environment always used to be a fun and happy place to be, it makes me sad if this bickering is going to be Freddie’s legacy.
I WILL be writing again soon. Please try to ask Freddie questions as I don’t have a huge amount if time to reply personally?