….are usually what you’ll hear me exclaim if I hear the first 3 bars of a Queen song starting in a bar.
Today, on what would have been Freddie’s 70th birthday, I’m not going to bore you with all the usual drivel that we know about his early years, his incredible successes and failures, his greatest hits. You’ve probably watched numerous documentaries about Queen and Freddie over the years. This is a tribute of a different kind.
I’m going to tell you about what he means to me. Or, what he means to my Significant Other (S.O), to be precise.
Now, I loved Freddie Mercury for all that he was, in all his genius and all of his music. For me especially, this gem alongside the recently departed David Bowie:
BUT to my S.O. Freddie Mercury’s music was the greatest. A lifelong fan, knows all the words to all the songs (you get where this is going now…)
He also, on occasion, (usually a karaoke night) likes to hideously embarrass himself (me) with the odd rendition of Bohemian Rhapsody/I Want to Break Free/Don’t Stop Me Now.
Shortly after we first met, I was forewarned by some of his friends and family, that he had some Freddie skills on the karaoke and had subsequently gotten himself barred from his local for smashing a chandelier with a brush he was using as a prop (microphone). I shrugged it off. I mean, haven’t we all one time or anther had a wee go at the office party etc?) Nothing, however, prepared me for what was to pass at his Auntie’s big family birthday bash, some time later that year.
There I was, sitting comfortably, my back to the dance floor, enjoying a glass of fizz with his parents and some close family when suddenly I see his mum’s expression slowly to change to horror. I hadn’t noticed what the DJ was saying. It was very loud and a little garbled. “What’s happened? Are you alright?” I leaned over to ask, my hand on her arm.
And then it happened.
I turned, aghast, watching as he started to belt out the first few lines of Bohemian Rhapsody. I was looking on in astonishment. That’s not who I think it is, is it?!!!!! Nooooo oh please noooo. What is he doing? Why is he stroking his own chest and strutting? Then it hit me.
“Oh holy fuck. I’ve just bought a house with this man” I said, inside my own head.
People around me were whooping and woo hooing to a deafening extent but I thought I was going to choke on my own stomach. Please Jesus let this be a bad dream. I turned my back to the dance floor. His Grandad style of dancing and wafting his arms about was stage 10 cringe. Beam me up Scotty!
It was the longest few minutes I’ve ever had to endure. The crowd were screaming and laughing as he skidded on his knees to a halt at the end. Laughing at not with, as I told him later.
I held my head in my hands and looked up at his poor mother. Her face a vision of mortification. I could scarcely believe what just happened. I could hear jokey comments all around like “so bad it’s good” that sort of thing but NO. Not to me. Not ever. It was just appalling and atrocious and I prayed I’d never have to be subjected to that kind of horror ever again. I told him as much later and he laughed, not actually grasping that I meant it.
He’s done this to me many times over the years together, despite my protests and threats to his life and anatomy. I’ve literally started to pretend am not with him if people comment to me when he sings.
My kids were reduced to tears on holiday one beautiful October in the Algarve when he decided it would be fun to perform for them too. They were affronted and scarred for life.
The last time he tried it on was a holiday in Belgium!? The kids and I warned him “If you do a Freddie Mercury, we’re going to walk out and leave you here” and he said “it’s OK, I’m doing Robbie Williams instead”
Me: “Right kids, get your coats……”
Up we all stood in unison and stomped out with him skulking 15 feet behind all the way back to our lodge.
To this day the kids do impersonations of me in a supremely high pitched voice, squealing “Robbie Williams??” “I mean, Robbie Fucking Williams?” And shaking their heads.
Thankfully, this all seems to be in the past now and the message has perhaps gotten through but he’s coming up for a big birthday and the thought of a big family bash has me worried…
but Freddie, I still love you