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Posted: 12 Mar 10, 20:24 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

FREDDIE Mercury, flamboyant lead singer of British supergroup Queen,
loved to play Scrabble. When he wasn't prancing on stage in white satin
pants deliveringa phenomenal performance, composing musical hits
or holding one of his legendary parties, Mercury would produce a
Scrabble set and urge those around to join in."He hated to lose
at Scrabble," recalls Peter Hince, Queen's former road manager.Whatever
history has done with Mercury's Scrabble set, the whereabouts of his
celebrated pink ladies turtleneck is plain. The garment has arrived at
the Art Gallery of Ballarat as part of a new exhibition, Queen: The
Unseen Archive. Mercury wore the turtleneck for the group's 1984 I
Want to Break Free video clip, part of Queen's The Works
Hince visited Ballarat to launch the exhibition, which features his
photos of the band alongside an array of rare Queen-related
memorabilia. Mercury, for the record, never did make it to Ballarat. The
nearest he came was the Sunbury Rock Festival outside Melbourne in
1974.Historical connections between Queen and Ballarat are tenuous
or less, but that concerns neither the art gallery nor Queen fans. The
exhibition is unashamedly popular, bringing the gallery a fresh, younger
audience, including many first-time visitors.A display of
never-before-seen John Lennon photos worked wonders last year and
Egeberg reckons Queen will surpass it. Mercury died of AIDS
complications aged 45 and a percentage of the ticket take supports the
Victorian AIDS Council. As well as a modest admission fee, visitors to
the Queen exhibition can unleash their plastic to buy Queen coffee mugs,
Queen fridge magnets or the 30-page glossy exhibition program, complete
with a selection of Hince's photographs. For real devotees, a Freddie
Mercury figurine, almost 1m tall, costs $99.95. Push a button and it
belts out Radio Ga Ga, We are the Champions and other
Queen favourites.Checklist
Queen: The Unseen Archive
runs until April 11 at the Art Gallery of Ballarat, the oldest and
largest gallery in regional Australia. Gallery entry is free; entry to
the special exhibition is $15, adults; $10, children or concession; $25,
families up to four. Ballarat is about 90 minutes from Melbourne on the
Ballarat rail line. A return V/Line off-peak full-fare ticket from
Melbourne costs $20.80. More:;


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