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mickyparise user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 18 Feb 11, 19:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

As Long as I live, I’ll never forget my first meeting with Freddie Mercury. Storming into his dressing room where I was waiting after a two-hour show, he picked up a clothes iron and hurled it at a full-length mirror, smashing it to pieces.

Well, I thought, he’s obviously not superstitious! The outburst had been sparked by a faulty microphone on stage. Although the audience were unaware anything was wrong, Freddie blew his top.

When he’d calmed down, I asked if it was worth getting so wound up over a problem the public knew nothing about. ‘Some people can take second best, but I can’t. If you’ve got the taste for being number one, then number two isn’t good enough,’ he said, slapping me on the knee as he exploded with laughter.
Hard to imagine, but it’s 36 years since Freddie and his group Queen shot to the top of the charts with that seminal song Bohemian Rhapsody.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the band’s formation in 1971, a major Queen exhibition opens in London’s East End on February 25, called Stormtroopers In Stilettos: Queen, The Early Years. It documents the band’s first five albums and their rise to being global superstars.

Through photos and films, it recaptures that iconic live show performed to more than 150,000 people in Hyde Park in 1976 that cemented Queen’s success. And later this year filming will begin on a movie about Queen, starring Sacha Baron Cohen as Freddie.

Unmissable though the exhibition is, it can’t begin to give you a taste of what Freddie was really like. I knew the flamboyant star for 16 years and became a friend to him until he died from AIDS on November 24, 1991, at the age of just 45.
But the real tragedy for me is that Freddie needn’t have died at all.

Despite that outburst when we first met, he and I hit it off and I interviewed him in the U.S., Munich, Ibiza, Paris and his London home. He would often ask me what I thought of a new song.

While visiting him in Munich, I watched him compose material for his solo album The Great Pretender.
What struck me was the vocal power he possessed. It was this brilliance that led to the world-famous soprano Montserrat Caballe partnering him for their number one hit Barcelona in 1987.

Although Freddie was famous for the way he dominated a stage, I found him entirely different in private. The showmanship was replaced by someone who was shy, suspicious and guarded his privacy with an obsessive tenacity.

There was even a period when he was afraid of meeting people as he thought they might be disappointed that he was not the larger-than-life person they saw on stage. ‘I don’t want to shatter the illusion,’ he said. ‘I’m a sort of chameleon. I think it’s a combination of a lot of characters. And I’m a person of extremes.’

I often saw Freddie preparing to go on stage. Swigging down a few vodkas, he’d warm up his voice with a run of vocal exercises. His valet would have his stage clothes laid out for him. After one last puff on a cigarette, he would rush through his door to the stage to the cheers of Queen’s adoring fans. He was like a hurricane.

‘When I’m on stage, I become very different,’ he said. ‘There are no half measures. You have to be resilient to be a rock star, you can’t falter once.’

After buying a mansion in Kensington, Freddie liked nothing better than to surround himself with a group of friends. He preferred to throw dinner parties than go out to bars and discos in the way he did during Queen’s early days.

These gatherings always included his former girlfriend; slim, quietly-spoken Mary Austin, his lover for six years before he came to terms with his homosexuality. Such was their bond that when Freddie died in 1991, he left Mary his home and the bulk of his huge fortune.

He believed his stage image had been responsible for preventing him from developing relationships
Some of his relatives and friends were surprised at this decision, but I wasn’t. While boyfriends came and went, Mary remained the one constant in his life.

In any case, he had told me back in 1984 that Mary would be the one who would inherit his millions. ‘My life is extremely volatile,’ he said. ‘The only friend I’ve got is Mary. I don’t want anyone else. Over the years I’ve become bitter. The more you’re let down, the more you’re hurt. I feel I’m walking around with scars all over the place.’
Mary was 19 when she met him. She was working as the public relations officer for trendy London boutique Biba while Freddie and Queen’s drummer Roger Taylor ran a stall in the nearby Kensington Market selling old clothes and Freddie’s art.

‘We grew up together. It took about three years for me to really fall in love. I’ve never felt that way before or since with anyone,’ said Mary, who moved into a flat with Freddie in Victoria Road, Kensington.

For six years Freddie and Mary had a normal physical relationship. One night he told her that he thought he was bisexual, to which she replied: ‘No Freddie, you’re gay.’
They hugged each other. The time had come for them to lead separate lives, although Freddie assured her he would always be there for her. He bought her a £500,000 flat near his home, so that after splitting up they could continue to see each other.

‘I’ve built up an immense bond with Mary,’ he told me at the time. ‘We still love each other. And if I go first I’m going to leave everything to her. Nobody else will get a penny — except my cats.’

In the event, Freddie left bequests to his family, his last boyfriend, Irish-born Jim Hutton — who he’d treated to a house in Ireland — was left a large sum of money, his valet received £500,000 and his chef was also remembered. In his search for love, he once told me: ‘I’ve tried relationships on either side — male and female. But all of them have gone wrong. I don’t think anyone can put up with me. I eat people and destroy them. I just want it all my own way, but doesn’t everybody? That doesn’t mean I’m not giving. I demand a lot, but I do give a lot in return.’ He certainly cared about his friends.

‘I am a true romantic,’ he said. ‘But at the same time I have a hard exterior — it’s difficult for people to get through to me and I attract all the wrong kinds of people. I’m petrified of being alone.’

He believed his stage image had been responsible for preventing him from developing relationships: ‘I created a monster. I’m handicapped because people think I’m like that. When I’m trying to get a relationship together I’m the nicest person you could meet, my dear. I’m a peach,’ he said, dissolving into hysterical laughter.
‘The moment I find someone’s betrayed me I go the other way. Once I’m betrayed, I’m an ogre.

‘Because audiences love me, it’s hard for them to believe that somebody like Freddie Mercury could be lonely,’ he said. ‘In fact, my kind of loneliness is the hardest. You can be in a crowd and still be the loneliest person, because you don’t really belong to anyone.’

According to members of the medical profession, if Freddie could have survived one more year, the leaps in treatment for AIDS sufferers could have saved him

Freddie lived with the knowledge he was HIV-positive for seven years before his death. I knew and kept his secret. ‘I was extremely promiscuous, but I’ve stopped all that,’ he told me in the late Eighties. ‘Sex was an integral ingredient to what I was doing.

‘It was all these things that surround the music and I was living them to the full. There was excess in everything. Anyway, it would be boring to be 70. If I’m dead tomorrow, I don’t give a damn. I’ve lived a full life. I love the fact I make people happy — even if it’s just for half an hour.’

Freddie was treated for his illness at home. It was kept secret, with medical supplies arriving hidden in record cover sleeves and boxes. He became so weak that he couldn’t get out of bed and then his sight began to suffer. But he still found the strength to face his fate.
‘It was Freddie’s decision t


R.I.P. PRINCESS

Living Life on Life's Terms
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Posted: 18 Feb 11, 21:56 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

This is one of the better articles I've read in a long time. It's great to hear how Freddie was so human. It's great to hear how he was a generous friend. I still get choked up when I hear The Show Must Go On.
     I hope Mary is doing well.

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Posted: 23 Feb 11, 13:52 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

It is sad, but there is always a price for everything. Freddie loved performing and all that came with it on stage, and in turn we loved him as well, and still do. Yet all must remember that inside beats the heart of a man, and very human. It isn't always good to the achieve those big dreams we all have without thinking if they come true how we will be affected by them coming to be, and knowing them would we change them? I rather doubt this as most of us feel we can control there outcome, and that there won't be a problem, and most of us learn the hard way that we can't! Freddie lived and loved, and was bigger than life, and here is the rub, for he was a man, just a person with a hell of a lot of talent, and no one will see the likes of him again, here on earth anyhow. I for one have made no big contribution to this world, but that is okay as I have a lover of twelve years who lets me know every waking day just how lucky I am, and that is enough for me. I adore Queen, and I will never forget the magic they brought to us all. Every time I play their songs I rocket back in time, and feel young again, and ready to face all that life can toss at me, and keep on kicking back. I am also lucky as myself, and my lover Billy Bee never got aids, for we to did a lot of bed bouncing, and in this I thank God for this. It is sad that a year could have changed Freddie's health condition, yet where ever Heaven is Freddie is contributing big time, cause that is Freddie, and it wouldn't be Heaven for him if he couldn't. So God I thank you for giving us Freddie for the short time he was with us, he is dear to our hearts, and in you Heavenly Father the show will still go on, and on, and on! xoxo Danno.

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Posted: 23 Feb 11, 17:48 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

There will never be another Freddie Mercury.  He was a one-of-a-kind.  He enveloped the persona of "entertainer" to a "tee".  If it wasn't for the deadly disease that took him from us, he'd still be passionately belting out the songs for us on stage.  He was born to be a "singer of songs" and he truly was a "lover of life" .   He was infected with HIV during a time when the public had no knowledge that AIDS existed or that it was connected to unsafe sex.   I think Freddie pushed the boundaries in every area of his life, because if you really live life to the fullest, you will have to take risks in every area possible and Freddie knew that, in order to succeed, to be the best, he would have to partake of the good, the bad and the ugly.  Perhaps he was a bit naive when he first started out with an unknown band, which he named "Queen", but he soon discovered that the rich and famous are targeted by wolves in sheep's clothing.  He searched for love in both sexes, and never really felt loved by anyone but Mary, who was his lifelong companion, friend and lover.  There was no doubt that he regretted having let go of her romantically, and perhaps even pining for a normal family life with children, in his later years.   She never left his side and loved him until the end and further.   The money he left her shouldn't be an issue for anyone, as it was his legacy to do with as he pleased.  I am saddened by the fact that Freddie would still be here today if he had lived just another year or so, and been able to benefit from the new AIDs drugs that were becoming available.   I also regret the fact that he pushed himself so hard to make as much music as possible during his last years,  which possibly wore his immune system down even more. when he could have been taking better care of himself with much needed rest.  He may have felt a bit guilty when he became ill, fearing to let down to his bandmates, and the musical phenomenon that was "Queen".   However, I believe those closest to Freddie should have told him to take better care of himself.   We'll never know if that would have made a difference.  What we do know is that Freddie was so talented that he could have made a very profitable "solo" career for himself, and he had a taste of that with "Great Pretender" and "Barcelona" with Monserrat ,  before he died.   He did everything in life with passion and perfection, and it might be a little selfish of me to say this, but I love Freddie more than any other entertainer/singer/songwriter because it was transparent to me that he gave his all to us , his fans, in every single performance, and he was a "real" person, admitting to the world that he could be very lonely at times, even though he was a huge star.  That is something that is lacking in today's musicans, that work ethic and love for the art and for the fans!   I know that you are in a better place, Dear Farouk Bulsara, and I hope you are the Lead Vocalist on that Heavenly Stage.   We love you Darling!

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Posted: 23 Feb 11, 19:00 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Just one more year, eh? Now that is sad

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Posted: 27 Feb 11, 05:58 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have read countless books over the years about Queen and Freddie. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to see the full band perform live with Freddie, but have been blessed by being able to see both Brian and Roger perform at his tribute concert in 2001 to mark 10 years of his passing, which was held in Oceana, Hackney; seen Brian play in his Another World tour; and also to see them perform with Paul Rogers in their The Cosmos Rocks tour. I have even seen Gary Mullen (Stars In Their Eyes winner) perform as Freddie, which will be the closest any of us will now hear of our Great Friend, and certainly not a Great Pretender!
It is weird to hear that another year and he'd probably still be around today. I myself am HIV positive, an unfortunate drunk encounter several years ago when my life was starting to get back to normal and sort myself out. I don't worry about what I have and I didn't need any treatment for 7 years since I was diagnosed, I guess I was lucky to go so long without treatment.
The treatments today are head and shoulders what they were and advancements will still continue. It was such a shame that so many people will never get to hear him live ever again, but the music lives on through cd's and dvd's which we all still watch from time to time. And even the We Will Rock You musical is something Freddie would have loved. I seen it a few weeks ago and was reduced to tears when they played Only The Good Die Young (the second time I have seen and heard this played live, the first being done by Brian and Roger in London, 2001).
RIP Freddie,  you are sorely missed but never forgotton. x

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Posted: 27 Feb 11, 07:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

GlasgowFan wrote: I have read countless books over the years about Queen and Freddie. Unfortunately I was not lucky enough to see the full band perform live with Freddie, but have been blessed by being able to see both Brian and Roger perform at his tribute concert in 2001 to mark 10 years of his passing, which was held in Oceana, Hackney; seen Brian play in his Another World tour; and also to see them perform with Paul Rogers in their The Cosmos Rocks tour. I have even seen Gary Mullen (Stars In Their Eyes winner) perform as Freddie, which will be the closest any of us will now hear of our Great Friend, and certainly not a Great Pretender!
It is weird to hear that another year and he'd probably still be around today. I myself am HIV positive, an unfortunate drunk encounter several years ago when my life was starting to get back to normal and sort myself out. I don't worry about what I have and I didn't need any treatment for 7 years since I was diagnosed, I guess I was lucky to go so long without treatment.
The treatments today are head and shoulders what they were and advancements will still continue. It was such a shame that so many people will never get to hear him live ever again, but the music lives on through cd's and dvd's which we all still watch from time to time. And even the We Will Rock You musical is something Freddie would have loved. I seen it a few weeks ago and was reduced to tears when they played Only The Good Die Young (the second time I have seen and heard this played live, the first being done by Brian and Roger in London, 2001).
RIP Freddie,  you are sorely missed but never forgotton. x
Sorry to hear about you're illness,  Must be tough on a person.   The one thing about freddie that i respect is that he fought till the end, till he could work no more.  All that pain, but still kept that sense of humor.   i'm not that strong of a person to deal with those issues,  I would probably give up and hide.   Glasgowfan,  You seem like one of the stronger people and think you'll be fine.  you're 10 times stronger than me,.  I wish you all the best!.......And RIP Freddie Mercury