Forums > Queen - General Discussion > Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words - CONTRASTING REVIEW

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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 14:22 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Dearest QueenZoners - my infamous fans, the world and the universe. And Simon Lupton's wide too.

I have just found, on the net, a review of the Freddie Mercury book I co-compiled with the wizard known as Simon Lupton, and rather exactly correct and accurately on the ball and totally true and fair it is too... not that I am biassed or anything of that nature. I figure that if Barbie YourValentine can offer a totally impartial review (stop sniggering) of said literery masterpiece, then I can paste a review I found too, conspicuously in contrast though it is to her 'review' of a fortnight ago. That's fair, innit?

THIS IS IT......

Wonderful (5 stars out of 5) - 7 Oct 2006

Reviewer:"thegreatpretender" (england)

This is the nearest thing to Freddie's AutoBiography as we're ever likely to get. A definate must for Queen and Freddie fans.

[GB: note "A definate must for Queen and Freddie fans"]

It must have taken some painstaking piecing together, but the hard work has paid off. What we have here is just about everything Freddie publicly said and it covers just about every aspect anyone could be interested in.

It's also refreshing to know that for once what we're reading is gospel truth at the time freddie said it. So no more crude opinions from people who have no clue what they're talking about, these words are from the great man himself. Because of the way it's been pieced together from recorded interviews and statements, it almost feels like Freddie is talking to you and is far more personal than anything that has been deliberatly written.

[GB: note "it almost feels like Freddie is talking to you"]

Freddie certainly had a lot of opinions and wasn't afraid to be blunt. But i'd prefer that to some wishy washy 'easy-to-forget' answers. I find myself hanging on his every word. As you read your way through the book, all his emotions come flooding out..his humour...his campness...his arrgoance... his passion and love and of course his love of music. It's all here and it makes for fasinating reading.

[GB: note "I find myself hanging on his every word. As you read your way through the book, all his emotions come flooding out..."]

[Also note "It's all here and it makes for fasinating reading"]

The most insightful and truthful Queen book out there, and it's from the horses mouth! Freddie remains a constant inspiration to millions. I don't know where i'd be without him.

[GB: note "The most insightful and truthful book out there"]

HERE HERE! What a fine human being thegreatpretender is.

What was that again?... "It's all here and it makes for fasinating reading."

I owe you a sherry or a shandy my friend!!!

Only a few measly pounds from all good book shops. Hint hint.



GB
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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 14:25 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

That first line was supposed to read...

And Simon Lupton's wife too.


GB
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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 17:16 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I have read two such books in this style of "writing". One called Yestories and another called The Brothers Neville. One thing I enjoyed about these books is all the different viewpoints of the members of the bands. It'll be interesting to see if it works with just one member.

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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 18:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

So...a praise is a fair review, and a review that deals with the weaknesses of your book, is a biased and whining and very bad review?

You probably have to talk to Brian and Roger about how to handle criticism and the critics. Or as Freddie said: "Fuck the critics." And: "You're only as good as your last effort, whatever that is." (not exact quotes, paraphrased and no, I haven't provided the sources or the year either).

Jan

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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 19:03 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jan78

So...a praise is a fair review, and a review that deals with the weaknesses of your book, is a biased and whining and very bad review?

YES. EXACTLY. YOU'VE GOT IT JAN.

IS THERE ANY OTHER VIEWPOINT THEN?


GB
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Posted: 31 Oct 06, 20:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Greg,

to be fair, as you know, different people have different opinions. And when you've been involved in a project as you have been, you don't want anyone to write a bad review about your "baby".
Yet, people come from different fields of life. And some are a bit pickier and fussier than others. I myself have an academic background, and I also remember school. Why I say that? Because in both "institutions" you learn what quoting someone means. You provide the source, the year, what you've changed in a quote...everything that helps everybody else, when they want to find the original to double check it, if they want to or have to. Especially in science it is important, so you can confirm your sources and people trust your opinion, reputation or research.

On the other hand, there is the average reader, that is going to feed your piggy bank. They won't care much about sources, or if Freddie's quotes are original or slightly changed by you without further notice, because in essence it is still what Freddie had said. And guess what? They even enjoy the book and they also enjoy the Queen Live book. And that is perfectly fine. You weren't supposed to write a comprehensive piece with 30 extra pages of footnotes and sources, I presume.
Some of us would have expected something like it though. Others don't care (like many probably don't care about Killer Queen, Liar or Keep Yourself Alive on Greatest Video Hits I, being treated as rare and new, while they were widely available on the Box of Flix in 1991). Those things are available now, in print or DVD respectively, rare or not rare, whatever. And that's what most people enjoy, because they don't have 5 Gigabytes of original audio or video interviews on their computers.

But when I write such a book as Greg Brooks, and I have cleared the group of people I aim at, I am in peace with it, right? No matter what the reviews say. Do reviews have an effect on your sales or only on your ego as a writer (no offense!)?
If you wanted the average fan to enjoy the book, you obviously achieved it. Congratulations. In this forum, there are a lot of other fans though. People with huge amounts of files on computers, DVDs, CDs... they care about correct quotations and sources differently. They are all little Queen Archivists too. You probably noticed the arguments about sharing FLAC or mp3. Collectors and completists are probably not your regular readers. And again, that's perfectly fine.

What do I want to say after this rant? There are different ways to approach such a book. And people who buy and read the book, expect different things. Obviously. And you as a compiler of that book want people to enjoy it, because you've worked on it as much as you could. So a bad review hurts a little, I'm sure, because people like it or don't like it, without seeing how much work there is behind it. If this book is exactly the way you wanted it, fine. Then no review anyone could write does ever matter because you know, it is the best work you could deliver.

Speaking about fair reviews, how about a little formula? If I want to rate your books or compilations, I say "I expected this and this, and I didn't get it or find it. But by no means does that say anything about the quality of this product. It only means, I personally didn't get from it what I hoped to get. Lots of others may enjoy this product anyway." So customers can check if their opinion or expectation is similar, and so they can decide if they probably enjoy the product or not. And it can still be a good product and enjoyable for a lot of people, just not for me. Fine and fair.

Jan

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 05:47 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Reply to Jan78

Greg,

to be fair, as you know, different people have different opinions. And when you've been involved in a project as you have been, you don't want anyone to write a bad review about your "baby".

I KNOW WHAT YOU MEAN JAN. ACTUALLY I AM HAPPY FOR PEOPLE TO REVIEW MY BOOKS, OUR BOOK, AND NOT LIKE IT OR THEM. I WOULD PREFER THEY LOVE IT. BUT AS LONG AS IT'S CONSTRUCTIVE IT'S FINE.

I HAVE READ PROPERLY CONSIDERED CONSTRUCTIVE REVIEWS OF MUCH OF MY WORK OVER THE YEARS, GOOD AND BAD, AND THE BAD STUFF IS VERY HELPFUL SOMETIMES. IT MAKES YOU REALISE THINGS YOU MIGHT OTHERWISE OVERLOOK.

I JUST HATE NON-CONSTRUCTIVE ENVY-DRIVEN COMMENTS, OR THINGS WRITTEN BY SOMEONE WHO DISLIKES ME, WHEN THEY LET THAT GOVERN THEIR APPROACH INSTEAD OF IMPARTIALITY.

Yet, people come from different fields of life. And some are a bit pickier and fussier than others. I myself have an academic background, and I also remember school. Why I say that? Because in both "institutions" you learn what quoting someone means. You provide the source, the year, what you've changed in a quote...everything that helps everybody else, when they want to find the original to double check it, if they want to or have to. Especially in science it is important, so you can confirm your sources and people trust your opinion, reputation or research.

SIMON AND I MADE A CREATIVE DECISION NOT TO PUT DETAILS OF ALL THE SOURCES FOR GOOD REASONS.

WE THOUGHT THIS IS NOT AN ACEDEMIC READ, IT IS A LIGHT-HEARTED-ISH CASUAL BOOK TO READ ON A TRAIN OR PLANE OR IN YOUR HOLIDAY CHALET, OR ON THE BEACH.

WE DID NOT WANT TO RIDDLE IT WITH SOURCE INFO, NO HUGE INDEXES OR LISTS AT THE BACK. HOW BORING. AND IT LOOKS SO ANORAKY TOO. THERE IS A PLACE FOR ANORAK SOURCE DATA, BUT THIS BOOK IS NOT IT.

IN THE DATABASE I CONSTRUCTED FOR FREDDIE/QUEEN QUOTES, THERE IS A SOURCE FOR EVERY QUOTE WE USED - PERSON, YEAR, MAGAZINE TITLE, INTERVIEWER OR JOURNALIST'S NAME, ETC. SO WE DO HAVE ALL THOSE THINGS. BUT WE DID NOT USE THEM BECAUSE ONLY DIE HARD FANS WANT THAT STUFF, BUT THIS IS FOR EVERYONE... NOT JUST LONG TERM FANS.

IF YOU LITTER TEXT WITH SOURCE REFERENCES AND DATES, IT LOOKS HORRIBLE AND IT INTERRUPTS THE FLOW AND THE READING EXPERIENCE.

IT WAS A DELIBERATE DECISION, AND BRIAN, FOR EXAMPLE, TOLD ME HE LIKED THAT ASPECT OF IT - THAT IT'S NOT COVERED IN DISTRACTING REFERENCE DATA. JUSTIN SAID THE SAME, AND THAT IS CERTAINLY GOOD ENOUGH FOR ME.

WE MADE A DECISION WHICH WE CONSIDERED FOR AGES FIRST. IT WAS THE CORRECT ONE FOR US.

JAN... ONLY QZ PEOPLE, LONG TERM FANS, HAVE CRITICISED IT FOR THAT PARTICULAR REASON. NOT EMI, NOT THE GENERAL PUBLIC.

ONE OTHER PERSON THOUGHT THE SAME AND THAT WAS A GUY AT RECORD COLLECTOR MAG. HE THOUGHT THE BOOK WAS GOOD, BUT HE WISHED IT HAD REFERENCES AND SOURCES. SO IT TENDS TO BE THE PEOPLE WHO LIKE ALL THE REAL MINUTIA THAT FEEL THAT WAY. THAT'S FAIR ENOUGH, BUT THAT WASN'T THE BOOK WE WANTED TO PRESENT

On the other hand, there is the average reader, that is going to feed your piggy bank. They won't care much about sources, or if Freddie's quotes are original or slightly changed by you without further notice, because in essence it is still what Freddie had said. And guess what? They even enjoy the book and they also enjoy the Queen Live book. And that is perfectly fine.

EXACTLY RIGHT JAN. MOST PEOPLE BY FAR ARE NOT REMOTELY INTERESTED IN SOURCES... NO MORE THAN I AM WHEN I BUY A BIOGRAPHY OF HG WELLS OR GEORGE MARTIN, ETC. I WOULD HATE ALL THAT STUFF TO GET IN THE WAY.

You weren't supposed to write a comprehensive piece with 30 extra pages of footnotes and sources, I presume.

WE WROTE PRECISELY THE BOOK WE CONCEIVED AND PLANNED, AND JIM BEACH (AND PHIL SYMES, A GREAT CHAP) BACKED US TO THE FULL.

If you wanted the average fan to enjoy the book, you obviously achieved it. Congratulations.

THANK YOU. I THINK WE ACHIEVED THAT - JUDGING FROM EMAILS RECEIVED.

Collectors and c


GB
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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 06:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The only issue I have with the book Greg is that unless you have access to the original taped recordings from interviews, you can't be absolutly sure that is what he really said.

Many years ago when I first got into Queen I collected everything, every newspaper snippet and every magazine. I soon realised that most of it was made up or at best distorted. I had one article detailing a fight onstage in New York between Freddie Brian and Roger, it went into great detail, I later discovered they weren't even playing on the date quoted. There may have been some truth in it, but the throught of Freddie marching off stage with John Deacon at his side, while Roger was left with a drum kit in bits on the floor was just a reporter too far for me.

I later stopped collecting and just waited of albums to come out, which was often a rather long wait...

I am sure the book is a good read, but I would be doubtful of some of the quotes that journalists put down as fact.


"It is better to sit in silence and have people think you're a fool, then to open your mouth and remove all doubt"
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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 08:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Togg: Your description sounds like a journalist got carried away about footage of "Sheer Heart Attack", when Freddie goes berserk on stage. Haha. Good point though. For the fan and collector, the audio interviews are the real deal, you say. And yes, I'm sure there are things being quoted a million times over the years, that Freddie never really said (remember Phoebe in his book, saying a lot of times "poof, another myth exploded"). What do the owners of www.queenarchives.com say about it? And Greg, as how reliable do you consider the printed interviews? Especially because we know Freddie didn't give a lot of interviews anyway. Is a lot of stuff just made up?

Greg: Thanks for your reply. My first comment was a bit...you know...immediate. But yes, if Jim Beach agrees and Brian, and Justin S-S and Phil Symes and others...I guess we have to accept that. It's not like you were digging in the archives and threw a book onto the market without an eye of the others on it, right? So fine, if heaps of people enjoy the book, and when it makes them buy and enjoy Freddie's and Queen's music. And I trust Brian knows what quoting means, being a scientist himself. That is indeed good enough then.

But another point...I guess what indirectly hits you on Queenzone is also that a lot of people are so fed up with Dolezal and Rossacher and their way of producing Queen documentaries. You know, cut and paste, rather aimlessly, cutting great footage up into little pieces, we don't know where it's from, we want to see more and we want to see it properly, not being inter-cut with interviews and other snippets. And the worst of all, making things appear as something they are not (like the interview Freddie gave, that goes like "you're the last person I'm talking to...", and on Champions of the World you thought it is his last interview EVER, but now you know it is not, it's just been the last interview of the day and it wasn't even from 1991).
And when they feel like an Archivist who is presumed to know about minutiously compiling correct data, unchanged and preserved the way they are, does basically what DoRo does, they get upset. Especially with the occasional arguments and insults here and there in the respective replies. So I guess, the right filter is a good thing to have here, and the ability to sleep a night over things and then reply on a post. Especially when you end up talking to fans, who have reason to believe they can preserve the music and history better than Queen Productions themselves, may it be FLAC files or the "Hangman" studio version which is owned by a collector and won't be shared.

Regards

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 09:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote



I guess we could move this thing to the serious forum now.

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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 11:31 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Jan78: May I congratulate you on your excellent posting.


"Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make."
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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 11:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You know..... I hate the internet! If this were happening in person, they'd have either thrown punches or shaken hands by now; in either event things would've moved along further, I'm sure of it.


"Your not funny, your not a good musician, theres a difference between being funny and being an idiot, you obviously being the latter" - Dave R Fuller
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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 11:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

John S Stuart wrote:

Jan78: May I congratulate you on your excellent posting.


I also enjoy her posts. Welcome to the board.


Wo ist das kamerahhhhhhhhhhh!!!



NJ!!!























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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 18:06 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I'm sure Jan's a bloke.

But either way: Yep, a few very good posts recently.


Gullibility and credulity are considered undesirable qualities in every department of human life -- except religion.
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Posted: 01 Nov 06, 19:10 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks everyone. Actually I wasn't posting to impress anyone, but thanks whatsoever.
And yes, I am a "bloke", because I am German and Jan is a German version of John.

Jan

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Posted: 11 Jul 07, 18:40 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I know this is an elderly thread, but, anyone know if there is a way to purchase this book? Haven't found it in my searches.


It is all random