Once again, I find myself indulged in another topic I knew hardly anything on. This time it started with a Sky Arts showing of an Aids concert in memory of Queen front man Freddie Mercury. My trusty sidekick wiki was used to do a bit of background research into his life and what was so loved about him and his remaining legacy. My dad is always full of one liners and wise old words, whilst watching this concert he quipped “Yes he was talented, but people like to romanticize what he was because he died so young.” This struck me for many reasons, it is partly true people do have a way of looking back on popular figures and due to perhaps nostalgia tend to over hype the past. To those who didn’t live in that era we are told we missed out on that particular living legend. Secondly I was dumbstruck to how he could think that about the front man, Freddie died whilst I was relatively little. But memories of him are his music being played round my nans from a young age, I find the music so fantastic and theatrical, Bohemian Rhapsody will for me personally be such a mind-blowing song, you can act out all the parts and be over dramatic and get swept up in the dramatics of it all!
However the man behind the mic I knew nothing about apart from his tragic death to AIDS at just 45. So reaching to my beloved book world to educate me brought me to a wonderful in part autobiography which was conducted on the interviews and personal opinions throughout his life. From the book we get a sense of the true man behind the music, it’s a perfect piece of work to get a good insight of what he was: Passionate. Yes he sounds incredibly dramatic, at times difficult. But due to these characteristics we have these outstanding pieces of musical wonder. To those who he truly loved he kept most private something which was scarce and rare in his crazy lifestyle.
This book gave me a taste into his personality and when I get a little bit of an insight into what I find interesting I need to know more, which brought me to the Freddie Mercury: Somebody to love book, I say book I felt like the size of it was more bible-esque. It was incredibly thorough and gave me what I wanted; a more insightful and broad opinion on those always around him. The book covers everything to his barely mentioned childhood to the highs of success and those who were with him to the end. The image depicted throughout is a fiercely independent individual who knew what he wanted and would not be told no. For that purpose only I truly admire that sheer depth and determination is what reaped him rewards and success.
The only issue I had was the sadness and reflection on his battle with AIDS whilst it’s a huge part of his demise; too much of his suffering was mentioned. Particularly when quoted of his fear of contracting the disease and dying in that way. Obviously knowing what I know I found it at times quite sad to read. The background of the AIDS epidemic is thoroughly researched and was very eye opening, for someone who living in age where being gay,bisexual,transgender and gay marriage is widely accepted, its horrendous to read of the hatred spread during this time, and how being gay was illegal or could ruin an image of someone so talented. Looking back, he purposely dressed the part in leather and how camp he was… it was obvious wasn’t it?
He refused to let the media in and to let the illness take over, with the last video These Are The Days Of Lives shot the year he died he refused to let it show, with heavy make up on and the video shot in black and white. The whole process is incredibly sad, I viewed the video after finishing the book and did cry, its visible how ill he was and he knows it’s his last performance for his fans, he truly lives up to his showmanship even in his final months.
But more importantly the book projects what Freddie was: A true gift to the music industry, his gift and legacy will be his outlandish personality, weird fashion, and music that will live on. This results in: True Genius.