Living with…Queen…for a week
This week is being spent as a Night at the Opera. Queen’s classic 1975 album.
“Mama, I just killed a man…”
I start with a Sunday car journey on a dark winter’s evening in December 75. It’s the chart countdown which was. of course, totally unmissable listening for an 11 year old boy. We’re in the car with my dad and we’re turning in to the steep hill at the bottom of the Waterhall Golf Club outside Brighton. He always used to quip about leaving a trail of exhaust as he floored the accelerator and roared up the steep hill full throttle. But this time he didn’t crack that one, as we were listening to the new number one.
We jacked up the volume. We weren’t going to listen to the car’s roar this time. I felt so grown-up. I was in the front seat and my dad and I were enjoying the same song, bawling out our, admittedly flat, accompaniment. We’d got to my favourite bit
“I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango”
And then that wonderful explosion of guitar….
We pulled in to the end of our journey…
“Nothing really matters, Anyone can see,
Nothing really matters,
Nothing really matters to me
Any way the wind blows…”
Thursday, this week….
It’s a sunny June evening and P and I have been listening to her compilation of Rihanna, Lady Gaga, Duck Soup and the rest. I suggest we switch to something different before we pull on to the M5 at Tewkesbury.
“Rock?”. A half-hearted nod to amuse me, and I guess we have to go for the Greatest Hits Volume 1…
She knows Bohemian Rhapsody and we sing along gently and she even lightly head bangs during the Waynes World section…it is after all, a natural instinct. I, of course, am driving so keep my head relatively still. She’s warming to it…
And then we hit her favourite.
“Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world it’s turning inside out Yeah!”
And there’s nothing gentle about the singing. “Don’t stop me now I’m having such a good time. I’m having a ball don’t stop me now”…We’re likewise bawling this one out now…she may have learnt this song at a pantomime in Bristol but that doesn’t make it any less fun and credible for her. We let rip…
Several repeats later, as we turn on to the M4 I decide that we may have to move on to the next song.
Thank you Queen for connecting the generations. You never took yourself too seriously and actually, never did we.
RIP Freddie and Wembley
I chose to spend my week with A Night at the Opera and Queen on Sunday following a documentary to mark some anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death. For me, it became a double RIP as I remembered two great dames of British culture who have passed. Obviously Freddie, but also the old Wembley Stadium.
The two became intertwined first through Live Aid. I should point out that this day also marked my greatest ever personal sporting achievement when I completed a charity run along the South Downs in the sweltering heat. It may not rank high up there, but I still have that medal. When we returned home, Queen came on and as is well documented stole the show.
Those shots of Wembley reminded me of the lovely old lady. I went there eight times and loved her awkward crumbling glory. Nothing beat that walk up Wembley Way towards the twin towers – the sense of excitement and occasion. I never saw the teams I went to support win there, but that never took anything away! And the concerts I saw there were all incredible…from Queen’s last UK event in 1986 (with a classic supporting line up of The Alarm, INXS and Status Quo) to my last ever visit, U2’s Zooropia tour when it took 3 hours to get out of the car park.
The new Wembley is stunning – beautiful, shiny, spacious and with a decent view (the old one certainly lacked that in quite a few places) – but that shouldn’t stop us having very fond memories of the old lady before she had her total makeover.
Apart from the obvious hits on A Night at the Opera, my song from the album is Love of My Life, but the live renditions – for me, it’s always been a favourite since I first heard it on Live Killers so video of the week is the 1986 version from Wembley. Freddie and audience in harmony.
I was there.
Twotes of the Week–
@DeathStarPR: The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. And clowns. And spiders. And clown spiders. Okay, so lots of stuff actually.
@sixthformpoet: So who had Sepp Blatter in the sweepstake then?
@TruthSandwich: Bad news. My one-man boxing show has been cancelled. Well, no sense in beating myself up over it now.
@MyKugelhopf: ps, it doesn’t get more swiss than this – at the end of the race yesterday, what did they distribute… bananas, right ? nope. müesli !
Gleewatch No Glee today, my love has gone away.
Back next week