Everyone saw this coming. This is how it works. I write something pretty and vaguely intelligent, and then I ruin it with jokes and pictures of Rock Stars’ crotches.
Oh, my sweet Jesus, the tea service.
Right? So, I just want to wrap the whole thing up and tell the nice people all the little details I couldn’t figure out how to get in the main narrative.
Please don’t say that this–
This is the Extended Cut.
–is the Extended…I hate you.
But we’ll shake it up. No bullet points. Just pictures and bullshit under them.
Fine, whatever, no one cares.
That’s Mary Austin. (On the left.) She was Freddie’s first girlfriend–they lived together until around the time Queen II came out–and if such a cliched term as “soulmate” can be applied–then that’s what she was. Freddie wrote Love Of My Life about her, and left her everything when he died.
I am unsure as to whether that was her day-to-day hat.
I didn’t talk about Roger Taylor enough, and he doesn’t get the credit he deserves; I’ll give it to him: Roger Taylor was better than John Bonham. In every way. He played just as well, and had the restraint not to do a 45-minute drum solo; if you have two drummers of equivalent talent, the one that doesn’t make you sit through almost an hour of drunken tom-tomfucking is better. Roger Taylor was also not a complete dirtbag monster who liked to sic his goons on people.
(I’m not saying Roger didn’t have his Parish hit a few people, but John Bonham employed men who weren’t Parishes: they were solely there to babysit him and hit strangers for his amusement. John Bonham had Ty Domis.)
And, as you can see in the photo, Roger could sing. Well. He could have been the lead singer of any band that Freddie Mercury wasn’t in, and he was: The Cross, his side-project, put out a bunch of records and toured in between Queen dates. Roger played guitar and sang in his scratchy countertenor; he was capable of hitting stupidly high notes in his falsetto, and actually had the most precise voice in the band: Freddie avoided some tough notes, and Brian slid into some, but Roger’s pitch was as solid as his time.
He looks like this now:
Roger and Bobby were Beard Buddies for a very short time. Roger wanted to discuss products and various grooming strategies; Bobby kept repeating, “I just don’t shave.” The relationship died.
I am getting a Phillip Seymour Hoffman/Marky Mark in Boogie Nights vibe from this shot.
“I wanna kiss you.”
“Please lemme kiss you.”
And so on.
Brian May looked like this in the late 1970’s:
He looks like this today:
So don’t let anyone tell you the world’s all bad.
It’s Dr. May now–you know this–as Brian went back and completed his PhD in astrophysics; he also cares deeply about badgers, which are groundhogs with British accents.
In 1984, Brian and Roger looked like this:
The rest of Queen made for rather handsome women, but Roger was downright hot.
This was Jim Hutton. (On the far left.) He cut hair at the Savoy Hotel, and they met in ’85. Jim was Freddie’s last major relationship; he lived at Garden Lodge even after they broke up, and he was the only one in the room with Freddie as he died.
Like I said, Freddie left Mary the house and the money; she moved in, and threw Jim out. In the years after Freddie’s death, Mary Austin always played the widow.
Jim wrote a book, and died in Ireland in 2010.
When Rock Stars complete their appointed tasks, men wrap robes around them and point the way to the limousines with flashlights. There is a police escort for the limos, and all the cars in the convoy are running when the Rock Stars get in them. From here, there are only two destinations: the hotel or the airplane.
This is a very low-quality image of Bobby meeting the Clintons, and I don’t know why it’s here.
Me at the beginning of 2016:
Me at the end of 2016:
I looked for a recent picture of John Deacon, so I could complete the “this is what they look like” bit, but the only one I found is a nasty and intrusive paparazzi shot; he’s walking down the street minding his own business–he’s retired, he doesn’t do that any more–and some asshole with a Nikon starts clicking away at him. It ran in the Daily Mail, of course, and so I will not post it.
This is a picture that John Deacon posed for:
This is John Deacon (right), Freddie Mercury, and Freddie Mercury’s penis making friends with a Japanese dog. (Fun fact: very few Japanese dogs are named Rex, for reasons you can probably imagine.)
Nothing says rock and roll like a hockey arena.
I wasn’t kidding about the badgers: Brian May fucking loves badgers. In the Brexit vote, Brian voted “badger.” One of the pollworkers told him that “stay” or “leave” were his only options, and he played a twenty-minute guitar solo at the woman until she stopped talking. Then, he voted “badger” once more.
Wait, that’s a badger? Looks like a skunk fucked an Airedale terrier. Do they do anything? Are they magical? (Many British animals are magical.)
Anyway, Brian loves the little diggers, but the government doesn’t, and they keep organizing culls. (A cull, Younger Enthusiast, is when the organizing powers of a society decide that there are too many of a specific kind of being. People do it to badgers, and deer, and bear. Sometimes, we do it to each other.) Brian protests, and he has written several songs about the topic, including Save The Badger Badger Badger and–with Slash on co-lead guitar–Badger Swagger.
For the love of God, do not go looking for those songs. You can find them easily. I did. Don’t make my mistake. Trust me: you don’t want to know.
That is Roger Taylor with a wombat. Roger doesn’t care about wombats, at least not deeply, but he was in Australia and when you are a famous person in Australia, they make you take pictures with their freakish fauna. Look at him. He doesn’t want that thing. Stop making Roger Taylor hold wombats, Australia.
This is Queen’s crew, and I think our guys could take ’em. That one in the middle looks big, but he’s wearing flippity-flops. I think Precarious Lee could kick these guys’ asses, and he’s only semi-fictional.
GET BACK TO LAST WEEK, EDDIE VAN HALEN.
“Don’t yell at me.”
Freddie and Garcia had very little in common besides charisma and bitchin’ facial hair, but they shared a passionate love for cigarettes: one of the things Freddie always complained about was that when he went on tour, he would have to cut back on his nicotine consumption. (Freddie liked Silk Cuts, because Queen insisted on being as European as they could about everything.)
I found it.
John Deacon’s hair looks spectacular.
Good job, John Deacon.
Goddammit, John Deacon.
Anyway, Roger and Brian are still Queen. Legally, at least, if not completely morally; they have followed Freddie’s instructions and carried on as if nothing really mattered. After George Michael stole the show at the tribute concert, people were clamoring for him to jump into the slot; decide for yourself:
I think he made the right decision not to. No one can follow Freddie.
Not for lack of trying, though: Brian and Roger have gone out on the road with Paul Rodgers from Free–who doesn’t sing so much as wear denim and grunt–and then a few years ago, dignity having been abandoned in the previous century, the two went on American Idol for “Queen Night” and all the semi-talented melismatics took a run at I Want To Break Free. One of the youngsters, a flashy tenor named Adam Lambert, could hit the high notes and didn’t smell too weird, so Brian and Roger hired him.
It looks like this:
Fun fact: this picture was the subject of a controversial children’s book entitled Adam Has Two Grandpas.
Whatever. Everything changes; nothing lasts. We’ll never know what Freddie would have thought.
Nope, not a clue.
And now we’re done.