There are few inalterable facts in life but the one constant that we all have to adhere to is that one day we will die. What comes after that is up for debate and despite an abiding interest in philosophy which promotes an interest in religious teachings from all belief systems, I don’t profess to have any finite or valuable answers. Therefore I think that it is hugely important to LIVE a life. In this one single life that I will assume I have until some bearded or loinclothed but surely extremely sage bloke sends me back for another go it has to be what I adhere to. By living a life I don’t mean indulging in excesses, I simply mean not wasting valuable time looking back because another inalterable fact is that we can’t change the past. This week two things have put that notion of mine into sharp focus.
The first is the death of a beautiful lady not ever a close friend nor even actually a relative though we would have considered ourselves family for complicated reasons that are not mine to bore you with here. She died on Monday, she was the same age as me and I can think of no sound reason why she should have been taken relatively young. That’s the nature of life and death …. they have no real sense when you distil then to their meanest dregs. All I know is that it is harsh on her husband and her children and her family and her friends and I grieve for them whilst selfishly collecting myself and giving myself a sharp reminder that life is fragile and I have little and probably no control over its end point.
The second is the fact that next Thursday (24th November) marks the 25th anniversary of Freddie Mercury’s death. I remember what I was doing when I got the news. I remember my body entirely giving way in discreetly Streatley (-on-Thames) as I caved in, sobbing the great overwhelming, body racking sobs of a person who felt a hole had been punched in the world. His was a death that effected me. Let me shed a little light on that. Apart from being, with a huge proportion of the world, a fan of his music, his voice and showmanship, I had the privilige of working for Queen in the early 1980s. In those days not so far away, and this shocks my daughters, we were not allowed to acknowledge that he was Gay. We had a public story and we stuck to it. Things really have changed in those three decades and it is a huge mistake to say we have not progressed. We have. And Fred did much to influence that change. By the time he died less than a decade later, the world was openly comfortable with his sexuality and it had not remotely been detrimental to record sales in the way that those that managed his career had been fearful it would be those few short years earlier.
When I left it was in the fine style of an arrogant little madam. I had categorically made my fine mind up that the dinosaurs that dubbed themselves Queen had had their day and anyway, they were quite clearly underpaying me. They called a meeting. Fred was sent downstairs to speak to me. I stood as he descended the stairway – one just did, it wasn’t demanded but his presence was so dynamic and it was somehow compellingly correct to rise even for a modish and edgy avante garde force such as me. ‘I hear you want to leave us’ he said having stepped backwards up two steps of the same staircase to speak to me eye to eye (I’m brushing 6′ and wore stilettoes with my drainpipe jeans or rara skirts and he, like so many extraordinarily large personas was actually not at all a tall man) ‘won’t you stay’. ‘I don’t WANT to leave’, I countered ‘it’s simply a question of money’ … it was a slight of hand that any member of The Magic Circle would be justifiably proud …. I barely realised his hand had extended and grasped mine as he shook it firmly and equally firmly said ‘it’s been such a pleasure to have you as part of our team’. Lesson learned … never try to use money as a bargaining device even if you know the collective wealth of your employers is stellar and, as I was to learn just two years later, never EVER underestimate a authentic star. I was in the VIP enclosure at Wembley as he walked on stage on 13th July 1985 to lead Queen’s set for Live Aid. I looked at his face and I said to my neighbour (who I didn’t know from Adam or Eve) ‘he’s going to OWN this baby’ …. I don’t think anyone will ever argue that little nugget with me.
It happens that this 24th November which quite incomprehensibly marks a quarter of a whole century since this remarkable, vibrant and nonsensically talented human left the earth is also Thanksgiving Day in the USA and given that I will actually, for the first time, be here in the US for this momentous day and given that whatever petty nonsense may affect my life either day to day or policitally, I am ALIVE I will personally be giving thanks for the life I have, for the life I share and for the sheer joy that alive should bring. I will not be presumptuous enough to forget that for many it is hard to be thankful but I will hope that all can at least find cheer in the rising and setting of the sun and the fact that there is air to breathe. Death comes to us all and when it does there is no moment to regret the moments that you forgot to be thankful. So I implore you to put politics aside, squish ill-will, banish anxiety about things you can’t fix and just be the best version of you that you can be. Not just on Thursday but throughout your days, however many they may be.
This is my entry to the gallery entiled ‘Magic’ as hosted by the WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge – here are the enchanting others for you to delight in.
PS: The title is from a Queen song ‘It’s a Kind of Magic’ which was actually written by their drummer, Roger Taylor for the soundtrack of the film Highlander – we both attended the Premier but I’ve taken up far to much of your time already so that story will have to wait for another day ….
The picture was taken on Cape Cod the day before the Supermoon shone as dazzling as sunlight … it amused me that it was sitting silent-sweetly in the sky behind us as we focussed all our efforts on the setting of the sun, seemingly waiting for the perfect moment to pinch the glory from its effervescent brother.
And here, because you knew I would, is your bonus: