07 December, 2010

Reality TV's got nothin' on Freddie Mercury

I just finished reading Mercury And Me and my brain instantly started racing and wouldn't let up until about four in the morning.

When I first ventured onto Queenzone's forums, I remember hearing really horrible things about Jim's book and his overall character. Apparently, Jim Hutton was only after Freddie's money seeing as how Freddie left him 500,000GBP and "that still wasn't enough for him" because he wrote a book and made a bit of money. Then cut to years later where Phoebe Freestone, who also inherited 500,000GBP, also wrote a book. But not one of those Bastard Queen Fans attacked Phoebe and I have a theory about why that may be. It may not be very good seeing as how I thought of it in the early hours of the morning, but nonetheless...

Sorry to spoil it, but near the end of Jim's book, he claims that Mary Austin treated him, Phoebe and Joe Fanelli like shit after Freddie died. Phoebe ended his book at Freddie's funeral so there's nothing written from his perspective on this and I'm pretty sure he wouldn't want to talk about it at this point. A lot of Bastard Queen Fans immediately come to Mary's defense at the suggestion that she wasn't a nice person because she inherited the bulk of Freddie's estate as well as Garden Lodge. Legally speaking, she was within her rights to ask the three men to leave, since Freddie hadn't put it in writing that they could stay at the house for as long as they wanted. But if what Jim's written is true, her way of going about it was in really poor taste. And the BQFs further argue that Mary knew Freddie first before he was famous, and so obviously the love between her and Freddie was greater than what was between Freddie and Jim.

I'm going to derail for a second. The love between Freddie and Mary was real. The love between Freddie and Jim was real. Both loves were different and unique to each person. Neither was greater, less than, valid or invalid. Just different. To take a quote from one of my favorite articles on polyamory: "Don't think of the contents of your heart the way you think of the contents of your wallet; it doesn't work like that."

[I'm not suggesting Freddie was poly, I'm just trying to illustrate a point!]

And for the record, Jim stated in his book that Freddie didn't see any point to leaving him Garden Lodge since Jim was HIV-positive and that shit was pretty much still a death sentence, so what good is leaving someone an estate when they could be dead within a number or months or years? And according to Phoebe, Freddie had wanted Garden Lodge to be a family home. And since Mary had one child(?) at that point...

Now, my theory! Phoebe didn't rip on Mary, so his book is cool. Jim Hutton did, so his book is a crime against everything good and decent in this world. Since Mary was Freddie's girlfriend for six years at the very beginning of Queen, she apparently must be a saint who could do absolutely no wrong or some such bullshit. And since Jim Hutton didn't get Garden Lodge and he wrote a book where he made Mary out to look like a dick, BQFs retaliate by calling him a dick. Which is a very mature thing to do.

Further, it could be argued that Mary's less than pleasant attitude toward Jim was due to the fact that Freddie and Jim had a romance that she could never have with Freddie. Freddie was gay, and while he did love her, they didn't have that connection that Freddie would have with Jim or any of Freddie's other relationships. Freddie never wore a ring for Mary like he did Jim Hutton, he never referred to her as his wife in the company of friends as he referred to Jim as his husband. I'm pretty sure if they were both alive and well, they'd be legally married. If he'd married Mary, it would pretty much be a lie. So for all we know, Mary could have treated all of Freddie's male lovers and gay friends with disdain. They were together for, what? Six years? It has to really suck that in all that time, the man she loved deeply wasn't and couldn't be truly happy with her. And then for the next 16 years she got to watch from the sidelines while he came into his own, partied a lot, fucked a bunch of guys, and eventually settled into a monogamous domestic life while she occasionally assumed the role as his beard so the press didn't flip out over him shacking up with a man.

I can see where that would be like a slap in the face. But at the same time...

Unless Mary ever comes across this and decides to put the record straight, I'm going to chalk it up to sour grapes.

But overall, yeah. The book was nothing like I'd been lead to believe. I actually liked it quite a bit. Lots of BQFs made it sound like Jim would write, "And now I'll tell you all, in unrelenting detail, the freaky shit Freddie and I did in bed! By the time you're done reading this, you'll never look at the following household appliances the same way ever again!"

Oh, and I'm pretty sure if Jim hadn't written his book, a ton of BQFs would flood the forums whining, "Why didn't Jim ever talk about his life with Freddie? That would have been so cool to have further insight!" If you don't want to know a damn thing about Freddie outside of his career, don't read anything that delves into his personal life. And if you do read it, remember that you chose to go down that road. If you can't handle that Freddie did cocaine, or that he had anonymous sexual encounters with men, or that his kitchen cabinets were colored Oxblood, then don't fucking read the damn books by Phoebe or Jim!


  1. I just happened upon your blog. I'm "that gal who really likes Queen", myself, so I imagine I'll be visiting with some regularity. Thanks for your writing; sometimes I wish I had a decent blog going myself but I don't think I quite have the persistence!
    Now, on the Freddie and Jim and Mary thing... I largely agree with you. There is one detail that makes me question whether I fully understand Freddie and Mary's relationship. And that is the song, Love of my Life. As I'm sure you know Freddie wrote that for Mary, and the song's lyrics almost make it sound like, at least at the time, he thought of the whole being gay thing as, perhaps, something he wanted to try out, or part of him being a rock star, something that would perhaps eventually 'blow over', and then eventually maybe he would settle down with Mary after all. It sounds to me, from the song, that Freddie possibly actually thought this might be the case - or at least he did back in '75. So this might be why Mary was extra bitter at Jim in particular, because by '85 or so Freddie was pretty much done with partying and fucking everything that moves and was into settling down - except not with her, but with Jim.
    Now my sneaking suspicion is that by '85 and definitely by '86 Freddie was suspecting he might be HIV-positive, but was very very much *hoping* he somehow managed to escape it, or that a cure would be found that he would be able to make use of.
    Okay and I think I'm going to stop right here and not draw any half-baked conclusions from either of these things but these are a couple of thoughts I've had on these issues...

  2. Thanks for the comment! I hope you /do/ visit regularly!

    That's the thing about everyone's theories: we will never really know what went down. Unless Mary wants to write a book, but I don't think she will. But I still stand by my thoughts that at the end of the day, Mary was pissed off that the man she loved was gay.

  3. Hello! Oxblood cabinets? The kitchen would've been too dark then. I'm really into the vintage yellow hues Freddie chose for his walls (yes it was the decor I pored over in OK magazine) - man had great taste.

    Love Of My Life always sounded like FM empathizing with Mary's point of view. I agree it's odd for outsiders to speculate, though we can't help trying putting 1 and 1 together. Mary in Untold Story said it's "euphoric" to see FM being himself, showed up in all those party photos (in Queen fanclub issues) with his gay circle/ entourage. Then when the star everyone's existence orbits around is gone, she chucked them all out faster than used rubber? Hehe it's hard not to see it as her tolerating all that "mess" she had zero emotional ties/affinity for, just because she adored FM (& the various "cultures" she experienced through him.)

    Which is a bit sad for FM. In the end his "2 worlds" still couldn't be reconciled with each other.

    Did you catch Deacon's portrait was missing from her display table (against a wall of Japanese art) that showed all Queen members from IAGLM?

  4. Phoebe and Jim said the cabinets were oxblood. I can only picture it looking pretty marvelous, but that may be my optimism talking.

    I'm still pretty much at the beginning of the book by Mark Blake, John has yet to be mentioned there so far, too. Could you tell me what IAGLM stands for?

  5. Sorry, it took me a while to find this post again. Should be IAG Slightly Mad. ha!

    Happy reading...I need to put in an order soon.

  6. Mary Austin was pregnant with her second son and due about two months after Freddie died. He left the house to her (I read somewhere that he wanted to make sure she was taken care of because she had always made sure he was taken care of) also not forgetting that she always helped him by appearing in places with him so he could appear straight when he needed to appear straight. While I see a gay man having a life that he sees fit to live as he wants, she had one small child and another on the way and 3 gay men all HIV positive and lots to be done and a baby to have in two months time. Not to mention a husband that had little too of her having FM in her life so much so that he would later desert her and his children. Guessing only here, that FM had to be aware of the husbands true feelings and her need to be taken care of. He also said in interviews more than once that he needed Mary in his life, and felt she was one person he always knew he could trust. She worked for his music company and the band because he could trust her. I have been a pregnant woman without reliable father of my child. She needed a place to get to, so that she knew she would be safe and be able to have her child and ( having a gay brother I loved dearly) as a mother it is safe to say she had to get moved on down the road and a house full of gay hiv positive men and a husband that was and is a big jerk, would not have been the right thing to do at the time. FM set it up the way he wanted it and made sure the guys were OK too. I think highly of Peters choices and well spoken bppk, and of Marys decision to mind her words in interviews and choice not to write a book. They both are honoring the great FM and his desire to have some privacy in the way I think he would have liked KG

  7. That's really interesting. I hadn't really heard much about Mary's perspective to be honest. Freddie dying obviously sucked for everybody. If you can, could you let me know where you got this information so that I could take a look? I'm definitely curious to know more.