Freddie Mercury: An Illustrated Biography, by Mark Blake

Second paragraph of third chapter:

A few entries earlier, though, [in Roger Taylor’s April 1970 diary] the group was considering another name, Build Your Own Boat, for which Roger had designed a logo. The drummer shook his head at the memory. ‘Thank God that idea was abandoned.’

A kind relative, having seen my review of Bohemian Rhapsody, decided that I needed this for Christmas, and she was right. It’s not terribly deep – a 200-page survey of Freddie Mercury’s life and career, lavishly illustrated, doesn’t have a lot of space to get into profound analysis of what he and his colleagues were trying to achieve with their music, but to Blake’s credit he doesn’t pretend to be doing anything more than running through the high points (and low points) and giving a few pointers to what else was going on. And the pictures are gorgeous; the camera loved him, and even in the snapshots of his pre-fame personality he rather glows.

The book’s account of Farookh Bulsara’s childhood was pretty interesting. The whole world knows that he was a brought up as a Zoroastrian in Zanzibar; it was news to me that he had attended boarding school in India (demonstrating yet again that the Indian Ocean is a corridor, not a barrier), and then when the family moved to London, their new home was not quite two km from the hotel where we held the most recent 2019 Worldcon planning meeting. I never came close to seeing him live, though some people I knew the summer I worked in Germany did go to the 1986 Mannheim concert (and complained about it, and I have to agree that in the footage his voice is clearly under strain).

Anyway, if I wanted to find out more about his life and work, I’m sure there are more comprehensive sources; this pretty much scratched my itch, and entertained me with the photographs as well. You can get it here.

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