October 17th, 2005

gamiila sig #2

The Freddie Mercury story

Fandom's a weird thing, isn't it? For years, I was quite oblivious to it -- sure, there were bands and artists I liked more than others (I never miss a Paul Weller concert if I can help it, e.g.), but I was never taken over by it -- at least, I didn't think so. There was a time I quite liked to watch EastEnders, and through the BBC message board came to meet other people who were equally interested in the day-to-day happenings in Albert Square; and before I knew it, I'd become a member of several fan forums. I even became a full-fledged BBC Forum Friend, patrolling the boards every day to make sure trolls didn't get to spoil everyone else's fun, answering questions, welcoming newbies, starting threads...but it was all small potatoes compared to what came next: Spikelove!

For a while, I lived and breathed BtVS, or more specifically, Spike! He was the bees knees, and he became somewhat of an obsession of mine; and I had a little trouble separating Spike from James Marsters. Meeting him at a convention and seeing him on stage with his band a couple of times made me shift my fannish interest once again: onto Common Rotation.

They're not an obsession, but I do relish my CoRo fandom. It makes me feel all girlie and young again. It's allowed me to meet some wonderful people, not just the individual members of the band but the people who follow them, who love and enjoy their music as much as I do. And I make excuses, saying I'm making up for past mistakes, that I was never a fangirl in my younger days. And for a while, I really believed that. But I was wrong.

Halfway through the 70s, my sister and I were Queen-fans. We went to every one of their gigs in The Netherlands. We had sleep-overs at other teenage fans houses. We wrote letters to the music press defending our heroes when they'd gotten a bad review, or even when a journalist had misspelt a name. We were fully paid-up members of the International Queen Fanclub. We went to fan meetings. We corresponded with fans in Japan and America. Our rooms were covered in Queen-posters. We kept scrapbooks and entered every competition, even won a few, and got ourselves autographs and other memorabilia. We were fangirls. And we were scary.

One day, when I was about 14 or 15, I got hold of Freddie Mercury's home telephone number through a mate who had a summer job at BT. This was, of course, pure gold. The News of the World-album had just come out, there were plenty of reviews and articles in the music mags that we read, and plenty of things that we wanted to know about. And we had Freddie Mercury's home telephone number. As well as a smattering of English. A dangerous combination. After a while, we could no longer resist the temptation...egged on by my sister, I dialed the number. "Mercury", sing-songed a voice on the other end of the line. I recognised that voice. I dropped the phone. "Hello? Hello?"...My sister was full of questions. I translated. He was quite nice and answered them. We hung up after about 5 minutes.

He shouldn't have been so nice -- because week after week, my sister and I would be calling him with inane questions and remarks and squee, until one day, he had had enough. "Oh no, not you again!", he said, answering the phone for the umpteenth time. Chastened, I slammed the phone down, and resolved never to call him again. I never did.

A few days later, my Dad tore strips off us. He'd just received the itemised phone bill he'd requested because the bill had been so high the previous month -- what idiot had been making international calls from his phone? My sister and I owned up to the dastardly deed, and were grounded for a month.

Several years later, we actually got to meet Mr. Mercury fleetingly. We didn't dare open our mouths, let alone tell him we'd been his phone stalkers once upon a time.
  • Current Music
    'Killer Queen' - Queen
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