Seventy two years ago today Farrokh Bulsara was born in British colonial Zanzibar. Eight year old Farrokh started calling himself Freddie when sent to a British boarding school near Bombay. At twelve Freddie formed The Hectics, a rock cover band with schoolmates. In 1964 the Zanzibar Revolution forced Freddie’s family to flee Zanzibar for England. The Bulsaras settled in Feltham, Middlesex, Freddie enrolled at Isleworth Polytechnic in West London to study art, eventually graduating from Ealing Art College with a degree in graphic design. Freddie sold second hand clothing at Kensington Market, fell in and out of bands and worked as a baggage handler at Heathrow. In 1970 he met Brian May and Roger Taylor, in 1971 John Deacon made it four. Dismissing reservations of band-mates and management company Trident, Freddie named the band Queen and officially changed his name to Freddie Mercury.
March 11, 1977 I stood front row at Pacific Colosseum in Vancouver for Queen’s Day at the Races concert. To this day the spectacle of Freddie Mercury gives me chills.
For weeks, baggage handlers at Heathrow practiced dance moves to celebrate Mercury’s birthday. Astonished travelers passing through Heathrow today were treated to a heart warming spectacle. Never mind amateur hour, this clip made my day and I hope it does yours.
For the record I don’t spend much time watching network television. That said, rare idle moments find shows like America’s Got Talent airing in the background. Why? Because the likes of 13 year old Courtney Hadwin might blow my mind. Ponder these clips. The girl is 13 years old!
Results of America’s vote aired tonight. Fear not – Courtney made it to the semi-finals.
Sometimes relaxation calls for a dance party, an uninvited solo dance off delivered with welcome acuity. Relaxation is subjective, a personal matter, to each his own. Me – when time to blow off steam knocks, it’s time to dance. No better place to start than Beastie Boys Hey Ladies –
This morning Canada woke to news of a nation without Gord Downie, tonight our hearts fly at half mast.
Tears ran down Justin Trudeau’s face as he said goodbye to “Canada’s friend”. Speaking not as politician, but a man who understood and shared the collective sorrow of a nation.
Others can write biographical paragraphs detailing Tragically Hip front man Gord Downie’s life. Tonight, all I can do is watch and listen to an undeniable presence in Canadian music history. Starting softly with Ahead By A Century, then Bobcaygeon –
Eventually finding my way to Tragically Hip performing Grace, Too at Woodstock 1999. Love it, hate it, get it or don’t – know this clip epitomizes Gord Downie – poet, performer, unabashed storyteller, improvisational wizard, musical savant and embodiment of Canadian grace. Tonight Gord Downie walks among the stars, his constellation will shine for eternity.
From Shambhala 2017, images captured by my husband at the annual music festival near Salmo B.C. Explore and enlarge at – https://www.flickr.com/photos/15574096@N00/
Couldn’t nail down when or why it started, all I know is for well over a decade I’ve texted Billie Jean to my daughter every time it plays at a wedding. Sorry Michael, may your tortured soul rest in peace but Billie Jean is a stupid song. Nevertheless and without exception, Billie Jean has played at every wedding since the ritual started.
I know a thing or two about weddings, they’ve paid my bills for 30 years. How many since Billie Jean texts began is tough to say, truth is I can’t even remember how many this summer, a conservative estimate might be 200 Billie Jeans. Each text represents 10-12 hours of sweat and toil sprinkled with shenanigans and drama worthy of screenplays.
The magnitude of Billie Jean was lost until quite recently, muddied by focus and work load it never crossed my mind Billie Jean represented a brief respite. Billie Jean texts mean dinner is over, coffee and dessert served, cake cut, kitchen staff cleaning up, truck being loaded and a push to strip tables. Billie Jean lets me breath. Only 3-4 hours to go, time to crack the whip, think about signing out staff, write a few words of my report.
Every so often I mention to staff Billie Jean plays at every wedding.They don’t believe me. Just wait I say, Billie Jean hasn’t let me down yet. If I were a smarty pants I’d blither it used to be Lady In Red or Red Red Wine, all that would do is age me. For the record, Uptown Funk is poised to become the next Billie Jean.
This evening’s commute began as any other. Far from remarkable, CBC Radio sang background vocals – traffic, weather, Trump, Trump, Trump. Then I heard “this is the official end of the world song”, instantly adrenaline consumed an otherwise mediocre drive.
Official end of the world song? WTF! Says who? Shut up! This was news two years ago and I’m only hearing about it now!
From an article in The Guardian –
The video had passed into CNN lore by the time Mike Ballaban, now an editor with Jalopnik, worked as an intern at the network in 2009. As rumor had it, the billionaire founder of CNN, Ted Turner, a man as known for his eccentricities as for his wealth and media legacy, had called for the preparation of a video to air in the event of nuclear holocaust.
The legend has circulated for decades, boosted by Turner’s own words in June 1980, when he said, “We’re gonna go on air June 1, and we’re gonna stay on until the end of the world. When that time comes, we’ll cover it, play Nearer My God to Thee and sign off.”
Rumor has it musicians aboard the Titanic played Nearer My God To Thee as she sank . When CBC played Ted Turner’s chosen rendition I couldn’t decide whether to laugh or cry. Have mercy- when the world ends play anything but a brass band nearer to God dirge.