Thanks to Stef’s surely legal (?) manipulation of downloadable movies off the Internet we watched Bohemian Rhapsody a new bio-pic about Freddie Mercury and his band Queen. I begin, by admitting I am not very familiar with Queen. Many of their songs were familiar, but I never listened to them closely or followed their fame in the day. I just was not interested. So I did not know their story. All I have learned is from watching this film and listening to some of their songs. I like what Freddie said, “we are 4 misfits playing to other misfits, none of whom belong together.” Aren’t we all like that?
First of all, I was struck by the song, “Keep Yourself Alive.” I repeated to myself the lyric, “keep yourself alive.” I actually think that is important. Not in the ordinary sense so much, though we all want to keep alive so that does not need reminding, but rather keep alive in the sense of don’t allow your life to become what D.H. Lawrence referred to as “death in life”. If that what we have, as Lawrence was true for many of us, we are in bad shape. We should instead, keep ourselves alive.
I think that is what the film is about–i.e. avoiding death in life. Roger, one of the band members said, “there’s no musical ghetto that can contain us.” Later Freddie said, “My father would rather see me dead then be whom I am.” Hasn’t every son thought that about his father? Yet, I hope mine never did. I also liked the line, “We’ll punch a hole in the sky.” That would surely keep oneself alive.
The movie celebrated the song after which the film is named, namely, “Bohemian Rhapsody”, with its lyrics that are far from clear, in part because of its length. The record company wanted a shorter song, so the band packed up and left that company. Of course it became a big hit.
If you say the lyrics are not obscure tell me what these signify?
I see a little silhouetto of a man,
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning,
Very, very frightening me.
I think they fit in some how with the them. Life is thunderbolt and lightning. Magnifico. Though I like the line “I see a little silhouetto of a man.” I just don’t know what it means. Do you? Give me your theory.
I also liked their idea of including the audience in the song “We Will Rock You,” where they said they wanted to include the audience as part of the song. And, of course that song has been sung in sports stadiums and arena’s ever since. I remember hearing it many times at the Winnipeg Arena. I just did not know it was a Queen song. I wonder if my lads remember it as well. With its driving beat I always liked this verse:
“Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise
Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on yo’ face
You big disgrace
Kickin’ your can all over the place
We Will We will Rock You
We Will We will Rock You.”
At the end of the film, when Freddie was dying of AIDS he didn’t’ want sympathy or long faces around him. I remember a good friend of mine who was dying, told me the same thing. He wanted life until he died. He did not want life in death. “Don’t bore me with your sympathy,” Freddy said, “It takes too much life away.”
I must admit this movie captured me. This surprised me. I like it when movies surprise me. I now think Queen are, “the champions.” In the end, harboring a terminal illness, Freddie struts across and around the stage and briefly, he is the champion, he is alive. I hope we can all be that.