on 13 September 1999
FREDDIE MERCURY: THE REAL LIFE is an interesting,moving and very entertaining book. To me, the one word that describes Freddie Mercury is "unique". It seems that his dedication, determination and perfectionism towards his career, is what made him the superstar that he was. We can all learn from an example like that. His friends all agreed that he had a flamboyant personality on stage, and an almost shy, quiet personality off stage. I found this very endearing. I must say that the parts that made me laugh out loud, were some of Freddie's one-line quotes. My favorite was when he announced that his doctor had forbade him vodka because of a liver complaint, and he says, "So get me a brandy!" What a wonderful sense of humor he must have had. All in all, reading this book helped me learn more about a man I have admired for a very long time. I found this book funny, touching, informative and sad. It left me feeling joyous at what a radiant and charming man he must have been, and at the same time so sad, that we have lost such an intoxicating and sparkling star.
on 9 July 2014
I feel the the low-scoring reviews for this book are unfairly scored. This is not Freddie Mercury by Freddie Mercury, this is the account of the man through the eyes of it's author and close friend, Peter Freestone.
While I would agree that some parts are a little on the "slow" side, this book, for me, is a well-accounted insight of the man that was Freddie Mercury. A fly on the wall account, if you will. It details the behaviour, friendships, personal relationships and day-to-day life of, at the time, one of the biggest names in world.
It's well written by a man that was not, nor is, a professional writer. There are not all that many dirty-little-secrets shared or grisly details of Freddie's many love affairs, though they are touched upon, this book has never claimed to be such. It's an account of touring, recording and everyday life with the playboy of English rock and roll. If you're after the former, I'd recommend something else.
on 3 March 2007
I wrote this because all the other reviews seemed to be about the first book and not this second book, so I thought this second book, Freddie Mercury The Afterlife, needed an actual review, so here goes: The front cover is a lovely, sweet picture of Freddie and Miko, the back cover is a portion of the final arrangements made for Freddie. I wasn't expecting to see that and it made me very sad even though I know he has been gone 16 years now. This second book takes up where the first one left off and is a description of Peter (Phoebe) Freestone's life since Freddie's passing. He talks about the various things he has been doing throughout the years. Peter mentions what the people talked about in the first book are doing as of 2003. There are some pictures I hadn't seen before within the book. Peter describes a visit he paid to Garden Lodge in 2003, where he met with Mary Austin and got to see Delilah again. He discusses some of the many books which have been written about Freddie and what he thinks of them. I only mentioned some things, the book contains much more than what I mention. David Evans speaks in it too and there's even Recipes of the different foods that would be made for Freddie.
Personally, it helped me to read this second book because it cleared up some confusion I had about some things written in the first book and too, even if it is silly on my part, it was nice to learn that Peter was okay, I had wondered since reading the first book.
on 17 April 2000
The publisher's blurb did not augur well: 'the most intimate account of Mercury's life ever written...Now [Freestone] tells all'. Not only that, but written "with" David Evans as well. It had kiss n' tell written all over it. Freddie's untimely death unleashed a tidalwave of substandard tosh onto the market. There are more books about Queen than live albums by Deep Purple and, as the latter proves, quantity does not necessarily equate with quality.
Since I embarked on the exasperating hobby of buying Queen-related books, an awful lot of money has been wasted on utter drivel. It was with a due sense of foreboding that I handed over my £15; and so it was with some surprise that I found myself thoroughly enjoying this book. On the whole, it is a well written and well researched account, providing an enlightening and enjoyable insight into the life of one of the great singer-songwriters and showmen of modern times. Peter 'Phoebe' Freestone spent the final twelve years in the Queen camp (most of it in Freddie's personal employ) and it shows. For anyone curious to know about Freddie's lifestyle, this book surpasses anything else I've seen.
The book works best when it describes Freddie on an 'ordinary' day leading an 'ordinary' lifestyle. His description of life at Garden Lodge, for example, is excellent, detailed but not especially intrusive. That's one of the book's hallmarks. It should appeal to genuine fans who want to know more about their hero but not in an obsessive or prurient way. "Intimate" is thoroughly misleading (naughty Omnibus; I wonder why you chose that particular word). There is much that is left private - and rightly so. Indeed, Freestone goes out of his way to explode a few myths peddled by the tabloids and the golddiggers. At the same time, he offers us the definitive account of the comings and goings on 24 November 1991, taking the opportunity to set the record straight without a whiff of sensationalism. Nor does he misuse the occasion to settle old scores, even though Freddie was badly let down at times. Paul Prenter's Judas-like act of betrayal, for example, merits barely a paragraph.
Inevitably, the book, like its subject, does have its flaws. Though Freestone is well served by Evans (who has written about Queen before), there are still some annoying factual errors. Queen performed in Berlin in 1982 not 1981 (p.44); Headlong was not the second single from Innuendo (p.130). In addition, Freestone is much less engaging when offering us his own opinions on matters outside the Queen inner circle and, at times, he comes across as curiously naive. I should have thought that the Falklands War and the patchy quality of Body Language/Hot Space might explain the "underwhelming" reception accorded to Las Palabras De Amor.
He is also happy to repeat tired old cliches about Queen's 'perfectionism' and 'the need to make each video more innovative than the last'. Fact: some Queen videos marked time (Another One Bites The Dust; Hammer To Fall). Fact: Queen recorded plenty of material with which individual band members were dissatisfied (Live Killers and Hot Space, for example). Fact: Queen allowed inferior products to be released in their name (Torpedo Twins, take a bow). Critics and fans alike would be so much more credible if they made an effort to be thoughtful and objective.
But these are minor quibbles. Perhaps inevitably, the years following Freddie's death were dominated by the vultures. As time passes, so more emerges from the Queen camp and we on the outside can start to get a more balanced picture, neither sensationalist nor hagiographic. Mary Austin and Mrs Bulsara have now appeared on television. Here we have the memoir of someone who has stayed loyal throughout and who wants to set the record straight on behalf of the man who was both his employer and his friend. Just imagine: if Brian starts his memoirs soon, we might get them before the century is through.
on 19 September 2014
Its a good book but with some flaws. The author tells the story like a robot. For instance, he goes and talk about concerts and preparations like this...(my words) 26th June we had the concert in the place X, the band wear X, the concert went like so an so and so forth... and he follows to decribe the following concerts the same way. And the smae happens in other different parts of the book.
What i felt in this biography is that the author knew Freddie Mercury very well, and shares many things about him, things that we want to know of course :) but its like a mother or a father talking about the son, they know the son for many years and lived with him for many years, but they dont really really know their son, like a best friend would or like a lover would.
So, in reading this book i leraned many things about Freddie Mercury but i go without knowing how he really was and what were his real thoughts and so on.
on 28 November 2003
Having looked about for a book that would give some insight into the life of Freddie, I chose this as my first read. Needless to say, I was somewhat disappointed. I found the first few chapters extremely hard going without any real thought or insight with lists of things he had done & places he had been. I continued to read, having been assured by a friend that it would get better. I must say, it did towards the end with some real feeling during the chapters telling of Freddies death. Shame he could not have used a little more of that feeling in the rest of the book. Chose this thinking that having such close contact with Freddie, it might show a good insight but felt that this it lacking something vital. Buy this book if you feel you can cope with the hard trawl of the first few chapters
on 13 August 2013
As Peter's first book, very intersting to read. It continues where the first book ends and answers questions to what happened to Peter and the others of Freddies "family" as well as friends. It also has episodes about Freddie so it kind of adds to the picture. And for those who still haven't got enough, Peter has a lovely blog on the freddiemercury.com site named "Ask Phoebe" where he regularly answers questions. So in a way, he's still working for Freddie and I think Freddie would be/is very satisfied and smiling from wherever he is (if he had the time to). Plus it has the recipies which Peter already announced in his first book. The only thing I found kind of strange is, that the pictures in this book are exactly the ones from Jim Hutton's book "Freddie Mercury - An intimate memoir". Even the descriptions are the same!!
This is NOT a book about Queen and there is no sensational new information about Freddie. It's (like the first book) for those (like me) who just want to have a look at the human being behind the stage persona and to his everyday life. Thanks a lot to Peter for sharing his fond memories with us!
on 2 December 2013
I have to say I am a big fan of Queen and of Freddie Mercury. Had Freddie known a book like this was to be written by someone who he trusted I can't help but feel he has been a little betrayed and his trust broken. It's interesting in parts but I think some of the very low points in Freddie's life including a very detailed description of his final weeks should have always been kept private. It just seems a bit cheap and tabloid. Maybe I am being naive.
The book is not very organised. The few chapters there are, seem more like 'Subjects' e.g. Recording, Private life, live shows etc. Some of the contents is kind of repeated.
But this is just my opinion. Worth a read but I feel kind of guilty having done so.
on 9 November 2003
This book gives a very 'nice' image of Freddie, one that other books are quick to contradict.
The author obviously loved the subject and is at some points very biased in his portrayal.
I found the section of the book describing Freddie's illness and subsequent death very emotional and i did shed a tear. This part of the book was excelently written describing a strong and humane man suffereing from and evil and awful disease.
Any Freddie fans should definately give this book some time and attention!
on 7 October 2011
You would imagine that somebody who was clearly well educated, well versed in the arts, and who had experienced the finer things in life would be somewhat eloquent. No - not the case in this book by Peter Freestone.
He is 'assisted' by David Evans; who one imagines ghost wrote this dreadful book. It is so badly written that it is embarrassing at times.
The book has no structure or format and flits around with banal details that no doubt are only there to interest their friends and inner circle.
It has a camp, pompous tone that excludes so much of Freddie Mercury's life with Queen.
Freddie may have been a gay man, but he was also so much more than that - a brilliant performer, songwriter and innovative member of one of rock music's greatest bands. So little of that is included.
Clearly Mr Freestone had enormous respect and a real love for his employer, but why give such intimate details of Freddie's low points, illness and tragically untimely demise ?
Peter Freestone was looked after very well by Freddie Mercury and received a very generous bequest from his will, so to abuse that generosity is just tacky - tabloid material.
I understand that Freddie Mercury always demanded the best of everything - including the people who worked for him. He has been badly let down........