Top positive review
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A Cracking Read!
on 25 February 2012
I must admit, Peter Hince's book was not what I was expecting. It was much much better!
If I had properly read the description of 'Queen Unseen' on the inner jacket, I would have seen that it is very much the story of Hince's journey as Queen's head roadie.
I had assumed ("never assume" will be my motto from now on) that this would probably be another rehashing, repackaging of the usual Queen stories in another guise.
But thankfully, it's not. It is new, fresh and funny stories about what went on behind all the Queen glam and glitz that we all saw in the newspapers and on stage and on TV.
And this is because Peter Hince, an ordinary bloke just like us, found himself in the most extraordinary position... head of the road crew of this amazing band, just as they were about to conquer the world!
No other writer could be so well positioned to observe, record and describe everything from the pre show preparations, the band's nerves, the near calamities, the triumphs, fears, drugs and sex. No journalist could have written this book because no amount of research they did could rival Hince's 10 year total immersion in the world of Fred, Brian, John and Roger. He was there as they went from zero to stratospheric. He was there when they began taking on the world. And he was also taking photographs!
These photos alone allow us fantastic sneak peeks backstage, into the studio, the green room...
Peter was a trusted 5th member of the band in many ways and the intimacy of his stories and photos reflect this.
You can tell that Hince has great gratitude for his time with the band and great affection for Fred, despite Fred being 'a difficult sod' sometimes.
Although he tells new and revealing stories about the band and their travels, he never resorts to sleaze.
Don't buy this book if you want a tabloid expose... it's far classier than that. It's a romp of a read and the stories are very very well told, with great humour.
And great insight - rather than commenting on the character of a particular band member or a particular situation, Hince simply tells us the whole story, from his unique perspective, warts, jewels and all, and leaves us to draw our own conclusions. And this kept me turning the pages like a thirsty man in the desert! I was walking around London streets with the book, bumping into lamp posts, because I HAD to know what happened next!
Hince's jaunty prose made me feel as though I was there with him as he finally got to America with Queen, to France, Japan, Germany... All the way to that Live Aid concert.
But it's not just Queen that we meet. Hince was moving, with Queen, in an extraordinary world... there's lots of familiar names here - the Pistols, Bowie, Daltrey, Geldof...
As Hince says: 'The opportunity to listen to music for free and to meet girls were why I entered the music business and not the world of insurance'! And some of the stories about the girls, the drugs and the frighteningly convincing transvestites are hilarious.
In a way it's a travelogue. In a way it's an autobiography. And in a way it's a rather comedic rock and roll diary.
All in all, I can't recommend this book highly enough. For fans of Queen, for fans of rock and roll or for anyone who just likes a good story well told. It's a cracking read.