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The Roadie's Tale,
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This review is from: Queen Unseen (Hardcover)I received this book as a present yesterday evening - and finished it on the train this morning. That's how gripping and easy-flowing Peter Hince's account of his whirlwind decade with Queen is. Starting in the 1970s as a typical provincial teenager, a `mad-for-it' general gofer and plugger-inner, living on `Thousand on a Raft' (beans on toast) and copious amounts of sniff, blow, gargle, snort, suck and other rock enliveners, the roadie known as `Ratty' ended his stint with the world's most flamboyant band as the man they relied on to get their multi-million-dollar show round the world and on the boards, on time and in place, while still being at his overlords' command at the drop of a tiara, with trusty screw-driver and book of contacts at the ready. You don't do that by frying your brains, and Hince had the sense to get out and get on with his artistic calling as a photographer while everything synaptic was still more or less intact.
At show-time in stadiums across the world the author would crouch in the shadow of Freddie Mercury's grand piano, ready to pass his master a glass of water, a phallic microphone or a reassuring grin. But unquestioning sycophancy was never going be the right way to deal with a man like Fred, who could be as cold and monstrous as the next superstar when things didn't go just as he wanted. Mercury desperately needed proper friends - ones who could tell him when he was being too much of a princess. By his own account Hince did that when he needed to. What comes across in bold in this humorous and rollicking story is the hard-bitten roadie's love for the complicated and ultimately lonely man who acted towards him like a kind of rascally uncle. Rarely does a roadie write a book - far more rarely one that gets this close and personal.