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We are the champignons

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I try to be cool. I try to defy my 39 years but there’s some things you just can’t hide with Photoshop. Like the fact that I’m still a Queen fan after nearly 27 years. God, is it really that long? Oh, but wait, I also like Franz Ferdinand and the Scissor Sisters and the Kaiser Chiefs and…no, no, wait for me kids .. I?m still hip to your groovy melodies.

I’m just watching a DVD of Queen at the Milton Keynes Bowl from 1982. I’m taking little typing breaks because every now and then I have to jump up and down and punch my fist in the air and play air drums and generally scare my dog, Storm. Actually I think she wants to join in, but dog dancing is a line I will not cross. As is dog line dancing.

I love watching Freddie Mercury on stage. It’s a cliche to say that he’s a showman, but what the hell, he’s a showman. And he’s all the more my idol because he was such an intensely shy and private man off stage. Well except for when he threw those extravagant parties with naked serving boys and cock-shaped birthday cakes and Samantha Fox. Samantha Fox will mean nothing to you uunless you’re british. And even then she’ll mean nothing.

It’s a cliche to say that Freddie Mercury was Queen. But what the hell. And that’s why I won’t be going to the Hollywood Bowl next weekend to see Queen 2005. Yep, they’re touring again. Except it’s not Queen, it’s Queen plus Paul Rodgers, from the band Free. Yeah, I know. Who?

So Queen plus one have been playing across Europe since the beginning of the year. At first I thought it was a terrible idea, almost sacrilegious, though it may be sacrilegious to use sacrilegious in this context. I think what put me off most was my experience of the musical ‘We Will Rock You’ in London. It?s a musical based on Queen songs which should have been enough to keep me away but there was so much more to hate. The hero was called Gallileo, the bad guys were called the Ga Ga Cops and the evil corporation trying to homogenize music was GlobalSoft. Oh and there was even a character called Scaramouche. I bet Freddie would have been so proud. Erik and I left about 10 minutes into the first half.

But, never forsaking my hypocritical roots, when the fan club announced shows in the US, I suddenly became desperate for a ticket. It was a choice between New Jersey Continental Airlines Arena or the Hollywood Bowl. Tough call. But now I just can’t face going. I know all the fan arguments – it’s a different show, Paul Rodgers isn’t trying to be Freddie – which is good because he’d look rubbish in lycra – and I’d get to hear songs that have never been played live before. But that’s what makes it seem even worse. If it ain’t Freddie, then it just ain’t … well you know .. Freddie.

So if you’re a closet Queen fan, the tickets are yours. If you’re a closet Freddie fan then don’t bother, because it isn’t him and anyway he didn’t die just so you could remain in the closet. Well, I must be off. They’re playing ‘Get Down Make Love’ and I need to turn off the lights and writhe around suggestively to the freaky synthesizer sounds and trippy lighting. Don?t worry, I’ll cover Storm?s eyes.

by the way. i know we are the champignons is a stupid title. we are the champions is a queen song. champignons means mushrooms in french. but when you’re 17 and drunk that’s bloody clever.