"for the happy, the sad, I don't want to be, another page in your diary"

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Scaramouche, Scaramouche

Today we do the Shepshed 7 only slightly hungover, mainly due to it’s leisurely 11am start. Totally hungover might have been preferable to be honest as this is far from being my favourite race. Two laps of off-road grit strewn paths and grass. What’s to like? Nothing really. In fact I was seriously worried about my ankles so I wasn’t all sure whether I should risk it at all.

However the event does though seem to have achieved some sort of iconic status with it’s non-standard seven mile distance, excellent organisation and post-race tea and cake. So here we are, again.

55:05. That's four minutes slower than when I was last here, two years ago. Just put me out of my misery now.

In the evening, it's time for a film.

Bohemian Rhapsody starts off at Live Aid in 1985 and then backtracks all the way to 1970 to give us a potted history of Queen that begins with Farrokh Bulsara, as he was then, forcing his way into a band called Smile. The next thing you know, he’s Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) and they're Queen, and they're touring the world. It seems Queen’s road to fame was pretty much as straight forward as it gets.



What then follows is a hugely enjoyable romp through the history of Queen accompanied by their multitude of hit records. Naturally a lot of the film focusses on their lead singer. Cue the main criticism of the film which has been that it offers a very sanitised and uncontroversial view of Mercury.


This is mostly apparent when it comes to his personal life where a lot of the film is devoted to his relationship with Mary Austin (Lucy Boynton). They became lovers and even got engaged, although it is apparently clearer to her than it was to him that Mercury was gay. Sadly, the film opts not to explore what this meant in the homophobic 1970s and therefore why he hid this for so long.


There are also many historical inaccuracies, presumably in a desire to add dramatic effect but real happenings that would have added dramatic effect are ignored. Prior to Live Aid Queen hadn’t split up as the film implies. The band had taken a break in 1983 to focus on all their solo careers but had long since got back together, had released the mega selling ‘The Works’ album and were in the process of completing a world tour to promote it when Live Aid happened.


Mercury would also have been hard pushed to reveal his HIV diagnosis to the band pre-Live Aid as he didn’t know this himself until two years later and hid this from his band members until 1989.

However it isn't a bad film, far from it. Rami Malek is excellent as Mercury and the other members of Queen are equally believable. Bohemian Rhapsody is great entertainment but ultimately not terribly fulfilling. A bit like Queen themselves perhaps.


While the film ends at Live Aid, Freddie Mercury would live on for another six years and would embrace his diagnosis with the likes of ‘Who Wants To Live Forever?’ and ‘The Show Must Go On’ but the film doesn't dare go there. Meanwhile Queen as a band live on to this day. There must be enough material for another two or three films there.

(Sunday 4th November)

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