I’ve been nagging Freddie for weeks about putting something on the blog, but he’s been insistent about needing space and privacy. A few days ago, however, he began hinting–making comments here and there about the media reports I’ve shared with him regarding what Brian May is supposed to have said:
“We didn’t look for this guy, but suddenly he’s there — and he can sing all of those lines,” May says of Lambert in a new interview. “See, they’re difficult songs to sing, Queen songs. There’s too much range that plenty of people can’t sing them in the original key — even if they are good singers. Adam comes along, and he can do it easy. He can do it in his sleep! He can sing higher than even Freddie could, in a live situation.”
Back in December when this first made headlines and I told Freddie about it, he didn’t seem particularly rattled. After a bit of mumbling and saying he wished he could smoke a bloody cigarette, he waved a wing in the air and said, “Darling, it’s the media.”
I could tell, though, that he was hurt. Not the kind of hurt that he would blame Brian for.
“The comment is neither here nor there. Perhaps it’s true: Adam sings higher than I did in my former life,” Freddie said.
And then he paused.
“But he doesn’t sing as high as I do in this life.”
Same old Freddie. He’s still got it.
Freddie’s sadness is evident. As I write this he’s sitting on his royal gander pillows watching his beloved koi, albeit not the same koi he cherished in his past life at the real Garden Lodge, but he loves watching them all the same. Most things about Freddie haven’t changed one bit–except, of course, that he’s a gander now. The old Freddie, alive as ever, struts the living room from end to end, Queen blasting from the radio, his mood changing with each song. “Delilah” starts playing and Freddie’s face turns contemplative and calm. He stands on the rug, admiring his fish.
“O, if only I could have a cat,” he sighs, knowing our situation doesn’t allow for a cat at the moment.
He wants a cat. He’s Freddie. Freddie gets what Freddie wants.
Believe me when I say there’s evidence of Freddie’s type-A temper. Sometimes I find the steak knife I use to cut open his chow, flung on the floor. Perhaps he’s out there in the Duck House singing at night, frustrated by the limits of his tongue. He often sings the same notes he did in Queen songs, but he cannot form the words.
“It’s good enough, Freddie,” I tell him.
But I know he’s sad. And this is the sadness that touches him when he hears what’s being said in the media.
Freddie thinks Adam Lambert a talented young man, no doubt about it. He’s taking this all with a grain of salt, at least that’s what he wants me–and everyone else–to think.
“No one would believe what’s happened to me,” Freddie said one afternoon.
“Who cares what anyone thinks?”
“That’s easy for you to say. You’re not a goose.”
And then he said:
“Some things never change, darling.”
Lonely as a man, lonely as a gander.
“I just collect rocks instead of stamps.” (Always covering his remorse by poking fun at himself and his situation.)
“Rawr. My Rawr is dangerous!” he marvels. “Let’s not forget that I’m still watching you, Brian and Roger. The Internet, it’s a machine’s world, indeed, so mysterious. Here I am. Born a gosling barely two years ago. My conscience in tact. I remember it all! The tastes, the sights, the smells, the touch. I hear a few strokes of the piano keys and I’m in a moment thirty five years ago. I close my eyes and I’m sitting on that piano bench. And then I open my eyes again and–fuck it: I’m a goose.”
After saying this, Freddie laughed. I wonder if he’s really crying inside. Does he hide it? There’s a sound he makes now, as a goose, a pitiful grieving sound that he only utters when someone turns their back to leave. Maybe he releases some of his agony with these cries. He is very much in the moment. If I turn back toward him and begin talking him up, he immediately straightens, turns on his ankles as if he’s on stage at Live Aid, and acts as if he’s as chipper as a gander can be. Other times, after dancing for a while to his own music, he settles down and as the music plays he utters the occasional lamenting, “Uhhhhhhhhhh.”
Dare I say he reminds me of Justin Long’s hopeless character in the movie Tusk--stuck inside the body of a walrus, moaning pitifully, still human, yet no one will ever understand?
“I while my days away overseeing a flock of ducks.”
Yet, tonight in the living room Freddie carefully waved one beautiful white feather from his shoulder onto the top of the crate where one of the duck hens is housed while she recovers from egg laying issues.
“I am a goose of extremes, just like I was a man of extremes back then. I’m still the same person, I just occupy a different vessel…and I shit a lot more.”
Another laugh. I picture him with a cigarette, even though he’s a goose.
“It’s Brian’s turn now. I’m not fit to live it. Not to say that in my present circumstances I won’t outlive Brian or Roger or John. Who can say what will happen, really? Will Brian knock on my door? Probably not. But, you’re talking to someone who has seen it all. I look in the mirror and I think, ‘My god, I’m a goose.’ I woke up and I was in a bin with a bunch of mean baby chickens who tried to peck my eyes out and my feet were turned inward. It was the most terrifying thing to wake up that way…to wake up at all. And it was all very confusing, really. I spent weeks in this tiny, fuzzy body and everything was humongous. And then I heard my music. It was a slow waking up. The music. Riding in automobiles. Going to parties. Then everything came flooding back. Now I have to accept that I live here, in my own Garden Lodge with a Duck House out back. Really, I will be lucky if I can have a cat.”