Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Crying In The Library

I was in a fragile mood on Sunday, but that doesn't really tell the full story of how I felt tears welling up unexpectedly during a brief sojourn in the children's section of the library.

I sat down with two books, one of which I don't remember now. The other was a large pictorial history of the rock band Queen. I just thought it might be an interesting light read for a few minutes, and I was in no real sense a fan. I don't own any Queen albums. I know the big hits but none of the album tracks. My strongest (and most shameful) memory of them was politely informing another boy in my 3rd Form class that Freddie Mercury was "a poofter". I certainly had a way with words when I was 14.

And yet here I was, many years later, moved to tears by the explanations of how, despite becoming ill in 1987, Freddie fought to his last breath to make the music he wanted and to make the most of every moment with his loved ones and colleagues before finally succumbing in 1991. It was truly inspirational. And then, to read some of the lyrics of his last works, knowing his time was short, was very moving.

A few years ago I might have made a patronizing comment about how he was still out there performing somewhere. Now, I don't think he is. But it isn't patronizing at all to say that the man continues to inspire, enthrall and entertain through his extraordinary legacy. And that is all any of us can hope for. Or aim for.