I was 5 years old when I first remember being aware of Queen. Sitting on my bunk bed with the window open with my sister and my Dad listening to the playing Elland Road in Leeds. I grew up in a village just outside Leeds and we could not only hear them playing from our bedroom we could see the lights shining at Elland Road.
It really was a Kind of Magic (did you see what I did there?).
It was a real treat because we should definitely have been asleep but it was so exciting listening to this amazing music flying through the air from this mythical place just two and a half miles away. Of course I had no idea what Elland Road was, I wasn’t 100% sure who Queen were if I’m honest, but that moment started a life long love of this amazing band.
Fast forward a few years and I was hooked.
When Freddie Mercury died in November 1991. I was 15 years old. Just starting my GCSEs. I had been listening to Queen for a few years by this time. Of course buying records was expensive (I was just transitioning to CDs!) but I was lucky because my friends Dan and Simon were fans too so we used to record each others onto a tape so we had pretty much all their back catalogue between us.
I bought every newspaper, all the tribute magazines, had the posters on my wall and grieved as though he was a family member.
I loved everything about Queen. I’ve always loved rock music, but I loved the theatre that Freddie Mercury added. I loved that they laughed at themselves.
I’m sure you must be wondering why on earth I am going on about my favourite band by now. Well, there are a few reasons.
Not least the fact that the new film “Bohemian Rhapsody” is released this week.
It’s more than that though.
This film got me thinking. I can remember listening to Queen when I was a little girl. Listening to their music was a huge influence on my teenage years. They got me through some difficult times. Years later they were one of the first things I bonded with my father in law over. I can’t remember a time without Queen in my life.
Of course I never saw the original line up live. Their last tour with Freddie Mercury was in 1986, I was 10 years old. In those days concerts weren’t family environments.
A few years ago though I watched the film Bucket List, with Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman. It got me thinking about what things I would put on my bucket list.
If you are unfamiliar with the concept, a bucket list is basically a list of all the things you want to achieve in your life. I realised that there were very few things I felt passionately about achieving, very few places I felt I had to visit.
But I attempted to write a list with a few things I wanted to achieve, places to go, things to do, before I die.
- Write a book.
- Go to Italy.
- See Queen in concert.
I suddenly realised that not having seen Queen live was a big deal for me. I really regretted that I hadn’t had that chance.
Then they announced that they were touring with Paul Rodgers.
It wasn’t perfect but it was better than nothing. Unfortunately the timing was all wrong. They toured from 2004–09. My daughter was born in 2004, I was diagnosed with acromegaly in 2007 and my son was born in 2009. They were busy and exhausting years.
Going to concerts was not high on my list of things to do.
Then a miracle happened in the form of Adam Lambert.
Adam Lambert is the son Freddie never had, in my opinion. My amazing hubby got me tickets to go see them live for my Christmas present and we went to Birmingham on 23rd January 2015.
It was a dream come true. I have had a wonderful life. I have been fortunate enough to meet and even work with many famous people along the way. Never have I been star struck (well maybe a little with Alan Rickman but mostly I’m pretty cool!) they are just people like us.
Queen was a very different matter. When Brian May walked out onto the stage I cried. I don’t mean I had a tear in my eye, I mean properly cried.
It was one of the most amazing nights of my life.
Why am I telling you this though?
Well, obviously I think you should all go out and watch the new film, if you are interested, but that’s not the reason.
What I really want you to do is to stop and think about all the things that you really want to do with your life.
There is definitely something significant about the music you connect to in your teenage years. I don’t think we ever connect with music in quite the same way at any other time in our lives.
What music has really impacted on your life?
Have you been fortunate enough to see your favourite band playing live?
I just want you to think about what makes you happy.
Write your Bucket List.
Don’t overthink it.
If it pops into your head, write it down.
You might be surprised at some of the things that come up.
You might not appreciate how much those things mean to you until you actually get to tick it off either. I certainly didn’t.
Live your very best life, whether it is using your best perfume, going to the theatre more, travelling the globe, eating in fancy restaurants.
Whatever makes you happy, if you possibly can do it, then do it!
**UPDATE 24th October 2017**
I had to hop back on to give you an little update. This morning my husband and I bunked off and went to see “Bohemian Rhapsody”. I had a meeting cancel at last minute so I suddenly had a timely free day. I knew I would love it. I knew it would be an education. I have always loved the music and performance Queen created but I have never really looked into much of their private lives or behind the scenes elements. I was not expecting to laugh and cry. If you are a fan of the band, if you like music, if you are a human, you must see this film.
Every so often I go to the cinema or the theatre and completely lose where I am. It doesn’t happen often. If happens when I see Les Miserables at the theatre, it happens when I see War of the Worlds tours and it happened today in the cinema.
I didn’t want the film to end and I cried as it did. Now I know I have something of a history of crying at Queen but I really wasn’t expecting to cry at this film. It really is exceptional. I feel I have to give a special mention to Gwilym Lee who plays Brian May too. His performance was breathtaking. I have always been a big fan of Brian May and thought he would be hard to replace but it’s so evident that they worked incredibly closely together to ensure the portrayal was spookily accurate.
Huge congratulations to everyone involved in the film though, it was a triumph!
Kate Beddow is the creator of Calmer Classrooms with Mojo a whole school mindfulness and relaxation programme which is delivered in schools around the world. She works closely with teachers and provides them with resources to help them create a calm and focused environment for their students to learn.
Kate is also the mindfulness trainer for Become the Force, a real life Jedi training school, and was a contributing author to “Women of Spirit” a book featuring amazing stories of real life women overcoming adversity.