Make A Decision People and There Was Only One Freddie
I was going to write about Halloween as there seems to be a big debate going on about whether the evening and its activities are either
A. a lot of fun for children and adults or
B. another bullshit American commercialised exercise created to take money off us by infiltrating Australian’s national culture.
I mentioned the topic to Blaze who loves Halloween and he presented me with a report with footnotes, references and a bibliography on how fricking great Halloween is and why he feels stronger about it than any of the “forgotten why are they there public holidays” like Boxing Day or Labour Day. Before I knew it I was sitting in his media room. The so-called media room is really just part of his garden shed that has been furnished with couches sourced from roadside hard rubbish pickup.
By the 24th PowerPoint slide, projected on an old blanket by an AV system that seemed to belong to the Queensland Department of Education by the test and tag stickers, I had more than enough information to know where Blaze stood in the debate about the merits of Halloween. His was definitely a yes vote for the benefits of social cohesion and the future of the North Queensland sugar industry.
Unfortunately we then had a few beers and watched a couple of horror movie classics to celebrate the Halloween theme and before I could further investigate and look more at both sides of the story by considering the moral, cultural, financial and health impacts it was here and now it’s gone. So I guess that will have to wait until next year.
So instead I thought I would look into two unresolved issues that have been bamboozling Australians for some time. Let’s face it, decision-making is fun so I don’t understand why we find some things so hard to resolve. With every decision there are problems and you can’t have winners without losers. If you spend the whole time trying to make sure everyone wins time will just pass by and you will wake up years later and nothing has changed.
I reckon its much better to take a more proactive approach and make a decision now and see what happens next. Something will happen and then you can make some more decisions and as I said decision-making is fun.
First up is daylight saving in summer in Queensland.
For the record I can take or leave daylight saving. I can see the benefits for business to be in the same time zone along the east coast of Australia. Gatesy who likes to know the subtle up and down movements of the Australian dollar against its US counterpart is particularly scathing of the different time zones north and south of the Tweed River. However since the last time I saw him he was lying on a sun lounge working on his tan so perhaps his comments about the business world inconvenience is just a cover story.
Anyway the shifting of daylight to have an extra hour of sun at the end of the day is no biggie one way or the other for me. And as an early riser I welcome the sunrise at any time. I think it is the best part of the day actually.
I can also understand why our country cousins find the concept of daylight saving less appealing and I think we forget what a big piece of land Queensland is in both North -South and East –West directions. The closer to the equator Daylight Saving becomes less desirable.
The answer seems simple to me. We create a new state called North Queensland running north from about the Tropic of Capricorn. Problem solved.
The new state of South Queensland can enjoy daylight saving, flat whites and the identity politics of the 21st century and the new state of North Queensland can enjoy live animal exports, Barra fishing and Bob Katter.
The next thing that has been hanging around our decision making processes and clogging up the works is the difficult question of the monarchy and the fact that the Queen of England is our head of state. This living contradiction of feudal society and the reformation ideals of equality had provided us with just about every emotion possible over the last hundred years. Whenever the republic argument comes up, the vast majority of us are distracted by issues that really have nothing to do with the central question at hand. I have raised this before in another blog[ can’t remember which one so please go back, read them all and tell all your friends to read them too.]
Most importantly please remember the following though probably true are irrelevant.
The current Queen has done such a good job.
Harry, William, Catherine and Meghan are refreshing/ style icons/ total spunks.
How could you have someone like [ insert current or past politician’s name here] as President?
People don’t have time to worry about trivialities like the republic when the cost of living is so high.
We are not Great Britain. We are Australia and we need to grow up a bit more and learn to think and act more for ourselves. And appearances, symbolism and gestures are important, just as important as the price of electricity. So if it was up to me it would be, catch you later Queenie, and by the way I wouldn’t wait until Elizabeth The Second passes away. She is the complete professional and I’m sure won’t take it personally when we make the call.
On the subject of Queens, there is a biopic out about Queen the band called Bohemian Rhapsody and if you were a fan you would already know that and be ready to hit the cinema. I can’t review the film because I haven’t been it but seeing a review of the film on TV it did remind me in a roundabout way of the enormous power of Countdown back in the 70s. There were a few clips on Countdown that I can still remember seeing for the first time and the feeling of being blown away. Certainly the clip for Bohemian Rhapsody did that.
By 1974 glam rock had produced some memorable pop hits and made a Nambour boy by the name of Mike Chapman wealthy but had yet to produce anything that took rock music forward. Enter the high concept art guys.
Roxy Music and Bowie embraced glitter for a period of time and gave it substance and glamour but Roxy were a bit too quirky and Bryan Ferry wanted to croon. Bowie, as we were to discover had many performing guises and once Ziggy Stardust had served its purpose he was off to his next incarnation.
As usual for rock bands a combination of musical chops, a charismatic front man and a unique sound will take you into superstardom [for more proof see U2, REM, Led Zep, Midnight Oil, INXS, Pearl Jam, Foo Fighters etc.] if the public is ready and by 1975 they were ready for Queen. So when Bohemian Rhapsody came along things went crazy.
The video I think was the key thing. What I remember about watching the video on Countdown was the originality, the chutzpah, the technological WOW of the clip’s effects although you can do more of that stuff on your own mobile phone these days.
Most of all it was Freddie. Arresting in style, vocals and those fascinating facial features, apparently a product of his Parsee heritage. I had heard bands like Emerson Lake and Palmer and Sparks but no one had managed to put Led Zep, British music hall and classical music together like this before.
To be fair the Queen sound was not all Freddy, Brain May’s distinctive guitar sound is a highlight of so many of their best songs, the harmonies were great and bassist John Deacon wrote Another One Bites the Dust and You’re my Best Friend. The combination was new and exciting and so stars were born.
Not long after punk came along and I got more interested in bands with 10 x more attitude if only 10% of the talent. So I lost interest, for me Queen peaked at A Night At The Opera.
They kept going though, becoming superstars, leaving both their harder edge and British sensibilities behind but getting bigger and bigger with classic radio hits and stadium anthems, a stunning Live Aid show and of course the performances of Freddy.
Under Pressure, his duet with Bowie remains a highlight for both of them, which in my mind is really saying something.
Then Freddy died of AIDS in 1991 and the excesses of the 80s pretty well went with him.
Now days the glam rock side of Queen’s influence is most strongly heard in The Darkness, who feature Rufus Taylor, the son of Queen drummer Roger Taylor on drums. They are a mighty fine band if you like that kind of thing and I must say I do.
A six song Queen playlist that’s a little less obvious
Seven Seas of Rhye
Keep yourself Alive
Stone Cold Crazy
Now I’m Here
Bring back That Leroy Brown