Spreading Wings

The street gang minus Melissa went to see “It’s a Kind of Magic” – which is, yes, a Queen tribute band. Tuesday night. The players are 2 Aussies, a Kiwi and a South African. This is their full-time gig – touring the world doing Queen stuff. And I gotta say, it was very entertaining. Weirdly enough, the singers higher range was a good match for Freddie, but his lower range sounded less convincing – one would think it would be other way around.

The program covered most of the songs you’d think they’d cover, and a few lesser known ones which was good to see. They like to brag that there isn’t a Queen song in the catalogue that they don’t know. We were hoping for drama, strutting, costume changes, shirtlessness and shrieking cougars, and we actually got most of them. Including a drag set wherein an accounting type (still in business suit, prematurely balding, joined by his wife who was wearing “slacks”) experienced the joy of a good fake boob head rub. This being Kitchener, he blushed and cooed a bit then went back to sitting primly in his seat. However, it was a HUGE disappointment when we discovered the singer’s stache to be NOTHING MORE THAN PAINT. I’m sorry, but Freddie deserves better than a fake stache, sir, even if you got the call & answer intro to “Under Pressure” just right.


News of the World was my first full Queen experience – if it wasn’t my first album purchase, it was the second. 1977. I was 10 years old and listened to the album over and over again on a portable record player in my room. Once in a while I listened to it on the living room stereo and that was better cuz the bass was much louder.

One day, my classmates and I got our teacher to run out of the room in tears because we wouldn’t stop stomping and clapping to a silent version of “We Will Rock You” while she tried to teach us Algebra. After that stellar result, we did it again for about a week until Mr M from next door came in and yelled at us.

This was also when I got into a shouting match with Nolan S  - I said Freddie was gay and he said he absolutely wasn’t. He offered to beat the crap out of me to prove it. None of us thought he was gay like Eddy T was though. Eddy was a real live limpy wristed, lispy guy who liked to play skip with the girls at recess. But Eddy had it sweet, via the terrifying capabilities of his older sister (banned from our school for excessive bullying), who would show up after school to lay a beating on anyone who gave Eddy a hassle during the day about being “light in the loafers”.  Eddy originated the shorts and muscle shirt combo that Richard Simmons would later become famous for. Eddy was awesome in a time when it still wasn’t that common to be that awesome.

Nolan and I fought about lots of things when we hung out, but that was okay. Our friendship lasted right through junior high and into high school, but we kind of drifted apart by Grade 10. Then in Grade 11, he was driving, and probably had a few drinks in him, and he took a turn quickly, went off the road and died.

So when I think of News of the World, I think of Nolan and Grade 5 and Eddy T.

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