Forums > Queen - Serious Discussion > Freddie's language skills and his apparent lack of interest in reading

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indy19 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 09:09 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I want to ask what might be a sensitive question of you long-term fans. I admit that while I saw Queen in the Summer of '82, as an American, I didn't get exposed to them a lot when I was a kid. I just listened to Radio Ga Ga etc when they came out, and frankly I wasn't THAT impressed by THAT song. But I was a fan, and I gotta admit that my Queen obsession of the early 80s languished a bit through the later '80s as I was growing up and doing all the stuff you do in order to survive school and academics, etc.

So as the years went by and I went back to Queen and started listening, I realized that melodically, they sounded like very few others. But it was really their lyrical output that caught me and got me back.

One of my things is I love just reading lyrics, and as I read FM's (and when I say FM I don't want to neglect the other band members, but I want to ask this question about just his output for a reason) lyrics -- and I mean JUST the lyrics -- my question is if Phoebe says and the band says he never read ANY books (kinda unbelievable but okay), how did he pen these words?!

It just doesn't compute. I mean, I know Phoebe says he struggled at the task, and that he played Scrabble, which apparently helped, but all that still doesn't make 2+2 = 4.

His lyrics were not only erudite at times, but they were complex and masterful. What did he actually, secretly read?!?!

Do any of you have any comments or secrets to spill here, or should I just fuck off?

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 09:18 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I find your question very similar to something that I once pondered over in another thread. If he "never" worked out, how come he made very decent push-ups?

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 09:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

He went to boarding school and college. That's my guess.


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indy19 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 09:32 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sheldon wrote:

I find your question very similar to something that I once pondered over in another thread. If he "never" worked out, how come he made very decent push-ups?


So, basically, we've been hoodwinked ;) ;)



indy19 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 09:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

andres_clip wrote:

He went to boarding school and college. That's my guess.


I guess he sponged up what he read in school and the official line was (and I think I heard him say this in an interview) he hated boring himself reading books. I just wish I knew what he loved reading when he did actually read.


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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 10:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

You can study language and writing without having to actually read novels. You imply that reading = creative literacy. Not necessarily.

master marathon runner user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 12:49 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie was extraordinarily receptive to all that was going on throughout his life. Every experience and observation was stored away. Genius.


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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 13:45 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

I also wondered about Freddie's reported adversity to reading - especially in the context of Tim Rice's comments that Freddie was extremely well read and very knowledgable in so many areas.

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 14:02 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

andres_clip wrote:

He went to boarding school and college. That's my guess.


bingo!


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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 15:35 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote




Master Marathon Runner
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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 15:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

'Fairy Fellers Master Stroke' is a great example of how receptive Freddie was. Taking in the minutae of Dadd's painting and coming up with his masterpiece, in fact a masterstroke !


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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 16:19 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Freddie was a very educated and intelligent man, and as you know he did pen the greatest song ever in Bohemian Rhapsody, and more Queen gems, so just because he had apparent lack of interest in reading is not odd, he was a busy man and never got time to snuggle down with a book!
Freddie's number one priority was to make Queen the greatest band the world will ever see and he did achieve that.

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 17:01 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

My assumption is that Freddie was little bit hyperactive. So it was impossible for him just to sit and read as it was boring for him. it doesn't mean he didn't absorb information by some other way. Peter Hince mentioned he also loved crosswords. There are many ways how to develope language skills. Reading is probably the easiest one but not a single option.

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 17:15 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Sheldon wrote:

I find your question very similar to something that I once pondered over in another thread. If he "never" worked out, how come he made very decent push-ups?


He was svelte and he also lifted and bent many a man


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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 17:42 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Bring out the charge of the love brigade
There is spring in the air once again...

It is something else then i love you, yes i do..

The Real Wizard user not visiting Queenzone.com
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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 20:07 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

master marathon runner wrote:

'Fairy Fellers Master Stroke' is a great example of how receptive Freddie was. Taking in the minutae of Dadd's painting and coming up with his masterpiece, in fact a masterstroke !


True - in 1973.

A decade later he was pretty well a completely different person.


Artists must pass on, but sometimes a mix of passion, good fortune, diligence, expertise, and meticulous labor can capture and restore some of the beauty they left behind.



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indy19 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 23 Mar 19, 23:38 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The Real Wizard wrote:

master marathon runner wrote:

'Fairy Fellers Master Stroke' is a great example of how receptive Freddie was. Taking in the minutae of Dadd's painting and coming up with his masterpiece, in fact a masterstroke !


True - in 1973.

A decade later he was pretty well a completely different person.


In what way? Could you please elaborate?

indy19 user not visiting Queenzone.com

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Posted: 24 Mar 19, 00:53 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

Thanks for all the answers, people! I'm going to respond to some of them in this one post. I hope that's ok with you all? It might be easier so I don't spam.

--
@andres_clip -- I understand that, and in fact, having gone to a similar school while I was growing up in India (for 10+ years), I also get the fact that those schools give you a fairly good grounding in literature and the arts, but it still doesn't quite compute as I've heard that he began to fall behind and actually failed the Class 10 exams, and then had to do catchup learning for his A-levels in the UK.

@mooghead -- I'm not talking novels, per se. I'm talking just reading. From my research, I get the idea that he didn't read at all. And this is from people who were almost 24/7 with him like Phoebe and Jim. The only possibility is that by the time they were spending time with him, he was already at the stage where he wasn't reading much anymore... just playing scrabble and doing crosswords, etc.

@master marathon said -- "Freddie was extraordinarily receptive to all that was going on throughout his life. Every experience and observation was stored away. Genius."

THIS. It makes the most sense. He learned from life, from talking to people, from observing, from perceiving, and thinking, and letting his experiences inform his creativity. I sometimes wonder what his MBTI indicator would be. Maybe ENFP... he wasn't judgmental at all, I think.

@love2spin -- do you have a link to that Tim Rice quote? I'd love to take a look.

@matt z -- haha. :p


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Posted: 24 Mar 19, 02:33 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

The erudite Freddie that wrote those masterpieces in the 70s was very different from his 80s counterpart. His lifestyle changed, his friends, acquaintances, his priorities, his music. Maybe his reading habits too.
Just listen to his output post 1980. He wasn't writing about fairy fellers and the king of Rhye anymore but rather more universal topics like love, heartbreak, loss, having fun and the like.



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Posted: 24 Mar 19, 13:28 Edit this post Reply to this post Reply with Quote

he was very humble, timid person in the more than first half of his life.

So when he changed lifestyle in the end of seventees, his then nowdays cravings, desires, circumstances etc. started to reflecting in his lyrics.

Look - the noticeable changes in themes of his songs started circa times of "Jazz". Then it goes more and more rapidly

But it's still wonderful - how did he manage not to touch a theme of AIDS openly or at least hint it somehow!

For a man who already got a mortal desease it's a courage of courages...