…To Be A Dad.

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Missing Freddie

September 17th, 2010 · 3 Comments · bathtime, hayley, laughter, music, oliver, play, reflections

This evening as Oliver sat in the bath he asked me to “play that song, the one on the computer, you sing it”. Puzzled I tried to get him to tell me more. “You know”, he said, before singing ” ‘to Hayley Anne my beautiful wife’ “. To my surprise he meant the song I wrote for Hayley’s fortieth birthday, which he wanted me to play as he remembered Hayley found it funny. So I sat down and sang the first verse and chorus to him as clownishly as possible, as mostly he just wanted us to laugh together.

Then I somehwhat rashly offered to sing a song about him, which I made up as I went along, just about thinking up rhyming couplets that were sufficinely amusing to make him laugh. Then, at his request, I had to similarly honour Lucy and myself with a few spontaneously improvised bars.

Then I suddenly had the idea to get him to sing back to me whatever I sang, Freddie Mercury style. I went for a recreation of Freddie’s 1985 Live Aid vocal sparring with the Wembley crowd, complete with “Alright!” at the end and a high five for good measure. I was impressed with Oliver’s pitch, hitting the notes that I sang and copying me pretty well. It was a joy playing with him. His only problem was he was sometimes laughing too much to sing. Bliss.

Afterwards I found the Live Aid performance on YouTube and showed it to him along with a few other Freddie clips. There will never be another Freddie. As a schoolboy way back in 1979, I tried to get tickets to see Queen, even putting out a request on the radio, but was unsuccessful. I’m sad I was never in that crowd singing with Freddie. He was a total showman and as someone who played in the odd band that liked to put on a bit of a show form time to time myself, I could only smile at his outrageous OTT antics in quiet, amused admiration.

As I sat watching Freddie tonight, as daft as it might sound, I really missed him. And I was struck by Freddie’s fleeting presence in our lives with the joy it brought so many, juxtaposed with the little boy sitting in my lap watching his video, and all the joy he has given me, not only this evening, but during the whole of his 5 years in this world. Both are emblematic of certain periods of my life. Both all too fleeting. And both I will try to enjoy for the rest of my life.

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