I went Radio Ga Ga for Queen film – Rick Jackson

Unique: Freddie Mercury during Live Aid
Unique: Freddie Mercury during Live Aid
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Go and see the Queen biopic Bohemian Rhapsody which follows the formation of the band in 1970 when Roger Taylor and Brian May first met Farrokh Bulsara.

It was fascinating. In my mind, there was no doubt that once Farrokh Bulsara’s alter-alter-ego, Freddie Mercury was in full flow, the band were going to conquer the world, and they did.

You saw the band’s quick rise to fame and the actors Rami Malik, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy and Joseph Mazzello play Freddie, Brian, Roger and John Deacon superbly, with an excellent supporting cast.

How they told the story of Bohemian Rhapsody was superb. Already one of the greatest songs of all time, watching how Freddie put it together was mesmerising. That section of the movie seemed to pass in just seconds.

Like watching a documentary of The Beatles you were watching pure genius at work, creating some of the world’s most popular hit songs.

Taking three weeks to record, they showed how the band fought with the head of EMI, their record label in the UK, to get the song released. At almost six minutes long, they felt radio stations wouldn’t playlist it and the company wanted more three-minute pop songs. In truth, this never happened, although EMI did have reservations.

What did happen was Kenny Everett! He and Freddie were great friends and Kenny played it more than 14 times one weekend on his radio show by ‘accident’, forcing the song’s release. The audience went wild for it and it would eventually spend nine weeks at number one.

It was incredible to watch the undoubted talent of Mercury and the eventual burn-out he, like many other genius rock stars, suffered.

The movie ends with Live Aid. I watched this in 1985 and remember how boring I thought it was until Queen arrived. For me, it reminded us how great this band really were.

We all know how the story ends, but it was great to rejoice in seeing the life of one of the world’s most talented musicians, another ‘great’ produced by this country. Next, it’s the turn of Elton John!

A treasured old hotel much in need of tender loving care

Nestling in the woods of Stanley Park, Alverstoke, is the dear old Alverbank Hotel which is very down at heel.

News at the weekend suggests Gosport Borough Council, its owner, has awarded a long-term lease to a new company to run it – a local firm which also runs The Seahorse pub, now one of the best pubs in Gosport for food. Sarah and I had our wedding reception at Alverbank and to this day we joke about how a broken window covered in duck tape which we asked to be repaired  is still covered with the same tape!

I wish them well as the grand old place is in dire need of investment, and maybe now will get the treatment it deserves. 

Heard the one about the yard of cakes which is just 28in?

McVitie’s is the latest in a long line of companies to shrink the size of its products, but not the price.

The company has reduced its Christmas yard of Jaffa Cakes to 28in. The festive favourite now contains 40 cakes instead of 48 and is 250g lighter this year, but still costs £3. Cadbury has also been naughty, cutting the size of its chocolate bars but not the price. And don’t get me started on Toblerone!

The only way to prevent this practice is to stop buying these products. But I can’t see the British public giving up one of its favourite dunkers just because it’s not as big. No doubt we will think of the positive: each cake will contain fewer calories.