except two, when we were in different countries. We’d meet usually on Christmas Eve, nights which ended up with drunken but happy carolling sessions, always exaggerated of course and sometimes with Freddie on piano. We did our separate things on Christmas day and then there was always a party once again on Boxing Day, mostly at his place, which went on until dawn broke. I don’t know how we found the energy then but the talk and the laughs just went on and on and on until we’d either drop exhausted or go our separate ways. That was the first thing I felt when I came to London at Christmas in 1991. There was a void. Something wasn’t the same. That Christmas, only a few weeks after his death, was the first time it struck me that Freddie really wasn’t there any longer and I couldn’t believe it. I called on Mary Austin and went out with Straker and spent my usual Christmas day with my family but despite the fun and merriment, there was always this vague, gnawing, empty feeling. I remembered the previous Christmas when Freddie and I had sat alone for a couple of hours, just chatting while everyone else had gone out. Freddie was virtually lecturing me to look after myself and to avoid the excesses. “We’re too old for all that shit any more, dear and it’s boring when you’ve done it all.” We hugged and kissed goodbye a few hours later and now I only have memories. Good memories. Fun memories, lifted up into that caravan of extravagance and carried along with never-ending laughs through all the excesses. I’ll miss him forever but he’ll always be there for the good things never go away.”

James Arthurs
Longtime friend from New York

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