I think there was a sense of freedom in Munich that Freddie Mercury didn’t get in London. Freddie felt he was able to do what he wanted there. He had friends there who closed ranks around him, so he could go wherever he wanted and do what he wanted without being so much in the public eye. Another reason he was in Munich for so long, was that he was having his London home, Garden Lodge, renovated. He bought that house in 1980 and it took five years to complete to his satisfaction. Being out of England meant that it didn’t figure in his thoughts that often. He got reports of how the restoration was going and he was happy with that.

Once in Germany, Freddie Mercury quickly adapted to the friendly, social ways of Munich. He would sometimes go to the beer gardens with his music engineer Reinhold Mack – and he would especially enjoy the festivities of Munich’s Fasching Carnival.

Very often, Freddie would start out with that on a Thursday night and would finally go to bed on the following Tuesday morning. He enjoyed himself. It was a chance to put on a costume for everyone, but for Freddie he would actually put on his ‘normal’ clothes – and the leather trousers and all that sort of stuff would end up being a costume. All of Munich was awake and celebrating for that weekend. He would always finish that period by going to the Old Market, which was always packed. People were still having fun eating the great street food after having been awake all night. Freddie only needed a few hours of sleep.

He wasn’t a great fan of some of the local cuisine, though. He didn’t like much food anyway. He was one of these people who ate to live, rather than lived to eat. He was a master at having a plate of food in front of him and being able to chop it up, move it round the plate and look as though he had eaten a lot. Bavarian food comprises a lot of pork and roast duck, and that mix was heavy for him. The dumplings, he regarded as footballs rather than something to eat. He would say that he could never eat ‘such a big ball of suet.’ He would just look at the dumplings with disdain.

Freddie could utter a few simple greetings in German, but he wasn’t able to speak much of the language other than a few swear words.

Peter Freestone

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