Music fans had a double treat with the releases of rock biopics Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocket Man. Both films confirmed what most people already knew. Both iconic stars had a love of excess which matched their inner struggles with their sexualities. Freddie always took great delight in dropping gossipy revelations into his interviews, including this outrageous one about Elton, which proved just how much they really weren’t like many other men – gay, straight or otherwise.
New book Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words gathers together a remarkable and comprehensive array of incredible quotes from the Queen legend. It’s almost like reading his autobiography.
His voice shines through in every passage, but fans are reminding how very different their own lives are in this extraordinary section talking about his house, One Garden Lodge, and what unsuspecting overnight guests might find lying around.
Freddie says: “I love those stories about Elton, where he had that problem where people were staying at his home at the weekends, in his spare rooms…
“They’d look under the bed and..”
What exactly would they find? It’s certainly outrageous, but perhaps not what you would expect…
Freddie added: “There would be Rembrandts and other such masters. It’s true. With me, it’s my Japanese prints that are just getting ridiculous.”
Having seen Elton’s 40th birthday and how he decorated the inside of the truck he travelled in, one can only imagine what his house looked like.
As for Freddie, the Queen star’s West London mansion was notoriously beautiful and stuffed with art but even he began to think he might have gone too far.
He said: “I’m trailing over my Lalique and Galle vases – I’m up to my ears now. I mean, a lot of people used to say my house was like a museum, but now I’m beginning t agree with them. It’s getting very silly.”
FREDDIE MERCURY REVEALED THE ONE THING HE JUST COULDN’T DO WITH A MAN
It’s actually impossible to think of anything more ‘Freddie’ than this.
Everything he did was with an awareness of the joy it could bring himself or others, as well as a firm grip on the ridiculousness of it all.
Freddie said; “All I wanted from life was to make lots of money and spend it….”
And he couldn’t resist one last outrageous comment in one interview: “I’m a rock star. I’m very rich. I can buy anything I like – including you!”
Freddie Mercury: A Life, In His Own Words (£9.99) is available from Amazon
The music of Freddie and Queen will be broadcast to a huge global audience live. Joined by new frontman Adam Lambert, the band is headlining the 2019 Global Citizen Festival concert in New York’s Central Park. Best of all, everybody can join in. Brian May has been sharing details online of how to stream the entire concert, wherever you are in the world.
WHAT TIME DOES THE CONCERT START?
Global Citizen Festival 2019 starts at 4pm Eastern Standard Time. That is Ipm Pacific Standard Time on the West Coast and 9pm in the UK.
HOW CAN YOU STREAM AND WATCH IT LIVE?
You can watch the live link below. Or go to the official Global Citizen Youtube page.
WHO IS PERFORMING AT GLOBAL CITIZEN?
As well as headliners Queen + Adam Lambert, major music stars like Pharrell Williams, Alicia Keys, OneRepublic, H.E.R., and Carole King will take the stage on the Great Lawn in NYC’s Central Park.
The entire event will be hosted by Debra-Lee Furness and her husband Hugh Jackman. Guest presenters will include Dakota Johnson, Rami Malek and Forest Whitaker.
WHAT IS THE GLOBAL CITIZEN FESTIVAL?
Founded in 2012 byGlobal Poverty Project, Coldplaylead vocalistChris Martin has been the annual festival’scurator since 2015.
Brian May said: “We are proud to be playing at the Global Citizen Festival.”
Adam Lambert added: “You know, music has become without a doubt a powerful global language and we are lucky to be part of it. “
Roger Taylor said; “We invite you all to become Global Citizens. Become part of the movement and persuade our leaders to become global citizens too.
Freestone says: “The moments that always stood out for me were when he was at home laughing.
“I know this sounds quite ordinary, but whenever you see Freddie smiling or laughingduring an interview, he always uses his top lip to cover his teeth, or else he brings up his hand to cover his mouth.
The reason for this was that he hated his teeth and always tried to cover them up.
“When he was at home he wasn’t self-conscious surrounded by friends, and he would just throw his head back and laugh out loud with his mouth wide open.
FREDDIE MERCURY; THE ONE QUESTION HE HATED TO BE ASKED
“Those were the times when the warm, funny and relaxed man was able to appear, without having to be wary of strangers seeing him without the Freddie Mercury – the Rock Star persona.”
Contrary to popular belief, Freddie’s home was never a major party palace. It really was simply his sanctuary.
Freestone says: “Freddie’s Garden Lodge generally had a quiet atmosphere. It was his home, so while he had quite a few wonderful parties for anything up to 200 people, it was a place he felt secure in and a place where he didn’t have to guard anything he said or did.
“He could get up in the morning and put on a mismatching tracksuit, he could be silent if he wanted to, or come downstairs from his bedroom, full of life.
“Freddie loved laughing, so was almost always with people who could make him laugh.”
Freestone, like all thos lucky enough to be in Freddie’s mansion, confirms just how beautiful the decorations and furnishings were.
“While Freddie was alive, it was the warmest, most welcoming home that I could wish for.
“It was decorated most beautifully, it was filled with great furniture and as Freddie said, it wasn’t a museum; it was a house to be lived in and enjoyed.”
Freddie left the house in his will to ex-girlfriend Mary Austin, the “love of my life”, who kept much of the interior exactly how Freddie had created it.
PETER FREESTONE BLOG ON THE OFFICIAL FREDDIE MERCURY WEBSITE
Today’s edition of BBC Breakfast saw presenters Naga Munchetty and Charlie Stayt reporting from Westminster, London as Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decisions continue to cause divides in Parliament, and the host were keen to find out what’s next after the Houses of Parliament’s proroguing.
During one interview, broadcast journalist Naga Munchetty spoke to SNP’s Ian Blackford, who sits for the party in the House of Commons.
Blackford became increasingly irate, and after accidentally talking over the MP, Munchetty klistened as Blackford went on to criticise Johnson and call him a “mad man” for wanting to take the UK out of the European Union with a No Deal Brexit.
The presenter was then forced to intervene and noted the Prime Minister wasn’t there to defend himself, so she would have to put Blackford’s comments to one side.
More to follow…
BBC Breakfast continues weekdays at 6am on BBC One.
Brenda Janowitz is the POPSUGAR books correspondent. She is the author of five novels, including The Dinner Party. Her sixth novel, The Grace Kelly Dress, will be published by Harper Collins/ Graydon House on March 3, 2020.
Summer is great, but who can resist Fall? It’s time for cooler days filled with apple picking, falling leaves, and candy corn. I’ve got the 26 best books of Fall, so grab that pumpkin spice latte and curl up next to a fire. Whether your tastes veer towards memoir, novels, or essay collections, this list has got you covered. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s read!
Looking for more reading recs? Join our exclusive POPSUGAR Book Club on Facebook to chat about all things books with POPSUGAR editors and fellow readers.
The Bollywood beauty happily stopped for pictures with fans in the British capital this week. Padukone jetted into London to film new sporting drama ’83. She is accompanied by her husband, Ranveer Singh, who will play the lead role in the true tale of one of the greatest moments in Indian sporting history. The Padmaavat actress posed with a small boy and another fan during her walkabout.
Deepika flew out of Mumbai in a radiant all-white outfit but threw on a beige overcoat to battle the rather unpredictable British weather over the last few weeks.
Later she was pictured in a denim top. According to reports, when she stopped for a picture the fan called Deepika “the most humble star”. Singh also happily posed, too.
The married Bollywood superstars will star together on screen for the fourth time in their new project. This time they are playing married couple, Kapil and Romi Dev.
Kapil is the legendary cricketer who helped India to their first World Cup win at Lords in London in 1983. The movie ’83 follows the drama surrounding the momentous defeat of the West Indies in the final.
Deepika has spoken of her admiration for Romi Dev.
She said: “I feel so inspired every time I meet her. She has an extremely refreshing energy, is intelligent, knowledgable and funny. Romi ji is someone who is extremely honest and when she needs to express herself, she does it with a lot of dignity. I like the way she conducts herself with so much grace.”
The role follows hard on the heels of an even more inspiring subject.
Padukone has just finished principal photography on the hard-hitting movie Chhapaak.
It is based on the true-life tale of an acid-attack survivor, Laxmi Agarwal, who was disfigured when she was 15 after resisting the advances of an older man.
Can’t decide what to read this month? Reese Witherspoon’s book club Hello Sunshine is my personal go-to for book recommendations, and the list includes everything from murder mysteries to heartbreaking memoirs and beautifully cheesy romance novels.
Reese’s pick for August is The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda, a murder-thriller reminiscent of Big Little Lies. The story is set in a small town in Maine filled with dark secrets, and a tragic disappearance. So, if you’ve got a case of reader’s block and don’t know where to begin, take a look at all of the star’s past book club picks ahead. After all, you just might stumble across a new favorite.
WASHINGTON — Three years ago, when Ibram X. Kendi was up for the National Book Award, he thought he had no chance.
He was a little-known assistant professor at the University of Florida. His book, “Stamped From the Beginning,” a sweeping history of nearly five centuries of racist thought in America, had received admiring but sparse reviews.
“Before we walked over to the dinner, my wife asked me if I had written a speech,” Dr. Kendi recalled in an interview last month. “I hadn’t, but I wrote out a few notes just in case. When they called my name, I was shocked.”
It was barely a week after the 2016 election, and Dr. Kendi — at 34, among the youngest ever to win the nonfiction award — made his way onstage to deliver an eloquent speech nodding at the man just elected president, and paying tribute to “the human beauty in the resistance to racism.”
Since then, he has given a lot more speeches — 46 so far this year alone. He has become one of the country’s most in-demand commentators on racism, and leads the new Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University, which recruited him as a full professor after the award.
It’s been a wild and fast ride to the top of his profession, with one terrifying detour thrown in. Midway through writing his new book, “How to Be an Antiracist,” out on Aug. 13, Dr. Kendi received a diagnosis of Stage 4 colon cancer, which has a five-year survival rate of about 12 percent.
A recent scan, taken a year after he completed both chemotherapy and surgery, came back all clear. But Dr. Kendi — who turns 37 on publication day — isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I was pretty disciplined and determined before the diagnosis, but now I’ve taken it to a whole other level of seriousness,” he said. “Even though I’m young, I can’t imagine I have so much time. It forced me, compelled me, to take risks.”
One of those risks is the center, which is still in the ramping-up stage. On a recent visit, it was a pristine but sparsely decorated warren of cubicles, but Dr. Kendi envisions it as a place that will not just study racist ideas, but develop public programs aimed at dismantling them.
Another is “How to Be an Antiracist,” published by One World, an imprint of Random House. Part memoir, part social analysis, part polemic, it’s a book that, like its predecessor, seems to be arriving at exactly the right moment, as President Trump’s verbal attacks on lawmakers of color and on the city of Baltimore have spurred both intense outrage and debate on how to respond.
But it’s also a book that directs some of its most unstinting criticism at the author himself, and what he sees as his own racist ideas.
Dr. Kendi defines racist ideas expansively: any idea that there is something inherently better or worse about any racial group. There is no such thing as “not racist” ideas, policies or people, he argues, only racist and antiracist ones.
Among the most painful personal episodes he revisited, he said, is the one that opens the book: a speech he gave in a high school oratory contest named for Martin Luther King Jr., in which he assailed African-American youth for its supposed failures.
The thunderous applause from the mostly black audience gave him the confidence, he writes, that he could succeed in college, despite mediocre grades and test scores. The speech, which he listened to over and over, was also, in his view, deeply racist.
“Every time I listened I felt embarrassed and ashamed, both personally and because of the spectacle I created, with thousands of people cheering on these racist ideas,” he said. “To think back about how I gained confidence by stepping conceptually on the heads of black people is still jarring to me.”
Dr. Kendi might seem to have been anointed as the latest in a line of charismatic (and usually male) African-American public intellectuals, stretching from W.E.B. Du Bois and Alain Locke to Henry Louis Gates Jr. and Cornel West.
But he is also emblematic of a new generation of young black historians who are working collaboratively to create new institutions, and find new ways of reaching the public.
His work “reflects the collective desire to produce innovative research that will not simply meet tenure requirements but transform the world,” said Keisha N. Blain, an associate professor of history at the University of Pittsburgh and president of the African-American Intellectual History Society, a 5-year-old group to which Dr. Kendi belongs.
Dr. Kendi was born Ibram Rogers in New York, to parents, both later ordained as ministers, who were deeply influenced by liberation theology and the Black Power movement. (He took the middle name Xolani, meaning “peace” in Zulu, and the shared surname Kendi, meaning “loved one” in Meru, in 2013, when he married Sadiqa Kendi, a pediatric emergency room physician.)
At Stonewall Jackson High School in Manassas, Va., where the family moved when he was 15, he felt stranded academically, and lived down to the low expectations he thought his teachers and mainly white and Asian classmates had for him. “I was even saying I hate reading,” Dr. Kendi recalled. “I think I did read a few books on basketball, but for class I would typically get the CliffsNotes.”
He studied journalism at Florida A&M University, a historically black institution, and initially planned to be a sportswriter. After a few internships at newspapers, he enrolled in the graduate program in African-American studies at Temple University. His doctoral dissertation, published in 2012 as “The Black Campus Movement,” is a study of the 1960s student activism that led to the creation of the first black studies programs.
Temple’s department was, and still is, led by Molefi Kete Asante, a leading theorist of Afrocentricism. That influence, Dr. Kendi says, was crucial to his own work, which classifies what he calls “assimilationist” ideas — the belief that African-American people and spaces should strive toward a standardized white norm — as inherently racist.
And he credits his dissertation adviser, Ama Mazama, a Guadeloupe-born scholar of African and Caribbean culture, with providing a model of what an “intellectual combatant” could be.
“She was just a master at being able to speak very softly while saying some of the most powerful things,” he said. “She loved intellectual struggle and never backed down.”
Dr. Kendi — tall and trim, with long dreadlocks he wears pulled back and a fondness for West African cloth pocket squares — also speaks softly and carries enormous ambition.
After “The Black Campus Movement,” he planned to write a history of black studies. Instead, what was intended to be the first chapter, about the history of scientific racism, morphed into “Stamped From the Beginning.”
Writing a sprawling narrative history rather than a narrower monograph — and publishing it with a trade press, Nation Books, and not an academic one — was a risky move for a junior scholar without tenure.
Also risky was the subtitle, “The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America,” which was suggested by his publisher, to his initial resistance. “I thought it was arrogant,” Dr. Kendi said. (At least one scholarly reviewer agreed.)
But today, he embraces it as a way of boldly claiming space in a field — the intellectual history of race — that has been overwhelmingly dominated by white men.
“I was writing this history as someone critical of racist ideas,” he said. “And one of the more prevailing racist ideas within scholarship was this idea that black people do not write definitive texts.”
Some scholars have questioned Dr. Kendi’s broad definition of racist ideas, which seems to ensnare just about everyone in American history, including Frederick Douglass, Du Bois and Barack Obama. (Mr. Obama’s celebrated 2008 speech on race, Dr. Kendi writes, mixed antiracist and assimilationist ideas).
But others have welcomed “Stamped” as a broad, accessible history that directly and unapologetically engages with the present.
“Once it existed, it was clear that we could use this kind of big-picture synthesis, which we haven’t had in a long time,” said Martha S. Jones, a professor of history at Johns Hopkins University. “I think of Ibram as someone who really gives us not only the big historical signposts, but the deep rationale for why we should call racism racism.”
In keeping with his activist approach to scholarship, Dr. Kendi organized the inaugural Antiracist Book Festival, held last May, which drew roughly 3,000 people to hear a mix of junior and senior scholars, along with activists, novelists, poets, Y.A. authors, educators and publishing professionals.
In the final chapter of “How to Be an Antiracist,” Dr. Kendi connects his own cancer with the “metastatic racism” afflicting America. To cure it, he says, we must actively combat it, rather than taking comfort in the false neutrality of being “not racist.”
“Racial inequalities are pervasive and persistent in every sector of society,” he said. “If a person does nothing in the face of racial inequities that are pervasive, if they don’t challenge them, what are they doing?”
Jennifer Schuessler is a culture reporter covering intellectual life and the world of ideas. She is based in New York. @jennyschuessler
It is one of the great rivalries in cinema history. Maverick and Iceman duked it out to be the top dog and, you know, gun. Cruise and Kilmer were both young rising stars, expected to dominate Hollywood but 33 years later things are a little different. Kilmer’s fans were overjoyed last year when he accidentally leaked that he had been approached to start in the Top Gun sequel. He retracted the statement and has remained fairly quiet on the subject ever since. So, is he in the trailer or not?
In November 2016 when the news was starting to spread about the movie, Kilmer notoriously announced that he was involved: “I just got offered Top Gun2 – not often you get to say “yes” without reading the script…”
Shortly after he issued a lengthy retraction, adding: “I jumped the top gun.”
In May 2017, Kilmer posted a Twitter image wearing a T-shirt with an image of himself as his Top Gun character Ice Man. The T-shirt logo says “Cool as Ice.”
Underneath, he wrote: “Friends said it’s official – TOP GUN 2 was announced today. I’m ready Tom – still got my top gun plaque! Still got the moves! Still got it!”
But he is nowhere to be seen in the first official full trailer.
He is not listed on the Youtube cast list for the movie, nor is he on official press releases for the film. But he remains on industry listings for the action blockbuster. More importantly, Cruise has spoken about working with his old friend.
And Kilmer himself teased fans with a social media post when the trailer broke, yesterday, writing: “You up for this one, Maverick?”
There had also been reports of Kilmer’s ill health over the past few years.
There were reports the actor had battled throat cancer, which he at first denied, but then revealed he had a “healing of the cancer.”
When Cruise was questioned about Kilmer’s health, he told media: “He’s doing really well.”
With a year to go until the film hits cinemas, it seems most likely the filmmakers are holding back the revelation of Kilmer as Iceman for a later trailer to increase anticipation.
TOP GUN MAVERICK IS OUT ON JUNE 26 IN THE US AND JULY 17 IN THE UK
5 Crucial Details About the BBC Adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People
If you love books that straddle the line between romance and dark comedy, then chances are you’ve heard of Sally Rooney. One of the biggest romance books of 2018, Normal People is Rooney’s second novel (her debut was the wildly popular Conversations With Friends), and now the BBC is adapting it into a 12-part TV series. While we don’t have an exact release date yet, we do know it will premiere in 2020, and we cannot wait.