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“A show was scheduled for June 5 at the colossal Milton Keynes Bowl

“A show was scheduled for June 5 at the colossal Milton Keynes Bowl. At the time Freddie was getting along with a certain Bill Reid, a well-placed and phlegmatic guy from New Jersey, certainly not a giant, whom Freddie had met in a New York bar.

It was a turbulent relationship, at times with thrilling peaks of violence – certainly the most eventful I have ever witnessed. The day before the concert, the Mercury house on Stafford Terrace, London, was the scene of a heated dispute for which no one remembers the reasons. The staff were used to the couple’s shouting and intemperance, and there was never a shortage of someone ready to intervene if the situation escalated.

This time, before anyone knew what was happening, Bill Reid bit Freddie’s hand between his thumb and forefinger. Freddie was in excruciating pain, and was bleeding from the wound, but he refused any kind of help.

The concert at Milton Keynes was one of the most important dates waiting for Queen in England: according to forecasts, the singer would have created a situation of conflict with the partner to get in the right spirit on the occasion of the show. Freddie needed to have an inner turmoil to be at his best on stage. He had to sing full of anger, and the bigger the concert the more he needed to feed on pain, thank goodness, not always physical.

Paul Prenter and I did everything we could to heal the wound: we disinfected it with TCP and other substances to prevent infections. It may be that the upcoming show had never left Freddie’s thoughts, but at that point we feared the cancellation of the date.” [Peter Freestone, ‘An Intimate Memoir’]

“After quite a bit of drinking, I stupidly drive back to the Dragsnara Hotel, the cars sunroom bring handy for dispensing the empty champagne bottles on route. (there’s no reason to be gentle – it’s a rental).

Upon our return, as we tried to put the Granada into the lobby ‘showroom’, there were screams and sounds of breaking glass from Fred’s suite as he and Bill, his chubby companion from New Jersey, were having a bit of a tiff. That was not unusual.” [Peter Hince, ‘Queen Unseen’]

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