Somebody to Love

A lot of weird things flourished in the 70’s: communes, fondue, key parties, Queen. It was like a brief window when society decided that rules didn’t matter anymore and anybody could just wig out and do whatever they wanted. Out of all the things that got popular despite being bizarre, Queen was probably among the most weird. I mean, what even were they? They were a guitar band who sang like a barbershop quartet and liked the opera. I think now we just take it for granted that Queen is a cultural treasure and everybody knows their music, and now that they have a movie about them, it’s easy to see them as a tidy Hollywood narrative arc of inevitable and well-deserved success. But really, what a weird fluke that these weird guys became rock stars. It was hardly an inevitable triumph that they caught the breaks they did, and that audiences sparked to it. And I can hardly imagine any cultural moment besides the narrow window of glam rock’s popularity that would allow a man like Freddie Mercury to rise up and become a sensation. It was his luck and all of ours that he didn’t end up being a weird and lonely old man running a tea house somewhere in India like he could have.

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