In our closet, Freddie Mercury

Are Don Cherry and Ron McLean hard of hearing? When –on Hockey Night in Canada– McLean interviews Cherry in the segments known as “Coach’s Corner” the entire conversation is loud.  While they claim to be friends they seem to be shouting at one another the whole time.  Why are they shouting? Their conversation is during intermission, so it’s not as if the crowd noise will drown them out.

Rodney Dangerfield, bless his heart, can be thanked for one of the most charmingly witty remarks about the Canadian national game.  “I went to a fight the other night, and a hockey game broke out.”

Hockey continues to struggle with its identity, lacking the clarity one sees from the National Football League.  Fights are rare on the gridiron even though the full contact violence of football occurs on every play.

If you’re sitting in a hockey arena anywhere in North America, some things are  guaranteed

  • you’ll hear a national anthem
  • you’ll see a Zamboni clean the ice between periods
  • you’ll hear music meant to whip up the enthusiasm of the crowd

But there’s a big irony lurking in the playlist.

Methinks they protesteth too much. At the core of that playlist I mentioned is an unlikely figure.   In this shrine to heterosexual masculine values, you will hear at least one Freddie Mercury song.

When the going gets tough, the song whips up a frenzy of stomping and clapping.

Buddy you’re a boy make a big noise
Playin’ in the street gonna be a big man some day
You got mud on yo’ face
You big disgrace
Kickin’ your can all over the place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

Buddy you’re a young man hard man
Shoutin’ in the street gonna take on the world some day
You got blood on yo’ face
You big disgrace
Wavin’ your banner all over the place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

Buddy you’re an old man poor man
Pleadin’ with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day

You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back in your place

We will we will rock you
We will we will rock you

I never could understand what that song was really about. It’s a painful scenario, like a snippet from a nightmare.   I don’t know that anybody really pays attention to those lyrics when they’re screaming and cheering, all they really want to say is “we will we will rock you”.  It’s directed at the visiting team, an anthem that says “YOU ARE NOT WELCOME HERE.”  I suppose that’s what partisanship is all about.

It seems like a fitting day to remember Freddie Mercury.  He died nineteen years ago today.  There’s a movie in the works.  I hear it will star Sacha Baron Cohen.

Is Freddie Mercury and his sexuality ancient history? I had always heard he’s gay and that he died of AIDS, but to be fair, i know less about him than about Mozart or Beethoven, men who died a very long time ago.

I just wonder if a movie might encourage all those people at hockey games to think about what they’re cheering for.  I love hockey. Why do people need to fight at a hockey game?

Maybe Rodney was onto something.

This entry was posted in Essays, Popular music & culture, Sports. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s