My Queen Review of the Year 2007
A personal experience by Andy Sparks
20th January 2008
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What a memorable year 2007 turned out to be for me in the Queen world, with so many events taking place, so many things happening throughout the year and at the beginning of January I would never of thought the year ahead could bring so much joy, happiness and great friendships. These memories wont go away and will stay with me for a very long time.

The start of the year started slowly, not much going on at all. I had just nearly completed my Queen room in my home and spent a lot of time putting the final touches in place and trying to find room for stuff I had not seen for a few years as it had been boxed up. As the year has progressed I have changed things, added more Queen memorabilia to the room and tried to set a nice warmly character to the place not only as a home to my collection but also as a shrine to Freddie Mercury whom has been an idol to me for 30 years.

In March my family and me were invited to Eastbourne once again by the tribute band Mercury to see the guys put on another great show, this was the first event of the year for me and I couldn’t wait to get there to experience the live feeling of a Queen show these guys perform so well.

Not long after this me and my wife Claire attended the Queen convention which I have penciled in as the best weekend of the year. This year it was changed to a new venue and I was happy as it wasn’t far to go for us and we didn’t have to endure the six hour drive. The convention was awesome and one of the best I have attended made special by some great company throughout the event. Always each year it is good to see my old friends who you only see once a year and meet new great Queen fans from around the globe. Highlights from the weekend for me were Redsox, Q factor, the put together tribute band with Greg & Stilly who I thought done brilliant and Phoebes Q&A session. I was also impressed with the venue as it gave a more community like feel and brought Queen fans closer together.

Six weeks later I would never of believed this would happen but I found out roger Taylor was going to be in my hometown of Portsmouth so I went down to try and meet him. He was there as he was sponsoring a round the world yachtsman who was returning from his voyage. We spotted him straight away and I started taking pictures of him greeting Sir Robin. When the presentation was over I waited patiently for Roger to walk up from the quayside and as he approached I shook his hand and had a brief chat before he posed with me for a photograph, I was shaking and I went a bit numb for the first time ever. I went away from this meet with the biggest smile I think I have ever had and was well chuffed. A great moment to treasure.

Party time next at Bisley to celebrate with Jacky Smith who has been running the Official Queen Fan club for 25 years. This time my three kids came along with me and Claire to join in on the celebration of a great leader and overall lovely lady who has helped me over the years with my Queen topics. The day was great with videos, live music, quiz and raffle. Once again another meeting place to catch up with great Queen fans and enjoy the atmosphere that was created with Queen passion. This was a last minute booking and after was glad we managed to attend.

Mercury tribute band were playing their annual gig at the working mens club in Fareham, which is not far from us, so of course I had to pop along to see the guys once again. The venue is small and staging is not great but still another excellent performance from the boys. The whole family came along with me and my dad joined us too who all enjoyed the night as the band blasted out hit after hit of Queen.

During the month of August I was contacted by our local newspaper who wanted to do a feature on my queen room. At first I wasn’t sure but thought why not so I took up their offer and invited them round first to be interviewed and then photographed. The article appeared on the 21 st of the month, and could have been better. Since this was done various news agency’s, magazines and TV companies wanting to do similar features contacted me but I turned them down except one who interviewed me later on. I also was interviewed on the national radio station, radio five live which I think was a bit disastrous and thought somehow they were trying to take the piss a little.

Next I was on the plane to Montreux Switzerland for the Freddie Mercury memorial weekend. This was the first time I had been to see the statue and the beautiful scenery Freddie loved so much. I thought the place was amazing and didn’t want to leave. I also managed to take a Freddie rose picked from my garden and when I got there I placed it at the statue, I also made a tribute to Freddie which I also left there and since learnt that Freddie’s mum now has possession of it, just wonderful memories from this trip and hope to go back very soon.

October I was up the M1 to Nottingham to see Mercury once again but this time I was part of the crew and I had a lot of fun at this gig. It was just brilliant seeing behind the scenes how hard the guys work and how the show is put together. The show itself was one of the best I seen by Mercury and the atmosphere was electric. Lee gave me a warm welcome, great hospitality and loads of vodka..haha. Overall another day not to forget too soon. On the way back Lee traveled with me where on my return he finally got a glimpse of the Queen room I had been telling his so much about since I started it.

Another last minute booking was the Oakdene party at Ringwood at the beginning of November. This was a brilliant night fuelled by excellent company throughout the evening. We had three bands appearing and Stillyano impressed me the most and hope these guys do well in the future. My friend Shari was there with her husband Brian who is an amazing magician and kept me and others entertained with some mind boggling tricks. Our table also won the quiz which was an exciting moment and the first time I had come away with a prize at a Queen event and me and Claire went home happy as you like from this great party.

Prior to the anniversary of Freddie’s passing in November I wrote a small poem and compiled a picture to accompany it. I wrote to Jacky from the Fan club asking if she would like to see it. I sent it to her and she liked what I had done so she asked if she could post it on the fan club website. Of course I was honored and didn’t hesitate in allowing the use of my work. I wrote the poem because I always here the mention that we should remember Freddie on the 24 th, yes we should but I think of Freddie everyday and this poem reflects what many Queen fans out there feel that Freddie will never be forgotten.

Late December I had a call to say they had seen me in the Times newspaper, something I didn’t know was going to happen, nor expect. Surprised I went out to buy the paper and was disappointed with the article. The journalist I mentioned earlier did this and the only other person I had talked too. I am pretty sure they could of put together a better feature than this but not to worry my disappointments turned to joy after learning Brian May included the article on his website. When I see this on there I had a slight grin knowing that of all the years I been writing to Brian with no reply all of sudden he puts my pic on there. A bit chuffed but this doesn’t tell the whole story. And since, I feel a bit inspired to write about my queen room, why it happened and how I overcome many hurdles to get this project finished.

Phew a busy Queen year, with memories I wont lose very easily, I am not sure if I will have a year like this again but I can tell you I have enjoyed every minute of it.

My highlight of the year: Meeting Roger Taylor & Montreux.
My disappointment: Missing the SAS band, first time in 4 years.

Special thanks go out to my good mates Joseph Lee Jackson & Mercury Amadeus, thank you for the gifts and your friendship throughout the year, it means a lot.

Many thanks to good friends, Dave & Irene, Shari & Brian, Kelly, Aysun, Lynnie, Ali, Nikki, Wayne & Julie, Andy Gill & all my Myspace buddy’s who have shown me great support and friendship. We have had fun, laughs and shared great moments together during the year and long may it continue. And not forgetting Jacky of the fan club for all she does for us Queen fans.

And just want to say a massive thank you to my wife Claire who without her understanding, support and love, my life would be very dull ;). Love you darling.

Whats in store for 2008? Who knows as I am not really a planner, I have booked the 2008 Queen convention and I hope to meet with some good mates once again and I cant wait to meet my good mate Mercury from USA. Other than that I hope to visit Montreux again this coming year and looking forward to Roger & Brian hitting the road with a new tour.

See you all around
And thank you for reading

Best wishes to you all for 2008



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