Challenge #02185-E356: On and On With the ShowsteemCreated with Sketch.

in fiction •  4 months ago

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So I saw Bohemian Rhapsody recently, and while I was SO ANGRY at their handling of queer issues and history in it that I was on the verge of walking out at one point, other parts moved me to tears and still others had me ready to punch the air and yell, "Hell Yeah!" (I didn't, I was in a film theatre - I have SOME manners, after all).
Because of this, I am having Queen and Freddie Mercury-related feels, and have decided the best way to deal with that is to send you a number of prompts related to their currently 43-year-old masterpiece, the song that gave the film the title. This is the first of them:
This post. Both the video, and pyrrhiccomedy's analysis/gushing.
Considering how much the whole band liked audience participation, and Freddie in particular loved it when the audience was with him, just imagine his reaction to this, if he could be on stage as the whole crowd sang this to him? -- RecklessPrudence

[AN: I haven't seen Bohemian Rhapsody yet and now I'm wondering if I should... Then again, it is in the nature of Hollywood to shy away from unpleasant topics that they really should handle with respect and understanding]

Some call it the Human Anthem. One song from their pre-Shattering history that survived all the upheavals that Humans could wreak upon themselves. Other parts of culture became lost, became corrupted, became derivative things but this... survived. Even on Brav'Nu, where every piece of information was a lifetime of labor or memorisation, where being a book is an occupation and a marker that the House is successful, it survived.

It flourished.

It produced variants, of course, but the original recording was cherished all the same. Before today, Rael hadn't thought that any one Human had written it, but there, on primitive vinyl analogue, was a copy of the first album it appeared in. A Night at the Opera, first published in 1975.

It put things into perspective. More recorded Human history had happened before this song existed than after it. There were entire millennia where nothing like this work had ever existed. They recorded it onto vinyl. Before digital mastering. And marginally worse, Shayde would have been a five-year-old child when it first played to the public.

She grew up with it playing over Earth's early RF communication broadcast systems. She probably watched the music video on Top of the Pops or one of the many re-broadcasts on television. It was a sobering thought, that this could occur in living memory.

Even more sobering was how the albums ceased after 1995. Less than a decade after Shayde was taken for her multidimensional journey. By all rights, the band and the singers should have maintained their successes long into the twenty-first century. He remembered that the Beatles ceased making albums because of a break-up... perhaps this was the same. "Did the band stop working together after 1995?"

"In a way," said Shayde. "Freddie Mercury died."

He had been young. In his prime, by pre-Shattering Terran standards. "Accident? Drugs?"

"Disease. He was Bi and the government didn't give a shit about anyone wi' AIDS."

Ah. Death by allegedly-moralistic politics. It seemed to be a theme in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. "He was a genius. He made millions, yes? Shouldn't they have cared because of the money he made?"

"That'd mean carin' fer the millions as didn't," she shrugged. "They pretended there was'nae a hope of a cure and threw money down black holes until it got tae the moral people. Only then did th' pretendin' stop an' the real work began. Too late. Na shurrup. This is me favourite track."

The last crash of the gong faded out, and electric guitars started playing a rather sedate and measured tune. Shayde was accurate with her air guitar, playing along as if she were on stage with the legends. She even took a bow as the last notes faded into silence.

Rael had been getting an education into Shayde's window over the pre-Shattering barbarism of Earth. His best summary of it all was an attitude of egotistical, top-down, pseudo-moralism mixed with a blatant misunderstanding of their own religious texts. As it slid into oligarchy, it only got worse before the eco-revolution began with even more murder and destruction than ever before.

All resulting in a civilisation that would let children die because their parents didn't match with the reigning elite's current moral compass.

In retrospect, it was a good thing that most of Humanity had learned its lessons before contacting the greater Galactic Alliance, but... "You're not treating their memory crassly are you?"

Shayde smiled as she replaced the vinyl disk on her turntable with another. "Naw. They fookain loved it when the audience joined in. I think they'd love it knowin' it's known fer centuries tae the point o' bein' an anthem."

[Image (c) Can Stock Photo / Hbak]

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