I can still name every member of the Clash and there was a time in my life when I lived and breathed that band. They were my religion and the biography I had of the Clash was my cannon. Freddie & me by Michael Dawson is about the same thing but with a different band. He grew up loving Queen and Freddie Mercury and these are his adventures.
He recounts how the band relates to different events in his life and the memories he associates with Queen. Dawson views graphic novels as the perfect medium for autobiography. This is the story of a kid growing up, moving from England to the U.S. and the band he loved (and the bands he didn’t love). What could provide a more fitting narrative frame than a band? Queen relates to getting beaten up and yelled at by the parent of a neighbour after breaking a toy. It was the soundtrack for growing up and Dawson shares that experience in wonderful words and images with the reader.
This is what I see when I picture that night in my head: I’m in the crowd, looking over at the DJ. I’m not sure if this is from before or after the incident with my tape.
There are a series of memories that Dawson has which he associates with Queen and various songs. This is like how whenever I hear “New Slang” I think of a particular friend or how “Koka Kola” reminds me of my sister. These are more than songs to us, they are memories. They are experiences new and old. That once were our present reality and now are memories. They are embodied by sounds and in the case of great bands they are tied to the musicians behind them, the pictures we put up on our walls that now live in a box in our closet, that book we just can’t find a way to part with, and a certain time and place.
I press play and the same music in the same sequence comes out every time. But the thoughts that arise in my mind are what start to differ.
This is a wonderful graphic novel about a boy, the band he loved, the person he grew up to be, and his memories. You don’t have to love Queen to relate to it. As long as you enjoy story telling, a boy with a particularly large head and may at one point in time have been in love with a band (any band) then you will be in for a treat.