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Biggles and the Case of the Shy Bassist

"The No.1" Jun 7 '86
Stuart 'Ginger' Husband swaps tales with old soldier John Deacon.

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"I say, Algie old bean, don't I look silly, what?"
John Deacon shows a stiff upper lip for Queen and country.

Who's this geezer all topped up like one of those World War One aviator choppies? Why, it's that bass-playing wonder from Queen, John Deacon!

So why has he gone and posed in this blinking silly outfit then? Has the man gone stark, staring bonkers? No -- it's because he performs the main theme tune to the new movie Biggles, based on the gung-ho exploits of the fictional World War One fighter ace who shot down more Jerries than you or I have had hot dinners -- and still managed to keep a stiff upper lip of all times!

John's theme is called 'No Turning Back', and he performs it with a new group (specially formed for the occasion, fact fans!) called The Immortals, remarkable chiefly for the fact that the singer's name is Lenny Zakatek.

"This is strictly a one-off project," explains John, munching on a bag of peanuts. "It doesn't mean Queen are going to split up or anything." So what does he think of the film, then?

There's a long pause.
"Ummmm...err...well...I don't think it's a terrific picture. Thing is, they've tried to update it by making Biggles fall through a hole in time and end up in the 20th Century, which is a bit silly. I mean, the poor bloke who's playing him spends the entire film looking bewildered."

John, along with the rest of Queen, has also been involved with the music for another upcoming film -- the multi-million dollar Highlander, directed by Russell Mulcahy (of Duran Duran's Arena fame), in which mystic immortal warlords cut each other's heads off. What did he think of that film?

"Ummmm...(another long pause)...that one wasn't too brilliant, either. See, it looks fabulous but...erm...the script's not too hot. Shame, really..."

Dearie me! Well, never mind these dodgy films, how are Queen getting on? Tell us about your plans for your gi-normous Wembley Stadium concert this summer.

"Oh...well, I can't really give too much away...mainly because I don't really know what's going to happen! It'll be jolly spectacular, though. You can bet on that! "

OK then...describe the other three in one sentence.

"Oh God...it's so hard...one sentence? Freddie's got a nasty temper...I remember one time he lost it, he smashed a very large, ornate mirror over someone's head. Brian's very quiet and a really good gardener...Roger likes a laugh and a joke."

What about yourself, then?

"Oh...I'm terribly shy and nervous. When we did Live Aid I was too nervous of meeting Princess Di, so Spider, our roadie, met her in my place -- shook hands with her and everything! He's now the most famous roadie in the world. He's on a solo world tour at the moment!"

How about all the flak you got for playing at Sun City? (The South African whites-only very posh entertainment complex).

"I found it very uncomfortable...especially the record ('I Ain't Gonna Play Sun City'), because it seemed to be a personal attack on other artists for going there rather than an attack on the country and the apartheid system.

"I didn't actually realise what apartheid meant. I'm probably a bit naive, but I thought it was more of a vague segregation, like on the beaches and buses. I didn't realise it was so heavy."

Well, Queen'll have a new LP out in the summer, and then they're going to take a nice long rest. What'll you do then, John?

"Oh God -- I'm so lazy. I'll probably make loads of plans, and then just sit around on my bottom all day long and do nothing."

Finally, are you a millionaire?

"Technically, yes -- we all are, I suppose. But I've always been accused of being a bit tight with money, so it hasn't particularly changed my lifestyle. I've got a nice house, a loving wife and a couple of kids -- that'll do me!"

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