Written by Mark Hodkinson (OMUNIBUS PRESS)
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John Deacon returned to Oadby to spend the Christmas of 1974 with his friends and family. 'Killer Queen' had slipped out of the charts and John's friend, Dave Williams, barely noticed when the intro broke from a juke-box in a pub where they were drinking a few days before Christmas. "John said something like, 'Oh no, here we go' and I wondered what he meant," Dave recalls. "I didn't think anyone really knew who he was or had recognised him, but right away people started coming over asking for autographs. He tried to keep his head down but he had to sign a few."
On another occasion John Deacon collected his old friend from The Opposition, Nigel Bullen, in a Jensen Healey sports car and they drove deep into the countryside purposely to avoid John being recognised. They arrived at The Wheel and Compass pub in Weston-by-Welland near to Market Harborough. Nigel Bullen noticed that his friend no longer drank beer and had ordered gin and tonics; he also introduced Nigel to Chablis ("I remember it cost about a fiver which was a lot those days."). Inevitably, John Deacon was spotted and was soon asked for his autograph. Nigel Bullen had expected as much since John was wearing a Queen tour jacket. "He hated being recognised, he was really embarrassed about it," he said. "Once we were out and he refused to sign any autographs. I don't remember what I thought about that. I think Queen might have had a policy at the time of not doing them."
Of the gang left behind in Oadby, Nigel Bullen was undoubtedly the closest to John Deacon, and few were surprised when John asked him to be the Best Man at his wedding on January 18, 1975. "I was absolutely bricking it, knowing I'd have to do my speech in front of all those performers and his management people," he said.
John Deacon had been dating Veronica Tetzlaff since his early days at university. Sheffield-born of Polish ancestry, Veronica had studied at the Maria Assumpta Teacher Training College before starting work as a nanny. Nigel Bullen's wife, Ruth, got to know her quite well through their husbands' friendship. "She's a very normal, very quiet devout Catholic," she said. "She didn't wear any make-up and wore fairy plain clothes; she wasn't into the glamorous life at all. She is a lovely person, completely unpretentious. I've got the impression down the years that their children are the most important things to her."
Ruth Bullen recalls Veronica's response when, early in their marriage, John Deacon bought her a new Mini car. "She was thrilled to bits with it. A lot would have bought something top of the range, but she did not come from money and was just happy to have a car. It took her a few years to realise she could have practically anything she wanted. It was ages before she got a nanny to help her with the kids."