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lamonoINSIGHTS: saturday night in Sodom



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Freddie Mercury at the mythical party singing autographs

Within the collective knowledge imposed by religion, we are taught Sodom was a village that, according to the Old Testament, God destroyed due to its impenitent and irreversible sin, consuming it with fire and brimstone; a city where, as the legend tells, sadomasochism, necrophilia and vampirism were customary, representing human perversion in many of its forms. Numerous religious texts depict it as some sort of living hell, though not everyone share the same opinion, as some see it as the perfect place to have fun and, why not? Unleash every perversion that runs deep in our beings. At least this is what Freddy Mercury had in mind.

Don’t Stop me Now – Queen

Tonight I’m gonna have myself a real good time
I feel alive and the world it’s turning inside out
I’m floating around in ecstasy
So don’t stop me now, don’t stop me
‘Cause I’m having a good time, having a good time
I’m a shooting star leaping through the skies
Like a tiger defying the laws of gravity
I’m a racing car passing by like Lady Godiva
I’m gonna go go go
There’s no stopping me
I’m burning through the sky yeah!
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic man out of you

Born Farrokh Bulsara in what is currently Tanzania, Mercury achieved worlwide stardom as the leading man of one of the greatest rock ‘n’ roll bands of all time, Queen, which by 1977 had already attained international recognition, besides having released six LPs, amongst which we can find A Night At The Opera, with its breathtaking hit, Bohemian Rhapsody; a hymn that managed to stay at the number one position for nine weeks in the United Kingdom charts. On top of that, the personality of the talented singer was always an enigma, drawing the attention of a whole troop of followers. Whilst on stage he was flamboyant and confident, but when he was not performing we would be shy and restrained.

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Freddie Mercury

Buried in that dichotomy his life unveiled: a commendable son when at home and a party animal in the nightclubs. “He could out-party me, which is saying something”, Elton John said once. He was the showman par excellence. And it is among that side of his where we can find a night to remember, the epitome of all of rock ‘n’ roll excess, a Halloween serenade at the Fairmount Hotel in New Orleans: a Saturday night in Sodom, tailored exclusively for the release of the band’s seventh album, Jazz.

Don’t stop me now
I’m having such a good time
I’m having a ball
Don’t stop me now
If you wanna have a good time
Just give me a call
Don’t stop me now (’cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m having a good time)
I don’t want to stop at all… yeah!

The established budget was of £200,000 and the motto behind it all was, “Excess all areas”, a phrase conned by Mercury by then, who was already enjoying all of the nectars success provides and had considered himself as “the Cecil B DeMille of rock”. He was the master of ceremonies every time the band was hosting an event, and he would never run short in production or mundane pleasures. Concordant to his personality onstage, this Halloween party would be the most outrageous in history and eventually inspire their song, Don’t Stop Me Now.

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Freddie Mercury with a party invitee

It wasn’t long before Mercury had overrun the generous budget, stating, “Fuck the cost, darlings, let us live a little.” Rock and movie stars, friends and loyal journalists composed the list of 500 guests. The food was of the highest quality; oysters, lobster and the world’s finest caviar, not to forget the endless-flowing bottles of Cristal, but more important than all these little details, the spectacle and entertainment for the night. According to Bob Gibson, LA-based publicist in charge of the evening’s festivities, “Freddie decided that he wanted to bring in a lot of street people to liven things up. I was instructed to find anyone vaguely offbeat who might bring a little, ahem, color to proceedings.”

I’m a rocket ship on my way to Mars on a collision course
I am a satellite, I’m out of control
I am a sex machine ready to reload
Like an atom bomb about to
Oh oh oh oh oh explode
I’m burning through the sky
Two hundred degrees
That’s why they call me Mister Fahrenheit
I’m traveling at the speed of light
I wanna make a supersonic woman of you

Gibson followed orders and in no time he had already found a guy who could bite the heads off live chickens and a woman who, for a price somewhere within knocking distance of $100,000, would decapitate herself with a chainsaw. Slowly, the ground floor of the Fairmount Hotel transformed into the beautiful and dreamt Sodom, colorful and eccentric, hailing from Mercury’s twisted mind.

tumblr_mi16o8dswx1qdslbvo1_500Freddie Mercury and a dancer at the party

As soon as the invitees walked into the lobby, a horde of hermaphrodite dwarves would welcome them, carrying silver trays upon their heads covered with gigantic lines of cocaine brought directly from Colombia and Bolivia. Mercury himself had tried the quality of the product, and after his approval the blow became the welcoming cocktail for all of those who wanted to invigorate themselves with the effect of the alkaloid. After crossing the reception, each ballroom had been rendered to resemble a labyrinth-like jungle, where magicians, Zulu tribesman, contortionists, fire-eaters, drag queens and transsexual strippers paraded around. The fantasy of the singer had been brought to life.

Don’t stop me, don’t stop me, don’t stop me, hey hey hey!
Don’t stop me, don’t stop me, ooh ooh ooh (I like it)
Don’t stop me, don’t stop me, have a good time, good time
Don’t stop me now (’cause I’m having a good time)
Don’t stop me now (yes I’m having a good time)
I don’t wanna stop at all

The waiters and waitresses, selected by Mercury as well, were naked too, and politely requested the attendants to leave the tips, not on the platter, but in bodily crevices. Above everyone’s head, in bamboo cages, naked dancers would contort, whilst on the ground, huge baths filled with shimmering, uncooked liver were set up so that nude female and male models could wrestle. All around the salons, lying upon chaise longues, 300lb Samoan women entertained the crowd smoking cigarettes from various orifices. To complete the landscape, in the grand marble bathrooms, prostitutes of both sexes performed oral favors to the visitors.

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This party would go down in history due to its exuberance and hedonistic character, and for many it served as a truthful representation of the histrionic identity of Mercury, the only person capable of pushing the boundaries to such an industrial extent. Queen, and its leadsman, would continue to delight the world for over a decade, before Mercury’s life of excess took a toll on him, contracting AIDS and dying in 1991 due to bronchopneumonia, brought on by the virus. Nevertheless, thanks to him we have a huge legacy, not only musical, but of stories such as this one. Thank you Freddie, we hope you are enjoying of you very own Sodom in the afterlife.

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