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History Montage FLASH HARRY

A Celebration of the Music
and Magic of Queen

The Flash Harry Roadmap

- Through the Years -

First of all, we should just clear a widespread misconception about our name! Many people think that "Flash Harry" is so because of Harry being the lead singer, and everyone else makes up his backing band - NOT SO! The Band, in it's previous guises was known as DC10 and Free Flight, and only eventually Flash Harry, after the popular and endearing rogue character in the St. Trinian's films. So ... Flash Harry is collectively a band of 5 musicians - now you know!

The Beginning:

The seed was sown when Harry Hamilton and John "Click" Cleland met at school and became good friends. At that time Click could play rhythm guitar, and Harry was getting to grips with learning the bass. They decided to start a band, and held jamming sessions in the local community centre, eventually renting a rehearsal room in Lurgan Castle. With Click playing lead guitar, and Harry on vocals, they, together with various friends who came and went from the line-up along the way, practiced twice a week and played a few gigs - it was something to do, and kept them out of trouble! Eventually, as they weren't able to travel very far, the gigs dried up, and everyone went their own separate way. Harry and Click lost touch, and it was to be a little while until they crossed paths again.

1990

 

..... and then, on the 24th November 1991 Freddie Mercury Died!

1991

 

Now it was early 1992, and by chance Harry and Click bumped into eachother in their local pub. They talked about the old days and the shock at Freddie Mercury's untimely death. They both had the idea of paying homage to Freddie's passing by performing, for one night only, a set of Queen songs. So, with only 6 weeks lead-in time, Flash Harry reformed. There was a little reorganisation needed as the bass player didn't want to rejoin. Bearing in mind that Queen didn't have two guitarists, Click volunteered to transfer from lead guitar to bass guitar. The line-up at this time was Harry on Vocals, Click on Bass, Billy Cleland on Drums and Kevin Hearty on Lead Guitar. Practices were held in Harry's house, and a 26-song set of Queen songs was put together. There was a line-up change before the gig, with Billy being replaced by David "Minto" Jeffers on Drums, and Marty Rowland replacing Kevin on Guitar. Also, another spoke in the wheel was added with Keith "Bigger" Weir on Keys, and Michael (Ziggy) Wright as Roadie.

The Council had stipulated that as the Town Hall was a public venue, we couldn't advertise the gig! This got us worrying about how to get the word around: after all, we wanted a good audience. The local paper ran a short article, and then we had a brainwave - there was no bar in the Town Hall, so how about people being allowed to bring in their own drink!! Believe it or not, the Council agreed - sorted! You won't be surprised to know that the gig sold out with time to spare!

And so it was, that on 13th March 1992, Flash Harry took a giant leap of faith and courage, with an inaugural gig at Lurgan Town Hall. Click had to borrow Harry's bass guitar which, as he's left handed, meant he had to turn it upsidedown! Harry was dressed in skin tight denim trousers, white T-shirt, cowboy boots and a black biker jacket. However the punters were wowed in the second half when both Harry and Click dressed up in drag, complete with vacuum cleaner, for the infamous "I Want To Break Free". The 270 strong, capacity crowd went completely daft: the dancing area at the front of the stage was full of people jumping around and playing air guitar, and those behind were standing on the tables to get a better view. We finished then as now, with "We Are The Champions" and as we reached each chorus it was hard to make out Harry's voice, as the crowd was singing as loud as the PA system. It was a fantastic night and everyone loved it; but whether that was due to the excesses of alcohol, or an appreciation of the music, only time would tell. One thing though, and that's that the off-licence next door to the venue did a very good trade that night!

The Belfast Telegraph carried a review of the Show, and we decided to try for bigger and better. We came up with Craigavon Civic Centre which held 400 people. It would very much be down to our own efforts and merits to sell the gig out, as this time people were not permitted to bring their own drink! At this time, Paul (Butt) Wright (Ziggy's brother) replaced Bigger on Keys. Having read the review in the papers, the BBC had contacted us about a slot on a pilot programme "Anderson on the Box". It was agreed that they'd come to the gig with a film crew and record an interview, some fly-on-the-wall stuff, and the Show itself. It was important therefore that we looked and sounded even better than before; so Click invested in a proper left handed bass guitar, and Harry had an authentic Freddie suit made, with stripes down the trousers as per Wembley 1986. The Show went well, if not better than the first one; the audience ranged from 10-60 years old (with apologies for the sound reproduction, click here to see an extract of the Show). Shortly after, we went to the BBC studios to record the soundtrack for the songs we would be miming on the pilot show. On the actual night, we all felt a bit weird to be required in the make-up department, but the show went well although it was rather daunting to know which camera to make a shape at. Some people even asked for our autographs afterwards - we felt like stars.

The line-up changed again with Stevie Shanks replacing Minto on Drums, and Mervyn Kerr replacing Paul Wright on keys.

In November 1992 we put on a show at the Ulster Hall in Belfast, supported by our friends Glam Slam. We drove around the area in Shanksy's van putting up our posters on suitable sites, and in the process sold our first ticket to a bystander on the Dublin Road in Belfast, but only after Harry had been forced to sing "It's a Kind of Magic", to prove to the man that we'd be worth coming to see! We had some T-shirts printed and Harry had more costumes made. On the day of the show, Click was tasked with building the stage riser - he was still at it 2 hours before curtain up! We were gobsmacked when, returning to the Hall after a pre-gig nosebag, we saw literally hundreds of people queueing to get in. The show was a stonker, rounded off with Harry performing the encore dressed in his "Wembley" trousers, with long red velvet cloak and holding a crown aloft. (With apologies for the sound reproduction, click here to see an extract of the Show)

Not long after the Ulster Hall Show we were invited to appear on the Kelly show. As with the BBC, this was to be pre-recorded and mimed on the night. We went into the studio to record a medley of 4 songs - it sounds easy, but it took us 7.5hrs until we were happy with things. 

It was a stonking first year as Flash Harry - A Tribute to Queen.

1992

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In early 1993 we were interviewed by RTE Television for Gerry Ryan's "Secrets" TV Show which was to be broadcast from their studios in Dublin on St. Valentine's Day. We were very excited about this, as we would be reaching a different audience, and also playing live. The night didn't go smoothly for the TV company, necessitating us in playing some extra material to fill time whilst they sorted out some technical hitches, but that gave us additional exposure, so we didn't mind at all. It was time to lift the profile of the band again, so we finished the year off with another Show at the Ulster Hall.

In 1994, there was another change in the line-up of the Band, with Marty, Mervyn and Ziggy moving on to pastures new. Stevie Prosser and Ian "Speedo" Wilson joined on Keys and Lead Guitar respectively. This would then be the line-up for a number of years, and we soon learned how Speedo got his nickname - it was the rate at which he was able to learn new songs!

Discussions were afoot for a new concept show, and Belfast's Grand Opera House was chosen as the venue. The Show took place in November 1994 and Harry had several outfits and 3 wigs prepared: there was his biker look, Freddie Wembley suit, and his drag clothes complete with vacuum, now familiar to fans, but also a skin tight black bodysuit leaving very little to the imagination, and a black tuxedo. The rest of us hadn't previously seen the new clothes, and the look on Speedo's face was something to behold. Our local UTV station came along with camera crew to record a short feature to be aired the following week. For the first time we used a 15-strong choir, directed by Stevie Prosser, to sing the middle section of Bohemian Rhapsody; this was something that the crowd weren't expecting, and it went down a storm. We were dead chuffed that the Show was a sell out, but it didn't go without its hitches! First off, when Harry (dressed in his bodysuit) jumped up onto the stage riser (not built by Click on this occasion), it gave way, sending Harry flying - at the time he was singing Death on Two Legs!! As true professionals, we played on until Harry had caught his breath and was able to catch up. And then Shanksy, who's special moment of glory is hitting the last note of Bohemian Rhapsody on the gong, got over-excited and knocked the 4' gong over! It just goes to show that the best shows don't always go to plan.

1993-4

By the mid-90's we were really making our mark. In 1995, we performed 2 further shows in Belfast's Grand Opera House, and another 2 in 1996 - the atmosphere in the Grand Opera House is very intimate, even though it holds a large number of people. We play to capacity audiences there year after year and it's one of our favourite venues. We also appeared on the "Anderson on the Box" TV Show. We started to spread our wings a little and travel further afield. One such show was on the Isle of Man where we travelled to and fro via a private air taxi. This filled Speedo with dread, as he's afraid of flying. To try and conquour this, the pilot invited Speedo to have a go at the controls on the way back - that filled the rest of us with dread!

We did a 6-show Tour of Scotland which became known as the "Scottish Tour of Scotland"! We learned a couple of things during this tour - one, that Stevie Prosser (SP) isn't a morning person, and the other, that there were actually three halves to our Show, because of the two interval breaks we were asked to take, to make way for the Bingo! There was one sad point of the Tour; we mislaid the "I Want to Break Free" Hoover, which is probably still on the Scottish circuit somewhere!

By this time, we were getting quite used to appearances on the tellybox and guested again on "Anderson on the Box" TV Show, this time playing live.

1995-6

An important addition to the Band in 1997 was Spike Milliken, a trusted and much relied upon member of our support team who became chief roadie and lighting engineer.

In April 1997, we played our first Queen Fan Club Convention in Prestatyn, Wales, playing to the very exacting and expectant Queen die-hards; a milestone indeed: we were chuffed to have Queen's actual sound and lighting crew working for us. We made further TV and radio appearances both in Northern and Southern Ireland, but still wanted to aim higher. With that in mind, we hired the Ulster Hall in Belfast, complete with large lightshow, PA system, sound engineers, all the posh recording gear, and a film crew, to record a promotional video. It took 9 hours to get the equipment set up, and record 30 minutes of good video footage. As part of the content, Simon Whitter, who produced Queen's "Phenomenon" video, interviewed us. We were really pleased with the quality of the end result, which made all the time and effort worthwhile.

1997

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We performed 2 high profile Shows in 1997, which would be our biggest shows to date. In August we played Belfast's Waterfront Hall which holds 2,300 people. With the exception of a handful of seats, the venue was filled to capacity. 10 minutes after coming off stage we found ourselves in taxis on our way to the UTV studios for a live slot on the Kelly Show. Except that Click left his guitar in the taxi! After a few frantic phone calls, and an extended interview to mark time, the taxi was recalled and Click was reunited with his instrument, and the live broadcast went ahead. The other big show was November 1997 in Dublin, at the Point Depot (now the 3Arena) which holds 8000 people. We couldn't be sure how the tickets were selling, but we thought it was around the 1500 mark on the night. We heard a big cheer go up as we walked out on stage and couldn't believe it when we were told there were actually 6000 people there.

There must have been something strange in the water at this time, as Stevie Prosser, Speedo and Harry all became Fathers to Daughters!

1998 saw us travel further than we ever had before - 4 shows in Atlantic City, New Jersey, USA, with press and radio interviews toboot. We were driven around in white stretch limousines and treated like big stars. Our feet were firmly on the ground however, as once we were home, we performed at Windsor Park Football Stadium, and again at the Waterfront Hall, both in Belfast.

In 1999, we were busier than we'd ever been, with 50 dates spread over the year, travelling from Londonderry in the north to Clonakilty in the south, and also another week's Tour of Scotland. This Tour was called the "Fec Me, Not More Beer" Tour! This covered only 4 dates, but travelled 1230 miles. We guessed the Agent's map-reading skills left a bit to be desired when he was planning the order, spending so much time on the road between venues as we did. On the theme of alcohol, we also appeared at the Guinness Live Festival in Clarendon Dock, Belfast. With a sporting bias, we also played the pre-match warm up for the international football game between Northern Ireland and France, at Windsor Park - we were positioned on a cross stage in the centre of the pitch and, with the exception of Shanksy, had to move round so people could get a view of the whole band: we chose to perform the same set as Queen performed at Live Aid. We made further TV appearances on BBC NI, and UTV too.

1998-9

The New Century:

Into the new Millennium, and further shows in Scotland, but also in February we flew out to Dubai for the Lotus Computer Company Convention; an honour indeed. We spent 3 days there, and one thing we learned is not to plan a shopping trip on a Friday, as everywhere is closed. Once home, another appearance on the Kelly Show and 3 sell-out shows in the Grand Opera House, Belfast and what was now becoming our regular Theatre circuit, rounded off the first year of the new century.

2000

 

Things were getting busier; we were averaging 60 dates and 10,000 miles covered in the year. Apart from the staple diet of Theatre circuit Shows in both 2001 and 2002, we also undertook a Tour of English Seaside Towns which was formed of 8 shows, travelling the length and breadth of England and Wales; including a memorable interview on the Jim Bowen Show. We were very excited to have a proper bespoke Tour bus as our home - it was out of this world, having separate living and sleeping quarters, kitchen, shower, loo and all mod cons, it was just a shame that, after a few beers, Click decided to get off it ..... when it was still moving. We learned that a drunken male cannot run from 0-35mph without a lead up to it! He was the walking wounded for a couple of days, but thank goodness not badly hurt - there's a photo somewhere of the preventative tetanus injection being administered!

Our success in Belfast's Grand Opera House continued with a further 4 shows, and also in October 2001, we had our own Wembley moment, "A Night of King and Queen" playing to approximately 35,000 people outside the flagship Northern Irish venue, the Odyssey Arena. We also performed our usual winter show at the Waterfront Hall in both 2001 and 2002. Of course, 2002 was HM the Queen's Golden Jubilee year and we were chuffed to play at the Jubilee Festival in Antrim, as part of their celebrations.

2001-2

 

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Prior to 2004, Harry had the urge to perform a high profile Show in London, to try and make our mark wider in England. It was to be the gig of all gigs, and what better place than in one of the most prestigious venues in The City Of London - the Lion's Den 5000-seater that is THE ROYAL ALBERT HALL!! There was much planning to be done as well as continuing with our existing schedule of gigs and shows around the country. We played the Queen Fan Club Convention at Prestatyn, North Wales in May 2004, with Harry also invited to sing 6 songs with the remaining members of Freddie Mercury's first band Ibex, (he was to be introduced as the young Freddie). Unusually, we all travelled to Wales by different means with Shanksy and Click deciding to give their motorcycles an airing. But of course nothing's straightforward - they missed the ferry, got lost, ran out of petrol and got pulled up by the Police, and that was just on the way there! We find that we're quite good at creating memories without even trying! However, it was a brilliant weekend, Harry sang a really good set with Ibex, and our own Show went down a storm. We're happy to say that Shanksy and Click managed the return trip home unscathed. They're not the only ones to get into trouble though as, on the way to a charity gig in Coleraine only one month later, Harry filled his diesel car with unleaded petrol - we made the gig albeit late, and another lesson learned that we aren't very good at suck syphoning fuel!

Not a moment too soon and the Royal Albert Hall show on 15th October 2004 was upon us - and what a Show it was! Ibex was kind enough to be our support band; we had new T-shirts designed and printed; re-packaged our promo video; and even Rosy, the Break Free hoover, received a make-over of silver paint and flashing lights topped off with a pink feather boa. The Show was a really unforgettable experience - standing on the stage, looking out at the audience - a LONDON audience, with a few friends and family who had travelled over to support us - just WOW! The Band were on fire; Harry's voice was in perfect shape and the Show went event free, with no dodgy moments: we were fit to burst. It took us a long time to come back down to earth after that show of all Shows. Feet firmly on the ground, we finished off 2004 with our usual Show at the Grand Opera House in Belfast.

On Boxing Day 2004, there was a terrible tsunami in Indonesia in the Indian Ocean, and we were pleased to help fundraise for that disaster by playing at the Ulster Hall in Belfast. In May and December we returned to Scotland for more Shows, and also in December we shared the billing at Templepatrick's Hilton Hotel with none other than Les McKeown and his Bay City Rollers! We shared a dressing room, and there was more than one bottle of Jack Daniels sunk that night!

2004-5

In 2007, our staple diet of Shows at Belfast's Waterfront Hall and Grand Opera House were repeated, but more significantly, in 2007 Speedo left for pastures new. We were very sorry to see him go after 13 years in the Band. After a couple of temporary musicians, we were pleased to welcome Stevie Boyd to the incumbent position of Lead Guitar in 2008. Another addition to the team at that time was an extra "man in black" - Dougie Smith. Dougie remains with us to this day and drives our backline truck, as well as handling our sound system, and performing all normal roadie duties.

2006-8

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10th January 2009 saw us undertake another high profile Show - a rocked up and classical extravaganza in Belfast's biggest venue - The Odyssey Arena. We were joined on stage by the Ulster Orchestra, and Magee College Choir. This was like nothing we'd ever attempted before; there was a huge amount of planning involved; the orchestral and choir scores had to be especially created from the original Queen music, and it was a mammoth effort by a large team of people to get the show even as far as the stage, never mind the actual performance. The venue was filled to capacity and it was a very humbling experience to be on stage amongst so many accomplished musicians to bring the music of Queen to a different level. One special moment was Harry singing "You Take My Breath Away" to a haunting keyboard accompaniment by SP. We felt it was better than the original, and it made the hairs on the back of our neck stand to attention. It was indeed the Show of all Shows. In the Summer, we travelled to the deep south of Ireland, in fact to the port from where the Titanic sailed in 1912, to play at the Cobh Regatta, and in October we were in Dublin once again. In December 2009 we'd been invited back by the Queen International Fan Convention to play at their get-together in Coventry, England.

The "Rocked Up and Classical" extravaganza had been such a success the previous year that we repeated the Show again at The Odyssey in January 2010; and to be fair to the people in the north-west, with the Magee again, at the Millennium Forum in Derry/Londonderry. In June, we were back playing at our old rehearsing haunt from the old days, Lurgan Castle, and in August 2010, Belfast presented a Summer Taste and Music Festival for the first time, and we were pleased to be one of the Bands appearing. In October 2010 we once again entertained Fan Club members, but this time (and it was a big bucket list tick for us), at the Cavern Club, Liverpool: to play the venue that The Beatles called home, was amazing.

The Flash Harry "machine" had by now been running for 18 years. David Hull Promotions were handling our show diary, and Caroline "Cj" Sear joined, and remains with the team to give a hand with our social media and website presence; also to compile our ever increasing archive material and PR database.

2009-10

2011 saw us regularly interviewed on radio for Belfast's U105, Derry's Radio Foyle, and BBC Radio Ulster. We also performed at U105's Roadshow for St. Patrick's Day. As a departure from our usual Queen Show at Belfast's Grand Opera House, we decided to try something completely different. It had been 25 years since the death of Thin Lizzy's Phil Lynott, and we got to thinking about all the fantastic musicians who have Irish roots. And so it was that we put together a Show incorporating music by various Irish Rock Legends and this was performed at the Grand Opera House in March 2011, paradoxically just one month after the untimely death of Gary Moore! Again, a great deal of planning went into this production. The choice of material was very wide, as Ireland has been blessed with so many quality musicians, and it was difficult to finalise which songs to include and which would have to be omitted. We managed to whittle the setlist down to just over 30 songs variously by Van Morrison, U2, Thin Lizzy, Elvis Costello, Gary Moore, Boomtown Rats, Undertones, Stiff Little Fingers (Click solo), and Rory Gallagher (Stevie Boyd solo). We'd decided to incorporate a brass section, and were indebted to some of our friends in Belfast based Ska band "Doghouse" who joined us on stage. We were humbled to see so much support when we went on stage - the place was full to capacity, and this wasn't even for a Queen show.

In May we crossed the waters to Scotland to play at the Islay Beer Festival. Islay is the most southerly island of the Inner Hebrides, just 40km off the Irish coast. It takes 90mins to get there by boat direct from Portrush or Ballycastle, but that was just too easy for us. We went island hopping - travelling first by Ferry to the Scottish mainland, and then by sea and land across 5 other islands to get to Islay. We should have called this gig the "We should have gone direct" Show, as it took us several tiring hours to make it via the long route!! Having recovered from that ordeal, we were pleased to play at the Lord Mayor's Show in Belfast in June. We were especially busy at the end of the year back on our usual theatre circuit.

2011

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In 2012 we were 20 years old! We were just as amazed as everyone else, as it seemed like only yesterday that we were playing the Saturday afternoon pub circuit. Early in the year and by popular demand we brought our "Rocked Up and Classical" Show back to Belfast's Odyssey with the Ulster Orchestra and Methody Choir. We'd decided to include the duet "Barcelona" in the set, and for the female lead Aoife Miskelly joined Harry on stage. We were chuffed to play to a full house once again. We also found time to get into the recording studio and lay down a 4-track CD "Looking Back" - two of our own "Looking Back", and "Dreams", and two covers. 2012 of course was the year of HM the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. We crossed the water to England to play a couple of Shows, one in the Lake District, and excitingly a second visit to the Cavern Club in Liverpool. But to top everything which happened that year, we were chosen to play at Stormont, the Northern Ireland seat of Government, for the Queen's visit there as part of her Jubilee celebrations. Playing Queen to a Queen has to be a once in a lifetime experience ..... so far!!

2012

Our Irish Rock Legends Show the previous year had been so popular, we decided to take it on Tour, so at the end of 2012 we performed the Show on our theatre circuit as a bit of a change - we even got Shanksy to sing!. We welcomed back Speedo as guest guitarist and the Shows went down extremely well. There's some of you who will remember Frank Carson, comedian who died in 2012. We were pleased to make a guest appearance at a high profile Charity Tribute Show on the anniversary of his death. Gluttons for punishment, we performed at the 2013 Beer Festival, on the Isle of Islay again - we still didn't take the direct route!! All major cities hold an Unsung Hero Awards night, and we were pleased to perform at the Belfast ceremony. A first for Northern Ireland was the hosting of the G8 summit discussions; this was marked by a concert in Belfast where we were honoured to be included in the line-up. In the deepest south of Ireland, we headlined the Puck Fair, one of Ireland's oldest fairs. It takes place each August in Killorglin, County Kerry. The star of a festival is a ram which is contained in a small enclosure on top of a specially constructed tower, in the middle of the main street, directly in front of the stage (don't worry animal lovers, he's fed, watered and well looked after); however, it's a strange experience playing to a large street crowd with the goat having the prime stage viewing position, eyeing us and chewing his hay - he didn't seem that impressed, but the crowd made up for his lack of interest! Oh, and we forgot to say, March 2013 was of course our 21st Birthday!

21st

Belfast hosted the International Giro Cycle Race in 2014 and there were many pre-race celebrations along the route. We performed in Armagh the evening before the race went through the Town, and although it was raining, we were definitely drier than the cyclists who experienced a lot of Northern Ireland weather during that stage of the race. Although we continued to play our usual venues, we also enjoyed performing on new stages too - one such was the Crumlin Road Gaol in Belfast. Once the place of controversial imprisonment and misery, it has been turned into a tourist attraction and function venue. We have consistently played on the stage there many times since our first Show there in 2015, usually two consecutive Shows at a time. Due to it's history and past goings-on, the atmosphere there is like no other. Belfast is famous for building The Titanic, the super liner ship which hit an iceberg and sank on it's maiden voyage to the US in 1912. The shipbuilding yard, now closed, has undergone refurbishment and become a high profile visitor attraction, a must-see for anyone visiting Northern Ireland. We were pleased to play there at a big event sponsored by Coke. Very fitting as that's part of what goes into Click's on-stage refreshment! We played there again in 2016 as well as our usual haunts at the Grand Opera House and Waterfront Hall. Continuing with our sporting theme, we also played for the Circuit of Ireland Rally in April.

2014

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2017 was an important year for us. Firstly, we were 25 years old. It's hard to believe we've been going that long and with so few line-up changes. It hardly seems a moment since that first opportunist Show back in 1992! Also a milestone to celebrate was our 1000th Show. The lucky venue was our new haunt (no pun intended!) - the Crumlin Road Gaol. There was much jollification had that night. We're used to travelling south, but not more so than to the Cork Opera House, which is pretty much as far as you can go before falling off the edge of the island of Ireland. 2017 was fittingly topped off with another headline Show at the Annual Queen Fan Club Convention, this time in Lincolnshire, England.

Just when we thought we'd ticked all the boxes, early 2018 brought another bucket list tick! In May, the Mercury Phoenix Trust invited us to play at the "Freddie For A Day" Festival in Montreux, Switzerland. To say we were chuffed was an understatement. We flew from Dublin to Geneva and caught the train to Montreux the day before our Show. Of course, as with all Queen fans who make the pilgrimage to this magical place, we couldn't not have the requisite photograph beneath the Montreux rail station sign, and on the steps of the Freddie statue beside the lake. We made sure we had plenty of time to visit Mountain Studios, where Queen recorded 7 of their albums, to see the memorabilia, costumes and to soak up the atmosphere. The following day, we played an hours set, and it was such an honour to be in the place where Queen had so much creative song-writing energy, and of course the place where Freddie chose to find peace.

In October 2018, the eagerly awaited Queen biographical Film, "Bohemian Rhapsody" was released. It followed singer Freddie Mercury's life, leading to Queen's Live Aid performance at London's giant Wembley Stadium in 1985. The Film became a massive box office success, becoming the highest-grossing musical biographical film of all time (at the time of writing). You can appreciate therefore, how honoured we were to perform our Show prior to two of the high profile Film Premiere showings in Northern Ireland. Performing in front of the big silver screen meant that we weren't able to use our normal lighting rigs, so Cj produced a screenshow of some photos combined with silent video footage to run in the background, which backlit the stage area; this also extended to a pre-show video with added interview footage from our archives.

 

We like to do our bit for Charity and in November we played a Show for the "Northern Ireland Children to Lapland Trust". Nothing unusual in that, you may think, but we were playing on a boat - the Belfast to Stranraer ferry to be precise, and we can tell you that the sea isn't particularly calm at that time of year!

Into 2019, and one of the first Shows was in Galway, which is quite a few hours trek. We all piled into Shanksy's wagon and off we went in high spirits .... until, with about 30 motorway miles to go, the engine blew up in spectacular fashion! After many road rescue calls, and two taxis driven by two guys called Chris, arriving at exactly the same time, we arrived at the Theatre for THE quickest set up and sound check ever (thanks to Dougie, Michael and the house crew). The audience was extremely appreciative and gave us a standing ovation, which melted away the stresses of the previous few hours. Most times after a gig, we like to let our hair down a little and relax in the dressing room before getting away home. Of course this time, we weren't going anywhere, and our post-gig partying consisted of pouring over our phones trying to find a last minute hotel! Who said its all sex, drugs and Rock 'n Roll?

Shortly after Galway, we performed back at Belfast's Grand Opera House again; the first of two scheduled shows. There wasn't a spare seat in the house - the Show had been sold out for weeks. Performing there is always very special for us, and this was no exception. However there was no time to reflect as, only a matter of hours after the Show, we were all piling into an aircraft, heading out to Bulgaria for a week of "Flash on the Slopes". This was another first for us - a holiday company sending us, and a plane load of skiing and Queen enthusiasts on a 7-day skiing holiday, with two Flash Harry shows to be performed during the week. The good people of Pamporovo, both residents and visitors, were amazing in their hospitality, good nature and downright craziness - there was rocking and rolling both on and off the slopes; some apr├Ęs-ski before we took to the slopes, and plenty after! Those of us who couldn't ski went to ski school, and some got on better than others! Naming no names, some of us preferred the less energetic skidoo! All in all a great deal of jollification was had. Sadly,the day after his return, Harry suffered a major heart attack and required emergency surgery with the insertion of stents: everything went well and he was discharged from hospital to recouperate at home after only a few days.

Bulgaria Skiing

So that's the story so far folks ...... we hope you've enjoyed reading our journey. Take a seat, buckle up and prepare to enjoy the ride with us into the future.

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