Big time name dropping #07 / Switzerland
In Bohemian Rhapsody the movie, this does not show, for whatever reasons related to storytelling or narration or writing convenience or production costs, but the authors did not see the benefit of localising the history this much, while for real a lot of it does indeed happen in or around Montreux. Queen were almost living in Montreux in the 80s, they owned Mountain Studio and made records there with David Richards in the Casino building where the studio was located. David Bowie was a close neighbour and customer. Hence perhaps why they did create Under Pressure together there. Just like the Stones in the 70’s, Charlie Chaplin or Audrey Hepburn before that, the area seem to offer a lot in terms of conveniences for the rich and famous. Back then, you would bump into David Bowie in just about every corner or every event around the lake, he was a local. Just like with the pro show guys code from above, it is in all Swiss people’s DNA and culture to not recognise a star when they see one, not hand over demo tapes, not ask for autograph, nothing. Not even when you pretty nearly are run over by one in his V8 dark gray G Series with tinted windows in the Casino parking lot, or when the very same one pretty neatly treads on your foot on the side of the stage at a Motorhead show. This is perhaps why this place attracts so many of them, that and possibly the lake and the view and the brass statues in the gardens.
Of course, Deep Purple wrote Smoke On The Water there, this is a bit of an ubiquitous story by now. But once we were at Claude’s up the hill and he was in a really good mood. Could it be because we had just finalised a state of the art augmented acoustic sound system for his Chalet’s home cinema, or because it was a beautiful sunny spring day, with a breathtaking view on the nearby lake below, whatever. But he was really happy that day and he started playing some sort of vintage high tech video laser disk of some kind, with Smoke on the Water on it. I know this song, it is part of the cultural heritage of the world, should Joe Bonamassa and Jimmy Barnes decide to cover it, I could play along in a blink should they ever ask me to (…just a hint guys…). But Claude got our attention right away then, big time: besides the opening bit about the lake and the shoreline. Before that day, it never occurred to me that theses lyrics could offer any sort of interest past the first chorus, but boy did they:
They burned down the gambling house
It died with an awful sound
Funky Claude was running in and out
Pulling kids out the ground
When it all was over
We had to find another place
But Swiss time…
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