As Google marked the 65th birthday of singer Freddie Mercury who died of AIDS in 1991 with its famous 'google doodle', not many knew his ascent to fame started on a noisy, traffic-polluted street in west London. The singer shared a Victorian terraced flat with his girlfriend Mary Austin on Holland Road near the ever-busy Shepherd's Bush roundabout regarded by locals as the 'fag-end' of fashionable Holland Park. He wrote most of the Bohemian Rhapsody in the flat at 100 Holland road where Queen's first photo session was shot by Doug Puddifoot - and many of those photos ended up on the back of the band's first album.
It was also after they had moved into this flat that Mary first started to think something was going wrong with their six-year relationship. She told the Daily Mail Weeken magazine in 2000: 'Even if I didn't want to fully admit it, I had realised that something was going on. Although I didn't know what it was I decided to discuss it with Freddie. I told him, "Something is going on and I just feel like a noose around your neck. I think it's time for me to go." But he insisted nothing was wrong. Then his life rocketed with the success of the first album and the singles.
'Things were never the same after that. Our relationship cooled. I felt that he was avoiding any confrontation with me. When I came home from work he just wouldn't be there. He would come in late. The writing was on the wall. We just weren't as close as we had been.'
As Freddie became an international celebrity, Mary often thought that she might one day lose him to another woman - but never to a male lover. That all changed one day when Freddie told her he had something important to say, something that would change their whole relationship for ever. 'He said, "I think I'm bisexual." I told him, "I think you're gay." And nothing else was said. We just hugged.'
'I thought, "He's been very brave." Being a bit naive it had taken me a while to realise the truth. Afterwards he felt good about having told me. He said. "I realised I had a choice. The choice was not to tell you, but I think you are entitled to your own life." And I thought, "Yes, as much as you are entitled to yours."
She decided it was time for her to move out, but Freddie insisted that she shouldn't move too far away from him. 'Eventually we found a place near him, which he wanted me to have. It was perfect for a single person such as myself. His music publishing company bought it for me for £30,000. I could see Freddie's own flat from my bathroom. I thought, "Oh, I'm never going to get away!"'