WESTERN DAILY PRESS
7 October 2013 by Marcus Denby
The Cheltenham Literature Festival has rolled into Cheltenham, bringing hundreds of top writers, artists and celebrities to the town.
Among the first to appear were Queen guitarist and now anti-badger cull campaigner Brian May, musician Midge Ure, Wild Swans author Jung Chang and pop artist Sir Peter Blake, who designed the cover for the Beatles’ Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album.
May will be known to Western Daily Press readers not only as a rock guitarist but as a spokesman for badgers. But, less familiarly, he wasappearing at the festival as one of the world’s leading experts in a 19th-century French fad for creating visions of Hell.
The Queen legend has not only co-authored an exhaustive book on Diableries, a series of dozens of stereogram images created by artists in the 1860s, but designed a device that allows readers to view them in three dimensions.
May, who took part in the first day of the festival, first developed his passion for the devilish art in the Sixties when he found one of the cards at Portobello Market in West London.
The guitarist was so taken with the scenes that he amassed an unrivalled collection of 180 cards.
Also appearing at the festival was Ultravox frontman Midge Ure who joined May in criticising the X Factor culture as a quick fix to fame
. “I fear that we could be the last generation to make music for a living,” said Ure. “Today, we have Opportunity Knocks 2013 in the form of X Factor but this is all about a quick fix and there is no investment in an artist. They will only become one-hit wonders.”
May echoed these views saying X Factor “sucked out the life of a developing artist, making them unemployed if they had not achieved anything in a year.”