Mail On Sunday article … with comment by Brian



Brian obviously doesn’t like either of these articles … but has asked that we put them up, with comments, so people can come to their own conclusions.


This Mail On Sunday article took him (the writer) over a week to write, and he’s put more of his own thoughts (mostly faulty) in than mine. I wish I hadn’t wasted two hours of my life that I’ll never get back with this writer. The stuff about “Probably Freddie would …” is completely made up. And all that stuff about me ‘hesitating’ and him getting some kind of ‘admission’ out of me is crap. It’s not the first time I’ve told that little story about the bumble bee. But it’s the first time it’s been used to try to make me look stupid. Rubbish, and not helpful to anyone except those who would like to belittle what I do. Still … We may as well put it up here. Maybe soon we’ll publish the actual transcript of our conversation. Then we can all take a view on what his motives were, and how good a job he did. My motive ? For doing the damn interview ? I thought this man might help us in our fight to get justice for animals. He obviously felt it was more important to try to be clever and … funny ?

Disappointing … Well, can’t win ‘em all.


12 July 2015 by Simon Walters

Brian May

OPPOSITE: Guilt-ridden: Queen guitarist Brian May went from rock icon to a powerful animal-rights activis

– Queen guitarist still racked with guilt after taking deadly revenge on insects that scared him as a boy
– Brian May, 67, says traumatic effect of killing flies as child left him guilty
– It set him on unlikely path from rock icon to powerful animal-rights activist
– Motivation came after killing a bee with a Flit gun and spraying blackfly
– He accused PM of a ‘dishonest’ attempt to bring back hunting by back door

Freddie Mercury would probably have some sympathy with those pro-hunting supporters who find it difficult to understand rock guitarist Brian May’s ultra-hardline views on cruelty to animals.

May, who tried to stop the Government’s controversial badger cull – even writing an unlikely hit song about the issue – is now campaigning to prevent Tory MPs voting on Wednesday to relax anti-foxhunting laws.

The Queen guitarist says the band’s singer Mercury would tease him when they were on tour: ‘Oh Brian, I suppose you’re busy rescuing bloody flies in your hotel room again.’

Flamboyant Mercury was the archetypal sex, drugs and rock ’n’ roll star until his death in 1991 from AIDS-related pneumonia. In contrast, May’s dazzling suits were strictly a stage persona: once off it, he was more likely to be found in his hotel room drinking tea – or rescuing flies.

In fact, Mercury wasn’t exaggerating with his comments about insects. It is not unheard of for young boys to singe a few or even cut the odd worm in half in juvenile acts of torture as they explore the natural world around them. The vast majority grow out of it and forget about it – but not May.

In the course of a revealing interview with The Mail on Sunday, it emerged that the traumatic effect of a series of incidents in his youth – including killing flies – set him on the unlikely path from rock icon to Britain’s most powerful animal-rights activist.

For such a softly spoken, outwardly gentle giant, May uses conspicuously violent language.

He says he ‘hates’ David Cameron’s stance on foxhunting, talks of a ‘fox Armageddon’, and calls his opponents ‘a bunch of lying b******s’ who pursue the ‘uniquely cruel’ sport out of ‘sadistic bloodlust’. He even compares foxhunting to ‘wife-beating and burning witches’.

Curious about his own motivation, I had noted that in the past May had referred obliquely to ‘something in his childhood’ that had influenced him.

What was it? He seemed uncomfortable. Had he ever killed an animal or been cruel to one?

May, 68 next Sunday, takes a deep sigh before confessing: ‘Yes, though I will expose myself to ridicule if I say how.’

Brian May with his mother
Trauma: Brian picture with his mother at around the time he attacked a bumble bee with a Flit gun as a boy

He has accused Cameron of a ‘dishonest’ attempt to bring back hunting by the back door. How about being honest himself? And so it all poured out. It started when he was frightened by a bumble bee at his home in the leafy suburbs of South-West London when he was a boy in the 1950s – and he took deadly revenge. Bloodlust if you like. His ‘weapon’ was his mother’s ‘pump-action Flit gun’ insect repellent to kill flies in the kitchen. He makes it sound like a Kalashnikov.

‘A bumble bee got into the house and seemed to be following me around and I got scared,’ he says.

‘I got the Flit gun and pumped it at the bee. It fell down, started buzzing horribly and whizzed round and round for half an hour before it died. I found it horrific and thought, “Why did I do that?” I felt very sad that I had unnecessarily destroyed a life.’

The sensitive young May was also disturbed by spraying a blackfly-infested plant in his family’s garden. ‘The next morning the plant was covered in this black glue,’ he says. ‘I had killed ladybirds and everything, not just blackfly.’ His sense of guilt is still palpable.

Then there was his mother and father’s well-intentioned fib to him when the family’s pet cat, Mittens, was run over by a car.

rian and Freddie
May (right) says the band’s singer Freddie Mercury (left) would tease him when they
were on tour: ‘Oh Brian, I suppose you’re busy rescuing bloody flies in your hotel room again’

‘They didn’t think I was up to being told the truth and said it had wandered off and would be back. Eventually, I worked it out.’ May became a vegetarian after learning that the roast lamb dinner his mum ‘forced him to eat’ was ‘one of those white, fluffy things that runs around the fields’.

I can’t help wondering how far he would take his views. For example, if a fly walked across his biscuit plate right now, would he kill it? He rolls his eyes and says doubtless I will challenge him to say he wouldn’t even kill the friendless mosquito. Actually, I hadn’t even thought about mosquitoes.

‘Maybe if a tiger was coming towards me and was about to eat me I would kill the tiger. But you aren’t threatened by a fly, moth, cockroach, fox or badger,’ he says.

The guitarist has no truck with the ‘Oh My God there’s a dirty creature in my house’ attitude towards domestic pests – including rats. ‘

Rats are no problem if there’s no humans around.’

The way to save rats is to get rid of the human race?

‘You’re pushing me into a corner,’ May responds. ‘Most of the problems in the world are because there are too many of us. Humans aren’t the only species on the planet – and not necessarily the most important.’

Never mind hunting foxes: May says if some animal-rights fanatics had their way, then horse-riding itself would be banned as ‘cruel.’ He says they have a point.

‘Horses did not evolve to be our slaves,’ the star continues. ‘They were meant to be running across the plains.’

Talking of wild horses, May believes we could learn from native American Indians. When they came across rough terrain, they would make moccasins, then discard them when the path smoothed out, whereas we just put concrete roads everywhere.

Brian May and badger protesters
He says he ‘hates’ David Cameron’s stance on fox hunting, talks of a ‘fox Armageddon’, and calls his opponents ‘a bunch of lying b******s’ who pursue the ‘uniquely cruel’ sport out of ‘sadistic bloodlust’. He even compares fox hunting to ‘wife-beating and burning witches’.

He claims he turned to political campaigning after realising that he could not change the world through music. I confess I was not aware of a Dylan-esque political agenda in Queen’s songs. Is Fat Bottomed Girls a political statement, I wonder?

‘I’m not talking about that,’ he snaps.

But he did a few years ago, reportedly saying it was about Mercury’s fondness for women – and men – with big bottoms.

May is resigned to being a ‘hate figure’ with foxhunting supporters – ‘I wake up every morning knowing people are plotting against me’ – and admits it is a strain.

His second wife, actress Anita Dobson, 66 – most famous for her role as Queen Vic owner Angie in the BBC soap EastEnders – loyally supports him ‘but she doesn’t find it easy because it brings out a lot of tension in me’.

May concedes he is obsessive. ‘I can’t do things by halves,’ he says. ‘I know it is a kind of sickness. Maybe I need curing.’