Brian May on airwaves from Cambridge today




Brian May & Denis Pellerin BBC Look East Cambs Film Festival 04092015

TRANSCRIPT – by Jen Tunney

STARTS: 2.07

KATE BRADBROOK (In studio): Well, Brian May and his fellow producer, Denis Pellerin, spoke to me earlier from the Cambridge Film Festival. Brian told me how he’d first become interested in stereoscopes.

BRIAN MAY: When I was a kid they used to give away in Weetabix packets little cards, where you get two images, apparently flat and not very interesting but when you put them inside a little viewer, which you could send away for, for one and sixpence, suddenly the whole thing broke into incredibly stereoscopic 3-D relief, for something very realistic. You felt like you could walk through a frame and actually be there and touch the animals and touch the people. It’s incredible.

So I discovered from that, as I grew up, that stereoscopy was born in Victorian times, about the same time as photography, and this is the kind of stereoscope you would have had if you were a Victorian. You would have bought stereo cards like this, you’d put them in the viewer and what you see is something wonderful. So 3-D as you now see it in 3-D films was acatualy born about 1854 for the public in Britain. Queen Victoria was a great enthusiast.

KATE: Denis – 3-D, as we mentioned there, 3-D is very different now. We think about Pixar and things like that. Is it important for all of us to remember how it started like this?

DENIS PELLERIN: Most people think that 3-D was invented with “Avatar’ and what it was invented 150 years ago, so it’s, yes, it is important because, as Brian said, everybody in the Victorian era had a stereoscope on their dining room or drawing room table and they would just spend evenings and afternoons looking at stereos, and having fun and commenting [on] them and laughing and exclaiming, “Wow”. Well maybe they didn’t say “Wow” at the time but they would have said “Oh my God”, or something like that.

BRIAN: If you actually can get a Victorian viewer, you’d be amazed by the experience. I had to make one. You can’t buy them these days, so this is my invention. This is the 21st century version of the Brewster stereoscope, and you can put your iPhone in it or whatever and you can see 3-D pictures in this contraption.

KATE: And the film that you’ve made, they seem quite sinister, these skeletons. Can you just give us a bit of a kind of what is going on here?

DENIS: Well actually they are sinister when you first look at them, but then when you examine the pictures closely you realise that there’a a lot of funny things going on in the background and they are, most of them are, social satires or political satires and they are just a way of showing that Paris was Hell. Hell is Paris and Paris was Hell at the time.

KATE: And Brian, we’re used to hearing you play, obviously. We know that you are passionate about animal welfare. We know that you are Doctor or Astronomy, but how do you fit in all these things, like this passion as well?

BRIAN: I don’t sleep. You’ll have to ask my wife. Yeah, there’s too many passions I guess but in some crazy way in my mind they all make sense. They all come together in some way. I was able to make some music for our little Diableries film and I was able to fuse Tchaikovsky’s ‘1812 Overture’ with ‘We Will Rock You’ and some guitar playing, so in a crazy way it does all kind of link up.

KATE: And I also heard that you also used to, when you were touring with Queen, go and search for stereoscopic plaes wherever you were in the world.

BRIAN: Absolutely, yes. It’s a hobby you can kind of pursue any place. I also always carry a stereoscopic camera with me, a little 3-D Realist viewer, so I have lots of pictures of Queen in the day in 3-D. I’m very geeky about these things, you know. I just love it. To me it’s such a thrill to see things in solid relief

DENIS: It’s a kind of magic.

BRIAN: It’s a kind of magic, he says. (laughing)


Brian May & Ramon Lamarca (Cambridgeshire Film Festival) talk 3D with Chris Mann’s Drivetime, BBC Radio Cambridgeshire

Brian May commences 5:24 –

TRANSCRIPT – by Jen Tunney

STARTS: 5:28

CHRIS MANN: But next – Brian May from Queen. So just to stress that Brian May from Queen in in Cambridge this afternoon, talking not about music so much as 3-D, one of his real loves. He’s a doctor, of course, a Doctor or Science, after taking a PhD as part of his studies which happened I believe before Queen began. Anyway, he’ll tell us all about it. He joins us now on the phone. Brian – afternoon!

BRIAN MAY: Hello Chris, how you doing?

CHRIS: Yeah, good. You’ve got a busy schedule and we’re very pleased to have you here. We talked to Ramon a bit ago and he just emailed you and he said, “Yeah, I’ll come.”

BRIAN: Of course, of course. Yeah, I’m sitting here with Ramon and also Denis Pellerin, whose my co-author of the Diableries book, which is one of the reasons why I’m here today.

CHRIS: Now your passion is very much for 3-D and films and photography?

BRIAN: Absolutely. Yeah, I have a great passion for things that you hear with your ears as well, but vision has always been a huge passion with me as well, particularly 3-D vision, and something which has in a sense been neglected over the years, and we take it all the way back to its origin in the 1850s in England and France.

CHRIS: 1850s – I didn’t realise it went back that far. That’s extraordinary.

BRIAN: It goes back before the birth of photography, strange enough. It was first understood by a man called Charles Wheatstone, about 1838 and everything stereoscopic comes from that. You know, Leonardo da Vinci didn’t quite crack it. Charles Wheatstone did. It’s an amazing phenomenon. Of course, we experience 3-D every moment of our lives. It we have two eyes, we’re able to fuse these two images which we get from our two eyes into something which is magically full of depth and solidity and it’s an incredible thing. Tends to be neglected.

CHRIS: Now – you made a film, which is being shown today. Tell us about that.

BRIAN: Yeah, it’s a stereoscopic film based on the Diableries, which are kind of devilments, you would say. The adventures in Hell in France in the 1860s. Now it sounds very obscure and it’s hard to explain, but if you see it you will go, “Wow! – My God.” You know, you are seeing every facet of life represented in Hell, with a lot of skeletons and the Devil himself having a lot of fun. So it portrays Hell in a very different way.

CHRIS: We had hoped to get you for the opening night of the Film Festival last night, because I know you are a huge fan of Astronomy, and the opening film last night, which I was delighted to present the Q&A afterwards with the stars of it, was called “Star Men”, about the journey of some astronomers.

BRIAN: Yes, absolutely. Now I just met the creators of that film and they’ve given me a copy of the film, so I’m thrilled. I couldn’t be here last night, sadly, because I was up in Edinburgh, meeting Nicola Sturgeon.

CHRIS: Oh my word.

BRIAN: … also…. I get to do great stuff. I’m a very lucky boy, really.

CHRIS: Were you telling her what’s what?

BRIAN: Well, we were discussing fox hunting, you know, there’s two bills which are both designed to protect animals against cruelty and there’s a parallel one in England, and we were talking about updating the Scottish one. She’s become a great ally. That’s been great.

CHRIS: Brian, one of the – I can tell you – one of the greatest days of my life was to be there at Wembley Stadium in 1985 for Live Aid, and I know you played such a huge part in that. We’ve got a crisis at the moment with the migrants as you know and we’re talking about it on the programme today. What’s your view of how Europe and the West should respond to this?

BRIAN: I’ve been vocal about this for quite a long time actually and I’m disgusted by the way our Government’s responded. You know there’s this thing about migrants – they shouldn’t be called “migrants”. They should be called “refugees” and we should behave with compassion. I have no doubt in my mind. How much room is there in Scotland, you know? You can put 40,000 refugees in there and not even notice. I think we’ve behaved despicably. I’m thankful that at last David Cameron has paid heed to this wave of compassion, which came about from seeing this boy on the beach. How can you possibly take an attitude that these people don’t matter? How can you possibly do that? How can you not reach out a hand to save these people? So I’ve felt it for a long time and I’m glad to see that now the Press has come round and… there’s movement.

To me it’s very parallel to the way people reacted to the murder of Cecil the Lion. These things go on the whole time, but it’s not until you see a picture ad suddenly there’s a wave of recognition that something is wrong with our society. And I’m very pleased with the way social media tends to expose these things, and I think it s moving us forward. It’s moving us to a better society. I hope so anyway.

CHRIS: So are you an optimist? Do you think that ‘People Power’ can work?

BRIAN: I’m an optimist, yeah. I mean, it’s tough with the Government like we’ve got at the moment, which really doesn’t have an ounce of compassion in it in my opinion, but, yes, in the long term, I think we’re seeing a better class of MP in all parties, and we’re very much colourblind. We don’t care which party people are in. We just care what kind of human being they are. So we fight these daily battles for animals with people that care. And, yes, I am optimistic. In the end it will come. In the end slavery came to an end, and in the end abuse of animals will come to an end. It will come.

CHRIS: Well, Brian, I know you’ve got a very busy schedule and you’ve fitted Cambridge in, so well done and thank you for coming. Just tell us what’s in store tonight?

BRIAN: Tonight we have the first showing at a festival of this amazing little film, which actually I didn’t make, but it was made in collaboration with me and Denis, who I’m sitting next to, and it’s bringing the 1860s little devils from Paris to life, in the 21st century. It’s an amazing little short – was made very quickly – but we’re aiming for the feature film. We want to make the full length film, which will be “Diableries – The Movie”, I guess, and it’s a very exciting prospect. It’s like Ray HarryHausen. You ever see any of those old films where the skeletons come to life?

CHRIS: Yes, yes.

BRIAN: But a lot more to it.

CHRIS: And I know that our friend, Ramon, who was with you, will be hosting the Q&A. You will be talking to the Cambridge Film Festival public. So enjoy that.

BRIAN: You’ve still got time to get down there, folks. We can still fit you in. (Chuckles) It’s our film, and it’s also another wonderful film, which is lots of rescued treasures from the era of 3-D films from the 50s and 60s – and the 80s as well – all sorts of things which might have disappeared forever have been rescued and now you can see them in glorious 3-D as they were intended. Come down. Come and see us.

CHRIS: That’s at 6.30 at The Light tonight, and then I think it’s again I think at The Arts Cinema tomorrow, sorry, on Monday the 11th, so there’s lots of chances to see it – not just tonight. That’s Brian. Thank you so much for joining us. Have a great time in Cambridge.

BRIAN: Thank you very much. All the best folks.

CHRIS: Dr Brian May there. Busy programme we’re having today. Well when Rock Royalty calls you have to answer. Brian May – thanks to him and, yeah, there’s still time to get down there at The Light Cinema. 6.30 it gets under way, the show, and a Q&A with Brian. What an interesting fellow he is.

BBC Look East

Brian May is expected to be on BBC radio and TV today as follows:

BBC Radio Cambridge: Brian interview between 4:15-4:30pm this afternoon, on Chris Mann’s Drivetime.
BBC Look East [magazine programme] from 6:30pm tonight.