Queen’s Brian May hits out at ‘Appalling’ gap between rich and poor


Brian spoke out on on the issue yesterday at Crinoline Book launch…

15 April 2016

Queen guitarist Brian May has spoken out about the gap between the rich and poor in society, calling it “appalling”. Speaking at the South London launch for his latest book, the musician praised Queen Victoria’s husband Prince Albert for his “vision” and endeavours to make a better society.

Brian said:

“We still have a society that is split between the rich and the poor. Now to me that’s appalling in the 21st century, and I don’t want to see that any more. I want to see equal opportunity for people, real equal opportunity. I don’t want to see any people making themselves richer at the expense of the poor. It’s not about selfishness, it’s not about economic recovery, it’s not about money, it’s about compassion and decency and working towards a society that benefits everyone and every creature.”

Brian, skeleton and Denis
Brian May, left, and Denis Pellerin at the launch for their book Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster (PA)

Brian May
Brian May (PA)

Written alongside Denis Pellerin, Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster is a visually striking 3D exploration of one of fashion’s most recognised garments.Featuring contributions from leading fashion designers Dame Vivienne Westwood and Dame Zandra Rhodes, it has been published to coincide with the Undressed: 350 Years Of Underwear exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A Museum).

Vivienne Westwood
Vivienne Westwood

Asked how he felt to have the endorsement of such renowned fashion figures, the 68-year-old hailed their “great enthusiasm”.

“I was thrilled that it happened, that Vivienne Westwood and Zandra wanted to contribute. I guess I thought that maybe what we were doing was very small and they wouldn’t be bothered, but they plunged in with great enthusiasm, as did the V&A. I’m very thankful that the V&A has collaborated with us. What it’s proved to us, more than anything, is that crinoline is alive. We now have some young designers who have also come in contributing to this exhibition with their new designs. The book, I hope, will just give people wonder. I hope they will go, ‘Wow! That’s amazing, that’s beautiful’.”

Brian May and Anita Dobson
Brian May with his wife Anita Dobson at the launch for his book Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster (PA)

Photo historian Denis revealed their research also led them to the Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty exhibition in London. “Once Brian was won over, and he saw it was a good idea, everything was very easy,” the Frenchman said. “We were also lucky to be allowed to photograph one of Alexander McQueen’s crinolines in the exhibition at the V&A last year so everything fell into place.”

Crinoline book

Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster cover
(London Stereoscopic Co Ltd)

London-born Brian said he does not consider himself “a fashionable person. I kind of react against fashion because I regarded it as conformity and I don’t like conformity, I like individualism. But to look back on how fashion has influenced people sociologically is a fascinating thing and this is what I’ve discovered on this journey.”

Brian is passionate about stereo photography, a Victorian fad in which two flat images are fused in a special viewer to produce a scene in 3D. Each copy of Crinoline: Fashion’s Most Magnificent Disaster, which is out now, is accompanied by his patent 3D viewer called the OWL. It allows readers to see the Victorian-era illustrations included in the book in another dimension.