SEE MORE FROM BRIAN ON SOAPBOX
Brian May appeared live on Sky News this morning at 8.15am talking about his “Queen in 3-D” book, that he would be giving a talk at the Cheltenham Literature Festival tomorrow, also much about Queen’s history, evoked by the book. Also touched on forthcoming tour with Adam Lambert, the Queen movie, and not forgetting wildlife – asking viewers who are members of the National Trust to vote against allowing fox hunting on National Trust land.
Brian May Sky News Sunrise 09102017
SARAH-JANE MEE: Now our next guest is a musician an author and astrophysicist but probably best known as the lead guitarist of the rock band Queen. Brian May has released a new book called “Queen in 3-D”. It features a collection of rare and some never-seen-before photographs that he’s taken on tour with the band using his 3 -D camera. Good morning to you Brian.
So this is essentially a life’s work. When you’re not onstage performing you were behind the scenes snapping away.
BRIAN MAY: Yes, a lifetime’s passion. I suppose I’ve always been really really interested in 3-D and I’m captured by the magic of it and it actually it wasn’t planned to be a book, you know. I just suddenly realised I had all this material and it would make a great book and it’s a kind of chronicle of the band and also of my life, I suppose in some ways. The thing about these pictures, they’re so evocative being in 3-D that they stir up an incredible amount of emotion and memory, much more than just a snap on, you know, a flat snap on the page.
SARAH-JANE: So this [OWL viewer] comes with the book, “Queen in 3-D”. These are the glasses you need to use.
BRIAN: This is my OWL, which I invented. I didn’t invent 3-D. but I did invent this which is made in Sunbury upon Thames, but, yeah, this comes with the book and it’s easy to to assemble. It comes flat like this and you fold it up here and then you position it over any pair of the pictures. Now the pictures are fine to look at…
SARAH-JANE: I was looking at them earlier on you don’t have to look through the glasses to see them – you get a different kind of experience using the glasses.
BRIAN: Yeah. This is a particular favourite of mine. A sort of intimate picture of Freddie when he wasn’t aware, you know. I guess if a photographer was there Freddie was quite shy, but if I was around snapping, he didn’t notice and he was quite relaxed so it looks nice as a picture but as a 3-D picture it looks something else. Have you seen this?
SARAH-JANE: No I haven’t. I’ll have a preview.
BRIAN: An opportunity to show you to show you. It’s a shame it’s not 3-D TV.
SARAH-JANE: But you were saying this is 50 years in the making.
BRIAN: Yes really. There you go. You can focus it…
BRIAN: Was that a Wow?
SARAH-JANE: It was, yeah. It works, I can confirm it works.
BRIAN: You feel like you could walk through the window and actually talk to him and touch him, don’t you.
SARAH-JANE: Yes essentially this is this is your diary, Brian…. using pictures.
BRIAN: Yeah that’s right…
SARAH-JANE: And what are the sort of moments you’ve captured in there? What are the memories that stand out?
BRIAN: it’s a lot of stuff on stage and off stage but also all the other things that we did during that time like being in the studio, you know. Odd times I’m clicking away in dressing rooms in buses in planes in trains having arguments offstage and just everything really. It’s nice. I think the fun of it comes across but it also, I found when I looked at these pictures it stirred up stuff in me that I’d forgotten I even had in my head. You know it’s a very evocative way of chronicling it.
SARAH-JANE: And you still have a very you know so much passion still for music all this time on. You’ve just finished a tour of the USA and you’re going on tour in Europe as well and Queen fans are THE most loyal music fans.
BRIAN: Lucky for us. They are great, yeah and they they take what we give, you know, ‘cos we try not to give what’s expected in a way. That’s always been the case.
SARAH-JANE: And you’re still snapping away with a 3-D camera you still going taking it with you?
BRIAN: Yeah I have a digital 3-D camera with me at this moment – Yeah I will be – and the picture[s] actually the book does include some pieces of Adam, you know, who’s our singer – Adam Lambert, whose our singer now, you know, but all the way back it shows Freddie and us in our glory days if you like. But we’re gonna have some glory days next month hopefully in Europe and then back here for Christmas.
SARAH-JANE: So you’re touring. You’re promoting this book – you’re speaking the Cheltenham Literary Festival tomorrow but you’re also in in talks for this new movie about Freddie Mercury’s life. Can you tell us a bit more about that?
BRIAN: Well we’re shooting, yeah. We were in talks. It’s it’s all happening at the moment yeah. I try not to get in the way too much, you know, and you have to give the actors a little bit of space. but the guys who are playing us are incredible – they really are. Rami Malek playing Freddie and Gwilym playing me and in the beginning it’s very odd looking at someone playing you but they’re great.
SARAH-JANE: You have to give him any tips or I wouldn’t quite do that?
BRIAN: We’ve had lots of conversations. You know I can give him a few licks to play and stuff but he plays guitar. Yeah he’s very good.
SARAH-JANE: What intimidation that would be, having Brian May over your shoulder when you’re playing guitar
BRIAN: Well that’s what I say. I try not to be yeah. We’ve had some great fun on set actually just playing around.
SARAH-JANE: I do want to ask you before you go about one of your big passions. You do a lot of work for the National Trust. You know, helping to preserve badgers and foxes and a lot of the papers today are talking about comments Prince Charles made in a letter he wrote to the then Prime Minister Tony Blair about fox hunting. It’s been released under the Freedom of Information Act and he claimed that hunting was completely natural in that it relies entirely on man’s ancient and indeed romantic relationship with dogs and horses. He’s very much putting across the opposing view to you.
BRIAN: Well, Sarah, is it’s very old news really you know and I don’t know if he even thinks that way anymore and I wouldn’t want to get into anything with Prince Charles because I regard him as a friend in a very decent man, but, fox hunting is very indecent. It’s very cruel and there is no justification whatsoever for continuing to try and do it. The thing about the National Trust right now is if you’re a member of the National Trust, which I am, you get a chance to vote as to whether the fox hunters can go on National Trust land and hunt in the future. So I would ask people, you know, get in there and vote and try and stop this because I mean – it’s illegal for a start and it’s inhumane. It’s despicably cruel. But of course this thing called “trail hunting” is a sham, you know. Trail hunting is supposed to be “Oh, we hunt foxes by accident”. Well they hunt foxes by accident because they use a fox scent to train the hounds otherwise why would you do that? Why do you need a pack of hounds to, you know, to to if you’re not trying to kill a fox and so there are kind of… there’s all sorts of arguments about control but they’re not valid because these people breed foxes to put them in front of the hounds. It’s quite disgusting. I mean the details are so vile I don’t even want to tell you about all them but if you’re a member of the National Trust you get a chance to vote and say “No” we don’t want fox hunting or any of the other blood sports or National Trust land.
SARAH-JANE: Okay. Really good to talk to you. Thank you very much. A very wide-ranging interview there. I think we covered pretty much everything – the book, the film, touring and fox hunting as well. Lovely to see you and good luck for them
BRIAN: Thank you.
SARAH-JANE: Thank you. Really nice to see you.