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REMINDERS - 2014:
23 May - Hay Festival - Brian May & Denis Pellerin
**Sun 20 Apr 14**
[SEE BRIAN'S REPONSE ON SOAPBOX]
COMMENT ON BRIAN MAY IN TIMES OF MALTA "QUOTES OF THE WEEK"- and article in the Guardian
TIMES OF MALTA
Columnist Martin Scicluna laments the reaction of some Maltese to comments made by Queen guitarist and animal rights campaigner Brian May about hunting:
“We behave like petulant children stamping our Lilliputian feet whenever we are criticised by foreigners.”
Refers to article: HERE
and article today in The Guardian
Hunters try to block referendum on traditional spring shoot, while British volunteers help patrol countryside to protect birds
As dawn breaks over the sea and ancient stone churches turn pink, the morning's stillness is broken by volleys of gunfire. Tucked behind walls, sitting on armchairs in specially built turrets or else popping up from old stone sheds, Malta's marksmen open fire as migrating birds flap desperately for cover.
When it comes to bird hunts, this is one of Europe's more uneven contests. Birds flying over the islands of Malta on their annual migration to northern Europe must evade 31 licensed marksmen per square kilometre – 15 times more than in shooting-friendly France. On one day in 2013, more than 9,000 shots were logged by a conservation charity's observers.
Spring hunting is banned by the EU but the Maltese authorities obtain a exemption each year, enabling its 9,798 hunters to shoot 5,000 quail and 11,000 turtle doves, the latter a migratory bird whose British population has slumped by 95% since 1970.
But now a backlash is being felt. More than 44,000 Maltese citizens have signed a petition calling for a referendum on the traditional spring shoot.
And a flock of celebrity naturalists including Brian May, Chris Packham and Bill Oddie have swooped in, joining mostly British and Dutch volunteers patrolling the countryside at 5am each morning to monitor illegal shooting for the charity BirdLife Malta.
Packham will broadcast his confrontations with hunters on YouTube every day this week.
Steve Micklewright, executive director of BirdLife Malta, said: "The birds flying from Africa to northern Europe in the spring are the strong birds. They've survived the winter. If we don't allow these birds to breed, their populations stand no chance of recovery."
As a roosting marsh harrier rises from a field of barley displaying wings tattered from shotgun pellets, Nimrod Mifsud, a Maltese volunteer for the charity, says local birdwatchers take little pleasure in seeing a rare bird. "The first birds I've seen – my first stork, my first peregrine, my first glossy ibis – they all fell out of the sky, shot," said Mifsud. "That affects you. There's only so much you can take."
Last year, the Maltese army was deployed during the spring shoot after recent years in which naturalists had their cars set alight and a BirdLife Malta warden was shot in the face.
But Joseph Perici Calascione, head of the Maltese Federation for Hunting & Conservation (FKNK), said hunters felt bullied by foreign activists monitoring illegal shooting in Malta's countryside.
"I would like to see some Maltese lads going to the UK to try to stop one of their traditions. It's not nice to be treated as a third-world country. You [the British] shoot lots of migratory birds such as ducks and geese but it's only bad when the Maltese do it," he said.
Sergei Golovkin, head of the Maltese government's wild-bird regulation unit, said there was "an element of hypocrisy" in international criticism. "Unfortunately, some NGOs [non-governmental organisations] have chosen very aggressive confrontational tactics that are not based on science or law or enforcement."
Golovkin admitted that shooting protected species was commonplace 20 years ago, but said the government had recently introduced an automatic €5,000 (£4,100) fine and up to a year in prison for the crime.
It is deploying two drones and 70 enforcement officers to check hunters' licences and bags, he said. "It shows that we are prepared to really demonstrate that our system of checks and balances is sustainable and credible," he said.
Malta's government and its hunters argue that the main cause of the turtle dove's decline in Britain is industrial farming and there is no evidence that British populations of the bird fly over Malta. However, BirdLife Malta says Malta's turtle dove quotas are too high for a species in decline across Europe.
But the Maltese people are set to decide the species' fate on the islands after 13 Maltese charities obtained the signatures of the 10% of registered voters required to trigger a referendum. After every signature is checked by the electoral commission, the vote will be challenged in the country's constitutional court by the hunters, who claim it oppresses a cherished minority right – to shoot migrating birds. "If the referendum does take place, we would create a dangerous precedent on a small island where tolerance is of the essence," said Perici Calascione.
An opinion poll found that 60% of Maltese people favoured a ban on spring shooting. But if a referendum does not end this tradition, then dwindling turtle dove numbers might. So far this year hardly any have arrived.
Perici Calascione admitted the season had been a disappointment: he had fired just one shot in a week – and missed. "If there were turtle doves, each one would have at least 15 shots to bring it down because people are excited."
After a morning when more than 200 gunshots rang out on one tiny headland, a hunter opened his shooting bag to reveal only sandwiches and a drink. "The referendum is for nothing. There's no need to press down on the hunting in Malta because little by little it's finishing," said the 67-year-old, who asked to remain anonymous.
"I used to go shooting with my father and say: 'Look Dad, a flock of turtle doves! Look, another one.' My father shot with a musket. The more time passes, the less we're seeing of even small birds. The trouble is outside Malta – all the pesticides in the rest of Europe.
"If the referendum is passed, it will make no difference."
I desperately hope this revolting Maltese tradition dies a quick death but the problem of recreational hunting is epidemic in Mediterranean countries. The scale of slaughter of migrating birds in Egypt, for example, is on a truly industrial scale:
And its happening everywhere - France, Italy, Greece and Cyprus all have appalling records and it beggars belief that shooting of wildfowl is still permitted in the UK. One glimmer of hope comes from Albania, where they recently introduced a two year ban on hunting but not before most of their wildlife was exterminated by this pathetic genre of mindless idiots that get some kind of demented pleasure from killing and maiming wildlife.
Surprised to be the first to comment about this absolutely unnecessary killing of wild birds, that in most cases are not even edible. Surely if these hunters in Malta choose to get their pleasure from killing birds they could pay to shoot in a game syndicate in the UK or Europe. Whether we approve or disapprove of game shooting, this pursuit is at least legal.
**Sun 20 Apr 14**
The London Stereoscopic Company (LSC) had a booth at the London Book Fair earlier this month. It was the first time and everyone was pretty excited. This was shared with our American distributor.
Brian May was there on 9 April and spent over an hour at the Book Fair. He paid a visit to our LSC booth, chatted with the people from Carlton (British distributors of the "Diableries") and from Jade (the Chinese printers of the slip-case and of the lenticular).
Denis Pellerin took a stereo picture of Brian holding the brochure of the London Stereoscopic Company, announcing the books to be published soon. After stopping at the LSC booth, Brian walked around the book fair, chatted with fans, had his picture taken and was his usual charming and wonderful self. The LSC is now officially a publishing company.
Thanks to Denis Pellerin for the news.
**Sun 20 Apr 14**
Check out the great new titles coming along in the next year or two !!
2015 and beyond:
**Sat 19 Apr 14**
A VERY PEACEFUL AND HAPPY EASTER
TO ALL OUR WONDERFUL READERS
THANKS FOR BEING WITH US
**Thu 17 Apr 14**
Brian May & Kerry Ellis Set - City Rocks RAH 01-04-2014 - http://youtu.be/fg9ZISBZMsk
Check out Brian May and Kerry Ellis's complete performance at City Rocks.
I Who Have Nothing
**Thu 17 Apr 14**
Diableries: Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell centers on a beautiful, reprinted collection of diabolical 1860s French stereoscopic cards.
On each card is an image of a detailed, intricate clay diorama d
Each card tells a story, but the story of the collection itself is far more interesting.
Brian May, Denis Pellerin and Paula Fleming worked for years to locate each card and tell its story.
In the video [below], Brian May does a wonderful job showing off both the book and his enthusiasm for it. He also demonstrates the included stereoscope for 3D viewing.
May himself is also quite a fascinating guy with a PhD in Astrophysics, and a long career as the lead guitarist of rock band Queen. May, Pellerin, and Fleming also share a wonderful website [ www.LondonStereo.com ] that features many of the cards and allows you to view them both normally and backlit.
The backlit images are haunting. However, this is all in 2D.
DIABLERIES - Stereoscopic Adventures in Hell - http://youtu.be/5uwdGQAjSmM
Half of Card A0, not backlit
Half of Card A0, backlit
I am thrilled with the included OWL Stereoscope. This affordable viewer, which was easy to include with the book, really allows the magic to take place. The 2D images above are lovely, but seeing them in 3D is pretty amazing!
The cards and this edition are works of art. This is a special book and will be prized in my collection.
**Thu 17 Apr 14**
Brian's London Stereoscopic Company will be represented with a stall at the upcoming Photographica Fair, 18 May 2014. (see flyer bekow).
ENTRY £5 (no congestion charge on Sunday)
Organised by the Photographic Collectors Club of Great Britain
For further info or a stall application form call
**Wed 16 Apr 14**
CONGRATULATIONS to Marc Abrahams..
on winning CEVA’s prestigious ‘Chris Laurence Vet of the Year’ Award.
Brian May supports Marc's campaign against Puppy Farming - see pictured at PupAid 2012.
WEST SUSSEX GAZETTE
LEADING vet Marc Abraham has won a coveted Vet of the Year accolade. The Susssex-based vet scooped the title - the highest award for animal welfare - at a ceremony in Birmingham.
The CEVA’s prestigious ‘Chris Laurence Vet of the Year’ award recognises Marc Abraham for working both as a full time vet, as well as educating pet owners and consistently demonstrating his commitment to the continued improvement of animal welfare.
Known as ‘Marc the Vet,’ Marc has had a busy year treating pets in Sussex, but also found time to neuter dogs and rescue a baby bear in Ukraine, operate on a poorly moonbear in China, as well as collecting well-over 100,000 signatures on his government e-petition to end puppy farming – meaning a debate will be held in the Chamber of the House of Commons in June.
Marc’s campaign to fight puppy farming - called ‘PupAid’ – started five years ago after treating irresponsibly bred puppies dying of parvovirus, includes an annual event in Primrose Hill supported by celebrities including Ricky Gervais, Brian May, and Elle MacPherson. More...
**Sun 13 Apr 14**
Passed a milestone today on Brian May's Official Facebook...
MESSAGE FROM BRI to BrianMay.com facebook folks.
Thanks for being with us - 250k seems like a lot of good folks to me !!
Thanks for the support !!
**Sun 13 Apr 14**
Foreigners be warned. The only thing we want to hear about your stay is the chink of euro coins landing in a cash register. As for your opinions about this country and what we get up to in it… that’s none of your goddamn business.
Pesky foreigners. I mean honestly, when will they ever learn? Just because we joined Europe in 2004 - and entrenched the European Human Rights Convention in our Constitution long before that - it doesn’t mean that people have the automatic right to come here and speak their minds, you know. Still less to criticise our cherished cultural traditions.
In fact it is becoming increasingly obvious that it doesn’t mean anything at all. EU or no EU, Malta has persisted in its inherent belief that it is somehow a special place where the ordinary rules of civilised behaviour simply do not apply. Freedom of speech? Bollocks. That may exist in culturally inferior backwater countries such as Germany, France and the UK. But not Malta. Oh no. Malta reserves its God-given right to carry on crapping on anyone who dares so much as express an opinion which is not the liking of one, small special interest lobby group… or, for that matter, to the liking of the government which exists to uphold that lobby group’s special interest.
So foreigners be warned. You’re all very welcome to come here and spend your money like the good little tourists you are… even though, to be perfectly honest, we’d much prefer it if you simply sent over your money by bank transfer, and stayed at home… but don’t even think about doing anything other than spending your money while you’re here. The only thing we want to hear about your stay is the chink of euro coins landing in a cash register. As for your opinions about this country and what we get up to in it… that’s none of your goddamn business.
And please note, by the way, that this is not the opinion of one irrelevant columnist who can safely be ignored. It is actually the opinion of the chairman of the Malta Tourism Authority, former MP Gavin Gulia… which tells us a lot about how the people responsible for tourism in the country actually view the tourists they are trying to attract.
Here, for instance, is Gulia’s reaction to a legendary rock star who dared do more than what he was brought over to do… who, instead of just sticking to the programme like the good little performing artist he is, even ventured to express a private opinion about a matter of international concern.
“Brian May was invited to Malta to sing…” [Note to Gavin: actually he plays the guitar. It’s a stringed instrument with a fretted fingerboard, in case you’ve never heard one before …] “and not to make appeals to the public to vote against spring hunting. His comment was out of place yesterday, and I think he made a mistake to allow himself to be used by others…”
Got that, Brian? We’re not interested in your stinking opinions about animal welfare and the conservation of wildlife. So just play your guitar and shut up. And when the concert’s over, you can ‘spread your wings and fly away’… ideally, taking all your neo-Colonialist ‘we-know-better’ condescending attitude with you. So there, too! Fond regards, the MTA chairman, etc.
My, that’s a fine advert for Malta’s tourism product, is it not? Short, sweet and directly to the point. And it also perfectly mirrors a much wider attitude towards foreigners… an attitude that not only keeps cropping up in association with every single issue of a vaguely international flavour to affect this country - migration (birds and humans), schemes for the acquisition of Maltese citizenship, etc. - but is evidently getting worse which each passing year.
But let’s stick to the issue that Brian May quite rightly brought up last Sunday. Our ‘tradition’ of shooting European breeding birds as they fly over Malta on their way back to their nesting grounds each spring. What business do former Queen guitarists – or anyone else who is not a thoroughbred ‘cittadin Malti’ - have to intervene is such an obviously local issue? I mean, it’s our country, isn’t it? And they’re our birds, aren’t they?
Aren’t they, Gavin? Please tell. Now that you’re craned your neck out this far, you may as well go a step further. Are they our birds, or aren’t they? Don’t we have a God-given right to kill anything that happens to fly through our air space briefly each year on its way back… erm… home?
Home. Oh dear… there goes the entire “our country, our tradition” bullshit in one, measly little four-letter word. Our birds, my foot. We’ve already massacred practically every resident breeding species we’ve ever had – whittling down the number to around 12, and in the process losing such local residents as the barn owl, the kestrel, the peregrine falcon, and many more. Everything else that gets shot over Malta these days is actually a species that is resident in other countries… including, in some cases, Brian May’s own United Kingdom.
Even if we stick to only those species that are permissible to shoot in spring – and to be frank I fail to see why we should, seeing as the hunters certainly do not – the entire defence of spring hunting falls at the first hurdle. Turtledove and quail do not regularly breed in Malta (though in the turtledove’s case, this is not exactly for want of trying). They number among the breeding residents of other countries… including countries which are home to all these foreign Colonialist busybodies who keep coming here to tell us what to do. And as the IIP scheme clearly doesn’t extend to penniless birds of any feather, there is simply no getting around the fact that our ‘local tradition’ actually involves killing off other countries’ wildlife just before the breeding season.
The timing is significant, by the way. The whole idea behind spring hunting is to make darn sure that the fittest and most genetically valuable specimens – i.e., the ones which have already survived the winter migration, and therefore represent the cream of the genetic mix – don’t even get a chance to breed, to the enormous detriment of the species as a whole. And, still sticking to the two permissible species, turtledove and quail… both these species already face serious threats in their own countries of residence.
As I grow tired of having to repeat, these birds are classed as ‘vulnerable’ and ‘in decline’ according to the European conservation index. Ironically the hunters’ association acknowledges this fact: attributing the decline of both turtledove and quail to the use of pesticides in Europe. Exactly how this constitutes a defence of spring hunting is something only the hunters – and by extension, the Malta Tourism Authority – can explain. These birds already face serious, acknowledged threats to their long-term survival in Europe; so I guess it makes perfect sense to heap even more dangers on their heads, and to maximise the existing risk of further depletion by permitting more specimens to be killed at the most critical stage of their reproductive cycle.
That, by the way, is the situation facing turtledove and quail. As the events of the last two weeks have illustrated, these are but two of the many species that are directly threatened by a ‘local tradition’ that is manifestly out of control. In the past few months we have seen storks, black-winged stilts, black-tailed godwits and other supposedly protected species targeted by hunters and trappers. Is it cos they is black-tailed, I wonder? Or is it because the broader hunting/trapping community has for decades been made to feel it can do whatever it likes… seeing as each time hunting is even even remotely criticised, a government spokesman comes rushing to its defence?
Meanwhile, these and other incidents of illegal hunting and trapping have persisted even after the penalties were increased tenfold. This makes a total mockery of the claim – fanned by government sources all the time – that the situation is somehow being ‘brought under control’. In reality the opposite is true… it is deteriorating with each passing week. And again, the reason is not hard to spot. How can anyone expect the situation to improve, when all the national agencies supposedly regulating the issue itself – and all other areas affected by this issue, including tourism – consistently take the hunters’ side? Starting with the Ornis committee, which gave the go-ahead to this year’s spring hunting season even after being informed that the two species concern face serious survival threats... and carrying on with a tourism authority that – unlike all other tourism operators, including the Malta Hotels and Restaurants Association – publicly defends an issue which also causes untold damage to Malta’s tourism product as a whole.
And of course, no one has the right to complain about any of the above… least of all, the people who actually live in those countries whose wildlife is massacred each spring with the wholehearted support of the government of Malta. The same, by the way, goes for all the locals who happen to wholeheartedly agree with Brian May, and who have posted online comments to the effect that spring hunting is an aberration that simply has to go. The FKNK has now even taken to suing private individuals – at the State’s expense, if you please – for daring to express an opinion they don’t like. And the way things are going, it is only a matter of time before government starts suing citizens for criticising its hunting policy, too.
But we still have freedom of speech. After all, everyone is perfectly free to agree with spring hunting, and to say so at every opportunity…
**Sun 13 Apr 14**
WINNER: SHARON D CLARKE - BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
WORTH WATCHING TONIGHT ITV1 10.15PM
Brian and Anita attending the Olivier Awards 2014 as guests tonight at the Royal Opera House, London.
DAILY MAIL: Rock out: Queen's Brian May attended alongside Anita Dobson - Photo Richard Young
BRIAN MAY (QUEEN) AND ANITA DOBSON ARRIVE AT OLIVIER AWARDS, LONDON 2014
**Fri 11 Apr 14**
CLASSIC ROCK REVISITED
RATINGS: A = must own B = buy it C= average D = yawn F = puke
Brian May, the guitarist of Queen, has never been shy about trying new things and making new musical statements. His latest release features vocalist Kerry Ellis and is a live set filmed at the Stravinski Auditorium during the Montreux Jazz Festival in July 2013. Mostly acoustic, and much in an effort to bring awareness to animal charities, this performance is mellow, subtle, peaceful, well-executed and just plain nice. There is no sense of rock stardom here at all. It is more like having two really talented people perform for you after dinner at your house.
The track listing is surprising but, for the purpose of this release, it works. “I (Who Have Nothing)” was a hit for Ben E. King and Tom Jones…we are a long way from Queen here! The Kansas classic “Dust in the Wind” is performed, as well as the Beatles “Something.” Of course, they are given signature May/Ellis treatments, as they prefer to make them sound like themselves instead of cover tunes.
There is a cutesy original song called “Kissing Me” which, again for this type of project works well. “Born Free” is performed, as is “The Way We Were.” Brian and Kerry pull out some Queen tunes, some deep cuts and some classics. As it turns out the ‘new’ versions of these classics are quite good and, along with “Dust in the Wind,” are the best in show. “Life is Real” is poignant in this setting, while “We Will Rock You” and “Crazy Thing Called Love” rock in their own way. “39” comes across very well. One of the best received moments is “Somebody to Love,” a great song no matter what the version.
Also included in this set is the CD of “Acoustic By Candlelight” recorded live on the UK leg of their tour in autumn 2012.
This is a fun little performance that will appeal to Queen fans the most, but all classic rock fans will want to check out this other side of Mr. May.
Again, be warned, this is not a Queen concert. No big lights. No naked chicks on bicycles. No Bombastic statements. It’s soft and quiet… and nice.
By Jeb Wright
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
CAMBERLEY NEWS & MAIL [GET SURREY]
WILDLIFE ROCKS is back, bigger and better for 2014 following the great success of its inaugural edition two years ago. The event aims to bring together some of Britain's foremost animal welfare charities and organisations to raise awareness of, and appreciation for, the country's diverse and endangered wildlife.
Created by legend Queen guitarist and Windlesham resident Brian May, the founder of the Save Me charity, the all-day bash will be held at Guildford Cathedral on Bank Holiday Monday, May 5.
More than 4,000 people attended the launch of Wildlife Rocks in 2012, which will once again feature a performance by Mr [Dr] May. He will be joined this year by Katrina and the Waves' singer Katrina Leskanich, prog-rock titans Hawkwind, X Factor starlet Kitty Brucknell and West End actor and singer Kerry Ellis, who has previously toured with the guitarist.
The charity says Wildlife Rocks is a "fun, educational day" designed to offer people an opportunity to share wildlife experiences with wildlife enthusiasts through music and speech. Save Me chief executive, and organiser of the event, Anne Brummer, said: "Wildlife Rocks offered an action-packed festival of education and fun. "By doing his, we hope to give those who attend particularly the youngsters, experiences that will encourage them to explore the creatures we depend on and how the natural balance is affected by us. As future custodians of our planet, giving children this interest will help them develop their own ideas and solutions to problems they will face as adults."
Actress Virginia McKenna and her son, Ben Travers, will talk about the work of their Born Free Foundation, while animal experts will share their knowledge and passion for the wildlife they work to protect and preserve.
Save Me is a not-for-profit organisation based out of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue in Windlesham, which speaks out on issues of animal welfare and cruelty. It was founded by Mr [Dr] May, 66, in the lead up to the 2010 General Election, when the Conservative Party pledged in its manifesto to repeal the ban on fox hunting.
Wildlife Rocks 2014 will take place between 11.30am and 4.30pm. Tickets are priced £11 and can be bought from the Cathedral by calling 01483 547 881.
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
THE MORTON REPORT
An unexpectedly emotional surprise arrives as a Blu-ray/CD combo pack from Eagle Rock Entertainment in the form of Brian May and Kerry Ellis’ The Candlelight Concerts - Live at Montreux 2013. May, of course, needs no introduction for fans of classic rock. He’s a founding member and guitarist extraordinaire for Queen. Less familiar to most potential listeners is Ellis, a 34-year-old singer and recording artist best known for her musical theatre work. In Candlelight, Ellis handles most of the lead vocals, backed up by May (who sings the occasional tune) on guitar and Jeff Leach on keys.
The 90-minute concert is, as the title suggests, candlelit and quite intimate—as scaled down as imaginable. The performers remain seated most of the time and the entire affair is incredibly low key. Honestly, I got a sinking feeling when I scanned the set list and saw tracks like “Born Free” and “The Way We Were.” A few Queen standards notwithstanding, this is definitely not a rock show, so adjust your expectations as such. It’s quite an eclectic song selection. ‘Tasteful’ is the word that comes to mind to sum up the entire show. Obvious highlights include Queen classics “Somebody to Love,” “Tie Your Mother Down,” and “Crazy Little Thing Called Love.” There’s also an emotive take on the Beatles’ “Something” and May & Ellis even toss in a fun-loving original, “The Kissing Me Song.”
More than one mention is made during the concert of the Born Free Foundation, a wildlife organization that both May and Ellis support. In fact, they toured together to raise awareness for Born Free. The CD is a live album, Acoustic by Candlelight, recorded in November 2012 during the Born Free tour. It’s a nice inclusion, as all the performances are of course different than the video and the set list varies a bit as well.
The reliable Eagle Rock has come through again in the tech department with a gorgeous 1080i high definition presentation. Every squiggly hair in May’s gray mane is crystal clear. Depending on your proclivities, however, you may find Ellis a more pleasing sight—she’s beautifully lighted throughout and the simple visual treatment allows us to see the emotion etched in her face. The audio options include LPCM 2.0 stereo and DTS-HD MA 5.1—pick your poison, they both sound great. There’s not too much going on in this simple mix, but I did prefer the added heft provided by the DTS.
Bonus features are extremely limited, with only a brief acoustic performance of “Nothing Has Really Changed.” The footage was captured on location in on a game reserve in South Africa. I’d count the CD as a bonus, but it does seem to be built into the retail cost of the release. Queen fans are likely to the be the most immediately interested, but The Candlelight Concerts is an enjoyable experience for general fans of low-key pop.
Brian May & Kerry Ellis - Dust in the Wind (The Candlelight Concerts - Live At Montreux 2013)
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
STOP PRESS: Brian made flying visit to the London Book Fair, at Earls Court on Wednesday morning, 9 April. Stand J 665. Exbibition runs 8 -10 April.
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
Brian May and Kerry Ellis live in Valletta, Malta. Lovely concert, out in the open on a Spring evening...
Brian May & Kerry Ellis - Love of My Life - Malta - http://youtu.be/kHJJvT4ILgo
**Thu 10 Apr 14**
TRANSCRIPT BY Jen Tunney BRIANMAY.COM
Times of Malta Editor Herman Grech interviews Brian May and Kerry Ellis
HERMAN GRECH: You’ve been playing Russia, Belarus, Latvia and now Malta. Are the people just clamouring for Queen songs here, or are we just talking about people justwanting to hear something different?
BRIAN MAY: Yeah, we don't… people like Queen songs, but that’s definitely not what it’s about and we’ve been finding that I think with a strong internet community and twitter community and whatever, people do understand what we’re doing and they react really, really well.
HERMAN: Some people say you are - accuse you of taking the Queen legacy way beyond its sell-by dates. Is it doing it just for the money?
BRIAN: And why would…? We don’t need the money, we don’t need the fame, so why would we do it? If the Queen legacy is going on and on and on, it’s not because of us, it’s because people want it and just now and again it’s nice to give people what they want. I think that’s all I can say. I like it. I’m not… I don’t have to do it, and I certainly don’t want to do it all the time any more. We did it for 20 years or more and I like to have the freedom to do this, to do astronomy, you know, and try and change the world, animals and… (tails off)
Speaking about writing “Mother Love”….
HERMAN:…Write lyrics for Freddie then….
BRIAN: Yeah it was a strange situation. This was the last thing we ever did together and Freddie was really quite ill and he’d have just moments where he was okay and he could prop himself up and sing. But he was eager to work. He loved to work, as always, you know, and it was the thing that really made him smile.
So we were in Montreux and I’ll tell you exactly what happened. There was this record called “Wicked Game” by Chris Isaak… wrote on the back of a piece of scrap paper, and they would write a verse at a time and sing it for him, because, you know, the song wasn’t really written at that time, so that’s the normal way we worked. I would demo it for him and he would sing it, and for each line he did four takes, and then we’d write another verse. And he would be like, “Give me what - a vodka”, you know – he always put a vodka down … gave him his strength. So another shot, so said : ‘Write me more. Give me more lyrics. More, more more. I wanna do this”, you know, “and then you can finish it off when I’ve gone”. You know, so he was completely focussed. He knew that he wouldn’t be there that long. So we got all the way through the middle eight, which was great, and I did the middle eight and he went “It’s not enough. We need to go higher. More, more more.”
Well Freddie, we had this discussion. We thought maybe we’re all …that’s what really we’re looking for. We wanna get back to that place where we were warm and snug and loved and secure. So the song was purely about that, but of course underneath, we’re talking about “Where’s Freddie going and where are we all going eventually”.
PLEASE CHECK BACK FOR MORE...To be continued...
Times of Malta Editor Herman Grech interviews Brian May and Kerry Ellis - http://youtu.be/qTZYsz5UGNw
**Wed 09 Apr 14**
TIMES OF MALTA
Last weekend I met one of the greatest campaigners for conservation and wild-life. We talked about the terrible situation with badger culling in the UK and the situation regarding spring hunting on Malta. We also talked about what he is most famous for – being possibly the greatest guitarist the world has ever seen and a songwriter in an iconic rock band. I liked Brian May enormously and was delighted to have my photograph taken with him. I wanted my friends to know I had met Brian, so, of course, I made it my Facebook cover photo.
From such innocent actions, all sorts of conspiracy theories have been created by the hunting community: the most amusing and misjudged being that May is a parrot of Birdlife Malta, simply because I met him before the show.
The truth is, like many conservationists, May has known about the situation regarding bird hunting and trapping on Malta for a long time and like many Maltese and foreigners who love these islands, he is appalled by the situation. As both a talented musician and someone with a doctorate in astrophysics, he is quite capable of making up his own mind on something and make any statement about the matter he chooses.
The furore his statement has created actually says more about the people making a fuss about it than May’s mild-mannered and very measured remarks.
According to his critics, being a foreigner, May should not comment on domestic issues. This conveniently ignores the fact that the birds targeted by hunters in spring are on their long journey back to mainland Europe to breed.
** They are as much May’s birds as they are Malta’s or anyone else’s. **
Apparently, so some have said, May should not have used an event that partly celebrated 10 years since Malta joined the European Union as a platform for views about bird conservation. The furore his statement has created actually says more about the people making a fuss about it than May’s mild mannered and very measured remarks. Yet it is a requirement of EU law that birds are not hunted in spring when on migration. Malta is in fact the only EU country to have spring hunting for turtle dove and quail.
It is perhaps the attack on freedom of speech that is most insidious here, but it should come as no surprise when you consider that the FKNK, the hunters’ organisation, have tried to get people prosecuted when they have commented about hunting issues on timesofmalta.com.
These harmless comments are merely a statement of opinion, but the hunters claim they are somehow libellous. Surely this is some form of projection when you take into account the bullying and harassment the hunters themselves undertake, either when directed at public figures through the internet or on innocent Maltese families enjoying the beautiful spring countryside.
It is a countryside that is ruined at this time of year by the rampant and uncontrolled hunting that takes place. But the hunters and others that have spoken against May forget two very simple and incredible facts: almost 45,000 Maltese residents have signed the petition to call for a referendum to abolish spring hunting, and 66 per cent of Maltese voters are known to want to see this happen. And it is little wonder that such a decision to abolish it has to be taken by the Maltese themselves.
In a blog post following his visit to Malta, May said: “The present government is against hunting, but would find it hard to go against the small but powerful pro-hunting faction. So the referendum, (due to be held next year?) just enables them to sidestep the issue and not make enemies in the hunting community.”
Could it be that the empowerment of the Maltese people to take the final decision about spring hunting through a referendum and the ending of the undue influence of the hunting organisations on politicians is what critics of Brian May are so frightened of?
Steve Micklewright is the executive director at Birdlife Malta.
**Wed 09 Apr 14**
Interesting video to enjoy ....
Brian May on Keep Yourself Alive - http://youtu.be/Bz7EK41e240
This interview - part of Absolute Radio's Queen season 2011. Here's a clip of Brian May speaking about Keep Yourself Alive. http://www.absoluteradio.co.uk/queen
**Wed 09 Apr 14**
**Tue 08 Apr 14**
There is no doubt that Brian May is one of the most lyrical and expressive guitarists around. His style was immediately evident back in Queen’s early days, notably on their debut hit Seven Seas of Rhye and Killer Queen. His two solo albums and soundtrack project also provide good evidence of his style, which can be complex just as it can be accessible, and distinct in its own way...
Over the past few years, Brian May has been collaborating with Kerry Ellis, who was the creator of the role of Meat in Queen’s Rock Theatrical We Will Rock You, and eventually starred in the musical Wicked. This also led her to a musical partnership with Brian May, resulting in Anthems, a successful debut album back in 2010. An equally successful tour followed and this led to more demands, resulting in yet another tour which wound up in Malta last Saturday.
READ MORE HERE
Towards the end of the show, their version of Crazy Little Thing called Love, performed as the night became colder, and more humid, with some occasional drizzle, once more wound up with another Brian May guitar improvisation, and helped to maintain a mainly upbeat tone on such a chilly night.
**Tue 08 Apr 14**
Brian and Kerry were interviewed by Hello! magazine on the occasion of their appearance at the Royal Albert Hall "City Rocks" Concert for Coram children's charity on 1 April. This will soon appear in the magazine and hopefully we will post when we know the date of the issue.
Meanwhile - here's a few more photos from the event.
**Tue 08 Apr 14**
This week The London Stereoscopic Company are displaying their wares at the London Book Fair, Earls Court - in particular Brian May's books and 3-D products.
You can find them on Stand J 665 and the exhibition runs 8 - 10 April.
Note: Brian and co-authors not expected to attend.
CORRECTION: Brian possibly could pop in, but nothing officially arranged.
STOP PRESS: Brian made flying visit to the Book Fair Wednesday morning 9 April.
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