QUEEN legend Brian May helped the country mark a fab 2012 by rocking at the Olympics closing ceremony. But the guitar hero, 65, thinks such spectaculars have lost their edge now most performers are made to mime.
Brian told me: “What I don’t like about big events like those now is that there’s very little that’s live about them. People get very scared of time schedules or things going wrong.
“But music to me is about reality and being live and if you look at Live Aid, that’s what it was.”
With a hologram of Freddie Mercury and Jessie J, 24, for We Will Rock You.
He continued: “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being ungrateful. I was thrilled to be asked to play at the Olympics, and the guys were very kind to us. But because the kind of s*** I play I can’t mime. It has to be real. I was totally, utterly live with no safety net and to me that’s what it’s about. It’s about that danger. Jessie was great – live and dangerous, bless her, so I feel proud of what we did.”
Earlier this year Queen were back on the road, fronted by US showman Adam Lambert, 30.
Brian admitted: “Adam is a natural performer. It could happen again and I hope it does.”
The veteran rocker was talking to me at the launch of 40 Years Of Queen, an interactive eBook for the iPad which chronicles the life and times of the iconic rock group.
Brian revealed: “I’m a bit of a technophobe myself but it looks great, reads well and you can play with it for hours. It’s not just a book to read, it’s a book to play with.”
• The 40 Years Of Queen eBook,published by Carlton Digital, is available to buyfrom the iBookstore for £9.99
Brian May interviews Patrick Moore for VH! - http://youtu.be/61z0uatXU1k
This was the first time that a youthful Brian May had ever interviewed anyone. Patrick Moore had interviewed Brian two weeks beforehand - and this was a chance to turn the tables. Entertaining and informative interview. Enjoy.
Academics said the corporation should turn to Mr May, an astrophysicist and close friend of Sir Patrick, to take up the mantle.
“Both of them have a terrific gift for communication, which I must say I am quite jealous of. Brian is an enthusiast for astronomy, exactly like Patrick. Patrick cared about the moon as much as black holes as much as life on Mars. He didn’t discriminate. The problem with professional astronomers is that all of us have our favourite bits but Patrick could talk about anything,” Professor David Southwood, president of the Royal Astronomical Society and a senior research investigator at Imperial College, told The Daily Telegraph.
“You’ve got to have a pretty strong personality to replace someone who had such a strong identity, like Patrick. That’s why I think you’ve got to go into the celebrity stakes, [but the right presenter also needs] to have a complete and utter enthusiasm for the universe. If you don’t have that, it ain’t going to work.”
Dr Richard Miles, a former president of the British Astronomical Association, added: “Brian has wide experience and would grow into the job if he was given a free hand. It has got to be a larger-than-life character but no one can ever match Patrick in that regard.”
Kim Shillinglaw, the BBC’s commissioning editor for science and natural history, said: “We at the BBC are still absorbing the very sad event, which is Patrick Moore passing on. We already have a number of episodes in the can with him in.”
The growing campaign for Mr May to take over the job of presenting Sky at Night follows the news that the musician bought Sir Patrick’s house from him, to guarantee him a secure home for the rest of his life.
Mr May branded the Sunday Times as “carrion eaters” after the newspaper revealed that he had paid £480,000 in 2008 for the house in Selsey, West Sussex, then leased the property back to Sir Patrick for “one peppercorn if demanded”.
The guitarist declined to comment.
Brian May, the Queen guitarist, says the Royal Astronomical Society are not interested in taking on the treasure trove of his late friend Sir Patrick Moore.
Opposite: Brian May, Patrick Moore and
Plans to turn Sir Patrick Moore’s house into a museum, which were disclosed in Mandrake on Friday, come after the astronomer’s treasure trove was rejected by the scientific establishment.
“You’d think the Royal Astronomical Society would be interested, but they’re, like, 'Oh, we’ve got an awful lot of stuff already,’ ” his friend Brian May tells Mandrake at the launch of the e-book 40 Years of Queen.
The Queen guitarist, who is a keen astronomer, adds: “Patrick leaves behind him a wonderful library and all these amazing things from astronomers he met. You think it might be easy to give it to a museum, but they’ll stick it in a cupboard somewhere and no one will see it.”
IN THESE days of ever more specific expertise, astronomy is one of the few sciences in which the enthusiastic amateur can still hope to make a contribution. Among the most enthusiastic of these self-taught folk was Sir Patrick Moore, the presenter of a BBC astronomy programme called “The Sky at Night”, who died on December 9th.
Once a month for 55 years, as regular as the new Moon, Sir Patrick’s monocled face would appear on the nation’s TV screens. He and his guests would tell viewers about a spectacular constellation they might be able to see with their garden telescopes, or discuss results from an interplanetary space probe. It was, for the programme’s fans, exactly the sort of highbrow television that the BBC was created to provide, and which its commercial rivals would never have commissioned. (In fact, “The Sky at Night” was so popular that Mr Moore reportedly turned down offers from other TV stations, remaining loyally with the BBC.)
Science and technology
Despite his determinedly eccentric habits—he was rarely without his trademark monocle, and was a keen xylophone-player—Sir Patrick insisted that it was the beauty of the universe that drew his viewers, rather than any personal magnetism he might have possessed. Nevertheless, to many he was a national treasure on a par with Sir David Attenborough, the indefatigable presenter of the BBC’s big-budget nature documentaries.
Nor was he a dilettante or a lightweight: the study of the Moon was his passion, and he made several contributions to lunar science. Over his half-century on the air, he secured interviews with many notable figures, including Werner von Braun, the ex-Nazi designer of NASA’s Saturn V Moon rockets; Dame Jocelyn Bell Burnell, who discovered pulsars, rotating neutron stars; and Neil Armstrong, a media-shy astronaut. His reputation crossed the Iron Curtain: he was invited to Russia to meet Armstrong’s counterpart, Yuri Gagarin, and became the first Westerner to see results from the Soviet Luna 3 probe, which mapped the Moon’s far side in 1959.
Some of his attitudes struck audiences as odd and even offensive. Sir Patrick disliked Germans and did not care who knew it (his fiancée had been killed in a German bombing raid in the second world war, and he never married). In the 1970s he became president of the short-lived, virulently anti-immigration United Country Party; later he supported the anti-EU United Kingdom Independence Party. He said he had abandoned watching “Star Trek” when a woman occupied the captain’s chair.
These days science is confident and cool. Comedians such as Dara O’Briain and Robin Ince entertain with science-friendly routines. Telegenic stars including Alice Roberts, an anthropologist, and Brian Cox, an astronomer (and ex-member of D:Ream, a 1990s Britpop band), host lavish, popular-science programmes on television. The front-runner to fill Sir Patrick’s shoes is probably Chris Lintott, an Oxford University astronomer, populariser of science and regular guest on the programme. Another candidate might be Brian May, who, in addition to playing the guitar for Queen, a rock band, holds a PhD in astrophysics and is a “Sky at Night” stalwart. Whoever it proves to be, those shoes are big.
THE ARTS DESK
The people's star-man was an avid composer, with three operas and 70 marches and waltzes to his name
The astronomer Sir Patrick Moore was a keen composer of decided musical preferences, and no mean xylophonist. The news of his death on Sunday reminded me of my hugely enjoyable encounter with him - for musical reasons - for the Daily Telegraph in October 1998, heralding the release of a recording of his tunes.
PATRICK Moore is hammering the living daylights out of the xylophone in his dark, cluttered drawing-room. Over it hangs a sharp message to visitors: "No, you may NOT put your cup on the xylophone". I have a sudden vision of him attacking an offender with his mallets.
When I arrived at his house in the clear-skied, seaside Sussex village of Selsey to interview him about the first CD of his musical compositions (to be released by Cavendish next month), I had asked him if he would play. He hoists himself up obligingly, and gets thoroughly waylaid trying to set up his accompaniment tape.
"Should have sorted this out," he grumbles, the familiar Churchillian face scowling, monocle gripped in the right eye, the body arrestingly large in its roomy black suit. But he has been in hospital, he says, hence the disorganisation.
Tension steadily mounts as the recalcitrant cassette-player disgorges first a snatch of orchestral waltz, then a bar-room piano. "Oh no, I hate tapes," wails Moore. But persistence wins the day, and at last he has the tape machine running, and is battering on the wooden keys, faster and faster, leaving the faint, tinny band far behind.
Moore, as all viewers of The Sky at Night know, is an innately funny man - both boffin and buffoon. Here is the man who commentated on the moon landings, who mapped the moon for NASA and who has an asteroid named after him, playing "Penguin Parade" and thrilling at critical tributes such as: "He writes marches of which Sousa would have been proud". Three days after my visit, Moore is due to start recording his CD, on which he will play the xylophone.
"Yes, but I don't want to play it. I am a composer, not a performer," he says regally. The Royal Scottish National Orchestra are recording the works, including the "Woodland Suite", in which "the first movement was written when I was 13, the second when I was 71, and you cannot tell the difference." He heaves with hilarity: "You cannot tell the difference..."
Isn't that rather odd? Haven't his musical tastes changed at all? "No, never did." He avoided jazz, preferred the Strausses, Gilbert and Sullivan and Sousa.
What about the Beatles? "Oh, I remember having a drink with the Beatles when they were starting out. I don't like their music. The music I like, and like to write, belongs not to 1998 but to 1898. I'm open about that."
Well, I try, what about modern composers? "Oh, Chopin, Grieg, Rachmaninov, I love. I went to a Prom two years ago and there was a very modern piece of music on that sounded exactly like a cat-fight. Birtwistle. That's who it was. Not difficult but impossible. I can't make head nor tail of it." He juts out his chin, and his monocle falls out.
Queen star speaks of dear friend and father figure
The astronomer passed away yesterday (December 9) at his home Farthings following his most recent bout of illness.
"Patrick is irreplaceable," the guitarist continued. "There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one."
The eccentric British figure had previously fought off serious illness on several occassions, continuing to write at a great rate and star in The Sky At Night. A self-taught xylophonist and pianist, Moore was one of the longest-lasting British television figures thansk to the long-running programme The Sky At Night and his eccentrically British personality.
In 2006 May and Moore worked together to write Bang! The Complete History of the Universe. May completed his PhD thesis in astrophysicsphysics, entitled A Survey of Radial Velocities in the Zodiacal Dust Cloud and gradutaed in 2008.
This year saw May join the campaign against the proposed badger cull in the UK, celebrating a victory when the cull was scrapped. But he recently drew criticism when it emerged that he had allowed deer to be culled on his property in Dorest.
Speaking to The Sun, May's gamekeeper said: "I shot 23 mainly young, healthy animals. I do it for sport." May subsequently stated that he no longer allowed any animals to be culled on his grounds. "I was new to forest management. I was advised it improved the health of the deer population." The world famous guitaruist also claimed that he'd inherited the practice fo deer culling when he brought the property and, having allowed it to continue for several months, made the decision to stop it.
Patrick Moore's executors have said that they will act in accordance with his wishes for a small, private internment, but that a memorial event will be planned to coincide with his birthday in March next year.
QUEEN guitarist Brian May led the tributes to Sir Patrick Moore, following the announcement of the veteran stargazer’s death.
The 89-year-old, famous for his long-running programme The Sky At Night, died at his home in Selsey, West Sussex, yesterday.
Brian May, who holds a PhD in astrophysics and is also Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU), said the world had “lost a priceless treasure that can never be replaced” and he had lost a “dear friend and kind of father figure”.
Sir Patrick was closely associated with LJMU, both as an Honorary Fellow and as chairman of its Liverpool Telescope fundraising committee, set up to build a groundbreaking robotic telescope on an extinct volcano in the Canary Islands.
May said in a statement: “Patrick was the last of a lost generation, a true gentleman, the most generous in nature that I ever knew, and an inspiration to thousands in his personal life, and to millions through his 50 years of unique broadcasting. Patrick is irreplaceable. There will never be another Patrick Moore. But we were lucky enough to get one.”
Sir Patrick presented the BBC programme The Sky At Night for more than 50 years, making him the longest-running host of the same television show ever.
Gerard Gilligan, honorary secretary of Liverpool Astronomical Society, added: “British astronomy has lost a giant in inspiring so many people to become interested in the great science.
“He will leave a great void that can never be filled, and our thoughts are with his family and many astronomy friends at this very sad time, for many of us who loved to look up at the stars.”
Last night Brian and Kerry took part in the recording of Wogan's Christmas Special, pre-recorded 12 Dec and then broadcast on 23 Dec on BBC Radio 2 - and had a great time.
Brian wrote: Thanks to all the friendly folks at the Union Chapel tonight. Look out for the Terry Wogan Christmas Special on the 23rd. Bri
While there the pair posed for photos with the lovely new "Born Free" picture disc.
Don't miss out:
Born Free Picture Disc
RIP Sir Patrick Moore 04/03/1923 - 09/12/2012
As a fitting tribute - here we remember the landmark 700th Edition of The Sky At Night - first broadcast 6 March 2011 - when Dr Brian May joined Sir Patrick Moore and other guests to celebrate the 700th episode of The Sky at Night at Patrick's home in Selsey, Sussex. Other guests included Dr Chris Lintott, Professor Brian Cox, impressionist and amateur astronomer Jon Culshaw, Lord Martin Rees, the Astronomer Royal. A stellar panel of astronomers gathered to answer vexing questions from the viewers, while Sir Patrick has an amusing close encounter with his younger self, with the help of Jon Culshaw.
The Sky At Night 700th Edition (6 March 2011) Pt 1 of 2 - http://youtu.be/aIuqBBbrqGk
Brian May, John Culshaw, Chris Lintott Tribute to Sir Patrick Moore BBC R5 Live 10/12/2012
Queen guitarist, Brian May, impressionist John Culshaw and Sky at Night co-presenter, Chris Lintott, pay tribute to Sir Patrick Moore, sharing their fond, and sometimes amusing, memories of their great friend, who sadly died Sunday 9 December 2012. With Chris Warburton, BBC Radio 5 Live Breakfast - interview broadcast 10 December 2012 08.35AM.
Visit: http://brianmay.com/brian/brianssb/brianssbdec12c.html#01 to see Dr Brian May's personal tribute.
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