brian news

JUNE 2011

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Brian does not necessarily see everything on the website.

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**Wed 29 Jun 11**
MEGA CELEBRITIES AT STARMUS CONFERENCE

Mega Celebrities

Jim Lovell, Garik Israelian, Yuri Baturin and Brian May
Jim Lovell, Garik Israelian, Yuri Baturin and Brian May
- after receiving Gagarin Medals

© brianmay.com


**Wed 29 Jun 11**
EMMA'S FUND

Emma NewtonBrian is supporting this fund www.emmanewtonfund.com/The_Emma_Newton_Fund/Home.html , set up following the death in a tragic accident of an incredibly talented teenager, Emma Newton, had had recently played the part of "Britney" in her school's production of We Will Rock You.

Friends of Emma Newton write:

We wanted to tell you, your cast and all about Emma's performance. Please help if you can....

You may have heard in the news this week www.journallive.co.uk of the death of 18 year old Emma Newton. Emma was killed when a tree was toppled by gale force winds fell onto her car as she was returning to school dance practice.

Emma was studying performing arts, dance and music at school and was destined for great things. Emma had just perfected her final assessment piece in performing arts, this was the role of Britney in your play 'We will Rock You'. Emma shone like a star and loved every moment. It is all the more poignant that last Friday, at special leaver’s assembly her class mates said goodbye by spontaneously singing 'One by one' as a tribute to Emma. Emma’s funeral was held on Friday 3rd June at Hexham Abbey and her classmates sang 'Crazy little thing called love', Emma's song.

At this stage you probably wonder why we write, as nothing can be done for Emma? We hope that you will agree that it can. The theatre at school that Emma loved so much is to be dedicated in her name. There will be a re-opening ceremony which her parents and young twin sisters will attend. Emma’s parents have opened a community fund so that her memory may live on, providing grants to those who wish to study performing arts. In years to come young people will perform with help from Emma's fund.

We hope that you will feel able to help but understand entirely if you cannot. Thank you for your time.

© brianmay.com


**Wed 29 Jun 11**
SONIC UNIVERSE CONCERT: 24/6/2011

Brian with Tangerine DreamA cosmic experience with Brian May and Tangerine Dream

As soon as we approached the Magma Centre in Tenerife we immediately realised this would be a unique and incredible experience. Tangerine Dream and Brian were sound checking and when they played "Marmontel Riding On A Clef" and "Loved By The Sun" it was such a blissful moment to hear the familiar and particular "Red Special" sound which stood out so well. We were already blown away, but then they rehearsed "We Will Rock You"! It was quite clear we were heading towards something epic: a cosmic journey through the music of Edgar Froese's Tangerine Dream and Dr May.

The venue was packed full, there was a wide heterogeneous audience with Tangerine Dream and Queen fans as well as scientists, cosmonauts AND students coming from different parts of the world to pay their final tribute to the Starmus Festival organized by the genial astrophysicist Dr Garik Israelian. When we entered the hall we perceived a magic atmosphere. It was one of those moments in life when you understand you're part of an event which will go down in history.

The show in itself was a real blast, over 2 hours of excellent music and strong emotions plus some great moments on stage. Among the highlights there was the song dedicated to the Russian cosmonaut Alexey Leonov and the short speech he made; Brian trading solos with the Tangerine Dream guitarist Bernhard Beibl, a fantastic version of "Last Horizon" with Hoshiko Yamane on violin, the amazing flute playing of Linda Spa duetting with Brian on "Sally's Garden" plus some intense improvising between Edgar and Brian, perfectly in tune with each other and greatly supported by the whole band.

"Brighton Rock" delivered a big thrill in the audience but the final climax that made everyone jump on their feet was reached with "We Will Rock You" with the audience and Brian on vocals, Iris Camaa on drums, Thorsten Quaeschning on percussion and Edgar and Linda clapping hands.

The concert in the end seemed to be too short, those two hours ran so quickly. At the end of the day one can only hope this won't be a one-off event. The show was so cool, fascinating and experimental that it would be great to see Brian and Tangerine Dream working together again one day.

Review by Elias Vecchio, with thanks to Raffa Rolla.

Editor - More photos to follow very soon.

© brianmay.com

**Tue 28 Jun 11**
ALICE COOPER COMPARES JOHNNY DEPP TO SLASH & QUEEN'S BRIAN MAY

LIVE4EVER.UK.COM
28 Jun 201

Alice Cooper has placed Hollywood star Johnny Depp in the same exalted company as celebrated rock guitarists Slash and Brian May after he was recently joined on stage by Depp during a gig at London’s 100 Club. Speaking to Bang! Showbiz, Cooper declared his intention to work with Depp again, and lauded his guitar-playing talents which he claims is comparable to the Guns n Roses and Queen legends.

“I’d work with him again,” he said. “I mean the guy is a valid guitar player, we told him anytime he wants to come up and play, feel free. We’ve always given that kind of privilege to any great guitar player, like Brian May. He’s in the same place as Brian May or Slash.”

Johnny Depp is no stranger to the world of rock n roll, being a member of a number of bands in his earlier years before he hit the big time as an actor. He has also contributed to a number of tracks since, including ‘Fade In-Out‘ from Oasis’ 1997 album ‘Be Here Now‘.

© brianmay.com


**Tue 28 Jun 11**
MUSIC LEGENDS BRIAN MAY AND KERRY ELLIS TO SALUTE THE INDY 500 CENTENARY
AT THE 2011 GOODWOOD FESTIVAL OF SPEED

Brian and Kerry will perform "Don't Stop Me Now" at Goodwood on Sunday 3 July.

Goodwood is delighted to announce that popular music artists Brian May and Kerry Ellis will be getting together with their Anthems Band at the 2011 Festival of Speed on Sunday 3 July to pay a special one-off musical tribute to the centenary of the famous American Indy 500 motor race.

Legendary guitarist and founding member of the rock band Queen, Brian May, will accompany top female singer Kerry Ellis and their Anthems Bands at the Festival as over 40 significant Indy 500 cars and 16 winning drivers line up on the Goodwood hillclimb for the greatest celebration of the Indianapolis race outside of the USA around 1:40pm. This promises to be a unique spectacle that all lovers of music and motor racing will want to witness first-hand.

Brian May's colleague - Queen's drummer Roger Taylor - will also be at Goodwood on Sunday 3 July, judging the rare and stunning cars participating in the annual Cartier 'Style et Luxe' concours d'elegance.

© brianmay.com


**Mon 27 Jun 11**
VOTE FOR ANNE BRUMMER IN IFAW AWARDS

Harper Asprey

Vote for Anne at www.ifaw.org
http://www.ifaw.org/ifaw_international/join_campaigns/education/education_uk/animal_action/awards/index.php#x
VOTING CLOSES END OF THIS WEEK

IFAW's awards program now runs in countries all around the world. We are looking for special people who have done something outstanding for animals. Perhaps they have devoted their life to saving animals at a sanctuary or they campaign tirelessly for animal welfare. We want to recognise the work of these exceptional people, so tell us why you think they should receive this prestigious award by filling in the form below (or by clicking here to send an email directly).

Please be sure to fill out the form* with your personal information and the information of the person you are nominating, including a description of the work the nominee has done for animals and why you think she/he is deserving of an Animal Action Award.

*PLEASE NOTE: To protect the privacy of children, you must be 13 years of age or older to fill out this form. If you are 12 years of age or younger please ask a trusted adult to fill out this form on your behalf using only their information.

NOMINATION BY CHRISTINE ROSS:

I have great pleasure in nominating Anne Brummer for your Animal Action Award. Anne Brummer is the owner of Harper Asprey Wildlife Rescue in Camberley, Surrey. The rescue is a small charity that treats, cares and rehabilitates all the wildlife that arrives through it's doors.

The rescued wildlife generally comes to Anne via local vets, individuals and through the website. Fire services, police and other organizations also contact Anne to help injured wildlife that needs immediate care, albeit orphaned creatures or those which have been involved in some sort of accident and need to be nursed back to health.

A creature with a relatively simple injury can rest and be fed and is easily returned to the wild where it belongs. Anne is caring for animals that don’t like us and that are innately scared of us and the process can sometimes be long and demanding but she loves and cares for each one until they are ready for soft releasing, then back into the wild.

Anne and her team treats a multitude of injuries including serious injuries such as road traffic accidents and many broken limbs. Last year they responded to over 1600 wildlife incidents and this number constantly increases.

Anne looks after several purpose built cages and runs along with a “hot room” and intensive care cages and an equipped operating room at the rescues main address as well as release cages and long term rest cages away from the main site in areas of peace and quiet. This allows the wild animal to benefit from contact with other wildlife whilst being protected during it's vulnerable time.

There are 26 volunteers who assist Anne in varying roles amongst these are vets, veterinary nurses, wildlife carers and administration personnel.
The dedication of Anne ensures that 100% of all funds raised directly benefit the wildlife as she has no employed staff. Anne is available 7 days a week all year round for members of the public to bring animals to her or just to ask advice, if she can help she will. (Wildlife doesn't have bank holidays or work 9-5!)

Anne is always keen to share her passion and experiences with people. She gives talks at the W.I. and other adult groups. She gives lectures in colleges and universities. Anne brings her experiences to all ages.

One of the rescue's main focus and Anne's personal passion is within schools and education. She meets children groups outside of school too. Through term time she goes into schools and give talks to try and emphasize and encourage the importance in caring for our planet and the creatures that inhabit it especially the mini beasts. Anne firmly believes that these young people are our future and she believes their contribution can ensure the continued existence of our wildlife. Anne also gives talks at a-level and college levels. She does not charge for this, for those who do wish to contribute she only asks for donations of dog and cat food and towels.

Anne works tirelessly for our wildlife every waking hour of the day. Anne built and puts a lot of work into the rescue website so that children can enjoy learning about our wonderful creatures. Anne truly is a star and one very worthy of your lovely award!

© brianmay.com


**Mon 27 Jun 11**
AMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEW

To mark Brian's 3D Documentary with Sky, airing in July, there's a great 3-page interview feature with in Amateur Photographer.

Brian from Sky 3D documentaryAMATEUR PHOTOGRAPHER
BRIAN MAY INTERVIEW: CRAZY LITTLE THING CALLED 3D -
PAGE 1: QUEEN DAYS Monday 27th June 2011
By Chris Cheesman

Queen legend Brian May talks about his passion for 3D, a new photography project and a hankering for the traditional darkroom in this interview with Amateur Photographer news editor Chris Cheesman...

Opposite: Brian May's Brief History of 3D is due to be screened on Sky 3D on 7 July
Picture, courtesy Sky

Brian May's enduring rock star status is signalled by the trademark hair and PR girls aplenty buzzing around the lobby of a swanky hotel in Soho.

Armed with a PhD in astrophysics, the lead guitarist for a band reputed to have sold 300 million albums is, though, disarmingly grounded on first meeting. Brian May CBE is also reassuringly open, not a trait he associates with the stereoscopic clubs of this world which, he concedes, are akin to a 'kind of secret society'.

Not that he minds. Like an obsessed fan with the best seat in a highly specialised arena, this unabashed 3D disciple seems to revel in his role as the public face of stereoscopic photography.

May's lust for the third dimension began as a boy when he collected stereo cards given away free with packets of Weetabix cereal.

'This is a passion I have had for most of my life… The first time I saw the magic I was completely transported,' he remembers.

Seeking out like-minded enthusiasts, May first joined the Stereoscopic Society around 40 years ago where he pursued an interest in 35mm format stereo slides.

And the 3D flame has remained undimmed ever since - emerging unscathed from tours with Queen during the 1970s and 1980s when, the morning after the night before, he would scour dealers for new stereoscopic treasures.

'I always carried a stereo camera with me in the Queen days,' he says, insisting his hobby was not simply a release from the rigours of life on the road. It was just a twin path. No, I never got bored on tour and I never got to the point where I wanted to get away,' he reflects. 'It was purely “here is another great passion” and something which I could follow in a way no-one else could I suppose. I was able to travel the world because of Queen, and what was going on, and so I had access to people who were interested in my hobby, if you like, all round the world.'

So, did fellow band members Freddie Mercury, Roger Taylor and John Deacon share May's fascination for 3D? 'They did enjoy it, yes. I showed them quite a few things when I was collecting,' he recalls. 'Obviously they didn't get obsessed like me but they liked it, yes, absolutely. Freddie was kind of obsessed with his Polaroid camera when he first got it. He loved the fact you could take a picture and you could see it immediately, so he was taking all his friends and enjoying the moment.'

Little black book

The globetrotting songwriter would log details of the stereo dealers, fellow enthusiasts and collectors he met along the way, in his 'little black book'. ' I think I still have it somewhere. It's a bit out of date now but some of those people I keep up with. It's been rather nice.'

As a renowned collector he has amassed 'tens of thousands' of stereoscopic cards – and he is not done yet, though the rate has slowed in recent years.

'I've been to a lot of auctions in my time... and, of course, you can buy them hundreds at a time, particularly the 1900s ones which are my speciality…'

Many of the 19th century stereo cards, he explains, were created from scenes captured in Britain, and 'tell a story'. And around the turn of the century you could buy them in box-sets.

'You had landscapes, portraits and there was a very big business for people making what became known as “sentimental stereo cards”…'

Read more:
Pt 2: Talks with FujiFilm
Pt 3: Analogue Rocks

© brianmay.com


**Thu 23 Jun 11**
FORTHCOMING ABSOLUTE RADIO INTERVIEW

Absolute Radio will pre-record an interview with Brian on the 28th June - transmission TBA. This is in fact Brian May and Roger Taylor - about Queen - and will be transmitted in August.

© brianmay.com


**Thu 23 Jun 11**
STARMUS - 108 MINUTES ROUND TABLE

This evening, Brian took part in a "108 Minutes Round Table", broadcast from the GTC on La Palma.

ROUND TABLE

Brian May talks with Sophie Shevardnadze Tenerife 23 June 2011 - http://youtu.be/oqDQPJO0KMs

Brian said: "Death may not be the end, but it's no excuse for denying life" during his interview with Sophie Shevardnadze of RT.com at the Abama Golf & Spa Resort in Tenerife on Thursday 23 June 2011. This followed the 108 Minute Round Table debate at the GTC on La Palma, during the STARMUS Astronomy Festival.

Brian and Sophie Shevardnadze - STARMUS

© brianmay.com


**Tue 21 Jun 11**
MELODIES OF SUN AND STARS

SpaceTHE VOICE OF RUSSIA
21 Jun 2011
| Tatyana Zavyalova

Opposite: Space. © Flickr.com

The programme of the Starmus festival, which is now underway on the Canary Islands, has embraced science, philosophy, literature and music together. The Spanish island of Tenerife has become the venue of a forum devoted to the 50th anniversary of the man’s first flight into space.

The participants of the festival are focussing on two names, Yuri Gagarin, the first cosmonaut of the planet and Alexei Leonov, the first man to make a space walk. They have gathered on the Canary Islands because the world’s largest 10-meter-optical telescope and the Astrophysics Centre are located there. People should know about latest discoveries by the scientists on Tenerife who will help to reveal secrets of stars and planets, says the co-chairman of the organizing committee of the festival, Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov.

“The stars and sun are singing but this has to be decoded. At present, astronomers on Tenerife are listening to this sound, which is not monotonous but a melody. These sound waves can be transformed into a range so that people can listen to it. In short, we will be able to listen to the sun’s melody. Astrophysicists have decided to gather all people who have something to do with this. They invited people of other professions, and among the invitees is a Nobel Prize winner. In short, cosmonauts and astronauts are also attending the event to mark the 50th anniversary of Gagarin’s flight at the prominent observatory,” Alexei Leonov said.

A day of the festival is devoted to Yuri Gagarin and his Russian colleagues will recall the world’s first cosmonaut.

Artists are gathered around the topic of those stars making music. In 1962, astronomers discovered that the sun is pulsating like a membrane of a loudspeaker and tens of kilometers high waves are traversing around the sun and their sound can be heard. Later, scientists discovered that other stars also emit sound waves. The organizer of the festival, Professor of the Astrophysical Centre, Garik Israelyan has collected a library of space acoustic waves. This has impressed several musicians, and for one, the famous French electronics engineer, Jean Michel Zharr said the “Star Music” project could be the most important in his life.

Former guitarist of the legendary group “Queen”, astrophysicist Brian May is attending the festival with a “Universe full of music” show on the 24th of June. Together with the “Tangerine Dream” group, he will present two exclusive compositions devoted to Yuri Gagarin and Alexei Leonov.

Brian Ino from Britain will present music of other worlds during the presentation of his “Space” album. The festival runs from the 20th to the 25th of June.

© brianmay.com


**Thu 23 Jun 11**
DATE WITH THE MILKY WAY LED TO STARS

Lake Tyrell
Lake Tyrrel, a salt lake in North West Victoria, Australia. Photo: Alex Cherney

Photo gallery HERE

SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
23 June 2011
| Carolyn Webb

A DAUGHTER'S kindergarten project on the solar system inspired Alex Cherney to take up astronomy.

That led to an interest in astro-photography and early this morning Melbourne time at Starmus - an elite-level new astronomy and arts festival in the Canary Islands - he was announced the winner of the festival's photographic competition.

He beat more than 250 global entrants and part of the prize was an all-expenses-paid trip to the festival.

Three judges, including Australian astro-photographer David Malin, said Mr Cherney had captured ''a beautiful collection of time-lapse sequences of the southern Milky Way seen over the Southern Ocean''.

The citation says: ''The scenes are chosen with the eye of an artist, but the subtle panning and excellent control of colour and contrast reveal technical skills of a high order. Especially beautiful are the halos of colour around the stars in the Southern Cross, when seen through thin cloud.''

Mr Cherney, a Mentone IT consultant who was born in Ukraine and turned 36 yesterday, said when he learnt he had won the prize last month ''first I was really excited, then I thought maybe it's a prank''.

Almost a bigger thrill has been having his picture taken with festival guests such as the US astronauts Edwin ''Buzz'' Aldrin and Neil Armstrong and Russian cosmonaut Alexei Leonov. Mr Cherney also chatted to rock band Queen's guitarist Brian May, who is an astrophysicist.

He has also won an hour's use of the world's largest optical telescope, the Gran Telescopio Canarias on the island of La Palma. ''It's like the wildest dream come true.''

© brianmay.com


**Wed 22 Jun 2011**
BRIAN MAY TO PARTICIPATE IN 3-PART 'SECRETS OF THE POP SONG' STARTS 2 JULY

Secrets of the Pop Song starting July 2nd, 2011 at 9:45pm - on BBC 2

New BBC Documentary - Secrets of the pop song
Friday, 10th June 2011

BBC Two explores the process of songwriting in new three-part series, Secrets Of The Pop Song, which follows the pen to paper to first public performance. Each episode sees songwriter, producer and musician Guy Chambers, collaborating with an artist to write a new song each week – a ballad, an anthem and a breakthrough single, with a variety of celebrated musical contributors divulging the secrets of the trade along the way.

Acclaimed singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright joins Guy to write a ballad, The Noisettes link up with him in the studio for the anthem programme and music producer Mark Ronson works alongside him to create a breakthrough single. The series hears from songwriting big-hitters throughout, including Sting, Brian May, Boy George, Neil Tennant, Jessie J and Diane Warren.

The scheduled dates (subject to change) are:
Sat 2nd July 9.40pm – Episode 1 - Ballad- Guy Chambers and Rufus Wainwrite collaborate to write a new ballad.
Sat 9th July 9.40pm – Episode 2 - Breakthrough Single
Sat 16th July 9.40pm – Episode 3 - Anthem
---
WALESONLINE
Robbie Williams songwriter Guy Chambers to reveal his secrets
22 June 2011

Best-selling songwriter Guy Chambers will reveal what makes the perfect pop song in a new television series this year. Chambers, whose partnership with Robbie Williams produced massive hits including Angels, Let Me Entertain You and Rock DJ, will team up with stars including Sting and Brian May on the BBC2 series Secrets Of The Pop Song.

The musician, who first found fame in 1980s pop band World Party, will write three new songs during the series. Chambers has also written songs for stars including Kylie Minogue, James Blunt and Tom Jones. As part of the show, Chambers will team up with Rufus Wainwright to produce a ballad, try to write a hit single with producer Mark Ronson and head into the studio with The Noisettes.

© brianmay.com


**Wed 22 Jun 11**
STARS CALL ON ANIMAL CIRCUS BAN

BELFAST TELEGRAPH
22 June 2011

Ricky Gervais and Brian May are among the celebrities who have signed an open letter to the the Prime Minister urging the Government to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. The letter's signatories also include actor Brian Blessed, designer Meg Mathews and broadcaster Mark Radcliffe.

Comedian Ricky said recent footage of Anne the elephant being mistreated showed why the Government should ban wild animals in circuses. "I am appalled that wild animals are still kept in circuses and fully support the call for a ban," he said. "It is high time that Government got on and implemented one."

Queen star Brian dubbed the use of wild animals in circuses "cruel, distasteful and unacceptable in the 21st century".

The move comes as MPs prepare for a cross-party debate on the issue in the Commons tomorrow. Pressure has been growing for the Government to stop the use of animals in circuses, with a high profile campaign backed by celebrities.

© brianmay.com


**Wed 22 Jun 11**
ROCK STAR BRIAN MAY APPLAUDS WALES BADGER CULL REVIEW

Brian May campaigned against the cull last yearBBC NEWS
22 June 2011

Rock star Brian May has welcomed a Welsh Government decision to put controversial plans for a badger cull in Wales on hold pending a review. The Queen guitarist and badger campaigner said he applauded the "courage" of Environment Minister John Griffiths in announcing the move. The cull had been part of an attempt by the recent Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government to combat bovine TB. However, the review has been attacked by pro-cull campaigners.

Opposite: Brian May campaigned
against the cull last year

May joined the campaign against the cull in north Pembrokeshire last March.

The Labour Welsh Government promised a "science-led" approach towards bovine TB in its manifesto for May's assembly election. And on Tuesday Mr Griffiths announced that the cull would be held back pending a review by an independent panel of experts of the science involved in it.

In a statement on his website May said: "We applaud the courage of John Griffiths in putting plans for the slaughter of badgers in Wales on hold, while a proper investigation is carried out." He added: "We applaud John Griffiths because the more light is thrown on this whole sorry business, the more the public will become aware of what issues are at stake, economically, scientifically, and most important of all - though this has recently been swept under the carpet, ethically."

'Rigorous review'

The decision to place the cull, previously put forward by the Labour-Plaid Cymru coalition government, under was also welcomed by the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales, which manages four nature reserves within the proposed badger cull area.

Sarah Kessell, chief executive, said: "With so much at stake, this rigorous review process is vital if the best result is to be achieved. We believe that vaccination offers the best outcome for farming communities as well as avoiding large scale destruction of our native wildlife. Current vaccination research is starting to deliver very positive results, and this will be a key part of the evidence presented to the review."

However, the Welsh Government's move was criticised by pro-cull campaigners.

'Further devastation'

Prof Bill Reilly of the British Veterinary Association, said: "We are extremely disappointed that this additional review has been deemed necessary by the new Government. If new evidence is presented it must be considered, but we are not aware of any."

Prof Reilly said the Welsh Government had already taken extensive action to show that the scientific basis for a badger cull as part of the bovine TB eradication plan was robust. "Further delays to the roll out of the eradication programme will simply cause further devastation to Welsh cattle herds."

The Country Landowners Association (CLA) said the huge damage being done to farming and the rural economy by bovine TB should have persuaded Mr Griffiths to allow the cull. CLA Wales director Ben Underwood said: "By appointing a panel of experts to re-examine the issue, the Welsh Government has effectively kicked this key decision into the long grass. Around 10% of cattle farms in Wales are under movement restrictions because of bovine TB and a reported £12m was paid in compensation to farmers in Wales last year. So, not to push on with the planned badger cull alongside other measures to control bovine TB in cattle, is clearly a very bad decision."

© brianmay.com


**Tue 21 Jun 11**
CANARIES HEAR THE STARS SING AT THE STARMUS FESTIVAL

NEW SCIENTIST
21 June 2011
Aaron Millar, contributor

Tangerine Dream at the London Astoria
Tangerine Dream will be playing at the Starmus festival on Friday (pictured here in concert at
London Astoria, London, 20 April 2007. Image: Brian Rasic/Rex)

Garik Israelian, one of the world's leading astrophysicists, stands beside me in a roadside bar in northern Tenerife. I'm here to talk to him about his research at the observatory on this sun-drenched Canary Island, but, like the drink I just ordered, this visit comes with a twist. Israelian is organising a festival. And, unlike any festival before it, Starmus, which runs this week on the island of Tenerife, is going to host humanity's first-ever live musical jam with the stars.

In the words of fellow astrophysicist, Starmus trustee and Queen guitar legend Brian May:

"Starmus is pretty close to impossible, we will attempt to make something happen which has never been able to happen before."

The team hope to harness the actual acoustic sounds of the star's vibrations in a live performance on Friday night.

"Garik is a world expert on the evolution of stars and one of the things he came across was the fact that they naturally vibrate in an acoustic way," says May. "So you're not talking about converting light waves into sound. Effectively, there are sound waves in stars, and in many cases you can translate them into real sounds that we can hear. As stars evolve, the sounds change so you get a whole symphony of variations - these really are the natural sounds of the universe".

Now sitting down to a lunch of goat's cheese croquettes in red mojo sauce, Garik explains to me that while people have been mixing celestial images and music for many years the problem is there is no fusion between the actual science of astronomy and the music itself - "It's nice but they have nothing to do with each other. There's no science behind it. My idea is that you create the music with standard instruments but in a way that the acoustic sounds of the stars are in the centre of your composition. The whole composition has to be based on those sounds."

The Music of the stars
The music of the stars - Northern Milky Way near-centred on the constellations of Sagittarius
(The Archer), taken from Hotel Parador, Tenerife (Image: Kevin Johnson/SSPL/Getty)

But Starmus is about more then the concert. The 5-day long festival will gather leading figures in the science of the cosmos alongside world-famous astronauts to celebrate 50 years of man in space. Highlights include guest appearances by astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Alexei Leonov, talks by Nobel Prize winners George Smoot and Jack Szostak, as well as a host of distinguished others, including Richard Dawkins, SETI director Jill Tarter, and of course Mr. May himself. There's an astrophotography competition, space art exhibitions and the climax of it all will be, of course, the concert on 24 June.

"One of my hopes is that it will get people interested in science because I've always said that astronomy is the widest gateway to the other sciences. It's the most accessible," says Garik. He also believes that it's an effective way of opening people's minds to a bigger picture view of life. "Astronomy can open the door and can change you," he tells me grinning boyishly with excitement, "Look at [Russian Cosmonaut Alexei] Leonov, he was touched when he left the capsule for the first time and saw the Earth. The guy returned a completely different person." And he believes that at Starmus, by mixing the real science of astronomy with the communicative power of art and music, we can all be touched in the same way. Perhaps on Friday we will be.

The Starmus Festival runs June 20-25 at the Magma Art & Congress Centre [and Obama Golf & Spa Resort] in Tenerife. The concert is on June 24, tickets sold seperately from €50.

© brianmay.com


**Tue 21 Jun 11**
WELSH GOVERNMENT SCRAP PLAN TO CULL BADGERS TO COMBAT BOVINE TB

WALESONLINE
Matt Withers, Senedd Correspondent
21 Jun 2011

Environment Minister John Griffiths today appeared to kick the controversial badger cull into the long grass by announcing a further review into the science behind it. Mr Griffiths said a new body to investigate the best way to stamp out bovine TB would be led by chief scientific adviser Professor John Harries. The report will be published in the autumn, with the current system of cattle controls to continue until then. But he was accused of jeopardising efforts to tackle the deadly cattle disease by the Conservatives, while Plaid Cymru said the decision was a political one.

The cull was a key policy of former Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones as part of the last Labour-Plaid coalition government.

Mr Griffiths said: “Bovine TB is the subject of considerable debate. This is also true of the huge body of scientific research related to the disease. The eradication of bovine TB in Wales is a long term Welsh Government commitment. It will require the application of new technologies and scientific developments as they become available. The Welsh Government will continue to monitor these new technologies and the continued evolution of the policy. That is why I have commissioned a review of the scientific evidence base regarding the eradication of bovine TB in Wales. There will be no cull of badgers in the Intensive Action Area while the review is being carried out.”

He added: “The Welsh Government remains fully committed to eradicating bovine TB and this review of the scientific evidence base will contribute to that objective. This government recognises the significant financial and social impacts of bovine TB on farmers and the wider community in Wales. The Welsh Government paid out just over £12 million in compensation last year and at any time approximately 10% of cattle farms in Wales are under movement restrictions as a consequence of bovine TB. This impact should not and can not be sustained and so as a government we are committed to the eradication of bovine TB in Wales.”

Conservative AM Darren Millar wrote on Twitter: "Two u-turns by Welsh Labour Government in two days. Free laptops axed yesterday and badger cull abandoned today. What next?"

And Antoinette Sandbach, the Conservative shadow minister for rural affairs said: “There is no question that this is a miserable day for our farmers. By effectively shelving the pilot cull, the Welsh Labour government has cruelly betrayed the farming industry right across Wales. Three months ago – following scientific evidence - the Minister voted for this scheme. Now – despite a manifesto committed to a ‘science-led approach’ on the issue – he has kicked it into the long grass. We urgently need to see the specific legal and scientific evidence that has led to this postponement. I also want a breakdown of the full cost of putting the eradication policy on hold and conducting a review. Bovine TB continues to take a dreadful toll on our farming communities. Today’s announcement has dealt them another severe blow.”

And Plaid Cymru rural affairs spokesman, Llyr Huws Gruffydd, said: “Welsh farmers, their families and communities will greet this announcement today with sadness, anger and despair. Bovine TB has a harrowing emotional and financial impact on farmers and their families. And the disease also has far reaching, vast consequences for the public purse, its legacy has already cost Welsh taxpayers in excess of £120m – a totally unsustainable drain on the public purse. The Labour government has shown a considerable lack of backbone by kicking this issue into the long grass. No new evidence has come to light and therefore I can see no genuine reason for Carwyn Jones and his cabinet to have changed their mind."

But the RSPCA welcomed the announcement.

Colin Booty, the organisation's senior scientist said: "The RSPCA is extremely relieved that the badger cull in Wales is on hold while a review takes place and hopes it is just the first step to the Welsh Government reversing the plans altogether. Our position on this is extremely clear - we are firmly opposed to any plans for a widespread cull. The RSPCA believes the best scientific evidence indicates that a cull could make the problem of bovine TB in cattle worse rather than better through a process called perturbation. The Society agrees action is needed to deal with bovine TB, but does not believe action is synonymous with killing badgers. Alternatives include vaccination, increased levels of cattle testing, improved biosecurity and stricter controls on the movement of cattle. Let’s hope that this is only the start of things to come and, with an announcement imminent about a proposed cull in England, close attention is being paid to developments in Wales by officials over the border.”

Comment:
KeithHutchin 4:13 PM on June 21, 2011

The correct decision. Vaccination is the way forward and a badger vaccine ia available and licensed. Now it is time to use it and deal with the issue in a sensible, restrained and responsible manner. We kill wildlife all too often, blaming it for issues which are man-made, and in the end, everything suffers, including man. Its time to stop playing God.

© brianmay.com

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