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**Tue 17 Jun 14**
Many of you know that Brian May, guitarist, vocalist, and founding member of the rock group Queen, is also a Ph.D. astrophysicist, having completed his degree on zodiacal dust in the solar system years after his success with the band began. In addition to being a musician and scientist, Brian is active in promoting animal welfare, particularly with the badger cull situation in England, and very active with his stereophotographic interests as well. You may also know that Brian is a member of Astronomy magazine’s Editorial Advisory Board.
The last time I saw Brian in person was at Queen’s Cincinnati concert in late 1978, when I was 17 and working on Deep Sky Monthly magazine in my spare time from high school. Having worked on the Starmus book with Brian and mutual friend Garik Israelian this spring and being involved in the Starmus Festival this fall in the Canary Islands, where Brian will also speak, I’m really excited that Queen is touring in North America this summer.
I’ll be lucky enough to be Brian’s guest for the tour’s opening show this Thursday night in Chicago at the United Center, where he and Queen bandmate Roger Taylor will join vocalist Adam Lambert and others to produce a fully rocked-out Queen show. It will be a fantastic treat — and I encourage you to see Queen on this tour, too! I’ll be bringing along my wife Lynda, son Chris, and colleague Rich Talcott and his wife, Evelyn (Rich contributed to the Starmus book and is a longtime Queen fan, too).
The band will play many cities in the United States, Canada, and Australia over the coming weeks. This is the chance of a lifetime! Don’t miss it!
For more info, see Brianmay.com.
**Tue 17 Jun 14**
This from WhyHunger organisation - a leader in building the movement to end hunger and poverty by connecting people to nutritious, affordable food and by supporting grassroots solutions that inspire self-reliance and community empowerment...
We are fortunate to have celebrity and artists partners who help us generate funds through donated auction items, some of which we think may be of interest to your fans.
AUCTIONS CLOSING SOON:
· You can win a fender guitar signed by Brian May of Queen. Bid now to support WhyHunger: http://bit.ly/1jVstxm
**Fri 13 Jun 14**
The Observer Ethical Award for Campaigner of the Year - Brian May - http://youtu.be/KetytsIUBI8
**Thu 12 Jun 14**
OBSERVER ETHICAL AWARDS 2013 WINNERS: BRIAN MAY
The Queen guitarist and winner of the Campaigner of the Year on working with farmers, saving badgers and putting animals first
Giving wildlife no value is completely immoral," says Brian May, as he cuddles a rescued fox cub called Ollie at the animal sanctuary on his Surrey estate. An injured tawny owl scrutinises us and a roe deer shyly trots around the room. It's very Disney and shows the Queen guitarist's commitment to Britain's wild animals is very real indeed. "I promised myself that if the time came when I had an opportunity to speak up for animals, I would take it."
That opportunity arrived when May, once a self-confessed Conservative voter, read of David Cameron's plans to relax the ban on hunting with hounds in the 2010 manifesto. "We were about to get a government that was going to bring back blood sports," he says.
With wildlife campaigner Anne Brummer, he set up the Save Me trust, focusing on the Hunting Act and possible changes to the hunting ban. These fears have not been realised so far, but the badger cull (first proposed in 2008 by an all party committee) famously has. May was roused into action. Overnight he became King of the Badgers.
In reality it's been a long slog. At first there was the "Save The Badger Badger Badger" song based on Flash Gordon and featuring Brian Blessed. But dig down, and this is a serious campaign which has acquired traction. May's ability to hold his own in debate against the National Farmers Union through to government ministers has been a big part of that.
As Brummer explains, "He is not just a patron turning up occasionally. He reads every scientific paper, he goes to every meeting with MPs and he is behind this every step of the way. He's very honest and very compassionate. He's probably one of the most honest people I know, and he doesn't like injustice." By setting up Team Badger, May and Brummer have established one of the biggest coalition of animal charities in the world. At times it has been vicious. "He has been personally attacked and it is not an easy ride, but he has never hesitated," says Brummer.
May explains how campaigning has changed him. "You wake up every morning and you're at war with people who want to have the right to just treat animals any way they want. That's been tough for me. I'm a peaceful person, you know, I've been a musician all my life. But I've got used to it. You're constantly ready to go into battle.'
The war is far from over, with badger culls set to resume in Somerset and Gloucestershire. But the campaigners have helped stall a nationwide roll out of the cull. At least, so far. Meanwhile, the Save Me campaign is evolving, and even co-operating with the NFU by channelling resources into the Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative (BACVI), vaccinating badgers and, at some point, cattle to protect from disease without culling.
"We don't want a war in the countryside," says May, "we want to solve the problem."
The fact that readers have voted him Campaigner of the Year means a great deal to May. "It's a great endorsement. I'm thrilled to know that people out there really do care about this."
Runners-up: Carry Somers, Vanessa Vine, Anne Power, Nicola Peel
Wed 11 Jun 14**
THANKS TO ALL WHO VOTED AND HAVE CONTRIBUTED
Our wonderful leader Dr Brian May has picked up the Observer Ethical Campaigner of the year award for the highly successful Team Badger and Save Me campaigns run this year to protect the badger from the unethical, unscientific and flawed badger cull.
The Observer is the world's oldest Sunday newspaper, part of the Guardian Media Group (with the Scott Trust as sole shareholder). The Observer Ethical Awards were founded nine years ago to celebrate individuals, teams and companies fighting for environmental and social justice in the UK. They have been dubbed the 'green oscars'. Previous winners include Joanna Lumley, David Attenborough, Jane Goodall, James Lovelock and Malala Yousafzai.
The Campaigner of the year category recognises the public-facing campaigner who has made the biggest difference to Observer readers and put ethical issues on the global agenda.
Presenting the award, June 11, Observer ethical living columnist and BBC One Show presenter Lucy Siegle who launched the awards in 2005 said:
'Readers voted in their droves for Brian May to receive the Campaigner of the Year for his work on behalf of British wildlife and opposition to the badger cull. They felt he articulated their outrage and concern and never shied away from standing up publicly for his beliefs, whatever or whoever the opposition. They found him a highly impressive and authentic voice.'
Presently in the US preparing for his upcoming concert tour with Queen + Adam Lambert, Brian was represented at the awards by Mrs May, Anita Dobson, and Anne Brummer, for Save Me and Team Badger, however Brian sent a filmed acceptance message in which he said:
'I am quite overwhelmed to receive the Observer Ethical Awards Campaigner of the Year award. It means a lot to me personally but it also means an incredible amount to the cause that we fight for which is the cause of giving animals a voice. The award also feels like an endorsement, that the Save Me campaign is being taken seriously and that was a long journey in itself. It's a great feeling to know that people out there really do care about British wild animals and recognise how important it is to take a stance.'
The award is a wonderful recognition for The Save Me team along with all the members of Team Badger which have worked tirelessly throughout the past year to challenge the government and prove unequivocally that the proposed badger cull will not help BTB in cattle. The campaign has taken many twists and turns in its life and has seen a growing number of Conservative and Liberal MP’s change their mind on the impending cull.
Members of Team Badger have campaigned vigorously in all areas. The Badger Trust, Save Me and the Humane Society International have all been involved in legal action to challenge the government. Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting formed the highly successful wounded badger patrol along with Somerset Against The Cull. Save Me ran an immensely successful petition that achieved just over 304,000 signatures against the badger cull achieving the most signed petition ever created on the government website.
The Conservative run Blue Badger campaign has lobbied with Save Me in parliament and through our growing army of MPs we have to date lobbied for and achieved four debates demonstrating overwhelmingly this is a debate of major public interest.
With increased public support and governmental support the roll out of the badger cull was thwarted, halting more zones from needless culling.
Lately Dr May and Save Me launched BACVI (Badger and Cattle Vaccination Initiative) that has seen farmers and conservationists unite to combat bTB through a programme of vaccination of badgers and cattle as a viable and a credible alternative to the deeply flawed and incredibly disastrous failure of last year’s two trial pilot culls.
Website: Observer Ethical Awards
**Tue 10 Jun 14**
SCI-FI THRILLER ‘51 DEGREES’ SCREENING ADDS TO GROWING PROGAMME OF EVENTS AT STARMUS FESTIVAL 2014 IN TENERIFE
– Hot on the heels of the news that British physicist Stephen Hawking will be a keynote speaker at the Starmus Festival from 22nd-27th September in Tenerife, the event continues to strengthen its line up with the confirmation that acclaimed film director Grigorij Richters will be introducing the first private screening of his latest film, 51 Degrees.
Richters, who has been making films since the age of 7 years old, will join his fellow crew member and keynote speaker, music legend Brian May, who, as well as attaining a PhD in astrophysics from Imperial College in 2007, is responsible for the sound track on the movie.
It is no wonder that Tenerife’s Teide National Park – a UNESCO World Heritage Site – which boasts one of the world’s best observatories and was last year awarded “Starlight Tourist Destination” and “Starlight Reserve” certificates by the Starlight Foundation, is helping the festival to gain momentum in its second year. The private screening is just one of the highlights of a weeklong festival, which includes conferences and round table discussions with prominent figures such as, Nobel Prize winners Robert W. Wilson and Sir Harold W. Kroto; British ethologist, zoologist and scientist Richard Dawkins; American astronomer Jill Tarter, astrophysicists Robert Williams; three Apollo moonwalkers: Edgar Mitchell, Charlie Duke and Jack Schmitt, and five cosmonauts including Alexei Leonov, who became the first human to make a ‘space walk’ back in 1965.
Just confirmed and new to the line up are astrophysicist and presenter of BBC’s The Sky at Night, Chris Lintott, and Professor of Paleanthropology, Kateriana Harvati.
Festival goers will also have access to a unique concert with legendary keyboard player Rick Wakeman together with Brian May; and a stargazing “Star Party” at the Teide Observatory.
Attendees will have the chance to mingle and share their views on astronomy with the well-known personalities.
Ideally suited to the Starmus Festival’s theme of cosmic discovery, the film follows the life of Damon Miller (played by Moritz von Zeddelmann), a young British film maker who becomes involved in the research of asteroids, only to discover that the Earth stands on the brink of extraterrestrial disaster. Knowing the world is coming to an end, Damon finds hope in an offer made by underhand British authorities to allocate him and his loved ones places on a 2,000 capacity space station orbiting Earth. His ticket to survival rests on whether he is willing to film the last days of hysteria on Earth leading up to the asteroids hitting.
Filming took place between 2011 and 2014 in and around London, initially using a skeleton crew and employing guerilla filming tactics on a major scale; with 2,500 extras used to create scenes of panic in Piccadilly Circus.
A trailer of the film can be found here:
The Starmus Festival is organised by the Government of the Canary Islands and the Council of Tenerife; managed by Garik Israelian, an astrophysicist researcher at the Canary Islands Astrophysics Institute (IAC); with the collaboration of The Ritz-Carlton Abama where the majority of conferences will take place.
The six-day festival is priced at €300 (£243) per delegate and interest in attending can be registered at www.starmus.com.
**Tue 10 Jun 14**
THE ARTS DESK
Later rock guitarists revelled in dissonance and distortion in a way I wouldn’t associate with you. What did you make of Link Wray’s “Rumble” when it came out? That was a very early stab at that kind of sound?
HANK MARVIN: That was in 1958 when we were playing the 2i’s coffee bar. We used to play it, in fact. Talking of distortion, it’s interesting. It’s generally perceived that the sounds I use are pretty clean, which is true, but if you listen to early Shadows records like “Man of Mystery” or “The Savage” there’s a little bit of distortion coming through an echo box and amplified which gives an edge. There are a few more like that. I did a tune with Brian May a few years ago, a version of “We Are The Champions” on my first solo album [1992’s Into the Light]. He was saying, “People think The Shadows have great melodies but forget the tougher side. When I was kid and we were buying your records and things like 'FBI' and 'The Savage' were hard rock to us.”
Coincidentally - Hank Marvin appeared on The One Show last week, on the subject of "Heroes" - being an original guitar hero himself. He cited many of his influences, twice mentioning Brian May.
Good to know there is a mutual appreciation, between Brian and one of his significant influences and heroes.
**Mon 09 Jun 14**
Very sad to hear of the passing of Rik Mayall as the young age of 56
FROM OUR ARCHIVES
On this day 05 Nov - In 1987 - Brian May guest appearance with Bad News at Hammersmith Odeon, London, UK.
BRIAN MAY (SOUNDS MAG MAY 1989): I love heavy metal and I don’t look down on it at all. But we’re not a heavy metal group. I think you have to love something to play it. When I produced Bad News (the spoof metal band created by The Young Ones stars Ade Edmondson, Rik Mayall and Nigel Planer), I found that Ade Edmondson lives and breathes heavy rock music. And I love people that are so immersed in it that it’s serious. I love AC/DC – what they do, it’s very pure. But we’re not that way, so we can’t pretend we are. It’s good to be able to step back and see the funny side of it, because it kicks out some of the shit.
Bad News (with Brian May) - Bad News - http://youtu.be/6AyjcrKyY-g
Bad News - Bohemian Rhapsody - http://youtu.be/0wM58YXp2x0
**Tue 03 Jun 14**
**Mon 02 Jun 14**
- Photographer Maria Slough's exhibition opens tonight
By NAOMI GREENAWAY
Who knew Brian May had a pet badger? The ex-Queen guitarist is just one of a host of celebrities who have been snapped with their beloved pets for a new exhibition. Other famous faces include Paul O'Grady, Michelle Collins, Mark Foster, Martin Clunes and Simon Callow, who have all been photographed with their beloved animals for Pawless, Maria Slough's photography exhibition.
The exhibition opens tonight with a preview showing at London's Cafe Royal before it sets sail for a round trip to Amsterdam aboard the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship on Wednesday.
Each celebrity has nominated a charity and the exhibition aims to raise awareness and money for various causes.
'There were quite a few funny moments shooting this,' London-based Maria tells MailOnline, 'And some wonderfully inspiring ones too. When I went to photograph Simon Callow, he'd recently moved house and his dogs weren't sure about new people,' she says. 'He greeted me at door with a plate of biscuits and I had to bribe my way step by step into the house. But once they were used to me the shoot worked brilliantly.'
The exhibition also includes members of public and high-profile animal charity activist Jill Robinson.
'I went to photograph Jill in China and lived amongst rescued bears for a week, which was extraordinary,' says Maria. 'It was so humbling.'
Each of the stunning black and white images is accompanied by a quote from the animal lovers.
'They were apart for four days, the first time in their lives and Biffy was mortified, though Roxy rather enjoyed the five-star service at the Royal Veterinary College,' he adds.
Fay Ripley refers to her pet Barry as 'the jam in our family bakewell'. And says, 'He adds sweetness and brings it all together. It just wouldn't be the same without him.'
Actress Jenny Seagrove, cuddles up to a pony and says,
'My love of animals was installed in me and nurtured by my mother. I grew up in Malaysia with dogs, rabbits and access to a baby brown bear and a baby orang-utan. That love has never left me, and of course extends to all creatures, resulting in my being founding trustee of Mane Chance Sanctuary, trustee of The Born Free Foundation and a patron of many others,' she explains. 'My love for the animals in our care at the sanctuary is beyond words. They have taught me about forgiveness and grace amongst other things. They are breath-taking in their presence and capacity to accept and give.'
'I have always had an affinity with Dogs but it wasn’t until I was nearly 30 years old that I got one of my own,' he says. 'He was a bulldog called George and when I picked him up as a puppy I could fit him into the palm of my hand. What I hadn't bargained for was the bond that I formed with him and the place he had in my life and my heart. It was like a huge love affair. 'He was the kindest and softest natured dog and I took him with me everywhere. I took him to swimming competitions and I was amazed at what an ice breaker he was in social situations. 'Having a dog with you invites lots of people to come up and say hello and of course he loved the attention.'
Actor Martin Clunes is featured with his horse Chester who he calls 'our king'. 'Chester is the first horse I ever owned and I owe him so much,' the actor explains. 'He is one of the nicest, kindest animals you could meet and even though he is now retired he still goes on giving, he goes out with the young horses and teaches them some respect and occasionally carries small children on his back to give them a thrill.'
Another star who admits he's crazy about animals is chat-show host Paul O‘Grady MBE, who is photographed alongside Olga
'I was very honoured to be asked to be a part of this exhibition. I have always been passionate about animals and am fortunate to share my life with the animals see in the photographs,' he says. 'I thoroughly enjoy making the TV programmes about dogs and more recently spending time in South Africa and Zambia finding out about the endangered species and the wonderful people who work to rehabilitate them and reintroduce them into the wild,' he says. The star has nominated the Animal Health Trust to benefit from the exhibition.'Their work is so important in diagnosing and in finding new treatments and ways of preventing disease and injury for horses, dogs and cats in the UK and also across the world,' he says.
Veteran actress Virginia McKenna, OBE, poses with a furry friend of a different kind -- an enormous lion. Luckily for her, it was only made of oak!
'When Maria first invited me to participate in her forthcoming photographic exhibition, featuring people with an animal that meant a great deal to them, I was intrigued,' she says. 'Then she asked if I would be photographed with a lion! The idea developed and the outcome was the most extraordinary sculpture, in fallen oak, by Simon O’Rourke, a brilliant chain saw sculptor from Wales. I call this beautiful noble beast "The Guardian" he looks out over the field and seems to protect all the wild creatures that appear there.'
Other stars featured include Michelle Collins and her shiatsu Humphrey and Brian May with a rescued badger Harry, moments before it was returned to the wild.
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